Common elements of Final Fantasy

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Though each "Final Fantasy" story is independent, many themes and elements of gameplay recur throughout the series. Some spin-off titles have cameo appearances of characters from preceding stories, but in most cases, merely the names are reused, so that each game has its own unique collection of characters in totally unrelated worlds.

Gameplay elements

Battle systems and Limit Breaks

The "Final Fantasy" series has used four major battle systems: traditional turn-based fighting seen in most early RPGs; Active Time Battle (ATB), which uses gauges to determine when actions take place; Conditional Turn-Based (CTB), a modified version of traditional turn-based; and Real Time Battle (RTB) or Active Dimension Battle (ADB), which incorporate more action and real-time elements into the traditional RPG format.

Limit Break is a term commonly used to refer to powerful combat moves featured in various games of the "Final Fantasy" series. Limit Breaks generally occur when a character has taken a large amount of damage in combat, and offers the possibility of dealing large amounts of damage in return (or in some cases, buffing the party). The mechanic has appeared in various forms in "Final Fantasy VI" through "Final Fantasy XII", although "Final Fantasy VII" and the English version of "Final Fantasy VIII" are the only games to refer to the mechanic as "Limit Break." The names given to the mechanic in other games include "Desperation Attacks" ("VI"), "Special Arts" (Japanese version of "VIII"), "Trance" ("IX"), "Overdrive" ("X") "Oversoul" ("X-2"), "Weapon Skills" ("XI"), and "Quickenings" ("XII"). In "Final Fantasy IX", the Limit Break mechanic, referred to as "Trance" in that game, played an important role in a number of plot points.

Until the release of "Final Fantasy X", the characters had to sustain damage (or in "Final Fantasy VIII", use the spell "Aura") in order to charge a specialized meter for using such attacks. "Final Fantasy X" introduced several variations on a character charging their Limit Break bar; these methods varied, depending on whether the character inflicted physical attacks, used offensive or curative magic, or even used restorative items.

A similar mechanic also appears in "Kingdom Hearts II". Known only as "Limit" attacks, they can be activated at any time, but can't be activated again until the limit gauge (a pink MP meter) is completely filled. In "Radiata Stories", another Square RPG, the main character Jack has four different ultimate moves, one of which is called the "Limit Break". Cloud, the main character from "Final Fantasy VII", appears as a secret character in "Final Fantasy Tactics", whose special command is termed "Limit" which contains attacks named after his Limit Breaks from "FFVII". However, these attacks are available anytime.

Character classes and the job system

The most common playable character classes have been the Fighter or Warrior; White and Black Mages; Monk; and Thief. Less common are the Red and Blue Mages. In some titles, the player can choose what job class each character can assume, but even in games where the player is not given a choice, these classes often play an important background role in the story. In some Final Fantasy games the characters are designated as the specific class/job and in others they merely have the abilities. Another aspect to the class/job system is the earning of new classes/jobs through playing specific other classes/jobs, completing quests, or advance the story line in order to obtain new classes/jobs.

Magic

Magic in the series is generally divided into classes, which are usually organized by color. The actual magic classes vary from game to game, but most games include "White Magic", which is focused on healing spells, and "Black Magic", which focused on offensive spells. One who is proficient in White or Black magic is often known as a White Mage or Black Mage, respectively. Additional magic classes appear throughout the series, such as "Time Magic," which enables the manipulation of space and time, or "Blue Magic", which consists of abilities learned from enemy creatures.

Another recurring class of magic is "Summoning Magic", which calls forth magical creatures to attack enemies and/or heal or protect party members. The conditions necessary to use Summon Magic vary from game to game. This class has appeared in the numbered titles since "Final Fantasy III", and have served as a key plot element in several installments. Summoning magic is often available to those of any class/job, but is sometimes restricted only to Summoners. Most summoned creatures are named after mythological figures. In later entries in the series the abilites of White Mages and Summoners ar mixed and given to certain characters.

tatus effects

Characters in "Final Fantasy" games are usually subject to a number of standard "status ailments" which cause often deleterious (but sometimes favorable) effects, including silence, stop, berserk, poison, petrification and confusion. While these are present in many console RPGs, "Final Fantasy" has a standard list of items and magic spells which may be used to cure specific ailments. Some of the most common beneficial status effects are protect (defense increase), shell (magic defense increase), and haste (attack speed increase). Beneficial status effects on enemies can often be removed with the magic called Dispel. Another magic status often used by both enemies and players is called Reflect. This spell causes magics directed at the person with Reflect status to "bounce back" against the caster's party. However, if both parties have Reflect status, casting offensive magic on one's own party will force that magic upon the enemy because magic can be reflected only once.

Currency

nihongo|Gil|ギル|giru is the fictional currency used in every game in the "Final Fantasy" series, although English translations have occasionally replaced it with "GP" (short for "gold piece(s)") or simply "G". "Gil" is both the singular and plural term for the currency. "Final Fantasy IV" is the only game to explain the origin of the word; in that game, the word "Gil" is named after "Gilbart", a common name for members of the royal family of Damcyan, and was originally used as the currency of Damcyan. [cite web | author=RACapowski | year=2007 | title=Translation of Final Fantasy IV documents on Settings Book/Settei Shiryou Shuu/Compendium/What Have You | url=http://home.att.net/~RCgamusic/ff4comp.htm#contents | access monthday=April 5 | access year=2007]

Gil can be used to buy weapons, armor, items, magic, and accessories at the many stores and vendors throughout the worlds of the "Final Fantasy" games. Gil is earned primarily (sometimes exclusively) through fighting and winning battles or the sale of unwanted items, but many games provide other ways of earning the currency; in "Final Fantasy VIII", for example, the player receives periodic wages according to his or her rank in the "SeeD" organization; in "Final Fantasy XI" only a few monsters drop gil and only in very small amounts, so most gil comes from the selling of items that are dropped from monsters or crafted to NPCs or (more commonly) other players; and in "Final Fantasy XII", most enemies do not drop gil (though a few humanoid enemies do) but rather often drop loot, a type of item used almost exclusively for selling in shops to gain gil. Sometimes, the player can earn gil through minigames (such as those found in "Final Fantasy VII"'s casinos), or through completing various tasks or missions, or as treasure found in dungeons. Still other means of earning gil exist, but the majority of these methods usually yield negligible amounts. Some games in the series, starting with "Final Fantasy V", have characters or abilities that lets the player toss gil at an enemy in order to inflict high amounts of damage; this ability is known as "Coin Toss", "Gil Toss", "Spare Change", or "Zeninage" these abilities can be useful at final battles as all Gil can be thrown without penalty.

Items

"Items" are collected objects that may affect the status or health of a character or enemy. Many objects are one-use and include a limit to how many are stocked in the party's inventory. In every installment, the basic HP-recovering item is some form of potion. The items' names varied in earlier games, such as being called "Heal Potions" in the first game, "Cure Potions" in the English translation of "Final Fantasy IV" (called "Final Fantasy II"), and "Tonics" in the English translation of "Final Fantasy VI" (called "Final Fantasy III"). Other variants, which heal more HP, include the mid-level "Hi-Potion", the high-level "X-Potion", and the multi-target "Mega Potion". Since "Final Fantasy IV", the lead MP-recovering item has been the "Ether". The name is derived from "Aether"Fact|date=April 2008, a classical term used in medieval times to describe a possible substance between air, earth, fire, and water. The English language localization of "Final Fantasy VI" renamed the Ether to "Tincture," and also featured a second-level MP-restoration item, "Hi-Ether", which was renamed simply "Ether" in the English localization. The Turbo Ether (also known as "Dry Ether") has appeared in recent games and restores either a significant or complete portion of a character's MP.

The "Elixir", which appears in most "Final Fantasy" games, is an HP and MP recovery item. Some games include the Megalixir (or Mega Elixir), which fully restores the party's HP and MP. Other items recover both HP and MP at specific locations. "Tents" are often used on field maps or at Save Points as replacements for an Inn as they restore some of the party's HP and MP. Variants such as Cabin, Cottage, and Sleeping Bag restore more or less HP and MP; sometimes to only one character. In "Final Fantasy IX", Tents can be used during battle, although there is chance of being inflicted with abnormal status effects when used.

Status effect-curing items are also recurring. For example, "antidote" heals poison and venom, "echo screen"/"echo herbs"/"echo drops" removes silence, "eye drops" cures blindness, and "softs" cure petrification there is a veriation of the soft the Supersoft a key item(see below) which only appeared in Final Fantasy IX used to remove the petrification effects from an entire forest. "Phoenix Down" (also translated as "Phoenix Tail") is used in most "Final Fantasy" games to revive an unconscious party member with a small portion of their HP. In some of the earlier games, the word was translated as "FenixDown" because of size issues with fitting English letters in the space previously occupied by Japanese characters. Phoenix Down often instantly kills or inflicts maximum damage on undead and other creatures harmed by curative spells. The item is supposed to be the feather of a Phoenix, a common symbol of life and rebirth; "down" refers to the down feathers of a bird, the undercoat of feathers beneath the visible layer on top. Other representations of Phoenix Down include the bottled tears of a Phoenix, bolted quivers and bead necklaces. Variants of this item include the Phoenix Pinion and Mega Phoenix, which revive all party members.

There are other basic items seen throughout the "Final Fantasy" series, including "Gysahl Greens", which can be used to summon Fat Chocobo, an item storage service, at specific locations in "Final Fantasy IV", catch and feed chocobos in "Final Fantasy VII", summon a pet chocobo in "Final Fantasy VIII", or ride a chocobo in "Final Fantasy IX" and "Final Fantasy XII". The "Rename Card" renames characters that have already been named. This first appeared in "Final Fantasy VI", though the character Namingway had a similar function in "Final Fantasy IV". In "Final Fantasy VIII", a Rename Card renames Guardian Forces, and Pet's Nametag renames Rinoa's pet dog name. In "Final Fantasy IX", the Namingway Card had effect to rename the characters in Daguerreo, and in "Final Fantasy X", it was used to rename Aeons. All "Final Fantasy" games also have "key items", which must be acquired to further the game's story or complete a sidequest. Examples of key items include the "Nitro" from the original "Final Fantasy", the "Huge Materia" from "Final Fantasy VII", and the "Supersoft" from "Final Fantasy IX". Some items or key items are/may be almost completely useless, like "Tissue" from "Final Fantasy VII".

Weapons

Numerous weapons have seen recurring use throughout the series; others have been influenced by a variety of mythological and fantasy concepts. Interspersed between unique weapons are a graded scale of other, more common weapons, usually sold in shops. They are typically labeled according to the following progression, from weakest to strongest: Bronze, Iron, Steel, Mythril/Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Crystal, Adamantite (found in "Final Fantasy I"), and Adamantine. Armor typically follows the same alloy progression. Moreover, armors of "Genji" series are seen in "Final Fantasy II", "Final Fantasy IV", "Final Fantasy V", "Final Fantasy VI", "Final Fantasy VII", "Final Fantasy IX", "Final Fantasy X", "Final Fantasy Tactics", and most recently in "Final Fantasy XII". "Wooden" weapons and "Leather" armor are also often seen throughout the series.

The "Final Fantasy" installments feature several types of projectile weapons, including bows, balls, guns, boomerangs, and launchers. Gunblades have a gun-like handle which contains a firing mechanism but are not considered projectile as the firing mechanism only makes the blade vibrate causing extra damage, and does not fire any actual shells, with the exception of Yazoo's gunblades from "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children", and Weiss's twin Gunblades, shown in "Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus". In some installments, such as "Final Fantasy IV", ammunition (bullets and arrows) is limited; others, like "Final Fantasy XII", have unlimited ammunition, only requiring the player to actually have it. Other installments, like "Final Fantasy VII", omit ammunition completely. Some of the common recurring projectile weapons include Yoichi's Bow, [The Yoichi's Bow first appeared in "Final Fantasy II" as the strongest Bow weapon, and returned in "Final Fantasy III", "IV", "V" as one of the 12 Sealed Weapons, "XII", and the "Tactics" games.] the Full Moon boomerang, [The Full Moon boomerang first appeared in "Final Fantasy III" and has also been included in "Final Fantasy IV", "V", "VI", "VII", "IX", and "XI".] various shuriken, and projectile launchers with names similar to boomerangs, like the Rising Sun in "Final Fantasy VIII".

Swords are commonly seen throughout the series, and come in various forms. Elemental swords, which include a certain element, such as fire or wind, during the attack, are seen almost every installment in the series. Some elemental swords launch an additional magical attack during battle, such as the Lightbringer in "Final Fantasy VI". Elemental swords have had many names, fire-elemental swords usually named 'Flame Saber' or 'Flametongue', ice-elemental swords named 'Blizzard' or 'Ice Brand', thunder-elemental swords are 'Thunderblade' or 'Coral Sword' and on one occasion in "Final Fantasy I", a 'Vorpal Sword'. A water-elemental sword hasn't been used often, but in "Final Fantasy X" the main character obtains one called 'Brotherhood', that has minor relevance to the story, and in "Final Fantasy X-2", Warrior dress sphere has a water-elemental sword attack ability named 'Liquid Steel'. 'Ancient Sword' and 'Excalibur'(Holy-elemental) are also recurring swords in the series. A fake version of the powerful Excalibur sword, called Excalipur or Excalipoor, appeared in "Final Fantasy V", "Final Fantasy VI" (Game Boy Advance version), "Final Fantasy VIII", and "Final Fantasy Tactics" and deals very low damage during battle. The Masamune also appears as a sword in several games, and is one of the most powerful weapons in the early installments. Another sword is the Ragnarok, which shares a name with the Norse word, Ragnarök, meaning "Twilight of the Gods". [The Ragnarok is seen in "Final Fantasy III", "IV", "V", "VI", "VII", "IX", "X-2", "XI", "XII", "Tactics", "Tactics Advance" and "Crystal Chronicles".] The Blood Sword is common throughout the series, with a frequent trait of the weapon being its ability to drain HP from enemy targets. There are also various staffs/rods featured in many of the Final Fantasy games which use special actions, most often of which are not directly damaging (or deal very low damage) and are often beneficial, such as the "Healing Staff" found in Final Fantasy V. The effects of such weapons are usually used by selecting "attack", even if no actual attack is initiated. Additionally, some weapons are able to be used from the items menu (usually by pressing up at the top of the items menu during gameplay) and most often inflict damage when selected in such a way.

The most powerful weapon used by the main character is often known as Ultima Weapon. (Note: In "Final Fantasy VI", it was translated as "Atma Weapon," though this was corrected in the revised translation in "Final Fantasy VI Advance".) It appears in the "Final Fantasy I" portion of "Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls" as a weapon that causes damage depending on how much HP the user has. In "Final Fantasy VI", the title of "Ultima (also known as Atma) Weapon" is given to a boss and a sword. The power of the sword is based on the hit points (HP) of the wielder; the more HP the character has, the stronger the power of the weapon. The weapon's size changes according to the amount of HP the wielder has {both minimum and maximum}. The Ultima Weapon sword also appeared in "Final Fantasy VII" as Cloud Strife's ultimate weapon. A character is usually restricted to one or two types of weapons, but can sometimes use more. Weapons usage is also usually determined by a character's class/job. In addition to the types of weapons above, "Final Fantasy" includes whips, dice, staffs/rods, lances, axes, knives, daggers, swords and other common weapons.

Armor and accessories

Many pieces of armor and accessories from the series appear in multiple titles. One of the most common sets of equipment is Genji, which consists of a shield, helmet, body armor, and sometimes gloves. Some armor featured in the series is named after metals or stones, such as bronze, iron, silver, mythril, gold, emerald, diamond, and crystal; others are based on colors or spells. Armor and accessories used in the series consist of bracers, shields, rings, bangles, shoes, helmets, body armor, robes, and dresses. However, not all games in the series have an armor system; for example, "Final Fantasy X-2" uses the equipping of dress spheres instead of armor. "Final Fantasy VIII" uses stats increases from equipping Guardian Forces, a form of summoning in the game, than the use of armor.

Several individual pieces of armor and accessories recur throughout the series. Two of the most common are the Aegis shield and the Protect Ring, which provide various effects for the character, depending on the game. The Golden Hairpin almost always benefits the spellcasters in the party. For example, in "Final Fantasy VI" and "Final Fantasy V", they were accessories that reduced spell costs by half; in "Final Fantasy Tactics", they were head armor that gave a significant boost to the maximum MP value and nullified the silence status effect. The Ribbon is an item in most "Final Fantasy" games that allows the equipped user to become immune to most or all status ailments. Most times, it appears as a helmet; in some games, such as "Final Fantasy VI", it is an accessory or a special item.

Design elements

Character design

A character named "Cid" (homage to the Spanish knight Cid Campeador) has been present in every "Final Fantasy" game since "Final Fantasy II". [Coik, Kevin. [http://www.gamingworldx.com/features/thoff-past.shtml The History of Final Fantasy : The Past] . Gaming World X. Retrieved 01-07-2007. ] While he was not mentioned in the original "Final Fantasy game", he is mentioned in the remake of that game. Although he is rarely the same individual, he is usually presented as an owner, creator, and/or pilot of airships and sometimes plays a political role in the story. The only situation in which Cid's name is altered in any way is in "", in which he is represented as a Moogle named Mogcid. In a similar vein, characters named Biggs and Wedge (homages to the "Star Wars" characters Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles) have appeared in most games since "Final Fantasy VI". In "Final Fantasy XII", they appear as Gibbs and Deweg during a sidequest. Other names appear in several games. The protagonists of the Nomura-designed "Final Fantasy" games usually have a name alluding to or directly related to meteorological phenomena or celestial bodies — in basic terms, names linked to the sky and weather. Examples include Cloud Strife, Squall Leonhart (meaning a sudden, sharp increase in wind), Rinoa (meaning "(sun)light"), Tidus (meaning "Sun"), Yuna (meaning "Moon"), and Lightning.

The series has often featured androgynous [GameSpy: http://xbox360.gamespy.com/xbox-360/project-sylph/807782p2.html] or effeminate [Game Informer: http://www.gameinformer.com/News/Story/200702/N07.0228.1154.25773.htm] male main characters. This trend has generally increased as the series evolved. [IGN: http://uk.ps2.ign.com/articles/441/441293p1.html] These androgynous characters—usually teenagers destined to save the world [WomenGamers.Com: http://www.womengamers.com/revprev/adv/kingdomhearts.php] — often possess similar physical characteristics, such as skinny builds and spiky hair and the ability to fight with large or gigantic swords. [Montreal Mirror: http://www.montrealmirror.com/2008/050108/presstart.html] According to some critics, these characters are designed so in order to make the players identify with them. [GameCritics.com: http://www.gamecritics.com/nerd-heroes] Square Enix has stated that a more rugged looking hero had been considered for "Final Fantasy XII" but had ultimately been scrapped in favor of Vaan, another effeminate protagonist. The developers cited scenaristic reasons and target demographic considerations to explain their choice. [IGN: http://uk.ps2.ign.com/articles/441/441293p1.html] For "Final Fantasy XIII", Square Enix settled on a female main character, described as a "female version of Cloud from FFVII." [1UP.com: http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3151333] This aspect of "Final Fantasy" has also been carried into "Kingdom Hearts", a crossover series featuring "Final Fantasy" and Disney characters, with the protagonist Sora. [WomenGamers.Com: http://www.womengamers.com/revprev/adv/kingdomhearts.php]

In some "Final Fantasy" titles, some characters appear with real or symbolic wings. Kefka from "Final Fantasy VI" gained real wings after he ascended to godhood in the form of "Kefka Palazzo". "Final Fantasy VII"'s villain Sephiroth ascended to the form of "Safer Sephiroth", in which he had one wing on his right shoulder, as well as 3 pairs of wings where his abdomen should be. The one-sided wing is the source of his nickname as the "One-Winged Angel". Sephiroth has appeared in "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children" and "Kingdom Hearts" with one wing on his right side. Cloud Strife, his antithesis, also appears in "Kingdom Hearts" with one wing, although it is non-feathered, resembling a bat's, and comes from his left side. "Final Fantasy VIII" used the depiction of two white wings on the back of Rinoa Heartilly's vest. Rinoa also grows literal wings temporarily during her "Angel Wing" limit break during battle. She also transforms a petal that she catches in the wind into a single white feather in the opening sequence of the game. Selphie's limit break "Rapture" removes all opponents from the field by forcing them to grow wings and fly away, causing an instant victory in most non-boss battles. In contrast, the game's antagonist, Ultimecia, sports a pair of feathered black wings, and Seifer Almasy, her "knight," is shown blasting into black feathers at the stroke of Squall Leonhart's final gunblade strike in the opening FMV. "Final Fantasy IX" brought back physical wings in the form of ornaments that Eiko Carol wears on her back. Her wings were a gift, and they enlarge in her trance form. Yuna from "Final Fantasy X" wears a wedding dress that has white wings incorporated into its design. In "Final Fantasy XI", Selh'teus gains multicolored wings upon merging with the soul of Phoenix near the conclusion of the Chains of Promathia storyline. In "Final Fantasy XII", Penelo has leather wing-like projections incorporated into her armor.

Music

Several musical tracks have been in just about every "Final Fantasy" game to date. In most games in the series, the same simple melody is used at the opening screen, and a very noticeable musical cue is the victory music which is played after the player wins a battle. This cue is so well known it has become a ring-tone for cellular phones; in fact it makes a 'cameo' of sorts in the full-length movie "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children" as Loz's ring-tone. These songs were written in majority by composer Nobuo Uematsu.

The music in the Final Fantasy games usually uses classical instruments or electronic versions of classical instruments such as pianos and violins. They also use a variety of synthesized sounds with instruments resembling guitars or drums, but are not limited merely to these.

Plot elements

Many entries in the "Final Fantasy" series involve broadly similar plot points, such as rebellion against a major economic, political, or religious power; a struggle against an evil which threatens to overtake or destroy the world; and nature versus technology. Many of the main protagonists in the series have as such found themselves thrust unwillingly to the forefront of wide-reaching global affairs which they believed previously did not concern them.

The love between major characters, [from "Final Fantasy IV"'s Cecil Harvey and Rosa Farrell to "Final Fantasy X"'s Tidus and Yuna] and in some cases rivalry between characters, as well as the desertion or death of major (and sometimes playable) characters, often drives the plot as well. Other recurring situations that drive the plot include amnesia (Desch in "Final Fantasy III", Galuf in "Final Fantasy V", Terra in "Final Fantasy VI", Cloud in "Final Fantasy VII", and the main characters of "Final Fantasy VIII"), mind control (Kain in "Final Fantasy IV", Seifer in "Final Fantasy VIII", or again Terra in "Final Fantasy VI"), and altruistic suicide (many playable characters in "Final Fantasy II", Tellah in "Final Fantasy IV", Aerith (Aeris) in "Final Fantasy VII", and King Xezat in "Final Fantasy V").

Another very common plot ploy is that the main foe(s) (although it may not be yet evident that they are the main foe(s)) at the start of the story may turn out to be pawns of a larger evil or that whoever/whatever the main character (and often several other PCs) are aligned with turns out to be something that they will oppose in the future. Yet another common plot element is the existence of an evil empire or company, which is present, but often only in minor opposition to the party (or the party to it) until later in the game. This empire or company is often disguised as something else.

The Gaia hypothesis permeates several titles of the "Final Fantasy" series: "Final Fantasy VII", "Final Fantasy IX", "Final Fantasy X" and "Final Fantasy X-2", "Final Fantasy Adventure", and both of the animated movies "" and "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children". [ [http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=69382&page=2 This Great Fantasy Interview // PS2 /// Eurogamer ] ] [ [http://www.asianconnections.com/a/?article_id=142 StudioLA's Jim Ferguson interviews Ming-Na Wen Star of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within ] ]

Recurring elements

Airships

Airships have appeared in every game in the series and in most spin-offs. Only "Final Fantasy VI", "Final Fantasy VII" and "Final Fantasy IX" feature craft that resemble real-world airships or dirigibles, lifted by lighter than air gas. The term when used in "Final Fantasy" refers instead to conventional looking wooden or metal ships that fly. Some titles have specific battles that involve airships which are used to advance the plot, while a few games have random encounters with an optional monster. In many games, most notably "Final Fantasy IV", "Final Fantasy VI", and "Final Fantasy IX", the presence of airships is a key component to the story itself. In most of the titles, airships generally have the appearance of flying sailing ships with a series of propellers instead of sails. However, in some of the later games they look more technological, appearing to be zeppelins or even ornate space ships. In the games in which the player has full control over the airship and can fly throughout the overworld, the game map wraps on both its X and Y axis. Final Fantasy IX put the most notable emphasis on airships in the story line; the characters pilot, invade, or borrow several airships, including the Tantalus Band's Theater ship Prima Vista, complete with a stage, as well as the royal ships Hilde Garde, Hilde Garde 2, the Red Rose, and at the end, the Invincible, a 3-D remake of one of the oldest airships in Final Fantasy history.

"Final Fantasy X"'s airship does not allow free-roaming around a world map unlike previous games in the series. Instead, the player selects an available destination from a list and the ship takes them there directly and instantaneously. This method of airship piloting is repeated in "Final Fantasy X-2". In "Final Fantasy II", "Final Fantasy XI", and "Final Fantasy XII" airships cannot be controlled, but are rather ridden as a commercial flight, requiring a fee to be paid for each flight, with the exception of "XII"'s "Strahl" airship, which is free and has a system similar to "Final Fantasy X", and late in "Final Fantasy II" the player gains full control over the airship and can use it in the same way as the airship from "Final Fantasy". In "Final Fantasy VIII", the 'Airship' theme arrived in 2 forms. Balamb Garden and Galbadia Garden were capable of limited flight over land and water, akin to a hovercraft, since they were engineered originally to be mobile shelters; it is unknown whether Trabia Garden, decimated by a missile onslaught mid-game, had the same ability. "Final Fantasy VIII" also made available the "Ragnarok", a spaceplane created by Esthar. In "Final Fantasy II", Cid's airship can only be paid for to use, until his death later on in the game in which the heroes receive it from him to use it at their disposal.

Crystals

Elemental crystals have appeared in over half of the titles of the series. Almost all "Final Fantasy" installments have a theme of an increase in monster activity, often caused by an imbalance of nature forces, caused by "Mist" or "Crystals". Also, most of the games' plots seem to involve large-scale destruction at some point in the game, often near the end.

The four elemental crystals appear in "Final Fantasy", "Final Fantasy III", "Final Fantasy V" and "Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest". Four elemental crystals also appear in "Final Fantasy IV" along with four more "dark" crystals that are not stated to be of any particular element, [Cecil: The Crystal of Earth from Toroia was taken away. This means... Golbez has gathered all the crystals. / Kain: No. There are other crystals. / Rosa: I thought there were only four. / Cid: Then the rumor is true! / Kain: Right, the dark crystals! cite video game | title =Final Fantasy IV | developer =Square Co | publisher =Square Soft | date=2007-01-05 | platform =Super Nintendo Entertainment System | language=English ] though only two of them are seen in the game. [King Giott: I'm afraid two of the four have already been taken. cite video game | title =Final Fantasy IV | developer =Square Co | publisher =Square Soft | date=2007-01-05 | platform =Super Nintendo Entertainment System | language=English ] In addition to the eight crystals of the Earth, there are eight on the moon that balance with them. However, the moon crystals are not explored in detail. Furthermore there is a "Crystal of Flight", and Golbez wields an eighteenth crystal against Zeromus, but the nature of this crystal is never explained. It is most likely, however, a "Crystal of Light", as only Cecil can use it properly by channelling his own energy into it, [Golbez: My dear brother...let your sacred light be with the Crystal! Zeromus, it's the end! cite video game | title =Final Fantasy IV| developer =Square Co | publisher =Square Soft | date=2007-01-05 | platform =Super Nintendo Entertainment System | language=English ] and Golbez, by contrast, cannot. [Zeromus: You, the man of darkness using it does not mean anything to me, you fools! cite video game | title =Final Fantasy IV | developer =Square Co | publisher =Square Soft | date=2007-01-05 | platform =Super Nintendo Entertainment System | language=English ] In "Final Fantasy IX", a single, giant crystal lies in Memoria, which Garland describes as "the root of all memories" indicating that it is the first crystal to have appeared and probably where the elemental crystals come from. In "Final Fantasy XII", the SunCryst is a single, giant crystal which is tied to the game's plot as are the Auraliths in the game's sequel.

In "Final Fantasy: Unlimited" there are two types of crystals that are prevalent. The first type is only a crystal in appearance, and greatly resembles the classical shape of the crystals. This is a large crystal that, when deposited produces a large monster. Its function in the series is completely unlike the crystals in any other continuity. The second type of crystals comprises the Omega Crystals. Omega is an enormous, destructive creature that was long ago split into many pieces and scattered across Wonderland. The pieces of Omega are seemingly sentient, and when defeated revert to an Omega Crystal which is a small, star-shaped reddish crystal. When Omega recovers an Omega Crystal, it absorbs the crystal, and the part of Omega's body corresponding to the crystal is regenerated. Like Omega itself, the Omega Crystals have the ability to break down the dimensional barrier and travel between worlds. The subway "Elizabeth" was built by Cid with an Omega Crystal to give it the ability to travel between different worlds.

Also, in "Final Fantasy X" and "X-2", "spheres" resemble crystals from the other games, but have completely different uses. Spheres are mainly for documentation, storing video and data. Sphere hunting was the business of the Gullwings in "Final Fantasy X-2" wherein Yuna seeks other spheres to prove that Tidus was still in Spira.

In the spin-off game "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance", four elemental sigils and their respective guardians appear in tribute to the crystals and fiends in the original "Final Fantasy".

Chocobo

A nihongo|Chocobo|チョコボ|Chokobo is a large, normally flightless galliforme/ratite bird capable of being ridden and is a staple of the "Final Fantasy" series. The onomatopoeia for a chocobo's call is nihongo|"Kweh"|クエ|Kue. "Kweh" is sometimes replaced with "Wark" in English translations. Most chocobos dwell in forests. While timid in the wild, and vicious if threatened, they tame rather easily and make good transports. Chocobos have occasionally been sighted as lightly armored war mounts in which case they can assist their riders with beak and claw. In Final Fantasy Tactics chocobo can be used as playable characters (though only in battle). Most often chocobo can be caught in the wild and ridden without fear of random encounters, escaping after the player dismounts. Overall, the species is a very versatile and useful bird, which comes in handy as horses are untamed or non-existent in "Final Fantasy" games. While ordinary Chocobos are yellow, certain rare breeds are of different colors and have special abilities, such as crossing mountains or flight. An even rarer, more extreme variant is the "Fat Chocobo" (or "Chubby Chocobo"), which resembles a morbidly obese yellow chocobo.

The Chocobo signature theme is an immediately recognizable upbeat ditty that is present in one form or another in all "Final Fantasy" games since "Final Fantasy II". Chocobos have a spin-off series dedicated to them. Chocobos are also a common sight in other Squaresoft and Square Enix games, notably in the "Mana" series.

Judges

Judges appear in many of the Final Fantasy games, normally being the representatives of royalty. They are all very powerful, and almost always have the right to put people in jail without any form of trial. However, in many of the games, it is not possible to fight Judges, and in FFTA (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance) the Judges actually perform as referees of battles (complete with whistles). Judges were featured prominently in Final Fantasy XII as leaders of the Archadian Army.

Moogle

nihongo|Moogles|モーグリ|Mōguri are small creatures that appear throughout several Square Enix game series, including the "Final Fantasy" series, the "Seiken Densetsu" series, the Chocobo game series, and the "Kingdom Hearts" series. The Japanese name is a portmanteau of the Japanese words "mogura" (mole) and "kōmori" (bat).

Moogles have small eyes and red, pink, or purple bat-like wings. A single black antenna sticks up from their heads, with a small colorful ball (usually red or yellow or blue) at the end called a "pompom". Their ears are usually shaped like a cat's and their fur is white or light pink. However, in "Crystal Chronicles" they have a different body shape, lacking a distinct head and torso, while in "Tactics Advance" and "Final Fantasy XII" they have longer, rabbit-like ears and beige to gray fur. When they first appeared, in "Final Fantasy III", Moogles generally ended their sentences with the word "nya", the Japanese equivalent of a cat's "meow". In the later games, they use the word "kupo" instead; some games briefly mention a Moogle language formed out of various permutations of "kupo". In the "Final Fantasy III" Nintendo DS remake, the word "nya" was replaced with "kupo".

Moogles run an in-game message delivery service in "Final Fantasy IX" and "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles". In the "Final Fantasy III" remake, the Moogles' message delivery service allows to send real e-mails to other players' games using the Nintendo DS Wi-Fi function. In "Final Fantasy XI", a Moogle is assigned to each player to take care of their house and change their jobs, and "Festive" Moogles run the holiday events in the game. In "Final Fantasy XII", the Moogles are known to be skillful in mechanics and engineering; they were the first pioneers of airship construction.

Several Moogle characters of the "Final Fantasy" series are named Mog, including a playable character in "Final Fantasy VI", a character from an arcade game in "Final Fantasy VII", a form of the Eidolon Madeen in "Final Fantasy IX", and the single player's companion in "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles". In the spin-offs "Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon", "Chocobo's Dungeon 2", and "Chocobo Racing", a Moogle named Mog is friend with the main character Chocobo. In "Final Fantasy XI", one's residence is called the "Mog House". Moogles appear as summoned creatures in "Final Fantasy VII" where a Moogle appears riding a Chocobo, in "Final Fantasy VIII" with a young Moogle called MiniMog, and in "Final Fantasy Tactics". Eiko in "Final Fantasy IX" had a Moogle guardian named Mog; she later became the Summon Madeen or Guardian Mog in the English version. Other notable Moogles include Stiltzkin from "Final Fantasy IX" and "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles", and Montblanc from "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance" and "Final Fantasy XII".

In "Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced" and "Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2", the Moogles have a variety of different jobs to master in the clan. Some of the "Base Jobs" include Thief, Animist and Black Mage. After you master a certain amount of abilities, new jobs are available for the Moogles. Other Moogle Jobs include Juggler, Tinker, Time Mage, Fusilier, Flintlock, Chocobo Knight, and Moogle Knight. There is one special Moogle Job in "Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced 2" called "Bard". The Bard is named Hurdy. Hurdy is able to use a series of different instruments to give "buffs" and "debuffs" to allies or foes. He is also able to use a special ability that can make him invisible. Other abilities include healing health. Overall, Hurdy is a great member to have in the clan.

Moogles first appear in the "Final Fantasy" series in "Final Fantasy III" and are present in all subsequent numbered installments except "Final Fantasy IV", in addition to "Final Fantasy Tactics", "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance", "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles", and "Final Fantasy: Unlimited". They were used as Save Points in "Final Fantasy IX". Moogles appear only as stuffed dolls in "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children", "Dirge of Cerberus", "Final Fantasy X" and "Final Fantasy X-2", in addition to Yuna's version of the Mascot dressphere being a moogle in "Final Fantasy X-2". Moogles make an appearance in the "Seiken Densetsu" series as a race and/or as a status condition in "Final Fantasy Adventure", "Secret of Mana", and "Seiken Densetsu 3", and are mentioned in "Sword of Mana". They make an appearance in the Chocobo series in "Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon", "Chocobo's Dungeon 2", "Chocobo Racing", and "". They also appear in all three games of the "Kingdom Hearts" series, which includes Moogles named after many famous characters from the series. Finally, a Moogle appears in "Egg Monster Heroes", while one is an unlockable character in "Mario Hoops 3-on-3". Moogles have appeared as characters in numerous webcomics, such as Ren from "Mac Hall". In "Exploitation Now" there is a character named Ralph who is known as "a walking copyright infringement waiting to happen" and appears very similar to a moogle.

Monsters

Certain fictional monsters reappear frequently throughout the series, including Goblins, Oni/Ogres/Gigas/Giants, Bombs, Behemoths, Tonberries, Malboros and Cactuars ("Sabotenders" in the Japanese version, after "saboten", the Japanese word for cactus). Summoned monsters — such as Bahamut — as well as the elemental monsters — Shiva (ice) and Ifrit (fire) — have appeared in almost every title in the series. The lightning elemental has been represented by a variety of creatures, principally Ramuh but also Quetzalcoatl and Ixion. In "Final Fantasy Tactics Advance", the elemental monsters are not enemies but rather represent spells cast by Summoners (either the player's own, or those of rivals).

References


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