Final Fantasy I & II Famicom Combo Cart | Collector’s Corner - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Final Fantasy I & II Famicom Combo Cart | Collector’s Corner

Living in Japan, I occasionally come across a number of gaming related items that I never heard of or have never seen in my life. Of course, the Final Fantasy series is well known around the world. With three releases on the Famicom, the series had pretty good representation on the platform. But, did you know that there was a very late release on the system combining the first two games into one cart? That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about. Let’s get into it. 

Original Release
The original Final Fantasy released in Japan on December 18, 1987 on the Famicom. The game received a 34/40 from Famitsu and went on to spawn the million selling series of games. Not only was the game a critical hit, it also saw strong sales, selling 520,000 units in Japan alone. The game eventually made it’s way to North America in May 1990.
Almost exactly a year later, Squaresoft was back at it when they released Final Fantasy II on the Famicom on December 17, 1988. The game scored a bit higher in Famitsu, receiving a 35/40 and performed even better than the original, selling 760,000 units. Although an English translation was worked on for the game in early 1991, the project was ultimately scrapped and the game wouldn’t see an official English release until Final Fantasy Origins on the PlayStation. 
Both games were no strangers to re-releases. Of course, aside from this combo cart that is the main topic of discussion today, both games also found homes on the PlayStation, Wonderswan, Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console, PSP, Nintendo 3DS, mobile and more.

About Final Fantasy I & II Combo Pack
So what is this product exactly? Final Fantasy I & II on the Famicom is a combo cart release of the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II (obviously). Not only this, but the game was also packaged with a special strategy guide for both titles. Both games did receive a few minor updates as well. Here are some of the differences and changes made in these versions of the games (with pictures below):
  • The ability to select either Final Fantasy I or Final Fantasy II from the opening title menu. The save data for both games work independently of each other. The logo here is also more in line with the Final Fantasy logo adopted with Final Fantasy IV and onward.
  • The outer box is more in line with Final Fantasy IV and V, offering deformed versions of the main characters on the box. 
  • A special strategy guide for both games was included (more on that later).
  • The graphics for “Beholder (aka Evil Eye)” and “Death Beholder (aka Death Eye) in Final Fantasy I were changed to match the sprites included in the North American release.
  • The previously mentioned characters are referred to as “Evil Eye” and “Death Eye” in the strategy guide despite their names not being changed in the actual game. 
  • In Final Fantasy II, the opening text corrects a mistake that was in the original version. A misspelling of the word “narakatta” was corrected to “naranakatta.”
Oddly enough, Square Enix has a website entry for this particular collection. They have some of the basics, such as the release date and price. Interestingly, they do also still have a few blurbs of text, too. You can see my translation below:
Not being a “remaster” of sorts for the Super Famicom likely disappointed some, but having both games on one cart packaged with this strategy guide was a pretty good deal.

Lead up to Release of Combo Cart 
Let’s go back to 1994, seven years after the release of the original Final Fantasy in Japan. The Super Famicom has been on the market for four years. Final Fantasy IV and V are already available on the console and VI is just months away from release. Squaresoft had been releasing hit after hit critically and commercially and the Final Fantasy brand had reached new peaks in Japan. The company felt that the timing was appropriate to go back in their catalog and release a special version of their original titles to hopefully draw on the power of the IP. Final Fantasy I & II was released on the Famicom on February 27, 1994 for a suggested retail price of ¥6,800 (roughly $70 USD at the time, which equates to roughly $145 USD in 2023). 
While it might seem strange that Squaresoft would put forth any effort to bring out a re-packing of old games on an old platform, there are a few things that you should know. The Famicom was an absolute juggernaut when it came to install base at the time, even compared to the Super Famicom. As of March 1994, the Famicom was sitting at around 18.6 million consoles sold versus 11.8 million for the Super Famicom. Sure, things were heating up for Nintendo’s successor, but Squaresoft still felt that it was worth giving this experiment a try. Not only this, but the Super Famicom Final Fantasy titles were quite a bit more expensive than this Famicom re-release. Final Fantasy VI, which released in April 1994, retailed for ¥11,400 (roughly $120 USD at the time, which is roughly $244 USD today). Having a budget game on an older system was a risk that Square was willing to take. 

JPY to USD in April 1994 - $1 USD = ¥103.47 via PoundSterling
Inflation values gathered from

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to track down any sales data for this collection, so it’s not really clear if this gamble paid off for Square when all was said and done. Still, this set up a precedent for future re-releases, including re-releases of both of these games in one package. 

My Copy & Photo Gallery
I managed to track down my copy of the game quite randomly. I don’t recall exactly when I picked it up, but it was likely sometime around 2010 or 2011. At first glance, I thought this was a Super Famicom game given the size of the box. I paid next to nothing for the game and it has been sitting my shelf pretty much ever since. 
My copy isn’t in the best condition, but it’s still pretty decent. It came with all of the inserts, instruction manual, cart holder, guide and styrofoam insert. The box itself is pretty clean, but it does have a bit of a tear on one of the corners. The front of my cart is pretty clean but it is a bit dingy on the back. Being a combo cart, it’s also interesting to note the size of this cart when compared to other Famicom games. In case you didn’t know, Famicom game carts are typically just a little bit smaller than standard Super Nintendo game carts. This custom cart is quite a bit bigger than both to accommodate both games. 
The included guide is a really nice addition. There are over 100 pages here filled with a walkthrough, tips, weapon and armor data and lots of great artwork. Even if you can’t find a physical copy to thumb through for yourself, you can find a digital copy up on (here). Also, for any of the other details that were discussed here, be sure to check out the sources section below.

After some quick searches on eBay, this game is a little bit hard to come by, but not impossible to get your hands on. There were a decent number of listings that are available as of October 2023 at relatively reasonable prices. If you want this thing, it’s not prohibitively expensive at the moment. You can see some more photos of my copy of the game below.
The Final Fantasy I & II combo cart for the Famicom was definitely a cool find and an interesting nugget of history from the Square's catalog. Of course, this is a thing that at least some gamers in Japan were and are aware of. But let’s turn things over to you. Did you know about the existence of this cart? Do you have one? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! 


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