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Final Fantasy Ultra Champion Edition

Hack of Final Fantasy

Description:

Final Fantasy Ultra just got better! The philosophy is still to add and change as much as possible for the better, while still staying true to the spirit of the game.

Here is a list of improvements over Final Fantasy Ultra:

    X. Version 1.1 has an easier Volcano section and many little improvements.

    1. Enemies have more hitpoints, making fights more strategic.

    2. BLNK (evasion for one character) has been replaced with SLD2 (about as strong as the original SHLD). There’s now a SLD3, which is about as strong as the previous SLD2.

    3. Some of the white spells have been shifted around for balance reasons and to make classes more specific in their role.

    4. CUREring replaced with TMPRring.

    5. Ninja now gets 4 attack rating per level.

    6. Lots of little aesthetic changes, like new colors for the classes!

    7. Many many many little rebalances and tidbits (like more npcs saying what magic does, items in different places, and more gold from enemies around Crescent Lake)

    8. You can’t get to the Ice Cave unless you have the Airship. Too many playtesters went there for the Floater!

    9. Two new secret equips. Good luck finding out how to use them!

    10. Tents/Cabins/Houses got buffed

    11. Class selection bug removed (thanks Disch!)

    12. Volcano dungeon got nerfed, Water shrine buffed.

    13. Paladin, Ninja, Ranger, and Monk cast slightly less spells.

    14. Running away is harder and better balanced.

This hack still has all the improvements found in the original Final Fantasy Ultra:

    12 classes at the start instead of 6

    Each class is especially good at one thing and average to bad at everything else.

    Except the Fool class, who is bad at everything.

    Battle animations sped up. Spells are divided into direct (the top two spells in a store) and indirect (the bottom half).

    Many spells added and altered.

    Spell names changed to be clearer as to what they do (SHLD instead of FOG, CLNS instead of PURE, etc.)

    Every level of magic has a single target damage spell and all enemies spell.

    FIRE only hits one enemy, making the HARM spell better against armies of undead.

    Generally less spells that kill or stone in one hit.

    More spells can be cast, especially for dedicated casters.

    Intellect influences the power of spells.

    Healing is much stronger

    Spell damage is also stronger, but since hitpoints have also increased, damage spells are only relatively stronger for casters with high intelligence.

    Enemies use more abilities, and do so in more interesting ways

    More interesting battle formations

    More interesting enemy properties, such as regeneration and elemental properties.

    TMPR spell works properly.

    Everything has more hit points, making fights more tactical.

    Enemies drop less gold, making chests much more attractive, and forcing the player to choose between which items they want to buy the most.

    Only two types of armor (Body and Shield) so there’s more room to store magical items.

    Only the 10 magical items can cast spells.

    Poison and regeneration is now at 10%.

    Any combination of classes (without twins or Fools) can properly beat the game.

    No combination of classes is remarkably better at beating the game than another.

    Dungeons:

    Added escape teleports in most of the dungeons, making it more attractive to level up where the action and gear is.

    Balanced game to make full trip through whole dungeon on first try very hard, but rewarding to go in, get some loot, restock and go in again to get further. Most dungeons take around three trips to complete.

    Most fights can be run away from, except on ‘tiled’ squares. Dragons, Mindflayers, Eyes, Worms, Basilisks, and Bosses are not runnable.

    Getting the Ship, Papyrus, Oxyale and Crown requires doing a dungeon.

    Four extra dungeons to do after Tiamat.

    All sorts of new paths and new tricks.

    Dungeons feature items found in nearby towns, giving incentive to try to get the items there instead of just buying them in shop.

    End dungeons feature special end-game weapons for each class.

    Boss battles made much more interesting.

    Overworld

    Dash button added.

    Player can immediately go to Dwarf Cave, which is a tough trip but grants extra gold

    Player doesn’t need Ship to get to Elves.

    Player doesn’t need Airship beat the game, as ports have been removed.

    Three places where player can fight against tougher enemies for experience boost if they’re into that kind of thing (like the original PoP).

    You now save a prince instead of a princess. Corneria has two queens. For gender diversity.

    Secret overpowered enemies for bragging rights.

    Mystic Key only unlocks items in Dwarf Cave, Elf Castle and Human Castle.

    No poison inducing enemies until the Elf area (by then the player should have some CLNS potions.)

    Other:

    Hundreds of tweaks not worth mentioning.

    Years of polish thanks to dozens of playthroughs and feedback from playtesters.

Credit is due to PinkPuff for letting me build upon their hack, Final Fantasy Negative One.

There are two complete ‘Let’s Plays’ here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG8tnpjgDvw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0r1-bIEqmRs

Discuss the game here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/522595-final-fantasy/72712637 And since I’m always keen on feedback, you can email me at: robertaugustdemeijer@gmail.com

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Final Fantasy (U) [!].nes
  • CRC32: AB12ECE6
  • MD5: 9B0F042C FDC5F9E8 200B4710 4A4768A9
  • SHA1: 80CE108F BC066C98 5D4FB541 BD68E9A7 C8994FEB

Links:

Screenshots:


Credits:

User Review Information

Good and interesting. Feels midlly unfinished. Not ideal for a 1st experience with FF1.

Reviewed By: Bananadine on 05 Aug 2021

This hack changes the mechanics of the game in ways that are generally quite good. It feels like a mostly solid and cohesive experience. It would work okay as somebody’s first FF1 experience, but I think it’d be better to just play the original and treat this as a “second quest” for advanced players only. I consider that a flaw in this hack.

The new classes are good, and the reworked spell library is even better. I didn’t use absolutely every spell in the game during my run, but I came close. And yet, off the top of my head at least, I can’t recall even one that wasn’t useful. Some were better than others, but few were completely irrelevant. This is a LARGE change from the original FF1, in which you only really need direct-damage spells, healing spells, EXIT or WARP, a few defensive spells, and FAST. Here, BANE seems to have been replaced with the far more interesting (and very useful!) BIO, enemies are dangerous enough for MUTE or STOP to sometimes be all but required, certain enemies can dodge well enough for BIND to actually be needed or can attack well enough for SLOW to be needed, and TMPR works (and is of course awesome)! It’s great. I liked relying on so many different spells!

I’m not so confident that the classes work well; I only tried four after all (ranger, warlock, priest, sage) and merely read about the rest. You can see that my party was especially skilled with magic… I felt as if I had a white mage, a black mage, and two super-duper-red-mages! I think the ranger can actually learn EVERY spell, in addition to being pretty strong physically?? I don’t understand that. I don’t think there’s enough difference between ranger and sage. Looking at descriptions of other classes, I see that it’s quite normal to be able to learn enormous numbers of spells. It’d be more interesting if there were a bit more limitation, and a bit more character to the magical aspects of the classes. Being able to learn, say, “both indirect black spells” at every magic level is HUGELY powerful, given how useful the spells are in this game. It makes almost everybody look like a black mage, white mage, or sage, with (in some cases) some physical abilities thrown in too. But I dunno, maybe it’s more limiting than I realize. I have doubts though.

There is a similar sort of universal sameyness in the equipment system, and in the dungeons as well. Everybody gets the same few simple varieties of equipment; the fun of finding a “were sword” or “vorpal” or whatever is just gone. That sucks! Everything’s all systematic and orderly, until you’re almost at the end of the game, at which point the unique treasures suddenly start pouring forth - though most of them won’t be usable by the classes you chose! As for dungeons, well there are lots of new ones! And that is cool. But they come up in too orderly a way. Everything is organized in fours; every major dungeon follows the same pattern as the others of its class of four. It smells like something a nerd would make, with everything being so orderly… I know because I’ve done that kind of thing myself! Real worlds and stories should be more organic and surprising; they should rise and fall in natural rhythms that don’t follow obvious, simple patterns. If you’re playing through all the optional content in this hack in an effort to see it all, then you’re liable to get tired of it before it’s over, once you start recognizing the patterns!

That said, here I’m only criticizing the placement of dungeons in the world, the function of them in your overall quest, and their relationships to one another. I am NOT talking about their actual interior maps or enemy sets or other internal details. All that stuff is good! The new dungeons use a few interesting gimmicks, even. And their layouts don’t feel samey. They have distinct designs. I think they work well.

This hack does tend to want to turn everything into a dungeon, though. That’s kinda cool, but it also eats up too much of the non-dungeon content in the game’s original plot. I don’t love the original fetch quests involving Matoya or the bottled fairy, but I think it’s valuable to have that kind of variety, as with the contrast between a quest to just talk to some weird witch (without any fighting) and a quest to battle your way into a dark elf’s castle. In this hack, those two steps would just both be dungeons. It makes the game feel less like a story and more like a test arena for game mechanics. It’s not an obviously bad thing, but… I dunno, it bothers me some.

This also tends to break up the original plot progression in ways that leave NPCs talking nonsense, I think. Somebody talks about the robot and the waterfall, but that waterfall has been removed! There’s talk about the price of oxyale, referring to the payment you had to make at the caravan in the original game, but now you just find oxyale as a quest reward, without having to buy anything. The circle of sages has been reworked into a tutorial system, which is useful, but this stops them from acting as characters in the game, and you’ll no longer be tempted to talk to them in search of advice on how to actually advance the plot. Accordingly, you may get through the whole game without ever learning how to receive the canoe! (I know because it happened to me!)

On a similar note, the gender changes in the Conerian royalty are fine and all, but the text that’s displayed at the end of the game still refers to Princess Sara, not Prince Sander. It also mentions some dragons that I think no longer exist. Sloppy work! I got the impression that this hack wasn’t really designed to convey the original plot properly to a new player… but also, that it simply wasn’t quite finished. The Sander/Sara error has nothing to do with mechanics; that gender change thing was just thrown in arbitrarily, and if it weren’t going to be implemented consistently then it could be left out altogether without any harm to the real meat of the hack.

There’s also a bit of the sort of “funny” in-joke content that tends to crop up in works altered by fans. A few NPCs say silly things, and when an enemy casts a meteor spell, a “funny” word appears. It’s immersion-breaking as always, but there’s only a little bit of this stuff.

Well I can say a lot about what I didn’t like - but overall this was a good, solid game, and in many ways it was far superior to the original FF1. If you want to try some cool new classes and spells, you should play it! It can be a really good time, especially if you DON’T try to consume all the content in one run and instead focus on only doing things that you really need to do for your current party. Becoming overleveled can ruin the fun. It may be unavoidable for any variant on FF1 to become a bit of a slog in the endgame… This one certainly did for me. The hack helped in that regard by removing most of the overpowered spell-casting items from the original game (though too many remain - that whole game mechanic is way too strong), and by reducing the need to buy 99 cure potions every once in a while (I hardly ever bought any). It also really tried to make boss fights remain difficult even near the end. But that doesn’t entirely work out.

Ordinary enemy battles are often really cool in this hack; enemies can do lots of interesting things, and many of them have quite a lot of personality as a result, relative to the simplicity of the game engine. But boss fights are terribly limited by the fact that a boss always fights alone and can only do one thing per turn. Moreover, in my run, the optional bosses mostly felt weak to me, great though their stats and ability sets were, because the ones I had trouble with were all vulnerable to STOP! That was pretty much the end of them. Too bad. I think bosses are better in this than in the original FF1, but the real stars are the ordinary enemy groups.

Okay I think I’ve covered most of what I had to say. Basically, I want the storytelling/worldbuilding aspect and the player instruction aspect of this hack to be rather more polished than they are, and I want there to be some kind of time limit or scoring/achievement system or SOMETHING to drive a person to actually need to avoid becoming overleveled. Given all that, this could be pretty great! As it is, it’s just good. It’s worth playing, anyway!

Version 1.1 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
HeadlineAuthorDateVersionRecommended
Good and interesting. Feels midlly unfinished. Not ideal for a 1st experience with FF1.Bananadine05 Aug 20211.1Yes
An improvement over vanilla FF1cpzivich20 Jun 20201.1Yes
A Nice Change of Paceorin690908 Jan 20191.0Yes
Play Now, if you liked FF1Webbhead0813 Sep 2016LatestYes