Video Game: Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI
, the sixth entry in the nuclear-bomb-explodingly popular Final Fantasy
series, served as the third and final 16-bit
entry of the series. Square originally marketed outside Japan as Final Fantasy III
because only two other games of the franchise had ever seen an international release.
One thousand years prior to the events of the game's main story, three deities found themselves locked in a bitter and bloody war. During this "War of the Magi", the deities transformed ordinary humans into magical beings known as "Espers" to serve as soldiers; those Espers created armies by teaching magic to the general populace. As all sides wielded the awesome power of magic, the ensuing destruction pushed the world to the very brink of oblivion
Fast forward to the modern day: humanity has hunted the Espers into extinction and rebuilt itself with the aid of steampunk
technology. At the time of the game's events, Emperor Gestahl of the Gestahlian Empire has launched a campaign to resurrect the forbidden art of magic, combine it with the force of modern machinery, and create a new power he calls "Magitek
". Gestahl aims to perfect Magitek
and use its power to conquer the world
. Only a ragtag resistance movement
called the Returners, who receive secret funding from the king of Figaro, stand in the Empire's way.
During a search for a long-dormant Esper, a young Imperial soldier named Terra Branford breaks free from the influence
of a Mind-Control Device
placed on her by the empire. She awakens to discover that she has both no memories
and, somehow, the ability to cast magic. Unbeknownst to her, Terra's liberation from the Empire will become the catalyst for both Gestahl and the Returners to make their move, which will change the face of the world as they know it.
With fourteen playable characters, Final Fantasy VI
boasts one of the largest rosters of any RPG of its era (to this day, it still holds the record among the main series Final Fantasy
games for most playable characters) — and it provides nearly all of them with unique spotlights in the plot, to boot.
Like Final Fantasy IV
, the game suffers from Nintendo's typical censorship
— but it still manages to remain the most serious entry in the franchise to that point
(and possibly the first that moved players to tears
). Like all Final Fantasy
games, however, it does have its moments of goofiness. The original English translation, done by Ted Woolsey, has become well-regarded by fans as one of the best translations of the 16-bit era (even if they don't consider it the most faithful; Woolsey is the Trope Namer
, after all).
Square originally released Final Fantasy VI
on the Super Nintendo, but has since ported it twice (both times under the original title). The first port ended up on the original PlayStation
; while it added a number of CGI cutscenes throughout the game, it made no other alterations to the game (aside from slowdown and sound emulation issues). The other port, released on the Game Boy Advance, was much more technically competent: while it had no additional cutscenes, it included new dungeons, gear, and Espers; it also featured a brand-new translation (the PS1
port recycled Woolsey's script) that retained many of Woolsey's original lines and all of his name changes, stuck closer to the original script, and uncensored certain elements (while censoring others that had been uncensored in previous versions). The GBA port also fixed numerous bugs, rebalanced the battle system, made the graphics easier on the eyes, and featured slightly remixed music, the last of which remains a source of contention for some fans
. Square re-released the SNES version on the Virtual Console
in Japan, Europe and North America, re-released the PlayStation
port on the PlayStation Store, and released an enhanced version of the game for mobile devices.
For tropes related to the Characters, go to the Character Sheet. New character trope examples should go there too.
Final Fantasy VI contains examples of the following tropes:
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A - C
- Action Bomb: The usual ability of enemy bombs. Strago can get it as a Lore and Gau can do this when he imitates a Bomb.
- Action Prologue: Biggs and Wedge escort one of the main characters, only shown as ??????, to attack the city of Narshe. When you complete that, you're still in danger and have to escape the city.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Setzer finds himself amused when Celes hustles him via the use of Edgar's two-headed coin.
- Adult Fear:
- Cyan losing his family when Doma is poisoned. Imagine, you, one of the finest knights in the realm, having no power to save your beloved ones. It gets so bad that later in the World of Ruins, an evil spirit grows powerful by feeding on his agony.
- Strago completely lost his mind after the world come to its end and he become separated from his only family, his grand-daughter Relm. Shadow probably is like this too, if the WMG that he's Relm's father is proven true.
- Aerith and Bob: The royal twins of Figaro, Edgar and Sabin. In the Japanese version, Sabin is named Mash. This is just a nickname, however, and his real name is Macías, which is a real Spanish name.
- Afterlife Express: And the Phantom Train really doesn't care for its living passengers...
- After the End: The World of Ruin.
- A.I. Roulette: Damned Coliseum AI. You can avoid them by using Shadow or Setzer, whose specials won't be used, if you're careful what magic they learn, but if you've been training a character with Espers then each spell is another option your character could randomly choose. Gogo and Umaro can forgo this, because Umaro always attacks and Gogo's action menu can be customized.
- All-Natural Gem Polish: Magicite stones are shaped like rupees, reflecting the crystal theme of the series. In Dissidia, the magicite Terra finds is slightly more abstract.
- All Part of the Show: The Opera scenes.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Kefka tries to do this twice; first with Figaro Castle and then with Narshe.
- The Alliance: The Returners have long been secretly backed by Figaro; later, Narshe joins the alliance as well.
- Also Sprach Zarathustra: The intro theme sounds Suspiciously Similar to the first few notes. The same theme plays as Kefka appears for the final boss battle.
- Alternate World Map: World of Ruin.
- Always Check Behind the Chair: There are Elixirs in almost every grandfather clock, and in the game's only alarm clock.
- Always Close: Played with in Shadow's case and averted in Sabin's.
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The final battle goes from from Twisted Demonic Darkness to Heavenly Light.
- An Aesop: Your life doesn't have to have some grand impact on the world to be worth something, just having love and friendship and the will to continue living and looking for them makes it special and worth protecting.
- And Man Grew Proud: The War of the Magi.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: When you are given a choice between three scenarios.
- Anti-Climax: The Warring Triad are supposed to be the source of all magic. The party is forced to fight them in order to reach Kefka, and the party members express confusion when they discover that they are not load-bearing bosses and killing them has had no effect on magic. It turns out Kefka drained enough of their power to be able to sustain magic on his own.
- Anvil on Head: During the Opera, Ultros tries to drop a four-ton weight on Celes.
- Apocalypse How: Planetary Societal Collapse, with a risk of Total Extinction if left unchecked. At the beginning of the World of Ruin, Cid says that the world itself is slowly dying, as if plants and animals have lost the will to live, and while most of the towns still exist, a few have been wiped out and the surviving towns are much less populous. Then the party pisses Kefka off even more, and he decides to screw it and go for annihilating the universe.
- Apocalypse Wow: The creation of the World of Ruin, which also includes an apocalypse montage.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: This is the first Final Fantasy that allows the player to form a party from whatever characters are available, instead of having the plot shuffle them around. It becomes most noticeable on the Floating Continent, where you're only allowed to bring three characters instead of the usual four with no explanation. True, it's so that you have room for Shadow and, later, Celes, if you didn't bring her to begin with, but it's still a little jarring.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The nameless blueblood who lives in the mansion in South Figaro is responsible for giving the Empire vital information in exchange for money, thus allowing them to take over the city. Speaking to him later as Locke during the city's occupation reveals he regrets his decision. Much later on in Jidoor, however, the citizens actually went so far as to remove the entire lower class from their city, likely by force, and they find the world's destruction as being nothing more than a concept to make art about.
- Armor of Invincibility:
- The Paladin's Shield, which gives very, very good bonuses, and immunities on top of the already high defense. Have fun uncursing it from the Cursed Shield by fighting 256 times with it equipped, which is the worst shield in the game with lots of negative status changes.
- The Snow Scarf has a defense rating of 128. For a point of comparison, the Behemoth Suit has the second-highest armor rating aside from the Reed Cloak (see below under Imp Equipment) and has a defense rating of only 96. Unfortunately it's exclusive to Mog, Gau and Umaro. Gau and Mog are Difficult but Awesome Lethal Joke Characters, and Umaro is balanced out by poor usefulness otherwise.
- The Minerva Bustier, Behemoth Suit, Red Jacket, Cat-Ear Hood, and as always the Genji equipment, have excellent defensive benefits and also give nice boosts to basic stats.
- The Imp Equipment set will max out all defenses, but their scores only take effect on an Imped character, making it an Awesome but Impractical set of gear.
- Armor-Piercing Attack: Several attacks and spells ignore defense, like Edgar's drill.
- Artifact Mook: There's the Veldt, which contains every enemy you previously encountered (to allow obtaining their skills in a specific form of Mega Manning done by the characer Gau). This includes soldiers, elite soldiers, and enemies said by the story to be already extinct. Some bosses also appear in the Veldt, such as the Behemoth King and the Holy Dragon.
- At the Opera Tonight: The famous opera sequence, where Celes performs and the others watch before an inevitable boss fight. It's a ploy to get their hands on an airship. (If you take Sabin, he will even ask why everyone is singing.)
- Auction: You can participate in the auctions held at Jidoor's Auction House to get Magicite and relics, although there are also a couple of items that you will never be able to purchase.
- Audience Murmurs: When the Opera gets derailed with the unforeseen entry of Ultros, Locke & co.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: Most of the "Dancing Mad" remixes, both official and by fans, uses the guitar through out the track and adds a additional guitar solo segment in the (relatively) peaceful part of the 4th Movement.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: When the party tries to open the Sealed Gate.
- Awesome but Impractical: Meltdown, Quake, Tornado and the Crusader esper do great damage, but hit your own characters as well. Meltdown and Quake can be avoided with specific character builds.
- Cyan's Swordtech/Bushido moves. The first attack, Dispatch/Fang, is likely the only one a player will use, as charging up for his other attacks takes a very long time and prevents entering any other actions for the rest of the party while doing so. Averted in the mobile/iOS version, where the player can pick a technique and Cyan will charge it up on his own time while the rest of the battle proceeds.
- The Ultima spell can easily hit the damage cap of 9999, but costs 80 MP, which is 8% of the maximum MP a character can have. There are items that reduce the cost of spellsnote , but generally, there are more efficient ways to deal lots of damage. On the other hand, absorbing magic from enemies is so easy (the Osmose spell in this game verges on being a Game Breaker) that some players may not care.
- Shadow is this when you meet him in Kohlingen. Hiring him for the trip to Zozo is arguably more trouble than it's worth, given that you have to keep a slot open for him in the party, he immediately ditches you if you go back to Narshe to switch party members, and he seems to have a much higher chance of leaving than he did when he was traveling with Sabin and Cyan, forcing you to complete the Zozo dungeon with a three-person party, hike all the way back to Narshe to replace him, or reload a save from before he left.
- Back from the Brink: The second half of the game.
- Badass Boast: Atma/Ultima Weapon gives this:
III Atma Weapon: "My name is Atma... I am pure energy... and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!"
III Atma: "I'm Atma... Left here since birth... Forgotten in the river of time... I've had an eternity to... Ponder the meaning of things... And now I have an answer..."
VI Ultima Weapon: "My name is Ultima... I am power both ancient and unrivaled... I do not bleed, for I am but strength given form... Feeble creatures of flesh... Your time is nigh!"
- Also, Dummied Out from the game but still impressive is Czar Dragon's quote: "Mwa, ha ha... humans and their desires! I'm free at last! I bring you destruction... I bring you terror... I am Czar... Prepare yourselves!"
- In the GBA version, where he was reinstated as a Bonus Boss:
Kaiser Dragon: "Humans and your insatiable greed... Your lust for power leads always to a lust for blood... This place is a sanctuary for wayward souls... What business have you filthy creatures here? You slaughter my brethren, and befoul their rest with the profanity of your continued existence... You should not have come here. In the name of all dragonkind, I shall grant you the death you desire. I am the dealer of destruction... I am the font from which fear springs... I am Kaiser... And your time is at end."
- Sabin and Duncan also give us the line, "Did you think a little thing like the end of the world would be enough to do me in?"
- Bad-Guy Bar: The South Figaro Inn. While it notably features Shadow and his monstrous dog, Interceptor, it also has several rough looking NPCs who wear eye-patches and bandanas, who are also used to portray drunkards, thieves, prisoners, and even ninjas.
- The Bad Guy Wins: This is one of the most well known examples where the villain actually succeeds in taking over, or in this case, destroying the world. The entire last half of the game is dedicated to trying to undo it... and it comes at the cost of magic and Espers vanishing from the world forever, so even in death, Kefka managed to royally screw the planet over in another manner.
- Bad Liar:
- Everyone in Thamasa. Everyone in the town can use magic. They try to hide this fact from the outside world, but they do a terrible job of it once people actually come to the town. This is Played for Laughs, but due to the Crapsack World setting, they once had very good reason to hide their magical abilities from the world, since they were once persecuted for it (they were blamed for the War of the Magi).
- The first guy you talk to in Zozo (right after the textbox that tells you the city's name fades away). "Zozo? Never heard of it."
- Bag of Sharing: Taking into the account the timescale during the three scenario segments, this particular bag can transfer items across both space AND time.
- Baleful Polymorph: Imp/Kappa form. There is specialized equipment that makes that form stronger, not to mention Cyan's infinite counter bug in his imp form. Add the Dragon Horn or Dragoon Boots and you'll acquire the dreaded Death God Dragoon Imp.
- Bandit Mook: Harvester enemies in Zozo will steal from your party if you try to steal from them, later, there's the money stealing bears in Mt. Zozo.
- Barrier Change Boss: Number 024 in the Magitek Research Facility and the Magic Master on the top of Cultists' Tower. Also, Kaiser Dragon, the Bonus Boss in the GBA remake.
- Bears Are Bad News: Bears that steal lots of money. And then run away. And Vargas has bodyguard bears!
- Beef Gate: The difficult monsters and bosses in Kefka's Tower can be fought as soon as you get the second airship. Averted in Speed Run routes, as everything is squishy to Joker's Death.
- BFS: Several, with the Atma/Ultima Weapon being the most notable.
- Big Bad: Initially Emperor Gestahl, but ultimately Kefka. Although one could also argue that Kefka was the big bad all along, considering the fact that he was the most recurring villain throughout the game.
- Big Boo's Haunt: The Phantom Train in the World of Balance. Later on, there is Darill's Tomb, Owzer's Mansion, and Dreamscape.
- Bittersweet Ending: Kefka is defeated, but his death means the end of magic forever AND the deaths of every single surviving Esper (if there even are any surviving Espers by that point), and this is all after Kefka ruled the world for a year while destroying cities left and right with a magic laser beam. Not to mention that Shadow is left inside Kefka's tower as it collapses and is never seen again.
- Black and Gray Morality: The Returners let Terra choose to join them willingly and show a genuine interest in protecting her, but in the end they also exploit Terra's power and connection to the Espers just like the Empire. Banon even states to her face, on more than one occasion, that she's their trump card that he's pinning their hopes on her.
- Blatant Lies:
- This is the Hat of everyone in Zozo (except the merchant). Perhaps most notably exhibited by Dadaluma, who says, "Good day, gentle folks. Can I be of service? I hate fighting, so I'd better let you pass" right before attacking the party.
- Also Gestahl, at the banquet, when he claims that all he really wants is peace amongst other things.
- Blocking Stops All Damage: This is one of the dodge animations in the game: the character is attacked but pulls out their shield, and remains uninjured. There's also a parry animation, and Shadow has a specific animation that averts this: he's injured, but not as much as he would be otherwise (he also has Interceptor counter for massive damage).
- Blow You Away: Several enemies can permanently blow the party members away from battle, with Typhon being the most infamous example.
- Bonus Boss:
- The Eight Dragons, Ultima Buster, and many other bosses from the World of Ruin.
- Intangir is something of a Bonus Boss in Mook Clothing; he's hard to find, completely optional, and tougher than almost anything else in the World of Balance. It's the same with the Brachosaur.
- Bonus Dungeon: The Cultists' Tower. The GBA remake adds two additional ones, the Dragons' Den and the Soul Shrine. Technically, everything after getting the Falcon is optional, too.
- Border Patrol: The Guardians.
- Boring but Practical:
- Edgar's Auto Crossbow. He starts out with it, but it'll end most random encounters in one round up until you hit Zozo, at which point it's still effective, just not as much.
- The Earrings Relic boosts magic damage by 25%. It so happens that aside from magic, most characters uses magic power to enhance their secondary skills (Phantom Rush, Dance, Lore, Slots). Bound to be one of your most used relics up until the last third of the game when you can hit the damage cap without them.
- Boss Bonanza: You have in Kefka's Tower Ultima Buster, Inferno, two of the Eight Dragons, Guardian, the Warring Triad, then the Final Boss.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The invisible Intangir on the Triangle Island of the World of Balance, which is invisible, absorbs every element and has more HP than any enemy in the first half. In the second half, there is the infamous Brachosaur in the World of Ruin, which is usually considered stronger than any boss in the game.
- Boss Remix: "Dancing Mad", which mainly uses Kefka's Leitmotif, but it also has parts taken from the opening theme, "Catastrophe" (that plays when you confront Gestahl and Kefka on the Floating Continent), and "The Fierce Battle (Fight to the Death)".
- Bowdlerise: As was standard for Nintendo of America at the time, all references to religion and alcohol were censored out of the English SNES version - pubs were changed to cafes, 'holy' was changed to 'pearl' - and some scantily clad female sprites were covered up more. The PS1 English release used the original Woolsey script and contains all dialog censorship, but did not retain the visual censorship, thus reverting the pubs and the nudity. The Enhanced Remake for the GBA release had a new, uncensored script but did retain some censorship to the sprites for nudity. Both the English and Japanese release also censored a scene where guards beat a chained Celes to get a CERO All and E rating, not because of a real life murder as many believe.
- Bragging Rights Reward: In the GBA version, by the time you get all the really powerful weapons in the Dragons' Den, your characters are so strong they don't really need them anyway.
- Breaking the Fellowship: By the breaking of the airship they were currently on.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Locke does this to the in-universe opera to save the show.
- But Thou Must: Played with when Terra is given the choice to join the Returners or not. She accompanies the Returners on the trip to Narshe either way, but if she refuses three times then it ends up being she has to for terms of plot, the Empire is headed to their base and she needs an escape as much as they do. The Empire still comes even if she agrees to join, so one way or the other an alliance is inevitablenote .
- By Wall That Is Holey: Use those to bypass the descending ceiling inside Zone Eater.
- Canon Name: During the credits.
- Captain Obvious: The Cursed Shield is cursed. So is the Cursed Ring.
- Captured Super Entity: The Espers held by the Empire. Ramuh will ask the party to free them. Terra herself might be counted as one.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Celes resembles the opera singer Maria. Because of this, she becomes a drop-in replacement for the original singer, as part of a plan to obtain an airship. Setzer noticed the difference only after bringing her aboard.
- Censor Steam: Chadarnook's goddess mode. She has a lot less censor steam in the Japanese original and PS1 versions than she does in the SNES and GBA versions.
- Central Theme: Love, in all its different forms, and the struggle to keep living and loving in the face of death, destruction and hatred.
- Character as Himself: The ending sequence, assuming you kept their default names.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Celes and General Leo appear in Terra's flashback not 30 minutes into the game. Additionally, Kefka is seen briefly in the opening cutscene.
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Late in the game, Locke finally finds the legendary Phoenix magicite, which he hopes can revive the long-deceased (but otherwise preserved) Rachel, his girlfriend and his reason for The Dulcinea Effect. Unfortunately, the magicite is so weak that it shatters on use, only providing enough power to revive Rachel for a moment. Just before Rachel dies again, she tells Locke to stop torturing himself for what happened to her and to love Celes as much as he loved her. Oh, and her power fixes the Phoenix magicite so you can use it during gameplay.
- Climax Boss: Ultima Weapon.
- Cognizant Limbs: Several bosses like Number 128, Air Force, Engine Room tentacle monsters and others.
- Colour Coded Elements: The Magic: White for Healing, Black for Attacking, and Grey for status changing/effect spells.
- Combat Tentacles: The Engine Room tentacle monsters and, of course, Ultros.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Infamous for unintentionally averting this thanks to the Vanish/Doom bug and Banish.
- Contrived Coincidence: So, Celes happened to look exactly like the renowned opera singer Maria, who was stalked by the man named Setzer who, in turn, owned the world's only (active) airship, which the party needed to get to the South Continent? And, more importantly, she happens to have a world-class operatic soprano with no formal training!
- Convection Schmonvection: In the cave that leads to the Sealed Gate. Falling into the lava will only bring the party to the beginning of the cave. Later, in the Phoenix Cave, you'll cross lakes of lava by hopping over tiny stepping stones.
- Cool Airship: Two airships: the Blackjack, and later the Falcon.
- Cosmetic Award: In the GBA version, The Master's Crown, "a ceremonial crown awarded for overcoming the challenges of the Soul Shrine".
- Cosmic Keystone: The sealed statues of the Warring Triad.
- Costume Porn: Somewhat evident in-game, but most evident in the Yoshitaka Amano art.
- Cover Drop: When the logo is blood red on the cover and flaming in-game, complete with ominous thunderclouds spewing lightning, you know it's not gonna end well...
- Cowardly Boss:
- Deathgaze, who will run away after a few turns, which means you'll have to find him all over again.
- Kefka, who is engaged in battle no less than three times in the World of Balance — the Imperial Camp near Doma, the decisive battle in Narshe, and just outside the Sealed Gate. He runs away from the first two fights, and is swept away by the escaping Espers in the third.
- Crapsack World: The World of Ruin. The distant past of the setting counts as well.
- Credits Medley: It uses the leitmotif of each character, regardless of whether you recruited them or not, along with "Final Fantasy", the series main theme.
- Crutch Character: Cyan and Edgar, but only his Tools skill. Sabin also warrants a mention, especially as soon as he gets the Rising Phoenix Blitz during the first part of the game.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The out of control Espers do this to the Empire, then later Kefka returns the favour.
- Cutscene: Pretty much started the "long Final Fantasy cutscene" trend.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Basically, any time after the Narshe Battle Sequence, if the party runs into Kefka, they're gonna get their asses beat like a group of red headed stepchildren. Justified when you encounter Gestahl on the Floating Continent. The first thing he does to you is use the very source of magic in the world to paralyze you.
- Cutting the Knot:
- The boss Wrexsoul can be rather complicated to defeat; you're supposed to kill your own party members until he emerges from hiding, and then attack him. Or, you know, you could just cast Banish, that works just as well (if you don't mind not getting the Item Drop). The latter solution is still viable in the GBA version of the game, suggesting it was either an intended way to finish the boss, or an Ascended Glitch for that encounter (as the Vanish/Doom bug was corrected). Given that Banish worked on the SoulSavers even without the Vanish/Doom bug in the original, the former seems likely.
- And, as usual in Final Fantasy, Revive Kills Zombie. The otherwise-challenging boss Phantom Train happens to be undead, so you can throw a Phoenix Down at it and end the fight in one round.
- Sure, you can do as the game suggests and deploy your Runic ability on Tunnel Armor...or you can pick up the Thunder Rod found in that same cave and One-Hit Kill it.
- You can knot-cut two Palette Swap bosses:
- Number 024 in the Magitek Research Facility. He uses Barrier Change to absorb every element but one, so he's clearly meant as a test of your brand-new magic skills. However, he doesn't share the same insane physical defense that everything else possesses in that building, so you can assault him with Bushido, Blitz, Tools and good old physical attacks.
- Magic Master in the Cultists' Tower uses the same strategy, but due to where you're fighting, you can't use physcial attacks. You can, however, use Berserk and completely bypass his brutal magic spells. He still hits pretty hard, but this is simply remedied by vanishing all of the party members. Also, since he plays by the same rules, just draining his magic to 0 will make him just drop dead, and this even skips hit last-ditch ultimate spell.
- Cyborg: Sergeants and Belzecues in the Magitek Factory. In addition to utilizing programs to attack the party in battle, they are weak to Water and Lightning elemental attacks, just like machines, and they have high defenses. They are also stated to have been infused with Magitek, though it's not exactly clear why simple dobermans get the same kind of cybernetic enchantments/replacements and battle programs as the high ranked and heavily armed officers of the Empire.
D - F
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: Selecting multiple targets with a spell is done with the shoulder buttons, rather than the left and right arrows on the D-Pad as is usual for the series. Also, the SNES version uses the then-standard rightmost-face-button-to-select, lowest-face-button-to-cancel control scheme, while most ports use the opposite (as became the standard from the PS1 onward) with no option to remap the buttons.
- Darker and Edgier: Final Fantasy VI was by far the darkest game in the franchise at the time of its release, and is still a contender for the title today. The storyline is rife with tales of personal loss, the central antagonist has multiple counts of genocide on his hands, and halfway through the game you face The End of the World as We Know It. VI's atmosphere is almost uniformly bleak even prior to becoming a post-apocalyptic wasteland; virtually everyone aside from the more upbeat main characters is afraid of the impending war and the Empire is regularly shown to still be in the process of conquering the world through invasion and slaughter. After the apocalypse, most of the party has edged against the Despair Event Horizon and must be swayed back into fighting. This is in stark contrast with its predecessor Final Fantasy V, which is so lighthearted that it often teeters on the edge of being an Affectionate Parody.
- Darkest Africa: The Veldt with Mobliz at its edge.
- Darkest Hour: After the world is rent asunder, the heroes scattered to the winds, and the last remaining player character loses the one person left whom she could consider family (though the last event is up to the player's actions).
- Dark Reprise:
- "Epitaph", a tearjerking variation of Setzer's Theme.
- "Metamorphosis" contains a suspenseful and fast-paced variation of "Terra", appropriately used for instances filled with danger.
- The beginning of "Dancing Mad"'s 1st Movement is a Dark Reprise of "Catastrophe"—itself a dark reprise of the "Opening Theme"
- "Forever Rachel" is a minor-key variant of Locke's Theme.
- A Day in the Limelight: Many quests in the World of Ruin.
- Dead Character Walking: Has a couple of bugs that allow you to walk around with an all-dead (Or all-zombie) party. Of course, it's Game Over if you enter a fight, but hey.
- Dead Person Conversation: Cyan's family during his nightmare, and before that, in the Ghost Train Station.
- Death by Childbirth: The mothers of Gau, Relm, Edgar, and Sabin.
- Death Mountain: Mt. Kolts, the Esper gathering site, and Mt. Zozo.
- Defeat by Modesty: A rare male variant. How does Locke steal someone's whole outfit in one go anyway?
- Degraded Boss: Besides the usual boss-turned-mook routine, some early bosses will appear on the Veldt as regular enemies, including one of the eight dragons.
- Demihuman: Some Espers are like this, but not all. The backstory states that Espers are former humans transformed by the Warring Triad for purposes of war.
- Descending Ceiling: Inside of Zone Eater, there's one room where a rocky ceiling comes crashing down at regular intervals. Failing to dodge it correctly results in an instant game over.
- Desperation Attack: How the Limit Breaks work, but the chances of activating them are extremely low, to the point where few players have even seen them.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you got to the room holding Ramuh and Esper Terra for the first time with a solo-Gau party, this happens:
Gau: Terra... she okay?
Ramuh: Her life is in no danger. She simply used a power she didn't know she had, and it overwhelmed her. Now her body won't listen to what she's telling it to do. As for myself, I am Ramuh—the esper, Ramuh.
Gau: Espers... live other world... right?
- And so on. Eventually they stop trying to rewrite dialogue for every character, though. There are some segments with dialogue in quotation marks that isn't attributed to any particular character.
- Another example is the various character segments during the ending when two characters are paired up for the same segment: Edgar with Sabin, Celes without Locke and even Relm without Strago.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Following the Strictly Formula plan, we save the wor— WHAT DO YOU MEAN, "WE FAILED"?!
- Dialogue Tree: The dinner party. It all leads to the same place, but different choices give you rewards based on your etiquette during the dinner.
- Difficulty Spike:
- Zozo. Enemies suddenly have enough HP to survive more than one round from you, they begin using magic attacks regularly, and one type of enemy can even use items to heal itself or allies. Another throws weapons at you for a ton of damage.
- The Floating Continent: the random encounters are much stronger than you expect (if the party had trouble beating the Air Force boss they fought earlier, they should get off the continent and start grinding), and on top of that, Ultima Weapon can be surprisingly powerful. Further compounding the problem, should you decide to save, you cannot get off unless you get through the entire dungeon! That's right, the cop out is right before Ultima Weapon, so you still have to fight incredibly difficult random encounters and trudge through the entire dungeon just to get off of the freaking island!
- Dinosaurs Are Dragons: People refer to the Dinosaur Forest enemies as dragons. Also, the designs for dinosaurs are used as Palette Swaps for actual dragons. They also have some incredible attacks.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: The Floating Continent. Even before that, the game attempts a (brief) Disc One Ending Sequence, complete with everyone laughing and Locke waving to the camera. And then Kefka shows up...
- Disc One Nuke:
- Edgar. Auto Crossbow will end most enemy encounters instantly until around Zozo, and the Drill can one-shot most regular enemies even after that and does excellent damage to bosses. (The chainsaw does even more damage but has a 1/4 chance of an instant-death effect that misses completely against enemies strong enough that it would otherwise be useful.) Sabin likewise begins with powerful Blitzes and will unlock Rising Phoenix (capable of One Hit Multi Killing entire groups of regular enemies) at about the time Auto Crossbow's usefulness starts to wane.
- A Genji Glove, which allows Dual Wielding and effectively doubles physical damage, can be had very early if you know to refuse a But Thou Must at least once before the game forces you to accept it. Especially handy during Locke's scenario, which forces you into several solo battles with a character with no combat-oriented special abilities.
- In South Figaro, if you know where to look, you can find two excellent Relics on the first visit; the Gigas Glove which boosts all physical damage, including from special attacks, by 25%, and the Hermes Sandals which cast Haste on the wearer. Oh Edgar, got some new accessories for you to try on!
- Gau, if you put effort in getting his Rages. You have easy access to rages that deal 4x physical damage, wipe out entire enemy parties with Wind Slash, can cast Fira, Thundara, Bio or Cura long before you're supposed to have them, and several of the game's more useful Blue Magic Spells. Then there is Quake and Gigavolt, which is equivalent to Thundaga, which you can't learn until the second half! Stray Cat alone will carry you up until the Floating Continent. His Gigavolt attack can kill several bosses in one strike!
- Discretion Shot: When Doma is poisoned, Cyan can explore the rest of the castle, where he can find the last of the living soldiers near the barracks door staring at the wall saying "... We are finished". Entering the barracks makes Cyan stop just before entering the room, staying there for the few seconds, close the door, barely move back and say "... Here too."
- Disposable Superhero Maker: How the Empire was making its Magitek knights before it became obsolete with the discovery of magicite (of course, you destroying the Magitek Research facility didn't help either).
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Terra's second flashback, where she remembers Emperor Gestahl speaking to a crowd of soldiers clad in all brown about being the "chosen ones" meant to rule the world, while everyone sticks up their right hand in salute... For extra measure, the three generals behind him (Kefka, Leo and Celes) are all blonde.
- Driven to Suicide: The survivors of the world's destruction who ended up on Solitary Island. Over the course of a year, they all lost their will to live and threw themselves off a cliff into the rocks below. If Cid dies, Celes herself follows in their footsteps, though she doesn't succeed.
- Dual Wielding: The Genji Glove relic enables it. Combine it with Master Scroll and Two Infinity Plus One Swords for the most powerful weapon combo.
- Dual Boss: Ultros and Typhon, of course. They proved so popular to get an appearance in Final Fantasy XIII-2 for a DLC battle.
- Dub Name Change: A lot. See that page for the examples.
- Dummied Out: Bosses like the Kaiser Dragon and Colossus. The former would later appear in the GBA remake as a Bonus Boss.
- Dungeon Town: This game, next to Final Fantasy VIII, contains some of the most prominent examples of this trope. You begin the game stepping on Narshe guards with your Powered Armor in the city streets, which culminates with a trip through Narshe's mines. Later on, you are forced to infiltrate an occupied South Figaro as Locke, having to solve some logic puzzles in order to get from the east side of town to the west. Once you pick up Celes, the under works of the town become a traditional combat-oriented dungeon. Sometime afterwards, you have to go to the dangerous and run-down Zozo and deal with armed homeless men and magical prostitutes before dealing with a gang-leader named Dadaluma. And after that, there's Vector, where guards will be eager to boot you out of the upper part of town. In the World of Ruin, Narshe is all but abandoned, and monsters swarm the streets, and Owzer's House is invaded by a haunted painting.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Probably one of the kings of this trope - after all the world ends halfway through the game. Yet by the time the credits roll, most of the main cast has resolved their core conflicts and can move on with their lives (once they've dealt with the problem of the vicious godlike entity that blew up the world in the first place.)
- Earthquakes Cause Fissures: The Quake spell makes holes instead of fissures. Played straight when the world ends.
- Earth-Shattering Poster: Halfway through the game, you get a nice space-view of the world getting nuked all over... including a fear-inducing image of a continent getting split in half.
- Eldritch Abomination: The three tiers at Kefka's Tower, which is pretty much a huge demon, a tiger head, four clones of Kefka, an engine, a woman, a reclining Kefka clone, and the angelic bust of a woman resembling the Virgin Mary, all stuck to the very top of Kefka's Tower. The reason of why they exist at all is not given. The Warring Triad counts as well. General fan consensus is that they exist as a parallel to The Divine Comedy.
- Elemental Powers: Like most of its siblings in the series, this game, too, features elemental powers.
- Empty Levels: It is advised not to grind too much until you get the best status-giving Espersnote .
- Enemy Summoner: Satellites among others.
- Energy Beings: Various monsters, such as the monsters of the Floating Continent, including Ultima Weapon, which specifically describes itself as "pure energy". In an example of Gameplay and Story Integration, if you force these monsters to run out of Magic Points, it will die. This gimmick is necessary to beat one of the reborn Eight Dragons in the Dragons' Den.
- Encounter Repellant: One item reduces battles, another stops them.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Halfway through the game, it actually happens.
- Enormous Engine: The engine powering Figaro Castle — while it's small compared to the castle, the characters are dwarfed in comparison (and they even have a boss battle on top of it).
- Ensemble Cast: Of all the Final Fantasy games, only Final Fantasy IX comes close to matching VI for lack of a clear protagonist (and that's only for the first two thirds of the game, before Zidane's story becomes the really important arc,and the cast of Final Fantasy V are a pretty even spread in terms of plot importance.) While Terra is the first character you control and is a strong contender for 'main character,' the story isn't driven by her the way, say, Cloud drives Final Fantasy VII. Rather as the game progresses most of the other characters get at least one important sidequest in the World of Ruin when you have to get the party together, Sabin and Locke get major segments in the first part of the game, and in addition to the aforementioned sidequests several characters get a second character-development sidequest afterwards. In fact, when the world is destroyed the focus of the game shifts to Celes, who for the second half of the game has equal claim to the 'main character' title from about the midway point on. This is further illustrated in Terra and Celes' mirrored character arcs and even the spells they learn naturally. You can even choose not to recruit Terra again in the World of Ruin and finish the game without her.
- Enter Solution Here: The World is Square.
- Epic Fail: When the house bursts into flames in Thamasa and the fire's too strong to put out, one of the villagers says, "Maybe it's because of all the Flame Rods kept in the house."
- Epic Rocking: "Dancing Mad", a classically-styled piece with four distinct movements, each with their own theme and variation on different Leitmotifs from throughout the game. The full song stretches to about seventeen minutes long (compare to "One-Winged Angel", which reaches less than half of that). The end theme (variously translated as "Reviving Green", "Balance Is Restored", or just "Ending Theme") is even longer, surpassing twenty-one minutes in length with ease. At the time it was, and maybe it still is, the longest track in the series.
Well, usually when you make a song it's two to three minutes in length, you have the introduction, the main part and the ending. But... for 'Dancing Mad' I didn't really put a stop on it, so I kept on working on it, working on it, working on it and that really let the song... you know... I got to play around with it for something like fourteen minutes, and it's really one of my favorites.
- Escape Battle Technique: The game has the item variant.
- Escort Mission: Averting the usual headaches of escorting an NPC, Banon is by and far the best healer in the game and, in fact, one of the best healers in almost any RPG. His free full party heal is powerful enough that it's completely possible to simply weigh or tape down the button to select an action and walk away from the console for a day or two and become max level (the sequence where you escort Banon is a series of fights, it's possible to get into an infinite loop of said fights). You can eventually reach max level, which can overcome any unobtained stat gain for not using Espers.
- Eternal Engine: The Magitek Factory and its remains in Kefka's Tower. Figaro Castle also counts, particularly its massive basement which holds the engines themselves.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Celes, general of the Empire and responsible for conquering the town of Maranda (and probably South Figaro's occupation), started her Heel-Face Turn when she found out Kefka was planning to poison the people of Doma.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Subverted. First, Celes and Locke get embarrassed over a comment from Relm. Relm and Strago start laughing. Then Terra starts laughing, Celes and Locke start laughing, and soon everyone on the screen is sharing a good laugh... and then Kefka starts laughing and walks into the scene.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: At the start of the game's second act, this is assumed by Cid, since as far as he can see, all that's left of the world is the tiny island the player is on. If Cid ends up dying, too, Celes tries to commit suicide out of the despair of this fact. She is quite shocked when after surviving, she sees a bird bandaged with a bandana that is strikingly similar to one worn by a certain thi—er, treasure hunter. — meaning that, somewhere, people live.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The best source of grinding.
- Evil Empire: One of the clearest video game examples you'll ever find.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: The magic-only Cultists' Tower and, of course, Kefka's Tower.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: The reason Emperor Gestahl and Kefka turn on each other.
- Exact Time to Failure: The fall of the Floating Continent and the collapse of the Tzen mansion, among others. Ultros arguably does a bit of Lampshade Hanging when he tries to drop a 4-ton weight onto the opera scene:
"This is heavier than I thought! It'll take me 5 minutes to drop it!"
- Express Delivery: Although Katarin is with child in the World of Ruin, she won't give birth until you destroy Kefka and complete the game.
- Faceless Goons: Almost every human enemy in the game has their face covered or otherwise obscured in some way, and as a result some of them◊ barely even look◊ like humans◊.
- Fairy Battle: The urns in the Cultists' Tower would use items on you instead of attacking.
- Fastball Special: One of Umaro's offensive tactics is to throw party members at opponents.
- Fight Woosh: Pixellation in dungeons, zooming when on the world map, and more flashy in GBA version. In the PlayStation port, the effect is a strange side-to-side split of alternating lines that feels like it takes forever.
- First Town: Narshe and Figaro Castle. You do show up at Narshe first, but since it's a combat venture when you first arrive, no services are provided that you would expect in your standard town.
- Fishing Minigame: Cruelly, doing poorly results in the moment cited on Tear Jerker.
- Flunky Boss: Lots of them, including That One Boss Wrexsoul.
- Flying Seafood Special: The Veldt in general. Lots of weird stuff there... yeah.
- Follow the Plotted Line: Sabin's scenario feels like this, except nobody bothered to tell him that the direct pathway to Nikeah is blocked by the landslide.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Heard in the opening theme when the opening narration talks about the destructive War of the Magi. This trope later reappears in the first world map music in the World of Ruin and "Dancing Mad," the final boss theme, and is also present in The Empire's theme. The first three also overlap with Ominous Pipe Organ (The Empire's theme opts for brass instruments instead).
- Forbidden Fruit: Banon tells a Pandora's Box-like story to Terra. Otherwise, there is no clear example of this trope, unless the magic itself/Warring Triad statues count.
- Foreshadowing: When the opening narration says "Yet there now stands one who would reawaken the magic of ages past, and use its dread power as a means by which to conquer all the world," watch the bottom right corner of the screen—you'll catch a brief glimpse of Kefka.
- Free-Fall Fight: When riding the waterfall, and later when fighting the Air Force.
- From the Mouths of Babes:
- Locke & co. get some plot-relevant foreshadowing and some pretty clever hints from the rich man's young daughter in South Figaro.
- It's also how Relm shakes Strago out of his brainwashing. "And as foul mouthed as ever."
- Frothy Mugs of Water: The Pubs/Bars were changed to Cafes in the SNES version.
G - I
J - L
M - O
- Mage Tower: The Cultists' Tower.
- The Magic Comes Back: The initial premise of the game, with The Empire discovering magic and using it to take over the world.
- The Magic Goes Away: The ultimate result of defeating Kefka.
- Magic Knight: Terra and Celes. Every character except for Umaro can be turned into this with the use of Espers (Relm, Strago and Gogo require the additional use of the Merit Award).
- Magical Land: The Land of the Espers.
- Magikarp Power:
- The Cursed Shield nerfs all your stats and inflicts every status ailment in the book on you... but, if you survive 256 battles with it equipped, it transforms into the Paladin Shield, the best shield in the game.
- The Ultima Weapon is found about a third of the way through the game. However, its power depends on the maximum HP of the user, so it doesn't start dealing the damage you'd expect from the Ultima Weapon until around the end of the game.
- Gau starts out with a half-dozen mediocre Rages, and that's all he'll ever get if you don't go out of your way to develop him. If you know which Rages to shoot for, though, a little bit of grinding on the Veldt will make him a Game Breaker throughout the World of Balance and much of the World of Ruin. He only really gets definitively surpassed in the endgame, when 90% of your team reaches Game Breaker status.
- Mana Burn: Rasp. Unlike other games in the series without a specific mana burn spell, Rasp is notably useful because some enemies are made up of pure magic: reducing them to zero MP kills them just as effectively as reducing them to zero HP. For some enemies, this also prevents them from using a last ditch move that may kill your party.
- Mana Drain: Osmose.
- The Man Behind the Man: Averted: Kefka and Emperor Gestahl both make an appearance in Terra's flashback at the beginning of the game. Kefka also makes a blink-and-miss-it appearance when you see Vector for the first time in the opening cutscene, making him the first main character you see.
- Meaningful Echo: Celes's Tear Jerker moment almost exactly mirrors the movements she goes through during the opera scene. The part where she throws the flowers from the balcony takes on a whole new meaning once you compare it to her throwing herself from the high cliff.
- Meaningful Name: Terra's mother's name is Madonna/Madeline. Hmmm....
- "Intangir" = Intangible + Integer
- Market-Based Title: In the west it used to be III.
- Mascot Mook: The first appearance of Cactuar (or "Cactrot" in the SNES translation).
- Meta Power-Up: The Experience egg.
- Metal Slime: The Solitary Island upon which Celes awakens after the destruction of the World of Balance is covered in Peepers and Land Rays, from which Locke can steal Elixirs and Megalixirs, respectively. Unfortunately, they only have 1 HP and the Sap status, so they self-destruct almost as soon as you start fighting them. They also have two of the best defensive Blue Magic spells for Strago to learn - getting them to use said spells before they die on their own is nigh impossible.
- Mind-Control Device: The Slave Crown.
- Monster Arena: The Dragon's Neck Coliseum.
- Mood Whiplash:
- First, you eat in the Afterlife Express's board restaurant and then suplex the train. And then the train picks up Cyan's deceased family and he gives them a last goodbye.
- During the journey to Thamasa, Terra converses with Leo and Shadow about love and her ability to feel which is followed immediately by Locke having a good puke into the sea.
- The party finds the missing Espers, but they advance on the party ready to attack. As the party prepares to defend themselves, their leader arrives. Terra confronts him and magic sparks between them, terrifying Strago. It's a very tense, uncertain scene... promptly ruined by Locke reacting to Terra's power fluctuations with "I wonder if she's gonna go ballistic again!"
- The party convinces the Espers to talk peace with the Empire, everyone is safe and sound, Locke and Celes reconcile and seem poised to explore their feelings for each other, and their awkwardness gives everyone a good laugh. Then Kefka shows up and the next twenty minutes shows that the game is on track to make sure everything is terrible forever.
- Mook Bouncer: Guards in Vector.
- Mugged for Disguise: Locke's story path dumps him in South Figaro. The only way to traverse the city, which is under military occupation, is to "Mug" merchants and low-ranking troops for their threads.
- Multi-Mook Melee: The falling battle against the Air Force. In the GBA version, The Soul Shrine.
- Multiple Endings: The general scenario doesn't change, but several characters' endings change slightly depending on whether you found certain other characters. For instance, Celes's ending changes if you don't find Locke, and Relm's ending changes if you don't find Strago.
- Musicalis Interruptus: Ultros tries to do this by dropping a 4-ton weight onto the stage. If you manage to stop him, he and your party both end up falling from the rafters, landing on and knocking out several important actors in the process.
- Mutually Exclusive Powerups:
- Choosing between Ragnarok magicite or the sword made out of it in the SNES version. You can steal the Ragnarok weapon from one of the final bosses, but in the SNES version you can't save after beating the game, so you can't keep it or upgrade it to Illumina / Lightbringer. In the GBA version, you can save and continue after beating the final boss, so it's possible to get both (as well as multiple copies of Lightbringer, if you so choose.)
- You also have to choose between Odin and Raiden.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- According to the Esper legend, the Warring Triad experienced a brief moment of clarity when they realized the horror they had brought upon the land, leading to their decision to seal themselves, and their magic, away from the world.
- Gestahl seems to undergo one of these as well. After the escaped Espers raze the city of Vector, and realizing he helped unleash a power beyond his comprehension, he calls a truce and asks the party to help him make peace with the Espers. Unfortunately, it was just an act to get Terra to help him track down the Espers, turn them to Magicite, and resurrect the Floating Island.
- When the party tracks down the Espers that stormed out of the Sealed Gate and razed Vector, they are deeply in regret over what they did, having lost control of themselves, and harming innocents along with the Imperials. When they're informed that the Empire wants to talk peace, their first response is actually "They would forgive us?"
- My Name Is ???: The "passenger" ghosts of the Phantom Train if one of them joins you. Also Terra during her first trip to Narshe under Biggs' and Wedge's command (she's amnesiac, after all).
- Mythology Gag: This game's Cid is the only Cid from the numbered series (or at least from the Sakaguchi-produced ones) who does not have any connection, even a tenuous one, with airships. But there's a scene (that you have to get out of your way to watch) in which Cid is conversing with Setzer about his airship and even suggesting some modifications (which Setzer disregards).
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Gestahlian Empire is essentially the game's equivalent of Nazi Germany: Ruthlessly conquering various countries, the various soldiers wearing mostly brown, their doing a Nazi Salute at one point, experimenting on and killing off an entire race, and plans for two Magitek Knights to breed to produce a superior human (who uncoincidentally has blonde hair and possibly blue eyes, and is enhanced).
- It also has many similarities to The British Empire, such as its Victorian-inspired Steampunk technology, and as mentioned earlier, its ruthless conquering of other countries and wiping out of another race.
- Near Villain Victory: Averted. With a bang. And laser beams.
- Never Say "Die":
- Due to Nintendo's censorship policies. This limitation initially provides an atmosphere that suggests we won't be seeing too many on-screen deaths. This does not hold true later in the game. Even when Cid mentions how the other survivors left in Solitary Island committed suicide, he "softens" the blow by saying they took leaps of faith off the cliff, which "perked 'em right up!" — even though it's extremely clear what happened to them, it could be taken as a sarcastic, Black Comedy line.
- There is one exception: after Kefka gives Celes a sword on the Floating Continent, he tells her, "Kill the others and we'll forgive your treachery! Take this sword! Kill them all!"'
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- The players' entry into the Magitek Factory in Vector is what tips the Empire off to how to use Magicite.
- Opening the Sealed Gate sets off a chain of events that allows Kefka and Gestahl and enter the Esper world, find the Warring Triad, and ultimately allowing Kefka's rise to power.
- Guardian in the World of Balance. Also Typhon in the Coliseum, and even if you do manage to kill him, all you get is a paltry Elixir. If you can kill Typhon, you don't need Elixirs anymore.
- The Intangir is also nigh-invulnerable; it's immune to almost everything you can throw at it. note
- The Magic Master isn't technically invincible, but between your handicaps and his extreme speed, powerful spells, randomly shifting defenses, top-tier HP, unsurpassed MP and a brutal final attack, you're not likely to notice unless and until you bone up on the handful of unorthodox strategies designed especially for fighting him.
- No Hero Discount:
- Averted with Figaro Castle's merchants, who don't feel comfortable charging Edgar or Sabin and want to give them items for free. Sabin and Edgar insist on paying since the guys have to support themselves, but Edgar still gets a nice 50% discount.
- Justified in the World of Ruin: sure, item prices skyrocket, but the world has gone to hell and the cities need that cash to rebuild themselves.
- No Name Given: Unless you look in the manual, you won't know the surnames of the characters until the credits roll.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Can be played straight or averted, depending on the player's actions on the Floating Continent: if you don't wait for a certain character to catch up, you will never see him again.
- Non-Human Undead: Several monsters, including one of the Eight Dragons.
- Non-Standard Game Over:
- Noob Bridge: If you didn't put your characters in the back row, the first fight with Ultros can be very difficult.
- Noob Cave: Mines of Narshe, both with and without Magitek Armor.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Celes, Cyan, and Gau, to name a few.
- Not Completely Useless: Rasp and Osmose. They serve as an alternate means to kill some bosses by damaging or draining MP. Osmose may also recover MP from enemies, allowing you to continue magical attacks over an extended period of time.
- Osmose is actually effective enough in this game that it makes MP almost meaningless. You can just spam Ultima and then cast Osmose when you run out and you're basically guaranteed to get more.
- Sketch is not usually useful except for the one time it's used to shame Ultros. Against Cactuars, though, it's one way to deal damage that won't get evaded, since they're vulnerable to their own 1,000 Needles attack. Who needs a Sniper Eye? Not Relm!
- Not Drawn to Scale: Compared to the previous installments, FF6 has a very small world with few locales.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Because someone shattered the world.
- Not the Intended Use: Vanish, which makes you immune to physical attacks at the expense of guaranteeing to be hit by any magic attack. This leads to the infamous Vanish+Doom combo, which (due to a presumed bug) even ignores Contractual Boss Immunity.
- Olive Garden: The look and feel of Renaissance Italy is sprinkled through much of the game, and most so in South Figaro.
- Ominous Latin Chanting:
- "Dancing Mad" has been performed by live orchestra, and the old synth vocalizations have been given actual lyrics.
- Also, "the Fanatics", the theme for the Cultists' Tower.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: The opening theme to the game's title screen. There's also the epic production "Dancing Mad", which accompanies the Multi-Stage Battle leading up to the Final Boss, incorporating For Doom the Bell Tolls and the chiptune equivalent of Ominous Latin Chanting (see above) for good measure.
- One-Hit Kill: The Death spell, weapons that randomly cast Death (Death Tarot, Soul Sabre) and weapons that randomly instant-kills foes (Ichigeki, Assassin's Dagger, Zantetsuken, Wing Edge, Viper Darts). One of Cyan's Bushido moves will do this too.
- One Stat to Rule Them All:
- Magic is the most important stat, as end-game spells easily outstrip the most powerful weapons, Tools, or Bushido, Sabin's Blitzes mostly base their power on magic. The fact that a relic that reduces MP costs for all spells exists just makes it more apparent.
- The only exceptions to this rule would be characters that can deal multiple hits with physical attacks, such as Dragoon Edgar/Mog or dual-wielding Locke, but it still requires two Relic slots (Dragoon Boots/Dragon Horn and Genji Glove/Master's Scroll) to make the Attack command useful, and only very, very late in the game. By the time dual wielding Locke becomes viable, you're probably so overpowered it's almost not funny.
- There's also Magic Evasion in the SNES version. Due to a bug, the Physical Evade stat is worthless and instead Magic Evasion determines your ability to dodge both physical and magical attacks. The right loadout to max out Magic Evasion can render a character almost invincible. The aforementioned bug was fixed in the GBA version, however.
- One Year Retirement: Almost all of the party after the World Sundering. Some were more actively trying to strengthen themselves or get the group back together, others were more passive.
- Opening the Sandbox: Late in the World of Balance and after gaining the second airship in the World of Ruin.
- Opera: The famous Opera scene. Some say that the game itself is opera-like but without the singing.
- Optional Character Scene: Inevitable with so many characters and the ability to put whomever you want in your party most of the time.
- Optional Party Member: Gogo and Umaro are only recruitable in the World of Ruin. Mog and Shadow only have short story appearances and can be missed as party members by the player's choices. Everyone except Celes, Edgar and Setzer are technically optional in the World of Ruin (though trying to make it through The Very Definitely Final Dungeon with them split up all by themselves is Self-Imposed Challenge of hardcore nature).
- Our Zombies Are Different: The only undead enemies that have a real humanoid appearance are the "Still Goings" or the "Living Dead", and they are simply recolors of the Narshe guards. The rest of the undead enemies look far more skeletal or ghost-like in appearance. In addition, zombie-type enemies are functionally immune to instant death: anything that would kill them instantly instead causes them to regenerate with full HP.
- Outside-the-Box Tactic:
- The Magic Master at the top of the Cultists' Tower is capable of casting some nasty, nasty spells. The safest way to take him down is to Berserk him (he's actually susceptible and a bit of a wimp), Vanish your entire party (making even his ineffectual physical attack useless) and Rasp/Osmose him to death (he can die if he runs out of MP, and this also denies his last-gasp Ultima, which is really freakin' powerful).
- This works admirably well on the Ultima Weapon, as well, as opposed to the standard "beat him down, let him heal, beat him down again" tactic. Of course, anything claiming to be pure energy is asking for it.
- Overly Long Fighting Animation: While definitively nowhere as long as in the later games, the attacks are noticeably longer than in the earlier ones. This can be exploited to get around Cyan's Crutch Character status (since his special moves require a long time to charge up).
P - R
- Party Scattering: The Player Party is scattered upon entering the World of Ruin.
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: In order to get to the Rich Man's house in South Figaro, Locke must tell a Password: "Courage". It also serves as a Shout-Out to Final Fantasy II, since one of the other options is "Wild Rose" (changed to "Rosebud" in English releases).
- Patrick Stewart Speech: The party responds with one following Kefka's rant against human existence. To which Kefka infamously replies, "This is pathetic! You all sound like chapters from a self-help booklet!"
- Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Dinosaur Forest and the Maranda Desert.
- Person of Mass Destruction: The Espers, as explicitly stated by the game. Since Terra is a human/Esper hybrid, the Empire considers her this as well, as evidenced by her vaporizing several squadrons in seconds. In gameplay terms, she's also the only character who can learn Ultima naturally, not to mention she arguably has the best equipment list, stats, and Special Command in the game.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: The Returners refuse to use Magitek, considering it an overly destructive force that can't possibly end well. After several attempts to stop the Empire fail, however, they go right to the source and arm themselves with magic instead. This ends badly, when Gestahl learns how much more powerful magic is than Magitek, and how to exploit it.
- Pietà Plagiarism: The penultimate tier of the final battle.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Maria's costume during the opera. The FMV on the PlayStation version takes it Up to Eleven.
- Polluted Wasteland: Vector is a massive city full of pollution, factories, and machines.
- Portal Picture: In Owzer's Mansion.
- Port Town: South Figaro, the trading city of Nikeah and the Empire-occupied Albrook.
- Power Copying: Three party members:
- Strago is the standard Final Fantasy Blue Mage, who learns Lore abilities by seeing enemies use them.
- Gau learns "Rage" monster abilities by "Leap"ing onto monster groups and spending time living with them.
- Gogo, being a Final Fantasy Mime, uses the abilities of the other characters in your party. His/Her/Its Mimic command duplicates the last move a party member used, and his in-battle command list can be customized in the status screen.
- The Power of Friendship: The common component of the party's Patrick Stewart Speech against Kefka.
- The Power of Love: The Memento Ring, described as being powered by love from Relm's late mother, prevents instant-death moves from working on the two characters who can equip it. The fact that only Relm and Shadow can equip the ring is one of the many clues provided as the identity of Relm's father.
- Powered Armor: Magitek armor straddles the line between this and Mini-Mecha. Exact size and appearance are hard to determine because it has two dramatically different concepts: one in box art and the PSX re-release cinematic, which is akin to a bipedal mechanical dragon that one straddles like a motorbike, another in the in-game small character and detailed enemy sprites, which is far more resembling a conventional Mini-Mecha with a cockpit. In addition to conventional weaponry such as missiles, it may unleash powerful elemental attacks. It's not restricted to mooks either: the player party uses it at three separate occasions. However, it never occurs to them to hijack a suit for permanent use, probably because of the drawback mentioned below...
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Magitek Armor uses drained essence of living Espers to power itself. It is also used to infuse the Empire's Magitek Knights and grant them magic power. Later we get access to magicite, the crystallized remains of dead Espers, which is even more powerful. Notably, the players use these as well in order to learn magic - apparently it's fine as long as they do it in the name of stopping the Esper killers. Some espers even sacrifice their lives to bestow the magicite.
- Powers as Programs:
- Every party member except Gogo and Umaro could be equipped with Magicite. Gogo takes it a step further - he/she/it can equip almost every ability in the game, up to three to be used in battle. If Magic is equipped, Gogo can use any spell usable by the other active party members.
- Taken literally with some of the enemies in the Magitek Research Facility. Several of them (either machines or implied to be cybernetic) attack with special abilities called "Program __".
- Power Up Let Down: So you puzzled out the Zozo Side Quest (or consulted a guide), and now you've got Edgar's Chainsaw, which does even more single-target damage than the Drill and has a 1/4 chance of causing instant death. Awesome, right? Not so fast. Against mooks, the damage difference between the Drill and Chainsaw is academic, since either one does enough damage for a One-Hit Kill. Against bosses, with their Contractual Boss Immunity to instant death effects the Chainsaw actually has a 1/4 chance to miss altogether, meaning that on average the Drill still does more damage. Run the numbers, you know this to be truenote .
- Precursors: The Warring Triad and the Espers fit the description, even though they are not exactly this.
- Press X To Not Butcher The Opera: During the opera scene, the game prompts you to pick the next line in the lyrics out of a choice of two. If you're too slow, the game picks whatever your cursor is hovering over.
- Pure Magic Being: Espers.
- Putting the Band Back Together: Celes traveling the second half of the game trying to reunite the party.
- Putting on the Reich: The Gestahlian Empire bears several similarities to Nazi Germany, including unethical experimentation on an intelligent species, genocide, most of the footsoldiers' uniforms being brown, an honest-to-God Nazi salute in one scene, constant displaying of their symbols, and technology advanced enough to allow themselves to start conquering various kingdoms. Not to mention that "Gestahl" sounds a little too similar to "Gestapo". On the other hand, the imperialism, mass murder and the advanced technology in comparison to the neighbours could also be taken as references to Axis Japan or The British Empire. It is an Empire, after all.
- Puzzle Boss: There are a remarkable number of bosses, and several Mooks, rather vulnerable to the seemingly-useless Rasp spell. Not surprisingly, people who miss the hint given in-game about this tend to find them That One Boss. Additionally, the method to defeat Wrexsoul is fairly obscure. Unless you Banish the Soul Savers. But that's admittedly very cheap.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Kefka ends up defeated, but it came at the cost of all espers and magic vanishing from the world.
- Quad Damage: Master Scroll, the relic/accessory that allows the four hit combo.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The cast of heroes is certainly this — we have everything from a king right down to a random whelp from the Veldt. And a moogle and a yeti.
- Randomized Damage Attack: Setzer's dice weapons do entirely random damage unaffected by stats.
- Real Is Brown: The colour scheme used in most of the parts of the World of Ruin.
- Reduced Mana Cost: The cost-halving Gold Hairpins as usual, and the 1-mp-cost-Ultima-Spam Celestriad.
- Religion of Evil: The cult of Kefka. Despite the fact he rules the world at that point, the cultists really don't do much harm at all, and it's not for certain if the enemies on the Cultists' Tower are cultists themselves. It's also hinted that the cult of Kefka only serves Kefka out of fear of being killed if they don't, or in the case of Strago, being too broken by loss of your loved ones to resist. It's not even clear whether Kefka knows (or cares) that they exist.
- Rescue Introduction: Celes.
- Remixed Level: Kefka's Tower sits on the former site of Vector, and is comprised of bits from the Imperial Palace and Devil's Lab.
- Revive Kills Zombie:
- Famously used to defeat the Phantom Train in one hit.
- This property is actually glitched in the game, leading to ghosts that somewhat hilariously kill themselves a little each turn from what was supposed to be the undead equivalent of Regen. Djibriel of Gamefaqs put it best: Instead, due to a bug, Whispers just waste away in their own misery.
- Roof Hopping: Or Traintop hopping. In Zozo, you are forced to jump from holes in the sides of buildings.
S - U
V - Z
- Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Several monsters, most notably Ultima Weapon.
- Vice City: Zozo and Vector. Zozo is full of burglars, insane mechanics, spellcasting dancers, and even giants, all of whom attack you in random encounters, and in Vector, there is a rather roguish man who might steal your money (1000 gil) if you sleep at his inn.
- Video Game Stealing: Including clothes, which is necessary for Locke's sub-plot in South Figaro.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Some players saved and reloaded several times while figuring out the fishing game, to make sure that Cid lived.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Others deliberately let Cid die, claiming it gives Celes more development (and that it's not worth the fishing game)note .
- Villain Opening Scene
- Villain World: In the World of Ruin, Kefka is God. His tower dominates the main landmass, people live in fear of him, there's another tower built by a cult dedicated to him, most of your party members have given up any hope of trying to defeat him and turned their attention to personal matters, and in some cases they've just given up on life altogether.
- Violation of Common Sense: Lampshaded when choosing to jump or not to jump into the huge waterfall, where refusal is titled "Are you crazy!?"
- Visible Invisibility: The Invisible party members are visible as outlines. The enemies on other hand are completely invisible.
- Waiting Puzzle: On the Floating Continent involving Shadow.
- Wake-Up Call Boss: At Narshe, Kefka prominently uses a very powerful Blizzara spell, a Drain spell to heal himself, has a decent physical blow, and a fair amount of HP. Up until him a few other bosses used magic too, but they had various weaknesses (poor HP, Revive Kills Zombie, etc) that made them less of a threat than they would be otherwise. Kefka did not suffer these problems, and unless you brought Celes to the fight so she could Runic his spells, he is very powerful. You're also penalized that you may not have a full party, unless you planned to fight through all his troops with one group of allies instead of dividing the load, which can potentially leave you drained of MP and/or healing items by the time you get to him.
- Walk and Talk: The developers seem to have LOVED this trope. If the heroes have to go somewhere else there's usually a cutscene showing them going there, which allows for a conversation (or multiple conversations) to take place.
- Walk It Off: The Tintinnabulum relic, which restores a bit of health for the every step the wearer takes.
- Warmup Boss: Ymir (also known as Whelk on the SNES and PSX versions) the giant lightning-absorbing snail.
- Water Is Air: Besides the need of diving equipment, fighting in the serpent trench is the same as above water. One should also ask how three men are sharing a single diving helmet.
- Water Source Tampering: Early in the game, Kefka does this to the village of Doma.
- Wave Motion Gun: Kefka's "Light of Judgment". Magitek Armor's basic attacks are elemental versions of this. Air Force and a couple other mooks use the Wave Cannon attack, a Lightning-based attack.
- Whammy Bid: In the Auction House, if the kid wants something, expect his father to pull this off.
- Wham Episode: The Esper Cave and the events on the Floating Continent.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- You could easily be forgiven for wondering this about Siegfried.
- Banon and Arvis are nowhere to be found in the World of Ruin. It's likely they were killed when the world was demolished, or by Gestahl if they were still in Vector when he dropped the Heel-Face Turn facade. The fact Locke and Edgar, who have been friends with them since many years before the start of the game, seemingly forget they ever existed is rather inexplicable, though.
- Vargas is another possibility. While it's likely he was killed in his only appearance, he didn't have the usual death animation of most enemies. Nonetheless, he's never seen nor mentioned again after that.
- The lone Doma sentry who splits up from Cyan to help him search for survivors after the castle's water supply gets poisoned by Kefka. He's never seen or heard from again after the Imperial withdrawal from Doma or the World of Ruin.
- Why Don't You Just Stab Him?: Averted in a rare heroic example by Celes, who rather practically stabs Kefka while his back is turned right before he destroys the world. Unfortunately it wasn't a fatal blow.
- Wide Open Sandbox: The entire World of Ruin, after you get the airship, is nothing but voluntary character-centric sidequests, which was a really big deal at the time. It fits the plot of the game at that point, as all that's left is Kefka's tower, but you need to find your allies to stand a chance.
- Wolf Man: Lone Wolf the Pickpocket, and a few Espers.
- Womb Level: The Zone Eater's Belly. Kind of. The place isn't very organic, since it looks the same as any other cave and features the most random of enemies, like ninjas, dancers, frogs, thieves, demons, cursed samurai, and even flying zombies.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: It's hinted that Kefka doesn't destroy because he finds it fun, but because he's so insane from Magitek experiments corroding his mind that he can't feel love and friendship anymore, and now causing death and destruction is the only thing that can make him happy.
- The World Is Just Awesome: The Ending sequence.
- The World Mocks Your Loss: Celes is this trope embodied for Locke.
- World Sundering: World of Ruin. "On that day, the world was changed forever...".
- Wretched Hive: Zozo, a town far up in the rainy mountains where corpses and garbage rot in the streets, and there are actually random encounters, both indoors and outside, and even an end boss.
- Wutai: The Kingdom of Doma is a technologically simplistic yet respectable nation guarded by samurai like Cyan. Later on, there's the Ancient Castle, where the ghosts of long-gone Samurai warriors can be encountered in random battles, along with the eastern-looking Blue Dragon and the recurring summoned character Odin making an appearance.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Cyan in the US version. It's fixed up in the GBA version. Really well, too. His thee/thou differentiation is accurate most of the time.
- You Are Number Six: Two bosses in the Magitek Lab, both presumably Magitek creations of Cid.
- You Have Waited Long Enough: Part of the Opera play.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Before disc changing became a norm, the Floating Continent gave all the signs of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. All the empty spaces in the menus and the entire other side of the map packed in the game usually give it away, though.