Final Fantasy 2

8.6 KB
0.00 / 5.00
(1 Review)
Board Count
16 / 16

Closer Look: Final Fantasy 2

A unique take on FF2US/FF4J where the programmer doesn't know how #end works.

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Oct 30, 2018
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Welcome to a game which would never have received a Closer Look were it not for being put on the poll by a patron and then winning said poll! Daya's absolutely bizarre Final Fantasy 2 is, well, a contender for worst ZZT games. Fortunately, it's very quick and painless, and like many bad ZZT worlds, you can tell that this was a child who was able to use ZZT to create a game for the first time.

Check out that amazing title screen. Yellow borders, some oddly inconsistent coloring on the letters, some even more inconsistent lettering itself, and impressively, a mismatch between the filename of FF2.ZZT and the internal world name of FF1. One issue with mismatches like this is that after quitting the game, if you try to play it again, ZZT will look for FF1.ZZT. Fortunately, this issue isn't likely to occur as nobody is going to want to immediately play this game again.

Final Fantasy 2 loosely follows the early portions of the SNES RPG of the same name (these days more accurate referred to as Final Fantasy 4, after its numbering in Japan). Fortunately, a fairly recent retrospective on FF2US/FF4J was done by Jeremy Parish in his SNESWorks series. If you haven't played the source material, it's a really cool overview of the game's ambitions and was compelling enough to get me to start playing the game myself, just a few weeks prior to it winning the poll. Fortuitous timing indeed. Just like the SNES game, things open in Mysidia, where the dark knight Cecil is taking the Mysidian's crystal in the name of his king whom he has a currently blind obedience to.

As soon as the player unpauses however, they get a barrage of messages. Firstly this random soldier being attacked by the Mysidian mages, and then a nameless object telling Cecil to come.

You might think this is just to get the action moving immediately by having things happen instantly, but oh boy, we'll soon learn the real reason.

Cecil (the player) can proceed to the top chamber and pick up the blue key to the crystal room.


And here it is. The author of this game did not yet understand the #end command, meaning that every single object in the game just runs down its code from top to bottom. So every board with dialog will have it all fire off at once when the player enters the room.

Please email sk8teb8ard or stussy1105 if you can solve this conundrum.

To Daya's credit, I was 9 years old when I found ZZT and I know I had the same issue wondering why objects were spitting out dialog without being touched when :touch had been used. I can't fault them for that, but I do have to wonder what made them publish the game like this, when publishing on the AOL File Archives would also mean that they were able to interact with other ZZTers and get their question answered. Perhaps there's an unpreserved fixed copy out there, but well, that's just one problem of many.


This game is dated 1996 (though I'm not 100% confident in its accuracy), which would make it right around the time some of the more... experienced ZZTers would be just starting to come up with simple RPG combat engines. Daya doesn't attempt anything of the sort (and good luck without the #end command), opting instead to use some good old fashioned centipedes. Final Fantasy 5 has a notorious boss fight with a sand worm, so this is a safe way to go. I mean, it's just a centipede and a few random heads that can easily be avoided, or shot at with an abundant supply of ammo, but that's what we're getting.

Oh, my mistake, there's a spinning gun in that pile of gems making four of them dangerous to collect lest it begins to shoot.


The spinning gun was just more foreshadowing as the next room involves picking up a purple key while being shot at by one gun as the other throws stars. Move quickly! You'll only have 500 health (the game gives you the extra 400 on the first board automatically).


Up above is a very brief invisible wall "maze" which leads to the crystal's resting place.


Poor Daya can't use objects effectively and is reduced to using scrolls whenever they really need a message to not display right away.

The Mysydians have hidden their crystal at "Bear Mountain". Final Fantasy 4's plot is disregarded and the game deviates to tell its own story where instead of "Cecil gets crystal", it's "Cecil gets owned".


Moving on towards the mountain, Cecil is immediately forced to talk with someone due to the game's broken code. Do not touch this person's husband. He's a bounty hunter after Cecil.

No disguise is necessary because Cecil has an army of knights under his command, therefore the player is not Cecil and is welcome to take all the ammo he wants.

The "take this" refers to the fact that the player receives 500 health for making it to this point. It's a good thing Cecil and his knights won't receive such generosity!


The room itself is a big forest that still has its yellow borders. Touching the husband is indeed a poor decision, as the player gets told to stop touching him and then gets shot.


Like he was told, the one wall that's not a white solid is fake and let the player get the ammo. The husband won't say anything different when touched from the other side, and if you thought Daya was going to be capable of using #if blocked e newmessage to change the dialog, you haven't been paying attention.


I wonder if the positioning of objects towards the edges was a deliberate choice to make sure you could see who was talking the moment the player enters a room.

This valiant knight has been attacked I guess by the previous board's husband? It also introduces us to a new character, Fitz. I haven't played all of Final Fantasy 4 myself, but as far as I know there is no Fitz. "I AM ABOUT TO DIE. BUT HERE, TAKE THE REST OF MY LIFE." is an excellent line.


This must be Bear Mountain. It's somewhat mountain shaped I guess. There's a key in one corner, and a scroll behind its door on the other. The scroll is another substitute for an object.


It must suck to be imprisoned _and_ killed. The scroll soldier, or scrolldier if you will, tells Cecil about a need for torches and a hidden room holding them.

Final Fantasy 2 has no hidden rooms, torches, or dark boards.


Climbing Bear Mountain takes several boards, and while this one looks like it's a fight that would not be fun, it's all completely harmless as the player is inside the white walls and thus safe from everything out there.


It's all just intended to be a preview of what's to come. Final Fantasy 2 ZZT: The After Years will have slimes. As you may have guessed, there is no sequel. Add this to the list of ZZT worlds with cliffhanger endings that never got resolved.


The climb continues with more scary buildup and no actual danger. "Coil" must be the massive centipede off to the side.


A pusher forces the player upward where they pass Coil and numerous Mysidians.


And then some actual minor danger! A few chambers broken up by transporters, a centipede, and a spinning gun mean that the player might get harmed for once.


Sure enough I lost 10 health. Just 115 more until I die.


I'm convinced the sharks in the lower left here are trying to say "lol" to taunt me for playing this game still.

The board forms a large intersection, and almost looks like it has multiple exits, but fortunately it does not, ensuring the end only draws closer.


Finally, Cecil reaches the bears of bear mountain. Bears are the poorest ZZT enemy when being used alone as they only move when the player is (almost) aligned with them.

Taking the board seriously for a moment, it's a big flop as the player has so much health and ammo by this point that it's trivial to just fire madly and not worry whatsoever about the bears. That so many of them wait for the player before attacking makes it even easier to grab the key and head to the exit.


And now it's time for the boss fight with Coil! To defeat this massive centipede, ignore it completely.

The game introduces new programming errors by using the wrong slash for movement. Instead of taking a step to the east, the object just displays a message instead. This game is cursed.


Another substitute scroll, with some more strange dialog. For some strange reason the child also offers a one-time shop (due to it being a scroll). The player can buy "a gem" or "health", with no prices listed, and one would guess score would be the currency for this since gems are something you buy.


Except if you thought this store would be coded remotely correctly, you'd be dead wrong. The two hyperlinks list labels that don't exist (and I'm 99% sure you can't have a space in a label name), don't take anything, but do have code to give gems and health right below. So the player gets another 500 health and 500 pointless gems automatically by reading the scroll.


There's another scroll with more cryptic text. The note provides another 300 ammo which I really have no use for.


Coil's dad is also here, and he's great. He's the object that failed to move to the east earlier.


Needless to say, the fight with Coil is underwhelming. You can and should just ignore him entirely since shooting him up into a lot of tiny centipedes both makes things far more difficult and is cruel.

There's a key in the corner and a few false doors which would softlock the game if it weren't for the fake that this board is made entirely of fakes other than a few empty tiles being invisible walls.You don't need the blue or yellow keys and can just walk over to the passage.


The editor says this is the Mysydian Village. One of the villagers immediately yells at Cecil to go away, and then the yellow object up top begins to walk south and demands to know who has just arrived in the village.


In what is without a doubt the game's most well programmed moment, TOUCHING THE GUARD WORKS CORRECTLY, displaying a message and causing the guard to turn around and run away, walking to the north. Yes, there's a proper use of #end here!

Touching the guard also introduces some danger, as if the guard reaches the top of the screen before Cecil, they'll be blocked from entering the passage. Fortunately the guard runs at a default speed making Cecil much faster.


But I was just so in shock that an object worked properly, that I didn't even realize it until it was too late. I can't believe I've been bested by this game.


A new board means getting yelled at again. This time by the 3rd son and 5th child of the elder: Dharm.

This is the game's big final boss fight so form a hypothesis on what the author will try to do for it versus what will actually happen in the code.


Did anyone guess #become tiger? I sure didn't, but at least it's a safe way to ensure that this fight will be against something that moves and shoots properly.

The downside of course, is that it takes a single hit to kill.

The other downside is that nothing stops the player from just entering the passage up top and ignoring this fight as well.


Finally, Cecil is at the crystal, well sort of, he's interacting with it before touching it after all. He can't get the crystal, but he can get its power? Then transfer the power to the King of Baron? Alright. It's time to return to Baron.

Meanwhile in the SNES game, obtaining the Mysidian crystal takes about 5 minutes of introductory cutscene. There is no bear mountain or coil or fight with an elder. It's so strange to me that everything in this game happens so so early in the game it's based on. Final Fantasy 4 tries to do quite a lot with its story and does so in ways that shouldn't be too difficult to adapt to ZZT. It's just really odd to focus entirely on the intro.


Oh yeah, and you need two keys that the game doesn't give you to continue, making the game unbeatable without cheating. (You can hold on to a red key from an earlier room if you really want, but there are no white keys in the game.)


One last hurrah from the crew as your board the... airship? "Fitz and etcetera are dead" is a great way of saying a lot of people were killed on this mission.


This must be the airship.


Remember that one crewmate that talked to Cecil and then died? He mentioned how Fitz had gone off to get help. It sounds like he didn't.

I guess he didn't quite die though? So this is a happy ending? Crystal... not retrieved, but the Crystal's power sure was.

I was surprised there was actually a game over at the end.

Final Thoughts

This game is not good.

It's really bad. It's a funny kind of bad though. There's enjoyment to be found in the bizarre dialog and constant dialog when you enter most boards. When it comes to bottom of the barrel ZZT games, this one is as much as you could hope for. If those doors weren't there at the end it would be beatable without cheating. The game gives the player so much health and ammo that none of the enemies are difficult, which is good because if it required conserving resources it would have been miserable. There's nothing good to be found here that you're supposed to find good. You're not going to enjoy the story or gameplay, but since you can breeze past everything it turns this game into a funny game probably made by a very young child.

And I always want to stress with these bad games that they are wonderful examples of creativity that wouldn't have been expressed otherwise. If Daya was having such a hard time with ZZT-OOP, I don't think there would have ever been a Final Fantasy 2 - QuickBASIC Edition. This is ZZT letting somebody make a game for the very first time, and sharing it with the world. The struggles Daya has here, not understanding #end, not getting how to implement a shop, mixing up forward and backslashes, are all issues I distinctly remember having to overcome when I was a young child just discovering ZZT.

Yeah, it's terrible, but it's those first baby steps into a new world of computer programming. Daya doesn't have any other releases on the Museum, and who's to say if they continued making games in ZZT or otherwise over the years. They probably never got hired by Square Enix, but they did get to make a Final Fantasy.

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