The military country of Baron is one of the strongest in the land, with a proud army and a majestic air force known as the Red Wings. However, the recent actions of the king make even the most loyal of his subordinates doubt his judgment. The captain of the Red Wings, Cecil, is ordered to attack the city of Mysidia and take the Water Crystal from innocent magicians who protect it. When Cecil questions the king's orders, he is immediately thrown out of the country and sent off to deliver a package to the village of Mist, accompanied by his best friend Kain, the captain of the dragoons. Little does he realize that the king's inexplicable behavior is but a part of a much larger picture, which he is yet to reveal.
The fourth entry in the Final Fantasy
series was released as Final Fantasy II
in the West, because the second
and the third
game were not released there at the time. The game is a Japanese-style RPG with top-down world map navigation, automatic leveling up, and random enemy encounters.
The game introduces a system called ATB (active-time battle). While combat is turn-based in its core, the game does not pause when the player accesses the battle menu. Enemies continue to act in real time regardless of the actions of the player-controlled party. The turns of the participants are calculated depending on their agility rating. Each player-controlled character has a special bar that gradually refills itself; said character may act when the bar is full.
Unlike all the previous Final Fantasy
games, the fourth installment does not allow the player to customize the characters' abilities and classes. Each character belongs to a specific, clearly defined class: dragoon, white mage, black mage, summoner, ninja, etc. Each of these classes has distinct special abilities or magic spells. New abilities are learned automatically when a character reaches a pre-determined level. Characters join and leave the party as dictated by the game's plot events. The active party includes up to five combatants.
The PlayStation version adds a new rendered intro and ending.
- "最终幻想4" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
- "Zui Zhong Huanxiang 4" -- Chinese title
- "Final Fantasy IV Advance" -- Japanese Game Boy Advance title
- "Final Fantasy IV" -- Japanese title
- "FF4" -- Informal name
- "ファイナルファンタジーＩＶ" -- Japanese spelling
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The original SNES release of Final Fantasy IV
in the West was dubbed Final Fantasy II
removed several abilities the player-controlled characters could use in battles, and was generally noticeable easier than the Japanese version. It also changed some of the character's names, e.g. Gilbert the Bard was renamed Edward, the summon monster Ramuh became Indra, etc. That release also omitted or censored some dialogue lines and scenes:
- Dancers wear their dresses all the time as opposed to the bikinis they wore in the Japanese version
- The blade that was dangling over Rosa's head in the Tower of Zott became a big iron ball
- Much of the dialogue concerning the relationship between Cecil and Rosa and another character's jealousy was removed
- Most of the swear words were removed, especially Palom's lines
- Cecil and Kain had more developed background stories in the original version
- Cecil and Rosa shared a passionate kiss after he rescues her in the Tower of Zott. The animation of them kissing was taken out
- In Castle Jiott, there was an entire room removed: the Programmers's Room, where the player could talk to developers and even fight some of them. That room also contained a Porno Book that caused Cecil to have "dirty thoughts" when used
The Western PlayStation re-release of the game included in Final Fantasy Chronicles
restored all the features of the original version, with the exception of the character named Edward and a catch-phrase related to him, as described below.
You spoony bard!
The English translation of the SNES version contained a phrase that later became popular. At a certain point, the old mage Tellah gets angry at the bard Edward and tells him: "You spoony bard!". The awkward phrase became a cult favorite among fans. When a new English translation was made for the Playstation version, "you spoony bard" was kept intact, for the old time's sake.
But what does Tellah really call Edward (or Gilbert, in Japanese version)? In fact, the only word he says is 貴様 (kisama), literally "precious image", one of the many Japanese words for the pronoun "you". Despite the noble etymology, "kisama" is a very rough, insulting kind of "you"; using it is an equivalent to calling a person "bastard" or "son of a bitch" in English. We can only guess how this insulting "you" ended up translated as "spoony bard".
Information also contributed by Big John WV. PCGamer77, and Satoshi Kunsai
- Game Informer Magazine
- #40 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll (Issue #100, August 2001)
- 2005 – #5 GBA Game of the Year
- 2005 – GBA RPG of the Year
- #29 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time" by (Issue #200, February 2006)