Originally released for the Super Famicom in 1990, Final Fantasy IV would also arrive on the SNES the following year as Final Fantasy II before eventually receiving its first official Western release as Final Fantasy IV on the PlayStation as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation. As the first next-gen game in the series following the franchise’s beginning on the Famicom and NES, Final Fantasy IV is a massive leap forward in terms of its narrative, gameplay, and presentation. Rather than have a large gap persist between the game’s original release and its localization, Square decided to have the translation of the title occur concurrent with its development, resulting in it arriving as a launch title for the SNES in the West.
Outside of the fully 3D Nintendo DS version, all other versions utilize the same core assets and gameplay of the original, which is responsible for revolutionizing turn-based combat in RPGs via the Active-Time Battle (ATB) System. Following the PlayStation release of Final Fantasy IV, the next port to arrive would be the Game Boy Advance version in 2004, with the PSP Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection following just a few years later in 2011. The most recent release of the game comes to players courtesy of the Pixel Remasters series, which rebuilds the first 6 Final Fantasy games in Unity so that they share a visual consistency and arrive on modern platforms.
Many fans and outlets consider Final Fantasy IV to be one of the best games in the entire series thanks to its incredible narrative and tightly-balanced gameplay. Across the multiple versions of the game that exist it continues to be the best-selling title among the first 6 Final Fantasy games, cumulatively holding just shy of 11 million units in sales.
Final Fantasy IV Premise
Gameplay-wise, Final Fantasy IV is the first game in the series to enforce specific character classes on the game’s different party members rather than allow players to mold their own adventuring party of heroes. Player classes and their special abilities are consistent throughout the game, with the sole exception of Cecil’s class change from Dark Knight to Paladin that underpins an important moment in the narrative. Thanks to the Active-Time Battle System, enemies can act at the same time that the player does, necessitating quick thinking during battles and awareness of the best strategies to use with the party during specific encounters.
Final Fantasy IV places players in the role of the Dark Knight Cecil right as the hero is in the midst of an existential crisis. Though he wields great power, he refuses to use it for evil, putting him into direct confrontation with the wishes of his kingdom’s ruler and making him doubt his path in life. Along with Cecil, players meet an eclectic and endearing cast of characters that rank among perhaps the best-supporting cast of companions in any Final Fantasy, including Cecil’s first party member and best friend Kain Highwind. The story takes players through a classic “Hero’s Journey” akin to some of the greatest literature and mythology, ultimately seeing the tale communicate an important message about redemption.
Final Fantasy IV is the only game in the series in which players control a total of 5 heroes in the main party (rather than the traditional 4) and after a certain point in the story, the party is permanently set and unchangeable. Additionally, there are a total of three separate world maps for players to adventure across, which include the surface world, the Underworld, and the Moon.
Final Fantasy IV Main Characters
In addition to the game’s hero the Dark Knight Cecil, Final Fantasy IV features an incredible cast of characters each with their own distinct personalities, backstories, and motivations. Players learn about these characters through the game’s dialogue and set pieces, and the chaotic nature of the events they find themselves thrust into means that there are plenty of times in which beloved characters come and go from the party as a result of tragedy. The main characters in Final Fantasy IV include:
- Cecil: Final Fantasy IV‘s protagonist, Cecil Harvey is the commander of the Royal Air Force of the kingdom of Baron — the notorious airship battalion known as the Red Wings. Though he is a Dark Knight, he longs to not use his power for evil and to repent for the misdeeds of his past.
- Kain: Kain Highwind is Cecil’s best friend and the commander of Baron’s Dragoon Knights. Though he and Cecil remain close since childhood, he harbors a secret love for Cecil’s romantic partner Rosa, and the jealousy and bitterness resulting from this allow him to be manipulated against Cecil.
- Rosa: Rosa Farrell is one of Baron’s leading White Mages and an expert healer as well as Cecil’s romantic interest. She worries about Cecil’s internal conflict and struggles with his internal demons and longs to remain by his side.
- Rydia: Rydia is one of the last surviving Summoners, a group of sorcerers capable of calling upon the demigod-like Eidolons that live in the Land of Summons. Cecil saves her life and then swears to protect her, earning her lifelong loyalty.
- Golbez: Golbez is Final Fantasy IV‘s primary antagonist and the main driving force behind Baron’s acquisition of the world’s Crystals. He seeks to gather the world’s Crystals as a means to open the gateway to the Moon.
Games in the Final Fantasy Series
In the more than 30 years since the release of Final Fantasy IV, the series continues to be one of the most important and iconic franchises in gaming. Having just reached its 16th mainline entry via last year’s Final Fantasy XVI, the series shows no signs of slowing down and developer/publisher Square Enix recently made it clear that they are setting sights on the series’ future and next mainline entry. Mainline games in the Final Fantasy series include:
- Final Fantasy (1987)
- Final Fantasy II (1988)
- Final Fantasy III (1990)
- Final Fantasy IV (1991)
- Final Fantasy V (1992)
- Final Fantasy VI (1994)
- Final Fantasy VII (1997)
- Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
- Final Fantasy IX (2000)
- Final Fantasy X (2001)
- Final Fantasy XI (2002)
- Final Fantasy XII (2006)
- Final Fantasy III (DS) (2006)
- Final Fantasy IV (DS) (2007)
- Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
- Final Fantasy XIV (2013)
- Final Fantasy XV (2016)
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020)
- Final Fantasy XVI (2023)
- Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (2024)
Final Fantasy IV Cheats and Secrets
As an RPG, Final Fantasy IV doesn’t feature any official cheat codes but it does have a plethora of secrets and cheats made possible via third-party cheat peripherals across its several versions. Additionally, the Pixel Remaster release of the game on PS4 and Nintendo Switch includes various Boost functions that make the game easier by turning off encounters or increasing Gil and EXP gains.
In most versions of Final Fantasy IV (including the most recent Pixel Remaster version) Excalibur is the most powerful sword for Cecil before heading to the game’s final dungeon (Lunar Subterrane) and fighting Dark Bahamut for the Crystal Sword (or Ragnarok, depending on version), or Lightbringer (which only features in the Game Boy Advance release and Complete Collection for PSP). To obtain Excalibur, make sure to grab the Rat’s Tail from a conspicuous treasure chest in the Land of Summons/Land of Eidolons. Take the Rat’s Tail to the cave southeast of Silvera/Mythril using the hovercraft and exchange it with the man there for the Adamantium Ore. Giving the Adamantium and Legend sword to the smithy in the Underground (south of the Dwarven Castle) will convert the sword into Excalibur.
Item Duplication Glitch
The PlayStation version of Final Fantasy IV contains a handy glitch players can exploit to easily duplicate any item, even if it is somewhat time-consuming. During battle, go into the Item screen and select an empty space. Choose to place the weapon or equipment a character is wearing into that space and then escape the battle. Open the menu and head straight to “Equip” (NOT “Item”) to re-equip the item. The duplicate is still in the item inventory.
PS1 Game Shark Cheats (Final Fantasy Chronicles)
|No Random Encounters
|Max Gil After Battle
|Max EXP After Battle
GBA Game Shark Codes (Final Fantasy IV Advance)
|Master Code (Must be ON for others to work)
|50,000 EXP After Battle
|No Random Battles
Pixel Remaster Boosts for PS4 and Nintendo Switch
At any point during gameplay, open up the Menu and select “Configuration”. Inside the Configuration Menu, scroll down until you see “Boost”. The following Boost cheats are available for players to turn on or off at any time throughout their playthrough:
- Encounters – Can turn “ON” or “OFF”; determines whether the player faces random battles on the overworld map and within dungeons. Can also turn “ON” or “OFF” during gameplay by clicking in the right analog stick.
- EXP – Defaults at 1x but can be set anywhere between 0.5x and 4x to adjust the amount of experience the player earns after each battle.
- Gil – Defaults at 1x but can be set anywhere between 0.5x and 4x to adjust the amount of Gil (currency) the player earns after each battle.
Final Fantasy IV Cheat FAQ
Does Final Fantasy II on SNES have Game Genie codes?
Yes, there are several Game Genie codes available for the initial Western release of Final Fantasy IV for the SNES. Most of these codes are similar to other Game Shark, Code Breaker, or Pro Action Replay codes that provide boosts to Gil, EXP, or character stats.
Does the PC version of Final Fantasy IV have a cheat trainer?
Yes, there are several Cheat Trainer files available for Final Fantasy IV. Accordingly, players will need to download and install a cheat engine before they can utilize any of the cheat trainers that exist.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Nintendo eShop artwork.