Released in November 1991, Final Fantasy Adventure is the first game of the "Mana" series, which includes games such as Secret of Mana. The player controls a runaway gladiator who tries to protect a woman caught up in the Glaive Empire's quest to claim the ultimate powers of the Mana Tree. This game features Zelda-esque overhead exploration, RPG-style statistics growth, and a brutal difficulty level.
Best Single-segment Time: 2:03:04 by 'Crow!' on 2015-08-19
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Final Fantasy Adventure is the prequel to Secret of Mana, the other game that I speedrun. There's a lot more elements of Zelda-esque exploration and environment manipulation here than in future games of the series. Like Secret of Mana, this game is pretty buggy. Unlike Secret of Mana, this game's bugs generally hurt you rather than helping.
This run is the "Warpless" category, which is like the "no Out of Bounds" category of Zelda games of the same era. There exist runs where you just rescue the girl from Kett's, then inexplicably walk to the Lorim ice fields, the Underground Volcano, and finally the Tower of Gemma to beat the game. This is not such a run.
If you're interested in trying this route yourself, I have a walkthrough on GameFAQs:
If you like audio commentary, you can watch my recording of the game on my Twitch channel:
You can either beat this game using a magic attack build or a physical attack build. This run uses a magical build, which is wildly faster in the early-mid game and the late game. It suffers in Glaive Castle, as it struggles to deal with the enemies there, and it's slightly slower to get through the first half hour of the game. BowieTheHero has been championing the physical attack strategies, and the two of us have been trading possession of the world record several times over the past year.
The biggest glitch in this game is the Heal bug. When you cast the Heal spell, your defense power is set to zero until the next time you pause the game. Therefore, every time I cast Heal I must either immediately select my next B-action, or if I'm not certain what that will be, I have to at least pause and unpause.
The bar on the bottom of the screen is the Will gauge. Once it fills, your next physical attack will have a special animation and will deal double damage, or your next magical attack will deal quadruple damage. Partially filled Will bars also improve your damage output a bit. The fact that leveling Will gives you points in Wisdom rather than Power is a large contributor to the magical route being so much stronger in the second half of the game than physical attacks.
There are a few places in this game where, if the enemies cooperate, you can make use of the fact that you do not interact with objects while you are invincible in order to take a shortcut through the room. I can usually use this in the Werewolf + Chest room in the Glaive Castle to walk through one of the chests blocking my path, but the enemies did not cooperate this time. In general, though, this game feature allows enemies to troll you while you try to walk up a staircase or into a door; if a magic-immune enemy sits in my way, I have to either respawn the room altogether or wait for its AI to finally get it to go away.
There is an armor glitch that can more or less upgrade the Bronze helmet into a Silver one, but for the magic attack build it is not worth the extra 70 gold's worth of farming in the early game that it requires.
With the magic build, I require one Mattock drop in the Marsh Cave, I appreciate up to 2 Nectar drops and 4 Crystal drops, and I have no practical upper limit to the number of Wisdom crystals I want. In this run, I obtained one Crystal and one Wisdom crystal, and so many Ethers that I started skipping them.
Vampire's cape has huge physical defense but unusually low magic defense, so when I can I make my fireballs hit there. Aside from that, my physical attacks need to be positioned to intercept the bats as they come in.
I go out of my way to hit Medusa's head rather than her skirt because the skirt has very high magic defense. Her motion and snake launching are very random, and getting hit usually requires taking extra time to deal with the Stone status, so I have to be careful.
I need to use a Nectar at Davias because I cannot reliably defeat him with magic, as his rotating barrier will intercept my fireballs. Nectar increases Power by 15 starting from when you pause the game after using the item, and continuing until you pause the game after it has timed out. This increases my usual damage against Davias from 4 to 19.
The Cyclops's head and arm have much lower defenses than his legs, so I can save some time and MP by attacking there whenever I can safely do so. His morning star can one-shot me, though, so I have to play a bit carefully to take advantage of that, and in one case my fireball locked onto his weapon instead of his body.
Dark Lord has a directional shield, and is invulnerable to fire. So, I have some setups to deal him damage with Lightning in ways that get past his shield. I prefer it if he walks into me when I've walked into the upper corner of the map, but him getting stuck is alright, too.
The Lich is available to fight as soon as you acquire Chocobot, but doing it out of order costs more time than it saves. The total traveling distance is no different either way, and Lich takes far longer (and is far riskier) to defeat at a low level. Meanwhile, the only Rusty Sword quest boss that Nuke is useful against is Iflyte, who isn't much slower to beat with Lit anyway.
There is an island off the Ammonite Coast where you can obtain an Elixir by defeating all the enemies on the screen. I do this twice, because using an Elixir is much faster than using 3 X-Ethers. However, I wound up succeeding in setting myself up to level up during the first phase of Julius, which refilled my MP; I should therefore have picked up fewer X-Ethers during the Rusty Sword quest and instead should have used an Elixir during the Tower of Gemma.
Speaking fo the Tower of Gemma, I for some reason forgot that most enemies there cannot be frozen. It didn't really cost much time, but it looks embarassing as I make the same mistake multiple times.
The first form of Julius is a troll. The clones have a directional shield which can block my shots, and they can instantaneously teleport anywhere on the screen to dodge my attacks, too. I did miss two attacks that probably would have hit due to errors on my part (motion in this game is confined to a half-tile grid, so pressing Up-B will not shoot upward if you were still walking to the next grid point to the right).
I ran this on a Super Game Boy, which runs games about 2% too fast due to a discrepancy between the Game Boy's frame rate and that of the Super NES. Speed Demos Archive adjusts the posted time to account for this.
Thanks go to to BowieTheHero for providing me with some competition for this run.
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