The Compilation Of Final Fantasy II - Let's Play The SaGa Series

What’s a SaGa?

The SaGa series is a long-running JRPG series from Square, spanning from the Game Boy to the PS2 to the Vita. It’s the brainchild of designer Akitoshi Kawazu, who also invented the concept of elemental weaknesses in JRPGs for Final Fantasy I and made the… divisive Final Fantasy II. The SaGa series is largely in the vein of the latter, with tons of experimentality, but most of them are less janky than that infamous title.

Hey, these first few updates are about a Final Fantasy game!

No they aren’t.

For whatever reason, 1990 Square of America didn’t think Americans could wrap their heads around an RPG that wasn’t Final Fantasy. So they went ahead and retitled the first three SaGa games “Final Fantasy Legend”. Something similar happened to the original Seiken Densetsu/Mana game, known in the west as Final Fantasy Adventure. It’s pretty dumb.

So how many of these are there?

There’s a total of 13 games in the main SaGa series. Three of these are remakes, but they reimagine the originals so thoroughly that they basically count as new games. There’s also the Japan-only F2P gatcha games Emperors SaGa and Imperial SaGa (yes, those are different games), but I won’t be playing those (unless I really feel the need to do a bonus update).

The first three, Makai Toushi SaGa, SaGa 2 Hihou Densetsu, and SaGa 3 Jikuu no Hasha (or, again, Final Fantasy Legend I-III, which is what I’ll be calling them from now on), were released on Game Boy. The next three, Romancing SaGa, Romancing SaGa 2, and Romancing SaGa 3, were released on Super Famicom only in Japan - 1 and 3 have translation patches, and 2 got a surprise official release on iOS and Android just last year (2016).

SaGa Frontier and SaGa Frontier 2 were released on Playstation, in both Japan and America (no clue on Europe and I’m too lazy to check). The following PS2 title, the inscrutable Unlimited Saga, was also released in both regions, as well as Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song-, a remake of the original Romancing SaGa on PS2, though in America it was simply called Romancing SaGa. Confusing, I know.

The remake pattern continued on DS with SaGa 2 GODDESS OF DESTINY and SaGa 3 SHADOW OR LIGHT, remakes of the original GB FFL2/3 that remained Japan-only. And then there’s the very recent SaGa Scarlet Grace, a Japan-only Vita game that I have not played because I do not own a Vita.

What update schedule can we expect?

fuck if i know dude

I’ll try to update weekly on Saturdays, but who knows how that schedule will hold up. Yell at me if I take too long.

What’s your spoiler policy?

Tag any storyline stuff I haven’t talked about, including in games I haven’t gotten to. The plots of these games are fairly sparse by JRPG standards, but there’s usually some pretty cool twists worth experiencing unspoiled. Mechanical spoilers are totally fine.


The Final Fantasy Legend - Don’t Mess With His Tower!
Update 1: “Are you okay?” “No, but I’ve never been better.”


Post reserved for links to future updates

The Final Fantasy Legend

I’ll let the game speak for itself here.

It’s time to choose a party! Despite what it may appear here, there’s actually only three different races/classes to choose from here. The main difference between them is actually how they gain stats and abilities (this game has no traditional levelup system).

Humans level up through steroids. No, really - they’ll never gain stats in combat, and you have to buy fairly expensive potions to increase their stats. This can get pretty stupid if you know how to game the system.

Mutants, or Espers in the Japanese version, gain stats pseudo-randomly after battle - there’s a method to it, but I don’t fully understand it. (This will be a recurring theme in this thread). They also gain and lose magical abilities - they can get some pretty dope shit, but there’s always the risk it’ll randomly be replaced by a shitty Cure spell or a weakness to fire or something.

Monsters are considered the weirdest and most unpredictable class, but they’re actually completely deterministic. After battle, there’s a chance that enemy monsters will drop meat. If a Monster eats that meat, they will transform according to a lookup table. In general, eating the meat of stronger monsters leads to better transformations, but this isn’t always the case. I’ll be keeping the lookup table on-hand for this LP.

So, it’s audience participation time! This isn’t a challenge thread, so I’ll be going with a pretty basic party here. I need a name and gender for one human and one mutant, a name for a monster, and a name, gender, and race (only human or mutant, I don’t want to bother with juggling two monsters) for our fourth party member. I’ll let the suggestions run until Friday and then pick my favorites.

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A Female Mutant named Eire
A Male Human named Barkley
A monster named Jazz
A Female Mutant name Resi

Not sure about name lengths but :

Male human named CptAmerica
Female mutant named Jubilee
Monster named Doop
Male mutant named Wolverine

Oh yeah, there’s a 4-character limit, but I’m pretty good at compressing names down. From some of the longer names posted I can get Bkly, CptA, Jble, and Wvrn. (And of course, at the end of the day I’m writing the writeups)

Male Human: Paul
Female Mutant: Blrt
Monster Named: Mall
Male Mutant Named: Cop

That’s what we can team synergy.


oh man yall are gonna have a hard time topping this one

Whatever names you pick better be in ALL CAPS.

Not going to suggest because how could I possibly beat the above?

Since you didn’t mention it in the OP I assume you’re unaware of the Wonderswan Color port of SaGa1? It has a translation patch and is pretty much the superior version, not only due to having pretty colors but also because of some really nice quality of life features (a big one if you’re not following guides is telling you what your monster will turn into when it eats the meat).

forget everything ive ever suggested this wins

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I’m familiar with the WSC version, yeah. I’m gonna be playing the original version whenever possible, though (may make an exception for Romancing SaGa 2 just because I don’t want to deal with translation on top of LPing, but we’ll see)

Given that absolutely nothing is beating that suggestion, this LP is officially go.

Hopefully I’ll be able to have the first update done by Saturday.


Update 1: “Are you okay?” “No, but I’ve never been better.”

We’re actually making Mall, our monster, before any of our other heroes - this is because our first character gets a better selection of initial Monster forms than any of our others, and I want to start with a Redbull.

Once Mall is chosen and named, he actually spawns into the first town all alone. We need to visit this fellow (identical to whoever leads our party) to access the Guild, where we can “recruit” our other party members.

And with that, our brave heroes are assembled. Let’s take a look at their stats and loadouts, shall we?

Let’s start with the panel on the left. 40/40 is Paul’s current HP out of maximum HP - pretty straightforward. Paul has 7 Strength, which governs the damage done with Strength-based weapons such as the Hammer he’s currently wielding. He also has 0 Defense, which works exactly like Defense in every RPG ever made, so he’s gonna be absorbing the brunt of most attacks. He has 3 Agility, which is generally considered something of a god stat - it affects priority in battle, accuracy, and damage with Agility-based weapons such as bows and rapiers. The main downside to just putting all your potion money towards Agility boosts is that most of the best weapons in the game are Strength-based. I won’t be hyper-specializing like that. Paul also has 0 Mana, which is almost like the reverse of the Special stat from Pokemon Generation 1 - the higher your mana the more damage you deal and take from magical attacks. Paul won’t be using any magic, so I won’t be increasing this stat at all (though healing magic is also considered “taking damage”, so low Mana means those won’t be too effective - but I’ll be relying on potions for the most part).

On the right panel we see his only weapon, a Hammer. The 50 next to it is its uses - like in Fire Emblem, all weapons have a limited number of uses which cannot be restored, somewhat limiting the effectiveness of grinding. Armor has no such limitation, thankfully, and aside from one-of-a-kind weapons it’s usually not too much to worry about. As I mentioned earlier, the Hammer is strength-based.

You can see a bit of the gender divide here - Blart, as a female character, starts with more Agility and less Strength. As you may have gathered from my stat explanations, this actually puts female characters at a pretty significant advantage in the early game. Because Blart is a Mutant, she only has 20 HP to Paul’s 40. She also starts with 5 Mana, which segues nicely into my explanation of her inventory. She starts with a Rapier, an Agility-based weapon, instead of a Hammer, but more notable are the four - slots. These will eventually be filled with her Mutant abilities, which as I mentioned in the introduction are gained and lost at random. There’s no way to control which slot new abilities will fill into, or what abilities you’ll get (though, in general, fighting more powerful enemies will lead to better abilities).

Next is Mall, and as you may have noticed his stats are bonkers high compared to his allies. This is why I wanted him to be a Redbull - these stats are incredibly good for this point in the game! The main downside, of course, is that his Horn only has 10 uses - and Monsters can’t use any equipment - but as it’s an ability instead of a weapon these will be restored by resting at an inn. (The same also applies to Blart and Cop’s Mutant abilities). The XIce isn’t actually an ability - it simply indicates that Mall is weak to Ice attacks while in this form. If it were OIce instead, that would mean he resists the element. Infuriatingly, both of these things can also be popped by Mutants. Losing an awesome endgame Flare spell in favor of a weakness to Fire or something is the absolute worst, and I guarantee something like that will happen before the end of this LP - likely multiple times, especially since we’re using two Mutants.

On that note, here’s Cop. His stats and inventory are pretty straightforward, but comparing him to Paul and Blart should give you an idea of what’s a gender difference and what’s a racial difference. (Also fucking hell is the male Mutant sprite in this game boring, I much prefer the one in FFL2)

Well the title screen says that this game is all about climbing this tower, so let’s head on in!


Well, may as well talk to the townsfolk! No screenshots here, because the way text displays in this game is really weird and hard to screencap.

Guard in front of tower: This tower leads to Paradise.

Slime: There is another town in the southeast.

Male Human: Once you leave town, it’s a savage land.

Guard wandering town: If you want to advance, choose members at the Guild.

Other Slime: If you lose your last heart, you can’t be brought back to life.

This guy is talking about a mechanic I’ll get into later this update.

Well worth screenshotting is this dapper fellow at the Inn. Remember this sprite.

Top Hat Guy: Gen-Bu has hidden the key to the door in the Statue of Hero.

Finally, useful information! Thanks, mysterious top hat man. Now we just need to find that Statue.

As an aside, I really like this town’s map. The way most of the town is on a raised platform around the central tower gives it a really unique look.

Let’s be off! The town here appears simply as the tower on the world map, which is a nice touch. We head to the southwest to the other town one of the townspeople mentioned, but before long…

A battle! These Lizards are pretty much junk opponents, as are most of the other enemies this early in the game. No surprises there, most likely.

Still, even against these weak enemies you can see how much of a liability those 20 hit points can be. Since this was so close to town, it’s actually worth it to go back and visit an inn for this!

This is because inns are actually priced on a per-HP basis! This early, it only costs 1 gold for each lost HP, but as you might imagine that price increases pretty quickly. Inns also fully restore any Mutant and Monster abilities for no additional charge. It’s a nice system.

We continue to fight Lizards and the occasional Albatross on the way to the next town, but eventually I get careless and disaster strikes!

Paul is dead!

Character death is actually a pretty big deal in this game, and I’m kicking myself for having it happen this early. You can revive dead characters with a VERY expensive Revive item, or at a House of Life (I’m guessing a church in the Japanese version) in each town for 100 gold.

Thankfully we have the Gold to cover it, but…

…not the Inn. This should be interesting.

There’s another catch to character death in this game - as you may have seen in the initial screenshot of my full party, every character starts with three Hearts. Every time a character is revived, a Heart is lost, and if a character loses their last Heart they’re gone - permanently. (This will later be refined into SaGa’s iconic LP system starting in Romancing SaGa 2.) You can buy Hearts as consumable items to give a character one back, but…

Yeah, that’s not really an option right now.

(As an aside, I really like the town music in this game - it’s probably Uematsu’s best 8-bit town theme.)

I need to rearrange my party to deal with Paul’s 1 HP until I save up enough for an inn stay, since enemies prefer to target characters higher in the order (just like the original Final Fantasy). I also want Mall to tank a little so Blart and Cop’s 20 HP won’t bite me in the ass, so…


NEXT TIME: Cold-blooded murder and regicide!


I’ve always been interested in this series but too intimidated to play them. I’ll be following this thread closely!

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Looking forward to see how further butchered you render this movie franchise, and also all the crazy gameplay mechanics of the SaGa series.

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