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GameBoy Advance






Square Enix



Square Enix



E (Everyone)



Q4 2004



- Dusts off the originals for a new generation of gamers
- Great combat
- Awesome music
- Save feature



- Where am I going?
- What am I supposed to be doing?



Review: Final Fantasy - Crystal Chronicles (GC)

Review: The Legend of Zelda - The Minish Cap (GBA)

Review: Fire Emblem (GBA)



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Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls

Score: 7.0 / 10


dawn of souls review       dawn of souls review


I fully understand that the original Final Fantasy and its name-only sequel are supposed to be classics but after playing them Iím left wondering, ďWhy?Ē To be sure there are aspects that show the depth of things to come but the stories are so lacking, after about an hour I struggled to maintain any level of interest.

After the initial setup youíre plunked down in a large world with only the vaguest idea of what youíre supposed to be doing.




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ďSave the world!Ē

Iíll get right on that. How about a hint as to where I should start.

Having no map to consult or even a quest log to look at is a big misstep, especially if the purpose of this 2-in-1 cart was to get me interested in the rest of the Final Fantasy series. Without some more obvious direction, Dawn of Souls descends into random monster fights, leveling up


endlessly, and buying better equipment at towns (when you can find them). Maybe Iím just thick, maybe my brain is still fried from the 4th Quarter Tonnage, or possibly I just donít get it, but I always felt lost. Even nudges in the right direction are few and far between. Donít get me wrong, I like open-ended games Ė one of my favorite games is Morrowind Ė but even an underlying sense of where I eventually wanted to end up was absent.

There is a certain depth to the combat. Knowing when to go for the kill, flee or enact some spell of retribution is in perfect synch with my love of turn-based strategy games, like Disciples II (on the PC). The menu-driven combat is a snap too, which makes fine tuning combat easier.


dawn of souls review       dawn of souls review


The graphics are a mixed tape of good, bad, and ugly. While exploring on the map (of either game) detail is slim, meaning landmarks are in short supply, which brings about a further feeling of aimlessness as you attempt to figure out where you are. During the battle scenes the detail is much higher with plenty of cool spell effects and beasties to look at. But all to quickly youíre back to the exploration screen.

One of Dawn of Souls great features is a save function that works anywhere, except during combat. The downside is that if you donít play for a few days youíll load it up and have no idea what you were doing, where you were going or why. If youíre not making notes youíll have very little luck remembering.

Simply put, the music is amazing. For a GBA game, Itíd wager it matches music found in on the big consoles. Evocative and at times soothing, sometimes I would just leave the game on, fold up the GBA and just listen. It certainly helps alleviate the frustration of groping blindly forward.

True fans will want to pick-up Dawn of Souls for itís revamped nostalgia value; most everyone else can stick with The Minish Cap or Fire Emblem.

- Omni
(February 11, 2005)


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