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Author Topic: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released  (Read 5171 times)

RHDNBot

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ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« on: September 10, 2011, 12:23:28 am »

Update By: zzonkmiles

I am happy to announce the official release of Final Fantasy Zz, a hard-type hack of the original Final Fantasy for the NES!  Final Fantasy Zz includes both bugfixes and enhancements that will make this hack more fun and more challenging to play than the original.

Some of the enhancements include the ability to see the contents of a treasure chest without having to drop something if your inventory is full, the ability to buy 9 items at a time, new and more powerful magic spells, slightly remapped dungeons, new enemy formations and AI, improved and rebalanced classes, new equipment, and the ability to dash by holding the B button.  Some of the bugfixes include fixing the INT bug for magic, fixing broken magic spells like TMPR and SLEP, fixing some cosmetic bugs, and fixing the multiple level-up bug.

This hack is recommended for people who are very experienced with the original Final Fantasy.  There aren't any cheap enemy encounters, such as Iron Golems in the Earth Cave, but if you are not careful, any battle could be your last.

This is a great hack that has taken almost four years to develop.  Give Final Fantasy Zz a try!  Good luck!  (You'll need it!)

RHDN Project Page

Relevant Link: (http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/803/)

Spooniest

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 06:22:49 am »
I think that the "challenge" versions of Final Fantasy games are just too hard, to be honest with you. Part of what goes into good game design is finding the proper balance of difficulty. Not to pee on your parade, but if you're going to make me grind for days just to get to Provoka, I'm afraid I'd find it too frustrating to be enjoyable.

I play RPGs because I want to have an adventure, not because I want to test the limits of my patience. If I want to do that, I'll play Contra, or Castlevania, or an SNK fighting game, or the like. Playing an RPG for the "challenge" is like reading the special, extended version of War and Peace just to say that you did; I don't feel like I'd get anything more out of the story, it'd just be really, really hard, and probably take too much time to be practical.
- 鳥なき里の蝙蝠
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- 愚考山を移す  - Mt 17:20, I believe...:)

zzonkmiles

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 09:18:01 am »
Ahhh, a skeptic.  Too bad.  Why don't you give the hack a chance before you write it off as being a grindfest?  I think you'd be pleasantly surprised.

This hack has taken almost four years to develop with the help of numerous testers, so the difficulty curve should be just about right.  There are lots of new enemy formations, spells, and AI.  So it freshens up an old classic while significantly boosting the difficulty.  The hack is not meant to punish anyone by requiring them to be at Level 10 just to beat the Pirates or Level 20 just to beat Astos.  But it is significantly more challenging, and being able to mow down every enemy and boss in this hack (like in the original) is not guaranteed.  Strategy is more important in Final Fantasy Zz.  If you think the original Final Fantasy is hard enough, this hack is probably not for you.  But if you'd like to play refined version of the game that will make you sweat more often than not, game on!

Someone has started a video playthrough/talkthrough and is posting the videos on YouTube.  Check this out, if you're interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oal0E_e0SeY

Good luck!

Spooniest

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 10:53:52 am »
Alright then, you've got my attention. Just wanted to introduce what I'm sure many skeptics, like me, will hold as their point of view going into this. But the increased trend toward making the player grind more enemies is something that has really annoyed me about RPG's in general over the years.

And it looks like you made some re-writes to the script...must have been nice to work as part of a team.

I'll bite.

UPDATE: First Impressions: After having beaten Garland (the first boss), I do have to say that you are a bastard! ;) You've demonstrated basic psychological gamesmanship in that you pulled a sort of "give this, take away that" shifting of the gameplay progression. I also like that the monster formations are no longer the same, but it always seemed a bit shoddy to me that if an attack kills a monster, a second targeted attack will fly into the empty space... :/ Oh well, can't complain.

This is clearly a well-thought-out hack, and it does come off as having been very thoroughly playtested. Nice to see that you have a sense of humor about it, too. I take back my initial skepticism. Nice job.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 11:44:28 am by Spooniest »
- 鳥なき里の蝙蝠
- 本末転倒
- 愚考山を移す  - Mt 17:20, I believe...:)

Lenophis

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 12:56:16 pm »
Why don't you give the hack a chance before you write it off as being a grindfest?  I think you'd be pleasantly surprised.
Quote
The hack is not meant to punish anyone by requiring them to be at Level 10 just to beat the Pirates or Level 20 just to beat Astos.
While I have no intention to see for myself, showing a game over at the pirates is probably not the best way to say "yeah it's really not like that." Perhaps if you have a gameplay vid of early game...?

zzonkmiles

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2011, 09:10:12 am »
While I have no intention to see for myself, showing a game over at the pirates is probably not the best way to say "yeah it's really not like that." Perhaps if you have a gameplay vid of early game...?

Point taken.  Perhaps I should upload a different picture.

In all of my test runs through the game, as well as the testers' runs, you almost always needed to be at Level 50 to beat the Temple of Fiends.  And even at Level 50, it was still tough.  You can actually beat most of the dungeons up to the Castle of Ordeals at levels that are similar to or maybe slightly higher than in the original game.  In other words, you can beat the Marsh Cave at Level 10, the Earth Cave at about Level 14, etc.  This hack is not about spamming Gas Dragons or giving enemies so much attack power that it's not fun to play.  I uploaded the game over screen to show you that this hack must be taken seriously.  That doesn't mean lots of pointless grinding, but it does mean you can't sleepwalk through the game.

Here's the second part of a video playthrough someone has posted at YouTube.  This video includes the Garland fight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epehGkKH8cE

And I hope you change your mind about giving the hack a try.  By posting in this thread, it seems that at least some level of interest is there.  But it's up to you.  I really think you'll like what you see.

And Spooniest:  Do you have any new updates to share?  Glad you gave the hack a chance and are having some fun with it!   :)

Spooniest

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2011, 11:26:38 am »
Only that Garland wiped my party with a Lit spell.  >:(

So I went back to the drawing board, got my party up to Level 2, and fought a nasty fight. My Black Mage went down, as Black Mages are wont to do, but he'd already used up all his spell points, so I just soldiered on.

It seems strange to have the dash button function both in towns/dungeons and on the world map. It's convenient for sure, but just feels a little weird. I haven't a clue how it might be done, but I understand there's something called an event flag check that tells the game where the player may and may not dash. Of course, I doubt there's room in the rom image for such a conditional hack, and that's going a bit too far in the name of consistency, perhaps.
- 鳥なき里の蝙蝠
- 本末転倒
- 愚考山を移す  - Mt 17:20, I believe...:)

Bregalad

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2011, 02:36:01 pm »
Personally I already found the original FF1 to be a grindfest as it so.... I'll pass this hack thanks.

If I really wanted to spend hundred of hours fighing against random enemies for the sole puprpose to level up I'd rather try something like that :
Quote
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOM8xYUTgn4

Zalbag

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 02:04:07 pm »
if Iron Golems in the Earth cave is a reference to the Jinn/MegaZOMB battle in the Serpents Tail (Marsh Cave) dungeon in my hack, it was a mistake.  On my beta run through the hack I never ran into the battle so I didn't realize that it was impossible to run from, and near impossible to win, so I modified the enemy stats, you can run from it now, and there is  lower chance to encounter it.
of course, you may have never even played my hack and my ego is jumping to conclusions about your description, hahahah
I for one love hardtype hacks and will certainly be playing yours as soon as my current show closes and I have time for a run through FFI
ZALBAG

zzonkmiles

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 09:01:33 pm »
Zalbag,

Hi.  I'm sorry, but I've never played your hack.  I guess it was totally coincidental that I referenced Iron Gols in the Earth Cave.  Perhaps I should have said there aren't any Red Giants in the forests around Pravoka?   ;)  I just meant to say that I didn't put any cheap encounters in the game that would overpower any reasonably leveled team.  But yes, I am very familiar with accidentally coding the wrong battle to appear in the wrong location or choosing Formation 1 instead of Formation 2.  This has led to many frustrating testing sessions with my own hack.  But good luck to you!  I hope you enjoy Final Fantasy Zz!

Brian Sulpher is posting a thorough and entertaining playthrough on YouTube right now.  Here are the videos he has uploaded so far:

1.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oal0E_e0SeY  (The very beginning up to Garland)
2.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epehGkKH8cE (The Garland fight up to the Pirates)
3.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGqF7t9gAak (The Pirate fight and exploring the Aldi Sea and Elfland areas)
4.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eLMFMSO8ZY (The first trip into the Marsh Cave)

September 15, 2011, 09:08:21 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Personally I already found the original FF1 to be a grindfest as it so.... I'll pass this hack thanks.

If I really wanted to spend hundred of hours fighing against random enemies for the sole puprpose to level up I'd rather try something like that :

Wow, what a downer.  Thanks for dismissing a hack you've never played.  And thanks even more for posting bad news in a thread that's supposed to be about good news.  But if you're not interested, that's fine.  I understand this hack is not for everyone.  But I'm not really sure why you'd bother announcing that you're not interested by posting in this thread though.  But hey, whatever floats your boat.  It's cool.   Please stay classy, Bregalad.   :angel:

September 18, 2011, 07:21:05 am - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Here's the latest video of Brian Sulpher's LP:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfyBjDNjdWk

This video covers the rest of the Marsh Cave, the Astos battle, and the treasure raiding on the way to Melmond.  Of all the videos he's posted so far, this video is the most painful to watch.  But it's also quite entertaining.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2011, 07:21:05 am by zzonkmiles »

Zalbag

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 08:48:51 pm »
hahahaha I figured it was coincidental but I almost never comment on the boards and wanted to since your hack looks fun and is similar in style to mine. also, I did a Kid Icarus mod with "ZZ" in the title (no connection to Zz)
fun stuff on youtube, too.

Reiska

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2011, 04:05:51 am »
Nice touch blocking early access to Crescent Lake off. ;)  I'm assuming I have to finish the earth cave before I can get in?

Overall, I'm enjoying this hack quite a bit (and I'm generally not a big fan of NES FF1, so that's impressive on your part).  You managed to make the game challenging, generally without it being stupid so far*, while also making it less grindy than the original (FF1's biggest flaw)! 

* The only complaint I'd say I have thus far is that the fight with the pirates at the beginning is a little ridiculous, since at such a low level you lack the tools to effectively deal with nine enemies that can all proc Sleep on their regular attacks; your only counter (casting SLEP yourself) can be easily shut down with even a little bad RNG.  Removing the sleep infliction from the pirates would easily solve that, as would reducing their numbers while leaving the sleep infliction intact.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 05:55:04 pm by Reiska »

zzonkmiles

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2011, 10:17:43 pm »
Nice touch blocking early access to Crescent Lake off. ;)  I'm assuming I have to finish the earth cave before I can get in?

Overall, I'm enjoying this hack quite a bit (and I'm generally not a big fan of NES FF1, so that's impressive on your part).  You managed to make the game challenging, generally without it being stupid so far*, while also making it less grindy than the original (FF1's biggest flaw)! 

* The only complaint I'd say I have thus far is that the fight with the pirates at the beginning is a little ridiculous, since at such a low level you lack the tools to effectively deal with nine enemies that can all proc Sleep on their regular attacks; your only counter (casting SLEP yourself) can be easily shut down with even a little bad RNG.  Removing the sleep infliction from the pirates would easily solve that, as would reducing their numbers while leaving the sleep infliction intact.

Hi Reiska,

First of all, thanks for the feedback.

There are two Titans in this hack.  One is in the Titan's Tunnel.  The other is blocking Crescent Lake.  You only need to get the Ruby in the Earth Cave to be able to pass both of them.  Most people who play this hack simply leave Crescent Lake alone until after they beat Lich.  But if you wish to sequence break and get the weapon/magic/armor upgrades in Crescent Lake, nothing can stop you if you have the Ruby.  It would, however, take away some of the challenge of the Earth Cave, which would kinda defeat the purpose of playing a hard-type hack.

Regarding the Pirates, there are several options:

1.  Cast SLEP.  Since this spell combines the original FF's SLEP and DARK spells, it can be quite devastating.
2.  Cast CONF.  This spell works fairly well on the Pirates too.
3.  Cast SLOW.  This will significantly neutralize their multi-hit offense.
4.  Cast FOG.  Use this spell on the people in the top two positions to increase their chances of survival.
5.  Cast RUSE.  If you try this approach, put the white mage in the lead position to act as a decoy while everyone else wails away.

Without magic, you will have to pick them off one by one.  Each Pirate has about 70-something HP, but once you beat about 3 or 4 of them, you have a very good chance of winning.  During the testing phase, I did not receive many criticisms for this particular battle.  You need to be at about Level 4 with magic or Level 6 without magic to take them down.  Elemental spells are not nearly as helpful as indirect attack spells.  You MUST have the weapon upgrades to survive this battle as well.  If I ever do release an update to this patch, I'd take your suggestions under advisement.  But bad RNG can make ANY boss battle go south in a hurry.  At least with the Pirates, you most likely saved in Pravoka beforehand, so it's very easy to try again if you get beat down the first time.

Also, the next segment of Brian Sulpher's playthrough is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q33f9ZHKci4  This segment covers the first two floors of the Earth Cave and shows how this hack gets real serious real fast.  Good luck!

Reiska

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2011, 01:16:02 am »
That's quite neat how you used the titan like that. ^_^

I'm looting the volcano now, as it were.  Nice spiked tiles in there (don't wanna spoil them for anyone else).  I have to say, from what I've gotten through of this so far I think your hack is superior to the original game. :)

I didn't think of throwing CONF at the pirates admittedly, since I skipped it in favor of an ICE/TMPR/SLOW list, which I'm not regretting now - TMPR on a Thief leads to some really cute numbers. ;)

abw

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Re: ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy Zz (Hard Type) Released
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2011, 10:09:22 pm »
Hey zzonkmiles, great hack! I'd like to add a review to the project page, but since this is still a recent and active project, I figured I'd post it here first for fact checking/additional interest generating.



As advertised, Final Fantasy Zz will indeed spice up an old favourite and keep you on the edge of your seat. Unlike some challenge hacks, this one has actually been well thought out, well balanced, and is able to maintain both fun and interest through the entire game. As you might expect, the most extensive changes made relate to the battle system. Most battles now involve a significant risk factor: you'll need to (re-)learn when to fight, when to defend, when to go all-out with your most damaging spells, when to use status attacks, when to conserve your strength, and when to run away in abject terror. As the readme says, it's not about Gas Dragons in the Marsh Cave*, but there are many enemies who can cause quite a lot of trouble if not properly dealt with. Fortunately, this hack also provides you with many new and improved tools for dealing with the vast array of creatures who would like nothing more than to remind you what the "game over" music sounds like.

The original FF1 was a pretty good game for its era, but one of the objections people raise against it is that it can be a grindfest at times. It's not as bad as, say, the original Dragon Warrior, but gaining a level when you need one can still be a pretty tedious affair. In addition to increasing the difficulty of killing monsters, this hack significantly increases the rewards for doing so, which in turn decreases the need to grind. Experience points are in plentiful supply, especially late in the game. I've played this hack through once from start to finish using a Fi/Th/WM/BM party; with no grinding and judicious use of the Run command, I reached class change around level 27 and the Temple of Fiends Revisited around level 47. That said, I did have to explore areas rather than just run straight for my goal (be it treasure, a boss, or an exit), so perhaps you'd have to grind a bit on a replay. For comparison, a replay run in the original version usually gives me enough experience to reach class change around level 15 and the Temple of Fiends Revisited around level 25. Gold is also abundant in this hack; I certainly couldn't afford to buy everything in Elfland when I first arrived there, but I did have enough cash to buy a couple of goodies, and by the time I left for Melmond I had gold to spare.

I found this to be a very enjoyable hack. The map modifications were subtle enough that locations still felt familiar yet were varied enough to force me to rethink my approach to treasure acquisition; the added conveniences in town and dungeon were appreciated (though using the dungeon shortcuts was a risk I wasn't always prepared to take, since they were often guarded), and the increased length of previously short areas generally felt appropriate, though I did have some unkind words to say while slogging through the updated Titan's Tunnel :P. There are a couple of improvements not listed in the readme (although not included in the patch download, you'll want to have a copy for reference when deciding what equipment and spells to use, though it contains at least one error**) which should come as a pleasant surprise to anyone who finds them, and a few Easter eggs in the game which may be cause for distress or joy, depending on which egg you find and the shape you're in when you find it. On that note, I strongly recommend saving before exploring any of the suspicious-looking new islands...

Magic is much more useful in this version than the original. I actually used every spell in both of my mage's arsenals repeatedly over the course of the game, something I can't say has ever happened with the original. The WM has healing spells on every level now, which means every spell charge counts, unlike the original version, where spell charges for certain levels were generally useless during the end-game. Also, having mid-level attack magic for your WM comes in pretty handy, let me tell you. While the BM's low level FIRE/ICE/LIT spells still become useless by the mid-game, their new target-all behaviour keeps them relevant for much longer than their single-target original versions, and the improved status attack spells can swing the tide of battle throughout most of the game. Oh, and SABR. SABR is how I won the game. Get SABR.

Choosing which equipment to carry around is also trickier in this version. Equipping armour is more important than in the original, both because enemies can hit harder and because many pieces offer some form of elemental resistance. You probably won't be able to carry all of the pieces which can be activated in battle and still maintain adequate defences, so you'll need to choose what to keep and what to drop. The same goes for weapons: there are more magical weapons in the game than you can possibly carry. With this in mind, the new ability to see the contents of a treasure chest when your inventory is full without having to drop an item is a very valuable addition to the game.

I can't speak definitively about the class re-balancing on the basis of just one playthrough, but my Fi/Th/WM/BM party worked out fairly well. The Fighter/Knight was a more delicate flower in this version, with much lower HP reserves (max HP at level 50: 853) and not quite able to one-hit-kill enemies which I felt the original version's Fighter would have been able to. The biggest change was to the Thief/Ninja: instead of being 8 inventory slots on legs, the Thief is actually quite a strong character in this version, and he gets even better as a Ninja. He can take hits almost as well as the Fighter and, depending on their current equipment, alternated with the Fighter as primary melee damage dealer throughout the game due to his higher number of hits. Both the White and Black Mages (and their Wizard upgrades) were essential during 90% of the game (the other 10% was when they were out of magic or when the people with blades could handle things without any backup).

I think the biggest downside to this hack is that there are far too many enemies who can turn you to stone throughout the entire game. This is a challenge hack, so expecting everybody to remain functional through every fight is perhaps a bit unreasonable, and being stoned is certainly preferable to being dead, but I went through around 40 Soft potions in the Earth Cave alone, which seems a little extreme. This version would be absolutely brutal for anyone doing a one-character game or who is obsessive about having all their party members level up at the same time. Of course, since they'll all reach the experience cap long before the final boss anyway, there's really no need to be that obsessive.

On the topic of stoning, if you try hard enough, it is possible to be turned to stone before fighting the pirates (by hanging out around the famous peninsula north-east of Pravoka), which is a pretty serious problem if it happens since you don't appear to have any way to cure stoning by that point in the game***. However, Frost Wolves are in short supply on the peninsula anyway, and with the increased experience and gold you receive from regular battles, there's no need to try to power level there any more.

Bottom Line: this hack is definitely worth playing through at least once.



* ... though I was once ambushed by a Watcher in the Aldi Sea, which used INK to neutralize my entire party, hit my Fighter for over triple his max HP, then used BOLT to finish everybody else off at once. This seems like an unusually cheap encounter, enough so that I suspect it may be a bug.

** Contrary to the readme, Ninjas are unable to equip the Opal Armour.

*** This sounds like an unintended situation/bug.