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  • Anti-Climax Boss: In the original version, the Final Boss, Chaos, can easily be dispatched in a couple rounds due to him having only 2,000 HP. The remakes beginning with Dawn of Souls avert this, where his HP has been greatly increased, though this is counterbalanced by the game being a lot easier overall.
  • Awesome Music: Starting a series tradition.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The "Overworld" room in one of the bonus dungeons in the remake. It's the Overworld... except with treasure chests, NPCs, stairs to the next floor, and a lot of other weirdness. You can even find another airship there.
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  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Most guides, especially for the remake, recommend some variation of "Fighter, Black Mage, White Mage (can replace the latter two with a Red Mage), and something else." This is because that formation gives a good mix of all the game's mechanics, while still having a little room for experimenting in the fourth member (Red Mage for magic, Thief for running, Black Belt for damage). It's also very hard to find a guide that doesn't recommend at least one Fighter in the party.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Sorcerers and anyone with paralyzing powers, such as Ghasts (renamed Geists) and Ghouls. To a lesser extent, anything that could turn you into stone as well, such as Medusas. The chance of working was rare, but the curative for the condition was both expensive and couldn't be used in battle.
      • Cockatrices, which are some of the most difficult monsters the player will face so early in the game. Even the monsters in the Peninsula of Power cannot compare. At this point in the game, the player likely cannot afford Gold Needles to cure Paralysis, and likely doesn't have the Esuna spell for their White Mage, and these things can Petrify your party ludicrously easy. It's not uncommon to get a total party kill with everyone being petrified in the span of maybe two turns. Summed up by this guide maker on a screen involving four 'trices.
        "THIS is the most terrifying thing you'll see in the entire game."
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    • The remakes with additional content add more enemies that can kill in one hit, and make Sorcerers (renamed Mindflayers) able to use the instant kill attack on the entire party at once.
    • The Mages (Dark Wizards), which only appear in the Ice Cave and have the power to cast RUB (Death) on any party member. They also repeatedly cast FIR3 (Firaga), LIT3 (Thundaga), BANE (Scourge), SLO2 (Slowra), and STUN. Good luck surviving these guys.
    • Many enemies with the ability to poison characters that are extremely slow to defeat with physical attacks, namely the Scums (Green Slimes) and Slimes (Black Flans), which have the highest defense stats of all characters in the game, have a very rare chance of being defeated with physical attacks in one hit, and whose only weakness is Fire spells.
    • The Sentry (Soldier), seen only in the Sky Castle (Flying Fortress), which is tough to defeat physically with high defense stats, but its attack stats are even worse. They are able to defeat any party member for at least 100 (and sometimes as much as 200) HP in a single physical attack and are always paired up with their lesser cousins, Guards (Guardians).
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    • And then there are the Mancats (later Rakshasas), each of which had a high chance of casting FIR2 (Fira). Being surprised by 8 of these could result in a Total Party Kill.
    • Mummies and WzMummys (renamed King Mummies), which can put your party members to sleep.
    • Ghosts, which appear in the Sunken Shrine, appear in groups of as many as 5, and can damage any member for 100 HP on average. Like Ghasts and Ghouls, Ghosts can paralyze you. One of the few recurring enemies that are impossible to flee from.
    • Wizards (Piscodemons), another of the few recurring enemies you can't flee from in the game. First appearing in the Marsh Cave, Wizards will damage your party members on a one by one basis for more than 50 HP.
    • The Cockatrices' cousin, the Pyrolisks, are usually found in the Gurgu Volcano (Mt. Gulg) and possess the SQUINT attack that instantly kills a party member. Cockatrices and Pyrolisks are sometimes paired up together. Fortunately, Cockatrices are weak to Fire spells and Pyrolisks are weak to Ice spells and can work, assuming none of your party members are killed.
    • The Sorcerers (Mindflayers) hit for only 1 HP damage, but with the added effect of a potential instant KO.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Marilith/Kary. She's also Creepy Sexy, since she's a giant snake woman.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Why is Bahamut's Upgrade Artifact a smelly rat's tail? Because nobody would ever think to use something so weirdly random and gross to falsely present him as proof of their valor.
    • Also, the "Death" spell getting changed to "RUB", which erases you, is just more of that ol' NES-era NOA censorship, right? Well, maybe, but it could also be an informed change: in 1st edition D&D, the sixth spell level had two instant-kills. One was Death Spell. The other? Disintegrate. The spell is described in the rulebook as "causing the target to vanish"; moreover, the FF1 spell in question behaves much more like Disintegrate than Death Spell (the former is single-target attack with a hard save versus dying, i.e. what RUB is, the latter was a complex hit-dice-based area-effect spell). The only real difference is that Disintegrate explicitly works against Undead (it's an Alteration effect, not a Conjuration of negative energy) while RUB tends to be much more sketchy against Undead, which is part of why it isn't as respected as a player-usable spell. Overall, while it might still be censoring the word "death", it also really seems like someone at NOA did their homework and understood the essence of what FF1 was.
  • Game-Breaker: Here.
  • Goddamned Bats: The Hellfire Chasm dungeon in the Dawn of Souls and Anniversary Edition remakes has a floor where multitudes of bats can block your way from finding the exit to the next floor. Did I mention that said floor is primarily composed of tiles that will continuously sap the party's HP as long as you're not in the few safe zones in that floor?
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • It's possible to land the airship directly on top of the caravan instead of fighting across the desert. The caravan was the only "unlandable" spot that could actually be landed on with the airship. However, we can't be sure this "bug" was intentional or not.
    • HEL2 (Healara; a 5th-level spell), has the exact same curative power as HEL3 (Healaga; a 7th-level spell) when used in battle, and when you consider that the cheapest way to heal out of battle is Potions (CURE potions in the NES version), you're better off skipping the latter and saving yourself the 45,000 gil. Or get both and effectively be able to cast the same spell up to eighteen times instead of the usual nine.
    • The "Peninsula of Power": A four square peninsula tip that is the closet point in the southern continent to the northern one. Due to a mapping mistake, those four squares had the enemy encounters of the continent to the north, allowing you access to much higher-level—but still kill-able if fought with full HP/MP—monsters long before you should be able to face them, allowing for some serious Level Grinding. Yet another bug that has not only been kept in virtually every remake but also gave us the Peninsula of Power Leveling trope.
    • Chaos is not immune to the White Magic spell Fear (which causes enemies to have a chance to flee, and this chance stacks with each cast); in normal play, you'd have to abuse Save Scumming in order to see it happen, but in a Tool Assisted Speedrun, where you can use luck manipulation, well... (In fact, this is how the TAS of the game using nothing but a lone living White Mage finishes the final battle.)
    • BANE will kill anything. Due to programming error, an enemy immune to instant death will has a magic threshold for that attack set at less than or equal to 0. However, it is possible for the RNG to roll a 0. Granted, it only has a 3/256 chance of happening Explanation  but a TAS will take full advantage of this by using the BANE Sword.
    • In the GBA remake, Dawn of Souls, Poison is considered to be regular damage. A Warrior can block the poison running through his veins with a shield!
    • Critical Hit chance is supposed to be determined by a hidden weapon stat. Instead, the game erroneously uses the weapon's index number — the result is actually quite satisfying, as this means crits become more common as you climb the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness.
  • Good Bad Translation: "I, Garland, will knock you all down!" It's so infamous that, after the Playstation port removed it, the GBA port added it back, and it's been around for all releases since up to and including the smartphone versions. And curiously, it's actually not an inaccurate translation.note 
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • In the original version, several important pieces of info were left out of the manual. For example, there are several items that can cast spells in battle (one of the most important—the White Shirt could cast INV2 (Invisira), a sixth-level spell that greatly enhances your party's evasion, for free), though the game and the manual give absolutely no hint as to what does what. Some could be guessed (the Thor Hammer casting LIT2 (Thundara), for example), but most required trial and error. Naturally, of course, the Nintendo Power Strategy Guide issue about the game does mention all of these... if you were willing to shell out for it.
    • And of course, not just the manual but many contemporary guides, including the above-mentioned NPSG, fail to explain how XXXX is different from the other instant-kill spells. (It's based on Power Word: Kill from Dungeons & Dragons, meaning that if a target has less than 300 HP remaining, it dies, period, unless it is outright immune to all instant death effects. This makes it significantly more useful than other instant-kills.)
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The title itself is a grand example of this for the entire series, as Square thought this would be the final video game they would produce. Nearly 30 years of series success and long library of series titles have since proven them otherwise in very spectacular ways.
    • Those complaining about the effeminate faces of the more recent protagonists would do well to remember that White Mage's gender was also ambiguous in the original. And even in the remake, if you imagine him as male, he looks like a Bishounen.
    • Erdrick's grave could be found as a Take That! towards Enix. Now, which company did Square merge with to create Square Enix?
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: One of the biggest complaints about the GBA and PSP remakes. To clarify, the magic system was replaced with the traditional magic points, experience is gained faster, Phoenix Downs were added, saving is possible almost anywhere, and a character's attacks now redirect to another enemy if the original target is killed by someone else the same turn.
  • It Was His Sled: Garland is really the Big Bad, not the Starter Villain. This was considered a major plot twist back in the days of the NES, not so much now.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I, Garland, will knock you all down!"
  • Most Annoying Sound: The game's sound effects are generally pretty shrill and high-pitched, even compared to the other two NES Final Fantasy games. The sound that's played whenever any dialogue box opens in particular can quickly get grating.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Honestly, the final floor of the Floating Fortess is terrifying to walk through if you know that the otherwise-featureless corridor has a small chance of throwing WarMECH at you, with you likely praying during the Fight Woosh that it'll be merely a standard enemy encounter.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The "Feyhome" level of Whisperwind Cove, in the remakes. Some of the faeries will feed you an X-Potion or Dry Ether. Others will cast KH!Sephiroth's version of Heartless Angel. You will never trust a pair of wings again.
    • The final floor of the Floating Fortress. Every time you get into a random encounter, you'll most likely get one of the usual enemy waves... but may the gods help you if the RNG decides to land you on the 1-in-64 chance of tossing WarMECH/Death Machine at you, even moreso if it starts off by casting NUKE/Flare. Moreso if you're playing a version of the game that doesn't let you save anywhere!
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: This is a 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons game in practically every way possible except for the title. The change of sprites of the Evil Eye/Beholder from the American version is pretty much the only reason Squaresoft didn't get sued.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The above-mentioned 15 Puzzle is really addicting in the remakes, for obvious reasons. The Anniversary edition also has almost as many side dungeons as main ones.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: It's basically a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with the game itself as the GM.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The Updated Rereleases. You'd think that rebalancing the game, making saving more convenient, and automatically redirecting hits originally intended at targets that just died would make fans happy.
    • The Floating Castle (Tiamat's lair) in remakes is changed from a science fiction-esque space station to a stone & marble temple suspended above the clouds, which is more thematically-consistent with the rest of game's visual style, but it's also a lot less surprising and cool - i.e., the whole reveal was meant to be that what the rest of the world and the party can only conceive of as a "flying castle" is in fact a flat-out orbital station, complete with robots and the like, and the remakes blunt that (the castle isn't even orbital anymore).
      • This change also has the side effect of making the robots, both the friendly ones you encounter early on and the enemy ones inside the castle/station, make a lot less sense - in the original, they foreshadowed the true nature of Old Lefenia, but in the remakes they're just anachronisms.
  • That One Attack:
    • Two: Astos's RUB (Death) will kill one party member instantly (at a point in game progress where you have no defense against instant-kills), and WarMECH's Nuclear attack deals huge damage.
    • RUB actually only has a 75% chance of hitting. It is entirely possible to get through the fight without a single party member dying. It is also entirely possible for Astos to rub out three of your party members before you can beat him if you aren't sufficiently leveled. It really becomes that one attack after you get past the area, because you can get equipment that makes you immune to RUB after this fight... which means the game expects you to have it.
    • And the Sorcerers'/Mindflayers' regular physical attack has a high chance of insta-KOing whomever it hits.
    • Chaos manages to pull one out that doesn't do a lick of damage to the player's party, but can cause an instant loss of hope - CUR4 / Curaja. Yes, he averts No Cure for Evil, and it fully heals him. If the player has already lost a couple party members (given that Chaos has multiple One-Hit KO attacks, including one that can take out multiple party members at once, well within the realm of possibility), seeing Chaos cast it can be the moment in which the player knows the Final Boss has won.
  • That One Boss: Astos. He's got RUB (Death) and he ain't afraid to use it. A lot.
  • That One Level: The Marsh Cave, which dictates that you stock up on Antidotes to cure poison status caused by the many poisonous enemies in this dungeon, not to mention the area surrounding it on what is a long walk from the nearest town (Elfheim), and on Potions for a dungeon that is not only literally full of Goddamned Bats, but also the SLIMEs (Green Slimes) that require you to have Fire spells on standby, undead enemies that repeatedly paralyze you, and the WIZARDs (Piscodemons) that require you to have Thunder spells on standby. Good luck getting through the Marsh Cave.
    • The Terra Cave, with its Cockatrices and their petrification abilities that dictate stocking up on SOFT Potions (Gold Needles) (sold at a high cost and only in one town, Elfheim) to reverse the affliction. There are several Goddamned Bats that aren't enemies in this dungeon (or any other), but get on your nerves when they block its narrow passageways.
    • The Ice Cavern, which gives you lots of Demonic Spiders that often attack in groups of at least 3: the return of Piscodemons and Cockatrices, the infamous SORCERORs (Mindflayers) and their one-hit instant KO attack, the MAGEs (Dark Wizards) who appear in groups and spam FIR2 (Fira) and RUB (Death) on your party, and some more undead enemies out to paralyze you. This is a level that's not even significant to the plot and which you're only doing just to obtain the Floater (Levistone) that will grant you access to the airship. Oddly enough, it applies when many players use this in an example of Sequence Breaking by completing the Ice Cavern (and the Citadel of Trials) to be able to get the class change before entering Mt. Gulg.
    • The top floor of the Flying Fortress, which has the WarMECH (Death Machine) and more appearances of the Mindflayers that now come in groups of up to 7, on the very same floor you face off against Tiamat. It's even a form of Mood Whiplash, as the lower floors of the Fortress are significantly less challenging, aside from the occasional Man CAT (Rakshasa) and SENTRY (Soldier), and then you get to Tiamat's floor and you can get obliterated before even seeing her orb, War MECH or no.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The "Dawn of Souls" GBA remake (as well as the iOS port based on it) is criticized by some hardcore fans for ditching the spell system from the original game in favor of a more familiar MP system and for adding the ability to save anywhere. However, this is averted for the most part, since saving anywhere is quite useful in a portable RPG, where one may have to put the game down on short notice. Plus, the remake also balanced out the ability to cast far more spells by making them less powerful, and added several Bonus Dungeons to make up for easing up on the difficulty.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: The Thief. It can't steal, and several of its stats in the original were buggy, leaving it with basically nothing but its below-average combat skills and the unreliable ability to run away (which it will need to). After the class change comes along, it gets a lot better, but even then, a Knight is tougher and does more damage, and a Red Wizard is on par in damage and has much more magic. A solo run with a Thief is considered the hardest of any class by a good margin. It got several buffs in the remakes, but even then, it's considered one of the more expendable members.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: All of the classes look too androgynous to be generally seen as male, especially the White Mage. The Monk is the exception due to his bare chest.
    • Square apparently accepted the fan view of things (and realized the precedent of later games); the White Mage is more androgynous in the remakes, and decidedly feminine in the PSP version.
    • In the Spanish version of Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls, the White Mage is refered to as "Maga Blanca". "Maga" is a gendered noun that refers only the a female mage; and "blanca" is the female version of blanco, which means "white", so at least she is female in Spain. If foreign translations and localizations should be considered canon, that's another subject.
    • In the remakes, Square have also taken advantage of this by putting both male and female names on the preset names list for most classes.
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