When you play the translation you can spot the changes. For example, every character has a unique ability like Cecil's dark arts that he uses in the intro (and you could never use). Chests were also moved to reward you sooner. I always found it odd that the anti-metal cave had a chest with an awesome hammer, but you couldn't use it since it was metal (oops!). Turns out it was originally in a later dungeon but by then it's not as awesome. Finally there's also less exp needed to level.
I never figured out the Queen's reflect trick either, though with a bit of patience I managed to power through her healing and whittle her down. I still have my NES and SNES collection with games like Final Fantasy 2, 3, and Chrono Trigger. Last I checked my most valuable game was Bubble Bobble 2 for NES.
Ah, that is the cartridge I had as a kid. You spoony bard! Yep. Except it didn't seem watered down difficulty at all to me... I wasn't a very smart kid. Took me a long time to beat the Queen with the rotating head.