Day VII: Final Fantasy IV

Disclaimer: As usual, there will spoilers all over this post.  You have been warned!

Placing my nostalgia aside and taking a fair look at each Final Fantasy game has easily been the toughest part of this countdown.  Final Fantasy IV was the first Final Fantasy game that I have ever played, so it of course holds a special place in my gaming heart.  I have bought this game more times than I care to admit thanks to its several re-releases (and thoroughly enjoying every playthrough).  Despite all of that, I do release that this game does not quite come up to the same standard as the games still remaining in this countdown.  While I would love to gush over this game for the entire post, I will stay true to my original plan and give this game and post as much of an unbiased look as possible.

Originally release in Japan in 1991, the States soon saw Final Fantasy IV come to the SNES a few months later; however, it was called Final Fantasy II at the time as Final Fantasy II and Final Fantasy III never saw the light of day on the NES Stateside.  At the time, the game was much easier than its Japanese counterpart, and was similar to the Final Fantasy IV: Easymode re-release that Japan saw.  The game also suffered from heavy censorship as well, with all religious references stricken (“praying” was referred to as “wishing”), many references to death were either toned down or completely removed, and even some sexual content was removed from the game (the dancer in Baron strips down to a bikini and the animation of the Cecil and Rosa sprites kissing, was replaced with a hugging animation).  On top of all of that, the game was also horribly translated and some abilities, like Cecil’s “Darkness” ability were completely removed.

All of this was rectified in 2001, as the game was re-released for the PlayStation as a part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles package (which also featured a non-Final Fantasy game, Chrono Trigger).  The game was redone to feature a more faithful translation, a difficulty that mirrored the original, ridiculous censorship completely removed, all original abilities included, and the title was renamed back to Final Fantasy IV.  Thankfully though, some things still remained from the original U.S. version:

The ultimate insult--Japan missed out.

The game has been re-released a few times more since with versions being released on the Gameboy Advanced, Nintendo DS (which featured a complete face-lift), and the Wii Virtual Console.  While these re-releases, especially the DS version, featured many changes and some additional dungeons to the game, for the purposes of this review, I will be looking back on the PlayStation version of the game as it most directly mirrored the original Final Fantasy IV.

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