I have been a huge fan of the Final Fantasy since the games originated. I recall renting my first copy from Sid's Video, a true old school video store, one that predated Blockbuster and came complete with a, um..."back room". Soon after popping it into my NES, I was floored. Red mages? Sweet! Swordplay?? Even cooler!

As impressive as this first game was, it was a few years later when my paper route payed dividends and I was able to buy a SNES that I really became enthralled with the Final Fantasy series.

I would like to take some time to present a long overdue tribute to the greatest of the Final Fantasy series, in this author's opinion anyway.

FINAL FANTASY II (or as it was later revealed, Final Fantasy IV):





Everything about this game was no joke! There was an enthralling story, great character development, incredible gameplay, and it is a game that withstands the test of time. I can play it nowadays, and the game is still fun. The best part is that the game didn't rely on having thousands of frames of animation per second, the characters didn't need to talk, and no CGI sequences were needed to enhance what was already an awesome game.

As Cecil, a dark knight from the kingdom Baron, you're sent on a quest to wipe out a village (unknown to you at the time)after refusing to obey the king's orders. What evolves from here is a trip through three incredible worlds....

You start in what's already an impressive world full of mountains, forests, deserts, castles, and villages:


You get to go underground...


And even to the moon, Alice!!


I spent hours upon hours on this game, and it never got old. Sometimes, I'd blaze through as fast as I could, other times, I'd spend hours leveling up. Ah, the joys of being a latchkey kid.

FINAL FANTASY III (later, FF VI):

The penultimate jewel of the Super Nintendo. The one game that pushed the system to its limit, and in my opinion, is the best of the Final Fantasy series. I remember opening this game Christmas Day



Such a simple package for what was such an incredible gaming experience

I don't even know where to begin with what made this game great. I guess the story is the best place to start. You begin the game as a mysterious young girl who is being controlled by the evil empire, on a quest to find a frozen Esper (mystical beasts from an ancient war). It soon evolves to something much, much bigger.

The music in this game is incredible, and the gameplay can't be beat. Each character contributes a unique attribute. For example, one character can use tools to attack enemies, where another can have a varying attack based on a slot machine outcome. ANother big plus in this series is the player has the ability later in the game to choose their party, based on the character attributes they like.

Speaking of characters, you have a lot to choose from, but it works, for this game still manages to create endearing characters WITHOUT incredible graphics or voiceovers.





Add to the mix a badass villian, who may look a bit corny at first, but really manages to mess things up (i.e. destroying the world)



These factors make for one incredible gaming experience. I played it recently on the Playstation, and luckily they cut out the CGI sequences except for the beginning and end, keeping this masterpiece intact.

Great times on a great system, and if you consider yourself an RPG fan and HAVEN'T played these, you need to go back and get schooled on the classics!