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For the game originally released as Final Fantasy II in North America, see Final Fantasy IV.

Final Fantasy II
ファイナルファンタジーII
Fainaru Fantajī II
Developer(s) Square Co., Ltd.
Publisher(s) Square Co., Ltd.
Release date
NES version:
Japan December 17, 1988
United States/Canada Canceled

Wonderswan Color version:

Japan May 3, 2001

PlayStation version:

Japan October 31, 2002
United States April 8, 2003

Mobile Phone version:

Japan February 4, 2005

PlayStation Portable version

Japan June 7, 2007
United States/Canada July 24, 2007

Playstation Network: (Playstation version)

Japan July 8, 2009

iPhone/iPod Touch

Japan/United States/Europe/Australia TBA
Genre Role-playing game
Game modes Single player
Ratings ESRB: T Teen
ELSPA: 11+
PEGI: 3+3+
OFLC: G8+
PlayStation Portable version
ESRB: Teen Teen

|CERO: All Ages All Ages
PEGI: 12+12+

Platform(s) Nintendo Entertainment System, WonderSwan Color, PlayStation, NTT DoCoMo FOMA 901i, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Network, Iphone, Ipod

Final Fantasy II is the second installment in the Final Fantasy Series. It is notable for being one of the first story-intensive RPGs released for a console system, and for being the first game in the series to feature many elements that would later become staples of the Final Fantasy franchise, including chocobos and a character by the name of Cid. It was also unique for eliminating the traditional experience-based advancement system, instead favoring a system wherein the statistics of playable characters increased according either to how much they were required, or how much they used. In other words, a character who frequently cast magic spells would have their proficiency at casting increase faster than a character who specialized in physical attacks.

Although abandoned by subsequent installments in the series, a similar system was adopted by the SaGa series, also produced by Square. As a side-note, this game was actually designed by Akitoshi Kawazu, who later designed the SaGa series, rather than Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the series. Because of the popularity of the series in America during the '90s, Final Fantasy II was one of the first games to undergo fan translation, in this case by NeoDemiforce. Final Fantasy II was originally scored by Nobuo Uematsu, and it was Uematsu's seventeenth work of video game music. The game's music was arranged by Tsuyoshi Sekito for the WonderSwan Color, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable remakes.

Contents

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. Hit points and magic points, 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.

Menu screen of Final Fantasy II.

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.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Characters

Main article: List of 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.

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 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 was 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 that he knows that Gordon has a great strength to take the throne after him. 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 that material, but Hilda never heard anything from him since he left to go to Salamand. Minwu also joins the party for this mission.

The party finds Josef, but he is unwilling to give any information, as the Palamecian empire had kidnapped Nelly, Josef's daughter, and Borghen threatened to kill her if he helped 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 had enslaved the residents and made them build a powerful airship known as the Dreadnought. This was being built under the watchful eye of an imperial known as the Dark Knight, however he had been withdrawn after the empire lost the Mythril and was replaced by the hapless Borghen. This gave 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 did not leave Bafsk after all, appeared and took 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, either the Goddess Bell or the voice of a Kashuan is needed to open the keep. Josef helps the party enter the snow caves with a snowcraft, and the party retrieves the bell. 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, and meet with Gordon, who helps them to locate Egil's Torch, the only vessel that the Sunfire will carry to. The party defeats a Red Soul for the torch, and pass the Sunfire to the torch. As they leave, they witness Cid's Airship being commandeered 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 this plan, Minwu would head to Mysidia to retrieve Ultima, the ultimate magic tome; Gordon would command the rebel army to attack Fynn directly; and Firion's party would head 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, only to find that a single Wyvern, poisoned by the Empire, remains alive. 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, to the surprise that the Hilda they rescued at the Dreadnought is not really Hilda at all; it is a Lamia Queen that acted as an impostor. The real Hilda 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 was 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 him 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 Leviathon'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 trials 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 allow the party to succeed in defeating 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, now with more power 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, getting into 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 only form of resistance to his rule that may pose a threat. Despite his powerful spells and his ability to call down meteors when no such spell is available to the player on the game, the Emperor eventually succumbs to defeat, 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.

Soul of Rebirth

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 lead 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.

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.

Development

NES Logo
A battle in the NES version.

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.

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.

Wonderswan Color

The first remake of Final Fantasy II was released on May 3, 2001. The most notable change to the game was the graphical updating, which included more detailed sprites, a total revamping of battlefield and dungeon backgrounds, and higher resolution overall.

PlayStation

A battle in the Origins version.

North America's first access to Final Fantasy II was through the Final Fantasy Origins collection, which also included the original Final Fantasy. The graphics and gameplay remained nearly identical to that of the Wonderswan, though resolution increased by a marginal amount. Due to the PlayStation's higher processing power, several new features were added, such as two full motion video scenes, a Bestiary, art gallery by Yoshitaka Amano, and an item collection gallery.

Game Boy Advance

Final Fantasy II was once again paired with Final Fantasy for the Game Boy Advance, under the compilation Dawn of Souls. In this edition, several tweaks to the stat leveling system were made, including the removal of the "action-cancel" cheat, which allowed players to gain statistics for moves that were canceled at will, and the removal of stat decreases. As in Final Fantasy, the player was afforded three save files, and the game was able to be saved in any location barring battles. Also, Yoshitaka Amano's character portraits are used whenever a major character is speaking in a dialogue box.

The Dawn of Souls version of Final Fantasy II introduced the new Soul of Rebirth dungeon, which is available after the defeat of the Final Boss. The dungeon consists of multiple areas and a town, and the playable characters included those that died during the main storyline's events: Minwu, Scott, Josef, and Ricard. An extra save file is needed for this bonus dungeon.

PlayStation Portable

Final Fantasy II was also ported to the PlayStation Portable as part of the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Compilation. Its music is the same as in Final Fantasy Origins. The graphics have been updated to higher resolution. Its script is the same as the Game Boy Advance port aside from the dungeons exclusive to this version, but the FMV and Art Galleries from Final Fantasy Origins have returned, and the Arcane Labyrinth dungeons have been introduced, a new series of three dungeons, that after being completed, lead to the Arcane Sanctuary, where the party may challenge new bosses. Also, this version introduced a "Defend" command to the battle menu, whereas before party members would occasionaly block with a shield if one were equipped.

Mobile Version

A battle in the Mobile port.
Mobile Logo

Square-Enix has announced an upcoming version of the original and second Final Fantasies. Both games have graphics similar to the Anniversary Edition and their special Dungeons. The gameplay of the original Final Fantasy remains the same of the PSP port while Final Fantasy II Mobile add new elements to the gameplay. Not much is known yet of both games. The mobile version(s) have been confirmed on the iPhone and the iPod Touch but the release date is yet to be announced.

Trivia

  • Final Fantasy II does not include very many allusions to its predecessor, though it has been referenced very heavily in Final Fantasy IX. The Eidolon Ramuh tells the story of a battle between many nations, and a man who sacrificed his life so that a young band of rebels could live to fight the Empire. This narrative heavily hints at Josef and his purpose in Final Fantasy II.
  • Final Fantasy II, III, IV, IV: The After Years, XI, Unlimited, and The Spirits Within are the only Final Fantasy installments to be novelized. This game's novel was titled Final Fantasy II: Tsū Muma no Meikyū or "The Labyrinth of Nightmare". It was only published in Japan. It was written by Kenji Terada and was published exclusively by Kadokawa Shoten rather than Squaresoft. Since the novel was written by the game's scenario writer, it is considered canon.
  • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Beelzebub, Astaroth, King Behemoth, and Iron Giant are guardians for the crystals of the True Moon.
  • This is the first game that doesn't have a level-up system.

See Also

Packaging artwork

External link

  • Final Fantasy I・II Advance Official Site (Japanese)
  • Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Official Site (Japanese)
  • Final Fantasy II for Mobile Official Site (Japanese)
  • Final Fantasy Origins Official Site (North American)
  • Final Fantasy I・II Dawn of Souls Official Site (North American)
  • Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Official Site (North American)
  • Final Fantasy II Sprites ~NES~

This article uses material from the "Final Fantasy II" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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