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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.

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).

...yep, that's pretty much it. It was almost entirely Dungeon Crawling, lifted whole-cloth from the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons: Your characters go from town-to-town in order to save them from nearby 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 were driven from their home in the skies, and finally travel back in time. There they discover the Warmup Boss from 15 hours ago has been orchestrating the game's events from 2,000 years in the past.


The game revolves around a Super-Deformed quartet of heroes, and you pick their jobs at the start: Warriors ("Fighters" in the original translation), Thieves, Monks (previously "Black Belts"), Red Mages, White Mages, and Black Mages. Each have certain 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, which jacks up your stats 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 became Square's first big hit, and it helped reshape the RPG genre. Many more titles followed. However, the rumor of the game being named "Final" Fantasy because it was the game which saved Square from bankruptcy isn't true; it was originally going to be named Fighting Fantasy. But because there was already a board game based on a successful series of adventure books with that name, they went with Final instead, because alliteration is important.

Originally released in 1987 on the NES, it was first ported to the MSX 2 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. 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 PlayStation 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.

Final Fantasy I contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 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 the few towns that remain.
    • Also, 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-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.
  • 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 without change in all re-releases.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Elemental shields (and armors) are 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: The elemental bonus dungeons in the Game Boy Advance version have four bosses to fight each, and they're all taken from later Final Fantasy games. Earthgift Shrine has Two-Headed Dragon, Echidna, Ahriman, and Cerberus; Hellfire Chasm has Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, Scarmiglione, and Rubicante; Lifespring Grotto has Gilgamesh, Atomos, Omega, and Shinryu; and Whisperwind Cove has Typhon, Orthros, Phantom Train, and Death Gaze. The Labyrinth of Time in the PSP version has eight different versions of Chronodia, based on the number of blue and red seals you open in the Labyrinth.
  • Bonus Dungeon: In the GBA remake, there are 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 the Labyrinth of Time, which is unlocked when you have access to the final dungeon.
  • Book-Ends: Chaos Shrine, the first dungeon, is also the last one. And Garland, the first boss, is refought as the final boss, Chaos.
  • Boss Bonanza: In every other part of the game, each dungeon gets one boss encounter, although the Earth cave gives you a second boss when you return after unlocking more area. The final dungeon, though, has you fight all Four Fiends over again, in stronger form, plus the main boss. Technically a Boss Rush, but covered here to put all Final Fantasy examples together.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Several, like the Wizards/Piscodemons in the Marsh Cave, and especially Warmech. He could 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: Because Nintendo of America's censorship policy at the time was heavy against religious references, the churches where you needed to bring dead party members to be revived were turned into clinics. This creates a bit of weirdness when you arrive in Melmond and wonder why the local vampire went and burned down Melmond's clinic. The remakes changed the clinics back into churches.
  • Broken Bridge: Actually a non-existent bridge... the Light Warriors must defeat the first boss, Garland, before it's built. It's changed to an actual broken bridge in the remakes.
  • 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 Final Fantasy represents them with a 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 lifted straight from the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons, though many names were changed for the English version, presumably to avoid legal trouble. Later versions of the game altered some monster designs to make the "borrowing" look (slightly) less obvious.
  • 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 Gun:
    • The Lute is a reward given to the Light Warriors after they Save the Princess, but it doesn't come into play until close to the end of the game.
    • A slightly shorter example is the Crown - while you have to fetch it from the Marsh Cave, it's not actually used by the party until the Citadel of Trials.
    • The mysterious black orb in the Chaos Shrine is used to transport you into the final dungeon, 2000 years in the past.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Garland's both the first and last boss you face.
  • Class and Level System
  • Convection Schmonvection: The Final Fantasy tradition of playing this trope full force started early, because although wading through molten magma hurts, it basically 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 (except for maybe Garland, ironically). 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 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 haunting (and suitably spooky) rendition.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Difficulty Spike: The Marsh Cave (and to a lesser extent, the surrounding areas outside it and Elfheim) is widely considered to be a drastic and sudden leap in difficulty. Monsters hit harder and are often poisonous or can paralyze your party members, and many of them come in fairly large groups. It's made even worse by the fact that the equipment, items and spells you need from Elfheim are very expensive and random battles on average only give a few hundred gold at most. Prepare to spend a lot of time level and gold grinding if you want to survive.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • In all versions, the Castle of Ordeals/Citadel of Trials is one. 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 doesn'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 (i.e. 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 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 Installment Weirdness: Lots of it, due largely to the fact that the game is, effectively, an unlicensed adaptation of the 1st edition of Dungeons & Dragons. 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, magic users (based on level) are allowed to cast a certain number of spells of any particular level per "day", similar to the Vancian Magic of Dungeons & Dragons. You can only get the spells back by sleeping either at an Inn while in town or use the Cabin item out in the field. 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 game in the series to use the "spells per day" system before the franchise completely dropped it was Final Fantasy III (both the original and 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 (II, ironically, having Early Installment Weirdness instead for several big gameplay reasons). 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 (or Clinic, in the original NES version) 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 would simply be shifted over to the next available enemy.
    • The protagonists are all Heroic Mimes with no personality and no Canon Names; this would be changed for all future mainline games.
    • This is the only game in the series to use a series of Turn Undead spells instead of the typical Revive Kills Zombie.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 games give you some sweet rewards if you finish the puzzle fast enough. Depending on the version, you can farm hundreds of thousands of Gil and top-tier items like Megalixirs if you're very good and very patient.
  • 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 with impunity 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 pretty quickly 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.
  • Eldritch Location: 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?!
  • 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. Including Garland, who by implication never undergoes his Face–Heel Turn.
  • 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: Pretty much the whole game, yep. The plot at the beginning of the game is basically "Retrieve/do something to the four Mac Guffins". And even before you can start rescuing the four Macguffins, you need to get out of the sea. To do that, you need to get the Nitro Powder in Cornelia... which is sealed by a door that can only be opened by the Mystic Key held by the prince of Elfheim... who is in a magic coma, needing a tonic from Matoya... who is bat blind without her Crystal Eye, which was stolen by Astos... who you need the Crown to confront... yay Chain of Deals!
  • 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.
  • Final Dungeon Preview: The first major fight in the game happens at the Chaos Shrine, which ends up being the entryway to the final dungeon in the game, that same temple 2000 years in the past, against the man who ends up being the final boss of the game.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Naturally.
  • Floating Continent: One shows up in the Whisperwind Cove in Dawn of Souls and later versions. A castle in the sky in a cave.
  • Forced Level-Grinding/Fake Longevity: 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.
  • Four Is Death: Four crystals, Four Fiends absorbing their power. The world is screwed... at least, until the arrival of four heroes.
  • Funetik Aksent: The Dawn of Souls re-release gives all dwarves an extremely thick Scottish brogue written out like this.
  • 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.
  • Game Mod:
    • The Mod of Balance for the Dawn of Souls version (Game Boy Advance 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, Final Fantasy Restored, which re-translates the game, fixes the game's bugs (unfortunately this includes 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 even 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.
  • Go Back to the Source: The Four Fiends were sealed in the Chaos Shrine. From there, they summoned the defecting knight, Garland, transformed him into Chaos, and had him send 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.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: You meet these later in the game. They may have green skins and snakes-as-hairs, but they're also quite buxom.
    • Marilith, to some.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: The Four Fiends.
  • Grand Finale: What the game was intended to be for series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi—a last hurrah before he would move on from game design. It instead ended up being their Breakthrough Hit.
  • 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.
  • 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 get themself An Axe to Grind, 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!!"
  • Holy Hand Grenade/Good Hurts Evil/Turn Undead: The Dia spells. They only work against undead.
  • 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.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: You must climb the Mirage Tower in order to reach the Wind crystal.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The game's original Infinity +1 Sword, the Masamune, is one. While it's been dethroned in later releases, it remains a formidible weapon in all of them. There's also Sasuke's Blade, found in the Flying Fortress, and later releases added the Kotetsu, Asura, Kikuichimonji, and Murasame.
  • King Koopa Copy: Garland was this on a minor level (kidnapping Princess Sarah and such) but it really was expended in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series which added to his design a BFS, a menacing voice, and more Spikes of Villainy.
  • 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 Dungeons & Dragons. 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 Beholder and Death Beholder was altered into the Eye and Phantom (respectively renamed Evil Evil and Death Eye in re-releases).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One of the NPCs in the remake bonus dungeons says "I could get out of the way, but..."
  • Legacy Boss Battle: Starting with the Game Boy Advance version, there are bonus dungeons featuring four bosses each from Final Fantasy III , IV, V and VI. There are no bosses from Final Fantasy II because that game is usually bundled with the first one.
  • 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, have only mediocre equipment options, and their damage output lags well behind that of Warriors, Monks, and even Red Mages. Supposedly their high Luck and Evasion stats make them good at running away, but things didn't quite work out that way in the original, it being the buggy mess that it is. However, once they get their class change to Ninja, they become engines of destruction to rival their Knight and Master colleagues, 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 are able to hit enemies twice right from the start of the game.
    • Monks are rather weak in the beginning, doing less damage than Thieves and Red Mages. What makes them unique is that they are actually stronger unarmed than with a nunchaku. Around level 10 you can just remove his weapons forever and watch him out damage your Warrior with multiple hits each round. A party of four Masters can destroy Chaos in a single round. (This was fixed in Dawn of Souls, however, where Chaos has way more HP.)
  • Master of None: Red Mages/Wizards are hit by this after early game, making them Crutch Characters. They are useful sources of buff spells that are basically either on or not, and if you give them the Masamune, they can fight pretty well, but still.
    • In the Anniversary update, they are the only class type aside from the Warrior/Knight that can wield the most powerful weapon in the game, the Barbarian's Sword, obtained from Chronodia at his most powerful. Obtain one for both him and your Knight, and even Warmechs are easy pickings.
  • 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 would start randomly fleeing from you as your party leveled up.
  • Mythology Gag: In one of the Dawn of Souls dungeons, you have to becalm the shades of several foes you slew beforehand (and except for Astos and the Lich's vampire lieutenant, they actually do get becalmed). One of them, a Piscodemon shade, admits a wish that it could have used magic. The joke is that in the original NES translation, Piscodemons were renamed due to character limits. The problem is that their staves inspired a renaming to Wizards—despite having no spells whatsoever.
  • Never Say "Die": There's Garland's famous line, that used to be quoted at the top of the page, 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 slightly nicer hat.
  • Nintendo Hard: Hoo boy. Those of you used to the later games are in for a nasty surprise when you plug in your NES or WonderSwan Color (or, by extension, "Normal" mode of the PlayStation remake). A series of glitches severely limits the damage output of basically every single class bar the Monk, and your source of healing inside dungeons is 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.
    • While a number of bugs from the NES version were fixed in the PSX version (such as the bugged spells and weapon effects) and made it a bit more fair for the player, although still stacked against them, the Intelligence bug for offensive/healing spells was still present until the Dawn of Souls remake (as the original team hadn't realized the error, and ended up balancing spell potencies and enemy HP totals around the glitch).
    • 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 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 NES version. 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 as a result.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pirate: 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 as The Pirates Who Don't Do Anythingnote .
  • Point of No Return: There is no way to exit the Chaos Shrine in the past if you don't have the EXIT spell.
  • 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.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Any high-level Monk/Master can do this, and it's quite a Game-Breaker, since it allows you to pummel Eldritch Abomination bosses into oblivion.
  • The Red Mage: Trope Namer.
  • Reference Overdosed: After... a fashion. You see, the NES version of Final Fantasy is really, more or less, an unlicensed Dungeons & Dragons product. Virtually the entire bestiary is lifted from 1st edition AD&D (most infamously including the fact that the "EYE" was originally a Beholder, and someone at Nintendo of America was sharp enough to change it so that TSR wouldn't sue for use of an assiduously-guarded part of the D&D IP), almost all the classes are taken right from the D&D class list (with the exception of the Red Mage and with the White Mage losing a Cleric's heavy armor for balance purposes, though the Red Mage may have origins in Dragonlance), the spell system and list is lifted almost entirely (with only a bit of redesign on the top-end to deal with the missing ninth spell level), and even substantial parts of the combat are taken (simultaneous initiative rolls, multiple hits per attack action, attacks landing on a dead target deliberately because you have to designate targets ahead of initiative, etc). Once you scratch the surface even slightly, it becomes very obvious that the game was lifted whole-cloth from D&D, and it almost seems a bit miraculous that TSR never took Square to court over it all.
    • They probably would have, if the Beholder had actually made it into the English release. Square Enix probably owes its continued existence to the nameless Nintendo of America employee who realized what a dire legal threat that posed and how clear that one monster made all the difference between "borrowing" and outright plagiarism.
    • In the ports released after the WonderSwan and PS1 versions, the most D&D related parts in the game were changed to match the later Final Fantasy games. For example, the spell charge system was replaced with MP and attacks aimed at a dead enemy now redirect to an alive enemy.
  • Retcon: The sequel/prequel Dissidia Final Fantasy 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, as you 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 the Villain: Finally defeating Chaos not only breaks the Stable Time Loop everything is trapped in, it also resurrects Garland in the present and implies he never turns evil to start with. Thanks to the events of Dissidia Final Fantasy, this means The Warrior of Light made good on his vow.
  • 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.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Probably the Trope Codifier. The most notable one is completing the game with a party of four White Mages, although this arguably isn't as difficult as playing with a party of four Thieves. Or one.
  • 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.
  • 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: 2000 years from now, you killed me. It's also a case of Screw Destiny, since the time travel isn't literal "travel", but a variant in which all the events after a specific time are undone, with the traveler happening to be immune to any changes. Most of the time, this sort of time travel would be the practical equivalent to the standard kind, but in a Stable Time Loop, the repeated undoing "traps" everyone and everything in a specific period, going through it over and over, unable to progress. The villain 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.
  • The Story That Never Was: This happens after the Light Warriors destroy Chaos and end the cycle of Garland going back in time to become him. However, it is stated that their deeds at least live on in legend, and their own memories.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Freeing the bottled fairy causes her to grant 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! / Grave Humor: In Elfheim, a tombstone reads "Here lies Erdrick" or "Here lies Link", depending on the version.
  • Technicolor Death
  • 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.
  • Tin Tyrant: Garland.
  • Title 1: All Updated Rereleases starting with the WonderSwan Color version add a Roman numeral 'I' at the end of the title.
  • Title Drop: The director of the game said that his final work would be a fantasy game.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: When meeting Bikke, he has you fight a bunch of pirates, which were called kaizoku in the Japanese version, 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.
  • Unique Enemy: Warmech is a mixture of this and Bonus Boss, due to being a random encounter found in only one specific place in the entire game.
  • 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 can never even get. In the remakes a few enemies now know Silence. However they are so 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. It's 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 later 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.
  • Vancian Magic: FFI directly rips off Dungeons & Dragons' "spells per day" idea, and there's no way in the game to recover charges outside of sleeping at an Inn or using a Cottage. The remakes from the GBA onward use a traditional MP pool, provides access to ethers, and has the Tent recover MP when used.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Chaos Shrine, Time Travel edition.
  • Video Game Remake: The game is available on several platforms, including the PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation Portable, and iPhone.
  • 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. It wasn't uncommon to arrive at a new area and find that one needed to grind a bit before one would be able to survive the trip to the dungeon of the region, to say nothing of actually making it to the bottom of that dungeon.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Yes and no. Most NPCs do just say the same thing over and over again, but "Welcome to Corneria" isn't one of those; that was a paraphrasing done by 8-Bit Theater. Fighter likes swords.
  • Where It All Began:
    • The first dungeon is also the entrance to the much more impressive final dungeon. On top of that, the first boss is also the Final Boss after pulling a One-Winged Angel.
    • The game started and ended with the villain Garland being slighted by the royal family and making amends with the royal family respectively after breaking the loop.
    • In the remakes, the Light Warriors are returned to the present, with no memory of the whole game even happening. Yes, that's your reward for completing the game: the story being erased from the canon.
  • White Mage: The Trope Namer, but certainly not the Ur-Example.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: The elemental fiends are definitely threatening the world, it's true. But the Stable Time Loop means that the Light Warriors always manage to defeat the fiends before they can do any world destroying. The fact that the Light Warriors have consistently failed to defeat Chaos, however, means that everything starts over again, with the world constantly on the brink of disaster, but never actually getting any closer to it.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: The level 8 Black Magic spell Kill was known in the NES release as XXXX, while the White Magic spell Dispel was known as XFER.
  • You Are Number 6: For the true purist, the back of the original Family Computer release's box had an alternate set of names for a party consisting of two Knights, a White Wizard and Black Wizard. They are shown with the magnificent monikers of "-1- ", "-2- ", "-3- ", and "-4- ".
  • 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 more 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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