Back in the day, Game Boy was my jam. I had absolutely loved the original Final Fantasy Legend game. Even knowing now that the Legend games weren't actually FF games, but rather the "Saga" series, I don't care. TO ME, they were new Final Fantasy games on GB, and that meant a lot.
When I was in elementary school, this kid on the playground told me that he had Final Fantasy Legend II - which seemed impossible, because it didn't exist yet. Well, it just didn't exist in the US yet. See, his mom had gone to Japan for some reason and brought him back some GB carts - one of which was Final Fantasy Legend II. I somehow convinced him to trade me that cart, and though I was confused why it said "Saga 2," sure enough, it played and looked just like Final Fantasy Legend.
Of course I was a kid, and I couldn't read Japanese, so I had no idea what was going on. But the story sticks with me because it was my first import game. It was also the first time I realized that video games were global, and that most of the ones I liked were made in Japan, not where I lived. Interesting.
Anyway, I now possess a US cartridge, and I MIGHT be playing it for the first time in English. I know I replayed Final Fantasy Legend, and Legend III about a decade ago. But I'm not sure if I replayed the second one at the same time. Unfortunately, I don't have the cool manual/guide that came with it, but I do have my trusty issue #27 of Nintendo Power which has some maps and stuff.
This game, like the other "Legend" games is weird. For instance, your stats do increase as you grind, but I don't see a discernible level. So I don't know what level I am; I can only look at stats. So far I have found 15 Magi, out of 77 I believe, so I'm like a fifth of the way, progress-wise.
My party consists of a human (NOIS, because you can only name your party members with four characters); two mutants named Toxi and Jean (Grey); and a robot named Ash, because Alien rules. RIP Ian Holm.
Anyway, this game is fairly great - just like I remember the series. It's weird, and unique. But it's also massive and fun. It's amazing to me how we got such quality JRPG's on the GB, and how some of them - like this series - seems unloved, or at least rarely remembered. The Legend games did get DS remakes in Japan, but in the US they seem to remain curious lost to time.
I've made some more progress, but I'm feeling mixed on my experience playing Final Fantasy Legend II. On the positive, I think this is a truly impressive game, especially given the time period, and hardware. However, it's also a truly old school RPG. And it feels way more hardcore than its closest contemporary, Final Fantasy IV (AKA "Final Fantasy II") which was released on SNES the very same month as this game was in the US.
Even after the four or five hours I've put into Legend II, there's a lot of stuff I don't really get. A lot of stuff I'm not sure about. Like, the whole leveling thing is weird since it's just stat increases to individual stats. It's not truly gaining levels. So I'm never really sure if I'm grinding enough or way under-leveled. I got to Giant Town and the armor there is absurdly expensive. Is that because I SHOULD be grinding enough to afford it, or is it there to almost laugh at you because it's prohibitive? And what's the deal with upgrading the robot? And these weapons break, really? And why can't my human use the rapier? I mean he CAN, but it seems to miss 100% of the time? What's up with that?
I could have really benefited from a full strategy guide for this one, but alas none was ever made. The game did come with a starter guide, but I don't have that. All I have is my Nintendo Power #27, which helps a bit... with maps anyway.
I feel like the original Legend game was pretty hardcore too, but at least a bit more straightforward. Maybe because it wasn't as vast. This is the sort of old school RPG you're probably meant to spend A LOT of hours with. In that regard, it feels even meatier than Final Fantasy IV did to me. At least in FF IV it feels like there's a pretty linear path to follow.
I left off after I shrunk done and started exploring Ki's body, but I feel very under-leveled at the moment.
Overall, I feel like Legend II is not as good as the original or the third game in the trilogy. But it is an amazingly impressive game. And one I'm glad that I played a bit of. And in fairness to the game itself, I might just not be in the mood for a huge 8-bit RPG at the moment, which is certainly not the game's fault. But I like this game, and it further cements my love of Final Fantasy as a whole, including all the weird spin-offs like the Legend series.