Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Final Fantasy IV Characters

Development sketch by Yoshitaka Amano of the character Kain

Final Fantasy IV offers twelve playable characters, each with a unique, unchangeable character class. During the game, the player can have a total of five, or less, characters in the party at the same time. The main character, Cecil Harvey, is a dark knight and the captain of the Red Wings, an elite air force unit of the kingdom of Baron. He serves the king alongside his childhood friend Kain Highwind, the commander of the Dragoons. Rosa Farrell is a white mage/archer and Cecil's love interest. The Red Wings' airships were constructed by Cecil's friend, the engineer Cid Pollendina.
During his quest, Cecil is joined by others, including Rydia, a young summoner from the village of Mist, Tellah, a legendary sage of Mysidia, Edward Chris von Muir, the prince of Damcyan and a bard, and Yang Fang Leiden, the head of the monks of Fabul. The other characters are the black mage Palom and white mage Porom, twin apprentices from the magical village of Mysidia, Edward "Edge" Geraldine, the ninja prince of Eblan, and lastly Fusoya, the guardian of the Lunarians during their long sleep.
Cecil and Golbez are the respective hero and villain representing Final Fantasy IV in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Cecil is voiced by Shizuma Hodoshima in the Japanese version and by Yuri Lowenthal in the English version; Golbez is voiced by Takeshi Kaga in the Japanese version and by Peter Beckman in the English version. Kain is scheduled to join the cast of Dissidia's sequel, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and will be voiced by Kōichi Yamadera in the Japanese version.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV (ファイナルファンタジーIV Fainaru Fantajī Fō) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in 1991 as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game was originally released for the Super Famicom in Japan, and has been ported by Tose to the Sony PlayStation, Bandai's WonderSwan Color, and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance, with increasing changes. An enhanced remake with 3D graphics was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007 and 2008. The game was re-titled Final Fantasy II during its initial release outside of Japan as the original Final Fantasy II and III had not been released outside of Japan at the time. However, later localizations used the original title.
The game's story follows Cecil, a dark knight, as he tries to prevent the sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying the world. He is joined on this quest by a frequently changing group of allies, several of whom die or who are unable to battle because of injuries. 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 five subsequent Final Fantasy games, and unlike prior games in the series gave each character their own unchangeable character class.
With its character-driven plot, use of new technologies and critically acclaimed score by Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy IV is regarded as a landmark of the series and of the role-playing genre. It is considered to be one of the first role-playing games to feature a complex, involving plot, and is thought to have pioneered the idea of dramatic storytelling in an RPG. The various incarnations of the game have sold more than four million copies worldwide. A sequel to the game, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, was released for Japanese mobile phones in 2008, and worldwide via the Wii Shop Channel on June 1, 2009.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Final Fantasy III Characters

Render of the four main characters Luneth, Ingus, Arc, and Refia, for the DS remake of Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy III focuses around four orphans from the remote village of Ur, each of them starting off as Freelancers. The Nintendo DS version of the game individualized the party members, giving them unique appearances (designed by Akihiko Yoshida), backstories, personalities and names: Luneth (ルーネス Rūnesu), who symbolizes courage, an adventurous orphan boy raised in the village of Ur; Arc (アルクゥ Arukū), who symbolizes kindness, Luneth's childhood best friend and a timid yet intelligent young man; Refia (レフィア), who symbolizes affection, a girl raised in the village of Kazus who tires of her father's blacksmith training and often runs away from home; and Ingus (イングス Ingusu), who symbolizes determination, a loyal soldier serving the King of Sasune, with a (mutual) soft spot for the princess Sara.
Though Xande (ザンデ Zande) is the one they have to stop for the most of the game, he is eventually revealed to be merely a pawn of the Cloud of Darkness (暗闇の雲 Kurayami no Kumo), a malevolent and vicious deity who wishes to push the world into a state of chaos and destruction by upsetting the balance between light and darkness, allowing the Void to consume the world. Appearing in a female-like form, she refers to herself in first-person plurals. Although she initially defeats the Warriors of the Light, they are resurrected with Unei and Doga's help, and, with help from the Dark Warriors, they defeat the Cloud of Darkness.
The Onion Knight (seemingly based on both Luneth and the unnamed lead character of the Famicom version, with an alternate costume based on Luneth) and the Cloud of Darkness are the respective hero and villainess representing Final Fantasy III in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, where they are voiced by Jun Fukuyama and Masako Ikeda respectively in the Japanese version, and by Aaron Spann and Laura Bailey, respectively, in English. In the game, the Onion Knight is a child prodigy sort who accompanies Terra Branford in their search for their crystals. But from getting his after battling the Cloud of Darkness, he learns to feel from his heart as he and Cloud Strife help Terra get her crystal from Kefka Palazzo.
The Cloud of Darkness is referenced in Ivalice-set titles Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift as a summonable entity (known as an "Esper" in the first, a "Totema" in the second and a "Scion" in the third) by the name of Famfrit, also known as "the Darkening Cloud".

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Final Fantasy III Gameplay

The battle screen, showing the party battling three monsters. Like earlier games in the series, Final Fantasy III displays battle messages in text windows, such as the "Miss" displayed in the central box. Like later games in the series, animated messages or symbols are also shown on the character in question.

The gameplay of Final Fantasy III combines elements of the first two Final Fantasy games with new features. The turn-based combat system remains in place from the first two games, but hit points are now shown above the target following attacks or healing actions, rather than captioned as in the previous two games. Auto-targeting for physical attacks after a friendly or enemy unit is killed is also featured for the first time. Unlike subsequent games in the series, however, magical attacks are not auto-targeted in the same fashion.
The experience point system featured in Final Fantasy makes a return following its absence from Final Fantasy II. The character class system featured in the first game in the franchise also reappears, with some modifications. Whereas in the original game the player chooses each character's class alignment at the start of the game, Final Fantasy III introduces the "job system" for which the series would later become famous. Jobs are presented as interchangeable classes: in the Famicom version of the game, all four characters begin as "Onion Knights", with a variety of additional jobs becoming available as the game progresses. Any playable character has access to every currently available job. Switching jobs consumes "capacity points" which are awarded to the entire party following every battle, much like gil. Different weapons, armor and accessories, and magic spells are utilized by each job. A character's level of proficiency at a particular job increases the longer the character remains with that job. Higher job levels increase the battle statistics of the character and reduce the cost in capacity points to switch to that job.
Final Fantasy III is the first game in the series to feature special battle commands such as "Steal" or "Jump", each of which is associated with a particular job ("Steal" is the Thief's specialty, while "Jump" is the Dragoon's forte). Certain jobs also feature innate, non-battle abilities, such as the Thief's ability to open passages that would otherwise require a special key item. It is also the first game in the series to feature summoned creatures which are called with the "Summon" skill.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Final Fantasy III

Final Fantasy III (ファイナルファンタジーIII Fainaru Fantajī Surī) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1990 for the Family Computer as the third installment in the Final Fantasy series. It is the first numbered Final Fantasy game to feature the job-change system.
The story revolves around four orphaned youths drawn to a crystal of light. The crystal grants them some of its power, and instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Not knowing what to make of the crystal's pronouncements, but nonetheless recognizing the importance of its words, the four inform their adoptive families of their mission and set out to explore and bring back balance to the world.
The game was released in Japan on April 27, 1990. It had never been released outside of Japan until a remake was released on the Nintendo DS on August 24, 2006. At that time, it was the only Final Fantasy game not previously released in North America or Europe. There had been earlier plans to remake the game for Bandai's WonderSwan Color handheld, as had been done with the first, second, and fourth installments of the series, but the game faced several delays and was eventually canceled after the premature cancellation of the platform. The Nintendo DS version of the game was positively received internationally, selling over one million copies in Japan. The Famicom version of the game was released on the Wii Virtual Console service in Japan on July 21, 2009.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Final Fantasy II Unreleased English Version

Screenshot from the unreleased English prototype.

Following the successful release of the original Final Fantasy by Nintendo in 1990, Square Soft, Square's North American subsidiary, began work on an English language localization of Final Fantasy II. Assigned to the project was Kaoru Moriyama, whose later work included script translations for Final Fantasy IV and Secret of Mana. Although a beta version was produced, and the game was advertised in several Square Soft trade publications, the age of the original Japanese game and the arrival of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the NES's successor console, led Square Soft to cancel work on the Final Fantasy II localization in favor of the recently released Final Fantasy IV (which, to avoid confusing North American gamers, was retitled Final Fantasy II to reflect the jump in releases).
Although a prototype cartridge of the NES Final Fantasy II was produced (with the subtitle Dark Shadow Over Palakia), Moriyama admitted that the project was still far from being complete. He is quoted as saying:
"We had so very limited memory capacity we could use for each game, and it was never really "translating" but chopping up the information and cramming them back in... [Additionally] our boss had no understanding in putting in extra work for the English version at that time."
In 2003, when the game was finally released to English-speaking audiences as part of Final Fantasy Origins, it was released with a brand new translation produced under the supervision of Akira Kashiwagi. NeoDemiforce's fan translation of the game, similarly, made use of an original translation, as the existence of the prototype cartridge was not common knowledge at the time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Final Fantasy II Development

Final Fantasy II was originally released for the Nintendo Family Computer in Japan in 1988. There was some initial talk that either Nintendo of America or Square Soft (Square's North American subsidiary) might localize the title for American audiences as had been done with its predecessor in 1990. Such a project was announced and an early prototype cartridge was produced in 1991 as Final Fantasy: Dark Shadow Over Palakia, but the game was ultimately canceled in favor of the more recent Final Fantasy IV. The game was never released outside of Asia in its original form. Enhanced remakes of the game were later issued for the Bandai WonderSwan Color (WSC), the PlayStation (as part of the Final Fantasy Origins collection), the Game Boy Advance (as part of the Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls collection), and the PlayStation Portable. The second game was, for the first time, released in Europe and other regions when it became part of the Origins compilation.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Final Fantasy II Music

Final Fantasy II was originally scored by Nobuo Uematsu, and was Uematsu's seventeenth work of video game music. The game's music was arranged by Tsuyoshi Sekito for the WonderSwan Color, PlayStation, and Game Boy Advance remakes, who also composed the two new boss battle themes for these releases. There were also a batch of music themes made for the NES version that were unreleased for reasons unknown. Some of the music is not original to the game, but is taken from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Final Fantasy II Soul of Rebirth

The party meets their loved ones.

In the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable versions, a new story, titled Soul of Rebirth, told the tales of the four party members who died defending Firion and his party in an attempt to see the Emperor defeated.
Minwu wakes up to find himself in a mysterious cave and tries to figure out where he is. He later finds Scott, the prince of Kashuan, who had died earlier on in the game. After defeating a few soldiers, the two find Josef, who is confronted by a hideous zombie-version of Borghen. The three of them defeat Borghen, and start searching for answers about where they are. In the process of doing this, they find Ricard, who is fighting the Roundworm, and aid him in battle. He then joins Minwu's party. The party finds their way out of the passage, where they find that they are, in fact, in the afterlife. The town of Machanon was built as a safe house for all the souls trapped in this unknown dimension of the afterlife. Here, they find Cid, Tobul, and other rebels, who helped to build the place, and encourage the party to explore the other two mysterious portals that appeared in Machanon not long ago.
After adjusting themselves to the difficult battles of the afterlife, Minwu and the party enter one of the portals, and find themselves in the Chamber of the Seal, Minwu's resting place. Again, Minwu must break the seal; however, this time, he is powerful enough to break the seal without sustaining any fatal injuries. The party enters the chamber and attempts to claim Ultima, but are met with the guardian of the spell in the afterlife: the Ultima Weapon. After a fierce duel, the party is able to defeat the monster, and claim Ultima as their own.
This left one final portal, which lead to the Unknown Palace. Like Pandaemonium before it, the Palace is guarded by fierce creatures, and contains some of the most powerful equipment on the game within it. Specifically, Minwu's party find four exclusive pieces of equipment: the Stardust Rod (for Minwu), the Wild Rose (for Scott), the Bracers (for Josef), and the Wyvern Lance (for Ricard).
After all the battles, the party meets the Light Emperor, who then asks for forgiveness for the actions of his dark side. The Light Emperor tells them that he split into two entities when he was originally defeated, and that Firion and the party defeated the dark half in Pandaemonium. He also explains that they are actually in Arubboth, the passage to Heaven, and that they can finally rest in peace. The four are led to believe his words; however, the subconscious souls of their still-living friends and family appear and tell them that they must not be fooled by the Light Emperor, because in reality, he is just as evil as the Dark Emperor. The party recover their lost will to fight and defeat the Light Emperor. After his defeat, the four heroes return (at least in spirit) to Castle Fynn, where they witness the events that played out at the end of the regular game. These events are told from their perspective this time, and the player is given an explanation as to why Firion saw the ghosts of the four dead heroes at the conclusion of the regular game. The story ends with Minwu, Scott, Josef, and Ricard finally fading away, presumably going to Heaven for real this time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Final Fantasy II Story

The story concerns the adventures of four youngsters from the kingdom of Fynn named Firion, Maria, Guy and Leon. Their parents are killed during an invasion by the army of The Emperor of Palamecia, who has summoned forth monsters from Hell in his quest to dominate the world. Fleeing the Emperor's monsters, the four are attacked and left for dead. Firion, Maria, and Guy are rescued by Princess Hilda of Fynn, who has established a rebel base in the nearby town of Altair. Eager to prove their value to the resistance movement, the three remaining youths undertake a variety of missions against Palamecia and join forces with a variety of allies not only to defeat the Emperor, but to locate Maria's missing brother Leon as well.
After Hilda asks Firion, Maria and Guy to go to Fynn to talk to her fiancee, Prince Scott, the party go to Fynn and they found out that Scott is in a secret place of the town. When the party finally finds him in a secret room in the town Pub, he is in the last moments of his life, but he is still able to tell the party that the defeat of Fynn was because of Count Borghen's betrayal. He also tells the party about his brother Gordon, telling them that he knows that Gordon has great strength. Scott then gives Firion his ring to bring back to Hilda and tells him that he will always love Hilda, using his last breath to say those words. The party returns to Altair and Firion gives the ring to Hilda; she recognizes it as Scott's ring and asks Firion to keep it, saying that is a ring from a brave man. After that she asks the party to go to Salamand to search for Mythril. Josef, a member of the rebellion was sent to search for it but Hilda hasn't heard anything from him since he left to go to Salamand. Hilda's right-hand man, Minwu also joins the party for this mission.
The party finds Josef, but he is unwilling to give any information, as the Palamecian empire have kidnapped Nelly, Josef's daughter, and Borghen has threatened to kill her if he helps the resistance. The party travels to the Semitt Falls where Nelly is held and frees her from the empire. After defeating one of the imperial Sergeants, they take the Mythril and make their way back to Altair.
After the weaponsmith Tobul crafts Mythril Equipment for the Resistance, the party is dispatched to Bafsk. The Palamecian Empire have enslaved the residents and made them build a powerful airship known as the Dreadnought. It was built under the watchful eye of an imperial known as the Dark Knight, however he has now been withdrawn since the empire lost the Mythril and has been replaced by the hapless Borghen. This gives the resistance the perfect opportunity to destroy the Dreadnought before it is finished. However, just before the party reach the massive airship from the Bafsk Sewers, the Dark Knight, who actually has not left Bafsk after all, appears and takes off with the Dreadnought before the party reaches it. The Dreadnought attacks the cities of Poft, Paloom, Gatrea and Altair, but miraculously the secret base at Altair is unharmed. A plan is formed to use the Sunfire from Kasuhan Keep but to enter, they need either the Goddess Bell or the voice of a Kashuan. Josef helps the party enter some snow caves with a snowcraft, and the party retrieves the bell which is located within. On the way out, Borghen attacks the party, and although he is defeated, he sends a boulder after the party. Josef holds back the boulder to allow the party to escape, but is crushed by the boulder, dying in the process.
With heavy hearts but renewed determination to avenge Josef, the party heads for the abandoned kingdom of Kashuan to retrieve the Sunfire. The party uses the Goddess Bell to infiltrate the Keep, where they meet with Gordon who helps them to locate Egil's Torch, the only vessel that they can use to carry the Sunfire. The party defeats a Red Soul for the torch and retrieve the Sunfire. As they leave, they witness Cid's Airship being abducted by the Dreadnought which then parks to replenish fuel supplies in the far south. The party heads there, frees Cid (and Hilda, who was on board Cid's Airship), and throws the Sunfire into the Dreadnought's engine as directed by Cid thus destroying it once and for all.
The party returns triumphantly to Altair, only to learn that the King is almost ready to die. With his last breaths, he forms a three-pronged attack on the Empire in an attempt to take back Fynn. In his plan, Minwu heads to Mysidia to retrieve Ultima, the ultimate magic tome; Gordon takes command of the rebel army to attack Fynn directly; and Firion's party heads to the island nation of Deist to enlist the aid of the Dragoons. With the help of Leila, the pirate captain, the party reaches Deist but finds that only a single Wyvern remains alive. However, the beast is dying, poisoned by the empire and it gives the party the last Wyvern Egg, which the party then drops in the healing spring at the bottom of Deist Cavern in order to incubate it and hasten its growth process.
The party returns to Altair empty-handed and to their surprise the Hilda they rescued on the Dreadnought is not really Hilda at all; it is a Lamia Queen that is impersonating the real Hilda. They soon learn that she is being held as a prize in the tournament at the Palamecian Coliseum. The party, with Gordon in tow, make haste to reach Hilda, defeating a Behemoth at the Coliseum to earn Hilda as a prize. However, The Emperor, who is overseeing the match personally, dispatches the party and has them thrown in the dungeons. They are saved by Paul the traveling thief, who unlocks their cell. Hilda and Gordon then escape on their own while the rest of the party draws the attention of the guards.
An attack is planned on Castle Fynn and the rebel army sets up just outside of town. Firion, Maria, Guy, and Leila lead the attack and the castle's incumbent, Gottos, is defeated, earning the rebels an important victory. However, Minwu and the Ultima Tome are nowhere to be found so Gordon instructs the party to look for Minwu and retrieve the Tome from the Mysidian Tower. After obtaining the Crystal Rod, the party heads for the Tower, only to be swallowed by Leviathan. Shipwrecked and without Leila, the party works its way from Leviathan's innards to the mouth, where, with the help of Ricard Highwind the Dragoon, they are able to retake the ship by defeating a Roundworm. They then head for the Tower, best the Fire Gigas, Ice Gigas and the Thunder Gigas which lie within and find Minwu at the Chamber of the Seal, desperately trying to break it to open the way to Ultima. In one last ditch effort, Minwu succeeds, but at a hefty price: he too succumbs to death to help the party in their battle against the Emperor.
The party takes Ultima and returns to Fynn but something is amiss. The towns of Altair, Gatrea, Paloom, and Poft have been destroyed by a mysterious force known as the Cyclone. It threatens to tear the world asunder if the party cannot figure out how to stop it. However, Gordon's idea of "sprouting wings" paves the way for the hatching of the last Wyvern, who comes to the castle to help the party reach the Cyclone.
Eventually, the party defeats the Emperor in the Cyclone. After the death of the Emperor, Leon, whom the party knew as the Emperor's Dark Knight and his right-hand man, decides to crown himself as the new Emperor. Firion and his party go to Palamecia to stop him, but when the party faces Leon, the Emperor comes back from Hell, more powerful than ever and the intention of reclaiming his Empire. Ricard Highwind stays in the castle of Palamecia to fight the Emperor, so that the party and Leon can escape from the castle on the Wyvern but the Emperor kills the Dragoon with ease. After the death of Ricard, the Dark Emperor raises Castle Pandaemonium, the fortress of the Lord of Hell, to start a new Empire. After returning to Deist to earn Excalibur, the treasured sword of the Dragoons, the party fights its way through the Jade Passage, entering Pandaemonium from underneath as all other forms of approach are impossible. Inside the castle, the party fights its way through several of the Emperor's most powerful minions, including the reincarnation of General Borghen himself, en route to the Emperor's throne at the top of the castle.
A fierce battle ensues as the Emperor attempts to destroy the last hope of the resistance. Despite his powerful spells and his ability to call down meteors, the Emperor eventually is at last defeated and dissipates into nothing, damned to the very Hell he directed against the party for so long. Firion and the party breathe a sigh of relief, and then return to Castle Fynn where Hilda, Gordon, Nelly, Leila, and Paul all wait to congratulate the party on the victory. In the aftermath of the battle, life begins anew for all these characters. However, Leon is skeptical of his own future since so much has gone on between the party members and him. Despite Maria's protests, Firion lets Leon go but reminds him that there is always a place for him there in Fynn, where he belongs.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Final Fantasy II Characters

The main cast of Final Fantasy II.

Final Fantasy II was the first game to have an actual main cast of characters with names and histories. The first three characters can never be changed, whilst the fourth character is always changing.

  • Firion is the main character. The adopted friend of Maria and Leon, and childhood friend of Guy, he seeks to destroy the empire in hopes of avenging his fallen family.
  • Maria is Firion and Guy's childhood friend, and the female lead. She quests in the hopes of finding her brother Leon, who disappeared after being attacked by the empire.
  • Guy is a friend of Firion and Maria. He speaks in a stunted manner, and has the ability to speak to animals. However, this is a unique ability and it is only used once in the entire game.
  • Leon is Maria's older brother, and the new Dark Knight of Palamecia. He went missing during the attack on Fynn, and has since grown to be the emperor's most faithful follower.
  • Minwu is a White Mage and Hilda's personal adviser. He joins the party during their first adventures, and is learned in the arts of magic.
  • Josef is a miner, and helps the resistance gain mythril. He joins the party for only a short time, but his small contribution matters greatly in the end.
  • Gordon is the prince of Kashuan, and fled from battle after his brother, Scott, died in the battle for Fynn. He believes himself to be a coward, and to prove himself fit for the throne, he journeys with Firion and his allies to aid in the defeat of the empire.
  • Leila is a pirate who attempts to rob the party, but her crew is weak and Firion, Maria, and Guy easily defeat them. She repents, and decides only to attack the Empire instead.
  • Ricard Highwind is the last Dragoon of Deist. Having been stuck in Leviathan for some time, he is quite eager to return to action and stop the empire in order to avenge his fallen allies.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Final Fantasy II Gameplay

Screen of condition in Final Fantasy II, where it is possible to see the level of training with every weapon.

Final Fantasy II is unique in the Final Fantasy series for not utilizing experience-based levels. Rather than earning experience points at the end of every battle, each character participating in battle develops depending on what that character does during battle. For instance, characters who use a particular type of weapon frequently will become more adept at wielding a weapon of that type, as well as increasing in physical strength.
Characters who frequently cast a particular magic spell will learn to cast more potent versions of that spell, as well as increasing their magical power rating. HP and MP, similarly, increase depending on need: a character who ends a battle with only a small amount of health remaining might earn an increase in maximum hit points, and a character who uses the majority of their magic points during a single battle might increase their maximum magic points.
A handful of bugs related to this advancement system remained in the released version of the game. The most notable of these bugs was the ability to cancel a previously issued command and still gain the statistic-increasing benefits of having performed it. The game's turn-based battle system gave the player the opportunity to input commands for all four members of the battle party at once. At any time before the command for the final character in the lineup was issued, the player could hit a button and return to the previous character to reissue a command.
Since many statistics, such as weapon and magic spell proficiency, were based on how many times a particular command was used in battle, a little patience meant it was possible to quickly advance in proficiencies in the space of a single battle round. A similar problem manifested in the way hit point increases were granted, which allowed characters to attack members of their own party to increase their maximum hit points. These problems were faithfully replicated in both the WonderSwan Color and the PlayStation ports of the game. The Game Boy Advance remake eliminated the command cancel bug, though the hit point increase trick remained. Various other changes were made to the Game Boy Advance version, including regular maximum hit point increases outside of those gained as outlined above, to decrease the difficulty of the game.

Battle parties consist of four characters at a time. Three of these characters are present throughout the entire game, but the fourth position rotated amongst a variety of characters throughout the course of the game. Final Fantasy II was the first game in the series to allow a friendly character to be placed in the "back row" during battles. Characters placed in the back row were immune to most physical attacks, but could be harmed with bows and magical attacks. In a similar vein, enemies could be arranged in up to four rows of two creatures each (for a maximum of eight hostile creatures on screen at one time). Only the two rows closest to the player's party could be damaged with physical attacks: by eliminating the two closest rows the player could then physically damage back rows of enemies.
Throughout the course of the game, when in conversation with non-player characters (NPCs), the player has the ability to "learn" special words or phrases, which can later be repeated to other NPCs to gain more information or unlock new actions. Similarly, there exist a handful of special items that can be shown to NPCs during conversation, which have the same effect.