An enemy is an AI-controlled opponent appearing in a battle that a player often must face and defeat. The majority of Final Fantasy games involve encounters with enemies that players defeat in battle. The term enemy is often used synonymously with monster, though not every enemy fought is a monster, especially in later titles where humans (or human-like races) and mechanical enemies become more common.
Some enemies are considered bosses. They are generally more difficult to defeat and require strategy, and either play a role in the story, prevent progression, or hold or protect items of importance.
Enemies may be associated with one or more types that describe an aspect of them. For example, common types are Undead and Flying. These types automatically add various attributes to the enemy that modify how elements, statuses, and types of damage affect the enemy. Common examples are Flying types becoming immune to ground/earth damage, and Undead types becoming weak to Holy and taking damage from restorative.
Enemies usually belong to no more than one family. Enemy families often do not dictate anything about the enemy besides their appearance. However, enemy families will frequently share common ability types, or be "themed" in some way, such as the elemental Flans found in some installments. For example, members of the Behemoth family often use Meteor abilities, and members of the Goblin family often use Goblin Punch.
In 2D games, enemy families are generally differentiated by simply applying different color schemes to the same enemy graphic. While this technique does remain in use in the 3D installments, other differentiating details such as different sizes and textures are also utilized, allowing greater aesthetic variety within an enemy family. Due to 3D games using animations, ability commonalities are more common in 3D games, as families usually share the same underlying model skeleton.
Enemies are typically encountered on the field in random encounters. Up to nine enemies may be faced in a single battle. For each unique location, a specific subset of enemies are encountered. Enemies are set into specific formations.
In the original release, enemies had the statistics of HP, Attack (not to be confused with Strength), Accuracy, Number of Hits, Defense, Evasion (not to be confused with Agility), Critical Rate (not to be confused with Luck), Magic Defense and Courage/Morale. Enemies also have a set amount of experience and Gil to award upon their defeat. Later versions would add Agility, Luck and Intellect statistics, remove the critical rate statistic, and add item drops as a possible additional reward.
Enemies can have any combination of enemy types, as well as weaknesses and/or resistances to any combination of elements. An enemy's regular attack can have an element associated to it along with an affliction. If a player character can resist the element of the enemy's physical attack, they also resist having the status effect inflicted upon them.
Enemies can wield magic and/or use enemy-exclusive skills. They can have up to 8 unique spells and 4 unique skills. These are placed in spell list and an independent skill list. When an enemy determines to use a spell, it chooses spells in the list sequentially and loops back to the first spell by the end. The process for skills is identical and separate from the spell selection.
The AI enemies use is simple. It determines if it attempts to escape through a calculation involving its courage or morale level against the lead party member's level. If the enemy does not try to escape, it checks if it casts a spell, at a rate of chance unique to each individual monster. If it chooses to cast, it uses the spell it is currently on while moving the pointer forward to the next entry in its spell list. Otherwise, the enemy determines if it uses a skill, using an identical process to magic. If it chooses to do none of these the enemy will attack physically.
For the Anniversary Edition and the versions based on it, Chronodia breaks this AI convention. While she works the same as every other enemy in terms of selecting spells, skills or attacks, Chronodia always casts Seal every five turns.
In Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, there are no spell or skill cycles. Enemies can cast any spell or use any skill in any order, and can choose to use the same spell or skills consecutively.
Enemies appear through random battle. They are referred to as Fiends who are the spirits of the dead turned into monsters from negative emotions.