To be fair, I played it for the historical and completionist value. I'd played a bunch of the others by that point and the fact it was one of the "Lost" FF games made it intriguing for me. Not good per se, but it was interesting to experience despite not being very much fun to actually play.Keep in mind, we all played the GBA versions of FFI & FFII. At least the GBA version of FFI revamped the combat further and was a port of the PSX version. The same with FF II, but not much was revamped and barely killed the grind. And I mean barely. Plus, FFI had those cool optional bonus dungeons where you could fight bosses from different FF games. You are right about their original versions being museum relics from the past. The modern ports, depending on the version, mitigate or improves most of the time. The exception is always FFII.
I know one of them played through the game just to brag he beat FFII once, and would never play the cursed title ever again. Yeah, I am sure it was worth the ego boost.
And I'll give it credit, it did introduce a ton of series staple elements and it tried something different then FF1. If the leveling system wasn't so goddamn broken in the wrong ways it might have been remembered more fondly. I beat it once, the Dawn of Souls version, and I have no urge to ever play it ever again.