Epic Battle Fantasy is the first game in the Epic Battle Fantasy series. It is based primarily upon the two main characters, Matt and Natalie, on their seemingly aimless "epic battle fantasy" quest, fighting through a legion of foes. It is followed by sequels Epic Battle Fantasy 2, 3 and 4.
The game begins with Matt (P1) and Natalie (P2) in a shop, with a shopkeeper suspiciously resembling Anna. Afterwards, Matt and Natalie are plunged into an unidentified forest or grassland-like environment, typical of a starting area in RPGs. The players are launched into a fight with a number of Slimes before being confronted by the area's boss, a Giant Green Slime wearing a stone, turret-like structure containing NoLegs. After mercilessly slaughtering the hapless foe, the players move to a new area, one with a blood-red sky and filled with dead trees. Here, the players are introduced to Eyeballs, and the area's boss is the Beholder (from Dungeons and Dragons). Afterwards, the players advance to a depressing area filled with fog, mud, and little else. The zone lacks a boss, and the only enemies are Haunted Trees. The next realm that the players plunder, however, is comprised of only a boss, in the form of the Defender. Following this, a witch-like shopkeeper offers to sell them more wares. The players exit the store and enter a rocky beach area. After slaying multiple Crabs, the first Legendary Golem (Pokémon) Regice presents itself to the players. This impressive entrance is cut short when the players promptly beat it up, but Regice retreats before it's killed. As the players chase the Golem into a sparkly backdrop, Regirock appears to cover its brother's retreat. After some time at battle, the two Golems team up to defeat the players. Predictably, the players kill the lot of them. The players, undistracted by their recent victory, proceed to a volcanic area that throws Eyes at them. The next zone appears to be some sort of underground bunker that stores a mighty Mecha that closely resembles the Praetorian or Guardian of later games. The players resurface in an ominous graveyard guarded by Skull Ghosts. In the center of the cemetary, Zombie Goku awaits them, and in a final climactic duel for the fate of the Earth, Zombie Goku is re-killed, and a nuclear explosion carves a massive crater in the side of the planet, spreading radiation far and wide, and setting the stage for Lance's rise to power in EBF2. Meanwhile, the wounded players are taken in by the Kitten Kingdom ...
The game progresses in a simple turn-based RPG style, with fight screens and backgrounds somewhat reminiscent to Final Fantasy IV. Several characters have been adapted from other well-known games, such as Pokémon. Battles are separated into different areas depicted by the background, each area revealing new foes that are harder to defeat. Apart from that, the game is very limited as there is lack of any evident storyline, and none of the other common RPG elements are included. There are no explorable maps or real-time navigation, NPCs or additional character interaction, and the party is set to the two main characters. Items can be bought in a shop screen which appears at designated breaks in the game (usually after 3 boss fights).
After the title screen, a quick "How To Play" dialogue appears outlining the basic instructions, with tips such as using slimes for practice. The background features an array of Matt and Natalie's weapons. This is followed by an option dialogue for difficulty setting. A difficulty of Easy will decrease foes' damage to 80% of Normal, whereas Hard will increase to 120%, and Epic 140%. The player is taken to the standard shop screen, with 14,000 funds to spend on common healing items such as Potions, stat raisers, and Bob-ombs for offensive. A message warns about the irregularity of shop screens, before launching the player into the first battle, revealing no background or story.
In every fight screen, Matt and Natalie are on the left while foes are placed on the right, facing them. The players' health and mana are displayed in the bottom left corner, and next to it a list of available commands. A retractable Options menu is found in the bottom right corner. Unlike the sequels, the health of foes is not permanently displayed anywhere, however a white vertical indicator bar briefly appears when successfully attacking a foe. Both characters start with a maximum HP of 9999, and MP of 999. During battle, Mog may randomly appear with a healing item and restore one of the characters' health, mana, or status. Matt and Natalie may also utter emoticons when attacked.
From the command menu, the player can choose for each character to make a standard attack, defend to minimize damage, invoke a special attack, or use an item. Matt can also swap to an alternate sword to enhance a specific move. Both characters have differing special abilities. Matt can perform magic-imbued attacks with his sword, called Bushido, or choose from several defensive and offensive Special skills. On the other hand, Natz has a poor primary attack, but she can unleash powerful Black and White Magic spells, as well as conjure from four different Summons. The order cannot be altered, Matt will always act first before Natz, unless he is stunned or dead.
When defeating foes, there is no gaining of experience, or any leveling system, however random items may be dropped. Both characters will jump up and exclaim a word or emoticon. The difficulty will increase as the game progresses, the number of opponents generally increasing when a new wave of foes replace the ones defeated. After three or so waves, a formidable Boss will appear, also marking the end of the area. Foes have no names or descriptions, but come in different species, colors and varieties. Therefore it is unclear how much of a factor elements have in the damage given to the foe, though it is safe to assume that Fire will be most effective on a Haunted Tree.
The Options menu provides sections for changing three available settings: Help, Text, and Quality. Turning Help off (on by default) will remove the extra Help dialogue attached when selecting from special abilities, swords, and items. This may deprive important information such as stats, type of damage inflicted, effect on players and/or foes, and useful tips, so is only recommended for advanced players. Changing the Text speed will quicken the narration during cutscenes. If your computer's graphics are not capable of running the flash smoothly, you may want to lower the Quality. Clicking the X button will retract the menu into the corner, while clicking it again will bring it back up.
- Matt and Natalie are referred to as Player 1 and Player 2 in the game, but have their names revealed in the Gallery.
- Bob-ombs are adapted from the Bob-omb character of Nintendo's popular Mario series.
- There is a glitch when turning Help off while a Help dialogue is showing--the dialogue will not disappear but stay frozen on the information it is displaying, until a different menu command is selected.
- There is a glitch where the Options dialogue will not stay retracted after a shop screen.
- Instead of Nolegs, it is shown that Mog is used for item-giving.