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  • Don�t get me wrong, I love Final Fantasy. I might be a bit of an apologist at times,

  • and I admit that. But there are some games bearing that alliterative name that even I

  • can�t defend. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is one such game. Sure, it purports

  • to have some connection to Final Fantasy. There are, in fact, moogles. Stiltzkin makes

  • an appearance. There are spells to cast in Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder flavors. This...

  • um, thing... looks for all the world like a Behemoth. It�s sure trying to be Final

  • Fantasy, isn�t it? But there are no morally ambiguous young men here. Youre not dealing

  • with a sea of angst, cloaked in darkness and spouting ellipses everywhere. No, youre

  • dealing with... eight-year-old twins getting into the kinds of fights eight-year-olds get

  • into.


  • Final Fantasy Child Endangerment: Ring of Cautionary Tales.� As would be cynically

  • expected from such a game, most of the action fixes on Yuri, this juggalo wannabe with the

  • bladed object, and Chelnika, his eternally wet blanket of a twin sister. They get into

  • your standard well-meaning misadventures involving shadowy forces attempting to dominate the

  • world, with the one relishing every opportunity to do something stupid and reckless, and the

  • other refusing to shut up about how stupid and reckless said action is. So just block

  • out their antics and pay attention to the gameplay, which... well, take the better parts

  • of the original Crystal Chronicles and get rid of the bedamned bucket. This is basically

  • what youre left with: dungeon-crawling action-RPGing with materials to gather, enemies

  • to hack apart, and various foodstuffs to chomp down for HP. This is Crystal Chronicles, the

  • Final Fantasy designed for Multiplayer (not counting the weirdness that was Final Fantasy

  • VI). As such, you can team up with your friends for exploratory purposes via local wi-fi,

  • doing all that fun stuff like coordinating combined magical attacks and ganging up on

  • huge bosses.

  • Or so I�d say, if there were anyone else in this zipcode with a copy of this game.

  • So, in an improvement over the GameCube version, you actually get to control multiple units

  • in the single-player campaign! Thoughcontrolis a strong word in this case. Really, theyre

  • just going to stand around when they could be hitting something or someone, occasionally

  • getting lost and being beckoned back with the L button. By tapping the icons on the

  • touchscreen, you can switch between characters, as well as coordinate magical combos yourself

  • by beginning a cast (using the same kind of targeting-ring system familiar to players

  • of the original), then poking the icon of an ally currently equipped with a compatible

  • esper, I mean eidolon, I mean materia, I mean magicite. The effects will stack, and there

  • will be a pronounced explosion, all the better to bring down this clapperclaw right here.

  • But while Ring of Fates tries desperately to emulate its big brother, going so far as

  • to bring back the weapon-synthesis system and everything, ultimately it�s the drastic

  • shift in tone from elegant fairytale to ham-fisted Berenstain Bears morality play that dooms

  • this one from the jump. Play it for the mechanics if you must, just please don�t expect that

  • Final Fantasy is anything like... wait. That kid�s got ONE AND A HALF PANT LEGS. I guess

  • this is Final Fantasy, then. My argument is invalid. Judge all you want.

Don�t get me wrong, I love Final Fantasy. I might be a bit of an apologist at times,

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