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Final Fantasy Anthology Preview

Square has done a good, kind thing. At least that's what it seems, initially. With Final Fantasy Anthology, two old, classic RPGs are coming to the aging PlayStation. Ironically enough, this old 32-bit system will make those near ancient 16-bit games look fresher, and more colorful than ever.

But there is a strange catch to all this good feeling stuff. Unlike the Japanese market, US gamers will only receive two of three games included in the Final Fantasy Collection. In Anthology, North American gamers will receive Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI. Although Square EA hasn't officially said anything as to why FFIV won't appear, it's generally believed that a combination of horrific loading times and multiple bugs convinced Square to keep IV only in Japan.

As for the confirmed release date, Square confirmed that Final Fantasy Anthology will arrive on store shelves as early as October 6, and will ship on October 5.

While appearing in Japan back in the day, Final Fantasy V will debut for the first time in North America this year with FF Anthology. Among other aspects, FFV's character job skills are the most interesting, and at the time, the most ground-breaking. Players can swap and exchange different abilities to create "custom" characters," as well as choose to take part in side quests and find hidden endings.

Final Fantasy VI, known as Final Fantasy III on the Super NES, uses the now classic "Esper" magic system, enabling players to cast more than 90 magic spells. Both games use monster-summoning magic later modified and used in games such as Final Fantasy VII and VIII.

Both games will receive the kind of "modern" support that's mots appropriate for them at this stage. Without altering gameplay a bit, Square EA will add sketches or artwork and stills, brand new, lip-smacking full-motion animation (not found in the original), and other little fan-based fare to create a full, 1999-style package.

Square's additions are numerous. For music fans, FF Anthology includes a collector's audio CD of favorite musical scores from both V and VI, which comes on a separate disc. This same disc includes the added artwork and logo. And as mentioned above, all of the intro and FMA scenes are brand new and created especially for this new release.

Douglass Perry

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