Dead End

The Game Boy was a really great Christmas present, even though I still don’t quite understand why my grandparents bought me KungFu Master and Final Fantasy Adventure as games. The cover design definitely can’t have been the reason. And while KungFu Master could not captivate me, Final Fantasy Adventure turned out to be a real stroke of luck. I already liked the theme song by Kenji Ito: At first melancholic and heavy, later on increasingly euphoric. A spirit of optimism. The beginning of a huge adventure.

I spent many, many hours with the game and yet I only remember fragments (and possibly incorrectly) of individual moments and places. You had to hold a mirror up to Meduse. Or a vampire. Or something like that. Around two trees in the desert you had to run an “8” to reveal a secret cave entrance in the rocks. To this day, I’m still not sure how I ever solved that mystery. Maybe it was on one of the “Tips & Cheat” pages of Nintendo Club Magazine. Some old man gave you an axe to cut down trees and open up new paths. And even though I still have a rudimentary view of certain types of enemies and boss battles, I can’t remember much else. In the end, that could be because I’ve repressed some things. Because even though I stumbled through the big world quite aimlessly, I somehow got closer and closer to the end. At least until my brother got his hands on the Game Boy and saved my game at the wrong time and in the wrong place: Dead End. And with all the fragmented memories of the game, I’m still very much aware of that place. A room with an artificial waterfall. A door on the left and right, both closed. No switch, no keys in the inventory, no way to open one of the doors to leave the room. Dead End.

25 years after the release of Final Fantasy Adventure a remake was released in 2016 under the name Adventures of Mana. Numerous Reddit threads indicate that the problem still seems to be present in the remake. My favorite quote from one of these threads: “I have accidently saved in a room where I can’t get out because I need keys, is there anyway to smash down these doors?”

Final Fantasy Adventure, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden and later released in Europe as Mystic Quest, is a Final Fantasy spinoff and the first game in the Mana series. Published by Square in 1991 on the Game Boy.

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