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Video Game / Final Fantasy I

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The world lies shrouded in darkness.
The winds die. The seas rage. The earth decays.
But the people believe in a prophecy,
patiently awaiting its fulfillment.
"When darkness veils the world,
four Warriors of Light shall come."
After a long journey,
four young travelers did at last appear...
...and in the hand of each was clutched a crystal.
— The opening note 

The first entry into the now lip-smackingly popular Final Fantasy series, released in 1987 in Japan and 1990 in North America.

In the 1980s, the Director of Planning and Development at Square was feeling dispirited about the game industry; after working on several games that failed to take off, he decided to produce one last game and retire.

And then we have the plot: Four mysterious Light Warriors take it upon themselves to save the world by re-charging four crystals (or "Orbs" in the NES translation).

...and that's pretty much it. It was almost entirely Dungeon Crawling, lifted whole-cloth from the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons: Your party go from town-to-town in order to save them from local threats and such. However, the plot had more complexities than the usual 8-bit fare: The party learns of "Four Fiends" who are sucking the Crystals dry, receive wisdom from the Circle of Sages, uncover a Lost World populated by people who were driven from their home in the skies, and travel through time.


The game revolves around a Super-Deformed quartet of heroes, and you pick their jobs at the start: Warrior ("Fighter" in the original translation), Thief (kind of a misnomer since they behave like Ninjas and can't "Steal" anything yet), Monk (previously "Black Belt"), Red Mage, White Mage, or Black Mage. Each have select types of weapons and armor they can use, and your spell list is also limited by their brand of magic, i.e. you can purchase the spells but not everyone can use them. Completing the sidequest near the middle of the game will promote them to Prestige Classes: not only does this change their appearance, it causes their stats to skyrocket and allows mages to learn stronger spells. The game has three modes of transportation besides walking: pirate ship, canoe (for nagivating rivers the ship can't fit into), and airship. Final Fantasy's main competition in Japan, Dragon Quest II, only had three characters with pre-set abilities and a single mode of transportation by comparison.


Final Fantasy saved Square from bankruptcy. The legend goes that Sakaguchi chose the name knowing the project would likely fail and that he and SquareSoft would retire from the video game business; little did he know that his gallow's joke would become the longest-running oxymoron in gaming nomenclature. However, according to Sakaguchi, the team wanted something which could be abbreviated using the Roman alphabet. They were also set on something which could be condensed into four-syllables; Final Fantasy (pronounced “efu efu” in Japanese) fit both criteria. Though, “Final” wasn’t the team’s first choice: it was supposed to be Fighting Fantasy. However, they had to nix that title when they discovered that there was already a board game called Fighting Fantasy, which is based on a series of British adventure books.

Originally released in 1987 on the Famicom (1990 for the NES version), it was first ported to the MSX2 in Japan in '89. A remastered version for the WonderSwan Color was released in Japan in 2000; the WonderSwan version was the basis for the 2002 PlayStation port as a part of the Compilation Re-release Final Fantasy Origins, and later the 2004 Game Boy Advance port. Like Origins, the GBA version (Dawn of Souls) was bundled with Final Fantasy II, but it added four new Bonus Dungeons. For the 20th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series, it was again remastered for the PlayStation Portable and the Japanese Nintendo 3DS eShop. There are also versions of the game for mobile phones.

The NES version of the game is available on the Wii Virtual Console and PlayStation 3 Play Station Network (which can also be played on the PSP) worldwide. The NES Classic in North America and Europe also included it (Japan got Final Fantasy III, instead), as did the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Virtual Consoles in Japan.

The fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy serves as a sort of prequel which gives events in this game a bit more depth and exposition.

The popular webcomic 8-Bit Theater was (very) loosely based on this game, though it later incorporated characters from Final Fantasy III and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, among other things. The strip also paid homage to the fact that Square lifted many of the game's mechanics from D&D. Also somewhat notable for being adapted into the very last episode ever, fittingly enough, of Captain N: The Game Master.

Final Fantasy I contains examples of the following tropes:

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  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: The original NES version has this en masse due to space restrictions. The PSX version had way less space restrictions, but some things were still abbreviated. By the time of the GBA remake, there was enough space to display the full names for everything.
  • After the End:
    • A few NPCs mention that the northern kingdoms used to be far more prosperous than Cornelia. While the southern kingdoms are relatively safe from the Fiends (outside of Melmond), the northern kingdoms were all but destroyed by Tiamat and Kraken, leaving few towns that remain.
    • In the NES and MSX2 versions, a late-game twist makes it clear that a more traditional version of the trope is in play: the "Flying Fortress" in those versions is revealed on entry to be a full-blown orbital space station, meaning that the "prosperous nations" of the past had access to super-modern technology and that the scope of devastation inflicted by Tiamat and Kraken is much more extensive than you first thought. The robots had previously hinted at this, but the Fortress makes clear just how far it goes and if you look closely to the area you teleport in from, you can see what looks like computer consoles. Later versions dilute this revelation, though, as the Fortress is heavily redesigned to be a more traditionally fantastical "castle in the clouds".
  • Antidote Effect:
    • Inverted in the NES/MSX2/WSC/PSX versions of the game. For the price of learning the PURE/Esuna spell, you can buy 53 PURE potions/antidotes, which is more than you're likely to ever need. Given the mechanics of the NES/MSX2 version of the game, however, the 53 PURE potions take about ten minutes to purchase and the PURE spell takes just a couple of seconds; besides, most level 4 White spells are otherwise useless, anyway. The SOFT/Stona spell and Soft potions/gold needles are the same way, with spell points being better spent on other spells.
    • Played straight in the GBA version onward, due to the shift to the mana pool system and how little MP the Poisona/Stona spells cost. Although buying the items is still useful if you're doing a challenge playthrough without a White or Red Mage/Wizard in the party.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Dawn of Souls lets you save anywhere, which is very helpful in a portable game.
  • Anti-Grinding: Thinking about beating up the Four Fiends in the past Chaos Shrine for EXP and Gil? Nope! Each of them only provides 1 EXP and 1 Gil per encounter! However, the Purple Worms on the first floor of the past Chaos Shrine are loaded with EXP and are relatively (for this dungeon) weak. Couple this with a Black Mage spell that warps you to the previous floor (in this case, the Chaos Shrine in the present), and you can easily grind a few levels out to get those last few stat points you need.
  • Apocalypse How: Each of the Four Fiends individually quantify as a Class 6 threat, threatening to end all life on the planet by their own means, be it Lich causing all the land to decay, Marilith interfering with the world's volcanic activity, Kraken churning the seas out of control, or Tiamat controlling the winds in the skies above. Chaos himself seems to be of Class X at the least, possessed of all their power and capable of warping the fabric of reality.
  • Artifact Title: The game was originally intended to be Hironobu Sakaguchi's swansong, who intended to quit Square and leave the gaming industry if Final Fantasy didn't sell well. Although Sakaguchi now works for Mistwalker instead of Square, Final Fantasy itself has inspired numerous sequels and spin-offs. Whilst this may still have partly influenced the name, Sakaguchi has since said that they would've pretty much settled for anything that stood for "FF", as apparently they wanted that acronym specifically, once intending to name it Fighting Fantasy, which was already taken.
  • Ascended Glitch:
    • The original Peninsula of Power Leveling north of Pravoka has been kept in all re-releases.
    • In the original game, rather than their actual critical hit rates, weapons used their index number in the game's code instead. While likely a bug in its first appearance, this quirk has been kept in all re-releases.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Black Mage's magic attacks look cool and can deliver major damage at first, but the class runs out of charges quickly, and it's surprisingly weak when not targeting a weakness. Rereleases of the game fix these points and boost the Black Mage.
  • Back Tracking: In every other part of the game, each dungeon gets one boss encounter. The Earth Cave features a second boss (the Lich) after you return from killing his flunky (the Vampire, who was erroneously blamed for the rotting soil in Melmond).
  • Bag of Sharing: Downplayed in the NES/MSX2 versions; everybody can only carry up to four weapons and four pieces of armor. Potions are shareable by everyone, though.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Those bats surrounding Garland at the beginning? They're actually the Sky Warriors, Lufenia's honor guard, who tried to stop Garland and failed miserably. The enchantment on them starts to weaken once the crystals are alit once more.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Mt. Duergar. "Dvergr" is Old Norse for "dwarf".
    • The English name of the "Kyzoku" enemy (later renamed to "Privateer" and "Buccaneer)" is a stylized romanization of "かいぞくnote ", the Japanese word for "pirate". Considering the enemy's Japanese name is "パイレーツnote "—the English word "pirate" or "pirates", spelled out phonetically in katakanathis translation choice is actually very clever.
  • Bishōnen: If male, the White Wizard is the long haired type. While later releases have made the White Mage and White Wizard's designs progressively more feminine, that hardly disqualifies male White Wizard characters in those versions.
  • Black Mage: The Trope Namer, but certainly not the Ur-Example.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: One may argue that the German translation of Dawn of Souls is this. Most things are translated correctly, except for Intelligence, which is translated as IQ. It's highly unlikely that anyone with an IQ lower than 20 would be qualified to save anything, much less know how to cast magic or swing a sword.
  • Blind Seer: Matoya the witch. She can't do housework, so she animated her brooms to do the work for her.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage:
    • Equipping certain shields allows you to block damage more often. Including poison damage. The rest of the series simply reduces the damage taken from attacks.
    • Due to the way the game is coded, a miss is a block is a dodge. As a result, it's possible to see your Fighter/Knight, who has abysmal evasion, evade damage several times for no readily apparent reason, when actually, they're effectively blocking with their shield.
    • Averted by the elemental shields (and armors); they're specifically strong against a certain element (oddly, the same element they have, contrary to later installments), but can never completely block it. So the fire shield reduces damage from fire spells and abilities, but you can never reduce the damage to zero.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Warmech. Go to the top of the Flying Fortress (that's the long narrow bridge leading to Tiamat), and there's a 3/256 chance of encountering it. If you do, you're in for a tough time; it has incredibly high stats, and knows Nuclear/Atomize and isn't afraid to use it.
    • The elemental bonus dungeons in the GBA version have bosses from FFIII to VI.
    • The Labyrinth of Time in the PSP version has eight different versions of Chronodia, each based on the number of blue and red seals you opened in the Labyrinth.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The GBA re-release added four dungeons (Earthgift Shrine, Hellfire Chasm, Lifespring Grotto, and Whisperwind Cove) that are unlocked by killing the corresponding Fiend (Lich, Marilith, Kraken, and Tiamat, respectively). The PSP remake also has these, along with the Labyrinth of Time, which is unlocked once you have access to the final dungeon.
  • Boring, but Practical: Low-level Black Magic spells Haste (FAST), Temper (TMPR/Steel), and Saber (SABR). Haste, a Level 2 spell doubles the number of physical hits you can perform in a turn, Temper (Level 4) increases your attack power, and Saber (Level 7) increases your attack power and accuracy. On their own, not that significant. But: 1. Hits function as an attack multiplier, making it a core component of physical damage. 2. Temper and Saber are both stackable, meaning repeat casts will increase attack power and accuracy (the latter of which determines the base number of hits you do). Combine this with a physical attacker, and you will be extremely powerful. It's not uncommon to see attackers deliver four digits in damage late game through a combination of these spells.
  • Boss Rush: In the Chaos Shrine, you must fight the Four Fiends again, and the Final Boss right after.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Several, like the Cthulhumanoids (Wizards/Piscodemons) in the Marsh Cave, and especially Warmech. He can only be encountered randomly in a hallway on the way to Tiamat. Although he had half the HP of the final boss, he compensated by hitting twice as hard. This amounts to hitting about 200-500 damage per turn to everyone in your party. This has made many gamers curse the heavens when they accidentally run into it and get destroyed in literally two turns, tops.
  • Bowdlerise: Nintendo of America's censorship policy at the time was heavily opposed to religious references, so the churches where you bring dead party members to be revived are turned into clinics. This creates a bit of a plot hole when you arrive in Melmond and discover that a local vampire went and burned down Melmond's clinic. The remakes change the clinics back into churches.
  • Broken Bridge: Actually a non-existent bridge. The Light Warriors must first rescue a Princess before the king agrees to have one built. It's changed to an actual broken bridge in the remakes.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Labyrinth of Time, added in the PSP version, is a giant maze filled with the strongest monsters in the game and puzzles that you have to solve under a time limit (and how much time you have depends on which commands you choose to sacrifice — dashing, fleeing battles, use of items, etc.). To make things worse, you can't save or use Exit, and running out of time increases the random encounter rate and gives Cronodia (the strongest bonus boss in the game, fought at the last floor) a power boost with each failure.
  • Canon Identifier: The four Featureless Protagonists who make up your party are generally called the Light Warriors. The individual characters are simply known by their class. Dissidia represents them with a single Composite Character known as "Warrior of Light", who can't remember his own name because of the events of the original game.
  • Captain Ersatz: Pretty much every monster in the game is ripped straight from the 1st edition of D&D, though many names were changed for the English version, presumably to avoid legal trouble. Later versions of FF 1 changed some monster designs to make their resemblance slightly less obvious, with the most notable example being the Beholder being turned into the Evil Eye.
  • Chain of Deals: A particularly long one makes up the first act. To escape the Aldean Sea (which is an inland sea), you need to get Nitro Powder to a dwarf who's building a canal. To get the Nitro Powder, you need the Mystic Key. To get the Key, you need to wake the Elf Prince. To wake the Elf Prince, you need the Jolt Tonic. To get the Jolt Tonic, you need to get Matoya's Crystal Eye. To get the Crystal Eye, you have to impress the King of the Northwest Castle. To impress the King, you have to get the Crown from the Marsh Cavenote . Fortunately, while getting to the Crown takes quite a bit of Level Grinding to survive the trip, the chain is very quickly resolved once you have it.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The Crown. You have to fetch it from the Marsh Cave, which triggers a boss encounter with the Fake King known as Astos. But it's not actually used by the party until the Citadel of Trials.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Lute is a reward given to the Light Warriors after they save Sara, but it doesn't come into play until close to the end of the game.
    • The mysterious black orb in the Chaos Shrine is used to transport you to the final dungeon, 2000 years in the past.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Garland is both the first and last boss you face.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The Final Fantasy tradition of playing this trope full force started early, because although wading through molten magma hurts, it does the same amount of damage as walking around poisoned.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Crystals.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Warrior of Light depicted on the Famicom cover is based on Amano's old concept art for the Knight, and doesn't look much like any of the main characters or possible jobs (ironically except for Garland). He does tend to serve as an unofficial mascot for the game, though, and shows up in the opening cutscene of the PSX version.
  • Critical Hit Class: The Fighter/Warrior class in particular has much higher odds of getting a critical hit than the others.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Wizards/Piscodemons and Sorcerers/Mind Flayers, both taken from Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Dark Reprise: In the NES version, the Cornelia Castle theme blares inside the Western Keep and the Citadel of Trials. Origins replaces it with a hauntingly sad rendition.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Bikke and his crew start out as the straight plundering type, terrorizing the citizens of Pravoka. But once your party beats them, they end up hanging around town doing nothing. Well, Bikke does, by dint of no longer having a ship since he gave you one. (You slaughtered his crew, though.)
  • Developers' Foresight: At least in the remakes. Did you do Sequence Breaking and fight the Four Fiends out of the usual order? Then their pre-fight dialogue mentions the Fiends you killed before them. If you leave Marilith for last, for example, she'll mention that you slew the Fiends of Earth, Water and Air.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The Red Mage/Red Wizard. The difficulty is that it's a freakin EXPENSIVE class to undertake as you need the best weapons, armor, and spells, which is a massive strain on your funds if you've also got a Warrior competing for those expensive weapons and armor, and possibly another mage or two who also needs spells bought for them. Their stamina is shoddy, so their HP grows abnormally slowly, only marginally better than the Black Mage, and they don't have access to a number of spells (Heal-series, Dia-series, and a few others, are completely out of the question for them), and they can't quite use the heavier gear either. The awesome part is that they're an exceptionally versatile class. Their armor can help protect them pretty well, they're fast enough to go first reasonably often, they can do pretty good damage with their weaponry (and even have one or two unique to them especially in the remakes), and they can function as a backup White Mage/Black Mage if the situation calls for it. They aren't the greatest at any of these jobs, but you can find a place for them in many party set-ups.
      • Worth noting that Red Mage/Wizard with any physical class is highly useful, since they can cast Haste and Temper.
    • Thief. Not great options for gear in the early part of the game, bugged ability in the NES version, and hardly any more capable in a fight than the White/Black Mages. Get him promoted, and the resulting Ninja becomes a powerhouse, able to wield about as many weapons as the Knight, and capable of up to Lvl. 4 Black Magic.
    • Dawn of Souls and Anniversary give the Ultima Weapon if you're capable of beating Deathgaze on the bottom floor of Whisperwind Cove. Despite it having an attack value assigned to it, its true attack rating is equal to the wielder's CURRENT HP divided by 10...again, their current, meaning that it gets progressively weaker as its wielder takes damage, requiring that some dedication be spent to keeping their HP up in order to keep the Ultima Weapon powered up. However, given that the weapon typically goes to the Knight, who often reaches the HP cap of 999 many many MANY levels before the level cap, this probably isn't too hard outside of the occasional spellcaster nuking his face off.
  • Difficulty Levels: Only present in the WonderSwan Color and Origins releases. You could choose between two difficulties when starting a new game.
    • Easy/Extra Mode: Faster leveling, the level cap is raised to 99, stats grow more rapidly, way more spell charges for spellcasters, shop prices are cheaper. All the remakes after the Origins release are based on this difficulty mode, but with certain changes: spells-per-day is changed to a mana pool system, enemies and bosses have been rebalanced, and the party starts with a cheap starter weapon and piece of body armor.
    • Normal/Original Mode: Plays just like the NES version. Slower leveling, level cap of 50, stats grow more slowly, more limited spell charges, shop prices match the NES version. Phased out after the Origins release.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • In all versions, the Castle of Ordeals/Citadel of Trials. Due to a river near it, it's the one location on the northern continent that can be reached before acquiring the airship (though it does require getting the canoe, which requires beating Lich). While potentially difficult, the hostile fauna don't have nearly as many cheap tricks as some of the random encounters in the next two dungeons that the party is directed towards, the level layout is much simpler and less deadly (e.g. no floors that damage the party), and the equipment found inside is around on par with the best loot at the lowest levels of those two areas. Plus, the bosses of the Castle/Citadel are Zombie Dragons, which have several easily exploited vulnerabilities. Stopping by there before trying to defeat Kary/Marillith or acquiring the Floater/Float Stone makes those two tasks significantly easier, both in terms of having more experience and better gear.
    • In the remakes, the 15 Puzzle can give out rather nice rewards, so that farming it to clean out Elfheim's shops is much more reasonable than the "grind for money against ogres and/or pirates" method needed in the original release. Its usefulness, however, wanes afterwards, as the weapons and armor found in chests are generally better than what's in stores. Although the items rewarded are well worth farming it and the money gained can either help buy more spells or be spent on items that aren't rewarded by the puzzle.
  • Dracolich: The Zombie Dragons at the Citadel of Trials.
  • Drop the Hammer: Hammers are the best offensive weapons aside from the Masamune that a White Mage can use. However, due to their weight, they're very inaccurate.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Mount Gulg.
  • Dummied Out: The Angel's Ring item in the GBA remake onward. It can only be found under a set of conditions that can never actually happen, namely that you open the 10th chest on the 33rd floor of Whisperwind Cove. The only floor in the dungeon that has 10 chests is the "undead castle", which is never made the 33rd floor of the dungeon, and as such there's no way to obtain the Angel's Ring without hacking the game.

  • Early Game Hell: The game's early dungeons, most notably the Marsh Cave, feature swarms of tough enemies at a time when you won't have many Herd Hitting Attacks or strong weapons.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Since the game is effectively an unlicensed adaptation of the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons, it's very different from later Final Fantasy titles. Most of the more blatant D&D elements were abandoned beginning with Final Fantasy II, and the series began to craft its own identity from there.
    • The Famicom/NES, MSX2, WonderSwan, and PSX versions of the game lacks the standard MP pool mechanic. Instead, FFI rips off D&D's 'spells per day' idea: magic users are allowed to cast a certain number of spells (based on each spell's level) before resting. There's no way in the game to recover charges outside of staying at an Inn or using a Cabin out in the field. The remakes from the GBA onward use a traditional MP pool, provides access to ethers, and has the Tent recover MP when used. Later remakes instituted items by which you could replenish MP, while making the Tent also restore MP, although not as much as the Cabin. The only other FF game to use a Vancian Magic system before the franchise completely dropped it was III (both the original and its remake).
    • A lot of the elements that would become emblems of the series - the appearance of someone involved with technology and especially with airships named Cid, chocobos, Moogles, Dragoons and other classic "Jobs", monster summons (unless you count Bahamut's debut as an important NPC) - are completely absent, and aren't introduced until the next two games in the series. Also, if you're playing the original, you're not restoring the elemental "crystals", you're restoring the elemental "orbs" (or more accurately ORBs). The GBA version onward adds chocobo statues to Castle Cornelia's throne room and retconned in Cid of the Lufaine as this game's Cid.
    • Sleeping at an Inn doesn't revive KO'd characters. Instead, you'll need to either use a Phoenix Down (GBA remake onward), cast the Life spell (field-only in the NES version, in battle or field from the WSC/PSX version onward), or visit the Church in town.
    • If an enemy is defeated before one of your characters had a chance to attack it, that character's attack will be wasted (indicated as "Ineffective"). In all subsequent games (and the remakes of this one), the attack will simply be shifted over to the next available enemy.
    • This is the only game in the series to use a series of Turn Undead spells instead of the typical Revive Kills Zombie.
    • A smaller-scale example concerns the Blob Monster enemies of this game - the general concept in how the series handles them (very physically resistant, weak to certain elements) are in here, but the visual depiction is radically different from the rest of the series - they resemble small puddles attached to the ceiling with a tentacle vaguely making a face, and they are very noticeably not Color-Coded for Your Convenience, so the player has to just memorize (either this game's bestiary or the Dungeons & Dragons slimes they were based on) their elemental weaknesses. They didn't properly become flans as the series knows them (including their own elemental attacks) until the sequel.
    • Reviving a dead character was a much greater hassle than in later installments. Since D&D lacks any sort of item to raise the dead (outside of items on at least the level of minor artifacts), Phoenix Downs don't exist. Also, because the revival spells in D&D take some time to cast, and combat would almost certainly disrupt the caster's attempts at doing so, they are (outside of exceedingly rare examples) never used in fights there, and they are similarly not able to be used in battle in this game. Curing petrification was similarly onerous, though at least it could be done owing to a magical item that cures it (though it took time, again preventing in-combat use) in the tabletop game.
    • The protagonists are all Heroic Mimes with no personality and no Canon Names; this would be changed for all future mainline games.
    • The game lacks any real central villain, with the Four Fiends serving as a loose Big Bad Ensemble, and then the ending revealing that Garland was in cahoots with them all along, with him then using the power of the crystals to become the final boss, Chaos. Later games would fall into two categories; those which had the same central villain throughout the storyline, and those which would have you going up against a particular Big Bad for most of the game, only for that person to be replaced by either a Greater-Scope Villain or Giant Space Flea from Nowhere for the final battle.
  • Easter Egg: The ship has a hidden 15 Puzzle Mini-Game accessed by a secret button input, usually pressing two buttons together a certain number of times. In the NES version, it gives a pittance of Gil/GP, but later versions give you some sweet rewards if you finish the puzzle fast enough.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses:
    • After the Marsh Cave, the dungeons start getting much easier, thanks to the introduction of harder hitting spells like Fire3 (Firaga) in Melmond. The bosses, however, will still kick your butt if you're not prepared.
    • The bonus dungeons are mostly a cakewalk filled with relatively wimpy recolors of common baddies. (Much tougher enemies do exist but are very rare). The bosses, on the other hand, will annihilate you unless you've been doing some serious Level Grinding.
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: A talking stone giant blocking the path to get to the Earth Cave. He wants a tasty ruby to munch on.
  • Elemental Tiers: The fire and lightning spells were on lower spell levels from the ice spells, and therefore the ICE1/Blizzard did more damage. This is probably due to influence from Dungeons & Dragons, where the iconic Fireball and Lightning Bolt spells are on a different level from the iconic ice spell Cone of Cold.
  • Everybody Lives: According to the text scroll at the end of the game, breaking the Stable Time Loop means you save everyone—including the queen of Cornelia and Garland (who by implication never betrays his kingdom or gets sent back in time.)
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: There are two ways to break the Stable Time Loop: for Garland to beat you in your first battle, or for you to kill Final Boss Chaos in your last battle. In the first case, evil wins, in the second case, you win. It's stated that the loop has gone the same way (Warriors of Light beating Garland then getting killed by Chaos) thousands of times.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Once Matoya gets her sight back, she expresses disappointment with the warriors' shabby appearance.
  • Face–Heel Turn: A random NPC in Cornelia mentions that Garland was once a loyal and respected knight of the realm. The circumstances behind his defection are never brought up, though the ending implies that he was corrupted by the Fiends in the past in order to become Chaos, as breaking the time loop makes him a good guy again.
  • Fairy in a Bottle: A desert caravan has a mysterious bottle for sale. Using the bottle releases the fairy trapped inside it. The fairy helps the party by drawing Oxyale from the spring, which enables underwater breathing.
  • Fetch Quest: Before you can start restoring the four crystals, you need to cross the sea. To do that, you need to get the Nitro Powder in Cornelia... which is sealed by a door which can only be opened by the Mystic Key held by the prince of Elfheim... who is in a magic coma, requiring a tonic from Matoya... who is bat-blind without her Crystal Eye, which was stolen by Astos... who you need the Crown to unmask and confront... which is only found at the bottom of the Marsh Cave, guarded by Piscodemons.
  • 15 Puzzle: A hidden minigame, accessible only after — and while — you Get on the Boat. In the original NES version, you only got 100 gil a pop for completing it, no matter how long it took you to complete. In remakes of the game, however, you can build up obscene amounts of Gil early in the game by playing repeatedly and stock up on valuable healing items.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: A nearly verbatim example, though with two flavours of Fighter (Fighter and Monk), and three colours of Mage (Red, White, and Black).
  • Final Dungeon Preview: The first major fight in the game happens in the ruins north of Corneria, which ends up being an entryway to the much more-impressive Chaos Temple, that same temple 2000 years in the past. The Dark Knight who was holed up in the ruins turns out to be the leader of the Four Fiends.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: These spells make up the bulk of the Black Mage's offensive output.
  • Floating Continent: One shows up in the Whisperwind Cove in Dawn of Souls and later versions. A castle in the a cave.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: If the need to grind for experience and money is removed (such as with cheat codes or a ROM hack), the game can be completed in roughly one hour of play time.
  • Foreshadowing: A keen eye might notice that the Four Fiends all possess a common visual cue: purple and gold predominantly upon their person, be it as clothing or as part of their body, the very same as Garland's cape. This is because the Four Fiends originally spawned from him as incarnations of his hatred permeating the four elements of the world.
  • Funetik Aksent: The Dawn of Souls re-release gives all dwarves an extremely thick Scottish brogue.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the original Famicom/NES version, the spells TMPR, SABR and XFER literally didn't work at all. LOK2 worked, but it increased the enemies' evasion rather than decreasing it as it was meant to. There's also a soft-lock in Castle of Ordeals in the original where if you took 30 or more teleporters or going up/down too many staircases in that dungeon, the game freezes up. Thankfully, this was fixed in future re-releases.
    • The original game is full of this, to the point where it's a miracle anything works. Int does nothing, run chance is based off something unrelated to what it's meant to be, elemental weapons and armour don't apply the bonuses they're meant to, and the list goes on. While most of these were fixed in remakes, the Int bug persisted until Dawn of Souls.
  • Game Mod:
    • The Mod of Balance for the Dawn of Souls version (GBA remake), which changes things to not only make more sense (no Vox spell for starters) but retain the difficulty from the NES version. The 3.0 version even goes so far as to split the 6 original classes and their promotions into 12 classes, while making the class change into an HP buff.
    • For the original NES version, there's Final Fantasy Restored, which re-translates the game, fixes the game's bugs (unfortunately this removes the Peninsula of Power Leveling) and allows character names to be up to six letters. It also has "optional" add-ins, such as a redone random-number generator, different window colors and 8-bit renditions of the boss musics from the remakes.
  • Ghost Memory: The Lufenians pass down the memories of their ancestors in some type of ceremony, which seems to be why they're the only ones who know much about what happened 400 years ago.
  • Good Counterpart: Four crystals, Four Fiends absorbing their power. The world is doomed... at least, until the arrival of four heroes.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: You meet these later in the game. They may have green skin and snakes for hair, but they're also quite buxom.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The Four Fiends must be slain to restore order.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Defeating the final boss breaks the Stable Time Loop, which means that none of the events which could cause the End of the World as We Know It ever happen, and nobody knows for sure what the Light Warriors do. The ending outright claims that the only one that will remember is you, the player, and that your memory is the only thing that makes the adventure worthwhile.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • In the original version, several important pieces of info were left out of the manual. For example, there are several items that can cast spells in battle (one of the most important—the White Shirt could cast INV2 (Invisira), a sixth-level spell that greatly enhances your party's evasion, for free), though the game and the manual give absolutely no hint as to what does what. Some could be guessed (the Thor Hammer casting LIT2 (Thundara), for example), but most required trial and error. Naturally, the Nintendo Power Strategy Guide issue about the game did mention all of these... if you were willing to shell out for it.
    • And of course, not just the manual but many contemporary guides, including the above-mentioned strategy guide, fail to explain how XXXX is different from the other instant-kill spells. (It's based on Power Word: Kill from Dungeons & Dragons, meaning that if a target has less than 300 HP remaining, it dies, period, unless it is outright immune to the "Death element" shared by XXXX, RUB and a few other attacks. This makes it significantly more useful than other instant-kills.)
    • Various players will think that the Monk is the weakest character in the game, without realizing that they were supposed to not equip monks with any weapon at a certain level in the game. Sure, the nunchaku will do the most damage very early on before Level 10, but it gets outclassed once you go barefisted.
  • Hair Antennae: The Thief's newer sprites have one of these poking out from under his bandanna.
  • Heroes Fight Barehanded: Can be played straight with a Monk/Master as a party member. Because of his unique mechanics, the Monk actually does less damage when a weapon is equipped, except very early in the game. Inexperienced players often make it to Garland or further while doing this inadvertently, due to forgetting to equip their gear, especially in the NES original. None of the early game monsters are that hard to beat with your bare hands, even without a monk!
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Largely because there's not much choice, once you reach late-game. Black Mages can use daggers, White Mages can hammers, both can use staves, a Warrior can wield axes, and Black Belts can use nunchaku. To top it off, the Infinity +1 Sword is, well, a sword, and can be used by any class.
  • Heroic Mime: For the most part, your entire party has no lines, and given their ambiguity, you won't really notice or care. However, reading the description for the Rat's Tail yields a pretty funny conversation between them, where they almost consider throwing it away. "No!! Don't do that!!"
  • Ice Crystals: The walls of the Ice Cavern are made of these.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Excalibur, made of Adamantite and forged by an ambitious dwarf blacksmith named... Smyth. Though not the strongest weapon in the game, it is relatively accessible, since the Adamantite is easily available from a chest in the Flying Fortress. It is, however, restricted to being wielded by only the Knight, meaning it's utterly useless if your party doesn't have one in it. Later releases also added the Excalibur's intended bonus of doing extra damage to every enemy type in the game, a feature that the Masamune lacks.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • Masamune, the game's original Infinity +1 Sword. It holds the title for a variety of reasons, not least of which is (slightly) higher attack power than Excalibur, availability to any class, and the fact that it can only be obtained in the final dungeon.
    • The remakes that include the bonus dungeons add several much more powerful weapons, which usually require beating a difficult Bonus Boss. The absolute strongest weapon as of the game's Updated Re-release on PSP is the Barbarian's Sword, in terms of sheer damage output.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Warmech guards a passage in Tiamat's lair.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: After defeating Garland, Princess Sarah awards you the Lute. It doesn't do anything until The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, where it's needed to reveal a staircase going deeper into the dungeon.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: You must climb the Mirage Tower in order to reach the Wind crystal.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The Masamune. While it's been dethroned in later releases, it remains a formidable weapon. There's also Sasuke's Blade, found in the Flying Fortress, and later releases added the Kotetsu, Asura, Kikuichimonji, and Murasame.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The bestiary of Final Fantasy was essentially the same as that of 1st edition D&D. Several monsters were renamed in the NES release to prevent any possible lawsuit with TSR, then-owners of D&D. Most prominently, Fiend of Fire Marilith, based on a high-ranking demon in D&D, became Kary (though she went by her original name in re-releases). Similarly, the Oculothoraxes (Beholders) were changed to the Eye and the Phantom (renamed Evil Evil and Death Eye in re-releases).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One of the NPCs in the remake bonus dungeons remarks, "I could get out of the way, but..."
  • Legacy Boss Battle: Starting with the GBA version, there are bonus dungeons featuring four bosses from most of the later 2D games. Earthgift Shrine has Two-Headed Dragon, Echidna, Ahriman, and Cerberus from III; Hellfire Chasm has Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, Scarmiglione, and Rubicante a.k.a. the Four Fiends from IV; Lifespring Grotto has Gilgamesh, Atomos, Omega, and Shinryu from V; and Whisperwind Cove has Typhon, Orthros, Phantom Train, and Death Gaze from VI.
  • Level-Map Display: Pressing a combination of buttonsnote  on the Overworld Not to Scale displays a zoomed-out version.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Although the progression plays out like this, in the end melee characters usually remain the best single-damage dealers while mages specialize in nuking everything. Later remakes actually reverse this, as Temper and Haste will usually outdo any other strategy for pure damage.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The Cavern of Ice. While in the Cavern of Ice, you can meet three different types of enemies: Piscodemons, Mindflayers, and Dark Wizards. Dark Wizards can cast Death, which has a chance to instantly kill one of your party members, and at this point you still don't have anything to protect against it. Mindflayersnote  do minimal damage, but have a high chance of instantly killing a party member when they attack. Piscodemons aren't changed at all from the ones you encountered in the Marsh Cave a full act earlier, but because they are classified as boss-type enemies, you can't run away from them. They also like to show up in groups of 6 to 9. So you can randomly encounter an enemy that will kill you, another enemy that will kill you, and an enemy group that will beat you up severely because you can't run. In addition, the boss of the Cavern of Ice, Evil Eye, has the spell Kill/XXXX, which will kill any party member below 300 HP, as opposed to the random chance of Death/RUB. While it will use it infrequently in most cases, A.I. Roulette means that it could use it as much as it wants, and the moment it does when you're injured enough, you're dead.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Thieves are underpowered and are considered almost useless compared to the other 5 classes. They have only mediocre equipment options, and their damage output lags well behind that of Warriors, Monks, and Red Mages. Supposedly, their high Luck and Evasion stats make them good at running away, but things didn't quite work out as planned in the original due to bugs. However, once they get their class change to Ninja, they become engines of destruction to rival their Knight and Master cohorts, along with access to Black Magic up to level 4. All that said, however, from the GBA version onward they got a decent stat boost and make them tolerable classes.
  • Master of None: Red Mages/Wizards are Crutch Characters in the early game, and can dish out good damage while learning the most important spells from both categories. Later on, however, they're heavily outclassed by the melee classes for direct combat, and by the other Mages for spellcasting.
  • The Maze: The second-to-last floor of the Flying Fortress, with corridors that loop endlessly. If you don't know exactly what direction to walk in to find the transporter to the next floor, it's easy to get stuck herenote .
  • Monsters Everywhere: Among the earlier games that introduced the joy of traveling a world in which monsters grow like weeds absolutely everywhere. Well, except for inside towns.
  • Morale Mechanic: Enemies will start randomly fleeing from you as your party levels-up.
  • Mythology Gag: In one of the Dawn of Souls dungeons, you have to becalm the shades of several foes you slew beforehand (except for Astos and the Lich's vampire lieutenant). One of them, a Piscodemon shade, wishes that it could have used magic in your last encounter. The joke is that in the original NES translation, Piscodemons were renamed due to character limits. The problem is that their staves inspired Square to rename them "Wizards", despite them wielding no magic whatsoever.

  • Never Say "Die": There's Garland's famous line, "I, Garland, will knock you all down!", but the game does say your party members are "slain" at 0 HP, and on Total Party Kill, you "perished"; apparently NOA of the time was fine with this. Meanwhile, the Death spells have also been affected, and not just in the NES version; in the original, Death was renamed "RUB", as in "to rub someone out" and was themed as them being erased from existence; similarly, the spell to grant immunity to instant death was "ARUB". An improved variation of Death, flat-out known as Kill, was renamed "XXXX". The PlayStation game, despite having more lenient translation policies, translated Death and Kill as "Reaper" (named after the Grim Reaper-like creature the spell summons) and "Doom". The former examples may have had as much to do with spell name size (KILL would have fit, but DETH would've looked awkward) and taking a little creative inspiration from the D&D spell list itself, but the Origins names are simply a mystery.
  • Nice Hat: This is the game the classical Black Mage look originated in, but most people's attention goes to the Red Mage's debonair hat.
  • Nintendo Hard: A series of glitches severely limits the damage output of every class barring the Monk, and your sources of healing inside dungeons are severely limited. Spell use is limited, and several spells literally don't work. The abundance of One-Hit Kill attacks (and, thanks to more glitches, a lack of ways to protect yourself from them) can make certain dungeons downright miserable. Later updates to the game streamlined the inventory and equipment systems, made certain battle commands easier, and most importantly fixed the worst of the bugs. Plus, the casting system of "limit X uses per level per day" was replaced with the familiar Mana system in remakes.
    • Ironically, changing to a Mana system essentially depowered mages: in order to counter the fact that mages would be able to cast many more spells (Flare and Holy every round? HELL YEAH!), all enemies received a particularly large boost to magic defense, such that a black mage casting Flare (level 8 spell, 40 MP) is significantly less effective than a fighter smacking an enemy around with Haste (level 4 spell, 16 MP) and Temper (level 2 spell, 4 MP).
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The "Thief" class can't actually steal from enemies.
    • In the original NES version, the Cthulhumanoid Piscodemon enemies are named "WIZARD"s... even though they never do anything besides physical attacks.
    • The track officially called "Sunken Shrine" does not actually play in the Sunken Shrine at any point. It only plays during The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Chaos Shrine in the past, the track being a lower-octave rearrangement of the normal Chaos Shrine music.
  • Obvious Beta: The list of features that work as intended is much shorter than the list of features what are bugged in some way, and always to the player's disadvantage. You will be relying on raw damage from your swords (which are also bugged) and fists for most of the game, since Intelligence does not increase spell potency as intended.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: A castle/satellite thing in space in the original versions. Later versions make it more of a traditional-looking castle in the stratosphere.
  • One-Hit Kill: There are far more death spells in this game than in any other Final Fantasy title. The full list includes BANE/Poison/Scourge, Death/Rub, Break, Quake, Warp/Zap!, and Kill/XXXX. Not that it matters, as most of these work about as reliably as a sword made of toilet paper.
  • Ontological Inertia: Interestingly, Time Travel apparently shunts you to an alternate timeline, and you keep existing regardless of potential paradox. One of the remarkably few games featuring time travel to do this. The Light Warriors are returned to their own time (and forget the whole ordeal) in the remakes.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Cardian Dragons, human-sized yellow dragons that respect courage and bravery, and live in underground caves on a chain of islands. Their King, Bahamut, can power-up your characters if you bring him the Rat's Tail from the Citadel of Trials.
  • Our Sphinxes Are Different: Sphinxes appear as enemies, but are simply recolored manticores.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic:
    • Tiamat dies with one use of the instant-death spell BANE/Scourge, but good luck getting it to actually land.
    • Marilith has a less lethal one — she's resistant to Ice (unlike everything else in her dungeon) and weak to Paralysis. Get a luck shot with a Black Mage, and she can stay paralyzed for half the fight.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: The Trope Maker, and the Fan Nickname is the Trope Namer. Due to a bug in the original release, a couple pixels of peninsula accidentally had the monster data for an area much further along, which allowed for massive XP gain if you knew what you were doing. It's since become an Ascended Glitch in all rereleases.
  • Point of No Return: There is no way to exit the Chaos Shrine in the past if you don't have the EXIT spell. The remakes add a warp back.
  • Powerful, but Inaccurate: The BANE/Poison/Scourge spell, which has the effect of instant death, but doesn't hit its target very often.
  • Predestination Paradox: 2000 years before the game begins, Chaos creates the Four Fiends and sends them into the future to send Garland even further into the past. Garland is sent back by said fiends before the Light Warriors can finish him off, and he eventually becomes the same Chaos who creates the Four Fiends. How the loop originates is never explained.
  • Random Encounters:
    • It gets ridiculous in one looping path right at the entrance of the Cavern of Earth, where you have to fight a troop of one to four Giants every step! Appropriately given the nickname "Hall of Giants"/"Giants' Cave", it is great for leveling, and, like the Peninsula of Power, was left in every subsequent version.
    • There are squares in many dungeons that will always trigger an encounter when you step on them. Sometimes the encounter will be a Boss in Mook Clothing, especially if the square is right in front of a chest with a particularly important item (they did this instead of using a Chest Monster). In the Chaos Shrine revisited, you can fight against the Four Fiends an unlimited number of times in this fashion as well... not that you'd really want to, since they give single-digit EXP and gold.
    • With two major exceptions (Piscodemons, notably in the Marsh Cave, and the four main elemental enemies), you can run from every single Chest Monster. In fact, in some cases it's advisable to do so.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The Dawn of Souls dungeons and the Labyrinth of Time in the PSP version (included alongside the Dawn of Souls dungeons) are exceptionally strange. First, every time you enter one of them, you get a random permutation of floors, so each trip through is never the same. Furthermore, while many of the floors are standard underground areas, the selection of floors you get can have drastically different environments—you could be in a lava cave one floor and an ice cave the next. Finally, there are areas that have no logical reason to be in an underground dungeon. Oceans? Continents? Floating Continents? Inhabited towns complete with shops and inns?
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Any high-level Monk/Master can do this, and it's quite a Game Breaker, since it allows you to pummel bosses into oblivion.
  • The Red Mage: The Trope Namer. In this game, the class can learn up to lv. 7 in both Black and White Magic and has fairly strong physical attack power, though it falls off later on.
  • Retcon: The sequel/prequel Dissidia has reports that seem to reword the mention of the "four warriors of light" to mention a single warrior, implying a revised Final Fantasy I continuity. However, in some of those same reports in 012, it mentions three warriors who couldn't survive the purification process and perished in that world (similar to how Kain, Vaan, Tifa, Yuna, Laguna, and Lightning did), which meant Shinryu would have teleported them out of the cycle. It's also known that the Warrior of Light came after all three of them, and that each warrior only entered as another perished. Square have yet to give a straight answer when asked how it all works.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Unless you cast Life 2, reviving a character only brings them back to life with a single hit point. This once again has its roots in D&D - Raise Dead is a mid-level spell but always leaves the recipient weakened in some way (though the precise fashion differs between editions), while True Resurrection is a high-level spell that foregoes this issue.
  • Retronym: The game was originally called just Final Fantasy; remakes would change the name to Final Fantasy I.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: It's quite possible to be ambushed by a large group of Cockatrices or any other monster that has a petrification or instant death ability and annihilate you before you can take a single action. If enough of them decide to use it, your party is likely dead no matter how much HP they have.
  • Save Scumming: The Memo Save feature in the Origins version makes this possible. Memo save every few steps or before a boss, and when something goes wrong, soft reset and boot up the memo save. Memos are saved to the system's internal memory and are deleted after a hard reset or when the system is turned off, which makes it slightly less cheap.
  • Save the Princess: This is your very first task, to save Princess Sarah from Garland. At the time the game was released, Link and The Descendant were rescuing royal damsels in distress as high priority missions; you get that out of the way before you even see the real title screen.
  • Save Token: Sleeping Bags, Tents, and Cottages, which are the only way to save outside of an Inn. Remakes from Dawn of Souls onward avert this trope and allow you to save anywhere instead.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Despite the implied "proper" order you're meant to fight the fiends in (Marilith -> Kraken -> Tiamat), it's possible to get the airship as soon as you obtain the canoe, allowing you to mix things up. You still have to fight Lich first though.
    • Ironically, despite all the bugged and unfinished coding, the game actually averts true sequence breaking. There are many checks made for key items at points you can never get to without having obtained them. For example, Sarda will not give you the earth rod if you don't have the ruby, even though getting to him requires feeding said ruby to the ogre. He even has a unique textbox for such an occasion which the player can never see without hacking. You also can't start the Castle of Ordeals without the crown, even though getting there requires the canoe, which can only be obtained after a series of item trades that begins with the crown.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Four Fiends were sealed in the Chaos Shrine. From there, they summoned the fallen knight, Garland, transformed him into Chaos, who sent them into the future to overrun the world. The Light Warriors must then travel back in time to the Shrine to prevent this Time Loop.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The original NES release used different translations for many character's names, due mainly to space restrictions. The recent re-releases have changed them back, and you can generally tell how old a Final Fantasy fan is by whether they talk about "Monks" or "Black Belts".
  • Stable Time Loop: The Four Fiends send the dying Garland back in time 2,000 years, where he becomes the demon Chaos. Chaos sends the Four Fiends forward in time to seize the Crystals and send the dying Garland back in time... Which creates some rather odd grammar. Garland can only win if he defeats you in his first battle, and you can only win if you beat him in the final battle—each of which has turned out the same way thousands of times already.
  • Stats Dissonance: Infamously, the Intelligence stat in the NES and PS versions of the game is bugged and doesn't work at all. As a result, magic spells don't get stronger, meaning that in the endgame, Squishy Wizards are just "squishy" without much "wizard". Another result is that the Red Mage, who is supposed to be a Crutch Character, instead becomes one of the best classes in the game; while their damage is mediocre, their spell-casting is just as good as the White and Black Mages, who were both supposed to have higher Intelligence to compensate.
  • The Story That Never Was: This happens after the Light Warriors end the cycle of Garland going back in time and becoming Chaos. The Light Warriors are returned to the present, but it is stated that the Light Warriors' deeds at least live on in legend, and their own memories. In the remakes, they have no memory of the whole game even happening. Yes, that's your reward for completing the game: the story being erased from the canon.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Freeing the bottled fairy grants you Oxyale as a token of gratitude, which is then used to breathe underwater indefinitely when you arrive at the Sunken Shrine.
  • Suspend Save: Added to the PSP port and Final Fantasy Origins.
  • Take That!: In Elfheim, a tombstone reads "Here lies Erdrick" or "Here lies Link", depending on the version.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Purple poisonous swamps and green status.
  • Thanking the Viewer: Since the game ends with everyone's memories being erased from the cancellation of the time loop that begins and ends your journey, the game states the fact that the player got to experience the adventure made it all worthwhile.
  • Title 1: All updates beginning with the WonderSwan Color version add a Roman numeral 'I' at the end of the title.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: When meeting Bikke, he sics a bunch of pirates on you who called kaizoku in the Japanese version—kaizoku being the Japanese word for "pirate". Later on in aquatic regions, you can encounter what were called pairetsu in Japan and got translated in the NES version as... "Kyzoku". This got changed to "Privateer" and "Buccaneer" in later remakes.
  • Turn Undead: The Dia spells deliver massive damage, but only work against undead.
  • Updated Re-release: To date, this game has been released (with updates) on MSX, WonderSwan Color, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PSP, and iOS (among others).
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Rat's Tail, which is given to Bahamut in order to obtain your characters' class changes.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • AMUT (Vox) cures your characters of Silence. Four enemies (Eye, Phantom, Wizard Vampire, and Grey Naga) have the Mute spell. For Eyes and Phantoms, it's the sixth or seventh spell in the spell cycle, and the odds of your party surviving to see it are remote. For the other two, it's not their first spell, and at the point in the game where you run into them, the odds of any enemy surviving the 2-4 rounds necessary to reach the second spell in its spell cycle are slim. So this item cures a status effect you'll almost never get. In the remakes a few enemies now know Silence. However, they're few and far between, you have the Gauntlets (which cast Bolt2/Thundara for free and aren't blocked by Silence) by the time you encounter any of them, and Silence disappears after the battle, so the spell is still fairly useless.
    • LAMP (Blindna) cures darkness/blind. In the original game, the darkness/blind status ailment didn't do anything, making LAMP equally useless.
    • Several spells just plain didn't work, making them literal useless spells. One spell actually helps the enemies! Additionally, weapons with elemental affinities didn't actually do the damage they were supposed to.
    • The FEAR spell does Exactly What It Says on the Tin: inspires fear in the enemies so they run away. Of course, anything after Crescent Lake/Gurgu Volcano is immune to it (except the final boss, but the odds of it actually working are microscopic), and you don't get experience for enemies that run away. Its only real use is in the Earth Cave if you encounter an enemy too powerful, or the Cockatrice (which can petrify you with ease). After that, well... hope you didn't need that spell slot (hint: you don't).
    • In the versions before Dawn of Souls, all the standard offensive spells end up like this eventually. This is due to a bug that prevented the intelligence stat from increasing magic damage, leaving only the base damage range. They remain useful for hordes of weak enemies, but otherwise you tend to be constantly striving for the next level of attack spell. For the Black Mage, these are still better than his physical attack until late in the game, but the Red Mage quickly finds it easier to deal with individual enemies by just hitting them.
  • Vampire Vords: The vampire in the Cavern of Earth tends to speak this way in the remakes.
  • Violation of Common Sense: To get through the volcano, you have to walk through magma. In fact, it's often a good idea to do so, since it prevents random encounters.
  • The Wandering You: Some of the areas seemed to be placed as far out of the way as possible, just to make travel take as long as possible and give plenty of time for random monsters to do their thing.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Most NPC's only have one line of dialogue. However, the Trope Namer was invented by 8-Bit Theater — nobody in the game ever actually says the line.
  • Where It All Began:
    • Chaos Shrine, the dilapidated first dungeon, is also the Final dungeon. And Garland, the first boss, is fought again as the final boss.
    • The game started with the villain Garland being slighted by the royal family, and ended with Garland making amends with them after breaking the loop.
  • White Mage: The Trope Namer, but certainly not the Ur-Example. This game also started the trend of them being Squishy Wizards, as previous White Mage-esque characters in tabletop games tended to be more resilitent.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: The level 8 Black Magic spell Kill is listed in the NES release as XXXX, while the White Magic spell Dispel is called XFER.
  • Zerg Rush: Many enemies can attack in large groups of up to nine at a time when you can only have up to four members in your party. Bikke's gang of nine pirates is one of the standout examples, due to being required to defeat to gain access to a ship.

"Tceles Nottub Hsad. Swish-swish-aroo!"

Alternative Title(s): Final Fantasy 1


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