Many ancient monsters that had long been sealed away were released when the world ripped apart... Humbaba, Deathgaze...even the eight legendary dragons.Old man in Albrook in the World of Ruin
The eight legendary dragons (伝説の八竜, Densetsu no Hachi Ryū?, lit. legendary eight dragons), also known as eight dragons, are a series of bosses and part of two major sidequests in Final Fantasy VI. Each corresponds to one of the game's eight elemental damage types.
The eight legendary dragons are released during the cataclysm. In the World of Ruin, the dragons have spread across the world and appear in various locations, though with the exception of the Opera House, they are not necessarily hostile towards anyone and mostly keep to their own devices. The Returners run into the eight legendary dragons along their journey to defeat Kefka Palazzo.
List of dragons
Defeating all eight dragons breaks the seal placed on the esper Crusader a thousand years ago, giving Crusader's magicite to the party. The eight legendary dragons are optional bosses and can be killed in any order, although it may be simpler to defeat them before visiting Kefka's Tower, as it avoids additional trips to the final dungeon.
They are fought in the following locations:
In the Final Fantasy VI Advance release and later versions, defeating the eight legendary dragons earns a Stone Tablet, which grants access to the Dragons' Den bonus dungeon. Improved versions of the dragons reside here, each using a unique gimmick to make them more difficult to defeat. Defeating each dragon unlocks a seal in the den, and once all the seals are broken, the player can fight the superboss Kaiser Dragon in the dungeon's deepest layer. Defeating Kaiser Dragon earns the ultimate magicite, Diabolos, and an access to another bonus dungeon, Soul Shrine.
Behind the scenes
There exists a substantial amount of unused data for the eight dragons in the Super NES release of Final Fantasy VI. Unused pieces of battle dialogue exist in which the eight legendary dragons call each other into battle in sequence. Text also exists that say "Storm Drgn undergoing changes!", "Dirt Dragon got mad!", and "Skull Dragon lives on magic pwr!" There is also a dummied enemy known as CzarDragon in the original Super NES release, a palette swap of the Blue Dragon and Fiend Dragon, and text for a speech for it to deliver during battle. This data indicates that the eight dragons may have been intended to be fought again in more powerful forms, or that their original battles were going to be more complex, and the CzarDragon was their "leader".
The new dungeons in the Advance port may be based on these abandoned plans. In Dragons' Den the player fights the eight dragons again throughout the dungeon, each with a new mechanic to the fight, and the Storm Dragon, Earth Dragon, and Skull Dragon, use mechanics identical to the ones implied by the unused data; the Storm Dragon is able to raise its evasion, the Earth Dragon becomes enraged, and the Skull Dragon can only be killed by reducing its MP to zero. The boss of Dragons' Den, Kaiser Dragon, is visually based on the CzarDragon but with a larger, unique sprite. The player can also visit the Soul Shrine, where they must fight groups of enemies in succession; the gauntlet ends with the eight dragons and Kaiser Dragon, though they are separate battles and do not call each other into battle as the unused battle scripts indicated.
Some of the eight legendary dragons appear as enemies.
Final Fantasy XII pays homage to the eight legendary dragons with the Earth Tyrant boss, based on the Earth Dragon and bearing the same Japanese name. Earth Tyrant's bestiary entry mentions him as a member of "Eight legendary Wyrms of great Power".
Dragon types in Final Fantasy are typically inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. Lung dragons in Dungeons & Dragons are based upon Chinese and Japanese dragons, and are spirits that embody and empower aspects of nature rather than being normal, physical creatures. Most lung dragons don't have breath weapons, but use spell-like abilities.