The fifth entry into the bladder-weakeningly popularFinal Fantasy series and the second of the 16-bit games.The story, while being almost ridiculously simple compared to other installments, is nonetheless well-loved for being just plain fun. It involves a world where the forces of nature are sustained by four magical crystals. When a mysterious force starts destroying the crystals, several strangers join forces to prevent it. They gain powers from the spirits of ancient heroes contained within the crystals (thus explaining the job-changing system). These heroes (who are the game's playable characters) are:
Bartz Klauser, a young wandering warrior often accompanied by his trusty Chocobo, Boco;
Galuf Doe, an amnesiac old man who is actually Galuf Helm Baldesion, the king of Bal;
Faris Scherwiz, a seeminglybishonen pirate who is actually Sarisa Tycoon, Lenna's older sister;
The heroes discover that the destruction of the crystals is part of an evil sorcerer's plan to escape his imprisonment. In the past, he came close to conquering his own homeworld, only to be stopped and sealed away by a team of warriors. Now, the madman is looking to return and conquer both worlds.This game featured the return of Final Fantasy III's job class system, as all your characters were basically carbon copies of one another in battle (Each character has his or her boost of 2-4 points in a stats, but it doesn't really affect anything beyond who moves first when sharing a job). You were allowed to assign them various jobs (Knight, Dragoon, White Mage, etc.) to give them varying skills. As expected, it was a Thief's job to steal, a Summoner's to summon, etc. This was also the first incarnation of the job system that let you assign skills "learned" from other jobs to the character regardless of current job. Mastering any job would give the character all of the job's passive skills (Counter, Sword Clap, Dual Wielding) and stat boosts when switched back to "freelancer/bare". Active skills such as magic would still need to be equipped.At its time of release, Squaresoft was hesitant to release Final Fantasy V outside of Japan, believing the game to be far too complicated for western audiences. At one point, there were plans to release the game as Final Fantasy Extreme, being specifically marketed as a "hardcore" Final Fantasy game to contrast Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a game created specifically for the western market. The original Super NES version was only available to the English-speaking fandom as a fan-translated ROM, and when it finally received a PS1 release, the terrible loading times and "Blind Idiot" Translation pretty much prevented anyone from really enjoying it the way it was meant to be enjoyed. The GBA version finally gave us a great translation that runs with the story's lack of seriousness with added humor (see page quote for an example), fixed what needed to be fixed and, along with Bartz's and Exdeath's appearance in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, made Final Fantasy V's increasingly positive reception possible.Final Fantasy V is also one of the few games of the main series, and certainly the earliest, to have its universe expanded. In 1994, a four episode OVA entitled Final Fantasy Legend Of The Crystals was released, set 200 years after the events of the game and focusing on Bartz's descendant.The game was ported to iOS in April 2013, with enhancements such as analog control and redrawn job sprites and spell effects.You can read a full synopsis here: Final Fantasy V.
This game contains examples of:
Absurdly High Level Cap: Leveling up is so infrequent in this game that Level 99 is pretty much an impossibly far number... unless you mod the game to get tons of free exp.
Apocalypse How: The breaking of the Crystals throws the elements all out of whack, which would gradually result in a Class 6. Exdeath gaining the Power of the Void threatens a Class X (which is fitting).
Arc Number: 5. This is the fifth installment in the main series, it has five playable characters, and each of them have five-letter names, at least in the GBA version.
Not to mention the number of characters who show up to help you start the final battle equal to five as well.
There are five different battle themes as well. (Random Encounter, Boss Battle, Decisive Battle, Clash on the Big Bridge, and Neo Exdeath)
Barrier Change Boss: Archeoaevis, Melusine and, in the GBA Updated Rerelease, Omega Mk.II. In an example of Guide Dang It and Trial-and-Error Gameplay, whenever the bosses change weaknesses, they slide off screen and then back on, the direction indicates the new elemental weakness. For the first, the weakness is hardly an issue, especially since you can Learn 1,000 Needles in the same area, the 2nd form can be killed via Level 5 Death.
Not that much of an issue for Omega Mk II either - if you're using the rapidfire dual wield spellblade combination, it goes down pretty much as easily as the original.
Big "YES!": The "victory" message in the PSX version.
The unofficial SNES ROM translation wasn't free of face-palming errors by a longshot either. Examples include calling the Circlet helmet "Socklet" and several errors that reveal that the dialog and battle/menu translation teams weren't on the same page, such as the boss "Stoker"/"Stalker."
Bonus Boss: Omega and Shinryu. The rerelease's Bonus Dungeon has upgraded forms of these two, as well as a host of others, including Enuo.
Boss Bonanza: There are numerous bosses for the final dungeon. You got Calofisteri in the forest area, optional boss Omega in the waterfalls, Apanda in the library, Azulmagia, Catastrophe, Halicarnassus, Twintania, and as well as six Alte Roite mini bosses in the castle area, then Necrophobe and final boss Exdeath in the last area.
Boss in Mook Clothing: The Red/Blue/Yellow dragons, when you first encounter them: they've all got upwards of 6,000 HP at a point when the party is dealing about 500 per hit. That's not too bad, but they can hit back really hard.
Jackanapes, found in the basement of Walse Castle. These devils have attacks can easily kill or severely weaken party members. Their evasion and defense stats are also high, and they absorb all but one element. Oh, and they give only 1 gil for your hard efforts, so it's better to run away... unfortunately, Jackanapes takes too long to run from and will kill someone before escaping.
There's also Dhorme Chimera in the desert north of the library. Their physical attacks do insane damage; they hit for 450 HP of damage when you have about 400. They then cast Aqua Breath, dealing 300 HP of damage to the entire party.
The Sandcrawlers in the second world. They have absurd amounts of HP for the area they're in, 15,000 to be precise. They also frequently use Maelstrom to reduce the party's HP to single digits.
Mercifully, they go down with two uses of Aqua Breath after residual damage from your other party members.
Ditto with the Tot Aevis. The amount of HP it has is more than TWICE that of the Sandcrawler!
Boss Rush: The Cloister of the Dead in the GBA rerelease.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Exdeath loves this. He forces it on an NPC guard, the Queen of Karnak, and King Tycoon to get them to break the Crystals. Later, Melusine the demon does this to Lenna.
Breather Episode: For the Final Fantasy franchise at large; this lighter, more gameplay-focused title fits right between two epic-style installments.
Chemistry Can Do Anything: Chemists get double healing from potions & Ethers, and can combine items to emulate White, Black and Time magic.
Chekhov's Gun: At one point, Krile mentions she got a splinter. A while later, the villain Exdeath transforms and reveals he was hiding as the splinter the whole time.
When the Water Crystal breaks into shards, there's one shard that you aren't able to reach, due to it being on a ledge. The tower sinks without you getting that shard. Much later in the game, when you have access to a submarine, you can revisit the sunken Walse Tower, and fight Famed Mimic Gogo for that shard you weren't able to get before. Turns out it contained the Mime class.
Crutch Character Class: Red Mages, the jacks of all trades. They can use most heavy weapons and armour, can cast the first three levels of black and white magic spells (and you get a grand total of 1 spell above that level for very large chunk of the game) and have mostly above average stats. Late in the game, they suffer from being masters of none side of things, especially once black and white mages get access to 5th level spells, which are over three times as powerful as anything a red mage can cast, although mastering the class does provide Magikarp Power in the form of Dualcast.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the remote chance that someone should get all the way to the final boss, listen to his speech, watch several locations get sucked into the Void, get sucked into the Void themselves, escape, and then NOT fight the final boss but instead backtrack all the way to the entrance of the final dungeon you'll see a message explaining that time reversed, so you can still visit the places Ex-Death sucked into the Void during his speech.
Disability Immunity: Galuf's amnesia saves him (and the rest of the party) from the Siren, since he doesn't recognize the illusory loved one she shows him.
Disc One Final Boss: The battle against Exdeath at the end of the second world, complete with the early plot segments in the third world being almost like a playable epilogue. That said, Exdeath is the final boss... just in a different battle.
1000 Needles. Doing 1000 damage is great when most non-boss monsters have triple digit hit points.
The Flame Rod, Frost Rod and Thunder Rod. You can buy them form Karnak (the 4th town in the game), and at first they seem useless. If you use an equipped rod as an item (pressing up at the top of the items list using the items command to find the equipped rod), you can break it for an instant -aga spell. If you didn't break the rods, you'd only be at the second tier of the spells, picked up at the same point. There are a few more items throughout the game, like the Staff of Light which drops from only one enemy and nto commonly, you can break a staff of light for a free casting of Holy.
Doomed Hometown: Lix (Bartz) and Tycoon Castle (Lenna and Faris) both get cast into the void. Tycoon Castle also becomes the entrance to the final dungeon.
Fan Translation: The SNES game was translated by fans and released far before the PlayStation version came out. The fan translation was far better than the official one, at least until the GBA version came out.
Female Feline, Male Mutt: For the Berserker job, all of the women have tiger pelts and the men have wolf pelts, which, ironically, would imply that the women are more brutish, because a tiger is bigger and harder to kill than a wolf.
From Bad to Worse: The game's plot. The heroes always get everywhere just in time to see the villains screw everything up before their eyes, meaning both that the world is screwed as the elements die and the Big Bad is freed from his prison. One of your party dies fighting him, and said villain gains the power to suck up existence into a big vacuum of nothing. However, none of these failures ever discourage the heroes. Amusingly, the basic "heroes lose every time" structure of the plot very closely resembles Final Fantasy IV.
Gag Dub: The GBA translation works to make the script much funnier than it has been in the past. Given Final Fantasy V is one of the least serious games in the franchise, this isn't a problem.
Besides that, though, the items in Final Fantasy V can be just as broken as the classes. It says something that the Berserker job is considered the most useless solely because the player can not control them.
Inverted with the official strategy guide released with the Final Fantasy Anthology collection, as the guide was absolutely useless. Instead of general strategies for boss battles with a balanced party, for instance, it gave you gems of advice like, "First, have everyone master Ninja, then turn everyone into a Dragoon dual wielding the strongest spear in the game and have them jump constantly," basically asking you to grind for dozens of hours to beat a boss that takes a half-hour or so with a balanced party.
Played straight with most Blue Magic, at least as far as getting it at a decent point in the game goes. While some of the spells are flat out told to you in some way such as via a book or from the tutorial guy, most aren't.
Necrophobe: Enough of this! Now die! *hits Gilgamesh with Flare for minimal damage* Gilgamesh: *snort* I believethat's MY line! *Self-destructs for 9999 damage*
Hopeless Boss Fight: An exceedingly rare inversion that the fight is hopeless for the boss, not you. It's all but impossible for Exdeath to defeat Galuf when Galuf fights Exdeath alone.
Another Hopeless Boss Fight: the fight where the boss holds excalipoor and does piddly damage to you. Sure is hopeless for him, at least...
The Jackanapes in the basement of Walse. They have low HP, but high resistance to physical and magic damage, can kill you in one hit, and always ambush your party. For most players, the only option is to run away before they kill the party.
HP To One: Moves like Death Claw and Maelstrom reduce your HP to single digits.
Improbable Weapon User: The samurai class's Zeninage command, which throws coins at the monsters, and is one of the most powerful abilities in the game.
Incoming Ham: Gilgamesh's speech before the battle on the Big Bridge.
Killer Rabbit: Skull Eater, a gray palette-swap of the much wimpier squirrel monster Nut Eater that can be found in the cave Northeast of Jacole. It does ~1000 damage at a point where your max HP is going to be roughly half that. On the other hand, it has a chance to use Escape immediately after you run into it, granting your party 5 ABP for free.
Legendary Weapon: The twelve legendary weapons. They are weapons. They are legendary. There are even twelve of them.
Lethal Joke Character: Geomancers retain their mook-shredding abilities from Final Fantasy III, albeit toned down, and they make Exdeath's Castle a little easier to traverse. On that same note, chemists die in two hits from a stiff breeze but their action ability contains several Good Bad Bugs.
Lethal Joke Item: Excalipar/pur/poor can be thrown as a shuriken and will deal several thousand points of damage. It can be equipped to a Blue Mage (even though Excalibur itself can't) and will let Goblin Punch deal a lot of damage (Goblin Punch and Throw use separate damage calculation methods that skip the "always do 1 damage" part).
Level Grinding: If you want to master a few Jobs before entering the final dungeon (where you can find enemies that give a lot of AP but no EXP), expect to do a lot of this. It isn't required if you don't run from most battles/use smart class setups though.
Level Map Display: The map is a special item you need to find on the Ship Graveyard. However, once obtained it can be accessed anywhere.
Lost Forever: There are the summons/weapons/anything else that vanish once you switch planets. Ramuh is actually available in the final dungeon if you missed him early on, but he's the only one; Shiva, Carbuncle, and Catoblepas are truly gone forever if you didn't get them sooner.
Luke, I Am Your FatherFaris is Lenna's sister. And while Bartz knows the identity of his father ahead of time, he doesn't know that he's a hero from another world who fought alongside his companion Galuf.
Magical Library: Library of the Ancients, where there are possessed books, a book split in two by the splitting of the worlds, and a book that burns other books...
The Freelancer class starts out with mediocre stats and no special abilities but has the ability to equip every possible weapon, armor and accessory. Mastering the other jobs will give it any passive abilities and stat boosts those classes have to offer, which results in it being the best class in the game for melee fighters towards the end. Similarly, the Mime class's only command is Mimic (which, admittedly, can be very useful), but since it does the same thing and has three open command slots on top of that, it's the class of choice for spellcasters, since it allows for the use of Dualcast and any two magic types.
The Chicken Knife. You may think it's not worth using at first, but it actually increases in power the more you run from battles, eventually becoming one of the most powerful weapons in the game. An inverse of this is the Brave Blade, which decreases in power the more you run from battles... Meaning that if you've run from only a few fights (if any at all), the Brave Blade can be the strongest weapon in the game for you. Strong enough that "Brave Blade" is the finishing blow for Bartz's Limit Break in Dissidia. The Chicken Knife's power stems from its damage multiplier, which uses the wielder's Strength and Agility (by contrast, even the Advance-exclusive Ultima Weapon with its much higher attack deals slightly less damage than a full-powered Chicken Knife) instead of just Strength.
Mastering the hunter class teaches Rapid Fire, which a character to make four half damage attacks against random targets, and mastering the red mage class teaches Dualcast, which allows two black, white, time or summon spells to be cast per turn.
Movers, found in the final dungeon, also count. 6% encounter rate, 10,000 HP and they instantly end the battle if you don't kill them fast enough. They also give you 199 ABP and 150000 Gil if you manage to both find and kill a pack of Movers before they run away on you. Of course, in the Game Boy Advance version, there's an exploit that lets you encounter Movers whenever you want...
The Stingray, a rare enemy in the lake near Carwen in the merged world, which can drop one of the strongest whips in the game, and has a valuable Blue Magic spell to teach. Like with the Movers, you can use a to find them easily.
Multiple Endings: Unique in that depending on which of the four characters are left capable of fighting at the end of the final battle, the ending changes, with any actions taken or abilities gained before that point having no bearing on the ending whatsoever. Any characters who were Dead or Petrified at the end of the fight lack the strength to actually escape the void with the rest of the party. While the actual graphics for each ending are similar (many are scenes with the same general movement), the implications behind each scene changedrastically.
Bartz's Dragoon outfit resembles Kain almost exactly. His and Galuf's Magic Knight duds also resemble Minwu's. White Mage Krile also resembles a Devout.
Final Fantasy Tactics has a few shout-outs to Faris and Bartz in their designs. Final Fantasy Tactics A 2 is heavily inspired by this game, as well, featuring nearly all of its classes, including the rarely seen since Berserker and Cannoneer.
Faris resembles a purple haired pirate girl from a previous game, Leila from Final Fantasy II.
Nice Hat: Besides the already appeared Red Mage, Cannoneers in the GBA version sport this (oddly enough, except Faris).
That might count as Fridge Brilliance: The hats the other three sport look like they're from Royal Navy officers, the traditional "enemies" of pirates in the pirate movies. Of course Faris won't wear them!
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The fight against the Crystal seals. Exdeath has a good hearty laugh at the Light Warriors after that one.
Non-Elemental: Several spells, including Comet and Meteor, the Flare family, and, even more bizarrely, Aquabreath*
although it deals greatly increased damage against desert monsters
Late world 1 has the Jachol Cave, populated by weak (a mage physically attacking for a 10th the damage of a dedicated battler will almost always kill them) "Nutkin" that always give 2 AP. Staying too long will cause Skull Eaters, a nigh-unkillable foe that can be near guaranteed to kill a party member in 1 hit and will typically move first, but can be killed by a thrown scroll, which are always dropped by the common "Thunder Anemone" enemy.
Bal Castle's basement, the perfect spot for Job grinding. There's only 1 enemy type, and it's vulnerable to Lvl 5 Death or Soft item. It can easily wipe out your party without said spell/item, though.
The area just before Exdeath: every encounter yields at least 30 AP, and if you're lucky, as much as 100.
Power Copying: This is the first game in the series to feature Blue Mages. Also inverted by a boss in the final dungeon - he's also a Blue Mage, so any blue magic you use against him will immediately be used by him, save two, provided he doesn't already have access to it.
The battle script displays a message saying he learned it.
Puzzle Boss: From 6 enemies that will revive each other if you kill them one at a time (requiring you to beat them all at once, or keep killing them until they run out of MP), to Barrier Change Bosses (and there are a lot of them), to the most annoying of all, a boss who will create clones of himself that he will rapidly switch between. Since you can't tell which is which though, you'll have to resort to guesswork or multitarget attacks... which you shouldn't use because then the boss will counter with his own Party Wipe attack. And in the GBA rerelease, it gets even worse in the Bonus dungeon, where you have a boss that will revive itself over and over again. The only way to defeat it is to heal it to death, or hammer/drain away all its magic.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lenna. And Faris. And Galuf. And Krile. And if Bartz's father had stayed on his world Bartz would have been a Prince, so he kind of counts, too. So basically, everyone in the party.
Rules of the Game/Let's Split Up, Gang: In Fork Tower, the party splits up to climb two towers. In one of the towers, everyone has incurable silence status, making them incapable of using magic. In the other tower, every monster automatically counters any physical attack by resetting the battle unless you disable their counterattacks with the Berserk spell.
Rush Boss: Uniquely for a series otherwise famed for its use of Damage Sponge Boss, bosses in Final Fantasy V can typically be killed in a few turns (especially the ones with a weakness or if the player has a strong party set up, a good chunk can be done in 1 if you have the right ability.), but can kill the party just as quick. This makes it surprisingly well suited to a portable format.
Your vehicles embody this trope. You go from an animal-drawn wooden ship to a steam-powered ship that's wooden above and futuristic factory below to an ancient wooden airship (that also has a high-tech underpinning) to a high-tech submarine to finally being able to transform your half-wooden airship into an identical high-tech sub.
And that doesn't even count any of the Advanced Ancient Acropolises. Nor how the makers of the steam-ship and submarine live in waterside medieval stone castles, even though all wooden-decked boats in the game are armed with cannons which render them obsolete.
Schmuck Bait: A side path in a cave where the player seems to randomly acquire 1 gil, and double the previous amount every few steps if they continue (2, 4, 8, 16, etc.) may lead greedy/genre blind newbies right into the maws of the Gil Turtle - an optional boss that, while manageable if you know what to expect and prepare accordingly, is sure to catch said newbies off-guard.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Great Forest of Moore once had a tree that was used to seal away countless evil souls and monsters. Eventually, the concentrated evil within the tree turned the tree evil. It became sapient, twisted into a human shape, and left the forest to terrorize the world. That tree is Exdeath, who itself was later sealed by the Warriors of Dawn.
While it doesn't look like a big, fluffy dog, this is the only FF where you ride a flying dragon.
The game's ending copies the movie's as closely as copyright laws allow it. The world has been consumed by Nothing, leaving the heroes floating through space. Luckily the Mac Guffins they had with them the whole time restore it. Cue flash forward with sequences of zooming across the landscape on a dragon, complete with waving to friends on horse(?)back.
Gogo, sort of; you have a time limit on the whole dungeon, and you can only win the Gogo battle by waiting it out
The castle that's burning down and only gives you a set amount of time to escape also gets topped off with a boss; Iron Claw.
Time Master: Time Mages make their first appearance in the series here, and are arguably more powerful than in any future game due to Game Breaker spells like Return (which resets the battle to the beginning), and Quick (which lets you do two actions in a row, instantly, without interruptions).
The Level 2 Old, Level 3 Flare, Level 4 Demi, and Level 5 Death spells only hit monsters whose levels are multiples of the appropriate level.
Since you get your full party early and all start at level 1, Level 5 Death is likely to cause instant game over the first time you encounter it. Worse, to learn the spell, you have to have a blue mage with a level x 5, so the only way to learn it is to unbalance your party levels.
Technically not an example since you can use the top Blue Mage class ability or the White Magic Scan/Libra to find out an enemy's level first.
The Mix command.
True Companions: The party, helped by the fact that there isn't any switchout as there is in later games. At least, not in the same way.
The Unfought: In the Waterfall cave, it looks like you're about to get into a Boss Fight with an unnamed minion of Exdeath, then Leviathan, the Watefall Cave's real boss, appears and one-shots him.
Universal Driver's License: While this game averts Final Fantasy's common use of this for watercraft (one member of the party is a pirate and thus can be assumed to know what they are doing), but plays it straight for the airship and submarine for that matter.
Bartz and Faris. Strictly speaking it was all on Bartz as he is infatuated by her beauty several times in the game, but it's not reciprocated. Each time happens when her Bifauxnen facade is pierced.Galuf doesn't count because he only shows interest once and never again.
Oddly, this game is the only main series game after IV's romance arc to lack one completely. Unsurprisingly, they're the couple who gets the most focus in fanart.
Updated Rerelease: Twice - the Playstation version had an FMV introduction added to the game. The GBA version added four new job classes and some bonus dungeons to the mix. A better English script could also be counted as a feature.
The World Is Always Doomed: The loss of the Wind crystal alone puts the world in serious peril, due to the damage it would do to the ecosystem. Then the loss of the Water crystal means marine life is going to go extinct, making the future even more grim. Then the Fire crystal is lost, pretty much guaranteeing that all life will freeze to death in a century or so. Then the fourth crystal gets destroyed. Unbelivably, things get worse from that point. Galuf's world gets doomed in much the same fashion, and after that Exdeath gains the power of the Void. Then things get even worse... then it gets better in the Twist Ending
The Geomancer class, which is strange since IRL geomancy is basically feng shui.
The Necromancer class is also added in the GBA version, although it's more of a Bragging Rights Reward since you only get it after the end of the Bonus Dungeon. There's a gauntlet dungeon after that, but you don't get to use it in the main story of the game.
What Could Have Been: In the concept phase for the game, Exdeath had two designs, one of which ended up being discarded. If Square had not chosen for the villain to be a Tin Tyrant, he would have been a Demonic◊ Centaur◊. Parts of his alternate look ended up being incorporated to Neo-Exdeath.
You All Look Familiar: There is only a single sprite each for young girls, young boys, male townsfolk, female townsfolk, soldiers, old men, old women, scholars, werewolves, etc. Several named characters get the same generic sprite as everyone else, including young Bartz & young Faris and Bartz's mother. The odd implication of this is that Faris had brown hair as a child, and Bartz had green hair.
All ships share the exact same upper deck plan, not counting whether the doors or stairs below go.
You Shouldn't Know This Already: Late in the game, the Greenhorn's club will, if you tell them that you're not new to this adventuring thing, tell you the secret benefits of the Freelancer and Mime classes. If you give them this answer early in the game, the receptionist will tell you that they can't have pros scaring the newbies, and literally kicks you out of the club.