The kingdom of Baron seeks to control the crystals of the earth. Cecil commander of his majesty's royal fleet, the Red Wings, is sent to retrieve them for Baron. Though ever loyal to his king, Cecil begins to wonder why his majesty is seeking such power. Upon his return, he questions why he is being sent to rob and hurt unarmed innocents. The king strips him of his command as punishment. He then orders Cecil and Kain, who has come to his defense, to deliver a package to the village of Mist to the north. Little do they know this simple delivery is the beginning of something more than either could imagine.
Cecil seeks to understand why it is that Baron has changed so much. Why is his majesty hunting the crystals, and what is the
reason behind the outburst of villainy and monsters taking over the lands? He will soon learn there is more to him, and everything in both this world and afar.
Final Fantasy IV, perhaps one of the most sought after RPG titles in the history of video games. When released in 1991, there were high expectations for it across Japan. The success of the NES Final Fantasy titles made this one a sure win. And it did not disappoint.
Final Fantasy IV took all the lessons learned, all the experiments, all the great attention to detail, and threw it into orbit. This was the definitive RPG of the time. It has everything a great game, even by today’s standards, can possibly offer. Everything from the graphics, to the story, characters, sound, music, everything was just perfect.
Graphically, Final Fantasy IV went far beyond what had been seen in I-III. The attention to detail on the characters and enemies was taken up several notches. The sprites are colorful, detailed, and just fantastic. It is here, that there is a swing towards much larger enemy sprites. This enabled more detail in them, as well as providing a more menacing feel to them. Characters movements and actions were seamless. No longer did the game animate a character with two different frames. This one had closer to 16, allowing for more detailed movement. Not to mention more realistic.
And gone, gone, GONE was the big empty black void you fought on in I-III. Final Fantasy IV is the first to have beautifully detailed and colored backgrounds which the fights take place. That leap ahead in and of itself is fantastic enough. Enemies who flew above the ground had a hovering motion with them, adding even more realism. They were not yet taking action, (Not seen until VII) but it certainly was beginning here.
The single greatest innovation that makes Final Fantasy IV famous had nothing to do with graphics, music, or anything of the likes. It was the ATB Battle System. The ATB (Active Time Battle) system allowed for characters and enemies to execute their attacks, no matter what was going on. If the menu was open, the enemy was still allowed to perform their attack. And the turns no longer went Enemy attack, party attack. The character/enemy with the highest speed went first. This was a massive achievement in video games, and the way the battles were done. It is a system that has been copied in giant heaps ever since. This form of realism, and engagement in the game was beyond anyone’s dreams. Now you had to literally strategize what your moves will be, while trying to maintain the battle in your favor at the same time. Challenge a plenty with this, and a extra dose of awesome fun too.
The story in Final Fantasy I-III, were the blueprints of story-driven games. When Final Fantasy IV came along, the story was so in depth and engrossing, it almost felt like you were watching a movie unfold that allowed you to participate in battles from time to time. It holds its own as being one of the greatest story-driven RPG’s of all time. You have connections with the characters like never before. They have little back stories, and things that enable even more telling of the overall tale.
The music found in IV is just awesome. It is completely unforgettable. You know the kind of music that gets stuck in your head, and does not leave for days on end. And sometimes there is the kind of eh song in a game, that is just ok. Not in IV. Final Fantasy IV has constantly been praised for its almost perfect scoring of the game. The songs set the moods just right, and enhance the great story you are going through.
Final Fantasy IV was the game that swung the RPG doors open in a massive way. It led the way for the next two titles to hit like thunder in the USA. (VI and VII).
Even now, after 22 years, and several ports, Final Fantasy IV remains a icon in the RPG and gaming world. It is highly sought after, especially the original SNES versions, and can sell upwards of 150.00 on Ebay. For the first run on the new SNES, Final Fantasy IV was a success to the nine. And it was only a hint at what was to come from Squaresoft.
If you have not played this title, on any of its ports, find a copy of it. No matter how much you might not like the series, you WILL like this game.