Getting a free video game with a magazine was unheard of in the 80’s, but by the time the Playstation hit, you could find a free disc with demos and movies within Playstation Underground and the Official US Playstation Magazine. I have only one disc from each, and will be reviewing the content on this disc from:
Offical US Playstation Magazine – August 2001 Disc.
The main theme of this disc is Final Fantasy.
This game review is not really a game, it’s 8 video game trailers, 1 movie trailer, and 1 game demo. This was a time before game consoles could just download game demos and trailers in seconds.
The game begins with you on a roller coaster ride through a haunted house. This intro CGI is very cool, despite being from 2001. Next, you are in a gypsy’s house, looking at a crystal ball. Inside the crystal ball are the videos and demo.
VIDEO: Star Wars Episode I: Super Bombad Racing
The tagline says ‘8 racers’, which are all chibi versions of Star Wars characters, while a ‘cute’ version of the Star Wars theme plays in the background. Darth Maul as a doll? Though, to be fare, it does exclaim that the game is “full 3D free reign” and it looks like you can go all over the place instead of just a straight line. I won’t ever play it, so I can’t say if it is good or not, but the video really turns you off from it.
VIDEO: Chrono Cross
The book opens with some lines that don’t make any sense, but after that, you see all CGI (no gameplay footage). The CGI looks very unique, and has a tiger-cat man (Frog’s replacement from Chrono Trigger?) as well as very huge beasts, which look like they could be characters instead of actual bosses, or both. Then, for a split second near the end, I see the words ‘Lucca’. Does this tye into Chrono Trigger? Why haven’t I played this game yet?
VIDEO: Final Fantasy Chronicles
This shows Chrono Trigger being re-released on the Playstation with Final Fantasy IV. At first, I thought, why play this game again (it’s being released for the 3rd time on Nintendo DS), but then they show you why—anime cutscenes as a bonus. They are fluidly animated and cool to watch, though I have seen them online, and didn’t feel the need to buy a game I already own for it. But, at least they are adding additional content to the games when they are released, as Final Fantasy IV has a lot of CG scenes added.
VIDEO: Final Fantasy Tactics
This video has a voiceover, but, it will cause you to laugh immediately. The voice states “Worlds of War” as 5 people march into town on Chocobos. I’m sorry, but the contrast to ‘war’ and ‘chocobo’ is hilarious. The video shows a lot of gameplay footage, making it easy to determine what the game can be like. Though the voiceover ends in confusion stating, “History might not remember you, but you…” wait what? How would you even know that history will forget you and your deeds? Then it says, “You may die trying.” If you die trying, you will be forgotten anyway. This voiceover really tries to make the game epic, but fails miserably. The game looks worth playing, but the voiceover really detracts from it.
VIDEO: Final Fantasy VII
This is the most effective video on the disc: it contains lots of different CGI scenes as well as lots of gameplay footage (however, they do reveal a pivotal scene which shouldn’t be there). It features experiments gone wrong, industrial cities, wide spread land to explore, huge explosions, magic, gigantic bosses, and assaults your senses with so much graphics your brain might overload. If I hadn’t already played this game, this would be the one I would have to play first from all the videos on this disc.
VIDEO: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
This is the only movie trailer, and is for the theatrical Final Fantasy movie, which bankrupted the company due to low sales and fan backlash. To be fair, the trailer looks amazing (even in encoded Playstation mode). Soul eaters looks like a unique concept. When I saw the movie, it wasn’t what I was expected, but it was good. You can see some allusions to Final Fantasy in it, but it was completely different than the game (taking place in space, for instance). The reviews received criticism for having voice actors that didn’t match the CGI faces and saying the mouths always didn’t move correctly with them. Fans, also, said it wasn’t Final Fantasy and never gave the film a chance. No one seemed to judge the movie as a movie, and only nitpicked it for it’s flaws. Anyway, back on track, the trailer on it’s own is intriguing, and for it’s time, was the most realistic computer generated movie to come out in theaters.
VIDEO: Final Fantasy IX
This trailer makes the game look like a less serious game than Final Fantasy VII & VIII, and the art style is fun, bright, and entertaining, however, we are not seen much footage, making fans want more (the marketers hope).
VIDEO: Klonoa 2
The star of this game is a cat-dog thing with big floppy ears than can glide and fly around a 2D platformer in a 3D game. There are many fast segments, making it seem like a hybrid of sonic and Mario, and definitely makes it look like a game I’d check out.
DEMO: Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy starts out with a brief description; you are invading a city, then you see your CG ships assault the land and you take off into the city to fight invaders. From the dialogue, you can tell you are trainees, and that this is your first mission. As soon as you start, you will see something out of place: A girl dressed in blue. This character doesn’t appear until about 5 hours or more into the game, as evident by her lack of any dialogue in the demo. You are suppose to be joined by a girl in yellow, but she has been removed. Other than that, the game plays the same, except you cannot access the menu, and are fairly low level, then pretty much forced to die by the mechanical beast chasing you at the end.
For it’s time, this game first featured your character human looking, instead of polygon shaped. The graphics are very detailed and clear, making for an easy game-going experience.
mechanical beast will keep chasing and fighting you to slow you down.
Once you die, you are given a screen which will list how to play as well as list all the controls. One curious thing, is that the menu says 1998 Collector’s CD vol.2. Since this disc is from 2001, it was most likely a re-print with other videos included.
The game appears fun, and feels like any other Final Fantasy game, however, it soon becomes evident you don’t have enough Cure spells, and 3 hits will usually kill your character. Relying on the new Draw system to steal Cure magic from your enemies starts to get annoying really fast, but other than that, most of the fights make you think this game will be a winner when it is released.
My feeling of Final Fantasy VIII when I actually played the game can probably bested by summed up better here: Spoony’s Final Fantasy VIII Video Review