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Final Fantasy VII PC

9/10

Unless you're an avid console gaming fan (or even a casual one), the entire concept of Final Fantasy, its mythology, and its gameplay are brand new to you, the PC role player extraordinaire.

FFVIIPC (try pronouncings THAT one) is more of an adventure game with hardcore role playing elements, such as skill levels, strength levels, etc., that grow with experience. You are Cloud Strife, a reluctant hero with the goal of saving an entire planet from having the life-force drained from it. That much is clear from the beginning of the game, but not much else is.

The story is incredible, and you'll give up an easy 65 hours of your life to finish the game. Cloud meets some real characters throughout the game, including the Mr. T. clone Barret, the Vampire hunter-looking Vincent Valentine, and the Moogle-riding cat, Cait Sith, all of whom oppose several factions who also work against one another, including Shinra, Inc. and the legendary Sephiroth.

Fans of previous Final Fantasy games, as well as a few other Squaresoft games, know the name Nobuo Uematsu is synonymous with incredible instrumental scores in your gaming goodness. That is true for the entire game, as everyone's character themes, battle and world music, and especially the final boss battle theme entitled "One Winged Angel" reach out and grab you with both hands using combinations of full orchestra and synthesizers. The game inclues a Yamaha Softsynth (S-XG70). It also includes its own AWE-32 compatible Soundfonts, which can be used with nearly any Creative soundcard of recent history, including the SB64, 128, 512, Live! and Live!Value cards. It's all general MIDI, so that old SB16 won't cut it. If all you have is an FM-synth, use the Yamaha software. The sound effects in the game suffer, mostly comprised of SNES-quality noise effects and beeps. Minus half of a point here for the low-fi SFX.

The graphics are clear though. Well, for the most part they are. Squaresoft is known for making NES, SNES, and Playstation goodness, but not necessarily known for great compatibility when moving things over to the PC. A prime example is the annoying, acknowleged, yet unaddressed problem with Voodoo Rush cards, such as the Intense 3D Voodoo. The backgrounds in towns, caves and all through Midgar, which are all prerendered, sweet-looking 2D backgrounds, corrupt, flash a nifty shade of bright green, and disappear completely from time to time. A patch is available that allows some nVidia-based boards (the 128 in particular) to run in hardware mode. Most everything else runs crystal-clear in either 640x480x16bit hardware-accelerated Direct3D or either 320x240 or 640x480 non-3D-accelerated DirectDraw modes. ATI owners beware, movies play at half-speed if you're using a first-generation Pentium MMX CPU. Eidos Interactive, Square's publisher for FFVII, recommends having a 233 or higher in order to get the movies running at full speed. Minus half of a point here for these bugs.

It controls sweetly, especially if you use a Gravis GamePad Pro, as its Playstation controller design allows the game to handle exactly like the Playstation original. An 8- or 10- button controller is recommended by me, though, because otherwise the only controls are the numberpad and surrounding keys on the keyboard. All controls are easily customized within the game, however.

The battle system is a cinch to get a firm grasp on. Combine your weapons and armor with a magical substance called Materia to cast magic, summon gods, learn new skills, attack with or defend against various elements, and many, many other events with the Materia system. There's an incredible amount of depth, but it's easy to progress through the game as you learn it.

Buy it. Play it. Love it. Live it. But make sure you have some hard drive space clear. Minimum install is 260MB, but you should be used to that by now. If you don't know FF VII by now, you should know it quickly.

System Requirements:

  • Windows 95 or higher
  • Intel/compatible 133MHz w/3D accelerator
  • Intel/compatible 166MHz w/o 3D accelerator
  • 32MB RAM (64 recommended)
  • 16-bit sound card (Yamaha XG or AWE compatible recommended)
  • Direct X 5 (included on CD)
  • DirectShow (included on CD)
  • DirectInput gamepad/joystick supported


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