To celebrate final fantasy 15 coming to Steam on March 6, I am taking a look back through the rich backlog of Final Fantasy games over the years. I will detail the games themselves as well as going over behind the doors goings on Square during the times they were making the games.

I have gone over the NES era of games and the SNES era of games, and now we move onto the incredibly successful PS1 era of games.

'Final Fantasy 7'

"Final Fantasy 7" was released in 1997 for the PS1 and garnered a great deal of critical and financial success. Though the previous games in the series were seen as successful, this is the game that blew those previous measures of success out of the water.

To many critics, "Final Fantasy 7" made the PS1 console. It exploded the popularity of JRPGs in America. At the time of release, there was no other video game in the world that managed to achieve what this game did. Final Fantasy 7 revolutionized the gaming industry and moved Square to the position of one of the biggest video game companies worldwide.

After the release of "Final Fantasy 6", Square was looking to the next generation of consoles. Though they had a strong relationship with Nintendo up to that point, Square had difficulty working the more limiting cartridges used with the Nintendo 64. They were more impressed with the disc-based PlayStation, so jumped ship to Sony’s console.

The increased power and space available on discs made "Final Fantasy 7" the first game in the series to go 3D.

It used 3D models on pre-rendered backgrounds, and at the time the game looked great. Cinematic cutscenes littered the game, and summons, in particular, looked visually impressive. Despite the increased power of discs on the PlayStation, it took 3 discs for everything in the game to fit.

The soundtrack is held up as iconic, even to this day.

Several music pieces are instantly recognizable to video game players, including the theme for the last boss with accompanying vocals. The music perfectly frames this adventure from start to finish.

You play as Cloud Strife, a former soldier turned mercenary helping a group called Avalanche. The Avalanche are trying to stop the Shinra corporation from destroying the world for profit, but Cloud’s old war buddy Sephiroth is also weaved into the story with many twists and turns throughout.

The story is held, by many, to be hugely important.

An event that takes place roughly halfway through the game is seen by many to be one of the most emotional and surprising scenes in video game history, even to this day. It is no surprise that many hold the story up as one of the best.

Square created the materia system for this game, with each weapon and armor having slots on them you can equip materia onto. This materia lets you use magic during battle. So, a fire materia lets you use fire spells, and an ice materia lets you use ice spells. Battles give you AP, which helps to level up your materia to get better spells.

One thing many people didn’t expect from this game was the number of minigames.

You can snowboard, ride submarines, play basketball, be involved in a motorbike chase and even raise chocobos. There is a battle arena with some top quality prizes, and a rollercoaster you can go on too.

When you consider there are so many side areas you never have to go to in the story, so many sidequests that you may miss on your first playthrough, so many optional and difficult bosses you can test yourself against, it is a wonder that they only needed three discs for all this.

"Final Fantasy 7" is widely held up as one of the best video games of all time. It was a huge success, selling 2 million copies just three days after its release in Japan. By the end of 1997, the game had sold over a million copies in America.

With every subsequent release totaled up, the game has sold over an astonishing 11 million copies.

The game is available on Playstation 4 and Steam, and there is also a complete remake of the game heading to the PS4 sometime soon.

'Final Fantasy 8'

Released in 1999 for the PS1, "Final Fantasy 8" was hotly anticipated. Following on the heels of the most critically acclaimed game in the series to date, people were very excited to see what Square would deliver next. Not many people expected the changes that they made for this game.

The first change people noticed is the character models. Given a more realistic design, the characters of "Final Fantasy 8" actually look human shaped and proportioned.

This was a big step up in terms of 3D graphics. While the game continued to use pre-rendered backgrounds, everything looked sharper and clearer than its predecessor.

With the entire look of the game given a modern and realistic feel, this was a large step away from the strong fantasy approach the games have had since conception. This is reflected in the story as well, as it is a lot more political than previous entries.

You play as Squall, a cadet in a military school. He is given a job to help out a woman, Rinoa, and it leads him to stand against an opposing nation led by a sorceress while trying to figure out the strange dreams he has.

This game changes many things in the battle system. While still using the ATB system of old, Square, once again, mixes things up.

They entirely changed the magic system, allowing you to collect spells from monsters you fight. You can then equip the spells into your stats to give them boosts.

This leads to you think about the risk and reward of casting spells. You may need to use a healing spell, but you have healing spells equipped to your HP. If you use a healing spell, your maximum HP would go down. You may use a fire spell, but if fire spells are equipped to your defense, your defense will drop as well.

"Final Fantasy 8" is renowned for introducing the card game to the series. Known as Triple Triad, you get to collect cards of monsters in the game against other people. There are hundreds of cards to collect in the game and lots of sidequests to unlock more hidden away.

Not only is it an amusing distraction, but you can transform the cards into various powerful items.

Another thing the game is notable for is its difficulty. Enemies all level up with you, so if your party is level 100 then every enemy in the game is also level 100. This actually makes the game easier if you never level up. Enemies will all be around level 10, while your party will get better magic to equip so you will continue to get stronger as the game goes by.

This game also has an even bigger world than the previous game, each area with its own enemies and secrets. Square had to put this game on four discs in total, such was the size and scope of the game.

"Final Fantasy 8" was another huge success for Square.

It sold 6 million copies in its first year alone, hitting the top spot in games sales in Japan, America, and the UK. While you can still get the game for the PS1, it may be easier to get a digital copy on Steam.

'Final Fantasy 9'

Released in 2000 for the PS1, "Final Fantasy 9" was the last game in the series to be released for the console. Because of this, the developers wanted to make the game a retrospective of the entire series to date. This led to the game moving away from the modern and even futuristic setting of the previous two games and more into a fantasy medieval setting reminiscent of the first 6 games.

You played as Zidane, who is tasked to kidnap the Princess of Alexandria for the neighboring country of Lindblum.

This sparks a chain of events that leads to the entire world going to war and your characters attempts to prevent this.

The first thing people notice is the character models moving away from the realistic looking models of the last two games. In this game, the characters look almost cartoon-like. This is also reflected in the story, which is far more light-hearted and humorous than the previous installments.

The game introduces a system called Active Time Event, which lets you see other events that are happening at the same time. If you have Zidane at one end of a city, you can also see little cutscenes of other characters in a different part of the city. This really helps to flesh out other characters, as you got to see them interact with the world without your input.

The characters personalities are a strong point of this game. Nearly all of the eight party members you acquire get developed, and you watch them grow throughout the game. This leads to a certain amount of affection and attachment to these characters, with many people creating a party of their favorites.

The music of this game is stellar, with longtime Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu claiming this game was his favorite to make. The game remixes several tracks from older Final Fantasy games, keeping in line with the series retrospective the game was trying to be. This also led to more lighter tracks being used, in keeping with the light-hearted theme of the game.

The game mechanics also changed quite dramatically.

Each piece of equipment had its own unique abilities attached to it that you can equip to your characters. One ability might resist poison, while another would prevent sleep. You gain AP when you win battles, which helps your characters master the equipment abilities, and you are able to use these abilities without having to equip the relevant items.

This leads to a lot of old equipment still having a use. You can’t just buy the strongest equipment from stores, as you may miss abilities you may need. This helps the game have an upward progression to it, as you slowly get stronger and gain more abilities as the game progresses.

Each character has its own unique class, like in "Final Fantasy 4". Zidane, the main character, is a thief and so has high speed and can steal. Vivi is a black mage and is the only character to use offensive magic. No one character can do everything in the game, and while the game is beatable with any combination of characters, you have to think tactically about your team.

The game does have its criticisms, however. The battles themselves are very slow. This can slow dungeons down, as the encounter rate is set perhaps a little too high as well. The sheer expansiveness of the game also leads to long loading times, much longer than the other games of the series released for the PS1.

Square had also developed an online guide for the game titled the PlayOnline. Extensive printed guides for Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 had been released alongside those games, but for Final Fantasy 9 a lot of the information in the printed guides was missing. The guide told the reader to check the PlayOnline website for this information. This led to a lot of fan backlash.

The other big criticism of the game is the inclusion of its card game. While the card game in "Final Fantasy 8" was a popular inclusion, Square decided to change things up for this game. They changed a lot of the mechanics of the card game, but it has led to a lot of confusion with players. The card game was not well explained in the game and, though you can find guides online nowadays, it was over-complicated and confusing at the time.

Despite this, "Final Fantasy 9" was yet another success for Square. It sold over 2.5 million copies in its first year alone. Though these numbers were not as high as the previous two installments, it was still generally considered a success. Another big plus about this game is it currently holds the highest Metacritic score of any "Final Fantasy" game to date.

The game was remastered on PS4 and Steam in the last few years. The game was given a graphical boost, achievements and several other additions. If you wish to try out this highly regarded title then they would be the best way to go about that.

Next time, we move into the PS2 era. Look forward to Square's foray into online "Final Fantasy" games as well as the company nearly going bankrupt again.