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Final Fantasy 4
Reviewed by The Watcher

      Many may remember this game on the SNES, but many of you are unaware of the original game Final Fantasy 4. Not many know that there were 2 incarnations of this game "Hard Type" and "Easy Type". In the US we got "Easy Type" with much editing to the storyline. This review covers primarily the original Final Fantasy 4 "hard type."

The Plot
      Cecil, Dark Knight and captain of the Empire's elite Redwings, resigns from his post in pangs of conscience. His travels will bring him many friends ... and even more enemies. Soon, he crosses paths with the shadowy Golbez, leader of the Empire's Crystal-gathering efforts. He reaches Mt. Ordeals and undergoes a redemptive metamorphosis into the Paladin. Led by Golbez and the Four Fiends, the Empire acquires the last of the four Crystals. But the Empire has not won yet, as four more are found beneath the earth! Cecil and his crew travel underground to the realm of the Dwarf King, only to find Golbez and the Fiends one step ahead at every turn. Just when everything seems lost, the Big Whale, a sunken spaceship, arises to carry them to the moon. Here the ancient power of the Lunarians guides them deep within the Lunar Core to fight an evil as old as time: Zemus.

The Heroes
      The cast of Final Fantasy IV contains some of the most endearing and memorable characters ever to grace an RPG. The character designers flirted with stereotype but never fell completely into her seductive embrace. Cecil is the once-evil character striving to do good, and the player cannot help but cheer for him as he overcomes his original dark nature. Rosa, his long-time lover, is a strong-willed character as well as a powerful White Wizard. Kain changes allegiances more often than most people change pants. Buffeted by forces he cannot understand, he strives to stay by Cecil through thick and thin. Rydia was a young and helpless girl who overcomes her fears to become a powerful sorceress. Everyone's favorite spoony bard, Edward, is an indefensible doof. Yang is an honorable (albeit allergy-prone) kung-fu master. Tellah is a wizened sage with a personal agenda. The jolly old mechanic of the Redwings is Cid, always good in a pinch. Slapstick relief is provided by the two stooges Palom and Porom, the mischievous and magical Mysidian twins. Edge is a rebellious ninja prince more interested in scoring than ruling. And FuSoYa plays the role of Aged and Powerful Sage Who Aids You Briefly before Abandoning You to Your Fate. Why don't those buggers ever offer their help for the whole game?

The Villains
      If you thought that FuSoYa was a shameless clone of Obi-Wan Kenobi, you've clearly never met Golbez. Talk, dark, brooding, merciless, space-faring, helmeted, and related by blood to the hero, Golbez is sure to remind players of famous archfiend from another series. But as Golbez puts his evil ways behind him to help your party defeat the ultimate threat to the universe, you can't help but think that sometimes the best archetypes are the ones we know by heart.

      The Four Fiends draw their inspiration from the elements and their names from Dante's Inferno. Scarmiglione, Cagnazzo, Barbariccia, and Rubicant are not merely "bosses" placed as obstacles to the player. These Fiends have style and class. (The first three, incidentally, were renamed Milon, Kainazzo, and Valvalis by English translators.) Rubicant, ever the true gentleman, actually heals the party before the battle begins. They don't make evil opponents like they used to, do they?

Differences between Final Fantasy 4 and Final Fantasy 2 US

      What could possibly be different between the 2 games you might ask..Well the first noticable difference is the names of course..95% of the names of both monstars and heros were changed..

Story Changes

      FF4j easy version is basically identical to FF2 US. However, they did take out some character background for some strange reason. For example, they left out the fact that Fu-so-ya is Cecil's uncle, and they didn't cover Cain's background about how he is trying to live up to his father's reputation as a Ryuukishi, (Dragon Knight) and how he chose to follow his father's footsteps as a Ryuukishi even though the king tried to make him into an Ankoku Kishi (Black Knight) like Cecil.

Note, however, that there were some strange forms of censorship in FF2 US. This includes:

  • Changing the scythe that was going to drop on Rosa's head in the tower of Zott into a big metal ball.
  • Taking out a frame of animation where Cecil + Rosa are kissing so they just hug each other instead.
  • Censoring swearing and rephrasing some "important" phrases (like the few that hint that Cecil + Rosa have been sleeping together on a long time basis--not that it's surprising that this would be censored in the US...)
  • Censoring references to death. For example: Cid in FF4: "I'm going to blow myself up and sacrifice my life to save you! Yang will be lonely in the afterworld!" Cid in FF2, same situation: "Oh, I'll just get off here, hold the bad guys off, and stay in the underworld a bit longer."

          In FF4, there is a "programmer's room" located below "Pub Laliho" in the dwarf castle. In this room, you could talk to (and fight!) some of the programmers, and there is some strange stuff down there like the Porno book. This room was taken out of the US FF2, probably so you can't get access to the Porno Book.

    Extra Items

          In FF4j, there are at least twice as many items as there are in the Easytype. Most notably are the cure items; instead of one item that cures all status effects, there is a separate item for each, like one item that cures Poison, one that cures Blindness, etc...There is an item that cures all status effects but it is extremely rare and can only be bought in the underworld for a whopping 5000 Gil each. There are other items that were taken out of FF2 US, too. Generally, due to space, item management took some thinking in FF4, you rarely have space for a lot of extra items. Some of those items allow you to pull of spells..Items such as Bomb Fragment allowed a Fire 1 spell, or Wrath of Zeus was a Bolt 3 spell..There were many other items as well..

    Skills taken out of FF2 Easy Type

          These are a list of battle commands that each character had that were taken out of FF4j Easytype, and what they do.

    Cecil as an Ankoku Kishi (Black knight)
    Ankoku (Pitch-black)
    With this command, Cecil gathers his life energy in his sword and uses it to shoot black bolts of energy at all the enemies to do damage to them. However, every time you use Ankoku, Cecil's HP will drain a bit.

    Omoidasu (Remember)
    With this command, Tella will try to remember one of the spells he's forgotten. Basically it casts a spell at random. It can even cast spells that can't normally be cast, like Tornado or Death on all the enemies. Once when I was fighting Octomammoth, Tella remembered Thundaga. That was sure a quick fight. :) Once Tella remembers his forgotten spells on the Shiren no Yama, (Trial Mountain) this command disappears.

    Kusuri (Medicine)
    Kusuri heals all the characters for about 10-20 hp worth of damage.

    Inori (Prayer)
    Without using up MP, Rosa will cast "Keal" on all characters in the party. It doesn't always work though.

    Tameru: (Gather)
    Yang will gather his strength to do a double-damage attack, but it takes time for him to build up strength.
    Gaman: (Endure)
    With this command, Yang can reduce physical damage to himself as if "Protesu" was cast on him.

    Tsuyogaru (Strengthen)
    After using this command, Palom's magic power will increase.

    Usonaki (False tears)
    Porom will pretend to cry which upsets the monsters, and makes it easier for the party to run away.

    Seishinha (Spirit Wave)
    When Fuusuuya uses Seishinha, all the party's HP regenerate slowly.

    Other Changes

          In FF2 US, there are no front or back lines when fighting the enemy. IOW, in FF4 there is a front and back row among the enemies. Enemies in the back row will take half damage from your attacks, just as characters in the back row take half damage. Unfortunately, monsters in the back row don't seem to do less damage when they attack. Overall battles are harder, and there are annoying bits not present in the easytype to make things difficult. For example, if the twins take much longer to cast their double spells, get out of synch when they try to cast a magic together, when they come forward to cast the spell, they expend the MP, but do absolutely nothing.

          Items in general are more expensive and tougher to get in FF4 than in FF2 US. The Eteru (Ether in FF2 US) items can only be bought on the moon, whereas in FF2us ether is available in stores from the first town. The Ban NouyakuÊ(Heal potion in FF2) is 50 times more expensive in FF4 than in the ff2US. Also it's not buyable until the latter half of the game.

          Many of the bosses were toned down for FF2US. For example, the Dark Dragon does much more damage with his Dark Breath, and Valvalicia cannot be hit in her spin except by Cain's Jump attack, or by magic.

          The Shoukan spell "Asura" does different things in FF4 and FF2 Easytype. In FF4, Asura does one out of three things: 1) Cast "Raise" on every member of the party. 2) Cast "Kealda" on every member of the party. 3) Cast "Protesu" on every member of the party. In FF2 Easytype, the "Protesu" effect is turned into a mega-cure which usually will heal your party to max. On a similar note, Asura is *much* more difficult to beat in FF4, since the first thing she does before you can do anything is cast "Protesu" on herself, making physical attacks do next to nothing. And since you basically have to cast "Reflek" on her to keep her from healing herself it makes it much tougher.

          Also, many of the non-boss monsters in FF2 US Easytype were toned down. In FF4, they do more damage and have higher defense ratings so you do less damage on them. Also, some of them are tougher due to item constraints. For example, the Molbol's Kusai Iki (Bad breath) gives you every bad status effect you can have, and since Ban Nouyakus (aka Heal potions) are so rare, if the characters that can cast "Esuna" get affected you're basically screwed. Also, some monsters have additional attacks in FF4. For example, the "Tsuki no Megamis" (Lunar Goddesses-I forget what they are in FF2--those girls with swords on the moon) have a special attack which heals your characters-but also turns them to stone. (And if you confuse her, she decides to try and heal you by this method...yuk...)

          In FF2 US Easytype, the various secret passages in the walls and the like are visible, whereas they are all invisible (except for one place, I think) in FF4j normal.

          It's a small difference, but during Cecil's flashback to the stealing of Mysidia's crystal, there is no dialogue between Cecil and the elder in FF4j, but there is in FF2.

          Final Fantasy 4 is a great game, if you have conquered FF2 US you have not conquered the real game. To get the full effect of this game the Watcher recommends picking up a translated ROM of Final Fantasy 4, and see what you have been missing.....