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The VC Advantage: Square's Knight


King's Knight is fairly bizarre, much like anything else Square did before, say, Final Fantasy. A medieval shooter is at the very least more original than Square's takes on OutRun and Space Harrier. What is most interesting to us is how related it seems to be to what eventually became Final Fantasy.

We wanted to provide just the endgame sequence here, but we were limited to what YouTube would provide. If you'd like the ultimate spoiler, you're free to watch the entire video (or, hey! Gameplay strategy: do exactly what this guy does) but our interest is around the 17-minute mark, when the final boss fight is about to begin. By now, the four player characters -- the knight, the wizard, the monster, and the thief -- have united to form a party, moving in concert, and have all leveled up significantly. Each character has gained the ability to use powerful spells -- the knight's, shown here, is a Pegasus transformation that is extremely similar to a summon. The final boss is a giant dragon who seems to have crawled up through the floor.

We like to imagine King's Knight as an evolutionary relative to Final Fantasy, and think of what would have happened if Hironobu Sakaguchi had decided to continue down this path instead of lifting Dragon Quest's gameplay wholesale. Would Square have turned into a hardcore shooter company? Would they be making games with flashy graphics, memorable characters, anime-like storylines, excessive cutscenes, baroque character leveling systems -- and blazing-fast arcade gameplay?

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