The Final Fantasy series has a cult following attributed to it; gamers have loved riding giant chickens, sitting through heinously long summoning animations, and guys named Cid, for some odd 30 years now.
Most gamers attribute their love of the series to rich storytelling as well, which is fraught with menacing foes, head scratching twists and turns, and complex character development that lets players really bond with the cast. Tucked away behind all the turn based battles and guffawing bad guys, there are some really messed up moments-- like really messed up moments.
Most of these games have some seriously heavy subject matter for a series that's generally aimed at younger children and teens. Suicide, crossdressing, mutant dolphins... it all exists in the Final Fantasy games. Heck, those three are all in the same game. One thing is for certain: the developers over at Squaresoft-- or Square Enix-- aren’t afraid to throw in perverted or life ruining content when it comes to their beloved RPG series.
Here are the 15 Most Disturbing Things In Final Fantasy History.
15 Link's Tombstone (FF)
During the journey through the first Final Fantasy, players will come across a village inhabited by elves, cleverly named Elfheim. The town contains the usual mainstays of any RPG town: a weapons shop, an armor shop, and a cast of NPCs that can only repeat a single line of dialogue. Again, pretty standard for an RPG village, aside from the graveyard perched precariously in an unseen corner of the screen.
Reading the tombstones will reveal a few of the fallen villagers, a reference to a few pop culture figures-- one that is a blatant shot at one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. The last tombstone in the row reads “Here lies Link.” As in Link from The Legend Of Zelda.
Although it could be interpreted as a shout out to a game that the developers enjoyed, many fans think that it was a blatant stab at the popular series.
14 A Child Choking An Old Man Out With Fishing Line (FFVIII)
In Fisherman’s Horizon, Squall and friends can talk to the Master Fisherman, who will point you towards his pupil Fisherkid. Fisherkid will talk to Squall about the finer points of angling, life in general, and then proceed to choke out an old man with his fishing line.
On his third cast, Fisherkid lassos an old man’s neck with fishing line, causing the old man to cry out for help. The Fisherkid futilely screams out that he can’t do anything, while an old man asphyxiates.
Seriously, this kid is the Master Fisherman’s pupil, you'd think that he would know how to not choke someone out when doing something he literally does every time he fishes. Luckily, Squall can free the old man’s throat with a quick tug that saves his life and keeps the Fisherkid from going to prison for involuntary manslaughter.
13 Cloud Going On A Date With Barrett (FFVII)
When players arrive at the Golden Saucer in Final Fantasy VII, they’re able to select a companion to explore the massive floating theme park with. One of these choices is Barrett, the foul-mouthed, machine gun armed, and meanest dude that Cloud has ever known.
Instead of taking Tifa or Aerith, the two obvious female choices to tour the park and ride the Ferris wheel with, Squaresoft decided that a man built like a refrigerator with a gatling gun for a hand was also a viable option to take on a romantic date.
Taking Barrett onto the Ferris wheel reveals some particularly interesting dialogue with the AVALANCHE leader, which includes him questioning Cloud about why he didn’t bring one of the girls, and warning Cloud to stay away from the prepubescent Marlene. Got it, dude, Cloud is definitely above taking you on a Ferris wheel in order to make a pass at your elementary school daughter (kind of).
12 Tidus's Laugh (FFX)
What has now become one of the most hideous scenes in all Final Fantasy history is when Yuna asks Tidus to laugh out loud and he responds by bellowing one of the most forced laughs known to man. Seriously, this laugh sounds downright painful. Experiencing this laugh in real life would most likely cause one’s eardrums to burst and immediately start bleeding.
The scene was put into the game for the same reason as most of the Final Fantasy cutscenes; it was an artificial attempt to form some sort of relationship and character development in one of the series' most annoying leads, and it really backfired, becoming a meme that is still used to this day.
Tidus’s laugh is a prime example of how to not make a character relatable in the least, since few human beings laugh like it’s causing their intestines to disintegrate.
11 A TV Producer Sends You A Letter Bomb (FFVII)
In order to get closer to Shinra Corporation, Cloud dresses up for a parade in SOLDIER uniform and has to perform a series moves on live television in honor of the recently deceased Shinra Corp’s son taking over the organization. Perform well, and you’ll receive an item and praise. Perform poorly, and prepare for a special delivery straight from Ted Kaczynski.
If Cloud does poorly during his marching duties, the producer for the television station that the parade was featured on will send him a bomb in the mail. First of all, that’s miraculous that the producer can figure out where to mail a bomb within a few minutes in the first place.
Even more miraculous is that the producer can have it delivered that quickly and somehow manages to get the bomb past the postal service in the first place. The same rules don’t apply to the mail couriers in Final Fantasy VII as the real world, but it’s still a rarity to find someone crazy enough to hand deliver explosives to some who is a member of the strongest military force in the land.
10 Riding A Dolphin Into A Secret Military Base (FFVII)
In the town of Junon, Cloud and friends have to figure out a way to ascend from the poor fishing village to the city and secret military base above. A Shinra soldier-- who for some reason can’t be fought like every other Shinra employees who've been encountered this far-- guards the only elevator that allows general access, meaning that Cloud has to find a more creative route to his objective.
Enter Mr. Dolphin. After meeting a little girl by the shore of the fishing village, she introduces you to her dolphin friend, who is able to jump about 40 feet in the air like it’s a slow Tuesday. After a boss fight and infuriatingly stupid mini game, Mr. Dolphin lends his talents to Cloud, letting the spikey haired hero mount him so that he can jump high enough for Cloud to reach a handhold.
How is Mr. Dolphin still able to jump that high with the added weight? Most dolphins can jump around 20 feet out of water with a good start, while Mr Dolphin clears 40 feet from a stationary position.
Perhaps Shinra is dumping some seriously toxic substances into the water, hence the superpowered dolphin...
9 Cross-dressing Cloud (FFVII)
This is probably the most widely known disturbing moment in Final Fantasy history, and for good reason. In an attempt to breach a crime bosses' house in a bustling market area, the only way in is to be an attractive woman.
Aeris is already a confirmed babe, so what does Cloud to do? Obviously, he needs to win a wig from a group of cross-dressing body builders, and get a custom-made dress that turns him into a stone cold fox, and infiltrate the base under the guise of becoming one of the crime boss’s personal sex slaves. Obviously, there was no other direct approach to this, and this was clearly the only way to go.
It isn’t really too weird that Cloud cross-dresses, as cross-dressing has been an activity that human beings have taken part in for literally hundreds of years, but what’s really disturbing is the attention he starts to attract from men in the area.
Every single man that dolled up Cloud crosses is immediately attracted to him, more so than actual women. Again, that’s fine if that’s what you’re into, no judgments. However, the decision to kill him after they figure out that the bombshell is in fact a man… that’s pretty messed up.
8 Dyne's Suicide (FFVII)
Before Barrett was the leader of AVALANCHE, he lived in the village of Corel, which was razed by Shinra after Barrett convinced everyone to let Shinra build a Mako reactor close by. Barrett and Dyne, his friend from the village and father of Marlene, hurry to rescue the survivors of Corel. On the way there, they come under fire from Shinra soldiers, this ends with Dyne falling from a precipice after Barrett and his arm are blown off from gunfire.
A prison was built where Corel used to stand, and Dyne still resides there all of these years later. He too has a gun arm and has been killing people at random out of the madness caused by losing his wife and daughter.
Barrett and him fight, which ends in Dyne learning that Marlene is still alive. In his shame of recklessly killing and staining his hands with blood, he drops himself right off the side of a cliff (again). This is pretty heavy for a kid’s game.
7 Vivi and Zidane Peeing Together (FFIX)
In the ruins of Madain Sari, Vivi is hit with an “existential crisis” conundrum and Zidane has an… interesting form of therapy to take Vivi’s mind off his problems. Zidane’s “trick to take your mind off things” is peeing in front of another man. Unbeknownst to Vivi and Zidane, poor Eiko is solitarily confessing her love to Zidane, and witnesses the entire scene. How is peeing going to alleviate the pain of not knowing your purpose in life?
How this passed through the Squaresoft office is flabbergasting, somehow they put the green light on a small child watching a monkey boy and robot black mage pee together. Actually, that’s not really too crazy in the scheme of things, but it definitely raises some questions.
Vivi needs to see a therapist to figure out his whole “why do I exist" problem, and he should probably take Zidane along so that they can find out what else they told him were “male bonding rituals” on that airship.
6 Stealing A Merchants Clothes Mid-Battle (FFVI)
In order to advance through a secret passage, Locke has to give an old man some booze. So, naturally he does what anyone in that situation would do; he steals a merchant’s clothes in order to get into the old man’s basement and subsequently steals an enemy soldiers uniform so that he can go to a local pub and beat up another merchant for the bottle of cider. Yeah, this makes perfect sense.
What’s really strange is that the first few attempts to steal the merchant’s clothes mid-battle will fail. All the sudden, Locke gets lucky and grabs his hat… and the rest of his clothing in one fatal swoop. This is really pretty impressive, and it's even more impressive that the clothes actually fit him when the merchant he lifted them off of is much taller and skinnier.
5 Palmer Gets Hit By A Truck (FFVII)
At the end of the battle with failed Shinra Electric president Palmer for the Tiny Bronco, he tries to make a beeline to safety only to be struck by a speeding truck. He isn't run over or turned into a cloud of gore, however, but instead is blasted into space Team Rocket-style.
We understand the comedic effect-- playing as a kid, the more slapstick comedy, the better. However, looking back on it, it seems that a pathetically childish, failed old man getting hit by a truck while trying to escape danger is actually pretty dark subject matter.
After narrowly ducking under one of the Tiny Bronco’s propellers, only to be hit by a speeding truck… that’s a rough break. That’s what happens when you’re a conniving coward like Palmer, but it still came out of nowhere.
Why not just let him get hit by the Tiny Bronco propeller instead?
4 Tifa And Scarlet's Slap Battle (FFVII)
Easily one of the most memorable scenes in a Final Fantasy game is the slap battle between Tifa and Scarlet, as it stands out in the minds of many fans as one of the most outlandish scenes.
Tifa is fleeing across the top of a giant cannon and is being chased down by Scarlet, who lands a serious open handed slap on Tifa. Tifa retaliates, as players press the action button over and over again. Scarlet ends up getting slapped a solid 7 or 8 times before shouting that she “can’t take it anymore,” and calls on Shinra soldiers to back her up, most likely to continue repeatedly slapping Tifa.
At least Squaresoft had the good taste to make it a girl-on-girl slap fight-- if it had been a male slap flight, this may have gotten a little higher on the list. Still, it’s pretty messed up to allow prepubescent boys and girls to take part in a slap fight between two grown women.
3 Hot Springs Scene (FFX2)
Yuna and company are doing their best to find a Syndicate Uniform and end up visiting a hot spring. Discovering a uniform, they decide that the next best option is to take a dip in said hot spring. This isn't the most outlandish thing that’s ever happened in a Final Fantasy game, right? True, except that things begin to take a perverted turn rather quickly.
While the party is relaxing, Rikku starts to observe the other girls' bodies, making comments about their development. Then, she annoys Paine and conflict ensues. The whole ordeal would have felt more at home in a kiddy pool full of Jell-O, but I’m sure that Square Enix is saving that for a later sequel.
We know that the demographic for Final Fantasy is most likely teenage boys-- hence the steamy hot springs scene-- but for adults playing the games, it’s one of the most awkward scenes to play around other people, and even alone, as you're left feeling extremely uncomfortable.
2 Protecting The Hot Dogs (FFVIII)
In Final Fantasy VIII, while piloting Garden around the map, Squall has to give out emergency orders for an impending battle with the enemy. He’s asked to give out orders to the students and professors of Garden in the form of a list of options.
One option, obviously, is put on the list for humor, and involves rounding up the hotdogs that Zell constantly misses out on and storing them in a secret bunker, as to deter the enemy from finding them. If there’s going to be an epic battle, may as well have a scorched wiener policy in place, right? After all, if the hotdogs are as good as the game makes them out to be, who knows what the forces of evil would do with them?
Picking the hotdog choice from the list will result in Squall shaking his head, and a low scene score will accompany the poor prioritization before a big battle. When peoples’ lives are on the line, some people have a hard time thinking of little else besides nitrogen boosted meat byproduct tubes. Hotdogs are delicious, but a bit harder to eat with blood on your hands.
1 Receiving Cancer (FFIX)
The Stellazzio are thirteen coins that can be found in Final Fantasy IX. Twelve of them are named after the zodiac signs, while the last one is named for the ancient Ophiuchus sign, which is a reoccurring symbol in the game. These coins can be collected in order to obtain a prize. However, obtaining the "cancer" coin is a little bit awkward...
Once you find the coin, a happy little "received cancer!" notification will appear on screen. They even ended the sentence with an exclamation point, like it’s something to be excited about. Maybe this is how doctors and oncologists should go about the entire disease; instead of the patented, they should try a more upbeat approach.
Honestly, though, how did no one on the translation team catch this? In Final Fantasy IX, cancer refers to the astrological sign, so it’s not like Vivi has to ask Zidane if the tumor is benign or not.
Zidane receiving cancer may be pretty messed up, but the real messed up part is that Zidane can pass his cancer to a lady in Treno for the prize. He doesn’t even say thank you, just passes it on and heads out of town.
Can you think of any disturbing scenes in the Final Fantasy games? Remind us of them in the comment section!