Most video games go through an extensive period of testing in order to check for bugs and glitches. These are done to isolate and fix anything that can cause the game to crash. With the ability to patch console games through online functionality, developers can now fix problems that are discovered after a release.
All of the Final Fantasy games released before XI did not have the luxury of post-release patches. Squaresoft did a good job with their bug testing, but a few glitches still slipped through the cracks. While there was never anything on the same scale as Missingno from Pokémon, you could still be forced to restart your game due to some shoddy programming.
Not all of the bugs were bad, however. Some players learnt how to utilize these programming quirks and turned them into weapons. They also used combinations of abilities in a way that the creators never planned, in order to allow you to steamroll the game without even trying. We are here today to celebrate the ingenuity of the players who broke the Final Fantasy games. From the secret of surviving VII, to literally crushing the dreaded Weapon monsters.
Here are the 15 Unintentionally Overpowered Final Fantasy Attacks.
15 FF7 - The Final Phoenix
Final Fantasy VII has numerous ways of creating overpowered abilities. This is due to how the materia system works. All of the abilities in the game are contained within gems known as materia. Some of the weapons you can equip can link two of the materia together and can cause a combination of effects to occur. This allows the player to get creative with their abilities, leading to some potentially game breaking combos.
One of the of the most effective materia combinations is Final Attack connected to the Phoenix summon. Final Attack does nothing on its own, but when it is combined with another materia, it causes that other materia's effect to activate upon death. If you attach this combination of materia to your strongest character, then it makes the game a lot harder to lose.
When the character equipped with Final Attack and Phoenix dies, they will activate the Phoenix summon. This revives the whole party and damages the enemy. If both materias are mastered, then you can be revived six times over the course of one battle. If you also combine the Master Summon materia with Quadra Magic, then Phoenix will be cast four times upon each use of Final Attack.
14 FF8 - The Armageddon Fist
Final Fantasy VIII had some of the most abusable Limit Breaks in the series. This was partially due to the fact that they were very easy to activate. You had the chance to activate a Limit Break at any time when in critical health. This led a lot of players to have one of the more powerful party members (like Squall or Zell) at low health at all times, with the other characters ready to bring them back to life if the enemy hits them.
The most broken of the Limit Breaks belongs to Zell. His "Duel" Limit Break gives you anywhere from four to twelve seconds to complete a set of fighting game style button combos. The more powerful moves have complex inputs, which will likely take up most of the limited amount of time you are given.
Most fans do not bother with the advanced moves. Instead, they use a move that has been dubbed the "Armageddon Fist". By simply using the basic three moves in succession (Punch Rush, Booya, Heel Drop, repeat), the player can rack up lots of damage. The button inputs for these moves can be performed in less than a second. The damage done by lots of smaller attacks adds up quickly and is greater than what the complex moves will do in the same timespan. This method of using "Duel" makes it the most powerful Limit Break in the game.
13 FF6 - The Invisible Death
Of all of the mainstream Final Fantasy titles, the one that had the least amount of quality control was VI. The game is absolutely riddled with bugs and glitches. Some of them are positive, whilst others can ruin your save file. You can expect to see Final Fantasy VI crop up a few times on this list.
One of the most infamously powerful glitches in the series is known as the "Vanish+Doom trick". Final Fantasy VI gives the player access to several spells that have a chance of instantly killing the opponent. Like most status effect spells, they have a low chance of succeeding. Most powerful enemies will have built in immunity to any instant Death effect. Unless you have access to a guide that reveals the strengths & weaknesses of every enemy in the game, then you may as well just use attacks that deal direct damage.
There exists a spell in the game called Vanish, which inflicts the Invisible status on the person it is cast on. When Invisible, the character becomes immune to physical attacks for the duration of the spell. The Invisible effect also makes the target weak to Death spells (even if they were immune to it before). By making an enemy Invisible, you can easily kill them with a Death spell.
12 FF5 - Bartz's Limit Break
Final Fantasy V has one of the most extensive sets of character classes (known as "Jobs") in the series. Once you had mastered a few of the Jobs, you could go back to the basic class of the game (Freelancer) and equip several different abilities at once. It is at this point that the game becomes unbalanced, as players have worked out many different combinations of abilities that break the game in two.
The most infamous selection of abilities involves mastering the Ninja, Ranger, and Mystic Knight Jobs. The Ninja class grants you the Dual Wield ability, which allows you to equip two weapons at once. The Ranger class grants you the Rapid Fire ability, which allows you to attack four times for each weapon you have equipped, at half the usual strength. The Mystic Knight class gives you the Spellblade ability, which allows you to boost your attack power with magic spells. By combining all of these abilities into one class, you can perform eight powerful attacks per turn. If all of your characters have this mixture of abilities, then they can perform 32 attacks per round, making the whole game trivial.
This combination of moves was so popular that it was actually referenced in later games. In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Bartz from Final Fantasy V was a playable character. His EX move (the Dissidia equivalent of the Final Smash or Ultra Combo) was called "Spellblade-Dual Wield-Rapid Fire". The name was changed to "Master Mime" in the sequel.
11 FF2 - Death By Toad
The original version of Final Fantasy II can be very easy or insanely difficult, depending on how willing you are to exploit the mechanics of the game.
Final Fantasy II is based around the idea that a character can only improve by performing actions. The traditional levelling up system was scrapped. Instead, you now had to hit enemies repeatedly to increase your strength/weapon skill. If you wanted to become stronger, then you had to take lots of hits from foes. This extends to the magic spells, as you need to cast them repeatedly in order to raise their level.
In a manner similar to the "Vanish+Doom trick" above, it is possible to use a beneficial spell on the enemy, in order to make them weak to a status effect. By combining the Wall and Toad spells, you can beat the end boss of the game in one turn.
The Wall spell grants increased defence against certain spells. If a spell is resisted under normal circumstances, then nothing happens. If it is resisted by the effects of Wall, then the spell's animation will play. If you cast Wall, then Toad on the final boss, then he will turn into a toad and be considered killed by the game.
10 FF6 - Cyan The Killer Imp
Cyan from Final Fantasy VI is a noble samurai warrior. After witnessing his family being killed by poison, he goes on a terrifying rampage in order to get revenge on the Empire. After the world falls into ruin, Cyan spends his time on a mountaintop, sending letters to a girl whose lover died during the war. Once he rejoins the party, Cyan is dedicated to destroying Kefka and getting vengeance for his slain family.
The creators of the game never knew how to unlock Cyan's true potential. It took the hard work of players to realize that Cyan needed to be turned into a slimy green monster, in order to achieve true power.
"Psycho Cyan" is a mixture of two bugs that will allow you to kill anything in the game. Cyan has a move called "Sky", which allows him to perform a single counterattack when he is next hit by an enemy. If he is revived while in Sky mode, then he can remain in the mode for the rest of the battle. If you turn him into an Imp (with the spell of the same name), then Cyan's counterattack will never end. He will continue to attack in one round until the enemy is dead.
9 FF7 - Items For All
The Final Fantasy series usually doles out a limited selection of full HP/MP restoring items. These are usually called Elixirs (for one party member) or Megalixers (for the whole party). The vast majority of players will hang on to these items throughout the whole game. Most Megalixers will only see use in the final battle when the player is absolutely sure that there is nothing else to fight.
Final Fantasy VII makes rationing the items redundant. Once you begin the raid on Midgar mission, you can discover the W-Item materia in the train tunnels beneath the city. The purpose of this materia is to allow you to use two items in one turn. While not a very useful ability on its own, players soon discovered a glitch that made W-Item one of the best materias in the game.
The Item duplication glitch allows the player to create multiple copies of any item. First, you select the item you want to copy, then you select any other item, then you cancel out of the selection when the arrow appears above your character's head. This will create a copy of the first item selected. Do this as many times as you want, for up to 99 copies of any item in the game.
8 FF8 - Disc One Lion Heart
Most Final Fantasy games give out new weapons throughout the course of the story. If the player finds an Excalibur sword and a lightsaber in the first dungeon of the game, then the battles are going to get trivial fast. The end boss is usually courteous enough to gather all of the best items, put them into chests and spread them around the final dungeon. This makes more sense than dropping them into the ocean or throwing them into a volcano because of... reasons?
The one big exception to this is Final Fantasy VIII. New weapons are made by finding specific materials within the game world. There are magazines that tell you exactly what items you need, but they tend to be well-hidden. The magazines are not necessary, however, as just having the right items is enough to make the weapon appear in the item shop for you to forge.
It is possible (although very time consuming) to be able to make Squall's best weapon, the Lion Heart, whilst still on the first disc of the game. You can use the Card Mod ability to turn Elnoyle cards into an Energy Crystal and use Ammo-RF to turn them into Pulse Ammo. You can acquire Dragon Fangs by farming the T-Rexaur monster in Balamb Garden. Finally, you can farm the Adamantoise monster to gain the Adamantine needed to make the Lion Heart.
With the Lion Heart equipped, not only will Squall receive a massive boost to his strength, but he will gain access to all of his Limit Breaks.
7 FFX-2 - The Cat Nip Killer
Despite the Final Fantasy series mainly consisting of games that use a turn-based system, there are a few attacks that are based upon time. Cyan from Final Fantasy VI, for example, forces the player to wait while his Bushido meter fills up. Zell's Limit Break requires fast fingers in order to make the most out of the limited time given to perform moves. Final Fantasy X-2 offered the chance to play the game in real time speed, unlike Final Fantasy X, which was turn-based only. This allowed for swifter and more satisfying combat.
The default class of Yuna in Final Fantasy X-2 is the Gunner. This gives her two pistols, which she can fire upon the enemy. The special ability of the Gunner class is "Trigger Happy", which allows the character to fire bullets every time the player presses the R1 button, within a limited timeframe. These attacks were very weak, though, so the ability wasn't used very often.
When the player finds the Cat Nip accessory (which can be found very early in the game, but in different places depending on the version), the Gunner becomes the best class in the game. When equipped, the Cat Nip accessory makes all of the character's attacks deal 9999 damage, if they are in critical health. By giving a Gunner the Cat Nip accessory, they can hit for around 30 x 9999 damage per round.
6 FF12 - The Mirror Of Death
Final Fantasy XII is a game that is based around setting up the A.I. commands of your other party members. With the right set of commands, you could leave the game to essentially play out the battles for you (an issue that was brought up in many reviews). Outside of the stupidly long battle against Yiazmat (who has over 50 million hit points), the game rarely requires you to bend the rules in order to win.
This is a shame, as it is so easy to use one item to wreck most of the enemies in the game. Once you complete ten Hunts, you can purchase an item called the Nihopalaoa from the Bazaar. This is an accessory that grants the Reverse status on those equipped with it. The Reverse status makes all items that you use have the reverse effect. Potions now deal damage, Antidotes now inflict poison, etc.
With a Nihopalaoa equipped, you can use Phoenix Downs to kill enemies outright. You could also use a Remedy to inflict them with every status effect in the game.
5 FFT - Killing By The Numbers
Final Fantasy Tactics is a game where the difficulty will rise and fall at various points in the story. Despite being one of the earliest battles in the game, the Dorter Trade City battle is brutally hard. Riovanes Castle is one of the most unfair dungeons in video game history. Once those battles are finished, the game gives you party members like Beowulf and T.G. Cid, who will absolutely destroy any opposition you will face from that point on.
Overpowered party members aside, there are numerous ways to tilt the Final Fantasy Tactics system in your favour. One of the most obvious involves the Arithmetician class (originally known as the Calculator). The Arithmetician has a magic skill based around mathematics. By crunching some numbers, you can have the Arithmetician cast spells that affect every monster on the field. The problem is, they will also target party members.
There is a simple way around this. If you equip every party member with an item that absorbs the element that you are going to use, then the Math skill's weakness becomes a strength. You will now hit all of the enemies on the field, whilst healing all of your party members.
4 FF6 - Wind God Gau
Gau from Final Fantasy VI has some of the most unusual gameplay mechanics of any character in the series. Gau has an ability called Rage, which allows him to emulate the abilities and resistances of a monster. In order to learn new Rages, you have to have defeated a monster in the game, which will allow it to show up in an area called the Veldt. Once you encounter this monster for the second time, Gau can use his Leap command, where he will disappear with the monster. He will rejoin the party once you start a new battle.
By using a selection of items and the Rage ability of the Stray Cat enemy (called Cat Scratch), Gau can become the most powerful character in the game. By giving Gau the Merit Award, he can now equip weapons. You can then give him the Kazekiri blade, which randomly uses the Wind Slash attack upon a hit. If you equip him with the Offering (an accessory that allows you to hit four times per turn) and use the Stray Cat Rage in battle, then all hell will break loose.
This setup is known as "Wind God Gau" by the fans. Gau will use four Wind Slash attacks per turn, with each attack being given a massive damage boost from Cat Scratch. This attack is so overpowered, that Square Enix removed it in the Game Boy Advance port of Final Fantasy VI. Gau can no longer equip the Merit Award in later versions of the game.
3 FFMQ - Heal Him To Death
When dealing with numbers in an old video game, there is no such thing as infinity. Cartridge based games especially could only raise a number so high, before it defaulted back to zero. This is known as an "Overflow Glitch" and it can cause some funny effects to happen. It might just start using low numbers again, or it might use an effect that is several magnitudes more powerful than what is expected.
If you have a strong understanding of mathematics, then it is possible to kill pretty much every enemy in Final Fantasy VII with one hit, assuming you know how to use Overflow. There is an even more amusing example of Overflow that involves Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, a SNES RPG that was intended for Western audiences.
The Cure spell in Final Fantasy Mystic Quest is based on percentages. If you use it on the Dark King (the end boss of the game), the amount of healing that will be done will cause the game to make the numbers Overflow and convert into damage. This allows you to defeat the Dark King in a few turns by healing him to death.
2 FF6 - Tumbling Dice
It seems that items and abilities that grant you multiple attacks but lower the strength of each hit are a popular target of defiance by players. Working out ways to restore the strength of the weakened hits is something that players tend to work out first when it comes to trying to break the rules of the game.
As we have seen with Wind God Gau, Final Fantasy VI has an item that grants multiple attacks at a low strength. In the SNES version of the game, it is known as the Offering. In the updated version of the game released on the Game Boy Advance (and the mobile ports that used it as a base), this item is called the Master's Scroll. There are a few weapons that ignore the penalty imposed by the Master's Scroll, due to a bug in the game's programming.
The two main weapons used by Setzer are a set of Dice and Fixed Dice. These can be used at full strength with the Master's Scroll. The Ultima Weapon sword also ignores the penalty, due to how its damage is based upon the wielder's current health. The Valient Knife is affected by the Master's Scroll weakness, but its secondary damage effect is not.
1 FF7 - Gravity Destroys Weapons
Final Fantasy VII is home to the two most iconic Superbosses of all time, the Emerald Weapon and Ruby Weapon. A Superboss is an enemy that is a lot stronger than the final boss of the game. They are included to provide an extra challenge to dedicated players.
Due to their infamy, many players have come up with unique methods of taking the Weapon monsters down. Doing it the old fashioned way (hitting them with everything you've got whilst keeping yourself alive) is the hardest way to kill them, due to the dirty tricks they pull in battle. Emerald Weapon forces you to take a limited amount of materia with you into the fight, due to his "Aire Tam Storm" attack. This deals damage equal to the amount of materia you have brought with you. One slot of Materia will usually go towards the Underwater materia (in order to remove the twenty-minute timer). Ruby Weapon forces you to bring two dead party members into the battle with you, otherwise, he will remove them from the fight.
One of the easiest tricks to beating Emerald Weapon involves a spell that you can buy as early as the town of Kalm. The Demi spell deals gravity damage, which is equal to a percentage of the enemy's total health. Due to Emerald Weapon having so much health, the damage will always be 9999. You can pair this with Quadra magic to do it four times per turn, for almost no MP cost. One of the other party members can then Mime it for equal damage. As soon as the damage goes lower than 9999, then you will know that the battle is nearing its final phase, allowing you to safely go all out.