Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is an entry-level RPG for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System designed to feature simplified in-game options, storyline, and player control. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest features many elements of other Final Fantasy games, including a story focusing on quests centered on restoring five crystals. Designed for American gamers as an RPG for younger players in the days when RPGs were still a niche genre, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was a simpler and more narrowly driven RPG title than the players and/or fans of Final Fantasy and other such RPG games are used to. It includes an optional auto mode for the other party members to make the best decisions during battle. The game was designed to be linear, that is, travel in the game is restricted to certain pathways as the game progresses.
The game is called Mystic Quest Legend in Europe to connect it to Mystic Quest (the name of the European version of Final Fantasy Adventure). Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is called Final Fantasy USA: Mystic Quest in Japan, even though the game was made in Japan. On September 24, 2010, the game was released on the Wii Virtual Console.
Gameplay in Mystic Quest is simplified compare to other Final Fantasy titles. There are no random encounters; enemies appear on the map and a battle with an enemy party is initiated when they are approached. Travel on the World Map is restricted to direct paths between nodes with no exploration, and the only enemies fought on the overworld are restricted to Battlefields. Equipment cannot be purchased from shops, save for a handful of NPCs that sell single pieces, and the strongest equipment the player has is always used, as previous equipment pieces are universally rendered obsolete with inferior stats. Combat is turn based, and the player has the option to set their ally to AI control or manual. Magic is divided into three schools and uses the original Final Fantasy system; each school has a separate MP count, and casting a spell from that school consumes one MP. Status ailments and elemental attacks with appropriate weaknesses and resistances remain. If the player falls in battle they have the option to start the fight over in the same status as when it began.
The game has a heavier action influence than other Final Fantasy games, and has numerous platform elements. Benjamin can jump to leap over obstacles and gaps, and push some obstacles around to open new paths. Weapons can be used in the field to various effects: swords are used to hit switches, axes chop down trees, claws allow Benjamin to climb walls, and bombs can be used to blow up obstacles. The strongest claw, the Dragon Claw, also allows Benjamin to throw the claw across wide gaps to latch onto hooks and pull himself across, and the Mega Grenade allows him to blow up obstacles from a distance.
While experience points and levels are earned as per usual, the player's level cannot be maxed out at level 99 or 100, but at level 41.
- Benjamin: The game's main character, Benjamin is aided by four different allies at different points in the game.
- Kaeli: A native of Foresta. She is able to talk to trees and her weapon of choice are axes.
- Tristam: A mercenary who fights with shurikens during battle. He is Benjamin's least reliable ally as he is always looking for compensation for his "services".
- Phoebe: She is a powerful archer from Aquaria, who accompanies Benjamin to the final battle.
- Reuben: He is from the town of Fireburg, and wields a morning star in battle.
The game begins when Benjamin finds his village has been destroyed, and is on the Hill of Destiny as it is beginning to collapse. He is contacted by a mysterious old man and told he must rescue the other four crystals and return their emblems to the Focus Tower at the center of the world. After defeating a Behemoth, Benjamin sets off on his journey. Journeying to the Level Forest, he learns the forest has begun to rot as a result of monsters. This has also affected the village of Foresta nearby and has begun to age its people at an accelerated rate.
Recruiting Kaeli from Foresta, Benjamin explores the forest and finds a Minotaur, who poisons Kaeli. Benjamin travels to a shrine seeking the Elixir to cure her, but is beaten there by Tristam. Tristam agrees to give Benjamin the Elixir if he assists him in acquiring a treasure in the nearby Bone Dungeon. Accompanying Tristam into the dungeon, the two find the Flamerus Rex guarding the treasure keep. After killing the Rex, Tristam hands over the Elixir for Kaeli, after which the Crystal of Earth appears, rejuvenated and returning the Level Forest to normal. Tristam claims the dungeon's treasure and leaves. Kaeli is cured, but worries about Aquaria to the north-east. Benjamin volunteers to go make sure the people are safe.
Entering the Focus Tower, Benjamin meets the old man, who tells him Captain Mac will be vital to his quest before running away. Climbing the tower and entering the Aquaria region, Benjamin finds the land in deep snowfall, and the waterfall overlooking Aquaria frozen solid. Meeting Phoebe in Aquaria, she tells him the Libra Crest in Wintry Cave can allow them to warp to the Libra Temple and use Wakewater to melt the magical ice. Accompanying Benjamin to the cave, Phoebe finds the crest and uses it to acquire the last of the Wakewater from the old man. The Wakewater fails to melt the ice, and Phoebe decides to go to the Ice Pyramid to investigate.
After traveling through Falls Basin, the two scale the waterfall and enter the Ice Pyramid. At the top floor they find an Ice Golem. After killing it, the Crystal of Water shines again and the ice melts, freeing Aquaria. In the restored Aquaria, Benjamin finds Phoebe's grandfather Spencer digging a path under the town. Spencer tells Benjamin to go to Fireburg and gives him more information regarding Captain Mac.
After finding Fireburg near an active volcano, Benjamin discovers it has recently been plagued by earthquakes. Benjamin finds Reuben and helps him rescue his father Arion by releasing a huge boulder that was blocking his way. Arion tells Benjamin the Crystal of Fire is inside the volcano. Benjamin scales the volcanos outside and descends into the Lava Dome. At the end of the path lies the Dualhead Hydra. Upon slaying it, the Fire Crystal is restored and the volcano erupts, opening a new entrance to the Focus Tower.
Entering the tower, the old man tells Benjamin to look for Otto Cid Bekenstein in Windia. Descending to a valley, Reuben falls off a bridge fighting a monster, leaving Benjamin to continue with Tristam to the Alive Forest where a large tree will not allow Benjamin to pass. Benjamin returns to Aquaria and asks Kaeli to help move the tree while Spencer and Tristam go treasure hunting. At the center of the Alive Forest, the giant tree allows the two to enter him and kill the monsters plaguing him in return for passage. After doing so, the tree takes them to Windia.
In Windia, Otto's daughter has been stranded in Pazuzu's Tower on a northern plateau accessible only by the Rainbow Bridge Machine, which the high winds have destroyed. After going to Mount Gale and weakening the winds enough for the bridge to be repaired, the two enter Pazuzu's Tower and find Pazuzu. After chasing Pazuzu through the tower via elevators, he is killed and the Crystal of Wind is restored, bringing the winds to a halt.
In Windia, Reuben tells Benjamin about a secret passage to the Focus Tower under the bridge. After acquiring a Thunder Rock from Arion, Otto increases the Rainbow Bridge's power to allow passage to a deeper area of Spencer's tunnel. Using explosives, Benjamin and Reuben find a crest that allows them to warp to where Captain Mac's ship has been stranded. After rescuing him from the monsters on the ship, Mac and Kaeli return to Foresta, and Phoebe accompanies Benjamin. Using Mac's ship, they enter a secret area of the Focus Tower known as Doom Castle.
After finding reincarnations of the fiends draining the crystals, Benjamin and Phoebe reach the top of the Focus Tower and find the Dark King who explains the prophecy of a hero was a rumor spread by him centuries ago. After a fierce battle, the Dark King is killed and the old man appears, revealing his true self as the Crystal of Light. Benjamin decides to take Mac's ship in search of more adventures, bidding farewell to his friends before sailing away. Tristam emerges from below decks and decides to accompany him. The game ends with the ship sailing towards the open sea.
A soundtrack for the music featured in the game was released in Japan, called Final Fantasy USA - Mystic Quest Sound Collections. It was composed by Ryuji Sasai and Yasuhiro Kawakami.
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest has received a considerable amount of criticism, and is perhaps one of the most disliked games of the series. Many of the fans' complaints stem from the game's simplicity and difference from other games in the franchise, as well as a "too basic" setup. Some of the more well-known objections have to do with its story, gameplay, linear paths, characters, and exploration, the latter being one of the most frequent ones. The general opinion regarding exploration in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is that Final Fantasy is not a game of exploring. As a basis, the most criticized area of exploring is the usage of weapons in the map instead of in battle, as well as jumping across gaps and using weapons like the Dragon's Claw to traverse open areas.
The game nonetheless has a cult following, and is most commonly praised for its musical score, which was composed by Ryuji Sasai who also composed the music for Final Fantasy Legend III, and Rudra no Hihō, another Square title which took the basic Final Fantasy mechanics and put a different spin on them. Some of the other praised elements include the divisive exploration and "field weapon" mechanics; for players who do enjoy the concept, the field weapons and their related puzzles, while fairly simple, help to add identity to individual dungeons and a sense of player progression. The field weapon concept also puts some value into revisiting dungeons for extra rewards, as opposed to the relatively "one-and-done" nature of such locations in most Final Fantasy games.
- The game shares more than a few similarities with Final Fantasy Legend III, most likely due to the games having the same staff.
- Despite being a relatively obscure title in the series, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was still acknowledged in Dissidia Final Fantasy, where one of the Mognet moogles is named "Benjamin" (the Japanese release naturally reflects this with the name "Zash"), and in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, which features "Battle 1" and "Battle 2" as Battle Music Sequence (BMS) tracks.