The Fourth Fantasy

The Final Fantasy series is one of the most popular in gaming. They are all RPGs of some sort, and tend to feature sweeping storylines and eye-popping graphics. The series proper has eleven installments, with a twelfth soon to follow, and several spin-offs, such as Final Fantasy Tactics.

Final Fantasy IV was released in 1991, as the first SNES Final Fantasy. Among the older titles, the even numbers tend to be story-line focused, while the odd numbers focus on gameplay. Final Fantasy IV had the most detailed storyline yet. In the original Japanese release, there was a hard type and an easy type. It was released in America as Final Fantasy II, highly censored, poorly translated, and dumbed-down, with only the easy type available. Still, it made a lasting impact on gamers as it was the first true RPG to reach western shores. That characters had names, had feelings, had personalites was something revolutionary.

Final Fantasy IV is set in a fairly traditional high fantasy setting, unlike later installments, which have been known to feature dystopian futures or bizzare military prep schools. It is the story of the Dark Knight Cecil Harvey, captain of Baron's airforce, the Red Wings. He has some doubts about the direction his kingdom is taking- in the opening scene he slaugters a group of innocents on the king's orders. His questioning unravels a plot so large it encapsules the fate of the world and beyond.

On the personal level, Cecil is challanged not just with saving the world, but with saving himself. He must confront his inner demons both in the philisophical and literal sense if he is to be able to confront the darkness in others. He develops a relationship with the beautiful Rosa, whom he has loved from afar.

Kain is Cecil's best friend, and captain of the Dragoons. He also loves Rosa, but dares not ruin Cecil's happiness. But this love festers within him, making him jealous of Cecil. Over the course of the game, Kain's weakness is exploited, causing pain to Cecil and Kain both.

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.

Cecil Kain Rosa Edward
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