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Final Fantasy I DoS Maeson

Hack of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls


Like other hacks of this author, FF1 DoS Maeson makes an extensive number of tweaks to a game he has played more than a fair number of times, in order to get a different experience from it.

The overall changes are these:

  • First of all, this Hack is based on Kea’s own work: The Vancian Magic System Hack, which reintroduces the Spell Charge system from the NES/PS1/WS releases.

Further changes were made to the Vancian System to gel well with this Hack, such as MP Progression, MP Limits, the strength of MP-restoring Items and such. Classes that gain Spells upon promotion gain MP from the very beginning, albeit slowly, to make their new casting abilities useful right when they promote.

  • The original DoS had the Experience curve of the PS1 Easy Mode, making it so you grew in Levels too fast. Thus, it slows down the curve and brought back the original Level 50 Limit. The Level progression is not as slow as the NES/PS1 versions, though.
  • Original DoS had you reach much higher Levels, but Monster Stats stood the same, making an already big gap even bigger. Modified Monsters to be stronger, and some have new tricks, different resistances and such. Enemy drops also changed substantially.
  • This results in an overall more challenging game, putting some focus on the use of the elemental protection Spells, a mechanic that the author finds rather important on this particular title, to deal with Bosses specially. Shields also are useful for this.
  • Tweaked Weapons in an attempt to make the different types more or less equally useful. Daggers grant Evasion and hold great Accuracy, granting extra Hits at the cost of Power; while Axes have great Power and even raise HP of the wielder but their heavy nature makes them not too accurate and have an Evasion penalty.
  • Tweaked Defensive Gear with the same intention. Gloves, specifically, have been altered to be less exclusive, and offer bonuses so you may want to swap between them depending on the situation.
  • Rather large tweaks to Spells. A number of redundant Spells have been changed for new stuff. Status Effect Spells have been improved, damaging Spells scale in power much better than before, and some new Utility Spells have been added. Monster skills have also suffered tweaks.
  • New elements are used. Earth is something more than another way of inflicting Death now. Poison and Mind are also damaging elements that you and your enemies can use. Resistances and Weaknesses were changed accordingly.
  • Tweaked Stat Growths, Spell availability and Equipment availability of each Class. Class roles are more or less the same, but offer a bit more versatility.
  • Shops and Treasure chests throughout the main adventure have been tweaked in order to give better things at better points of the story. Shop prices are generally higher, so there’s a higher importance in how to manage your money. MP-restoring Items are no longer purchasable, for example.
  • Dawn of Souls dungeons had their random chests changed. Monsters there offer no Experience, in order to not derail Level progression with the main game, but offer Gil and useful Items. Bosses have received hefty changes, and their rewards too, now being more useful and worth seeking.
  • Certain other aspects have been tweaked. Random Encounter Ratio has been lowered a tad, a cap has been imposed on the extra Attack and Defense you can get from Spells and how Haste works has been changed too, in order to avoid exploits. The way Physical damage scales throughout the game has changed because of it, there’s less focus on raw Defense on enemies in order to balance better Magic VS Physical damage. Intelligence is a lot more important now for damaging Spells.

Text has been edited accordingly for all the changes made to the above.

The hack has been updated to version 1.1. Changes are as follows:

  • Crystal Equipment got a slight increase in Defense.
  • Several Gloves got reworked, including Stats, which Classes can use it, and descriptions.
  • Along with the above, a few Chests were changed.
  • Fixed a small issue with a shop showing Phoenix Down twice.
  • Equipment that Casts damaging Spells got changed. Multi-Targeting Spell effects like the Mage’s Staff now have a weaker version of the real Spell, for example.
  • The encounter ratio of some dungeon floors got lowered, like the Cavern of Earth L1, Mount Gulg L2, and some Soul Dungeon floors.
  • Adjusted a couple of weapons’ Stats.

It was also added an optional patch with a few more Magic Charges for Levels 1 to 4, mostly intended for not very balanced or, simply put, more gimmicky party setups.

This Hack is compatible with Kea’s “Unrunnable Battle Notifications” and “Improved Equipment Stat Viewing“.

A few optional patches were added. One lowers slightly the difficulty of the Hack, in case it proves too much for some people. Another extends a bit the HP of Bosses a bit. The third is a palette edit to make the Ninja red-colored again.

Final Fantasy II got some very small changes, but it’s not the focus of this project, though. With that said, attached to its readme there’s a small number of Rom Hacking related information, as that portion of this collection has very little information out there.

There’s the usual large Readme on the package detailing lots of stuff.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Database match: Final Fantasy I & II - Dawn of Souls (USA)
  • Database: No-Intro: Game Boy Advance (v. 20210227-023848)
  • File/ROM SHA-1: 6472695D69661490F78245E2982E1E676C080BE7
  • File/ROM CRC32: 1B39CDAB




ContributorType of contributionListed credit
KeaOriginal HackingVancian System

User Review Information

The fun restored

Reviewed By: exline on 12 Oct 2021

Maeson’s version brought back a feeling I haven’t had since the NES days – the right level of challenge combined with having to make decisions with consequences. His tweaks to the relative power of magic attacks vs. buffing physical attackers makes boss fights far more interesting; some of his new gear allows for a lot of situational optimization in a way that is fun, not tedious. The scarcity (and non-purchasable nature) of ethers means you really do have to manage your spells, but you don’t have to be miserly with them either.

While the storyline and base character archetypes are unchanged, the shops, treasures, level progression, spells, mob stats, etc. are completely overhauled. Your melee fighters will no longer be able to just mash A and kill multiple enemies per round. The magic system puts reasonable limits on now very powerful magic. Adjustments Maeson made also create more distinction between characters.

There are times where counterintuitive gear combinations are very effective. Late in the game, I had my Knight using Orichalcum instead of Excalibur, because it kept him healed up. The enemies just. hit. harder., even with good armor.

I would highly recommend taking a Red or White Mage with your party. My first playthrough I went Fighter/Thief/Black Belt/Black Wizard, and not having all the Nul* spells (there are new ones) ended up making some boss fights really difficult. You will want to use Nul* spells, as they are very effective.

Haste is changed and moved to the late game; Temper is limited in how much you can stack. Physical attacks are still effective against bosses (even unboosted), but so is magic in a way that it just wasn’t before. If you can save 2 shots of Firaga for Lich, you can beat him with it.

Finally, go explore! Previously worthless chests may have great items. And the flexibility of the system he’s designed allows a lot of “hand me down” equipping and finding new optimal combinations.

Version 1.0 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
The fun restoredexline12 Oct 20211.0Yes