- Released on December 18th, 1987, this is the first version of the game.
The MSX2 computer standard was roughly analogous, in terms of technical capabilities, to the Famicom, and so, the MSX2 version of Final Fantasy is probably the closest to the original Famicom version. However, while the Famicom was designed to operate exclusively as a gaming console, the MSX2 was intended to be used more generally as a personal computer. Thus the game was subtly altered to take advantage of certain features offered by the MSX2 and not by the Famicom.
- Format – Released on floppy diskette, the MSX2 version has access to almost three times as much storage space as the Famicom version (720 KB vs. 256 KB), but suffers from a variety of problems not present in Nintendo's cartridge media, including noticeable loading time.
- Altered graphics – Relatively minor upgrades; the MSX2 version sports an improved color palette that adds a degree of vibrancy to characters and background graphics. However, some have commented that the choice of colors sometimes seems "off", and argue the Famicom version's graphics were of higher quality, despite the technical superiority of the MSX2 in this field.
- Subtly altered random battles – The world map seems to have been moved slightly, meaning that the placement of monster "areas" on the map is slightly different and monsters appear in different places than in the Famicom version.
- Different saved game system – Game data could not be saved onto the original program diskette, so it was necessary to provide a blank floppy diskette to save one's progress. It was possible to store only one saved game on any given disk at one time, although it was possible to have multiple diskettes for multiple saved games.
- Upgraded sound and music – The MSX2 featured more sound channels than the Famicom, and thus music and sound effects were altered or improved for the port. Some dungeon music was swapped.
- Miscellaneous engine tweaks – In the Famicom version, the Black Belt's strength would increase with his experience levels, meaning that soon the player would reach a point where a Black Belt could do more damage without weapons than he could with one equipped. In the MSX2 version, this is not the case: Black Belt's strength does not increase nearly as quickly, and thus he cannot operate effectively as a barehanded fighter. Many items available in stores have also had their costs changed.
The 1990 North American localization was essentially identical to the original Japanese game. Technical limitations, and the censorship policies of Nintendo of America, resulted in a few minor changes to certain elements.
- Shortened magic names – The original game program provided only four character spaces for magic spell names, meaning that a lot of original Japanese spell names had to be abbreviated to fit the space requirements for the English version. These changes include "Flare" being reduced to "NUKE" and "Thunder" to "LIT".
- Censorship issues – Nintendo of America policy prohibited games from featuring any overt Judeo-Christian imagery or reference to death. Some graphics were modified so that, for instance, churches no longer featured crosses.
- This is probably why the Kill spell was renamed as "Rub".
Many more changes were introduced for the game's WonderSwan Color remake:
- Upgraded graphics – The 8-bit graphics of the original Famicom game were redrawn for the WSC version, bringing the game roughly on-par with 16-bit era graphics. The color palette was larger and battle scenes featured full background images.
- Parity with later games – Character sprites, especially the upgraded classes, were redesigned to look more like characters from the Super Famicom Final Fantasy games. In the Famicom version, shops and inns had no interior map: once a character entered the building, they were greeted with a menu-based purchase screen. In the WSC version this was changed to more closely resemble other games in the series, where each building had an interior, along with a shop counter where the transaction screen could be accessed. Similarly, the battle screen was redesigned, with all textual information moved down to a blue window stretched across the bottom of the screen in an arrangement similar to that utilized in Final Fantasy II through Final Fantasy VII.
- Added cutscenes – Short cutscenes, using the internal game engine, were added to expand the game's story. One such cutscene involved the construction of the bridge by the Corneria army.
- Expanded text – The original Famicom version could not display more than one window of text during a conversation, which meant that all conversations with NPCs were limited in length. The WSC version removes this restriction.
- Optional engine tweaks – In the original version, any attempt to attack a monster that had been killed by a previous character's attack would result in an "ineffective" attack. The WSC version introduced an option wherein the attack would be redirected to another monster rather than fail. Similarly, a "dash" option was introduced: holding down a specific button while walking around a town or dungeon map would double the character's pace. Both options can be toggled via the game's configuration screen.
- Deletable spells – In the original version, every magic-using character has successive "spell levels". Each character has only three available slots per spell level, but can choose from four spells. Once that choice had been made in the original version, there was no way to "unlearn" spells to free up a space for the unchosen fourth spell. In the WSC version it is possible to delete spells once purchased.
- More save game slots – The original Famicom cartridge could only store one set of game data at a time, and every time a new save was made, the previous one was overwritten. The WSC version provides up to eight distinct slots for saved game data. The "quick save" feature was also added, which allows the player to save progress at any time outside of battles. This will exit the game, however, and as soon as the game is resumed, any quick save data is lost.
- Changed item system – In the original version, only items specifically assigned to a character could be used during battle. In the WSC, there is a party-wide "pool" of items that can be accessed at any time by all characters. Certain status healing items and spells (such as Life and Soft) could now be used during battle. The status ailment Silence no longer prevents items from being used.
- Added music – In addition to remixing the soundtrack, composer Nobuo Uematsu has composed several new tracks, including a new "boss battle" theme.
- Bosses have more HP – Because many of the above changes make the game simpler, the HP of certain monsters, and almost all bosses, has been increased (doubled in some cases) to better balance the gameplay.
The PlayStation remake was released alongside its sequel, Final Fantasy II, in a collection titled Final Fantasy Origins (or Final Fantasy I+II Premium Collection in Japan). Both were based on the WonderSwan Color remake, and most of the changes instituted in that version remain.
However, there are a few differences:
- Higher resolution graphics – Although the graphics are basically the same as in the WSC version, the PlayStation's higher screen resolution means that most have been improved to some degree, with quite a bit more detail.
- Remixed soundtrack – Nobuo Uematsu remixed the soundtrack to Final Fantasy IX quality to utilize the Sony PlayStation audio capabilities and also composed a few new tracks like the ones used in the opening movies.
- Rewritten script – In the Japanese language version the script was changed to include kanji. The English language translation, too, has been rewritten, and is, in most cases, closer to the Japanese than the original English NES version was. Character and magic name lengths were increased from four to six characters.
- Even more saved game slots – Saved game data takes up one block on the PlayStation memory card, which means that up to fifteen games can be saved onto each card. The "quick save" feature of the WSC version was excised, but in its place a "memo save" feature was introduced where game data can be temporarily saved to the PlayStation's RAM. The data remains until the system is turned off, or its power supply is otherwise interrupted.
- Added full-motion video cutscenes and omake – The game is now book-ended with two full-motion, prerendered video cutscenes. An "omake" (or bonus) section was also made available. It includes a bestiary, an art gallery, and an item collection that are unlocked as the player progresses through the game.
- New "Easy Mode" – A new "easy mode" was introduced wherein shop prices are cheaper, experience levels are gained faster, and stats are increased more rapidly. This mode is optional and chosen at the start of the game.
- Fighter was renamed Warrior, and Black Belt was renamed Monk.
Another fairly extensive list of changes accompanies the Game Boy Advance release as part of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls.
Among them are:
- Reduced difficulty level – The GBA version's difficulty level most closely resembles the "easy mode" of the PlayStation/Final Fantasy Origins version. Unlike that version, however, there is no option to switch back to the original difficulty. The redirection of "ineffective" hits, which had been optional since it was introduced in the WSC version, is now mandatory.
- Lower resolution graphics – compared to the PlayStation version, graphics are of similar quality to the WSC version, although the GBA has a slightly higher screen resolution and certain sequences (such as flying around on the airship) look better on the GBA than on the WSC.
- New magic system – The "spell level"-based magic system was dropped in favor of the magic point-based system used in more recent Final Fantasy games. Although spells are still classified at certain levels for some purposes (characters can still only be equipped with three of the four available spells of any given level), every spell is now assigned a point value. When cast, that value is subtracted from a total number of magic points (or MP) that applies to all spells known by a character.
- New item system – Many new items were introduced, including the reviver item Phoenix Down. Healing items are now easier to procure and less expensive. The party starts with 500 gil instead of 400 as in previous versions. The player can also now obtain item drops from enemies.
- Omake bestiary – The omake artwork gallery and item collection present in the PlayStation version have been omitted, but the bestiary gallery remains and operates in much the same way as it did previously.
- Miscellaneous game engine tweaks – Certain classes have been modified: the Thief and Monk have become more powerful, whereas the Red Mage has become less so. Stat growth has been altered, and Intelligence now affects the strength of weapon-based magic spells.
- Altered save system – The game can now be saved at any time outside of battles. There are three available save game slots.
- Monsters have even more HP – Because the introduced changes make the game even less challenging, many monsters and bosses have had their hit points increased.
- "Auto-naming" – During character creation, the player can choose to have the game randomly assign a name to each character. The names are taken from other Final Fantasy games and include Desh (Final Fantasy III), Giott (Final Fantasy IV), Kelga (Final Fantasy V), and Daryl (Final Fantasy VI), among others.
- Soul of Chaos – Four new optional dungeons have been introduced, one corresponding to each Fiend, and become available after that Fiend is defeated. The dungeons are especially challenging and feature items and monsters not found elsewhere. At the end of each dungeon there are a variety of boss monsters from subsequent games in the Final Fantasy series, including the bosses from the World of Darkness from Final Fantasy III, the Archfiends from Final Fantasy IV, the bosses from the Cleft of Dimension from Final Fantasy V and the bosses from Final Fantasy VI.
Namco released a mobile port of Final Fantasy worldwide as a Java game.
Gameplay is based on the NES release, but with some noticeable differences:
- Bugs present in the NES version were largely fixed, with exception to commonly retrofitted "bugs" such as the Peninsula of Power and miscalculated critical hits.
- A re-translated script.
- An expanded inventory system, allowing the player to carry every item present in the game.
- A quicksave function that may be toggled off and on. The game saves to a separate quicksave slot whenever the player enters a new room or floor, and the file is erased upon being loaded. In difficult dungeons, this feature can be exploited by stepping out of the room or entering the last set of stairs, then re-entering to ensure the quicksave file is not erased. If the party is slain or the player needs to reset, the quicksave file may be used to retain the player's position in the dungeon.
- Dashing and re-targeting, both of which may be toggled off and on (similar to the WSC and Origins versions).
- Some enemy groups have been rearranged. Stronger enemies are sometimes encountered much earlier in the game.
- The Knight and Ninja classes no longer have their MP (or spell charges) capped at 4. Both may advance as high as 9 charges per spell level.
- Chaos's HP is doubled, compared to his NES counterpart.
Sound effects are absent but the player may choose to turn background music off and on. BGMs consist simple MIDI arrangements with no looping points, and there are no boss themes, save for the battle with Chaos. The graphics are a compromise between the GBA and NES versions, having detailed sprites, but retaining more generic map and dungeon tiles similar to those used in the NES release.
Hi-Potions, Phoenix Downs, and other items introduced in the GBA version are not present. The player must make do with standard Potions, Antidotes, Gold Needles, Sleeping Bags, Tents and Cottages. No hidden extras are featured in this port. Clearing the game only displays the ending sequence, with no option to save and begin a New Game Plus file.
Namco's version is typically priced around $4.99, or 4€ and it is 600 KB large.
In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the first Final Fantasy game's release, Square announced another remake, this time for the PlayStation Portable. The soundtrack is borrowed from Final Fantasy Origins. The script is nearly identical to the GBA version aside from the Labyrinth of Time. This version was later released for the Nintendo 3DS with the addition of Stereoscopic 3D.
The known changes and features are:
- Higher resolution – The graphics have been updated and are more detailed. Aerial effects have been added to the towns and dungeons.
- Soul of Chaos Dungeons – The new dungeons from the Dawn of Souls version remain. The music tracks from boss battles were changed to the tracks of the games the new bosses originated from, which consists of five new tracks.
- The Labyrinth of Time – The new dungeon with greater difficulty than any other in the game and its new superboss surpasses even Omega, Shinryu, and Chaos in difficulty.
- Amano art gallery – The art gallery featured on Final Fantasy Origins has returned.
- FMV Scenes – The FMV scenes from the PlayStation version have returned.
- The Family Computer version is available for download in Japan while the Nintendo Entertainment System version is available in North America and Europe.
- The game is not available on 3DS and Wii U outside Japan.
- Final Fantasy Origins is available for download in North America for the PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The games are released separately in Japan.
- The Anniversary Edition versions are available for download in Europe and Japan for the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita.
The port of the original and second Final Fantasy games to the iOS is available in Apple's App Store for $8.99/£5.50. Both games have graphics similar to the Anniversary Edition and their special dungeons. With a single purchase, both the English and Japanese language versions are made available (through the phone's system language). Gameplay from the original Final Fantasy remains the same as in the PlayStation Portable port, while the Final Fantasy II iOS version adds new gameplay elements, mainly the implementation of touch controls. The Window Color option has been removed, and the Art Gallery can no longer be featured on the smartphone versions. The music quality of both is slightly worse in comparison to the Official Soundtrack version (which is fully preserved on the PSP Anniversary editions, quality-wise).
The smartphone version of Final Fantasy includes a "quick save" that allows the player to save the party's current location either on the overworld map or in dungeon mode when the application gracefully exits. This means that when gameplay is interrupted by returning to the home screen, receiving a phone call, or putting the device in sleep mode and subsequently syncing the device (which resets the device's current status), the game will resume in the same location when "Resume" is selected at the opening screen. If the player chooses to open a save file or new game, the data is deleted.
This version has several bugs. One of the worst is that instead of a random value within a range, HP and MP go up by either the minimum or maximum possible value when leveling up. The minimum value appears to be picked 15 times more often than the max value.
A port of the iOS version of the game to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform was made available on the Windows Phone Marketplace in Japan on 4 June 2012, and America and Europe on 13 June 2012. Features unique to this version include a phone status indicator (time, signal, WiFi status and battery level) on the left or right side of the screen (depending on device orientation) and Xbox Live Achievements.
As with apps for the platform, a demo of the Windows Phone version is available. The main difference from the full version is that upon reaching the drawbridge and watching the introduction to the game proper, gameplay is halted and a message appears, stating "This concludes the Demo. Buy the Full Game to play on!". Touching the screen here returns the player to the title screen. Another feature is an option in the title screen menu that offers a direct link to the app listing in the WP Marketplace, where players can purchase the full version. Should the player elect to do so, they can then immediately continue from where the demo ends.
Final Fantasy was made available on the Google Play store 27 July 2012. It is similar to the iOS and the Windows Phone 7 versions, both based on the PlayStation Portable remake, but does not include the bonus dungeons that were not in the original game. Final Fantasy on Android is available for $6.99 / £4.44 in the Google Play store and runs on Android 2.1-compatible devices and up.
- iOS version (v1.0.4) available here (UK, £5.99), here (US, $8.99); 81.5 MB.
- Windows Phone version (v1.0.0), available here (UK, £5.49), here (US, $6.99); 90 MB.
- Android version (v.2.2), available here; 46.4 MB.
A version of the game was released within Final Fantasy Portal App and was a free download until the end of August 2015. It is not compatible with the non-Portal version of the game.
A port of the Anniversary Edition for the 3DS is included with first print copies of Final Fantasy Explorers. It was later released on the eShop.
- Enhanced 3D graphics.