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Guide Dang It / Final Fantasy

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Guide Dang Its for the mind-bendingly popular Final Fantasy series. Hold on, it's going to be a long ride.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance can be found at the Strategy Guide Dang It page.

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    Final Fantasy I 
  • The NES version almost manages to be this in its entirety. While the game's manual helpfully lists the effects of all spells and equipment (probably due to limitations in the game's text display, as everything is truncated and comes with no further information than odd names like LOK2note , XFERnote , Masmune and ProCapenote ), if you got the game without the manual you wouldn't have any of this. All those vaguely named items and spells may well have had you checking a guide. Similarly, the manual also contains a walkthrough of about half the game, probably circumventing the sloppy translation that otherwise makes certain early goals too vague. Again, no manual? Hope you had that one guide by Nintendo Power to tell you to go to the Marsh Cave and get the Crown and take the Crown to the Dark Elf in the Western Castle and so on because that NPC dialogue might not be so helpful! Thankfully, everything was made clearer when Final Fantasy Origins and the many, many subsequent remakes came out with a better translation and interface, making it so the player could figure it out on their own.
    • Of course, if you lived in Europe and the Origins re-release was the first version you officially played, none of that was an issue. And they used to say PAL gamers always got screwed...

    Final Fantasy II 
  • In the original Famicom version, most equipment inflicts penalties to characters' magic stats. Nowhere in the game is this stated, leading to many useful spells being worthless for no apparent reason. Later releases removed this penalty.
  • Increasing most stats is pretty self-explanatory. Agility, however, is said to increase by being targeted by enemy attacks. This is completely wrong—your chance of gaining Agility is based entirely on your Evasion percentage.
  • Two powerful weapons require usage of the game's keyword system to obtain. The Excalibur requires you to return to Deist after Ricard Highwind's Heroic Sacrifice and use the "Dragoons" keyword with the woman there. The Blood Sword is obtained by talking to Paul about the "Cyclone", but only while the Cyclone is a threat. Once you've dealt with it, you can no longer access Paul's stash.
  • The Origins version adds a new quest which stars the four player characters who die during the main plot...and they start out in the middle of a dungeon, several floors away from any chance to heal or restock, with nothing but the equipment they had on them when they suffered their Plotline Death. While one of them is a Bare-Fisted Monk, if you tried to subvert So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear by stripping the other three, the quest can be pretty much unwinnable.
  • A way to allay the above problem: in the PSP and iOS port, these characters (along with the main cast) also have special weapons that can only be obtained by going through the game's other Bonus Dungeon - which is itself divided into four sub-dungeons scattered across the northern part of the world map. While doing this is certainly feasible, several characters are only available for brief periods for you to give them their weapons, to the point that traversing the dungeon will probably take up more time than they're actually with you. And this also requires you to try to make your way through the Bonus Dungeon and fight a Bonus Boss, very early in the game. While this isn't anywhere near as difficult as it sounds (the game scales the boss's stats to your progress), it's not something anyone wise to the genre would do.

    Final Fantasy III 
  • In the Nintendo DS remake, the only way to unlock the Onion Knight class in the game is to use the game's letter sending system to send a certain number of letters to another player over wifi. Not only is this never mentioned in the game, Square Enix seems not to have realized it might not even be possible for some people. Don't have easy access to a wifi hotspot? Don't have any friends who also have this game? Too bad. With the shutdown of wifi connection for DS and Wii in early 2014, accomplishing this via the internet is now impossible, leaving only local wireless communication. Don't have any in-person friends who also own the game? Don't have another copy of the game, as well as at least two DS- or 3DS-family systems? Too bad.
    • The iPhone version thankfully (and oddly, since it could have been recreated with better software) removes the "mail your friends" requirement and simply allows you to get the mognet mails and sidequests by advancing the game and Talking to key NPCs.

    Final Fantasy IV/The After Years 
  • Final Fantasy IV:
    • The DS remake has, among other things, an "Augment" system wherein you can teach characters certain helpful abilities. These items are one-of-a-kind, and said character will know them permanently. The catch is, if you teach Augments to temporary party members, you are rewarded with more (better) Augments. This little fact is nowhere to be found in the manual or in-game. What fun.
    • Rydia's summons. While most of them are easy enough to get, or even outright Plot Coupons like Bahamut, there are missing spaces for four summons in game - those being the Goblin, Bomb, Mindflayer and Cockatrice summon. At no point in the game anyone tells you that creatures can rarely drop their summons as items after battle, with the additional caveat that the Bomb enemy won't drop its summon - no, you must fight the Balloon or Dark Grenade enemy. For an additional kick in the nuts, the Cockatrice summon was dummied out in the English release and the Easy Type version, meaning you may try to grind for an item that doesn't even exist in the game you are playing.
    • The classic "Pink Tail" example. After getting an airship midway through the game, you can find a small cave south of Mythril Village. Inside are a pair of NPCs who ask you to give them tails in exchange for powerful items. The first is relatively easy to find (the Rat Tail, in the Land of Summoned Monsters) and nets you an Excalibur once you exchange the ore you receive in to a blacksmith in the Underground. The second is the kicker — it's located on a deep floor of the Lunar Core, in a small, non-descript room located near a stairwell, and it can be exchanged for the most powerful armor in the game (Adamant Armor). Even if you know where it is, there's no guarantee you'll ever encounter the enemy. The one that's needed (the "Pink Puff") has a 1/64 spawn rate, with a 1/64 drop rate. That means you have a 1/64 shot of getting the Pink Tail if you encounter the Pink Puff/Flan Princess. Nothing in the game clues you into this besides a room that sort of looks like a "P". Try working that out without a guide handy.
  • In Final Fantasy IV: Interlude (an Interquel only included in the PSP "Complete Collection"), finding all of the Bestiary entries for 100% Completion. Not only can you lock yourself out of every last one of them due to the linear nature of the story, but several of them are situated in spots that are incredibly small and easily missed. For instance, the stairs leading up to the Tower of Babil in Edge's solo section has six enemies, several of whom count towards the bestiary. Walked to the top of the stairs? You're chucked to the other side and have no way of getting back, short of Save Scumming.
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years:
    • There is a way to avoid the Player Punch where Calca and Brina must be scrapped for parts, requiring them to get three items, left completely unmentioned by the game. One of the items is in an obvious jar the player is unlikely to miss. Fair enough. The other two, however? Random drops from a monster that only appears in one out-of-the-way room during one specific lunar cycle (which is the worst lunar cycle for a party with a black mage and no white mages, as the chapter in question is), and the drop rate is as low as the Pink Tail from the original game. And you need two different items from this. Yet any player who knows about this (or their general uselessness afterwards) will do it, because who could really allow Calca and Brina to die?
    • You can also save Golbez during his Taking the Bullet Heroic Sacrifice for Cecil. Of course, you have to have a very specific party. Golbez, Ceodore, Cecil, and Rosa; in other words, Cecil's (and by extension Golbez's) family.
    • Bands. More specifically, searching for them. Some of them are unlocked with plot, others you can unlock anytime if you have required characters and input correct commands. Most of them make sense (friends/relatives usually get some), but then there are those ones that don't make any sense. After all, how could you expect Yang and Gekkou to actually have a Band, even though they didn't even as much as talk to each other? But the worst of them all is Call Me Queen. To perform it, you need to have four specific (female) party members. The catch? They all need to be equipped with whips. And one of them ( Leonora) can equip literally ONE whip in the whole game - the one that could only be bought way back in the chapter where she first appears, meaning, at the point where you can try to perform this Band it's already gone for good. You probably wouldn't even know it's there, because the shop that sells the whip in question can only be accessed by paying 50000 gil to get to an "exclusive" area of the chapter.

    Final Fantasy V 
  • The !Catch/!Release commands, which let a character catch a monster and then release it in a later battle. You're on your own when it comes to figuring out what effects a monster will have when released, and which monsters are worth catching. Did you know that the rare Vilia, found in the extreme southwest corner of the seas in the Merged World, gives you access to Almagest? What about the lowly Goblin casting Flare?
  • Blue Magic makes its first appearance in the series, and while straightforward, the requirements (party member with the Learning ability/Blue Mage job gets hit by an enemy attack) alongside the way some of these spells work, make learning them an exercise in frustration, unless you get your hands in a guide, and even then, you may want to learn some of these as early as possible, given how this job has such a terrible early game, adding an additional element of frustration. There's also no way to identify which monsters have attacks that you can learn in this way. Highlights include:
    • Goblin Punch: It's actually not that hard to get (plenty of targets to learn it from), but the game never tells you the fact that it deals massive (a multiplier of x8) damage against targets with the same level - which adds another level of Guide Dang It! to get to know all the levels of the targets that are worth using it against.
    • Level 5 Doom: Which is an outright party wipe if you try to learn it, unless you purposefuly sandbag some of your party members.
    • Level 3 Flare: Red Dragon, the earliest and weakest enemy you can get if from, needs you to use Control over it, use the Chemist's Mix ability for Dragon Defense to cast Reflect onto the enemy, then randomly bounce the spell into your patsy, sorry, learner).
      • The Level X series spells have an additional caveat in that you need to know which levels are the enemies you want to use your spells over; while a quick Scan from a Blue Mage can reveal this info, most bosses (which would be the main targets for these spells) are immune to being scanned. At least the Level X series spells ignore all forms of status immunity...
    • Death Claw: Probably one of, if not the main reason to get the job, which requires you to wait in the exploding castle of Karnak until an enemy drops a disguise and then praying Iron Claw uses it on your learner. If you miss it here, you need to wait until well into Galuf's World to get another chance.
    • Transfusion and White Wind: Both require you to use Control over one of the possible enemies that may have the spell, and cannot be learned in any other way.
    • Mind Blast: Only used by four enemies in the game, three of which are bosses, and the only other enemy to use it is a rare encounter in the last floor of the last dungeon of the entire game).
    • Mighty Guard: A powerful status move which requires you to go out of your way to search a specific spot - the coast above the sunken Walse Tower in the Merged World - for a specific rare enemy, the Stingray - which needs to be controlled in order to use the spell in your party.
  • Downplayed with the !Mix command. While it's a bit of a time drain, you can actually check for all possible combinations of mixable items (the game outright tells you which items can be mixed), and have a list handy for this and your next playthroughs. However, the Dark Matter item is an outright example. Used for some of the most powerful !Mix combinations, you are limited to ten of them through chests and exploration, forcing you to steal them from the Stingray, or battle Prototypes which drop them. Both of these enemies are extremely rare, only spawning in a single spot in the entire map (hell, you could go through the entire game not knowing that Prototype exists!) At least Turtle Shells and Dragon Fangs dropped from obvious enemies...note . There's also the fact that most mixes don't have any visual marker that indicates if they are actually doing something, meaning you have to continuously Scan your party/enemies to check for their status.

    Final Fantasy VI 
  • The "Cursed Shield" inflicts nearly every status ailment in the game on the wearer. But if you survive 256 battles wearing the shield, the curse is broken and it becomes the Paladin Shield, the best shield in the game. Wearing it is one of the few ways to learn Ultima. Additionally, you can also bet the shield at the Colosseum for a "Cursed Ring". Despite what logic tells you, the ring doesn't uncurse, and is plain useless (except for teaching Vanish, but it's not even the only thing that does that.)
  • Speaking of the Colosseum, the betting list is a total mystery. You have no idea what you can win by betting what. A lot of rare items can be won here, but they in turn require long chains of complex betting no one could figure out alone.
  • Finding Gogo requires the player to let an enemy monster kill their party members one by one on Triangle Island in the World of Ruin so they can find him inside its stomach. In the World of Balance, this same location was home to the Nigh-Invulnerable Boss in Mook Clothing Intangir, and nothing else.
  • Lore (this game's form of Blue Magic) is once again a pain in the ass to handle. While having significant less restrictions ( you only need to see the spell being performed), you are forced to use the elderly Strago, which has less than stellar equipment options and stats. At least the PlayStation version has a !Lore tag for the enemies which have an ability you can learn. For the highlights;
    • The Level x series makes another appearance, with the addition of Level ? Holy. The game never tells you what this "?" means - it's actually the last digit of your current gil. A gil number of 0/1 will hit all enemies regardless of level.
    • Reflect???. It only works if there are any party members with active Reflect on them at the time, inflicting the Silence, Blind and Slow status on them. For extra infuriation, it's only used by two enemies in the very last dungeon of the game, past any point where it would have been useful.
    • Quasar. Also used by two enemies in the last dungeon of the entire game, one of which is the penultimate boss Goddess (in which case, learning it from her would preclude you from obtaining Force Field). You need to wait for Dark Force to go through 6 of its rounds, and then pray it uses Quasar with 33% chance, in a dungeon where everything can kill you if given enough time.
    • Mighty Guard/Big Guard. The easiest way to get it is by battling the Land Ray... yes, that enemy that you found back in Cid's island, with only one HP and Sap status, meaning it dies on the first turn of the battle. Unless, you use Stop on the little guy as soon as possible, then Sketch it with Relm.
    • Force Field, which may be the most extreme example of this. It's used by a single enemy in the entire game, the Fiend from the Warring Triad, the second to last battle in the main game. Didn't bring Strago to the boss fight? You are out of luck, son, since nothing short of restarting the game will give you another chance to learn the Lore.
  • Getting Shadow to join your party in the second half of the game requires you - in a major dungeon around the midpoint - to intentionally stand around while a timer ticks down towards an instant game over, with escape literally a step away, in order to give him time to catch up, which he only manages to do with 5 seconds left on the clock. To be fair, the game does give you one hint about this... if, upon reaching the exit, you choose not to escape to safety, then immediately try again, you will get the option "Gotta wait for Shadow...". Then you actually have to recruit him, which is itself rather difficult. Finding him is easy enough, but he turns up wounded, stops in Thamasa to rest, and then disappears again. You have to find a specific item in the same cave you find Shadow in, then, after he disappears from Thamasa, you fly to the Coliseum and bet said item. Win the fight, and he will join you.
  • Gau's "Rage" skill. How it works (which is explained by the game, although not very well), what the best rages are, what each rage will do... very little is immediately obvious. (A chipmunk can command the earth to swallow monsters whole? Alright. A stray cat has one of the most useful physical moves? Okay... The mighty Intangir has a penchant for suicide? Huh. A rhinoceros has the power of automatic resurrection...wait, what?) Experimentation and frequent visits to the Veldt will turn Gau into a Disc-One Nuke machine.
  • In some dungeons early on, you can "upgrade" unopened treasure chests as you progress through the game. The game does not hint at this at all. Opened an innocent treasure chest early on in the game in the Narshe mines? Whoops, so much for that upgrade. Even players that know about this "upgrade" mechanic (it is mentioned in the manual) may not know that some chests upgrade multiple times. For your own sake, just hold off on opening anything in Narshe until the second half of the game.
  • Some enemies are inherently magical, and completely draining their magic points via either Osmose or Rasp will cause them to die, and this is the best way to kill several of them either because it's faster, or it causes their Taking You with Me attacks to fail - notably, MagiMaster's infamous Ultima, which is likely to be a Total Party Kill if he gets it out and you're not prepared for it. However, it's only noted by one NPC in the entire game to be true (and no, it's not mandatory to speak to said NPC), and even then, the game gives absolutely no way of telling for sure which enemies that this applies to. With some trial-and-error, a player can generally figure out which enemies are vulnerable to death-by-magic-drain (there are some design similarities between many of them), but the only comprehensive way to know is with a guide. Even versions of the game with bestiaries won't tell you which ones will die this way.

    Compilation of Final Fantasy VII 
  • Relationship Values are calculated by how many times you choose to speak to the other characters, and when forced to speak, what answers you give. Avoiding as many conversations as possible with the female characters (including the optional Yuffie) leaves you with Barret... for the one scene in the entire game that this affects. Completely pointless but for some dialog. Conversely, you probably won't find many fans who know that Tifa and Cloud have additional dialogue near the end of Disc 3 (as they're sitting under the Highwind) unless their relationship score is very high, which requires a large number of specific actions and/or utilizing an exploit to max out the score while both characters are imprisoned in the Shinra Tower. It doesn't help that Cloud naturally starts with a much higher score with Aerith than with anyone else, so you have to deliberately work toward annoying her in order to lower it and have a chance with someone else.
  • The "Chocobuckle" skill. To get 100% Completion of enemy skills, you needed to feed a wild Chocobo a particular green and then reduce it to 1 hit point. This is typically done using the Useless Useful Spell L4 Suicide. Needless to say, there is no way to guess this in game, while the occasional player got it by pure chance and puzzled everyone else.
  • Chocobo breeding in general. Good luck finding a gamer who doesn't go the easy route and kill Ruby Weapon to get one instead of the other optionnote . You have to know which greens affect which aspects of the chocobo's stats, which chocobos are good to breed together, which rarity of chocobo can be found where, Save Scumming to get particular male/female combinations in order to get the next rarest type, racing your chocobos up to a specific point... the list goes on.note 
  • Obtaining Aerith's final Limit Break is extremely time consuming, and damn near impossible without a guide. You first have to find a man living in a cave, who can only be gotten to if you have the buggy or any vehicle/chocobo capable of crossing shallow rivers. The problem is that the man's cave is exceptionally well hidden. When you speak to him, he merely tells you how many times you've ran from battle. This seems extremely useless, but interesting, unless you know that if the last two digits of this number are the same (e.g. 44, 133, or 11), then he will give you an item. This is never hinted to in game. If the two digits are even he will give you a Bolt Ring (apart from 00), and if the two digits are odd he will give you a piece of mythril. You then have to take this piece of mythril to a weapon maker near Gongaga, and redeem it to get one of two items. One of these items is Aerith's final Limit Break, and the other is a piece of armor. This can only be done once, and the game gives no hint as to which one it is. Oh, and hope you manage to do this on the first disc only, since Aerith dies at the end of disc one, making this information useless past this point. Even the guide doesn't tell you about the buggy trick, which is about the only way to get it while Aerith is still alive.
  • The Turtle's Paradise flyers. Players are unlikely to find them all without a guide, particularly on a first run through the game, and especially considering one is very well hidden on the ground floor of the Shinra tower (it's one of two signs on the same billboard, which the player will likely then ignore if they read the wrong one first). As such, it is quite easy to render the sidequest unfinishable. The sixth and final flyer also becomes permanently inaccessible if the player never visits the location (Yuffie's house) they're supposed to find it in before disc 3, though it's far less likely the player will miss that on the first run... no, they'll probably miss it on subsequent runs instead.
  • The Midgar Raid has this in spades.
    • Re-entering the Shinra Building. Getting there isn't too tough (although if you don't have icon markers turned on, you may miss the entrance in the tunnels under the city), but finding all the extra equipment and weapons is the kicker. Cait Sith's ultimate weapon and the two chests that are no longer guarded by the overzealous storekeeper on the ground floor are easy to find if you already ran across them before, but how would you know to find the Grow Lance (which is found in a box on one of the now-empty floors) or the unique Behemoth Horn weapon for Red XIII (run almost all the way up the stairs at the back of the building, despite having no reason to go there) without a guide?
    • Barrett's ultimate weapon is in a chest that only appears if Barrett is in the party during a specific part of the Midgar Raid (on the ascent just before fighting Hojo). There is no indication in the game about this. Furthermore, you cannot return to the area where the chest is, so if you miss it, the weapon is lost forever.
  • To last any longer than 20 minutes against Emerald WEAPON, you need the Underwater Materia. But to get the Materia in the first place, you need to trade a specific item to a specific NPC. This item must be Morphed off an enemy that is in a location that you're not very likely to revisit (Underwater Reactor/Sub Dock). In addition, said enemy has a habit of removing characters from battle like the Midgar Zolom. Said NPC is in the early game, long after he tells you he is looking for rare items. Then the second infuriating moment comes into play when you actually fight it, and its Aire Tam Storm deals 9999 damage to you for having too many Materia equipped (it deals 1111 damage per equipped Materia, calculated individually per character in battle).
  • Optimizing Cloud's Wall Market disguise can be this, especially for a first time player. In order to gain access to Don Corneo's mansion, the player needs to gather a dress and a wig for Cloud to wear. These are the only mandatory items, and will lead to Tifa being chosen. If you want Cloud to be the Don's "girl", you have to also obtain some lingerie, perfume, a tiara, and make-up. The game doesn't tell you how to get these items, and you have to stumble around Wall Market completing random tasks for people. There are a few possible items for each type, too, and each one is "scored" with a different point value. While there is some element of intuitiveness to most parts of it—win the squats competition for the best wig, buy the shopkeeper the most expensive drink for the best tiara, give the woman in the bar restroom the most relevant medicine for the best perfume—it doesn't really become evident until you already have some familiarity with the segment. Even if you've been through it a few times, there's still no real indicator of which dress is the optimal one to pick, and the underwear you get actually has no effect at all, which runs directly contrary to every other part of the segment. Good luck figuring out how it all works without a guide.
  • In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the Bonus Boss Minerva requires you to look up guides every step of the way. Locating the best armor in the game will require this, in addition to learning how to craft the best fusion materia in the game that is mandatory to surviving more than 10 seconds in her presence. Did we forget to mention she spams One-Hit Kill Ultima spells that leave you barely alive even if you block it while wearing said best gear and materia in the game? You'll need a guide to beating her too. Also, her Limit Break, Judgment Arrow, disables Phoenix Downs. Thankfully, you can Mug her for 99 of them.

    Final Fantasy VIII 
  • Everything related to Triple Triad is subject to this:
    • Getting the PuPu card. Hints about some parts of the process are given in the game, but not all of it, and these hints are fairly obscure themselves. The player has to fight random battles at several small, nondescript, arbitrary patches of the world map in order to see a UFO each time. They then have to go to another arbitrary, unexceptional, and inaccessible area of land in order to encounter and destroy the UFO. Finally, they to have back to another arbitrary, but much easier to access area to encounter PuPu. Once they've done so they have to feed him five of a certain item. If the party misses the chance to feed PuPu five of the item, or they kill him, the card is gone. You can also use the Card skill on him, but that would require knowing ahead of time that the point of the sidequest is to obtain his card.
    • The (in)famous Queen of Cards quest. Every time you lose a rare card to the Queen of Cards in a game, she moves to another location. When she goes to Dollet, if you lose to her the card she looks for, her father can make a new card. Tedious enough, right? There's also an alternate way to finish the quest—find a particular unmarked spot on the map on Disc 4, and the Queen will be there with all her rare cards in her inventory—but this is also highly esoteric information. There are also the Card Club members on Ragnarok during Disc 4, for extra lost card recovery.
  • All of the enemies in the game have incredibly rare items to drop and steal needed for weapon refinement, but the enemy drops and steals change depending on the level of the enemy, making discovering what drops what by trial and error next to impossible.
  • In a Laguna flashback on Disk 1, the player can fiddle with explosives, find and lose two rusty keys, and fiddle with some hatches. On Disk 3, if the player did all of the above correctly, three doors will appear in a particular dungeon, otherwise they'll be closed and the valuable items behind them are lost forever.
  • Many of the Guardian Forces are very difficult to find, and a good number of them can easily be lost forever. Most notable is the Tonberry GF, which can only be obtained by killing the Tonberry King, who will only appear if you kill about 20 Tonberries in a row. There is absolutely no clue about this in the game beyond a random NPC in Trabia Garden mentioning the Tonberry King while sleeptalking.
    • Good luck getting Doomtrain, which requires gathering six each of three different items. There are hints to getting him available, in the form of the Occult Fan magazines, but not only are they so vague to the point of being nearly useless, but you'll need a guide to find them as well!
  • Getting Quistis's final blue magic, Shockwave Pulsar. To obtain it; you have to refine 100 Curse Spikes into one Dark Matter. Sounds simple; but you may notice that Siren won't refine it. The sucker punch is that Siren herself has to be level 100 to be able to refine Dark Matters. The in-game tutorial only mentions turning the Curse Spikes into a Dark Matter, and mentions nowhere anything about a level stipulation; doubly so when no other GF in the game is asked to meet the same requirement. Mercifully, the level restriction is lifted in all rereleases the game had after the original PlayStation one.

    Final Fantasy IX 
  • Receiving the most powerful weapon, the Excalibur 2, requires that one must reach a certain room in the final dungeon within the very difficult time limit of 12 hours. Not only is this information not given to the player at any point in the game, but the location of the weapon is just as difficult to find. What's worse, once the time limit has been reached, the weapon is lost forever (the "!" above your head disappears if you made it to the right spot in time but don't actually pick it up quickly enough). The guide also doesn't tell you that there is a technique that allows you to skip the cutscenes completely, which certainly makes the time limit easier to cope with. (In fairness, the makers of the guide may not have realised this.)
  • Getting the first Excalibur is no picnic either. There's nothing at all that even hints at how you're supposed to find the MacGuffin a certain NPC wants (you have to buy four other MacGuffins, sell them around town to specific townspeople, then re-buy them for it to even appear), and then you have to bid a king's ransom at the Auction House to buy it. Not only not fun, but it's not even his best sword! (That would be, not counting the above mentioned Excalibur 2, the sword Ragnarok, though Excalibur is the only sword that can teach Steiner one of his most powerful skills...except the one Ragnarok teaches is even more powerful. Go figure.)
  • To some, the most absolutely frustrating thing in the game is that you're never told at any time what items you need to synthesize the very best weapons and armor in Discs 3 and 4. On your first playthrough, be prepared to pull out some of your hair in frustration as you realize that, in order to forge the Grand Armor, you needed to keep those Mythril Swords and suits of Mythril Armor you got all the way back in Disk 2. Oh, and the Mythril Swords are lost forever after you leave Treno for the first time. That's just one example, mind you...
    • Theoretically speaking, one could go to Esto Gaza before the plot demands it and buy their lion's share then. However, the above still applies, as many don't really think about Esto Gaza during that time.
      • Speaking of Esto Gaza, Vivi's rod, called the Octagon Rod, which is only available in that stinkin' place. If you don't get it, bye bye -aga spells.
  • The Synthesis system in general will turn you into a hoarder with your items. Usually, most players will sell old equipment that they no longer use, only to kick themselves when they see that a powerful item to create needs some old items that you used to have and most likely can't get back. Players who are playing the game more than once (or looked up an FAQ online) can avoid this trope, but many first time players were not pleased to discover that it is better to save your old stuff so you can use them later to create better items.
  • There's one scene in which you can perform a certain action, and it does nothing. You have to do it thirteen times in succession to reveal one of the secret items. Needless to say, not only it's a waste of time and money, there are no hints for this.
  • The Nero Family side quest. It involves proceeding forward into the final dungeon, then leaving immediately after each cutscene and boss to backtrack to Tantalus' hideout in Lindblum. You have to do this nine times, and at the end, you get a Protect Ring. If you fail to backtrack too many times, it's lost forever. This quest is so obscure that it was discovered and recorded for the first time in 2013, nearly thirteen years after the game came out!note 

    Final Fantasy X/X- 2 
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Players can input one-word destination passwords in the Global Airship that lead to hidden locations which each contain a treasure chest, one of which houses Rikku's Infinity +1 Sword. While perhaps not technically a Guide Dang It, virtually all players learned of these passwords via a guide, as the method for discovering the passwords the normal way is so incredibly obscure that most players don't even know it exists (it involves deciphering deeply-hidden, nonsensical messages left throughout the game world).
    • Finding all 26 Al Bhed Primers without a guide is nigh impossible. About half of them are easy to find or get from NPCs, but the other half is either found in a location you can't go back to and therefore Permanently Missable Content, blends into the scenery so well that your only hope of finding that item is smashing the 'X' button while you walk, or hidden in an optional location you can only find if you, again, keep hitting the 'X' on the airship map in hopes of finding something, without any in-game hint to its existence.
    • Several of the ultimate weapons are subject to this. The biggest example would probably be having to dodge 200 lightning bolts in a row. Seriously—a single hit resets the counter, which isn't even shown on the screen, so while dodging you have to manually keep count as well! There is no in-game hint about how many you have to dodge, or even that there will be a reward this valuable; without a guide, many players would probably stop around 50-60 and assume the item they were given was the final prize. Not to mention it's extremely hard, so even the savvy players who somehow guessed there was a better reward would stop before they actually reached 200 dodged bolts.
    • The chocobo race also deserves mentioning. You are required to finish with a time under 0:0:0. No sane gamer alive could reach such a conclusion without a guide. To make things even worse, even if you know you have to finish with such a low time, the random factor of the items that lower your time and the utterly atrocious controls basically make it a Luck-Based Mission that few sane gamers alive would even persist in trying to complete under those conditions.
    • Getting the Celestial Mirror to unlock some of those ultimate weapons is, itself, pretty silly. First you have to win a chocobo race at Remiem Temple. Once you've managed that, you have to take the Cloudy Mirror to the Macalania Woods and reunite a man with his wife and child. When you do so, if you talk to the man twice, he'll ask you to find his kid, who has wandered off. If you go up a path that you may not instantly realise is even a path rather than awesome scenery, which looks like it's a beam of light and thus something you wouldn't immediately suspect you could walk on, and which isn't visible on the minimap, and then go up a fork that was until that moment NPC Roadblocked. Now, bear in mind, this item has no use at all except as a key to boxes containing ultimate weapons.
    • Valefor's second Overdrive, Energy Blast. Did you know it exists? If you haven't either read a guide or encountered Dark Valefor, you probably didn't. As for actually getting it, if you didn't talk to a dog in Besaid before you left, you won't have a chance to get it until you can throw down successfully with Dark Valefor. Bear in mind that the Dark Aeons are only exempt from being a collection of That One Bosses on a technicality. At least the Dark Aeons only appear in the International, PAL and HD remake versions.
  • Final Fantasy X-2:
    • To get 100% Completion, one has to take a detour from chasing a villain in order to talk to someone hidden in a moogle costume, early in the game. The game is riddled with one-time, permanently missable scenes like this, and despite the fact you get fully healed from touching a save point, you have to use the bed in the airship at least once a chapter. And that isn't even the worst part. The game allows you to skip cutscenes, but what it doesn't tell you is that skipped cutscenes don't count towards 100% Completion.
    • At one point you can have a long sit down with Maechen for an Exposition Break. Periodically, you'll get a text box where you can either interrupt him to leave, or urge him to continue his story. But what you're supposed to do for this to count toward completion is neither, and let him just keep rambling without you pressing a single button on your controller. If Maechen wasn't voiced by Dwight Schultz, this would be nearly as tedious and unbearable as the legendary hot-springs webcam sequence.
    • The CommSphere sequences in Chapter 4 itself. Unless a guide is handy, you'd never know that a few scenes only appear after looking through the camera for a while, after other scenes that have nothing going on, and the whole Mi'ihen Highroad debacle, of which a number of potential targets don't give any completion points upon the reveal.
    • To get the best ending, you have to wait until Yuna says "I'm all alone..." then press X to hear a whistle. Then after that, you just keep pressing X until she runs out of the Farplane. The second part is much worse, as you need to press X at a specific point during what is essentially the last cutscene of the game, in order to get the Perfect Ending.
    • The Youth League and New Yevon are portrayed as being both basically good except for their conflict with each other. If you choose to help New Yevon and not the Youth League (instead of vice versa), you can't get 100% completion on that playthrough. This was likely intended, as the Complete % carries over in a new playthrough, so it's likely that players were only intended to get 100% after playing once with each route. Also, % from all scenes add up to more than 100%, so you can afford to miss one or two and still get 100%, if you play both routes. The Youth League route giving 100% in one playthrough if you get absolutely every single possible scene (really annoying to keep track of, since some give less than 1%) might be a mistake, but it's absolutely impossible without a guide, and still damn hard with one.
    • Want the Mascot Dressphere? Get episode complete on every area. How do you do that? Good luck finding that out, because it's not mentioned anywhere in the game. It's a game-spanning quest, because there are certain objectives to fulfill in every chapter.
    • Want to fully power up Rikku's Special Dressphere? You'll need access to the Chocobo Dungeon. How do you unlock it? Good luck finding that out, because it's not mentioned anywhere in the game.
    • Want to fully power up Paine's Special Dressphere? Are you noticing a pattern yet?

    Final Fantasy XI 
  • To obtain the useful unique armor for the Scholar class, you are told to find some random object. The name at best suggests a single zone to look in. Now, amongst the items you need to get, one only appears during certain weather, teleporting between many spots in the zone each time it rains. Another only appears at certain times of the day. In addition, these objects (and the vast majority of quest items not dropped from monsters) do not actually appear on the map. Rather you must mash the tab button until a blank point on the ground gets highlighted (labeled as ???, just in case you might have thought to write down what you found and where you found it for later). Even with guides telling you where and when to look, it can still take hours.
  • The gardening missions. It sounds easy: buy a flower pot and get some seeds, then put the pot in your Mog House and plant the seeds. What they don't tell you is that the seeds will not only have different yields, but also give you different crops depending on: what day of the week you planted them on, what elemental energy is flowing in your house, what crystal, if any, you feed the plant when you have the option to, how long you leave it planted, how many times you examined it per day when it was growing, and the phases of the in-game moon.
  • Crafting, in all its forms. While the NPCs in the guilds flat out tell you SOME recipes for random items, they don't tell you all of them. Especially, ya know... The useful ones. And even this was an ease-of-play update added later. Originally, they didn't tell you any of this stuff. The only way to find out crafting recipes in game was trial and error.

    Final Fantasy XII 
  • Obtaining the Zodiac Spear requires not opening four specific unmarked chests which are not mentioned anywhere in the game. This would be a prime example. Granted, if you got greedy and opened the "unlucky" chests, there is another chest that can cough it up, roughly .1% of the time (that is to say, 1/1000 chance)... but the existence of that chest is in and of itself an example of Guide Dang It.
  • The Bazaar system, by which selling loot is the only way to unlock some of the high end items. The loot items needed for these are not only very difficult to acquire, but are also used to unlock other, more easily unlocked, items. Once an item of loot has unlocked one item for sale, it must be acquired all over again and sold once more.
  • The Tournesol, which requires you to get multiple copies of three different items. Let's take Empyreal Souls, for example, of which you need three. You'll need six Wargod's Bands, which are Rare drops from high-level monsters, three Soul Powders, which are Rare Steals off of Rare Game, and three High Arcana (which adds another level to the madness, since you need to purchase a Canopic Jar to get those which takes three OTHER items). You must then sell one High Arcana, Soul Powder, and two Wargod's Bands, buy an Empyreal Soul, and then restart the process. If you sell too many at once you'll have to go find more. You must do this again with two other items, each comprised of three other rare drops. To access some of those you need to purchase Monographs. The game doesn't tell you that you need the Monographs to get particular items you need, or how to access the Monographs you need, or which Monographs you need. All of this will cost you several thousand gil, and hours upon hours of time. And none of it is hinted at anywhere.
  • If you want to get all eighty rare game monsters, you have to either be the luckiest gamer in the world or have a guide with you. Many of these monsters just have a high-percentage random chance to show up, but many more have an inexplicable list of criteria that need to be filled before they might rear their ugly heads. Some appear for only a ten-minute window once an hour. Some require you to chain-kill a certain number of a certain kind of monster. Some have time limits on top of this criteria. Some require you not to kill any monsters at all. Some appear in tiny, tiny areas, again, randomly. Some have a whopping 5% chance of appearance. Some only appear if you sit around doing nothing for five minutes or more. Sure, the average gamer stumbles across at least a few of them by accident across the game, but all eighty? Forget it. The worst part about this is that the guide only tells you how to spawn about half of them, it tells you the location for the rare game but not the spawn conditions... have fun experimenting with generic conditions to get them thing to spawn, but even that won't always work because some of these monsters have completely unique spawn conditions that are only hinted at in the bestiary, which only appears after you kill them. Have fun looking through online guides to find out how to get 100% completion.
  • The Limit Break of the espers. A good portion of the creatures will use their last attack when time is about to expire, low on HP, or the summoner has low HP. However, some of the other espers will never use their final attack unless certain conditions are met, such as casting Immobilize on the esper, having the summoner AND the esper with low HP, or casting Petrify on the esper itself. There is nothing in the game that hints at these conditions. It's a good thing then that the Updated Re-release made them controllable. note 

    Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy 
  • Final Fantasy XIII:
    • The game tells you about the weapon system's XP multiplier, but it doesn't explain how it raises and lowers, and it's not really easy to figure out without wasting a ton of money and components (or looking up which items do what/how much).
    • "This is a secret achievement. Unlock it to find out more about it." Or read a walkthrough if you want to achieve it, instead of blindly stumbling across it.
    • The ATB Refresh technique is not mentioned anywhere in the game. If you switch paradigms 12 seconds or more after a previous switching, the ATB gauge to fill up immediately. This also goes unmentioned in in XIII-2.
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2:
    • Collecting all 160 fragments includes several examples of this trope.
    • Completing all Brain Blast and Captain Cryptic quizzes in Academia 4XX AF. Several Brain Blast questions either have no hints in-game to their answer, or are based on pure luck (heads or tails?). Captain Cryptic's questions are worse - and first, you have to find him. He can be found in 11 different locations across town... and he's virtually invisible, requiring Mog's help.
    • Completing the bestiary will get you one fragment. Probably 90% of the monsters will be encountered as you play the game, level up, and go after the rest of the fragments, but some are either incredibly rare, hidden in unintuitive locations, or just maliciously placed.
      • The Proto-fal'Cie Adam has three forms, each of which get their own bestiary entry. However, the third form is skippable if you pick the right answer during the Live Trigger segment.
      • The Giant Cactuar. No, not the Gigantuar. If you leave a Cactuar alive long enough, he'll eventually use Cactus Dance and transform into a Giant Cactuar, which gets its own bestiary entry.
      • Raspatil, a hideously powerful Undying Cie'th, is an extremely rare enemy that spawns only in a small area in Oerba 400 AF.
      • Tezcatlipoca, an albino Woodwraith, is probably the most dickheaded hidden monster. It appears in one place, on a platform at the end of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, with the Battlemania fragment skill turned on. And, if you fight Xolotl and Miquitzli, the monsters that show up there normally, you have to reset the entire dungeon and play through it again.
    • The Lucky Coin fragment, which is nothing more than a Luck-Based Mission. It's a fragment you get when you obtain a total of 10,000 coins from the casino, and there is no real way you can influence the slot machine to go your way. Even if the machine is in their best condition/moods, it could take you half an hour or more to get that damn fragment.
    • Finding all ten Wild Artefacts. You use these to unlock the optional time periods. Some of them are dropped right in your lap, but others require you to complete certain sidequests or are hidden well off the beaten path.
    • Finding the hidden monster crystals require you to throw Mog at specific points with a specific Fragment Skill active. Most of them are fairly mediocre, but some of them (especially Chichu) are excellent in their roles.
    • The paradox endings themselves require locking a gate and playing through a given section of the story again with the Paradox Scope fragment skill active. Some of them are fairly easy to figure out, but good luck with the rest.
    • Poison's secondary effect (nullifying Regen) is never mentioned in game. It's normally not that big a deal, but it makes several of the Paradox Ending boss fights against Caius much easier, especially the Oerba 200 AF rematch.
    • The hidden abilities for monsters. There's one for each role (Jeopardize for Commandos, Vigor for Ravagers, Reprieve for Sentinels, Boon for Synergists, Jinx for Saboteurs, and Curaja for Medics), and unlocking them is both a major Rare Candy dump and a total Violation of Common Sense. You have to infuse a monster from a different specific role (i.e. to get Jeopardize, you infuse a Ravager into a Commando), and the combined level of both monsters must exceed 99.
    • Secret Achievements/Trophies. You gain some of them by progressing through the story, but others require you to do specific things, which of course are hard to do if they're secrets.
    • Developing monsters that you catch and tame. The game offers limited information about monsters' upgrade paths, making development a matter of trial and (potentially expensive) error. The official guide has a different set of limited information, but does recommend some monsters for you. If you want to make your own decisions based on complete monster information, you'll have to try the internet.
  • Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII:
    • The official guide obviously has an interest in promoting its own indispensability, but has a few passages of interest for this page:
      Though the final boss battle tends to start promisingly, it can become incomprehensibly difficult when you reach its fourth stage without appropriate preparation and strategies.
    (Which the guide is happy to reveal.)
    • The Strategy & Analysis chapter describes itself as having "a specific focus on details that the game itself does not reveal." It is not necessary for a first playthrough, but will repay close reading if you unlock Hard Mode.
    • Locating the Rare Merchant is something of a Luck-Based Mission with the help of the guide. Without the guide, you may not even know that he exists unless you get lucky.
    • Completing the three-star quest "A Rose by Any Other Name" requires an item only available as part of the one-star quest "Voices from the Grave". To start that, you have to speak to four specific NPCs during the day and then speak to three ghosts after midnight. One of the ghosts gives you the item.
    • The quest "To Save the Sinless", which has the Dark Knight garb as its reward. First of all, this quest cannot even be unlocked, unless you do the "Avid Reader" quest. And you need to fail that quest - which is easy enough, the NPC asks you to find his diary, but to not read it when you do. Now that you've failed that quest and unlocked "To Save the Sinless", you need to walk around and talk to specific NPCs at specific times, often backtracking, before you complete it.
    • Completing the three-star quest "The Grail of Valhalla". The NPC giving you this quest, says you need to find some glyphs inside the Temple of Etro. Sounds easy enough, but the Temple of Etro is part of the main quest and, upon entering, Lightning is struck with chaos in her chest, which continuously lowers her HP as long as she's in the temple and has not completed the 3rd Main Quest, so most players will want to speed through that area as fast as possible. That aside, one of the glyphs is a bit out of the way, so it's easy to miss that one. Especially if a chaos area starts up near its place, which happens frequently in the temple and makes it difficult to see where the glyphs are. But that's the main, guide-dang-it part of the quest, with the second half being easy enough to figure out.
    • The quest "Last One Standing". If you thought killing all of the Last Ones would be time consuming but doable, you're in for a treat. Namely, it can't be completed on a first playthrough; three of the Last Ones you need to defeat are in the final dungeon, which is past the Point of No Return. So it can only be turned in on any New Game+ playthroughs. And even on a first playthrough, if you drive every possible species to extinction - including Aeronite, one of the game's two superbosses - you'll still have to dive into the Ultimate Lair for the remaining two pre-final dungeon Last Ones: Meonekton (who have an extinction number of 65,535), and Ereshkigal, the other superboss.
    • Minor, but making the Angle of Valhalla fly. The Datalog in the game says to press the B/Circle button to make him jump, and then hold it to make him catch an updraft and fly. Two presses, right? Wrong. You just hold the button down. If you press and then hold, he will make a small jump and then flutter gently down to the ground.

    Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles 
  • Plot progression itself is subject to this. Finding a way to get through the barrier to the final level is only hinted at in a few of the numerous random encounters.
  • Want to see the complete stories of De Nam, figure out what to do with the letter from Tida or unlock the complete stories of the caravans? Want to get all the hints to finding the ??? chalice? Want to learn about the miasma and the crystals from the Carbuncles which are never actually mentioned in-game? Want to kill the Lich? Want to enjoy the incredibly rich and vast lore the game has to offer? Better shell out the cash for that guide, sucker!
  • If you chose blacksmith as your family's job background, you won't be able to get some of the best weapons or items in the game unless you actually create more players with different family jobs. While you don't have to switch players, you're clueless until you look online for help.
  • The Final Boss in its final form. The spheres of your family members, which are memories, are actually ultimate magicite displayed as ????, allowing you to cast Blizzaga, Thundaga, Firaga, Curaga, and Invincibility (they are randomized) without any charge time. However, to change the spheres into those spells before Raem eats them, you have to cast Cure on them and there's nothing in the game that hints you this. While it can be possible to beat him without those items, it can be harder and having most of your memories eaten results in a Game Over.
  • There are a number of Artifacts that can only be obtained on certain maps, on certain cycles, and by getting a minimum number of points at the end of the level. The Life Ring, an artifact that replaces the same type of magicite, requires the player to be in Conall Curach and beat the boss with at least 302 points. The only reliable way of doing this is to play one-player with a Game Boy Advance linked to the second controller slot (it shows your bonus condition) and keep entering and leaving until you get "Kill Monsters" as your bonus qualifier. Then kill absolutely every single monster, because otherwise you won't have enough points to earn it. And then hope the RNG is in your favor, because it's only a 1 in 8 chance of spawning like any Artifact. Additionally, the game says that you can only get one of each ring, ever. The opportunity to get more for your other characters opens after 5 years in-game. Other rings also require specific conditions to appear, but nowhere near as insane.

    Final Fantasy XV 
  • In Platinum Demo, there is a huge plethora of moves that your weapons are capable of. However, since the game never runs you through a combat tutorial beyond the basic controls, figuring out that any of the other moves exist is up to Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
  • Cid's weapon upgrade quests requires you to collect parts from monsters in order to enhance your weapons. Some of them are obvious (Coeurl Whiskers are dropped by Coeurl), but others are not so obvious. Where does one find a Sturdy Helixhorn? A Magnetron? Better buy the guide or look it up online, because the game certainly won't tell you.
  • The Scraps of Mystery sidequests involves finding maps scattered all over the world that lead you to pieces of another map. The maps themselves don't have the helpful indicator that pop up on other blue-dotted items unless you're right on top of the item, and their dull color makes them blend very easily into the environment, making finding them difficult. You're likely to come across the first two easily as they easily follow the flow of the story, and even a good chunk of them are at least conspicuous enough in accessible spots, but good luck finding a few that are off the beaten path and partially hidden; you're likely to need a guide to complete this quest.
  • The final frog collection quest requires you to find five rather small frogs scattered across the entire world map, with the not particularly helpful hint "water", and no quest markers to even suggest a rough area to search. In a world that has no shortage of lakes, ponds, and rivers, the fact that you can hear a frog croak if you're very close is little comfort. Moreover, while the rainbow frogs have a unique coloration, they are on the whole more subdued and better-camouflaged than their brightly-colored cousins.
  • Some dungeons can only be entered at night, and the game does not go out of its way to tell you this.
  • Costlemark Tower's four-block puzzle doesn't tell you that in order to get to the right path (the southwest one), you have to go down anywhere from one-to-three of the 'wrong' paths first - randomly determined before entering - before said path will become available. In addition, if you heard beforehand that the southwest path is the only correct one, you might not ever figure out that this is only half-right. The northwest path leads in two directions, one into the big room where you face the usual Red Giants + company... or a side path that connects directly to the southwest path, ie the way to the boss room. If you're lucky, you could get the northwest path active on the first try, and skip the Red Giant fights entirely.


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