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Video Game / Final Fantasy IV

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The cast of Final Fantasy IV circa the DS release. Spoony Bard included for free!

Birthed from womb of dragon's maw
And borne unto the stars
By light and darkness cast aloft
Are dreamtide oaths resworn
Moon is swathed in ever-light
Ne'er again to know eclipse
Earth, with hallow'd bounty reconciled

Yet fleeting is the reverie
When moon from shadow has egressed
Guided forth anew by light made manifest
Two bound by ties of blood
By Time and Fate are wrest apart
Unto lunar light and Gaian breast
The Mysidian Legend (DS Edition)

Final Fantasy IV, the fourth entry in the face-meltingly popular Final Fantasy game series and the first 16-bit game in the series, released in 1991.

The main character of this tale is Cecil, a Dark Knight in the service of the King of Baron. After questioning the recent warmongering of his king, he is demoted to errand boy and sent to a village called Mist in order to deliver a package and slay a dragon menacing its borders. He is joined by his best friend and rival, a Dragoon named Kain. Once they reach the village, they discover that nothing is quite what they have been told: they have been used as disposable pawns in Baron's ongoing crusade to capture the Power Crystals that exist around the world. Cecil vows to stop the evil intentions of Baron, but first he must atone for the sins that he committed in its service and overcome his own inner darkness.


Since the second and third Final Fantasy games hadn't been released in North America when Final Fantasy IV came out, the original North American release of FFIV was titled Final Fantasy II. The North American FFII was easier than the Japanese version; before the North American version was released, it spawned another Japanese version, "Final Fantasy IV Easytype", whose difficulty level was scaled down even more (thus, the North American version was less difficult than the original Japanese version, but significantly harder than Easytype). The North American Final Fantasy II also suffered from severe censorship and bizarre wording choices even outside the context of censorship ("You spoony bard!", anyone?). Many of the fan favorite lines were kept in the re-released versions.

Received a cellphone sequel called The After Years (also available on WiiWare and the PlayStation Portable), which stars the old cast and some of their children teaming up again to prevent the same catastrophe from happening again. It, along with Final Fantasy IV itself, was released on the PSP in March 2011 in Japan and April everywhere else. Also includes a midquel called Interlude to connect the plots better. Both games use new graphics and is the largest 2D graphical change to the original other than the cellphone version. This version is heavily based on the Game Boy Advance version, and the only thing taken from the Nintendo DS version is the translation of terms (e.g. Carnellian Signet rather than "Bomb Ring").


Final Fantasy IV is considered by many to be one of the best games of the series; if nothing else, it's the title that had the most impact on the direction the franchise went in, and it had an enormous influence on virtually every one of its descendants, not to mention on role-playing games in Japan in general. It's been remade/ported numerous times; this has garnered some distaste for the game as its story and battle system haven't aged well. In addition to being half of the Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation on the PlayStation, FFIV has been ported to the GBA, and was the second game (after Final Fantasy III, which didn't make it over beforehand) to be remade with 3D graphics on the Nintendo DS (this version was ported to PC in 2014). It's also the first remake to add voice acting, if only for key scenes.

This game provides examples of:

  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Overlapping with Advancing Wall of Doom and Living Structure Monster. The Demon Wall's only move for most of its boss battle is to gradually approach the party. If it gets too close, its Crush attack is instant death.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Happens in the same line of dialogue. Tellah, while dying, regrets that his blind thirst for vengeance lead him down this road. He then asks Cecil to avenge him and his daughter.
  • Alien Sky: The planet has two moons instead of one.
  • All Myths Are True: The Mysidian Legend, naturally, turns out to not only be dead-on accurate, but the basis for the entire game.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Though not accurate to the original Japanese script, "spoony" is a real word, meaning lovestruck or foolish. Thus, it's used accurately in relation to Edward's character.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Many areas have hidden goods or passageways, but Eblan Castle deserves special mention due to the sheer prevalence of this. In summary, there are: secret corridors on basically every floor; a Sutra hidden behind the throne; a pit that you have to edge your way across to reach a chest; and then, just to confuse you, a different pit that you'll only fall through if you try to cross it. That's not even getting into The Very Definitely Final Dungeon's obsession with paths under paths under paths, all obscured by the top-view.
  • Antlion Monster: One of the bosses is a giant antlion. Cecil, Edward and Rydia travel to its lair to get a cure for Rosa's fever. However, it's unexpectedly hostile, and they're forced to kill it.
  • Anyone Can Die: Throughout the game, several characters die, including playable ones. Out of all these characters, only Tellah is dead for good toward the end. The rest come back or weren't quite dead.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can only have five people in your party. This game's method of dealing with it? Killing off the spares. Though only one stays dead, which makes it all the more obvious. That Baigan joining your party would take it up to six characters is your first rather fourth-wall threatening tip-off that he's a monster on Golbez' side (and he's outed as such before you even have a chance to go to the menu screen.)
  • Arc Welding:
    • The Japan-only guidebook Final Fantasy IV Settei Shiryou Hen attempts to do this between this game and Final Fantasy II, which is noteworthy as few games in the Final Fantasy series take place in the same continuity. According to Settei Shiryou Hen, the Dark Sword which Cecil can find and equip in Fabul was left there by fellow FFII Dark Knight Leonhardt, while FFIV's Mysidia was founded by FFII White Mage Minwu. This could, however, be a case of the series reusing character names and concepts in Broad Strokes, which is standard for Final Fantasy. According to the timeline established in Settei Shiryou Hen, II would have taken place around 200 years before the events of IV.
    • Remakes of both II and IV reestablish the connection between the games in a different way, with the GBA version of II establishing that fellow Dragoon Ricard Highwind has a young protégée named Kain, and the DS version of IV acknowledging this connection by having Kain mention his father Ricard, who died fighting an evil empire. Notable is that Final Fantasy II and IV must take place a single generation after one another if these comments are to be interpreted as placing the games in the same continuity, which would mean the 200-year gap established in Settei Shiryou Hen is no longer canon.
  • Author Appeal: This game contains more or less all of Amano's favorite art trends. Cecil is the typical pale willowy man with frizzy white hair, blue lips, and very pale skin. He also has spiked armor and a cape, which Amano loves. Rosa and Rydia meanwhile are clad in catsuits, and as for capes, it's probably more efficient to list the main characters who do not wear a cape (Cid, Kain, Yang, and arguably Fusoya, who wears a robe).
  • Ascended Meme: "You Spoony Bard!" is the Trope Codifier for the series, being kept in all releases of the game when the rest of the script has been re-translated. It has even worked its way into other Final Fantasy games and beyond.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The Trope Namer is the Final Speech given by the Final Boss after defeating it, saying that it will return as long as there is hatred in the hearts of men. He makes good on this promise in The After Years.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Meteor spell does high damage and hits everything on the field. It's blunted by a very long casting time, four times longer than the next longest. It costs 99 MP, meaning Tellah will never be able to use it despite knowing the spell since his MP caps at 90, and by the time Rydia levels up enough to learn it, she can do just as much damage with Flare or Bahamut, which cast faster and cost less MP. The DS version makes it more useful by making it compatible with the Dualcast augment, unlike Bahamut, introducing the Limit Break augment to deal more than 9999 damage, and nerfing Flare's damage output.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Cecil, Rosa, and Yang all become monarchs in the epilogue. Edge also this, but he was already a prince to begin with, so he's just ascending to the throne as expected. Considering he had to Mercy Kill his parents and all.
  • Badass and Child Duo: After the mission to Mist Village, Cecil and Rydia become the only playable characters up until Tellah joins the party. The former is a Dark Knight, while the latter is just a young girl who can cast a few basic magic attacks.
  • Badass Boast: Rubicante, after Edge hits him with a Flame attack.
    Rubicante: "Was it Flame? Let me show you how it's done."
  • Baleful Polymorph: Pig, Toad, and Mini. Some of the mages in Mysidia will use them on you when you revisit the town as a Dark Knight and continue to use them after you've transformed into a Paladin. Of course, they seem to have no problem using them on you when you are already so afflicted which changes you back.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Golbez pulls this off three times. The first time is in his Tower, where he's battled as a Cutscene Boss. The second is an actual boss battle in the Dwarven Kingdom. The third is on the receiving end for Golbez, as taking Zemus out with Meteor doesn't actually stop him.
  • Beef Gate: Eblan Castle, which you can enter as soon as you have an airship. Its monsters are meant to be taken on much later in the game, but if you can survive, you end up with some borderline Disc-One Nuke equipment.
  • Beneath the Earth: The underground world of the dwarves, featuring mountain ranges, a sea of magma, and the lower part of the Tower of Babil.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: The game features frogs that turn you into frogs (and, because of how the mechanic works in-game, frequently subsequently change you back again). A (justifiably) pissed off wizard in Mysidia will turn you into a frog, but, again thanks to the game mechanic, will turn you back if you talk to him again.
  • Big "WHY?!": Cecil, in the DS remake, after finding out just what that package for Mist was.
  • Black Magician Girl: Rydia focuses on offensive spells after the Plot-Relevant Age-Up, losing her ability to cast white magic altogether.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The SNES English script had many, many mistakes. The overall poor reception to the English translation actually got the original translators relieved of their duties, and what led to Ted Woolsey getting hired. He then began a trend of improving translation quality in the industry.
    • In particular, during the scene where Cecil and the gang talk in private at Baron's inn, Cecil introduces Tellah as Edward's father. Tellah and Edward are not related, as the whole "spoony bard" incident makes no sense otherwise.
    • The poor translation in the SNES translation makes the final boss, Zeromus, harder. "Magics became invalid" actually means that all statuses are erased on your part. Other translations afterward clarify what Black Hole's effect does.
  • Bold Inflation: The Dark Elf speaks in ALL CAPS in the SNES version.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Cid is a a loud, brawny Big Fun who clobbers enemies with hammers and axes.
  • Bonus Boss: Some of Rydia's summons (Asura, Leviathan and Bahamut), Zeromus EG, the Brachioraidos, and the Lunar Summons in the GBA version, and two more in the DS version, accessible only on a New Game+.
  • Boring, but Practical: The 2D version's stinginess with MP recovery items means that you'll be relying on regular weapon attacks quite a bit. Not to mention that many characters use little or no magic to begin with.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • The Behemoths and Deathmasks in the Lunar Subterrane are immune in their own ways to magic offense (Behemoths have 254 magic defence, a single point from the cap; and Deathmasks cast Reflect on themselves as their opening move, which will be before you can go), both require significant strategy to defeat (Behemoths will only counterattack; Deathmasks cast reflect on the entire party so you can't heal), and both have buckets of HP. They even come in pairs in the lower floors of the Lunar Ruins, and the boss music plays when you encounter them.
    • The Brachioraidos. At first glance, it's just a fixed encounter, like many other floors in the Lunar Ruins. The only real clue is that you have an NPC warn you about it before you fight it, something no other floor has. Even then, with the way that other Lunar Ruins Non Player Characters behave, it's easy to dismiss it as exaggeration.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The DS version gave players infinite arrows when equipped with a bow. In the SNES and PS versions, they had a limited number of arrows.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Tellah's "How the hell could it not be that?" is changed to "You spoony bard!" in the American version.
    • Never Say "Die" is in full effect, leading to lines like "A girl from Baron was kept from falling down" or "Fall flat into the deep ravine!". However, while Rosa is stated to be ill due to Desert Fever in previous versions, she is specifically stated to be "on the verge of dying" in the DS version.
    • Instead of referencing Hell, two bosses late in the game tell Edge to come with them to the "Dark World".
    • Cecil's Dark Knight equipment was changed, with Hades armor becoming "Black" and the Deathbringer sword becoming simply the Black sword.
    • The blade above Rosa's head during her captivity is changed to a metal sphere.
    • Rosa's Holy spell becomes White, and Holy elemental becomes "Sacred power."
  • Bragging Rights Reward: According to the Ultimania, stealing Dark Matter is so unlikely that doing so is cause for celebration. You might as well, since Pre-DS that's all its good for.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Kain, Yang, and Golbez are all revealed to be under someone else's control throughout the story. The latter's brainwashing lasts the longest, as it lasts nearly the whole game before FuSoYa frees him.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Rydia, when you first meet her, acts a bit like this, though to be fair, you had just killed her mother. She has a moment like this after her Plot-Relevant Age-Up as well. A far better example of this is Palom, whom players admit to loathing even after his monumental black magic power essentially breaks the game.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • Several, including mountain passes being blocked by fire or ice until you clear the right plot events or recruit the right party members. Also, an underground passage leading to your next objective remains sealed until you complete a certain task.
    • There are two retroactive broken bridges that later appear at two places where the characters take drastic 1-way movements. If you attempt to jump down the waterfall in the Watery Cave a second time, Cecil will remark that the current is too strong, and you will not be allowed to jump. The second is in the Eblan Cave, where one of the Eblan guards blocks the final passage to the Tower of Babil (and an eventual dead-end at an airship dock). This is to prevent players from stranding themselves without an airship and rendering the game unwinnable.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu:
    • Golbez and Fusoya attack Zemus, but only succeed in making the latter release his spirit, Zeromus. This also severely weakens them to the point where their most powerful attacks do absolutely nothing.
    • Tellah attacks Golbez with his most powerful spell, and only succeeds in weakening him enough to break his hold on Kain while dying in the process.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Cecil and Tellah reflect on what they have been through and plan their next move around a campfire while in a cave on their way to Damcyan.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Cecil is the only character that you must have in your party. In versions of the game where you can switch your party around, Cecil still can't leave the group.
  • Cartography Sidequest: Namingway tasks you with mapping every area in the DS remake. Each full map awards the player with a bundle of items.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Tellah does not have enough MP to cast Meteor, so when he uses the technique against Golbez, his life force is drained and he dies.
    • Cecil's Darkness is a gameplay example, as it saps his health either to attack all enemies on screen or to power up his normal attack, depending on the version. This is a subtle clue that Paladin Cecil's boss battle against the Dark Knight involves waiting until the boss's HP runs out.
  • The Cavalry: Just as the Giant of Babil awakes to raze the planet, the heroes stand horrified and at a loss as to what to do. Cue the entire armed forces of the world arriving to Hold the Line.
  • Character Development: A big addition to the series, moving on from the flat player insert characters in the first three Final Fantasy games. Cecil starts as a morally conflicted character and grows into a virtuous character seeking redemption.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: When Cecil becomes a Paladin, he receives the Legend Sword/Mythgraven Sword. You find a number of more powerful swords as you progress through the game, but if you can acquire the Adamant ore and take it to a certain blacksmith, he'll temper the sword and make it into the more powerful Excalibur, one of the most powerful swords he can wield.
  • Chest Monster: In addition to the regular booby-trapped chests throughout the game, the Sealed Cave has nearly every door in the dungeon be an Assault Door enemy, which will kill in one hit right away and spits out a strong monster upon dying.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Of both flavors between Rosa, Cecil, and Kain; Cecil and Rosa love one another and get married at the end of the first game; Kain is forever pining away for Rosa, even in the sequel.
  • Class Change Level Reset: Cecil's level returns to 1 after he changes from a Dark Knight to a Paladin, but his HP and some other stats are equal or better than what they were when he was a level 20-ish Dark Knight. On your way back down the mountain, he levels up gratuitously as you fight random encounters, sometimes even gaining several levels per fight.
  • Climax Boss: All the Archfiends. Scarmiglione is fought to open the way to the top of Mt. Ordeals where Cecil is to become a Paladin, Cagnazzo is fought when Cecil confronts the King of Baron and discovers it's Cagnazzo, Barbariccia is fought as Kain and Rosa rejoin and Golbez retreats from his tower, and Rubicante is fought atop the Tower of Babil as the party tries to retrieve the Crystals. Then comes one of the potentially longest fights in the game when all four reappear in the Giant of Babil guarding the core.
  • Combat Medic: Rosa can be this, if you choose to equip her with a bow. Her Aim ability gives her increased attack power and accuracy with a bow; while it's not near enough to match the damage output of, say, Cecil or Kain, it's still better than your average White Magician Girl. And that doesn't even take Holy into consideration.
  • Comically Missing the Point: You can win the mirror-battle at the top of Mt. Ordeals by just attacking and killing the Dark Knight, and the game will proceed as normal.
  • Compilation Re-release: The game was part of no less than five of them:
    • Final Fantasy Chronicles for the PS1 ships this game with Chrono Trigger.
    • Also for the PS1, Final Fantasy Collection ships the game with Final Fantasy V and VI.
    • Still for the PS1, the European version of Final Fantasy Anthology contains both IV and V (The North American version has V and VI instead). It marks the first time both games are released in that region.
    • Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for the PSP brings together the original game, The After Years, and an Interquel "mini"-game called Final Fantasy IV: Interlude.
    • The Japan-exclusive Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box contains (among other goodies) all the first thirteen main games for the PS1, PSP, PS2 and PS3, all in one box.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Your airships require special modification to fly over lava in the underworld. But, when you're on foot in that same underworld, you can walk right next to the same lava with no ill effects.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Cid is never explicitly stated to be old, but he's at least older than Cecil, and he's still the master engineer. It's his work that created Baron's fleet of airships, and he still works on them even despite his advanced age, and later his injuries.
    • Tellah is stated to be an old sage that Palom and Porom have heard of as having incredible amounts of power. He makes good on it by being a valuable ally to Cecil, and even helping stop Golbez's plans for Rosa.
  • Cool Ship: Several of them, airships, no less: Enterprise, Falcon, and the Lunar Whale.
  • Counter-Attack: Players will find that many enemies, bosses, and even the Final Boss have a counter in some form or another. The DS remake adds the ability to teach this to the heroes.
  • Creepy Doll: Calcabrina is six of them that can merge into one giant one.
  • Crutch Character: Tellah, whose physical stats actually lower as he levels up: he's an old man, and he's not getting any younger. His 90 MP, second-tier magic and possession of the Osmose spell (absorbs MP from enemies, so strategic use means Tellah will never run out of MP) is a godsend when you first get him. Even though he unlocks his third-tier spells later on, his 90MP cap is a crippling hindrance by that point and your other spellcasters will have overtaken him.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Higher-resolution graphics in the DS and PSP releases result in some female monsters becoming this. Meet the Lamia, for example.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: While credit is due to Tellah for at least thinking of using Esuna on Palom and Porom after they turn themselves into stone, it proves ineffective for the only time in the game. Even attempting to use golden needles or remedies after the fact won't cure the ailment.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • The Titan summon. When seen in a cutscene, it causes an earthquake that permanently alters the world map. In later uses, it's a normal summon spell. Not to mention that Rydia's level 1 at the time and doesn't even have enough mana to summon it yet.
    • Cure spells used in cutscenes manage to completely heal the whole party, even when they barely hit double digits when multi-targeted in battle. They are also shown to revive a fallen character, a trait normally reserved for the Raise spell.
    • Tellah's cutscene use of Meteor exceeds his maximum MP (90) by 9. Moments before, he casts four spells that add up to 110 MP, then casts a spell that costs 99 MP, making a total of 209 MP used from a maximum of 90. This is because Tellah's desire for vengeance caused him to Cast from Hit Points, and Tellah dies shortly after the fight with Golbez is over.
    • The Mysidian Elder apparently gets access to a higher level of Esuna than Rosa ever gets; he can cure the petrification on Palom and Porom that the player's magic and items cannot undo.
  • Damsel in Distress: Rosa spends the first half of the game dying of mysterious diseases or being kidnapped and chained up by the baddies. She gets over it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Well not fully. Cecil himself isn't a bad person as a Dark Knight, though he still has to commit atrocities under orders that he regrets. Thus, he leaves the King's service, and eventually redeems himself as a Paladin.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • "Final Battle," the theme of the battle against Zeromus, contains haunting echoes of "Airship" and "Overworld".
    • "Sorrow and Loss," which plays when a major character dies and a few other suitably sad occasions, uses the same melody as the Overworld theme.
  • Death Is Cheap: A number of party members have emotional death scenes. In all cases but one, it doesn't take; they all pop up at the same time to reveal that they're just fine. Justified in the case of the twins, who were only turned to stone; the fact that they couldn't be restored by conventional means didn't preclude there being a way, providing someone was clever enough to find it, which someone was.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Most of the more powerful Eidolons must be defeated before you can summon them.
  • Depending on the Artist: The designs of the entire cast vary greatly between sprites, artwork and renders. Look no further than The Hero — Cecil's SNES field sprites have him in blue as a Dark Knight and gold as a Paladin with purple hair, but in battle his Paladin armor is white and his hair is blue-purple, while it's white in his portrait. This is even carried over to re-released with refined character designs — in the PSP release Cecil's battle sprite has spiked white hair with a tiara-like headpiece covering it, but his portrait has flowing white hair with a headband under the hair.
  • Developer's Room: Hidden in the Lali-Ho Pub in the Dwarven Castle. Interesting in that it includes some of the developers as random encounters in the area. It was removed from the North American SNES version and restored in the PS1 and GBA release. The developer's room showed up again in the DS version in the same place, with a completely new set of author avatars and in-jokes, because it's a different team this time around.
  • Difficulty Spike: Once you reach the Sealed Cave in the Underworld, you'll start running into a lot of enemies that do heavy damage (plus a multitude of trap door monsters that kill in one hit).
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The Tower of Zot. It appears right after you acquire the Earth Crystal which, up to that point, you've been led to believe is the last one. Only once this dungeon is cleared does the game then reveal The Underworld of the Dwarves and the four other Crystals therein.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Tellah's high-end spells, from the time he obtains them until the party enters the Tower of Zot. Consider that Tellah's Thundaga (on Cagnazzo) and Tornado (on Dark Dragon) spells can make 2 out of the three boss fights during that time into 1- or 2-shot battles. Within the Tower of Zot, though, the lack of places to rest and monsters that won't give up MP to Osmose makes his 90 MP too much of a limitation.
  • Disney Death: Cid, Edward, Palom, Porom, Rydia, and Yang are all less dead than you're led to believe. Sometimes the circumstances that apparently kill them are the same explicitly fatal ones (or worse) that Cecil had narrowly avoided, and Yang gets two of them.
  • Disney Villain Death: This is what happens to Scarmiglione after battling him. He falls off of the bridge, all the way down Mt. Ordeals. He comes back thanks to Zemus.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: You dare question the king's warmongering ways and slaughtering of innocent people, Cecil? Enjoy being the king's new messenger boy!
  • The Doll Episode: When Cecil first goes underground, he passes by Princess Luca, who can't find her dolls. It turns out that Golbez is controlling them via magic, and he sends them after King Giott's crystal. They're creepy enough alone (in part because they're apparently a hexavidual, but they just become horrifying once they combine into the Calcobrina.
  • Dope Slap: Porom slaps Palom on the back of the head whenever he ends up Saying Too Much.
  • Drop the Hammer: Cid wields large two-handed hammers as his weapon of choice.
  • Drought Level of Doom:
    • After returning from the Moon, you are forced to go straight into the next dungeon, which is full of very strong enemies, culminating in two boss battles in a row (although you do get to save and heal in between by backtracking to the save point), all without being able to re-stock on your items.
    • The DS version has a merchant Hummingway (or counterpart) at the single Save Point in the Giant of Babil. They compensate for this by making the two boss battles harder. Unlike the SNES, PS, and GBA versions, the Archfiends use all their abilities from the first encounters in the rematch, and the CPU battle is murder.
  • Dual Wielding: Yang and Edge can both dual wield. Yang can use two claws, whereas Edge can use two claws, throwing weapons, or katanas.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Gilbert/Gilbart the bard was renamed "Edward". Good thing the ninja Edward Geraldine goes by "Edge."
    • Golbeza was shortened to Golbez.
    • Cain = Kain (pronunciations are also different between regions with the Japanese pronouncing "Cain" much like the biblical "k-eye-n" and the English version being said the same way as "Kane.")
  • Dummied Out: Many commands, status-ailment-healing items, and one-use spell-casting items were removed from the original North American version of the game. The status-healing items were replaced with items that healed every status instead.
    • One was Cecil's Darkness, but his mirror image can cast that without a problem. This led to a lot of confusion and a bit of resentment on the part of SNES players when their shadow-self attacked exclusively with a power they themselves never had access to. It also made the resulting puzzle (ie, letting him attack with the HP-depleting spell and defeat himself without you attacking) more difficult to figure out.
    • The Dev-room Easter Egg was dummied out from the initial US SNES release of the game (ie Final Fantasy II SNES). It was made accessible again in the subsequent US re-releases and ports.
  • Dying as Yourself: Edge's parents snap out of their demonic trance long enough to say goodbye to their son.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery:
    • Several monsters in the Lunar Subterrane had their scripts altered in the Japanese-only Easy Type version to make them more challenging than the other versions.
    • Zeromus gains the Count spell in the Easy Type version. In no other version does he use this ability.
  • An Economy Is You: Played perfectly straight, but especially notable in that the weapon/armor shop in the first town is locked until you return there later in the game and obtain the key. Not exactly the best business model.
  • Elemental Absorption:
    • A series staple. Generally, attacking a fire or ice monster with weapons or spells of the same element as them is a bad idea.
    • Rubicante exploits this. He normally absorbs fire and is weak to ice/water, but when he uses his cloak, he absorbs all elemental damage.note 
    • In the boss fight with Golbez in the Dwarven Castle, he uses an ability called Barrier Shift that makes him vulnerable to one random element, but absorbs all others.
    • There is an accessory called the Cursed Ring that seems useless because it lowers all of a character's stats. However, it has a hidden attribute that turns armor with elemental resistance into elemental absorption, which can be nearly a Game-Breaker in certain areas.
  • Elemental Embodiment: The Elemental Archfiends are the embodiment of earth, fire, air, and water.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: A Final Fantasy staple. Utilizing the correct elemental weakness is crucial to defeating the four Archfiends, particularly Caignazzo, who can only be defeated when hit with thunder attacks, and Rubicante, who makes up for his weakness to ice by employing a cloak that absorbs ice damage.
  • Elemental Tiers: You fight the Elemental Archfiends in order of their strength, starting with Scarmiglione (Earth), then Cagnazzo (Water), Barbariccia (Wind), and finally the strongest, Rubicante (Fire).
  • The Empire: Baron sort of becomes one early in the game. It does attack and ruin various nations to steal their Crystals, but it doesn't expand its borders.
  • Empty Room Psych: The Sealed Cave does this quite a lot. There are several Trap Doors that guard rooms with nothing at all inside of them. Some of them, however, contain very good loot. A new player will either have to kill all of the Trap Doors, look up a guide, or hope for blind luck to get the best stuff.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Baron's forces consist of both humans and monsters. This is made most apparent during the Siege of Fabul, where Golbez sends his troops to steal the Wind Crystal.
  • Equipment Spoiler:
    • You can find throwing stars for Edge in Eblan Cave before he joins the party at the end.
    • The armor shop in Mysidia sells Paladin equipment; it can be bought before you have someone who can use it. As well you should, since Cecil's Dark Knight armor is gone once you complete the Paladin trial, and it's a long way down the mountain.
  • Escape Battle Technique: Edge can use a smoke bomb to get the party out of a battle.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Rubicante. He heals you to full strength before both battles he's involved in. He also apologizes to Edge when Lugae transforms his parents into monsters, saying Lugae had no authorization to do so, and Rubicante didn't want that in the first place. He's also the only Archfiend to not try and kill you with his last breath.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Tower of Babil, which is massive enough to rise from the world underground all the way up high in the skies above the surface of Earth.
  • The Faceless: The dwarves in this game only show their eyes and their magnificent beards. It's most noticeable on Luca, King Giott's daughter, who lacks the beard or anything that could obscure her face, and still only her eyes are visible (until the sequel, where she's older and finally reveals her face). This tradition, first appearing in the previous game, tends to persist in future appearances in the series.
  • Fake King: The King of Baron is really Caignazzo, Archfiend of Water, who has killed the real king.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Roughly 60% of the game involves the main characters failing at the tasks they set out to complete, especially when it comes to trying to stop Golbez from getting the crystals.
  • Fictional Earth: The planet the game takes place on is named Earth.note  However, the landmasses are definitly not ours. The surface where most people live is named "Overworld" and the inside where Dwarves live is the "Underworld".
  • Fighting from the Inside: Edge's parents. They manage to break through once Edge shows up. Albeit just long enough to say goodbye to their son.
  • Fission Mailed:
    • In the fight with the Dark Elf, the party is wiped out once he turns into a dragon. However, Edward senses their distress and plays a song that revigorates them, after which the fight properly starts.
    • Golbez summons a dragon that picks off the party one by one. When it seems he's won, Rydia shows up and destroys his Eidolon with the help of the Mist Dragon, giving the heroes the chance to recover and fight back.
    • The Final Boss easily defeats the entire party in addition to Golbez and Fusoya. It takes the collective prayers of everyone on the planet for them to recover, enabling the last battle to start.
  • Foreshadowing: Multiple characters try to warn Tellah of the consequences of casting Meteor because he doesn't have the energy reserves he used to. Even in versions where Tellah can get his MP boosted to the point where he can actually use the spell, Tellah pelts Golbez with multiple high-level spells right beforehand anyway, so he is out of MP by the time he casts the last one.
  • Fragile Speedster: Edge is the fastest character in the game, bar none (and in the DS version, he's almost absurdly quick). However, he only has an average amount of HP, and he takes far more damage than Cecil or Kain do.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Barnabas is a grotesque humanoid monster created by a Mad Scientist and visibly resembles Frankenstein's monster himself.
  • Funny Bruce Lee Noises: This is likely what the SNES translation was going for with the monks' "ACHOO!" battle cry.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Sometimes called the Die Hard bug, the game remembers the last 63 flights of stairs you have accessed in a single area. The 64th stairway will reset the counter to 0, making the game think you are on the world map. Now, if you try to go downstairs again you'll enter the Minus World and can drop 44 more floors before the game either warps you to a random room in the game (like right in front of the final boss) or deletes your game saves. Speed runs of the NES Die Hard game involve a lot of time spent running up and down a single staircase.
    • The Medusa Sword in the SNES game is extremely glitchy. Most times than not, if it procs on the enemy, it may cause the game to softlock. note 
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • You begin the game with Cecil and Kain, both trained knights in the service of the Baron kingdom. Both start at level 10 with some pretty good equipment. Rydia, the first other character who joins you, is a small child. She starts at level 1 with minimal equipment.
    • Like other Final Fantasy games, battle spells follow most of the standard element patterns (fire, ice/water, lightning). Rydia learns ice and lightning magic on her own by gaining levels, but not fire. Her hometown was destroyed by a fire, and she hates fire as a result. She only finally unlocks fire magic when the group needs to proceed past a wall of ice to warn another town of an impending attack, and there are no other black magic users currently in the party. The fact that innocent people will die if they can't be warned in time allows her to overcome her psychological block and cast fire to melt the ice.
    • Edward, who is established as a wimpy musician, not a talented fighter, and a bit of a coward, has the Hide command, which even happens automatically if his HP runs low. The game might even take this a bit too far; his frailty is such that he is outdone by a small child in terms of robustness.
    • After Cecil becomes a paladin, his appearance appropriately changes. Also, he can no longer use any of the dark knight equipment.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Rydia doesn't learn Fire until a plot event, because she gained a phobia of fire when Cecil burned down her village. However, with excessive Level Grinding, it's possible to have her learn Fira before said plot event occurs.
    • When you get to Damcyan Castle, you find it under attack and filled with injured and dying people. Yet, despite having two white mages in your party and most likely dozens of potions and phoenix downs in your inventory, you can't do a thing to help any of them. This becomes utterly jarring when an important NPC passes away in your healer's arms without him even attempting to heal her, and despite there being two magical healing pots capable of fully restoring all your health with a single touch in the very same room.
    • Titan is only able to alter the World Map upon its first appearance.
    • After falling for the pitfall trap in the Tower of Babil, you'd think a Warp spell would've taken the party back up a floor. Yet nobody even suggests the idea.
    • The Tower of Babil appears on the Overworld map surrounded by a large black hole. You'd think it'd be possible to fly an airship through, much like the hole that's sometimes open near Agart, but you'd be wrong.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Cecil, to Edward, after the Red Wings firebomb Damcyan into oblivion and Edward is in Heroic BSoD mode.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Rydia starts out at 30 HP. At level 99, her HP barely passes the 5,000 mark. Even then, she's got one of the lowest Defense stats out of the playable characters, meaning she'll go down pretty fast. On the other hand, her Summon magic and black magic have her deal an excessive amount of pain right back.
    • Edge. While he has more health and is physically powerful, his durability is the same as Rydia's.
    • Palom is much like Rydia, except that he specializes in Black Magic. In fact, if you want to use him for the final battle in the GBA and PSP ports of the game, he knows the super-powerful Meteor and Flare spells.
    • In the GBA-based remakes, Edward also counts, being the glassiest cannon of them all. His statistics aren't absurdly overwhelming (he does get nice Speed), he gets useful commands, but for some reason his endgame harps are utterly amazing weapons that in many ways outclass all others. He attacks like an archer, except more accurately without the ammunition limit, and his harps are strong against some particularly pernicious enemy types (or in one case, all enemy types, period). Damage-wise, he can't do anything but a basic attack, but his basic attack effectively becomes a faster version of a powerful single-target spell that can't be blocked by Reflect and costs no MP, all because of the improbable superiority of his weapons.
  • Global Airship: You get a few of these throughout the course of the game. First up is the Enterprise, master engineer Cid's pride and joy. The second is the Falcon, which the party steals from an enemy base. The last is the Big Whale, an airship capable of flying to the moon.
  • Global Ignorance: When Golbez (via mind-controlling Kain) gets the final crystal, King Giott notes that the only hope is contained in an old legend, and begins to recite the Mysidian legend. Cecil recognizes it and tells Giott about Mysidia, and Giott is amazed that Mysidia exists. To be fair to Giott, there was literally miles of crust acting as a barrier between the Underworld with Giott's kingdom and the overworld where Mysidia lies, and a crack opening travel between the two was a very recent development.
  • Good Armor, Evil Armor: Cecil is a dark knight whose armor is black, red, gold, and purple to represent his reliance on dark powers. After becoming a paladin, his armor is transformed, ditching the helmet and turning his armor a holy white and deep blue on top of giving him a flowing Badass Cape.
  • Good Costume Switch: Cecil, after he becomes a paladin, goes from black and dark blue armor to white and light blue armor.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: According to a villager, Cecil's mother knew that her pregnancy was dangerous but decided to keep her child.
  • Graceful Loser:
    • Rubicante praises our heroes and bids them farewell upon defeating him, in stark contrast to his fellow Archfiends, which try to take the heroes with them.
    • On the GBA and PSP ports, Zeromus EG takes his defeat with grace and says he is going to go back to sleep, despite the fact that he is (supposedly) a part of Zeromus' spirit.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In all versions, Tellah and Fusoya only join for a few dungeons before leaving. Edward, Yang, Porom, Palom, and Cid count as well in the original and DS versions. The PSP and GBA versions effectively make them into permanent characters because the player gains the ability to freely put them in their party for the final dungeon and post-game.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The DS port never tells you that A) Augment distribution is used to unlock other augments from characters who leave the party and B) Augments will eventually affect the stat growths of the characters who have them. You'd need a guide anyway to put those growths to proper use, because there's no way guesswork alone would let you figure out how to use them to max the stats of your final party.
    • To get Cecil's Infinity +1 Sword, you have to cross an invisible bridge to reach the Bonus Boss you have to fight to obtain it. There are precious few invisible pathways in the game, and none of them are in dungeons. If you don't know how to reach it, it can be quite frustrating, especially since the sword is fully visible on a normal pathway.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Cecil and Golbez are Half-Lunarian; their father, Kluya, was Fusoya's brother.
  • Harp of Femininity: Edward the feminine Prince of Damcyan is a master harpist.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Cecil's squad of knights are called the Red Wings, which is also slang for something you probably shouldn't look up.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The battle of Fabul. Even though your party wins every fight with no casualties, you keep getting pushed back.
  • Heel Realization: In the opening sequence, when Cecil tries to tell the King about his men's (and his own) doubts regarding their latest missions. He is promptly relieved from command and sent out to a nearby village to deliver an item that sets it ablaze. This is what really starts his path of redemption.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: It is implied that this is what would have happened to Cecil if he had stayed a Dark Knight.
  • Helpful Mook: Of the Accidentally Assisting variety. The Li'l Murderer, found in the last dungeon, only casts Scan on itself unless you use the element it's weak against. If you fall for the trap, he "supercharges" and counterattacks with the -ga spell of the same element. Since it's still weak against said element, if you set your party up with Reflect beforehand, it'll keep hitting itself and counterattacking until it kills itself.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: So, so very many examples, though most of the characters who attempt this fail to die and come back as a Climactic Battle Resurrection. Tellah is the only one who stays dead.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Giant of Babil is summoned by the Moon to destroy the planet towards the game's end. Cecil and company must journey inside of the mech to stop it.
  • Hypocrite: In all versions but the DS remake, Cecil finds it difficult to accept and forgive his brother Golbez, despite the fact he had done some terrible things at the beginning of the game and is now The Hero despite it, and he has implicitly forgiven Kain for his actions already. In the DS version, however, while progressing through the final dungeon, Cecil's thoughts show him going through the process of realizing this, and makes his forgiveness and acceptance at the end seem much more natural.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • When the party defeats Golbez, they walk away, leaving him right next to the crystal he's trying to steal. Cue Not Quite Dead followed by Villain Teleportation.
    • In the beginning of the game, Cecil thinks he's just going on a simple delivery run with Kain to get back into the King of Baron's good graces. In certain translations, he's specifically delivering an item called the Bomb Ring, which pretty much does exactly what you think it would do by the first word of its name. His shock at the fires and explosions rage rings hollow in any version where this is the case. Avoided in others, where it's merely the generic Package or the Carnelian Signet (carnelian merely being a type of red stone).
  • I Have Many Names: Namingway's ever-shifting moniker in the DS version, since you can no longer change the party's names.
  • I Lied: Golbez promises to free Rosa if Cecil hands over the Earth Crystal. Cecil hands over the Earth Crystal. Golbez suddenly "forgets" who Rosa is.
  • Impossible Thief: Edge can steal Dark Matter, something whose existence is only theorized.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Edward attacks with harps. There's even a special harp he gives the player that acts a bit like a two-way radio.
  • Inconsistent Dub: From SNES to PlayStation to GBA to DS to PSP, every time the game is re-released, things get renamed.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The GBA release added several in the Bonus Dungeon. Most notable are the Lightbringer (for Cecil), Abel's lance (for Kain), and Fiery Hammer (for Cid). Not only is their attack power at or near the maximum of 255, but each may randomly cast a high-power spell on top of the regular attack!note  Just be careful around enemies that use Reflect.
  • Inn Security: Cecil vs. the Baron Guards in Kaipo. Later in Baron, guards attack the party, along with a brainwashed Yang.
  • Interface Spoiler: Subverted in the original SNES version when Palom and Porom turn themselves to stone. You can interact with them and the game will offer to let you use an inventory item (which you do in other places to advance the plot or unlock things, and which seems to indicate that there's an item you can use to change the situation)... but there's no way to save them. In the original Japanese version you could get a special failure message (well, a repeat of the failure message when Tellah tried to restore them) by trying to use a Golden Needle on them, but the item was Dummied Out in the version that got translated, and even in the original it didn't actually accomplish anything.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Rydia was probably supposed to be Lydia, which is a more common English name.
  • Joke Item: Some of the low level monsters have a tiny chance to drop a spell to summon them for Rydia. Summon Imp is exactly as useless as it sounds.
  • Just Following Orders: Defied. At the start of the game, Cecil realizes that this is no excuse for the terrible things that he's done, such as slaughtering the people of Mysidia, even when they weren't fighting back. Cecil vows to never commit such atrocities again, even if ordered to. When Cecil is tricked into committing another one anyway, he takes responsibility for his actions, defects from Baron, and starts his path of redemption.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts:
    • Ethers and Elixirs sell for 10,000 gil and 100,000 gil, respectively. So you'd think that any random Ether or Elixir you find in pots or treasure chests would be an easy 5,000 or 50,000 gil if sold at a store, right? Nope, apparently their resale value is only 1 gil. Some merchants must be making a killing on margins like those.
    • The rare drop summons are powerful spells that are remarkably affordable to cast, and well worth teaching to Rydia... or you could sell them for 50 gil each. It makes sense, though — Rydia is Last of Her Kind, so she's literally the only person in the world who could even use them.
  • Kiai: Yang's battle shout. At least the PlayStation version's is so much better than the SNES's hilariously embarrassing "ACHOOOO!"
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After the ship sinks, Cecil washes up right next to the city he razed and plundered at the beginning of the game.
  • Last of His Kind: Cecil and Kain following the King of Baron's orders at the beginning of the game leads to Rydia being the only summoner left alive, as they accidentally destroy her entire village.
  • Left-Handed Mirror:
  • Leitmotif: This was the first Final Fantasy game to make extensive use of the technique. Almost every major character has one, including some of the villains and other NPCs.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Before fighting Rubicante, he fully heals your party.
  • Level-Map Display: The Sight spell displays a map.
  • The Load: Edward, in the original version of the game. He's so wimpy he even has a "Hide" command. In later versions of the game, his abilities and available weapons are increased, so that he eventually becomes one of the most desired characters near endgame. Initially, Rydia can seem to be this as well, until you figure out that her rods can be used as battle items.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: Golbez appears and wipes the floor with Cecil's group, until Rydia returns and effectively destroys Golbez's summon.
  • Lost Forever:
    • The Tower of Zot collapses soon after defeating Barbariccia. Fortunately, nothing there is vital.
    • Any of the trips into the Tower of Babil (including when it turns into the Giant of Babil) - once you've cleared a portion of it, said portion cannot be re-entered. In this case, the worst part about this is that the best enemy to steal Alarms from (and Edge can steal as many as the player has patience for) is found in one of these areas. They can be bought later, but they're a bit of a Money Sink.
    • One odd case involves a dungeon that you otherwise can return to at any point. The knife, the best throwing weapon in the game, can only be obtained if you complete the sidequest that involves using the frying pan on Yang before recruiting FuSoYa. While everything else involving the Sylph Cave (including the very useful Sylph summon) can be acquired regardless of when the cave is entered, recruiting FuSoYa triggers an event flag that makes it impossible to use the frying pan on Yang as he's awake, aware, and praying in the Tower of Prayers with other allies after that point, and his wife will thus never trade it for the knife. The tradeoff is that a player that waits until after FuSoYa is recruited to enter the Sylph Cave only needs to go through it once to get the Sylph summon, while the frying pan sidequest requires a player traverse the cave twice.
  • Love Makes You Evil: This sort of comes into play. Kain's jealousy of Cecil as a result of his unrequited feelings for Rosa make him a lot easier to be controlled by Golbez.
  • Love Triangle: Kain has feelings for Rosa, but she has feelings for Cecil instead.
  • Luck-Based Mission: In the DS version, the battle versus the CPU. It pretty much boils down to how quickly the Attack Node begins to attack... its only attack, Laser Barrage, is guaranteed to two-shot your entire party (and it'll usually one-shot Edge and Fusoya). If you can off it before it fires the lasers twice, you have the battle in the bag... unless you kill off the Defense Node. Prepare for the carnage of Object 199 if you do. There is, however, a trick to this. See Puzzle Boss below.
    • The fact that Fusoya's "instructions" were not redone and still describe the original battle better than the redone one doesn't help. In fact, if you do what Fusoya says, you're screwed.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Golbez is Cecil's brother, Theodor.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Lugae, a cruel Evilutionary Biologist and the progenitor of a long line of despicable mad scientists across the series.
  • Magical Land: The Feymarch, where time flows faster and eidolons live. The King and Queen also possess powerful magic.
  • Magic Knight: Cecil learns White Magic once he becomes a Paladin. His white magic isn't as good as Rosa's, though.
  • Magic Missile Storm: The Magic Arrow spell, an obscure, low-level Non-Elemental attacking spell that can be cast only by using the most basic Rod weapon from the Items menu in combat.
  • Magic Music: Pretty much Edward's whole purpose as the prototypical Final Fantasy Bard.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: Dark Elf has magnetic powers that cause your characters to become paralyzed if they enter his lair while equipped with metal gear. Though in a rare case of Shown Their Work for a fantasy RPG, silver weapons aren't affected.
  • Making a Splash: In the 2D editions of the game, contrary to what the descriptions in certain spells suggests, water does not exist as an element. Ninjustsu Spell Flood is Ice-Elemental, while the rest of the seemingly water spells are all Non-Elemental. This is fixed in the 3D editions, where all the water-sounding spells are Water-Elemental.
  • The Man Behind the Man: At first, it looks like the King of Baron is the Big Bad. However, it turns out he was killed and replaced by the Shapeshifting Cagnazzo, a minion of Golbez, the king's supposed Dragon. Late in the game, it's revealed that Golbez is under the control of Zemus, a wizard who came from the moon.
  • Marathon Level: The Subterranean Depths of the Moon, which is also The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Thirteen floors, only two save points, and every random encounter is a Boss in Mook's Clothing - on the last five floors they actually have the boss battle music.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The four Elemental Fiends are all named after demons in Dante's The Divine Comedy - Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicante.
    • The Tower of Babil and Kain are names that should ring a bell for anyone at least mildly familiar with The Bible. Kain even gets Abel's Lance in the GBA remake to drive the point home.
  • Medical Game: There's an extra dungeon where Rosa has to heal as many people as possible before facing Luna Asura. Rewards are based on how many people she heals in a time period.
  • The Millstone: FUSOYA in the DS version. Not only is he merely The Load (e.g. trying to keep him alive, since he's a horrifically slow caster and Squishy Wizard, which usually means he gets one-shotted before he can cast, will pretty much ensure Game Over), but see the bad advice under Luck-Based Mission above. Following his advice there is a nearly instant Game Over.
  • Monster Town: The Feymarch and the town of Mythril. The former hosts various enemies you fight in the game and several Eidolons, while the latter features townsfolk based off the Toad, Pig, and Mini status effects.
  • Mook Commander: The Toad Lady. She appears with a six toads that cast the Toad spell at her command...only at her command. And since they have no other abilities, taking her down renders them completely harmless.
  • Morale Mechanic: The game had early on groups of three soldiers, two troops and a commander. If you defeated the soldiers, the commander would flee.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Cecil is horrified upon realizing the King of Baron has tricked them into destroying the Village of Mist.
    • Kain snaps back to his senses at the Tower of Zot. His shame for the actions he performed while brainwashed haunt him for the remainder of the game.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: If enemies get the first strike: every single one will attack you before you even get to choose attacks and chances are that they will attack again before you get your turn. If you get the first strike: you may attack first, but if you take too much time, the enemies will attack you, even if you're using your time reasonably, like picking out a spell.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kain's father's name is Richard, which is similar to Ricard Highwind from Final Fantasy II (and in fact, his name is Richard in Japan - his name is shortened overseas due to space limitations). And in remakes, FFII returns the favor, by having Ricard adopt a boy named Kain.
    • A sign in Baron's inn in the DS version references the awkwardly-scrolling and -phrased text "l i t t l e m o n e y" in the original version of Final Fantasy Tactics.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Right before the final battle, the heroes are all seemingly wiped out, and Cecil drags himself into battle with one HP. Right after that, the heroes get a much-needed boost.
  • Never Say "Die": This is in full effect in the SNES translation, to the point of bowdlerization. However, in a rare Tropes Are Not Bad way, this actually makes the game's many Disney Deaths more believable.
    • The spell is called "Fatal" instead of "Death," and "Swoon" is used for "dead" characters.
    • This was the first Final Fantasy to have the loss of all HP count as a Non-Lethal K.O. instead of actual death.
    • In the US version, the guillotine Rosa was trapped under was replaced with a giant iron ball that crushes the entire chair she was tied to.
    • This is the first installment in which a kitchen knife, later usually wielded by Tonberries, becomes a weapon dealing massive damage. Despite the game being full of cutlery actually intended for murder, for some reason it was the weapon that needed to be replaced with a spoon.
  • New Game+: In the DS version, after defeating the final boss, you can play the game again, inheriting all those augments you gave to your characters. And if you gave the previous game augments to characters that weren't going to be in your final party, you will be rewarded with these characters' abilities as augments. You can play New Game+ only three times in a row though.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: The Dark Elf's battle sprite in the PSP version of the game is actually Astos's sprite from the PSP version of Final Fantasy I.
  • Ninja: Edge and the Eblan clan are all ninjas. Edge is merely their prince.
  • Nintendo Hard: The original Japanese release and the DS version were hard enough that the version released for the SNES was substantially nerfed in difficulty (this was also released in Japan as an 'easytype' version.) This came as a nasty surprise to Western players who were only familiar with the reduced-difficulty English SNES release who then replayed the DS version. Mind you, even the reduced-difficulty English SNES release was still pretty difficult.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The Tower of Zot, a huge flying structure that falls apart moments after you leave it, never crashes anywhere. The Tower of Babil is perfectly fine (and is totally structurally intact, according to the sequels) after the Giant of Babil seemingly walks out of it. Similarly, in the sequels, there are almost no changes to the world map (not even changes to local climates, tides, or sea lanes) after one of the planet's moons flies off into deep space, never to return.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning:
    • Because of trauma, Rydia cannot use the spell Fire, until Rosa convinces her later in a storyline event. Hilariously enough, she can still learn Firaga given you do enough Level Grinding.
    • Several of Rydia's summons can only be obtained from getting an item that Randomly Drops from certain types of enemies. Pray that the Random Number God is in a good mood.
  • No One Could Survive That!:
    • Scarmiglione returning immediately from Not Quite Death before Cecil reaches paladin-hood.
    • Cid jumps down from an airship at a very great height holding a nuke bomb in his hand which explodes right in front of his face. Yet he doesn't lose any of his limbs.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Many Western fans were surprised that Cecil's name was pronounced as "Seh-sil" and not "See-sil" (though both a long "e" and a short "e" are valid pronunciations for the name).
  • No Sympathy: Cecil and Rydia towards Edward; they immediately lay into him for being temporarily catatonic over the deaths of all his loved ones. Granted, Rydia is a kid and she immediately went after the two men who killed everyone she ever loved, but grown man Cecil has a total want of empathy for Edward. It's not with the argument that Edward needs to be strong for his people, either; Cecil is only interested in having Edward help him and Rosa.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Dr. Lugae initially appears to be a harmless nutjob with a malfunctioning Frankenstein-type robot, before turning into a fairly dangerous boss. Only after Lugae dies do you discover how monstrous he truly was, with what he did to Edge's parents.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic:
    • The Reflect spell is integral to defeating Asura, who heals herself twice, at the end every round, in addition to attacking your party. The catch? You have to cast Reflect on her. That way, when she attempts to heal herself, your party will be healed instead. Asura inflicts insane amounts of damage and recovers 2,500-3,300 HP per recovery spell, making her borderline impossible to defeat without this trick.
    • The original SNES release has one for the fight against the Dark Elf. Ordinarily, you have to fight a few rounds of largely ineffective combat, ending with him doing a Total Party Kill and a story sequence. This results in Cecil getting up, but with his companions requiring revival. However, if everyone goes in wearing a piece of metal equipment, the game treats everyone as being paralyzed and "dead," and the sequence still happens, except with the party healthy and ready to fight. Removed in the remakes.
  • The Paladin: Cecil becomes one after jorneying through Mt. Ordeals. He loses the darkness-based attacks he had as a Dark Knight, but his new form gains access to White Magic in return.
  • Parental Abandonment: A couple of playable characters lose their parents due to the villains (and one loses hers because of the heroes). Death by Childbirth is part of Cecil and Golbez's background, though it was mostly All There in the Manual until the DS remake.
  • Parental Bonus: During the new Namingway quest in the DS remake, he asks the characters for some Rainbow Pudding to give his new girlfriend. When they next see him, he complains about how, upon going to give her the pudding, he found another guy giving her a present of his own.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • It's possible to fight enemies from around Mythril and Troia when first arriving at Mysidia by heading north of Mount Ordeals and around the mountains on the southwest side and heading to the very northern tip of the continent. Interestingly, the path can only be traversed on foot, not on a chocobo. Battles there give Cecil 2,000-3,000 per victory.
    • There's also one that is a three-step bit of land in the Underground, which spawns nothing but Eggs. These eggs range in value from moths to Yellow Dragons. And if you got Sirens from a few places, you can spawn multiple Yellow Dragon eggs and get the drop on them for full EXP. This gets especially prominent in a lot of randomizer hacks for the game in the 21st century, but even in the original releases it can still be useful (as you have access to it as soon as you return to the Underworld).
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Cecil's Dark equipment is permanently lost if it's not unequipped during his class change.
    • Treasures in The Tower of Zot, the Tower of Babil and the Giant of Babil are lost forever once the dungeons become inaccessible.
    • The Knife, if the sidequest involving Yang's wife and the Sylph cave isn't done before the Giant of Babil. The consolation prize is that you only have to go through the Sylph Cave once to get the Sylph summon if you hold off.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In a non-mechanical example, this is used on Yang after the party finds him unconscious in the Sylph Cave.
  • Perverse Puppet: Calca, Brina, and Calcabrina are puppets controlled by Golbez's magic that combine together to battle the party in the Underground.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Palom and Porom. Besides a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic, Palom uses black magic, and Porom uses white magic. Palom is a Bratty Half-Pint, and Porom is Wise Beyond Their Years.
  • The Power of Friendship: The player characters who couldn't make it to the final boss fight send their prayers to the party to reinvigorate the heroes when all seems lost.
  • The Power of Love: Several moments, such as Edward defeating the Sahagin and Kain defeating Zemus's last attempt at mind control come from their love for a certain person. In addition, giving Twincast to Cecil and Rosa in the DS version yields Ultima, the strongest attack in the entire game bar none.
  • The Power of Rock: Turns out the Dark Elf is weak to Edward's songs.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: If you destroy Barnabas before Dr. Lugae, Lugae pilots him manually, using Barnabas' vacant neck area as a cockpit.
    Lugae: My poor, precious Barnabas! I guess I have no choice. I'll control him myself!
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • The Dark Knight, right after Cecil's class change to a Paladin. The only ways to win are by doing absolutely nothing, or by casting cure on the Dark Knight.
    • In the 3D remake, the actual way to win the Giant of Babil CPU battle is to kill off the Attack Node first, and leave the Defense Node alone, despite Fusoya's advice to the contrary, since the Attack Node's Laser Barrage is much more powerful than previous versions. Killing off both Nodes means the CPU will one-shot you with a One-Hit Kill. Leaving the Defense Node alive means it will pathetically heal the CPU, while the CPU does nothing except cast Reflect on itself.
    • Bonus Boss Asura does nothing but cast high-level healing spells on herself, and any hit made against her is countered by a very strong physical attack. The only way to defeat her is to cast Reflect on her so that her healing spells bounce back at your party.
    • Bahamut, on the Moon, counts down to his Mega Flare attack, which is strong enough to cause a Total Party Kill. Kain can Jump to avoid it, and some versions allow Mega Flare to be Reflected.
  • Randomly Drops:
    • The Pink Tail is dropped by Flan Princesses. In the room where you can find those monsters (which is a very small room with only one uninteresting treasure), you have an 1/64 chance of encountering a formation of five of those things. Each of those things have a 5/98 rate of dropping ANY items at all, and a further 1/64 chance that the dropped item will be a Pink Tail. If you just run around that room, you have a 0.006% chance of getting a Pink Tail (or you'll on average get 1 Tail every 10056 battles). In most versions of the game, you can use a Siren, which guarantees the encounter with five Flan Princesses, increasing the odds to 0.3% per battle, or 1 tail every 251 battles on average.
    • The Rainbow Pudding in the DS version, which is necessary for finishing the Namingway quest and earning all the augments, has a drop rate of 0.4%. You can only get it from the various Flans. And the Treasure Hunter augment only boosts this drop rate to 0.8%. The DS version also adds numerous other types of Tails necessary for getting the only equipment that can be carried into New Game +. They all have the same horrible drop rate as the Pink Tail.
    • The hidden summons (Goblin, Mind Flayer, Cockatrice and Bomb) are randomly dropped and every bit as rare as the Rainbow Pudding. To add insult to injury, the Goblin summon is pretty much useless, despite being as rare as Mind Flayer (damage, sap, and paralyze), Cockatrice (Multitarget Petrification), and Bomb (Damage equal to Rydia's health, without harming her).
    • Equipments ranging from mid-game destroying equipments like Rune Staves and Lilith Rods, and other ultimate equipments like Crystal Rings, extra Protect Rings, extra Ribbons, Dragon Whips, Glass Masks and so on are all randomly dropped and at least nearly as, if not just as rare as the Pink Tail, just that the monsters that drop them tend to be more common encounters.
  • Rare Candy: The Golden and Silver Apples, which will increase the max HP of the character they are used on by 100 or 50 HP, respectively. There is also the Soma Drop which increases the selected character's maximum MP by 10.
  • Retraux: The PSP version primarily reuses the DS remake's soundtrack, but also has the option to use the original SNES version's.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Although it's never explicitly discussed in the game, Cecil and Kain both wear makeup (and in Kain's case, nail polish). As Ceodore is later depicted wearing lipstick in some artwork, it seems that it's quite usual for Baronian men to use cosmetics.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: You can hurt undead monsters by using healing spells on them. Not to mention that (especially in the DS version), the best way to kill Scarmiglione without invoking his counters is to use healing spells and potions on him.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The Tower of Zot has no backstory at all. Who built it, why, and for that matter, where? Even with numerous remakes and a sequel to expand the world lore, the Tower of Zot remains a mystery the developers have no interest in answering.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Tellah tried, but just didn't quite pull it off, though he did whip out the most powerful Black Magic spell known.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Two of your party members in the original game (Edward and Edge) are princes, and two others were adopted by the King of Baron (Cecil and Kain).
    • Rosa and Yang become monarchs themselves at the end of the game.
    • Leviathan and Asura are king and queen of the Feymarch, respectively. Odin is the spirit of the former king of Baron, and Bahamut is titled the god of monsters.
  • Rule of Cool: Some of the translation changes in the DS version were done solely because new translator Tom Slattery loved the original game and wanted to give the script more flair. He refers to the summoned monsters as Eidolons because he wanted them to have a proper name like the rest of the series post-VI, and since XII had just reused Esper from VI, he decided to reuse Eidolon from IX (and later also used it on XIII). Also, "The Feymarch" was a word he just made up.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Li'l Murderers scan themselves at the beginning of the battle to let the player know they are weak to Thunder spells. However, hitting them with said attacks powers them up, enabling them to fire powerful magic attacks against the party.
    • An example occurs during a late-game boss: If you try casting Thunder-elemental spells on Ogopogo, thinking it'll be weak to it, like Leviathan was, will result in the party taking a Tornado counterattack.
  • Scripted Battle: Between Golbez and the king and queen of Eblan, expect lots of conversations in combat mode. Sometimes you won't take control for an entire battle.
  • Shadowed Face, Glowing Eyes: Dwarves have the appearance of a dark shadowy face with glowing eyes, but lack the traditional wizard attire of a Black Mage. They even have visible hair on their heads, but their faces are still darkened.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Cecil's trial to become a Paladin involves not attacking his opponent.
  • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: After you defeat Lugae, you meet his superior, Rubicante. He then claims Lugae's actions were horrific, even for him and states he doesn't hold anything against you. A boss fight still ensues, but he is generous enough to heal the party first.
  • Shout-Out:
    • First, look at Rubicante [1]. Then, look at this bad guy from Neo Human Casshern [2]. They have the same designer, after all.
    • During the party's first fight with Rubicante, the fiend of fire states that "the frozen winds of hell's 9th circle" couldn't penetrate his cloak.
    • Square's love affair with Star Wars may have become more blatant with Final Fantasy II but this installment found other ways to pack its story full of homages.
    • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen came out in Japan two years before the game titled simply Baron. If you can't tell where they got the name for the starting kingdom, consider the airship trip to the moon, the volcanic underworld full of burly tinkerers, and having your quest derailed by a giant sea monster.
      • The real King Baron becomes this game's Odin. So like the Baron in his film's climax, he can slice through entire crowds on horseback. By the end of the game, Cecil becomes the literal inheritor to Baron.
    • The GBA-Version-Cid gives us this line: "So how are my airships? I'll bet you and your goons wrecked them up something awful!"
    • The "Pig" spell is a reference to Circe in The Odyssey.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Odin, when summoned, cuts down every enemy at once for a One-Hit Kill. However, it only works if every enemy is affected.
  • Sinister Geometry: The CPU boss is three orbs: one big one and two small ones. The boss also has Object 199, a sphere attack that hits the damage cap of 9999.
  • Skyward Scream: During the destruction of Mist, a horrified Cecil yells in frustration, unable to understand why his King would send him to destroy the village.
    Kain: "He wished this village torched!"
    Cecil: "But why? ... WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!!"
  • Slapstick: Yang's wife and her... unorthodox method of dealing with enemy soldiers and amnesiac husbands. All get bashed over the head with her Frying Pan.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Edge, he's the first ladies' man to ever appear in the series!
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: A frequent occurrence on one's first playthrough, thanks to all the party members that leave your party or (apparently) meet their demise without much advance warning.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Name change aside, Edward's Japanese name "Gilbert" gets written that way in most materials...and spelt "Gilbart" in a few guidebooks as well.
  • Spoiled by the Manual: The SNES version of the game had this in the equipment section of the manual, as it listed a few sample pieces of equipment as well as the class of who could use it. Thus, it was pretty obvious that the various Disc One Final Dungeons were not the end, because a "ninja" or a "Lunarian" hadn't appeared yet. For that matter, the twist that there's an intelligent race from the moon is spoiled by the fact that "Lunarian" was the name of a class listed in the manual (though that plot point is minor compared to the one about just who is descended from it).
  • Squishy Wizard: Rydia. She has the worst HP out of your final party, but she can slaughter enemies in no time, even before she gets spells and summons like Meteor, Leviathan, or Bahamut.
  • Static Role, Exchangeable Character: From the advance versions onwards, the 2D remakes of the games allows you to swap memebers of the party, as long as Cecil is still in it. When you bring them over to the final battle, the new members will fill in the roles of the originals who are absent.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • After all of his travels with the White Mage/Combat Medic keeping the party healthy and the Lady of Black Magic/Master of Summon Magic laying waste to all that stood in their way, Cecil suddenly decides the women are a liability and orders them off the Lunar Whale before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Thankfully, Rosa and Rydia are not amused and they stow away to the Moon with them anyway.
    • Also seen earlier in the game during the attack on Fabul, when Rosa and Rydia are relegated to assisting the castle's healers while Cecil, Edward, and Yang fight. Though despite being sidelined/protected, Rosa still gets kidnapped anyway.
  • Stripperiffic: Suffice to say the female mages do not wear the concealing robes of their predecessors.
    • Rosa has wardrobe problems. Never knew that underwear goes under your clothes or just simply does not like to wear a dress or skirt? You be the judge.
    • The fiend Barbariccia also fits the wardrobe.
  • Stupid Sacrifice:
    • Cid's apparent death: He jumps out of an airship while holding a bomb, saying he has to ensure it lands on the correct spot. However, as he couldn't control the speed of his descent, carrying it wouldn't have altered anything. Though he winds up surviving, it comes off as a transparent method to bump him from the party in favor of Edge.
    • Palom and Porom sacrifice themselves by turning into statues to prevent the castle walls from crushing the party. However, not only does one of them know Teleport, but also Fire spells, which could be used to burn the hallway's wooden doors.
  • Summon Magic: As the game's main offensive magic user, Rydia specializes in both this and black magic. As a child, she is limited to summoning Chocobo, but her adult self can call forth the powerful Eidolons, including the almighty Bahamut should the party best him in combat.
  • Tagalong Kid:
    • Rydia is this at the start of the game. She is forced to tag along with Cecil and Kain after they accidentally destroy her village. Averted when she joins the party later in the game after spending some time in the Feymarch, as the temporal displacement from the Eidolons' homeworld caused her to age faster, so by the time she reappears she is a young adult.
    • Inverted with Palom and Porom. They may be younger than Cecil, but they are the ones leading the black knight to his next destination.
  • Taken for Granite: Palom and Porom petrify themselves to prevent Cecil, Tellah and Yang from being crushed by walls enchanted by Cagnazzo. Tellah himself is unable to bring them back to normal, but the elder from Mysidia breaks the spell just in time for the game's climax.
  • Tank Goodness: The Dwarves of the underworld field tanks against the airships of the Redwings when you first arrive in the underworld as well as against the Giant of Babel near the endgame.
  • Technicolor Death: When a boss dies, they fade away from the top down, chunks of the enemy sprite flying off in pieces.
  • Teleportation Rescue: Rosa saves everyone from a Collapsing Lair by casting the Teleport spell, in a nice bit of Gameplay and Story Integration. (Granted, the cutscene version manages to take them many miles, while the usual one just gets you to the dungeon entrance.)
  • That's No Moon!: The Red Moon is eventually revealed to be a giant spacecraft constructed by the Lunarians, a race of highly-advanced aliens.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: An utterly awesome example occurs after Zeromus appears and floors everyone; the game cuts to the Tower of Prayer, where Palom urges the Elder of Mysidia to do something. Cue the Theme of Final Fantasy, which goes on for at least 5 minutes while all your former party members appear and lend Cecil and friends their power for the final battle.
  • Theme Naming: The four elemental fiends are named for four of the Malebranche in Dante's Inferno.
  • This Cannot Be!: Golbez's reaction to Tellah casting Meteor in the Tower of Zot.
  • Time-Limit Boss:
    • The Demon Wall. If it gets too close, it starts using the Crush attack, which is a One-Hit Kill.
    • Odin slowly raises his sword, and when he's done charging, he'll use Zansetsuken on the whole party for a large amount of physical damage.
    • Bahamut starts a countdown at the beginning of the battle. When the timer hits zero, he unleashes his Mega Flare attack, which deals massive damage to the entire party.
    • Balnab/Barnabas becomes one if you defeat Dr. Lugae first.
  • Tin Tyrant: Golbez is covered head-to-toe in dark armor, complete with a Badass Cape. The only time he's seen without it in the first game is in flashbacks. Though he's shown without it in The After Years.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Many healing items, especially MP recovery potions, are rare and prohibitively expensive for most of the game. Tellah and Fusoya's advanced spells fall under this as well. Their limited MP, combined with the scarcity of MP recovery items, means that you'll likely be sticking to their mid-level spells most of the time.
    • Ethers cost 10000 gil, to be exact, and (except on the Easytype version) are only available for buying very late in the game. However, when you reach the moon, you can steal ethers from a plethora of enemies, including the very common Black Flan.
    • Remedies can be this too in the non-easytype versions, costing 5000 gil (which is 50 times what they cost in the easytype versions) and not being available to even buy until about a third of the way through the game.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Trickster/Li'l Murderer enemies, once the player catches onto their trick. They're scripted to immediately start spamming Bolt 3/Thundaga once hit by a lightning-element attack, which can quickly overwhelm the unprepared player. However, the only thing they do if a lightning-element attack isn't used is use Scan/Libra on themselves. If the player doesn't have lightning-element weapons equipped (and at that stage of the game, the only one who might is Rydia, who can just defend the whole time), the player can just do normal attacks with impunity, treating it like a Piñata Enemy with mediocre rewards.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Cecil. After he becomes a Paladin, he becomes significantly stronger in every stat, can wield much stronger equipment and can destroy anything that made you cry tears of frustration when he was a Dark Knight. The best part? This is when Paladin Cecil is level 1, compared to Dark Knight Cecil who's anywhere from 15-20.
    • Rydia as a young kid only had access to basic White and Black Magic and the weak Chocobo summon. When she comes back in her adult form, she lost her healing spells, but gained ridiculously powerful offensive magic and can summon the elemental Eidolons. A Rydia with proper equipment can and will take down entire waves of enemies by herself if you can spare the MP costs of her skills.
  • Took a Shortcut:
    • Namingway in the DS version travels all around the world, including up to the Moon, and always reaches his destinations much earlier than the party.
    • Rydia comes back from the Feymarch by going through a cave infested with monsters and over seas of lava that even the airship can't cross at that point in the story.
    • Rosa near the beginning of the game somehow gets through the monster-filled Mist Cave, past the burnt-out village of Mist, past the impassable mountains created by the earthquake, and still manages to reach Kaipo at about the same time Cecil and Rydia do, if not before.
  • Tornado Move: The game has Barbariccia, the Fiend of Wind, whose hair is said to be three times the length of her body! She uses her killer tresses to whip up wind storms, including a tornado around her own body; which deflects all outside attacks. Attacks from above, on the other hand...
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Inverted with Rydia: she has an innate talent for magic, but the trauma of watching her village being burned to the ground makes it difficult for her to use fire spells.
  • Trick Boss:
    • Calcabrina makes the party fight six dolls before they form up together into one.
    • Dr. Lugae summons a robotic creation to battle you, but it explodes. After that, he turns himself into a hideous monster, and you have to fight him again.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Cecil, Kain, and Rosa all grew up together. Cecil and Rosa's relationship fuels Kain's jealousy, making him an easy target for Golbez's brainwashing.
  • Uncommon Time: Part of "The Red Wings" is in 7/4.
  • Underrated and Overleveled: The game features Palom and Porom, a pair of Half-Identical Twins with formidable Wonder Twin Powers that allow them to wipe out regular encounters in an eyeblink. They provide Cecil with some much needed support when he's separated from his main party, despite being only five years old.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Everyone except for Anna and Tellah. It's hard to say which is the most egregious example, Cid's "death" scene that should've been impossible to survive in at least half a dozen different ways, or Palom and Porom having their petrification reversed by the Elder despite Tellah, who's explicitly a more powerful mage than the Elder, saying it was impossible.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Cecil is powerful enough to plow through all but the rarest Random Encounters on his own for a good hour into the game. In fact, it really feels more like an Escort Mission when he's paired up with Rydia and Edward, at least at first. The only time you might be in danger, when Undead show up, you get Tellah, who is even more powerful than Cecil and comes with the Fire and Cura spells. In the DS remake he's more balanced with the early encounters.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • After Edge is forced to fight his mutated parents, Rubicante tells him that emotions hold humans back. To prove the demon wrong, Edge unleashes his full rage, unlocking two of his most powerful Ninja Arts, Flood and Blitz.
    • The death of Tellah's daughter fuels his rage for the rest of the game. He first lashes out against Edward, whom he blames for not protecting Anna. Much later, he has a second outburst when he confronts Golbez, which culminates in him trying to kill the villain with the Meteor spell, knowing full well that casting such attack would lead to his own death as well.
  • Updated Re-release: It's been released on the SNES (with two different versions in Japan), PlayStation, WonderSwan, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo DS, mobile phones, the Wii Virtual Console, and it is now on the PSP in the form of the Complete Collection, with The After Years and an Interlude chapter bridging the two parts together. All with upgraded aesthetics.
  • Useless Item: The Fire Bomb in the SNES version. It wasn't completely Dummied Out - it's just only dropped by Red Dragons in the Lunar Subterranean. By that point, their damage is a pittance compared to what any of the characters can do in a single round.
  • Vague Age: Way back in the SNES days, this was true, especially for the American version which didn't have any ages in the manual or whatnot. Because of the "normalized" sprites resulting in everyone being surprisingly similar in height, it was unclear how old a lot of characters were meant to be - and this didn't just extend to child-Rydia and the twins, though they get the worst of it. Everyone's age was up to interpretation, and oftentimes fanon was way off the mark from eventually-published ages for things like the DS version:
    • Cecil, Kain and Rosa were actually really bad about this. Due to their pretty formal-looking sprites, the fact that they all have pretty high-ranking jobs (Cecil and Kain leading military units, and Rosa being a major figure within the Baron white mages), and the fact that Cecil and Rosa are basically engaged even at the start of the game, a lot of people had the three of them being pegged in at least their late twenties, if not thirties. Nope - Cecil and Kain are meant to be in their early twenties, and Rosa is nineteen. Those ages getting announced with the DS version surprised a lot of people.
    • As noted, the "kids" tended to get this especially bad, in no small part due to their sprites not really being much shorter than everyone else, though other elements didn't help.Fun Fact!  Rydia was "a cute child", but this could put her anywhere between 7 to 12, with a lot of people suspecting it might be on the older side due to having to take the sprites at face value. (The lower value turned out to be the correct age.) The twins got it much worse - their SNES sprites actually look subtly "older" than Rydia's, Palom's in particular, and Palom's Bart Simpson-esque wisecracking and Porom's practiced formality (along with the stated fact that they were students and the fact that they were trusted to be spies) had a lot of people thinking they had to be at least pre-teens, if not early teens. Nope again - Palom and Porom are five years old. They're just that precocious.
    • Edge also threw a lot of people off - his hotheadedness, use of slang, flirty attitude toward the (then-teenagerized) Rydia (and to a lesser extent, his relationship with his parents and his reaction to their fate) made pretty much everyone assume he was 17-18. Nope again: he's actually one of the older cast members at 26! He's significantly older than Cecil, Kain or Rosa!
  • Video Game Remake: After receiving a Game Boy Advance port, the game was reworked from the ground up in full 3D for the Nintendo DS.
  • Video Game Stealing: In versions previous to the DS remake, Edge ran with this to an absurd degree - there was no limit to how many times you could steal an item from an enemy. They apparently just had an unlimited supply of these items (never used, of course) kept in Hammerspace.
  • Villain Teleportation: Golbez does this so many times, it's not clear why he needs to send his armies to attack the castles guarding the crystals when he could just jump in and grab them.
  • The Walls Are Closing In:
    • One bad guy traps the heroes in one of these during a cutscene as they try to escape his lair after taking him out. Palom and Porom, the two cute kid mages, sacrifice themselves to save the others by turning themselves to stone and stopping the walls.
    • One of the bosses is the Demon Wall, which slowly advances toward the party. Once it gets close enough, it will use the Crush attack to instantly knock the heroes out.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Calcabrina fight. "Oh, some child's dolls, how cu— what did they just transform into?!" Especially so in the easy version released on the SNES, as its difficulty was not reduced much, resulting in one of the first bosses the player was likely to wipe on repeatedly.
  • Weak-Willed: Kain - he gets controlled by Golbez twice, and it's hinted that Zemus tries again in the final dungeon in the GBA and later releases. Kain resists the third time, though.
  • We Buy Anything: Unremarkable standard use of the trope, but it does become amusing in Mysidia where the merchants will happily buy Cecil's Dark equipment that the townspeople curse so much.
  • Wedding Finale: The game ends with Cecil and Rosa getting married and being crowned King and Queen of Baron. All other surviving members attending the wedding, except for Kain, who is pondering over his past actions atop Mt. Ordeals.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Kain succumbs to Golbez's brainwashing and turns against Cecil twice throughout the story, but is quickly welcomed back into the party once it seems he has snapped out of it. The second time he comes back, Edge actually defies the trope by calling him out on it, asking Kain what he expects them to do if he gets brainwashed again. Kain's response is succinct: Kill him. In the DS version, he almost succumbs a third time, during the final dungeon, and only barely manages to hang on when Zemus goes too far and tries to make him think that killing Rosa would be a good idea, if his thought bubbles are any indication.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Dr. Lugae, while he's manually operating Barnabas. It turns out that it's Barnabas's self-destruct button. Wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that he built the damn thing himself.
  • When Elders Attack: Tellah does this to Edward in a scripted battle, hitting him with his cane and calling him a Spoony Bard.
  • Whip It Good: Adult Rydia can wield whips to deal physical blows, although it's usually better to just focus on her abilities as a spellcaster.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Golbez has an odd relationship with this trope — in the original version, there was no way to know for sure if he fit the archetype, since he never took his helm off. Since he's Cecil's brother, though, it was a reasonable assumption. The DS version gave him brown hair in flashbacks, but on the other hand, we only ever see Golbez's face in flashbacks from when he was a child, so that could have changed in the intervening years. The After Years confirms this impression, as Golbez appears without his armor in that game, and definitely has white hair. Of course, by then he too has reformed, and his role throughout the entirety of The After Years is decidedly non-villainous.
  • White Magician Girl: Rosa is the prototypical example of the personality, even though she's better off using a bow. Porom also fits the character type, both in personality and skillset.
  • Who Dares?: This exchange in the PlayStation translation:
    King: Cecil!? You ingrate! How dare you renounce the dark sword without my authority!?
    Cecil: ...How dare YOU renounce your duty to your people, "Your Majesty"!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Rydia's initial aversion to Fire stems from Cecil and Kain accidentally burning down her home village and killing nearly everything in it.
  • With My Dying Breath I Summon You: At the conclusion, a dying Zemus vows to keep fighting. That vow causes his hatred to become the final boss, Zeromus.
  • With This Herring: Cecil and Kain are experienced soldiers, so they start at Level 10 with full equipment and will have no problem cleaving their way through normal enemies up to the first boss. Nonetheless, your starting supplies are a handful of gil and whatever items you find in the castle; it's implied that the King wasn't interested in the two surviving his mission, so of course he wouldn't give them much to help them.
  • Wizard Beard: Fusoya and Tellah both have them. It's justified by the fact that they're both very old. In Fusoya's case, centuries old.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: The Twincast ability. Palom and Porom have it natively, but you can use Augments in the DS version to put them on other characters, which can change the spell you might get. Giving it to Cecil and Rosa gives them the Ultima spell which, if the damage cap is raised, outdamages everything else in the game.
  • World of Ham: The DS remake combines voice acting with much more flowery dialogue than past releases to create this.
    Rosa: "Kain! Tell me you've not turned traitor!"
    Kain: "Don't look at me!"
    Golbez: "Kain! Why do you now hesitate?"
  • Worthy Opponent: Rubicante is a sort of Noble Demon. He fights you with your whole strength (healing the party before the fight every time), spares Edge life once, tries to explain to Edge how one should fight, apologizes for the bad deeds of his subordinates, and doesn't try to backstab the party once he knows he has lost, which the other bosses often do.
  • Written Sound Effect: Either a "POW!" or a *whack* on several occasions where Porom hits Palom.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The guidebook Settei Shiryou Hen, released alongside the SFC game in Japan, gives a lot of All There in the Manual information about the world of FFIVnote , including the population and area of each of the game's nations. All of these numbers seem unusually small, such as Fabul having a population of 300 people.
  • Wutai:
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The Feymarch's time distortion causes Rydia's Plot-Relevant Age-Up after the Leviathan takes her there.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: By about halfway through, the good guys should just be going "Here, take the damn crystal" as soon as Golbez appears.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: If you kill enough Goblins, Bombs, Cockatrice, and Mindflayers; they have Randomly Drops of their own summon that Rydia can use. This must mean their own souls are intact enough for her to control.

>Magic > Flame
"Poor technique. This is how it's done."

Alternative Title(s): Final Fantasy 4


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