Also available on WonderSwan Color and Android
Final Fantasy Legend is actually the first game in the SaGa series and was simply given the Final Fantasy brand in North America to encourage sales. As it's the first RPG to be released on the original Game Boy, it's naturally a bit rough around the edges, but if you take that into account, there's a pretty decent little monochrome game to be found here.
The game's story revolves around a party of heroes' quest to ascend a massive tower to "paradise," but to do that, they need to find four sacred orbs to unseal four doors. The gameplay is largely standard for a JRPG, but the way parties and attacks are set up is a bit different. You can choose between a human character, a mutant character, or a monster character. Human characters only get attacks based on the weapons they have equipped, and they don't gain stats through combat; there are items that must be bought and used to raise each of the stats along with some stat boosts from equipped armor and weapons. Mutants can equip and use weapons and armor but also gain certain abilities as they level up in combat. Monsters have certain abilities based on what type of monster they are, and you can consume meat from defeated monsters to change your monster's type and move set. It's an interesting mechanic.
The visuals actually look pretty nice for such a relatively weak system. It's best enjoyed on something other than an actual original Game Boy in my opinion because of the ghosting on the screen, but regardless, its looks quite nice. The music is EXCEPTIONAL as well, but I'm a bit biased as I just generally love the Game Boy's sound chip. My only real gripes with the game are that the story isn't particularly interesting and, as a result, the game can start to drag in places; and the uneven difficulty curve. It's a fairly rough-around-the-edges game. The game's difficulty is pretty fair and reasonable in the first two worlds, but it spikes in the third world and spikes dramatically in the fourth world and endgame.
Final Fantasy Legend is definitely a rough game, and there are some serious quality of life issues, but for being the first on the system and almost 30 years old, it holds up surprisingly well. It looks nice and sounds great, and while the difficulty curve and balance leaves some to be desired, the gameplay is good enough that I think it's definitely worth a playthrough even if you end up getting frustrated and quitting partway through. Maybe emulate it to see if you like it, but if you're a fan of Square JRPGs, it's worth checking out.
My Rating - 3 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.