After the end of Final Fantasy 4, Kain leaves on a quest to redeem himself. His destination is the birthplace of dragons and dragoons. However, when he arrives, he finds the land void of dragons. However, he senses their spirits still linger. The spirits all tell Kain one thing...
An evil has taken hold of the land, wiping out the dragons and will turn the world into a demonic realm.
Kain realizes that it is his duty to purge the evil and make the land whole again with nothing but his wits and the teachings of the dragoon.
Kain's Quest Demo 1.0 features ExGFX, Custom Sprites and Custom Music. 1.0 takes the player through the first world and half of the second.
fixme: custom music causes breaks in accurate emulators
Long levels with a lack of midway points and very few save points in the hack becomes a hassle without savestates. Level design itself ranges from very bad to average and challenging - you'll find rooms that are repetitive like in the first level and Underground Passage, rooms that are flat like the Laboratory level, and rooms in War Factory that are HP checks due to waves of hammers flying your way if you happen to lose your Mana power. The Yellow Switch Palace has a frustrating fast scroll segment where if you don't stick your jump at the lucky millisecond to get over the block hills, you'll get crushed to death. Underground Passage's desire to keep all its ruins blocks a perfect length and checkered stack create many areas where you can duck under and get killed when you release the down button.
The environments in this hack are very cool: there are some laboratories, factories, swamps, and pyramid-like ruins. The overworld maps are decorated nicely, but the lack of paths and events make it both boring and unintuitive to progress through. Most of the music, seeing how this is an old hack, is very unpleasant to listen to. A lot of levels have bad palettes, specially in the foreground. In Off-Shore Platform, you can carry a stunned Bob-Omb through the pipe and create a glitched graphic.
Kain himself is taken right from Final Fantasy IV and animates well. The familiar fanfare plays when you beat a level. I feel like the powerups aren't particularly within Kain's character though: the mana thing looks more like it'd be a shuriken for Edge (who is not in this hack, sorry) and the other powerups are from the Mario universe. Mario's default jumping-on-foes power plays perfectly for Kain's character, as Dragoons in Final Fantasy can jump extremely high and impale enemies. Speaking of impale, where's Kain's spear? ... ...that's not what I meant.
The quality of available resources back then and the mostly poor level design make this hack a disappointment. I WOULD like to see Kain given some justice with a much more polished reboot, as he's an intriguing character.