The fourth entry in the face-meltingly popularFinal Fantasy game series, and the first 16-bit game in the series.The main character of this tale is Cecil, a Dark Knight in the service of the King of Baron. After questioning the recent warmongering of his king, he is demoted to errand boy and sent to a village called Mist in order to deliver a package and slay a dragon menacing its borders. He is joined by his best friend and rival, a Dragoon named Kain. Once they reach the village, they discover that nothing is quite what they have been told: they have been used as disposable pawns in Baron's ongoing crusade to capture the Power Crystals that exist around the world. Cecil vows to stop the evil intentions of Baron, but first he must atone for the sins that he committed in its service and overcome his own inner darkness.Since the second and thirdFinal Fantasy games hadn't been released in North America when Final Fantasy IV came out, the North American release of FFIV was titled Final Fantasy II. The North American FFII was easier than the Japanese version; before the North American version was released, it spawned another Japanese version, "Final Fantasy IV Easytype", whose difficulty level was scaled down even farther (thus, the North American version was less difficult than the original Japanese version, but significantly harder than Easytype). The North American Final Fantasy II also suffered from severe censorship ("You spoony bard!", anyone?). Many of the fan favorite lines were kept in the re-released versions.Received a cellphone sequel called The After Years (also available on WiiWare and the PlayStation Portable), which stars the old cast and some of their children teaming up again to prevent the same catastrophe from happening again. It, along with Final Fantasy IV itself, was released on the PSP in March 2011 in Japan and April everywhere else. Also includes a midquel called Interlude to connect the plots better. Both games use new graphics and is the largest 2D graphical change to the original other than the cellphone version. This version is heavily based on the Game Boy Advance version, only thing taken from the Nintendo DS version is translations of terms (e.g. Carnellian Signet rather than "Bomb Ring").Final Fantasy IV is considered by many to be one of the best games of the series. It's been remade/ported numerous times; this has garnered some distaste for the game as its story and battle system haven't aged well. In addition to being half of the Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation on the PlayStation, FFIV has been ported to the GBA, and was the second game (after Final Fantasy III, which didn't make it over beforehand) to be remade with 3D graphics on the Nintendo DS. It's also the first remake to add voice acting, if only for key scenes.
All Myths Are True: The Mysidian Legend, naturally, turns out to not only be dead-on accurate, but the basis for the entire game.
Always Check Behind the Chair: Many areas have hidden goods or passageways, but Eblan Castle deserves special mention due to the sheer prevalence of this. In summary, there are: secret corridors on basically every floor; a Sutra hidden behind the throne; a pit that you have to edge your way across to reach a chest; and then, just to confuse you, a different pit that you'll only fall through if you try to cross it. That's not even getting into The Very Definitely Final Dungeon's obsession with paths under paths under paths, all obscured by the top-view.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: The Interlude chapter in the PSP version has no point but a quick Hand Wave about why the Maenads look like Rydia, and you unlock a few entries in the Art Gallery. But even then, you need a complete Bestiary to do it, and that's a Guide Dang It because several enemy encounters are rare and difficult to get.note The Trap Door enemies, you have to let them transform into other monsters because those monsters cannot be fought in any other way. Meanwhile Edge's section of the game takes him through the Tower of Babil, and several enemies are only met on a staircase a single screen long, and if you go to the top of those stairs the story progresses and those encounters are Lost Forever.
Anyone Can Die: The game makes it looks like this, but only one playable character is dead for good toward the end.
Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have five people in your party. This game's method of dealing with it? Killing off the spares. Though only one stays dead, which makes it all the more obvious. Seemingly averted when Baigan joins your party (who would have been a sixth party member), but Palom and Porom reveal him to be a monster on Golbez' side before you even have a chance to go to the menu screen.
Artist Appeal: This game contains more or less all of Amano's favorite art trends. Cecil is the typical pale willowy man with frizzy white hair, blue lips, and very pale skin. He also has what Amano loves spiked armor and a cape. Rosa and Rydia meanwhile are clad in catsuits, and as for capes, it's probably more efficient to list the main characters who do not wear a cape (Cid, Kain, Yang, and arguably Fusoya, who wears a robe).
Ascended Meme: "You Spoony Bard!" is the Trope Codifier for the series, being kept in all releases of the game when the rest of the script has been re-translated. It has even worked its way into other Final Fantasy games and beyond.
The Atoner: Cecil, Kain, and Golbez at the end of the game and in The After Years.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Meteor spell. It does high damage but it's blunted by its high casting time, high MP cost, the 9999 damage cap, and by the time Rydia levels up enough to learn it, she can do just as much damage with Flare or Bahamut, which cast faster and cost less MP.
Baleful Polymorph: Pig, Toad, and Mini. Some of the mages in Mysidia will use them on you when you revisit the town as a Dark Knight and continue to use them after you've transformed into a Paladin. Of course, they seem to have no problem using them on you when you are already so afflicted which changes you back.
Batman Can Breathe in Space: Possibly. The Enterprise simply goes straight up out of the screen's range when entering the Tower of Zot, and the exterior of the tower is never actually seen, so the party could be reaching the thinner layers of Earth's atmosphere when they reach it, or possibly even out into space. It's adverted later on with the Red Moon, which has a breathable atmosphere despite being smaller than our own moon, due to the Lunarian's advanced technology.
Beef Gate: Eblan Castle, which you can enter as soon as you have an airship. Its monsters are meant to be taken on much later in the game, but if you can survive, you end up with some borderline Disc One Nuke equipment.
Beneath the Earth: The underground world of the dwarves, featuring mountain ranges, a sea of magma, and the lower part of the Tower of Babil.
Bewitched Amphibians: The game features frogs that turn you into frogs (and, because of how the mechanic works in-game, frequently subsequently change you back again). A (justifiably) pissed off wizard in Mysidia will turn you into a frog, but, again thanks to the game mechanic, will turn you back if you talk to him again.
In particlar, during the scene where Cecil and the gang talk in private at Baron's inn, Cecil introduces Tellah as Edward's father◊. Tellah and Edward are not related, as the whole "spoony bard" incident makes no sense otherwise.
Bold Inflation: The Dark Elf speaks in ALL CAPS in the SNES version. "YOU CANNOT USE METALLIC WEAPONS. YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME!"
Bonus Boss: Some of Rydia's summons, Zeromus EG and the Dark Summons in the GBA version, and two more in the DS version, accessible only on a New Game+.
Bonus Feature Failure: The Complete Collection release for PSP comes with a new Interlude chapter connecting this game to The After Years except all it does is show Ursula being born and gives a Hand Wave to why the Maenads look like Rydia, while many of the other questions of the sequel about the Creator and the Maenads go unanswered. The Interlude chapter is also built on the original game's engine, right down to enemies having the same stats and some areas having mostly the same enemy encounter groups, and is fully linear with absolutely no exploration or backtracking.
Boring, but Practical: The game's stinginess with MP recovery items (see below) means that you'll be relying on regular weapon attacks quite a bit. Not to mention that many characters use little or no magic to begin with.
This is fixed in the DS remake. Rosa's Pray ability has a much higher success rate than the original game and heals MP as well as HP. It is also possible to teach a character Bless, which is an MP regen spell. Quite useful, considering how much more important MP is in the remake (in the end-game your mages are double-casting every turn, and the Phoenix skill which revives fallen allies heals them equal to the percentage of MP the Phoenix-caster has.
Even with the stinginess of MP recovering items you'll find Hold (and later Stop) to be a good opener to many standard encounters. Know an enemy who dishes out painful counterattacks every time it's hit? Does it have disgustingly high health? Does it throw out nasty status effects that prevent character action? Just cast either on it and and laugh. You'll often spend more MP healing through damage than you will using Hold and/or Stop to prevent damage at all. The best part? Hold costs a measly 5 MP. That's only two more MP than the basic Cure spell. While Stop is less practical, costing 15 MP, it tends to last much longer than Hold.
Bowdlerise: The "spoony bard" line is actually one of the least blatant examples in the SNES version. Much worse are the recurring Never Say "Die" elements, leading to lines like "A girl from Baron was kept from falling down", or the total elimination of anything remotely religious like references to Hell. The latter manifests itself in cringe-worthy lines like "Fall flat into the deep ravine!" or "Come with us, Edge... To the Dark World!!" Cecil's Dark Knight equipment was also changed, with Hades armor becoming "Black" and the Deathbringer sword becoming simply the Black sword.
"Spoony" is actually an archaic term meaning "foolishly lovestruck," which fits Edward perfectly, so it's less bowdlerization and more "who even says that anymore?"
The blade above Rosa's head during her captivity is changed to a metal sphere. At least that's roughly as deadly as the original item.
Also concerning Rosa, her Holy spell becomes White, and Holy elemental becomes "Sacred power."
In the PlayStation version, Rosa is stated to be ill due to Desert Fever. In the DS version, she is stated to be "on the verge of dying".
It seems she's dying from Desert Fever, as it returns in The After Years and the cure is exactly the same (though it's re-translated as a Sand Pearl). It's a deliberate call back and the only differences are it's Harley who catches it, she's with you at the time, and the Antlion doesn't fight you when you grab the cure.
Bratty Half-Pint: Rydia, when you first meet her, acts a bit like this, though to be fair, you had just killed her mother. She has a moment like this after her Plot-Relevant Age-Up as well. A far better example of this is Palom, whom players admit to loathing even after his monumental black magic power essentially breaks the game.
Broken Bridge: Several, including mountain passes being blocked by fire or ice until you clear the right plot events or recruit the right party members. Also, an underground passage leading to your next objective remains sealed until you complete a certain task.
There are also two retroactive broken bridges that later appear at two places where the characters take drastic 1-way movements. If you attempt to jump down the waterfall in the Watery Cave a second time, Cecil will remark that the current is too strong, and you will not be allowed to jump. The second is in the Eblan Cave, where one of the Eblan guards blocks the final passage to the Tower of Babil (and an eventual dead-end at an airship dock). Clearly, someone thought to prevent players from stranding themselves without an airship and rendering the game unwinnable.
Cecil's Darkness is a gameplay example, as it saps his health either to attack all enemies on screen or to power up his normal attack, depending on the version.
The Cavalry: Just as the Giant of Babil awakes to raze the planet, the heroes stand horrified and at a loss as to what to do. Cue the entire armed forces of the world arriving to Hold the Line.
Childhood Friend Romance: Of both flavors between Rosa, Cecil, and Kain; Cecil and Rosa love one another and get married at the end of the first game; Kain is forever pining away for Rosa, even in the sequel.
Class Change Level Reset: Cecil's level returns to 1 after he changes from a Dark Knight to a Paladin, but his HP and some other stats are equal or better than what they were when he was a level 20-ish Dark Knight.
Climax Boss: All the Archfiends. Scarmiglione is fought to open the way to the top of Mr. Ordeals where Cecil is to become a Paladin, Cagnazzo is fought when Cecil confronts the King of Baron and discovers it's Cagnazzo, Barbariccia is fought as Kain and Rosa rejoin and Golbez retreats from his tower, and Rubicante is fought atop the Tower of Babil as the party tries to retrieve the Crystals. then comes one of the potentially longest fights in the game when all four reappear in the Giant of Babil guarding the core.
Combat Medic: Rosa can be this, if you choose to equip her with a bow. Her Aim ability gives her increased attack power and accuracy with a bow; while it's not near enough to match the damage output of, say, Cecil or Kain, it's still better than your average White Magician Girl. And that doesn't even take Holy into consideration.
Comically Missing the Point: You can win the mirror-battle at the top of Mt. Ordeals by just attacking and killing the Dark Knight, and the game will proceed as normal.
Convection Schmonvection: Zigzagged. Your airships require special modification to fly over lava in the underworld. But, when you're on foot in that same underworld, you can walk right next to the same lava with no ill effects.
Crutch Character: Tellah, whose physical stats actually lower as he levels up: he's an old man, and it's meant to simulate his aging. His 90 MP, second-tier magic and possession of the Osmose spell (absorbs MP from enemies, so strategic use means Tellah will never run out of MP) is a godsend when you first get him. Even though he unlocks his third-tier spells later on, his 90MP cap is a crippling hindrance by that point and your other spellcasters will have overtaken him.
This seems to be a trait of the old characters in the game, because Fusoya also never gains anything in MP,note Or anything else, for that matter: Fusoya gains absolutely nothing, not even HP, from leveling up no matter how many times he levels. At least until Level 70, but by that point you probably won't have him in your party any more.
Cute Monster Girl: Higher-resolution graphics in the DS and PSP releases result in some female monsters becoming this. Meet the Lamia◊, for example.
Cutscene Power to the Max: The Titan summon. When seen in a cutscene, it causes an earthquake that permanently alters the world map. In later use, it's a normal summon spell. Not to mention that Rydia's level 1 at the time and doesn't even have enough mana to summon it yet.
Also, Cure spells used in cutscenes manage to completely heal the whole party, even when they barely hit double digits when multi-targeted in battle.
Not to mention that they seem to be able to revive a fallen character, a trait normally reserved for the Raise spell.
It's been mentioned Tellah's cutscene use of Meteor exceeds his maximum MP (90) by 9, but moments before, he casts four spells that add up to 110 MP.
Darker and Edgier: The entire story begins with the heroes angsting over war crimes they've committed. Then our heroes are asked to wipe out an entire town. It goes From Bad to Worse when characters start getting Disney Deaths right and left.
Dark Is Not Evil: Well not fully. Cecil himself isn't a bad person as a Dark Knight, though he still has to commit atrocities under orders that he regrets. Eventually he redeems himself as a Paladin.
Dark Reprise: "Final Battle," the theme of the battle against Zeromus, contains haunting echoes of "Airship" and "Overworld."
Depending on the Artist: The designs of the entire cast vary greatly between sprites, artwork and renders. Look no further than The Hero — Cecil's SNES field sprites have him in blue as a Dark Knight and gold as a Paladin with purple hair, but in battle his Paladin armor is white and his hair is blue-purple, while it's white in his portrait. This is even carried over to re-released with refined character designs — in the PSP release Cecil's battle sprite has spiked white hair with a tiara-like headpiece covering it, but his portrait has flowing white hair with a headband under the hair.
Developer's Room: Hidden in the Lali-Ho Pub in the Dwarven Castle. Interesting in that it includes some of the developers as random encounters in the area. It was removed from the North American SNES version and restored in the PS1 and GBA release. The developer's room showed up again in the DS version in the same place, with a completely new set of author avatars and in-jokes, because it's a different team this time around.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Silver equipment is unaffected by the Dark Elf's magnetic aura. Since it's a non-ferrous metal, silver doesn't respond to magnets, so you can use it in the Dark Elf's cave without penalty.
Not so evident in the original North American SNES version with Cecil, since the "Darkness" ability he gives up upon becoming a Paladin was Dummied Out — his class change simply results in "Whoa, commands other than 'Fight' and 'Item'!"
Disc One Final Dungeon: The Tower of Zot. It appears right after you acquire the Earth Crystal which, up to that point, you've been led to believe is the last one. Only once this dungeon is cleared does the game then reveal The Underworld of the Dwarves and the four other Crystals therein.
The Giant of Babil would be something of a Disc Two Final Dungeon.
Disc One Nuke: Tellah's high-end spells, from the time he obtains them until the party enters the Tower of Zot. Consider that Tellah's Thundaga (on Cagnazzo) and Tornado (on Dark Dragon) spells can make 2 out of the three boss fights during that time into 1- or 2-shot battles. Within the Tower of Zot, though, the lack of places to rest and monsters that won't give up MP to Osmose makes his 90 MP too much of a limitation.
Disney Death: Cid, Edward, Palom, Porom, Rydia, and Yang are all less dead than you're led to believe. Sometimes the circumstances that apparently kill them are the same explicitly fatal ones (or worse) that Cecil had narrowly avoided, and Yang gets two of them.
Drop the Hammer: Cid wields large two-handed hammers as his weapon of choice.
Drought Level of Doom: After returning from the Moon, you are forced to go straight into the next dungeon, which is full of very strong enemies, culminating in two boss battles in a row (although you do get to save and heal in between by backtracking to the save point), all without being able to re-stock on your items.
The DS version has a merchant Hummingway (or counterpart) at the single Save Point in the Giant of Babil. They compensate for this by making the two boss battles harder. Unlike the SNES, PSX, and GBA versions, the Archfiends use all their abilities from the first encounters in the rematch, and the CPU battle is murder.
It also averts this. Remember Mt. Gulg? (If not, just scroll up a bit). Final Fantasy IV has two semi-optional-ish areas called Sylph Cave and Passage of the Eidolons, which have a poison floor and a lava floor, respectively. You can, if you want to, trek through them the hard way, taking damage constantly—or you can spend eight measly MP and cast Float on the party. See? Simplez!
Dummied Out: Many commands, status-ailment-healing items, and one-use spell-casting items were removed from the original North American version of the game.
One was Cecil's Darkness, but his mirror image can cast that without a problem. This led to a lot of confusion and a bit of resentment on the part of SNES players when their shadow-self attacked exclusively with a power they themselves never had access to. It also made the resulting puzzle (ie, letting him attack with the HP-depleting spell and defeat himself without you attacking) more difficult to figure out.
An Economy Is You: Played perfectly straight, but especially notable in that the weapon/armor shop in the first town is locked until you return there later in the game and obtain the key. Not exactly the best business model.
Elemental Tiers: You fight the Elemental Archfiends in order of their strength, starting with Scarmiglione (Earth), then Cagnazzo (Water), Barbariccia (Wind), and finally the strongest Rubicante (Fire).
The Empire: Baron sort of becomes one early in the game. It does attack and ruin various nations to steal their Crystals, but it doesn't expand its borders.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: Baron's forces consist of both humans and monsters. This is made most apparent during the Siege of Fabul, where Golbez sends his troops to steal the Wind Crystal.
Equipment Spoiler: You can find throwing stars for Edge in Eblan Cave before he joins the party at the end.
The armor shop in Mysidia sells Paladin equipment; it can be bought before you have someone who can use it.
Eternal Engine: The Tower of Zot, the Tower of Babil, and the Giant of Babil.
Even Evil Has Standards: Rubicante. He heals you to full strength before both battles he's involved in. He also apologizes to Edge when Lugae transforms his parents into monsters, saying Lugae had no authorization to do so, and Rubicante didn't want that in the first place. He's also the only Archfiend to not try and kill you with his last breath.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Babil, which is massive enough to rise from the world underground all the way up high in the skies above the surface of Earth.
Four Is Death: It's in the title, which means bad things for the cast. In linear order from the start of the game, Kain is presumed dead, Rydia, Yang, and Edward are lost at sea, Palom and Porom perform a Heroic Sacrifice, then Tellah performs one, followed by Yang and Cid. In other words, more than half the main cast almost dies during the course of the game. They get better later except for Tellah, but as far as you know during the first playthrough of the game, your comrades drop like flies. And let's not forget poor Anna.
The more blatant example are the Archfiends.
Fragile Speedster: Edge. He's the fastest character in the game, bar none (and in the DS version, he's almost absurdly quick). However, he only has an average amount of HP, and he takes far more damage than Cecil or Kain do.
Funny Bruce Lee Noises: This is likely what the SNES translation was going for with the monks' "ACHOO!" battle cry.
Game-Breaking Bug: Sometimes called the Die Hard bug, the game remembers the last 63 flights of stairs you have accessed in a single area. The 64th stairway will reset the counter to 0, making the game think you are on the world map. Now, if you try to go downstairs again you'll enter the Minus World and can drop 44 more floors before the game either warps you to a random room in the game (like right in front of the final boss) or deletes your game saves. Here's a speedrun (starts around 2:03:40) where the runner uses this to jump to the final boss.
Gameplay and Story Integration: Edward, who is established as a wimpy musician, not a talented fighter, and a bit of a coward, has the Hide command, which even happens automatically if his HP run low.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Rydia doesn't learn Fire until a plot event, because she gained a phobia of fire when Cecil burned down her village. Of course, with excessive Level Grinding, it's possible to have her learn Firaga before said plot event occurs.
When you get to Damcyan Castle, you find it under attack and filled with injured and dying people. Yet, despite having two white mages in your party and most likely dozens of potions and phoenix downs in your inventory, you can't do a thing to help any of them. This becomes utterly jarring when an important NPC passes away in your healer's arms without him even attempting to heal her, and despite there being two magical healing pots capable of fully restoring all your health with a single touch in the very same room. What, he couldn't be bothered to cast a Cura spell or carry her 20 feet over to one of them? Didn't want to interrupt her dramatic final words? For Odin's sake, one of the dying soldiers pitifully begs you to take him to one of the healing pots, but the game just won't let you help him. Even if Tellah is too enraged to help, Cecil or Rydia should be capable of doing something.
Especially strange considering the game averts this in several other places. Like Rydia casting cure on the party after they lose wind crystal, Rosa casting Cura on Edge after his defeat, or Tellah at least trying to Heal the twin's petrification.
Titan is only able to alter the World Map upon its first appearance.
After falling for the pitfall trap in the Tower of Babil, you'd think a Warp spell would've taken the party back up a floor. Yet nobody even suggests the idea.
Also the Tower itself appears on the Overworld map surrounded by a large black hole. You'd think it'd be possible to fly an airship through, much like the hole that's sometimes open near Agart, but you'd be wrong.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Zemus/Zeromus pre-Crystal use is exactly this, right down to being giant and in space and looking a little bit like a flea.
Glass Cannon: Rydia, Edge, and Palom; Rydia starts out at 30 HP and at level 99, her HP barely passes the 5,000 mark. On the other hand, her Summon magic serves as the strongest in the game. Edge is much like her: while he has more health and is physically powerful (and possesses the Throw skill, which borders on being a Game Breaker), he is as durable as Rydia is. Palom is much like Rydia, except that he specializes in Black Magic. In fact, if you want to use him for the final battle (you can do this in the GBA and PSP ports of the game), he knows the super-powerful Meteor and Flare spells.
Global Airship: You get a few of these throughout the course of the game.
Good Bad Translation: "You spoony bard!" appears in every English version of the game. Technically, it's not wrong ("spoony" means "foolish and/or lovesick"), but yeah. Thanks to language marching on, it feels this way.
"The bard was spoony. We checked!" - Tom Slattery, the guy who retranslated the game.
Rydia is almost certainly a mistranslation of Lydia though nobody complains.
Zeromus EG on the GBA and PSP ports also takes his defeat with grace and says he is going to go back to sleep, despite the fact that he is (supposedly) a part of Zeromus' spirit.
Guest Star Party Member: Tellah and Fusoya, in all versions. Edward, Yang, Porom, Palom, and Cid count as well in the original and DS versions. The PSP and GBA versions effectively make them into permanent characters because the player gains the ability to freely put them in their party for the final dungeon and post-game.
Guide Dang It: The DS port never tells you that A) Augment distribution is used to unlock other augments from characters who leave the party and B) Augments will eventually affect the stat growths of the characters who have them. You'd need a guide anyway to put those growths to proper use, because there's no way guesswork alone would let you figure out how to use them to max the stats of your final party.
And the SNES translation creates another; to become a Paladin, Cecil must fight an Enemy Without. In the original game, players are familiar with the single Cast From HP attack the Dark Knight uses against Paladin Cecil, so the solution of letting the enemy kill himself with his own attacks isn't at all strange. That attack was removed from the translation, so the only way for 90's players to figure out this particular Puzzle Boss was to check a guide. And in those pre-Game Faqs days, that meant either calling an overloaded help line or buying one.
Half-Human Hybrid: Cecil and Golbez are Half-Lunarian; their father, Kluya, was Fusoya's brother.
Healing Spring: Although the water is contained in pots in this installment.
Heel Realization: In the opening sequence, when Cecil tries to tell the King about his men's (and his own) doubts regarding their latest missions. He is promptly relieved from command and sent out to a nearby village to deliver an item that sets it ablaze. This is what really starts his path of redemption.
He Who Fights Monsters: It is implied that this is what would have happened to Cecil if he had stayed a Dark Knight.
Helpful Mook: Of the Accidentally Assisting variety. The Li'l Murderer, found in the last dungeon, only casts Scan on itself unless you use the element it's weak against.
If you fall for the trap, he "supercharges" and counterattacks with the -ga spell of the same element. Since it's still weak against said element, if you set your party up with Reflect beforehand, it'll keep hitting itself and counterattacking until it kills itself.
Hypocrite: Of a sort: in all versions but the DS remake, Cecil finds it difficult to accept and forgive his brother Golbez, despite the fact he had done some terrible things at the beginning of the game and is now The Hero despite it, and he has implicitly forgiven Kain for his actions already. In the DS version, however, while progressing through the final dungeon, Cecil's thoughts show him going through the process of realizing this, and makes his forgiveness and acceptance at the end seem much more natural.
Lethal Joke Character: Edward in the GBA version has crazy powerful harps at the end of the game. Almost all of the most dangerous enemies in the final dungeon are weak to them; Edward might be the first character you see hit the damage cap. With his speed, even the final boss becomes a bit of a pushover.
He is also greatly buffed for the DS version. His unique abilities have been made far more useful.
Joke Item: Some of the low level monsters have a tiny chance to drop a spell to summon them for Rydia. Summon Imp is exactly as useless as it sounds.
Lethal Joke Character: Goblin, however, gives you Goblin Punch, which, if you understand how it works,note Obscene damage if Rydia's level matches the monster's level is extremely overpowered, albeit for limited windows of time.
Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Ethers and Elixirs sell for 10000 gil and 100000 gil, respectively. So you'd think that any random Ether or Elixir you find in pots or treasure chests would be an easy 5000 or 50000 gil if sold at a store, right? Nope, apparently their resale value is only 1 gil. Some merchants must be making a killing on margins like those.
ROM hackers have found that there is code that specifically makes Ethers, Dry Ethers, and Elixirs—exactly those three items, sell for 1 gil instead of half their purchase price, giving the appearance of an Obvious Rule Patch to prevent players from making a small fortune at the beginning of the game.
Kiai: Yang's battle shout. At least the PlayStation version's is so much better than SNES' hilariously embarrassing "ACHOOOO!"
Golbez to Cecil: The Hero and The Antagonist, but also long-lost brothers. It was because of who their father was that Golbez ended up Brainwashed and Crazy, which means that it's only through luck that it was Golbez and not Cecil in the antagonist's role.
Leitmotif: This was the first Final Fantasy game to make extensive use of the technique. Almost every major character has one, including some of the villains and other NPCs.
The Load: Edward, in the original version of the game. He's so wimpy he even has a "Hide" command. In later versions of the game, his abilities and available weapons are increased, so that he eventually becomes one of the most desired characters near endgame. Initially, Rydia can seem to be this as well, until you figure out that her rods can be used as battle items.
Lost Forever: Cecil's Dark equipment if equipped during his class change, as well as treasures in a few places:
The Tower of Zot, after it's destroyed.
The upper half of the Tower of Babil, after you leave it.
The Giant of Babil.
The lower half of the Tower of Babil, after Giant of Babil sequence.
The Knife, if the sidequest involving Yang's wife and the Sylph cave isn't done before the Giant of Babil. The consolation prize is that you only have to go through the Sylph Cave (and thus dodge Malboros and Bog Toads Toads) once to get the Sylph summon if you hold off.
Look What I Can Do Now: Golbez appears and wipes the floor with Cecil's group, until Rydia returns and effectively destroys Golbez's summon.
Love Triangle: Kain has feelings for Rosa, but she has feelings for Cecil instead.
Luck-Based Mission: In the DS version, the battle versus the CPU. It pretty much boils down to how quickly the Attack Node begins to attack... its only attack, Laser Barrage, is guaranteed to two-shot your entire party (and it'll usually one-shot Edge and Fusoya). If you can off it before it fires the lasers twice, you have the battle in the bag... unless you kill off the Defense Node. Prepare for the carnage of Object 199 if you do. There is, however, a trick to this. See Puzzle Boss below.
The fact that Fusoya's "instructions" were not redone and still describe the original battle better than the redone one doesn't help. In fact, if you do what Fusoya says, you're screwed.
The Tower of Babil and Kain are names that should ring a bell for anyone at least mildly familiar with The Bible. Kain even gets Abel's Lance in the GBA remake to drive the point home.
The Millstone: FUSOYA in the DS version. Not only is he merely The Load (e.g. trying to keep him alive, since he's a horrifically slow caster and Squishy Wizard, which usually means he gets one-shotted before he can cast, will pretty much ensure Game Over), but see the bad advice under Luck-Based Mission above. Following his advice there is a nearly instant Game Over.
Monster Town: The Feymarch and the town of Mythril. The former hosts various enemies you fight in the game and several Eidolons, while the latter features townsfolk based off the Toad, Pig, and Mini status effects.
Morale Mechanic: The game had early on groups of three soldiers, two troops and a commander. If you defeated the soldiers, the commander would flee.
Definitely Kain, after snapping him back to his senses at the Tower of Zot.
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: If enemies get the first strike: every single one will attack you before you even get to choose attacks and chances are that they will attack again before you get your turn. If you get the first strike: you may attack first, but if you take too much time, the enemies will attack you, even if you're using your time reasonably, like picking out a spell.
Also manifests in spells like "Fatal" instead of "Death," or "Swoon" for "dead" characters.
Even before the translation, this was the first Final Fantasy to have the loss of all HP count as a Non-Lethal K.O. instead of actual death. Otherwise the cast's now-frequent cutscene performances would be awkward. Especially if you were planning on giving them phoenix downs.
New Game+: In the DS version, after defeating Zeromus, you can play the game again, inheriting all those augments you gave to your characters. And if you gave the previous game augments to characters that weren't going to be in your final party, you will be rewarded with these characters' abilities as augments. You can play New Game+ only three times in a row though.
Nintendo Hard: The DS version ramps up the difficulty significantly from previous versions. Even though your characters gain levels much faster than in the original, it's still possible to get one-shotted by random encounters. Mind you, this wasn't the easiest game in the world to begin with, at least not in the original SFC and PSX versions.
No Endor Holocaust: The Tower of Zot, a huge flying structure that falls apart moments after you leave it, never crashes anywhere. The Tower of Babil is perfectly fine (and is totally structurally intact, according to the sequels) after the Giant of Babil seemingly walks out of it. Similarly, in the sequels, there are almost no changes to the world map (not even changes to local climates, tides, or sea lanes) after one of the planet's moons flies off into deep space, never to return.
Cid jumps down from an airship at a very great height holding a nuke bomb in his hand which explodes right in front of his face. Yet he doesn't lose any of his limbs.
No Pronunciation Guide: Many Western fans were surprised that Cecil's name was pronounced as "Seh-sil" and not "See-sil" (though both a long "e" and a short "e" are valid pronunciations for the name).
No Sympathy: Cecil and Rydia towards Edward; they immediately lay into him for being temporarily catatonic over the deaths of all his loved ones. Granted, Rydia is a kid and she immediately went after the two men who killed everyone she ever loved, but grown man Cecil has a total want of empathy for Edward. It's not with the argument that Edward needs to be strong for his people, either; Cecil is only interested in having Edward help him and Rosa.
Not His Sled: A gameplay variation. Many bosses in the original game had a particular weakness or strategy associated with them that made them easier to beat. The developers remembered these when it came time for the DS version, and players trying those old tricks found the bosses had been programmed to punish them for trying it again.note For example, Scarmiglione, in his second appearance, is weak against fire in all versions, but if you use any fire spell against him, he'll counter attack with the devastating Poison Gas attack, which will likely kill two or three members of your party outright, and poison the survivors. He may be weak against it, but you'd better not exploit it.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Dr. Lugae initially appears to be a harmless nutjob with a malfunctioning Frankenstein-type robot, before turning into a fairly dangerous boss. Only after Lugae dies do you discover how monstrous he truly was, with what he did to Edge's parents.
Oh Wait: Golbez insults Kain this way at one point.
One Steve Limit: Averted. First, you meet the Spoony Bard Edward Chris von Muir. Later, you meet the Highly-Visible Ninja Edward Geraldine. To make sure the player doesn't get confused with this, Edward Geraldine goes by the alias Edge.
Actually an unintended result of the translation. Edward was originally named Gilbert (with his red-haired love interest Anna), while Edge was still Edward "Edge".
Omniscient Morality License: When Leviathan first shows up, he capsizes your party's ship, abducts your summoner, and derails your mission to stop The Empire, thus placing the fate of the world in (further) jeopardy. The aftermath leaves one party member an amnesiac pawn of said empire, another bedridden until the very end of the game, the hero stranded alone on a continent that hateshim, and all the ship's crew (since they're never seen or mentioned again) presumably dead. Everything works out uncannily in the end, despite (or even because of) debilitating injuries to plot-important characters. Nobody ever brings up the whole murderous sea monster thing.
Outside-the-Box Tactic: The Reflect spell is integral to defeating Asura, who heals herself twice, at the end every round, in addition to attacking your party. The catch? You have to cast Reflect on her. That way, when she attempts to heal herself, your party will be healed instead. Asura inflicts insane amounts of damage and recovers 2,500-3,300 HP per recovery spell, making her borderline impossible to defeat without this trick.
Parental Bonus: During the new Namingway quest in the DS remake, he asks the characters for some Rainbow Pudding to give his new girlfriend. When they next see him, he complains about how, upon going to give her the pudding, he found another guy giving her a present of his own.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: It's possible to fight enemies from around Mythril and Troia when first arriving at Mysidia by heading north of Mount Ordeals and around the mountains on the southwest side and heading to the very northern tip of the continent. Interestingly, the path can only be traversed on foot, not on a chocobo. Battles there give Cecil 2,000-3,000 per victory.
Percussive Maintenance: In a non-mechanical example, this is used on Yang after the party finds him unconscious in the Sylph Cave.
The Power of Friendship: The player characters who couldn't make it to the final boss fight use this to reinvigorate your party when all seems lost.
The Power of Love: Several moments, such as Edward defeating the Sahagin and Kain defeating Zemus's last attempt at mind control come from their love for a certain person. In addition, giving Twincast to Cecil and Rosa yields Ultima, strongest attack in the entire game bar none.
Professor Guinea Pig: If you destroy Barnabas before Dr. Lugae, Lugae merges himself with his creation to attack.
Punched Across the Room: Or as it occurs in the Tower of Babil, "Punched across the room, through the door, and landing several tiles away."
Puzzle Boss: The actual way to win the Giant of Babil CPU battle is to kill off the Attack Node first, and leave the Defense Node alone. Focusing on the Defense Node will just mean your entire party will be repeatedly hit with Laser Barrage from the Attack Node, and if they somehow survive, being one-shotted with an instant death attack from the CPU. Killing off the Defense Node before the CPU means the CPU will one-shot you with the instant death attack. Leaving the Defense Node alive means it will (pathetically) heal the CPU for 880 HP per round, while the CPU does nothing except cast reflect on itself.
And the best way to win is to simply cast Haste on Cecil in the first round and have Rydia summon Bahamut in that first round. Then, let Laser Barrage kill everyone else while you alternate having Cecil attack the attack node and heal himself with elixirs, which you should have enough of by this point. Once the Attack Node goes down, heal up everyone, and have Edge start smacking the CPU with shurikens, which will do far more damage than the Defense Node can heal per round, and everyone else follow up with attacks. After around five minutes, have Rydia summon Bahamut again, and you have the battle in the bag.
Randomly Drops: The Pink Tail. It is dropped by Flan Princesses. In the room where you can find those monsters (which is a very small room with only one uninteresting treasure), you have an 1/64 chance of encountering a formation of five of those things. Each of those things have a 5/98 rate of dropping ANY items at all, and a further 1/64 chance that the dropped item will be a Pink Tail. If you just run around that room, you have a 0.006% chance of getting a Pink Tail (or you'll on average get 1 Tail every 10056 battles). In most versions of the game, you can use a Siren, which guarantees the encounter with five Flan Princesses, increasing the odds to 0.3% per battle, or 1 tail every 251 battles on average. Good luck, you'll need it.
The Rainbow Pudding in the DS version, which is necessary for finishing the Namingway quest and earning all the augments, has a drop rate of 0.4%. You can only get it from the various Flans. And the Treasure Hunter augment only boosts this drop rate to 0.8%. The DS version also adds numerous other types of Tails necessary for getting the only equipment that can be carried into New Game +. They all have the same horrible drop rate as the Pink Tail.
Pink Tails are by no means the ONLY really rare drop in the game, just the most famous one. There are a lot of other things in the game, like the hidden summons (Goblin, Mind Flayer, Cockatrice and Bomb), that are randomly dropped and every bit as rare as the Rainbow Pudding. To add insult to injury, the Goblin summon is pretty much useless, despite being as rare as Mind Flayer (damage, sap, and paralyze), Cockatrice (Multitarget Petrification), and Bomb (Damage equal to Rydia's health, without harming her). Equipments ranging from mid-game destroying equipments like Rune Staves and Lilith Rods, and other ultimate equipments like Crystal Rings, extra Protect Rings, extra Ribbons, Dragon Whips, Glass Masks and so on are all randomly dropped and at least nearly as, if not just as rare as the Pink Tail, just that the monsters that drop them tend to be commoner encounters.
Rare Candy: The Golden and Silver Apples, which will increase the max HP of the character they are used on by 100 or 50 HP, respectively. There is also the Soma Drop which increases the selected character's maximum MP by 10.
Remake Difficulty Spike: The DS version is a lot harder than other releases. Enemies have more HP and better AI and attacks, and a lot of them are upgraded to Demonic Spiders as a result—the Flamehounds in the Tower of Babil can kill your entire party, except maybe Cecil, in one attack. As for the bosses, take Golbez—in all other releases he's an Anti-Climax Boss that can be killed in about two turns, not counting you reviving your party. In the DS release he's a Barrier Change Boss that some consider That One Boss. Several bosses were redesigned so that trying whatever strategy worked wonders on them in the original result in horrible, horrible death if you try them in the remake.
On the other hand, they added Augments, which when used properly break the game like cheap plaster.
Retraux: The PSP version primarily reuses the DS remake's soundtrack, but also has the option to use the original SNES version's.
Revive Kills Zombie: You can hurt undead monsters by using healing spells on them. Not to mention that (especially in the DS version), the best way to kill Scarmiglione without invoking his counters is to use healing spells and potions on him.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: In spades. Two of your party members in the original game (Edward and Edge) are princes, Cecil (under the service of the king of Baron along with Kain), Rosa, and Yang (High Monk of Fabul) become monarchs themselves at the end of the game, and it's implied that the king of Fabul was once a monk himself. Then come The After Years, a bunch of protagonists are royalty (Cecil's son Ceodore, Yang's daughter Ursula, and the dwarf princess Luca.
Then you have the summoned creatures as well! Leviathan and Asura are king and queen of the Feymarch, respectively. Odin is the spirit of the former king of Baron, and Bahamut is titled king of monsters.
Rule of Cool: A meta example overlapping with Throw It In — some of the translation changes in the DS version were done solely because new translator Tom Slattery loved the original game and wanted to give the script more flair. He refers to the summoned monsters as Eidolons because he wanted them to have a proper name like the rest of the series post-VI, and since XII had just reused Esper from VI, he decided to reuse Eidolon from IX (and later also used it on XIII). Also, "The Feymarch" was a word he just made up.
Screw You, Elves!: This (sort of) happens with Edge and Rubicante. Not so much of a Screw You to the archfiends, but more to their way of thinking.
Rubicante: "I respect men like you. Men with... courage. But you are a slave to your emotions, and so will never know true strength.
Edge: "You think our rage... a weakness? Then let me show you how wrong you are!"
Edge's voice acting in the DS remake make it all the more epic.
Scripted Battle: Between Golbez and the king and queen of Eblan, expect lots of conversations in combat mode. Sometimes you won't take control for an entire battle.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: A frequent occurrence on one's first playthrough, thanks to all the party members that leave your party or (apparently) meet their demise without much advance warning.
Space Whale: Doubles as a spacecraft, capable of flying the heroes to the moon.
Stupid Sacrifice: Cid's apparent death - there's no actual reason that he needs to jump with the bomb. He could have thrown it. It's hard to imagine that he couldn't build a remote controlled bomb either, considering how he has a remote control airship. And he couldn't control the speed of his descent, so carrying it wouldn't have altered anything. Then he winds up surviving anyway, so it just comes off as a transparent method to bump him from the party in favor of Edge. Stupid as it may be, it's still a pretty awesome moment.
Palom and Porom's sacrifice. Not only does one of them know Teleport, they're also traveling with a mage powerful enough to bring the whole castle down. Right after he recovers the memory of every spell he's ever known.
Furthermore, Palom and Tellah, being Black Magic users, know Fire spells. The doors at each end of the hallway are quite clearly (in the DS remake, at least) made of wood. Which fire can burn. Would it really have been so hard for Palom and Tellah to cast their strongest Fire spell at the door they had to go through?
There's probably a ton of ways out of this, but the two noted above may be a case of Game Play Story Segregation. This event immediately comes after fighting a boss with a multi-hit near insta-death move, ergo he's supposed to be powerful. The implication may have been that they were too weak to try anything else if one assumes the basic fire spell is too weak to destroy the wall, or they just lack the magic power to teleport.
That's No Moon: The Red Moon is eventually revealed to be a giant spacecraft constructed by the Lunarians, a race of highly-advanced aliens.
Theme Music Power-Up: An utterly awesome example occurs after Zeromus appears and floors everyone; the game cuts to the Tower of Prayer, where Palom urges the Elder of Mysidia to do something. Cue the mother fucking Theme of Final Fantasy, which goes on for at least 5 minutes while all your former party members appear and lend Cecil and friends their power for the final battle.
This Cannot Be!: Golbez's reaction to Tellah casting Meteor in the Tower of Zot.
Too Awesome to Use: Many healing items, especially MP recovery potions, are rare and prohibitively expensive for most of the game. Tellah and Fusoya's advanced spells fall under this as well. Their limited MP, combined with the scarcity of MP recovery items, means that you'll likely be sticking to their mid-level spells most of the time.
Ethers cost 10000 gil, to be exact, and (except on the Easytype version) are only available for buying very late in the game. However, at that point, this is averted, because when you reach the moon, you can steal ethers from a plethora of enemies, including the very common Black Flan.
Remedies can be this too in the non-easytype versions, costing 5000 gil (which is 50 times what they cost in the easytype versions) and not being available to even buy until about a third of the way through the game.
Any "dummy" item.
Took a Level in Badass: Cecil. After he becomes a Paladin, he becomes significantly stronger in every stat, can wield much stronger equipment and can destroy anything that made you cry tears of frustration when he was a Dark Knight. The best part? This is when Paladin Cecil is level 1, compared to Dark Knight Cecil who's anywhere from 15-20.
Also Rydia when she comes back... the normal route going through a cave infested with monsters and over seas of lava that even the airship can't cross at that point in the story.
Rosa near the beginning of the game somehow gets through the monster-filled Mist Cave, past the burnt-out village of Mist, past the impassable mountains created by the earthquake, and still manages to reach Kaipo at about the same time Cecil and Rydia do, if not before.
Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Inverted with Rydia: she has an innate talent for magic, but the trauma of watching her village being burned to the ground makes it difficult for her to use fire spells.
Unexplained Recovery: Everyone except for Anna and Tellah. It's hard to say which is the most egregious example, Cid's "death" scene that should've been impossible to survive in at least half a dozen different ways, or Palom and Porom having their petrification reversed by the Elder despite Tellah, who's explicitly a more powerful mage than the Elder, saying it was impossible.
Unstable Equilibrium: Averted. Cecil is powerful enough to plow through all but the rarest Random Encounters on his own for a good hour into the game. In fact, it really feels more like an Escort Mission when he's paired up with Rydia and Edward, at least at first. The only time you might be in danger, when Undead show up, you get Tellah, who is even more powerful than Cecil and comes with the Fire and Cura spells.
Subverted in the remake, where he's more balanced with the early encounters.
Unstoppable Rage: Edge. After Dr. Lugae turned his parents into monsters and he was forced to kill them, Rubicante tells Edge that emotions hold humans back. After this, through his Unstoppable Rage, Edge learns the spells Flood and Blitz.
Same goes for Tellah as well. After his daughter, Anna, was killed in the siege of Damcyan, he was determined to avenge her death by killing Golbez.
Unwinnable by Insanity: The SNES version has a horrible bug that can cause this if you save during it. If you pass through the same door a lot (at least 64 times in a circular town), sometimes the game will forget or reset your game flags and start playing cutscenes from earlier in the game.
Updated Re-release: A LOT, perhaps tying with Final Fantasy I. It's been released on the SNES (with two different versions in Japan), PlayStation, WonderSwan, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, mobile phones, the Wii Virtual Console, and it is now on the PSP in the form of the Complete Collection, with The After Years and an Interlude chapter bridging the two parts together. All with upgraded aesthetics.
Urban Legend of Zelda: It was rumored that in the original (i.e. non-Easytype) version of the game, it was possible for Cecil to de-petrify Palom and Porom himself. You can't.
Useless Item: The Fire Bomb in the SNES version. It wasn't completely Dummied Out - it's just only dropped by Red Dragons in the Lunar Subterranean. By that point, their damage is a pittance compared to what any of the characters can do in a single round.
Useless Useful Spell: Averted in the DS remake. While the bosses are still immune to the really bad status effects (Death, Stone, etc.), casting Slow is practically required to make some of them manageable. Additionally, the Stop and Paralyze effects are damn near required for the later dungeons, or else the random encounters will chew you up and spit you out.
Healing magic is horrible outside of battle. This finally gets fixed in the DS version.
Averted in the Japanese original and the Playstation 1 remake. Most enemies are vulnerable to at least one status ailment, and some of the trickier fights (or fights above your characters' current level) become much more manageable with judicious use. Bio and Stop in particular were extremely effective in handling fights. Played straight in the original American and Easytype version, where the difficulty level was reduced to the point that hammering basic attacks was sufficient. Played straight in a different fashion in the GBA remake, in which various bugs made the game the easiest of all versions.
Video Game Stealing: In versions previous to the DS remake, Edge ran with this to an absurd degree - there was no limit to how many times you could steal an item from an enemy. They apparently just had an unlimited supply of these items (never used, of course) kept in Hammerspace.
The sequence where you actually have to fight the Demon Wall to the death as it advanced counts, too. If the wall advances all the way, your party members start dying instantly one by one.
Wake-Up Call Boss: The Calcabrina fight. "Oh, some child's dolls, how cu— what did they just transform into?!" Especially so in the easy version released on the SNES, as its difficulty was not reduced much, resulting in one of the first bosses the player was likely to wipe on repeatedly.
The second time he comes back, Edge actually defies the trope by calling him out on it, asking Kain what he expects them to do if he gets brainwashed again. Kain's response is succinct: Kill him.note In the DS version, he actually almost succumbs a third time, during the final dungeon, and only barely manages to hang on when Zemus goes to far and tries to make him think that killing Rosa would be a good idea, if his thought bubbles are any indication.
Golbez has an odd relationship with this trope—in the original version, there was no way to know for sure if he fit the archetype, since he never took his helm off. Since he's Cecil's brother, though, it was a reasonable assumption. The DS version seemingly averted it, as he clearly has brown hair in flashbacks, but on the other hand, we only ever see Golbez's face in flashbacks from when he was a child, so that could have changed in the intervening years. The After Years confirms this impression, as Golbez appears without his armor in that game, and definitely has white hair. Of course, by then, it's subverted, as he too has reformed, and his role throughout the entirety of The After Years is decidedly non-villainous.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Rydia's initial aversion to Fire stems from Cecil and Kain "accidentally" burning down her home village and killing nearly everything in it.
With This Herring: Averted, Cecil is an experienced soldier. You start at level 10 with your black knight gear (and in most versions, a Cast From HP multi-targeting damage ability) and easily cleaving your way through level 1 Goblins.
Wonder Twin Powers: The Twincast ability. Palom and Porom have it natively, but you can use Augments in the DS version to put them on other characters, which can change the spell you might get. Giving it to Cecil and Rosa gives them the Ultimaspell which, if the damage cap is raised, outdamages everything else in the game.
World of Ham: The DS remake combines voice acting with much more flowery dialogue than past releases to create this.
Rosa: "Kain! Tell me you've not turned traitor!" Kain: "Don't look at me!" Golbez: "Kain! Why do you now hesitate?"
As explained in other tropes, Rubicante is a sort of Noble Demon. He fights you with your whole strength (healing the party before the fight every time), spares Edge life once, tries to explain Edge how one should fight, apologies for the bad deeds of his subordinates and doesn't try to kill once he knows he has lost which the other bosses often do.
Written Sound Effect: Either a "POW!" or a *whack* on several occasions where Porom gives Palom a well-deserved hit.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: By about halfway through, the good guys should just be going "Here, take the damn crystal" as soon as Golbez appears.
You Kill It, You Bought It: If you kill enough Goblins, Bombs, Cockatrice, and Mindflayers; they have Randomly Drops of their own summon that Rydia can use. This must mean their own souls are intact enough for her to control.
Technically Rosa was left behind in the Tower, so he did fulfill his end of the deal, it would have been Cecil's fault if he wasn't quick enough to free her from the execution chair she was strapped to