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 Final Fantasy Anthology
Or: $40 down the turlet.

I can't belive I wasted $40 on this. As it turns out, I already owned better versions of both games. I have the FF6 cart, and a translated ROM of FF5 with better translation and sound mixing. Oops. Let's take the games one at a time.

FF5 is a game I was looking forward to playing. I went out of my way not to play the emulated version because I figured I'd wait for the PSX version, which I was sure would be a lot better. Ha. Sadly Square seems to have simply taken FF5, done a hack translation, slapped a CG movie on the front and booted it out the door. This game is rife with horrible qualities. Where to start? Well, first, the transration. I'd read a little about the game, so I was unpleasently surprised to learn that Lenna was named "Riena"... and you can't change her name. ExDeath became X-Death, which is so lame a name I expected him to ask me for "M4D W4R3Z D00D!!!11." The worse case, though, is Galuf's granddaughter being named 'Krile'. Krile...? What the hell? I mean - Krile? What the HELL?!

Gah. Before I get really upset, next topic. I know this is a sort of a minor thing, but they truncated the spell names horribly. When you summon Titan in the ROM (so I'm told) he uses Rage of the Earth. When you do it in Anthologies, you get ERTHRGE. Summoned Phenoix? Great, you get to see FENIXFLM. For god's sake, the game's on a CD. You'd think they could fit a few extra characters. Plus they did it in an unofficial ROM hack! You think official Square translators would be able to do better than these "gifted amatures."

Another downside is that Faris talks like a pirate throughout the ENTIRE GAME. Every time she opens her mouth something comes out like "D'ar matey! I'll make ye walk the plank ye scurvy landlubber! Swap the poop deck!". It's hard to take someone who does that very seriously at all.

Worse than that is the sound mixing. You know this has to be bad for me even to notice it (I never stop and say "Boy, this game had great sound mixing! Faith up!"). Apparently Square decided to go for an authentic feel, or some shit like that, because all the music sounds really far away. In fact it sounds like the band is underwater and about 100 feet away from you. As you can imagine this is not a good thing. What was the thinking behind this? "Let's show off our amphibious band!". Even worse is the sound-effect mixing, which renders the game completely berift of sound effects. In other games, when someone whacks a monster you get to hear a satisfactory thwack or cutting sound. Not this game. It's eerie, really - you've got the underwater band and your guys attacking and casting magic silenty. It looks like some sort of demented mime act. Scary.

Fortuneatly dispite all this post-production fuxing Square did'nt manage to totally ruin 5, which is still a great game. Even though the plot's nice and simple, sometimes I perfer that to a complicated story full of preening asshole jerks and self-doubting sulking mopey jackasses. The one downside with 5 is that it only lets you carry over ONE job skill, which is kind of annoying - why can't I make a master summoner/white/blue/black/red/time wizard?!

So, overall, Square took a good game and managed, through really ass-lancingly stupid decisions, to make it medicore. How did FF6 fare? Uh. Well, onward -

Since FF6 had allready been transrated, they did'nt manage to screw that up too badly, even though they decided to change some really stupid things. However, they did manage to really screw up one thing, which may seem trivial, but really isn't: load time. This game has HORRIBLE load time. Going into a battle? Stare at this black screen for ten seconds. Going into a town? Black screen. Going into a cave? Black screen. Another battle? Black screen. This gets on your nerves really quick - by the time you get to Figaro you'll be ready to kill yourself. That's bad enough, but the game also makes you press way too many %&#*ing buttons when you want to save. You press Save. Pick the memory card. Wait. Pick the save slot. Confirm save slot. Are you sure you want to save? Yes. Save data exists. Overwrite? Yes. Saving. Exit memory slot screen. Exit save screen. Exit menu. EVERY TIME. In short, you have to put up with a lot of shit to play this game, when you could just use the ROM. To add to that FF6 isn't exactly my favorite game in the first place, making this disc even more of a waste than it would have been.

So, in sum, this is what happens when Square needs money. If you only started playing the Final Fantasy seris with 7, you might want to pick this up, but then again you'd be better off with the ROMs. I can't belive I spent $40 on this. I want a refund. I also want them to hurry up and *@$^* translate Crono Cross.

Also, since when is an anthology two shitty games? I can see not putting the regular Nintendo games on here (I don't like it, but I can see it), but where the hell is Final Fantasy 4? A good translation of that (for once) would have gone a long, long way towards saving this from the shit-heap. They put 4 on the anthologies in Japan (I've got the opening movie for it) so why not here? Ah, I guess us fooly gaijen just aren't cut out for a whopping three games in a 'anthology'. Then again, if they did put it on here, they'd probably find some horrible way to screw it all to hell, which would make me even more irate than I already am, which is quite an accomplishment.

Huh? You're still hanging around here because you want screenshots? It's FF5 and 6 all over again. They didn't bother improving them at all, in the least. If you don't know what those look like, why are you here?

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Written by Evk and posted on 05-22-00.
This article is 2000 Nick Hammer.

Salamando's Stove is all a big ol' 1999-2000 Zach Francks and Nick Hammer.