Our ongoing quest through the Final Fantasy I Pixel Remaster continues today after our stunning victory over both the Vampire and Lich in the Earth Cave last time around. It has fallen to the Warriors of Light to restore the Crystals to grace, and the only way to do that is to kick the snot out of the Four Fiends who are doing unspeakable things to them.
This time around, it’s time to tackle the Fire Crystal and the evil Marilith, who apparently woke up much earlier than she intended and, as a result, is a tad cranky. Will we smash her horrible face in, or will we be splattered across the nearest wall? Hopefully you already know the answer to that, but it should be fun to watch anyway.
Mt. Gulg, as the “fire” dungeon is known, is challenging for a different reason to the Earth Cave. In terms of design, it’s quite a bit less complex and labyrinthine, but the main challenge is simply enduring the heat. Significant portions of each level’s floor are coated with lava, and this causes damage, as you might expect. It’s not a lot of damage for a single “tick”, but it can mount up over time, meaning that it’s important to prepare for any expedition into Mt. Gulg carefully.
Thankfully, doing so is quite a bit easier in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster than in some previous versions of the game, since the overall game balance is tuned more towards the “Easy” mode introduced in Final Fantasy Origins on the PlayStation and Wonderswan Color. The main effect of this rebalancing is that it’s a lot easier to come by both experience and money, meaning less grinding is necessary to fill your inventory with useful items such as Potions.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster also incorporates a number of items that, in previous incarnations of Final Fantasy, didn’t appear until later entries in the series — things like Phoenix Downs to revive downed allies and Ethers to restore magic points. While some might argue the use of these items makes things a bit easy, I say if the items are there then you might as well use them! They’re an integral part of survival strategy in later Final Fantasies, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be here also.
Besides, if you want the authentic old-school challenge, you can always either simply refuse to use them or go and play one of the myriad other versions of the first Final Fantasy that exist on a variety of platforms at this point!
I was a little bit concerned that Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster’s overall generosity in terms of experience and gil would be to my detriment in the late game — in the original version, it was in your interests to try and minimise levelling too much until you got the class changes so you could take advantage of the “upgraded” jobs’ better stat growth — but it seems that you can level all the way to 99 in this one, so nothing to worry about.
There has been absolutely no need to “grind” so far, which will please those who have previously been put off playing earlier Final Fantasies by their reputation as being “grindy”. And with the Quick Save function, which even allows you to Quick Save inside dungeons, you never have to worry about losing hours of progress to an unfortunate mishap. Assuming you want to play that way, of course; as with the items, there’s nothing stopping you kicking it old-school and playing in the “traditional” style.
Anyway, things are going well. Next up is the Ice Cave — and from there, who knows? (I know. But you might not.) The adventures of the Warriors of Light continue!
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