| series = Final Fantasy
| genre = Console role-playing game
| modes = Single-player, multiplayer
| ratings = PlayStation
Game Boy Advance
| platforms = Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS | media = 8 megabit cartridge (SNES)
1 CD-ROM (PlayStation)
64 megabit cartridge (GBA)
1024 megabit cartridge (Nintendo DS) }} is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game was originally released for the Super Famicom in Japan, but has been ported with minor changes to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as well as by TOSE to the Sony's PlayStation, Bandai's WonderSwan Color, and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. In May 2007, Square Enix announced that it was developing a remake of the game for the Nintendo DS. The game was re-titled "Final Fantasy II" during its initial release in North America, but later localizations used the original title.
The player takes the role of Cecil, a Dark Knight from the kingdom of Baron, on his journey to save the world from the evil Golbez. Struggling to prevent Golbez from acquiring powerful Crystals, Cecil learns of his heritage and travels through three realms to battle Golbez's minions. His lover, best friend, and other warriors join him for the adventure.
Final Fantasy IV introduced innovations that became staples of the Final Fantasy series and role-playing games in general. Its "Active Time Battle" system was used in six subsequent Final Fantasy games. Its character-driven plot, use of the new technologies (such as Mode 7) and critically acclaimed score by Nobuo Uematsu has prompted critics to consider Final Fantasy IV one of the greatest games of all time.
In Final Fantasy IV, the player controls a large cast of characters and completes quests to advance the story. Characters move and interact with people and enemies on a field map, which may represent a variety of settings, such as towers, caves, and forests. Travel between areas occurs on a world map. The player can use towns to replenish strength, buy equipment, and discover clues about their next destination. Conversely, the player fights monsters at random intervals on the world map and in dungeons. In battle, the player has the option to fight, use magic or an item, retreat, change character positions, parry, or pause. Certain characters have special options. Player characters and monsters have HP or hit points (represented by a numerically based life bar); attacks reduce hit points until none are left, at which point the character faints or the monster dies. If all characters are defeated, the game must be restored from a saved game file. The player can restore the characters' hit points by having them sleep in an inn or use items in the party's inventory, such as a Potion. Equipment (such as swords and armor) bought in towns or found in dungeons can be used to increase damage inflicted on monsters or minimize received damage. The player can choose whether characters appear on the front line of a battle or in reserve. A character's placement impacts distribution of damage received and inflicted. The game's story is linear—the player can usually advance the game through only one path, although limited side quests are available.
Final Fantasy IV introduced Square's Active Time Battle (ATB) system designed by Hiroyuki Ito, who was one of the battle designers with Kazuhiko Aoki and Akihiko Matsui, which differed from the turn-based designs of previous RPGs. The ATB system centers on the player inputting orders for the characters in real time during battles. An important precedent, ATB was used in many subsequent Square games. Each character is balanced through certain strengths and weaknesses; for instance, a strong magic user may have low defense, while a physical fighter may have low agility. Like other Final Fantasy games, characters gain new, more powerful abilities with battle experience. Magic is classified as either "White" for healing and support; "Black" for offense; or "Summon" (or "call") for summoning monsters to attack or carry out specialized applications. A fourth type—"Ninjutsu"—consists of support and offensive magic and is available to only one character. Magic users, who account for eight of twelve playable characters, gain magic spells at preprogrammed experience levels or fixed story events. The developers have balanced point gains, items, and rewards to eliminate long sessions of gaining levels. Due to the Super Nintendo's greater processing power, Final Fantasy IV contains graphics improved over past Final Fantasy titles and concurrent Super Nintendo games. The game employs the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 technology to give enhanced magic spell visuals and to make airship travel more dramatic by scaling and tilting the ground for a bird's eye view.
The Hummingway are a race from the Moon, rabbit-like in appearance wearing blue and yellow clothing with turbans on their heads, however, some appear in pink and white. Most of them only speak in humming noises. One notable Hummingway is named Namingway, whose attire is red, and appears in most towns offering to change the names of the characters who talk to him. In Final Fantasy IX, the player can find the Namingway card in Kuja's castle, or win it from Mario in the card arena. This card allows players to rename their characters.
The Lunarians are a race of human-like wizards who came from a world destroyed which became the asteroid belt, and are identified by a moon-shape crest on their foreheads. They created the second moon that revolves around the world the story takes place on, resting until a time they believe their kind can co-exist with humans. The only known full-blood Lunarians are FuSoYa, the guardian of the Lunarians; Zemus, a restless Lunarian who plans on destroying life on Earth so his kind, alone, can inhabit the planet; and KluYa, who is believed to be the first Lunarian to interact with humans. In fact, KluYa fell in love with a human, and had at least two sons with her: Theodor, whom Zemus corrupted and renamed Golbez; and the younger brother raised by the King of Baron as Cecil.
Final Fantasy IV offers twelve playable characters, each with a unique character class. The hero, Cecil Harvey, is a Dark Knight of Baron who serves the king alongside his childhood friend Kain Highwind. Kain was once asked to become a Dark Knight, but instead followed his father's example and became Commander of the Dragoons. Rosa Farrell is the heroine and Cecil's girlfriend; she became a white mage and archer to protect Cecil as her mother protected her father. Cecil is Lord Captain of the "Red Wings", an elite air force unit constructed by his friend, the engineer Cid Pollendina, Baron's airship engineer
During his quest, Cecil is joined by others. Rydia, a young Summoner from the village of Mist, who joins shortly after Kain disappears and Cecil gains her trust by saving her life. Tellah is a legendary sage of Mysidia; his daughter Anna died protecting her love, prince Edward Chris von Muir of Damcyan, who poses as a bard. Yang Fang Leiden is the well-mannered head of the Monks of Fabul. Palom and Porom are twin apprentices from the magical village of Mysidia who assist Cecil as he went to Mt. Ordeals. Edward "Edge" Geraldine is the rowdy Ninja prince of Eblan who has a crush on Rydia. Lastly, FuSoYa is the guardian of the Lunarians during their long sleep.
Soldiers from Baron arrive in the night to abduct the girl on orders from the king of Baron to kill all Summoners, and Cecil defeats them; impressed, Rydia joins him. While in Kaipo, Cecil discovers a bedridden Rosa; searching for Cecil, she had contracted Desert Fever, curable only by a "Sand Ruby" located in the nest of a creature called the Antlion. Access to the Antlion's lair is controlled by the Kingdom of Damcyan, so Cecil and Rydia travel north to Castle Damcyan. Along the way they meet Tellah, a sage, in the waterway, who is also travelling to Damcyan in search of his daughter Anna, who ran off there with a bard. The three arrive just in time to witness the Red Wings bombard the castle. In investigating the ruins of the castle, they discover that Anna was killed in the assault; Tellah blames her death on her lover, Prince Edward, the smitten bard. Edward explains that a warrior named Golbez orchestrated the attack and stole Damcyan's Fire Crystal, prompting Tellah to leave the party to seek vengeance on Golbez for Anna's death. Edward joins Cecil and Rydia and helps them retrieve the Sand Ruby.
At Kaipo, the revived Rosa joins the party; they resolve to go to Fabul to protect the Wind Crystal from being stolen by Golbez and the Red Wings. While crossing Mt. Hobs they encounter Yang, the head of the Fabul Monks, being ambushed by Golbez's monsters; the party helps him fight them off. Yang requests Cecil's help in defending Fabul after they inform him of Golbez's plot. The Red Wings attack Castle Fabul and Cecil's party falls back to the Wind Crystal's room. There, Cecil is confronted by his friend Kain and learns Kain is allied with Golbez though unbeknownst to Cecil, Kain has actually been brainwashed into serving Golbez. Kain challenges and defeats Cecil in a duel. Golbez arrives, kidnaps Rosa, and steals the Wind Crystal. The next morning, the party concludes that they will need an airship to confront Golbez's Red Wings. They decide to sneak into Baron to acquire an airship from Cid, Baron's airship engineer. Yang charters a ship to take Cecil, Edward, Rydia, and himself to Baron. While sailing, however, they are attacked by the sea monster Leviathan and the ship sinks.
Cecil awakens alone on a beach near Mysidia, where he is met with contempt by the town's wizards for stealing the Water Crystal earlier. However, the Mysidian elder understands Cecil's plight, and tells him that to defeat Golbez, Cecil must climb Mt. Ordeals, surrender his dark sword and become a Paladin. The elder sends twin wizards Palom and Porom to assist and spy on Cecil. On the mountain, they encounter Tellah, who is searching for the legendary spell Meteor to defeat Golbez. Golbez attempts to stop the party by sending Scarmiglione, the Archfiend of Earth, to stop them, but the party defeats the demon, Cecil completes the trials, and becomes a Paladin; Tellah also learns the secret of Meteor, a dangerously powerful spell that may defeat Golbez.
Upon returning to Mysidia, the town elder is impressed that Cecil successfully became a Paladin and allows him the use of the "Serpent Path," a teleporter that takes the party to Baron. There, Cecil learns that Cid has been arrested and Yang brainwashed into the service of Baron. After helping Yang recover, Cecil, Yang, and the others infiltrate the castle and discover that the king is actually the Archfiend of Water, Cagnazzo. After defeating him, Cid is freed and attempts to take Cecil and his friends to his newest airship. Before dying, however, Cagnazzo causes the walls of the castle to move with the intent of crushing the party. Palom and Porom petrify themselves to halt the trap.
Cecil takes command of the airship and is met at takeoff by the brainwashed Kain, who demands Cecil retrieve the final Crystal in exchange for Rosa's life. Cecil heads for Troia, where the Earth Crystal is enshrined. Upon arriving, Cecil is informed that the Dark Elf has stolen the crystal and is bunkered down in his magnetic cave, making the groups metallic (and powerful) weaponry useless. The party also discovers that Edward survived the attack at sea and has been recovering in Troia. When Edward learns of Cecil's need to retrieve the earth crystal, he provides him with a magical harp that negates the Dark Elf's magnetic field, allowing the party to defeat the Elf and retrieve the crystal. Kain leads the group to the Tower of Zot, where Rosa is imprisoned. At the tower's summit, Golbez takes the Crystal and attempts to flee. Tellah tries to kill Golbez by using Meteor. The spell kills Tellah and weakens Golbez, shattering his control over Kain's mind. Kain helps Cecil rescue Rosa and, after defeating the Archfiend of Wind, Barbariccia, the party escapes to Baron.
In Baron, Kain reveals that Golbez must also obtain four subterranean "Dark Crystals" to achieve his goal of activating the Tower of Babel. Cecil swears to defend the Crystals; Kain gives him a "Magma Rock" he obtained while in the service of Golbez, which opens a passage to the Underworld. They fly through the opening, but their airship is soon damaged while caught in the cross-fire of a battle between the Dwarves' tanks and the airships of the Red Wings, forcing it to crash outside the Castle of Dwarves. King Giott of the dwarves accepts Cecil's offer to guard the Crystals. Cid departs to repair and upgrade the airship; soon after he leaves, Cecil, Rosa, Yang, and Kain discover Golbez has infiltrated the dwarves' crystal room and try to stop his theft of the Crystal. During the battle they are joined by Rydia, who was sucked into the Underworld by Leviathan. However, Golbez escapes with the Dwarves' Dark Crystal, and Cecil sets out to the Tower of Babel to retrieve the lost crystals. King Giott offers the services of his tanks to draw the fire of the tower's defenses while the party infiltrates it. While inside, the party confronts Golbez's servant Dr. Lugae. He informs the party that the crystals have been moved to the above ground portion of the Tower, and as his last act Dr. Lugae orders that the Tower's Super Cannon destroy the dwarf tanks. Yang volunteers to stay behind and destroy the Super Cannon while the party escapes, and is presumed dead.
Upon escaping the Tower the party is met by Cid and a repaired airship. They are pursued by the Red Wings and fly back to the upper world to escape them; Cid throws himself overboard and detonates a bomb to re-seal the passage, apparently sacrificing himself. Back on the surface, they find the path to the Tower of Babel's upper half. While following it they encounter Edge, the ninja prince of Eblan, who seeks revenge on Rubicante, the Archfiend of Fire, for the death of his parents; Edge joins the party. Inside the tower, the party defeats Rubicante but falls through a trap door to an Underground portion of the Tower and finds an abandoned Red Wing airship. The party then goes to the Underworld's Sealed Cave to retrieve the eighth and final crystal before Golbez gets to it. After they do so, however, Golbez reassumes control over Kain and forces him to steal the Crystal. Back at the Dwarf castle, Giott tells Cecil of the Lunar Whale, a "ship of light designed to take travelers to and from the moon. Cid, who was found by the dwarves and nursed by them back to health, fits their airship with a drill and the party drills their way back to the surface. Cecil returns to Mysidia to pray for the Lunar Whale's appearance. It rises from the ocean, and Cecil, Rosa, Rydia, and Edge board it to travel to the moon.
Upon arriving on the moon, the party enters the Lunar Palace, and there the party meets an elderly man named FuSoYa who explains that Cecil's father is a heroic but deceased Lunarian. FuSoYa also explains that a Lunarian named Zemus plans to destroy life on the Blue Planet to facilitate Lunarian inhabitation. To achieve this, Zemus manipulated Golbez and Kain to obtain the Crystals needed to revive a giant destructive machine, the Giant of Babel. Meanwhile on Earth, the forces of the world, including some characters (Yang, Palom, Porom) thought to have died, attack the unleashed Giant. FuSoYa, Cecil, Rosa, Rydia, and Edge enter and destroy the Giant. FuSoYa breaks Zemus' control over Golbez and Kain, and Cecil learns that Golbez is his brother. After destroying the Giant, Golbez and FuSoYa head to the core of the moon to defeat Zemus. Cecil's party follows after reuniting with Kain. After battling to the moon's core, the party witnesses Golbez and FuSoYa defeat Zemus but quickly lose to his ultimate form, Zeromus. With the united life force of all beings combined with a special Crystal provided by Golbez, Cecil and his party defeat Zeromus. Following the conflict, Golbez decides to remain dormant along with the other Lunarians, as he would not be welcome on Earth. One year later, the heroes reunite for Cecil and Rosa's wedding and coronation as Baron's new king and queen.
Three albums of music from Final Fantasy IV have been released in Japan. The first album, Final Fantasy IV: Original Sound Version, was released on June 14, 1991 and contains 44 tracks from the game. The second album was Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon, released on October 24, 1991, contains a selection of tracks from the game, arranged and performed by Celtic musician Máire Breatnach. Lastly, Final Fantasy IV Piano Collections, an arrangement of tracks for solo piano performed by Toshiyuki Mori, was released on April 21, 1992 and began the Piano Collections trend for each successive Final Fantasy game. Several tracks have appeared on Final Fantasy compilation albums produced by Square, including The Black Mages and Final Fantasy: Pray. Independent but officially licensed releases of Final Fantasy IV music have been orchestrated by such groups as Project Majestic Mix, which focused on arranging video game music. Selections also appear on Japanese remix albums, called dojin music, and on English remixing websites such as OverClocked ReMix.
Because the previous two installments of the Final Fantasy series had not been localized and released in North America at the time, Final Fantasy IV was distributed as Final Fantasy II to maintain naming continuity. Later remakes of the game have been released in North America under the original title. While the game retains the storyline, graphics, and sound of the original, developers significantly reduced the difficulty for beginning gamers. Certain items were less expensive or rare, and several battle commands were removed—including Tellah's Recall (allowing him to use a random magic spell), Edward's Medicine (which used Potions from the player's inventory to heal the entire party), and Cecil's DarkWave (an attack which targeted all enemies but sacrificed a portion of his health). Several enemies and bosses were reduced in strength and assigned special weaknesses. Entrances to secret passages on field maps were outlined in blue, whereas they were invisible in the original Japanese version. And the random encounter rate was reduced, however overall enemy health became increased. The translation was changed in accordance with Nintendo of America's censorship policies (at the time before the formation of the ESRB and its rating system), and certain errors were introduced during localization.
Certain character descriptions and elements of backstory have been cut due to space limitations. For instance, Kain's background and relationship with his father and the motivations for Zemus's plans to colonize Earth are not in the game. The logo for the U.S. version features the same font and sword-letter-T emblem used in the Game Boy Final Fantasy Legend series rather than an image of Kain, which was used for the Final Fantasy IV title logo (and was used for its later releases as well). Other changes include the removal of overt Judeo-Christian religious references and certain potentially objectionable graphics. The magic spell Holy has been renamed White. All references to prayer are eliminated; the Tower of Prayers in Mysidia is renamed the Tower of Wishes, though the White Mage in the tower still calls it "Tower of Prayers" and Rosa's Pray command is absent. Direct references to death are omitted, although several characters clearly die over the course of the game. Anything considered too risqué has been censored, such as bikinis on town dancers (replaced by leotards). The Programmers' Room special feature (in which the player can find a Porno Magazine) has been removed. New promotional character art was made for published previews. The runes that served as save points were changed into "Save Circles", which is the letter S in a circle with a fancy border.
In addition to the content edits, one major gameplay function was altered: The multiplayer option, which operated similarly to the same option in Final Fantasy VI, was completely removed, as was the ability to edit controller settings.
These edits prompted the creation of an English language fan translation of the original script, produced by J2e Translations. The fan translation uses the original version of the game and not the Easytype.
In the Easytype, the attack powers of weapons have been enhanced, while the protective abilities of certain accessories and armor are amplified (such as the Ribbon, which protects against all magic). The developers have removed the instant killing technique of an enemy called The Tricker. The final boss, Zeromus, has been redesigned as a sword-wielding, skull-crowned scorpion, and a new battle pattern has been created for the beast.
On March 11, 1999, this version was released a second time in Japan as part of the Final Fantasy Collection package, which also included the PlayStation versions of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI. Fifty-thousand limited edition copies of the collection were also released and included a Final Fantasy-themed alarm clock.
This version was later released with Chrono Trigger in North America as part of Final Fantasy Chronicles in 2001 and with Final Fantasy V in Europe and Australia as part of Final Fantasy Anthology in 2002. The English localizations feature a new translation, which addresses discrepancies between the original by Takashi Tokita and Final Fantasy II, although certain lines from the previous localization by Kaoru Moriyama - such as "You spoony bard!" - were kept, as they had become fan favorites. The developers have also fixed certain bugs present in the Japanese version, including slow-down issues with music.
Final Fantasy IV was ported a second time by TOSE and released as . It was released in North America by Nintendo of America on December 12, 2005; in Japan by Square Enix on December 15, 2005; in Australia on February 23, 2006; and in Europe on June 2, 2006. The ESRB rated it E-10 (Everyone 10 and older) and the CERO designated it for all ages. In Japan, a special version was available which included a limited edition Game Boy Micro with a themed face plate featuring artwork of Cecil and Kain.
The developers made several changes for this release. The enhanced graphics from the WonderSwan Color port have been even further improved, and minor changes have been made to the music. Earlier versions of the game also suffered from many bugs during battles, these were fixed partially for the European release. The localization team revised the English translation, improving the flow of the story, and certain plot details absent from the original have been restored. The player can change characters among Edward, Yang, Porom, Palom and Cid after defeating the Giant of Babel, although Cecil must be in the party at all times. Two new dungeons have been added: a new cave at Mt. Ordeals featuring powerful armor and stronger weapons for five additional characters, and the Lunar Ruins, accessible only at the end of the game. New trials exist for each character at this location, reachable only after a particular character has defeated the final boss, for example Cid's trial involves ferrying people around in an airship, and Rydia's trial involves fighting her own summons. The Lunar Ruins feature some of the best items in the game and another version of Zeromus to fight. This is his alternate scorpion form from the Easytype version, dubbed Zeromus EG. Also available for battle are a superboss named Brachioraidos and lunar versions of the summons, comparable to the dark aeons in Final Fantasy X.
Up to three game saves are possible. In addition, a "quick save" function is available in which the player can save the game anywhere (except in battle or dialogue), but the saved data is lost if he/she continues from that save point. Completing the game unlocks a music player.
The game was released in Japan on December 20, 2007, in the US on July 22, 2008, and was released in Europe on September 5, 2008.
Major reviewers have called Final Fantasy IV one of the greatest video games of all time, noting that it popularized many common console role-playing game features. Reviewers have praised the game for its graphics, gameplay and score. Reviewers have noted that Final Fantasy IV was one of the first role-playing games to feature a complex, involving plot. Nintendo Power proclaimed it set a "new standard of excellence" for role-playing games, It would later place ninth and twenty-eighth in the "100 Greatest Nintendo Games" lists of issues 100 and 200, respectively. In addition, the magazine GamePro rated it a perfect 5 out of 5 score in its March 1992 issue. IGN currently ranks it as twenty-sixth on its list of greatest games of all time; it is the highest rated Final Fantasy title on the list. Famitsu released a reader poll in 2006 ranking it as the sixth best game ever made. However, the game's original release was heavily criticized for the poor quality of its English language translation.
Final Fantasy Collection sold over 400,000 copies in 1999, making it the 31st best selling release of that year in Japan. Weekly Famitsu gave it a 54 out of 60 points, scored by a panel of six reviewers. The Game Boy Advance version Final Fantasy IV Advance was met with praise from reviewers, although a few noted the game's graphics do not hold up well to current games, especially when compared to Final Fantasy VI. Reviewers noted that some fans may still nitpick certain errors in the new translation.