Final Fantasy IV

Review Date: May 14, 2021

Release Date: November 23, 1991

Platform: SNES** (see footnote)

Publisher: Squaresoft

Genre: RPG

Anecdotes: Final Fantasy IV has been released 85,273 times for 1,395,569 systems. There is practically a unique FF4 for every gamer. In Japan, they had a Hard Type and an Easy Type. For North America, though, there was only one version. They took the Easy Type version from Japan, dummied out and adjusted a few things, then released it under the blatantly false title of Final Fantasy “II.” Square, being the sneaky rats they were, was hoping no one would notice that two of the games were missing by numbering it that way. In 1991, it actually worked, at least for a while. Square pulled the stunt again, later changing VI to III in 1994. After that, though, the Internet rose to prominence in 1995, and Square got caught with that, so they came clean and numbered VII properly.

Description: Cecil starts to question things when the King tells him to send a bomb to a nearly village. Eventually, he decides to change from a Dark Knight to a Paladin, but not without people being suspicious of his motives. Along the way, he realizes that Golbez is a big part of the problem, but he finds that Golbez is until the control of a higher villain. With that, let’s look at our playable characters, in alphabetical order, using whichever translation of the name I like most.

Cecil: Cecil starts off as a Dark Knight, but has a change of heart about a third of the way into the game. Generally, equipping the best weapon available and choosing Fight will be good enough. Except for a solo battle using Edward, Cecil will be in the party for every battle. He should be in the front row at all times.

Cid: He’ll join the party around the midpoint of the game. He attacks with hammers, but otherwise, there’s nothing special about him in battle. Whenever the party is stuck, visiting Cid could result in better transportation.

Edge: Edge was busy getting his but kicked by Rubicant over and over until Cecil and his team came along to help out. They scare off Rubicant for the time being and Edge joins the party, excited that there’s two women in it. Unfortunately, Edge starts off underleveled, at level 25 with 790 HP. Put him in the back to start, but once he catches up to the rest of the party, move him up front.

Edward: Known as Gilbert in this translation, Edward is a quick come and go with the party. He gets a Dreamer Harp in the Antlion Cave, which can confuse enemies. However, his best use is in the storm the castle series of seven battles in Fabul. Cecil and Yang will be busy clearing enemies out, but Edward can take potions and split them among the party. This adds up after a while, so the guys won’t be in any real trouble.

FuSoYa!!: Say hello to the AWESOMENESS KNOWN AS FUSOYA!!! FuSoYa!!, or Fussy for short, has the official job of “Lunarian.” That’s basically a Sage. Most of the time, there won’t be much for him to do, so he’ll just use an ability that restores 10 HP to everyone at regular intervals. His best use is aiming elemental spells in the rematch against the four fiends. He looks like a mop when he’s knocked out.

Kain: Kain turns more than the Big Show. He’ll go back and forth between face and heel throughout the game. Most of the game, though, he’s a face. Generally, I stick him in the back row, if possible, and have him jump. The biggest exception is against Zeromus, where I have him feed Elixirs to Rosa so her MP never runs out.

Palom: This brat can go take a hike. I can’t stand this kid. Battle wise, he’s got great black magic, but it costs too much MP to use it often, plus Tellah is in the party most of that time.

Porom: This Rosa wannabe isn’t anywhere near as obnoxious as her brother. Her skills are more valuable than his, as well. Porom adds nothing to the offense, but she will keep the party alive. She will be around up until the Cagnazzo fight, after which things will get a bit rocky for her and her brother.

Rosa: Rosa was just going on her own for a bit, going from Baron to Kaipo, but she came down with Desert Fever along the way. Cecil then looks for a cure, trying to get her out of bed. Cecil spends the rest of the game trying to get her back in, but I digress. Rosa joins the party for one dungeon before getting captured by Golbez. Cecil and company eventually find her and she joins the party permanently at that point. Rosa is a trainer archer with the ability to never miss with her arrows. She can also do extra damage with the right kind of arrows. Unfortunately, Square missed the chance to highlight that side of Rosa because she’s going to need to heal the party A LOT. The upside to this is that this makes Rosa VITAL to the party. Rosa dying is the worst thing that can happen. If anyone else drops, Rosa can revive them or heal everyone else while someone else uses a Phoenix Down. If Rosa drops, healing stops.

Rydia: There are, for gameplay purposes, two Rydias. The first is the “helpless” child Rydia, who can summon Titan to cause earthquakes and move mountains. She starts with an understandable fear of fire because Cecil brought a bomb into her village and wiped it out. Yet, being a na├»ve child, Rydia trusted him anyway. Later, she gets swallowed up by Leviathan and became “adult” Rydia after that. She holds off Golbez with her summons and stays in the party the rest of the game. Rydia can use black magic and summon monsters in both forms, but only child Rydia can use white magic.

Tellah: This hot headed old man is out to get revenge for the death of his daughter. Unfortunately, he let his anger get to him and it cost him dearly. His last battle with the party is against the Magus Sisters, at which point he tries to fight Golbez on his own.

Yang: The party first finds Yang fighting a giant Bomb and they join him in that effort. Yang then finds his home getting stormed before going overboard the ship. He leaves the party, then rejoins once Cecil beats some sense into him. Later in the game, he sacrifices himself to help out the Sylphs. He didn’t die, though, as the Sylphs take care of him, but he is unable to fight from then on.

Positives:

  • The nicest thing about this game is that the game controls all of the major decisions. The game determines who’s in the party. The game will give Rosa and Rydia the spells they need based on level. Anytime I’m stuck, the answer is always just to level up, as the game will always give me the tools I need.
  • Save points are now a thing, and they will be needed. The game is also a bit generous in handing out tents and cottages, so those save points can be used to heal. Save points also make grinding in dungeons feasible, as the risk of losing high amounts of progress is majorly reduced.
  • I like how the character’s roles cross over from story to gameplay. These little details are some fine works from Square. For example, child Rydia doesn’t have Fire to start because she’s afraid of it. Rosa knows she’s a White Wizard. Cecil has an entire segment of the game dedicated to his desire to renounce his ways and change his job. Kain actually talks about his specialty of fighting in the air. It’s just nice that the gameplay roles aren’t forgotten on the storyline side.
  • Also nice in the “in and out” party that changes throughout the game. People come, people go, and people change. The party changes are 100% dictated by storyline. This also means that there’s no reason to level up early in the game. In an early dungeon, like Mt. Hobs, the party has five characters with levels that don’t affect the end game at all. Yang and Edward aren’t in the final party. Rosa and Rydia leave and come back, and their levels are recalculated at the time of return. Cecil gets his level reset when he becomes a Paladin.

Negatives:

  • The inventory is still limited, and while this leads to the amazing Fat Chocobo having a role, it can fill up rather quickly. The game also has a bug (or is it?) that allows the same type of item to take up multiple slots. This actually makes it possible to carry 500 or more Phoenix Downs, but it will tie up a good amount of space.
  • Speaking of Chocobos, they’re a pain to catch. On the way to the Magnetic Cavern, I kept trying to chase down a white one, but kept getting the yellow. The same happened trying to catch a black Chocobo. It’s just more annoying than angering, but it does waste time and the black Chocobo is required.

Screenshots:

There’s actually a classroom for this?
Rosa is ready to sneak up behind Cecil and scream.
Never mind that we just bombed the village; you can trust us, little girl.
Rydia watches as even more people interrupt Cecil’s sleep again.
Tellah’s story bored Rydia to sleep. Don’t ask how that fire appeared or why Rydia isn’t fearing it here.
I jumped into a waterfall for this? This was my first game over; with Cecil as a frog I had no chance.
At this fork in the road, Tellah thinks Edward stuck a knife in his back.
It’s nice of Rosa to rub salt in the wound. Rydia should queue up a lightning spell right now.
Edward goes out for a strum…do any of these people ever sleep through the night?
Edward? Brave? Nice try, Anna.
Rosa’s back to taunting Rydia again, so Rydia finally just whips out a fire spell.
Every game needs a Mom Bomb.
Yes. Will Abracadabra fit?
This is his introduction and I already hate Palom.
While that’s 100% true, Palom is even worse.
Cecil fights himself for a new job.
Porom heals the men and Palom so they can beat up Yang.
Oh please. The party limit is five in this game. Baigan isn’t fooling anyone…
…including idiot boy.
The twins sacrifice themselves. This, in my opinion, is the best cutscene of the game.
The Magnetic Cavern may look tough, but it’s really easy. Make sure one person has nothing metallic on, then run from every battle.
It’s the battle of the sexes. We need some women in the party soon.
And Rosa returns in the next battle. One interesting aspect of this battle is that the party has NO black magic to use, so Kain’s Jump becomes very important.
Yay, it’s Rydia! Oddly, this is the only battle with Golbez in the entire game.
Why not throw in some Mystery Huevos?
Edge gets his butt kicked by that chivalrous jerk Rub I Can’t.
Oh, these toad battles are laughably stupid. Just do nothing other than the Fight command, then have Rydia defrog everyone after the battle.
This is why I need Rosa to get to level 35, when she learns the Float spell.
All Door battles go similarly to this; I just pray it doesn’t target Rosa.
When the party tires of fighting doors, the wall attacks next. Rosa’s Slow spell helps quite a bit.
It’s worth it to go to the moon to get the master of awesomeness FUSOYA!!

Final Opinion: Final Fantasy IV is an excellent game and a good place to start for series beginners due to the game handling most of the decision making. For the most authentic version, buy Final Fantasy Chronicles for the Playstation. Avoid the Super Nintendo version at all costs.

Grade: A

**I’m actually playing the Japanese version of the game with an unofficial translation. Final Fantasy IV “II” for the SNES is a butchered abomination of a game that took out some abilities, items, and secrets. I own a copy of Final Fantasy IV for the PS1 and it’s light years ahead of the SNES cartridge.

Here are the planned dates for the main Final Fantasy games. All reviews are posted at 1 P.M. Central Time.

  • V: May 30
  • VI: June 16
  • VII: July 7
  • VIII: July 19
  • IX: August 1
  • X: August 12
  • XI: August 30
  • XII: September 23
  • XIII: October 10
  • XIV: November 7
  • XV: November 23

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