Top 10 Final Fantasy Moments
With the release of Final Fantasy XIII-2 this week, what better way to celebrate the series than by looking at some of my favourite moments in the franchise’s history?
It’s not an easy task, sifting through every single Final Fantasy games and picking my favourite all time moments. There’s been so many moments in countless numbers of games that it becomes somewhat of a daunting task picking them all; it’s almost like trying to find a needle in a stack of glittering gaming gems.
But try I shall! Obviously this contains spoilers, just in case you haven’t finished every Final Fantasy.
10: Balamb Garden Takes flight
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Honestly, who saw this one coming? Taking place during I believe the second disk of Final Fantasy VIII, Balamb Garden turning from a training academy/school into a mobile base that could somehow fly was both shocking and totally epic at the same time.
If you’re unfamiliar with the storyline behind it, Balamb Garden’s flight came about after Squall and company descended into the depths of Balamb Garden to find the mysterious emergency security measure in order to counteract an impending missile threat from Galbadia and Sorceress Edea. I honestly remember playing this as a child and fully expecting a huge shield to appear around the garden and it absolutely blew my mind when the garden started to fly, narrowly avoiding being blown to smithereens by the missiles.
9: You’re Not Alone
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With Zidane questioning his existence after discovering he was just a puppet at the climax of Final Fantasy IX, this effective section, with possibly one of the best musical themes from the series pumping in the background, was as epic as it gets. It proved that games could be emotionally attaching even when they weren’t voice acted, as you truly felt Zidane’s plight and the power of the friendships he’d gained over the duration of the game.
This section was essentially a gauntlet of boss battles where Zidane is trying to fight alone and shrug off his friends, with each of them dropping in in turn to fight by his side, proving that they are there together and will battle towards the end. A fantastically done section of gaming all about character development, Zidane’s companions proved that friendship and loyalty are highly important. Particularly poignant was Steiner’s turn from disliking Zidane into becoming one of his close friends.
8: Any Moment Involving Ultros
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While also dealing with the evil Kefka’s machinations and aspirations of world domination, Final Fantasy 6 also had another antagonist who would routinely appear, berate your characters and then force you into battle after battle.
A mysterious octopus creature with an obsession with beating FF6′s characters until they are very dead indeed, Ultros routinely attacks the party throughout the game, even going so far as to attack the party during a performance in an opera house and eventually even brings along a friend to try and defeat the party, and fails.
Ultros can also be found later in the game after the events of the apocalypse, working off a debt. His persistence and dedication towards defeating the party and his routinely crazy talks give him a spot upon this list. ‘Don’t tease the octopus kids!’
7: Fighting Yiazmat and Wanting To Kill Yourself
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Final Fantasy XII may not be a lot of people’s favourites, but its huge sidequest that involved hunting down various types of monsters and plundering loads of rewards lasted for absolutely hours, forcing you to fight countless different types of creatures until ultimately you were given the ultimate elite mark, Yiazmat.
If you’ve never fought Yiazmat before, boy are you in for a treat. Nothing prepares you for just how difficult this fight can be; Yiazmat boasts over 50 million HP and can take upwards of two hours to kill. It requires you to set up an almost flawless set of gambits, sit on edge for two hours as you constantly heal yourself and avoid the traps strewn across the battlefield, and will challenge you more than possibly any boss in the series’ history. The worst part is – stray too far from the battlefield and Yiazmat heals himself very quickly. If you’ve beat this boss, I salute you. I failed, many, many times.
6: Seifer Doesn’t Have Time For Odin’s Nonsense
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Seifer Almasy was always a bit of a loner bad-ass, but his antics towards optional GF Odin are shocking and awesome at the same time. Only occurring if you’d taken the time to visit Centra Ruins and acquire Odin through a timed sidequest, the un-summonable GF who only shows up when he fancies comes to rain down death upon Seifer during a battle aboard the Lunatic Pandora as Seifer tries to stop the party from reaching the sorceress Adel who has taken Riona.
During the battle, Odin swoops down from the sky amidst lighting and fire, confusing you because he never shows up during boss battles, then tries to attack Seifer. The emphasis is on the word tries here, as Odin meets a grisly end courtesy of Seifer’s gunblade, promptly being chopped in half, never to be seen again until Final Fantasy IX.
He is then replaced later in the battle by Gilgamesh, who can be both useful and extremely crap due to having four different attacks, one of which is named Excalipoor and does 1HP of damage.
5: Tidus Fades Away
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Since it was the series’ first foray into voice acting, Final Fantasy X had a lot to deliver. Thankfully it did deliver, and Tidus’ discovery that he is in fact not real and just a dream of the Fayth ultimately results in him paying the ultimate price for saving the world, fading away from existence altogether.
A scene that was both emotionally jarring and exceptionally sad, the end of Final Fantasy X is probably one of the best endings the series has had as Tidus leaves his new love Yuna behind to weep into the tea towels she has strapped to her arms. Ok, she doesn’t do that, but Yuna’s teatowels had to be mentioned.
4: Cloud Finds Out The Truth
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A lot of Final Fantasy VII is about moody hero Cloud’s struggle to find out the truth. With Sephiroth bending Cloud’s find whenever possible with mysterious sub-plots, dreams and even accusing Cloud of being a mere puppet, Cloud’s mind eventually breaks and it is up to Tifa, his childhood friend, to repair his mind bit by bit and reveal the truth of Cloud’s past.
The truth is shocking – Cloud was never in Shinra’s elite force SOLDIER and he has assumed the identity of Zack, his friend and colleague. He isn’t a mere puppet, but Sephiroth’s lies and the ideas planted in Cloud’s mind convinced him otherwise. It still remains to this day one of the most effective and shocking revelations in the entire Final Fantasy series.
3:Kefka Destroys The World
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Kefka was a villain that was more unhinged than possibly any other Final Fantasy villain. He wasn’t particularly fueled by hatred of anything or emotionally scarred, he was just absolutely crazy and hell bent on becoming a god.
I still remember the shock I felt when Kefka lays waste to the entire world after using the power of the warring triad, effectively taking the rest of the game into an entirely new world, a world where practically everything is destroyed and is a shell of it’s former self, ruled over by Kefka’s evil clownish fists.
Good old maniacal psycopaths.
2: Aerith Dies
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Ok, so how many of you were expecting this to be number one? Honestly, I was too, but it got pipped to the post by another moment which I still find so insanely epic it defeats Aerith’s death by a mere sliver. It was a close call, I can tell you.
Aeirth’s death still feels so jarring watching it now as it did way back when Final Fantasy VII was first released. It was honestly one of the first times a game shocked me into silence, even as a mere youngster. Seeing a character who’d grown and had been so significant in the plot being so mercilessly slain was such a massive shock that it still, to this day, is heralded as not only one of the greatest Final Fantasy moments of all time, but also as one of the best gaming scenes of all time.
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A shocking choice I know, but the final, three stage battle with Sephiroth in the Northern Crater is my favourite Final Fantasy moment of all time. It’s a fantastic series of boss battles starting with a difficult, multiple-character struggle against Sephiroth’s first form before kicking off the absolutely epic battle against ‘The One Winged Angel’ with a fantastic piece of music pumping in the background as your characters hover in the clouds, dwarfed by Sephiroth’s colossal power. Throw into the mix a classic ending sequence where Cloud finally owns Sephiroth with an epic Omnislash, and you’ve got a section of a game that stands the test of time as one of the best boss battles of all time.
It really is fantastic, and I can’t put into words how awesome it is.
I’m sure you’ve all got your favourites, so why not comment below, or alternatively head over to the MT forums and start a discussion there?