Final Fantasy Adventure
Final Fantasy Adventure is the first title in the Mana franchise. Being the second game released internationally by Squaresoft, it was branded as a part of the Final Fantasy series to aid in marketability.
In the Empire of Glaive, a gladiator-slave is forced to fight evil monsters controlled by the Dark Lord. But when his best friend is mortally wounded, he learns of a secret pendant which will give him great power. As the hero, you must battle your way out of the Dark Knight's castle and search through a dangerous world for the girl who has the pendant. But you discover that she has been captured by the Dark Knight's men.
To free her, you must find the legendary sword and fight off the Dark Knight's beasts and overlords through deserts, snowfields, lakes, forests, and caves. Are you ready for the adventure of your life?
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- The Hero: the youth who fights against the Dark Lord to free his world and insure the protection of the Mana Tree. Though named by the player at the beginning of the game, he is referred to as Sumo in official materials. A expert fighter, he is able to quickly master the variety of weapons he accumulates along the course of his adventure.
- The Heroine: a member of the fabled Mana Family, she is fleeing the Dark Lord's agents who pursue her through the world. She is gifted in magic, and will join the Hero on four separate occasions.
- Bogard: an aged member of the Gemma Knights, swordsmen sworn to protect the Mana Family at all costs.
- Watts: a dwarven blacksmith who aids the hero through an underground passage connecting two central locations.
- Amanda: an escaped slave like the hero, Amanda is hunting the dangerous Medusa monster to free her brother Lester from a dangerous curse.
- Marcie: a sentient robot assembled ages ago, who joins the hero in the final area of the game. Built to research ruins and recover mummified remains, his full designation is MUMMY RETRIEVAL & CONTAINMENT UNIT MRC-91.
- Dark Lord: the reigning despot of the world, who seeks to exploit the Mana Family for the hallowed and isolated grove of the Mana Tree. He seeks to use the Tree's power to grant himself total dominion over the earth.
- Julius: the prince of the vanquished Vandole Empire, whose father was killed by the Gemma Knights and the Mana Family before he could conquer the world. Julius feigns loyalty to the Dark Lord, but is biding his time to usurp his master.
Setting the standard for all future Mana titles, Final Fantasy Adventure is a top-down action RPG that sees the protagonists fighting through hordes of monsters with weapons and magic. An incredible innovation was the implementation of A.I. operated guest characters that fight alongside protagonist, whose battle strategy and proximity to the hero can be set by the player.
The game that would become Final Fantasy Adventure began in 1987, with Squaresoft tradmakring the name Seiken Densetsu: The Emergence of Excalibur on the intent of making it a Famicom Disc System title that utilized five separate floppies. This project would be shelved due to the increasing financial difficulties the company would not escape until the release of the first Final Fantasy later that year, and pre-orders were refunded with apology messages.
Following the success of Akitoshi Kawazu's experimental gameboy RPG in 1989, Squaresoft employee and Final Fantasy sprite artist Koichi Ishii pitched an idea for an ambitious action RPG for the handheld console. The proposal was approved, and development under the project name of Gemma Knights began. Seeing an opportunity to put the previously shelved trademark to use, the game was titled Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden. Koichi Ishii provided the general plot for the game and designed all the characters and monsters himself, with Yoshinoir Kitase assisting in script writing and Goro Ohashi programming the game's systems.
Ports and remakes
The game was first ported to Japanese cell phones in 2006, and would be included in the 2017 Switch compilation, Collection of Mana.
On August 29th, 2003 Square Enix would release Sword of Mana, a reimagining of the title for the Gameboy Advance. This remake removed all references to Final Fantasy and included stronger connections to other games in the Mana series, such as the elemental spirits. A second remake, cleverly titled Adventures of Mana, was released on iOS, Android devices, and the Playstation Vita in 2016. This remake utilized polygonal models instead of sprites, and reinstates several Final Fantasy homages.
Due to the developmental status of the game as a spin-off or "gaiden" entry in the Final Fantasy series, several elements of Squaresoft's flagship series are present in the title. Chocobos appear as transportation and on wind vanes, and several sprites lifted from the original Final Fantasy appear as NPCs and enemies. The white mage and thief classes are found in towns, while ninjas and black mages will be fought in various dungeons.