Oh, shut up and help me remodel the Final Fantasy II version differences page!
I couldn't miss the chance to practice my drawing!
This is a list of known version differences in Final Fantasy II releases. In most cases, each version has built its feature set over a previous release; changes are cumulative unless otherwise noted.
- 1 Famicom
- 2 Dark Shadow Over Palakia
- 3 WonderSwan Color
- 4 PlayStation (Final Fantasy Origins)
- 5 Game Boy Advance (Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls)
- 6 Mobile phones & BlackBerry OS 4.5+
- 7 PlayStation Portable (Final Fantasy II: 20th Anniversary)
- 8 iOS & Android
- 9 Final Fantasy II Pixel Remaster
- Original release was December 1988
Dark Shadow Over Palakia
The prototype dates back to 1990. Little is known about the changes that are or would have been implemented for international audiences vs. the original Famicom release, as DSOP never got past the transcription stage. This prototype is known to have had text inserted, but it was dumped in favor of the SNES and Final Fantasy IV. Changes had been made to satisfy Nintendo's religious imagery policies.
- Changes in this version
- The sigil in the room where Firion is revived in Altair was a Hexagram in the Famicom version. It was replaced with a simple triangle.
- The cross that replaces the character's face on the main menu when a character is Knocked Out was replaced with a gravestone.
- Maria's portrait on the main menu was given a slight hairstyle change and made a tad more feminine.
- The fist icon for unarmed was replaced by a hand, likely because the glove icon added for the English translation is very similar to the original fist icon.
This version was released on May 3, 2001. Bandai's handheld system may not have had a fanbase outside of Japan, but Square's efforts on the platform, though largely in vain, were not without merit. It is from this base that the international version of Final Fantasy II began to take shape.
- Changes in this version
- The game start menu has moved to a redesigned title screen. In the Famicom version, the options menu was displayed after the prologue.
- Characters are now named from a single screen, with default names set. In the Famicom version, party members were named in order on separate screens.
- Game engine aligned with 16-bit titles:
- Real-time display of damage incurred or recovered, hit count, and status on the battlefield.
- Status changes are also indicated by the color of a character's current HP value: status effects cause this to be yellow, while KO'd or HP Critical will turn it red. The Famicom version changed the Max HP value to a status effect text.
- Menu design follows format of later series games: party to the left, menu to the right. The Famicom version had its menu on the bottom of the screen.
- Instead of using an icon, KO'd party members' avatars are palette-swapped to a bluish-white shadow.
- Prologue, in-game, and end-game cutscenes added. The Prelude does not play as the prologue is told; instead, a new track has been added.
- Introductory chase scene added prior to the battle with the four Black Knights. The Famicom version went directly into this battle.
- Graphics upgraded to 16-bit quality.
- Sprite detail increased
- Keywords now display in color. This might have been more difficult with the Famicom's color palette, so the original version bracketed these instead.
- High-quality pre-rendered backgrounds in battle.
- Auto-targeting option added. Characters will now randomly target their next enemy in battle when their current target is defeated. Previously, attempts to strike a defeated enemy were "ineffective". Players can switch this behavior on or off.
- Spells used in battle now have unique and progressive animations.
- Dungeons now have pre-rendered textures and 2.5D effects.
- Music and sound effects have been slightly updated using the WonderSwan's sound chip.
PlayStation (Final Fantasy Origins)
This version was released on the PlayStation worldwide, staggered between October 2002 and May 2003. For players outside of Japan, Origins was likely their first run-in with Final Fantasy or Final Fantasy II. As such, the original game engines remained largely intact. Much of the work from the WonderSwan Color release was upscaled to TV-quality graphics and CD-quality sound. This release also takes advantage of the PlayStation family's full-motion video capabilities. However, the transition to CD resulted in increased transition times between field movement and battle gameplay, which became a common lament among reviewers of the time and owners of the game.
In collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment, Square Enix released a digital distribution version for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable units as part of the former company's "PSOne Classics" library. The digital release is identical to the original CD release, though being digital eliminates the perceived lag of a CD and allows the game to be played on Sony's portable platform as well.
- Changes in this version
- Upgrades to WSC resolution to match PlayStation resolution.
- The game's soundtrack is upgraded to a quality similar to that of the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack.
- An omake (extras) mode was added, including a Bestiary page, art gallery, and item collection.
- Addition of introductory FMV cutscenes.
- The prologue sequence from the WSC version alternates with the intro FMV should the game not be started, creating a mock "demo mode".
- Save screen adapted for 128K PlayStation Memory Card; players may save up to 15 game files.
- Choice of Easy or Normal difficulty levels.
- DUALSHOCK controller support added. Certain actions will trigger force feedback when executed.
- Memo save feature added. Players can quickly save their progress to the PlayStation's internal memory. However, the data will be lost if the console is turned off or a hard reset is initiated. To retain the data, the player should save to a PS Memory Card and make use of the SquareSoft Soft Reset (all shoulder triggers + Select + Start).
- First localized release
- Dialogue, info, and save screen font is Helvetica/Arial clone; other areas use fixed-width.
- Character name changes: Frioniel → Firion, Guy → Gus, Leonhart → Leon, Ming-Wu → Mindu, Reila → Leila, Richard → Gareth, Paul → Pavel. "Pavel" is the Slavic form of "Paul", so the motivation behind this change is yet unknown.
- Script changes: Guy speaks in a crude manner (e.g. "Where real princess?!"); Leila has a pirate accent.
- Additional scenes are added in that were not present in the NES release. For example:
- A scene of the Dreadnought pursuing Cid's airship and trying to use a crane in the underside to capture it.
- A scene showing Pandaemonium rising from the ground (originally, Pandaemonium simply replaced Castle Palamecia).
- Additional dialogue from various characters:
- Notably, the Emperor says, "Delusions of grandeur do not become you, Leon. Though I find the thought of you as emperor quite deliciously absurd, it ends now. This world can have but one emperor, and I am he!" upon reappearing from Hell. Originally, the Emperor does not speak at all upon returning until stating his intentions of turning the world into a living hell in response to Leon's refusal to give him the Empire.
PlayStation Network release
This version was released worldwide beginning in 2009. The only changes present in this release relate to its retrofitting as downloadable software.
- Changes in this version
- An onscreen user guide was added.
- Support for software Memory Cards was added. The PS3 and PSP can read from and write to virtualized Memory Cards. On the PS3 system, an emulator handles the playback of original PlayStation discs and converts hardware Memory Card requests to software automatically.
Game Boy Advance (Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls)
This version was released in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance. Technically a part of the Finest Fantasy for Advance series, Dawn of Souls returned Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II to the cartridge format. Square and Enix had merged only months earlier, making this game one of the newly-formed Square Enix's first releases. Under a new localization team, the script for both games was almost entirely rewritten; and for the first time in series history, an optional gaiden (side story) was added in Soul of Rebirth, telling of the postmortem journey of all who fell at the Palamecian Empire's hand. As the game's publisher, Nintendo contributed a unique font to localization that was easy to read within the confines of the Game Boy Advance's screen, also giving the series even more of a fantasy feel. The Final Fantasy II engine itself was modified significantly so as to make the game easier to play, especially for younger audiences. While the general aesthetics of previous releases remain, Dawn of Souls is a markedly different game than the previous two.
- Changes in this version
- Graphics and sound were slightly downscaled for GBA.
- Most omake features were removed vs. PlayStation. The Bestiary remains.
- FMV sequences are removed.
- The prologue sequence will play upon starting a new game from the title screen. This feature is carried through to the PSP version as well.
- The chase scene in the WSC and PlayStation versions was removed for this release, restoring the Famicom intro battle.
- Difficulty levels removed. The game now operates as if in the Easy mode of the PlayStation release.
- New script
- Character name changes from PS1: "Gus" corrected to Guy, "Mindu" → Minwu, "Gareth" → Ricard, "Pavel" corrected to Paul.
- Character avatars added. Whenever a key figure speaks, their portrait will appear left of the dialogue.
- A tutorial room is created in the same room where Firion is first revived, after viewing the opening sequence. The player can speak to the sages within for tips and hints. This also carries forward to the PSP version.
- Auto-targeting is now permanent.
- The inventory cap of 32 items has been removed, replaced by a global pool as in later games. Likewise, characters need no longer to be fitted with an item to consume it.
- Items of the same type now stack within the item pool.
- Number of saves fixed at three.
- Localized text uses Square Enix-Nintendo scalable global font.
- Stat values no longer decrease; they can only increase.
- Action-cancel bug removed
- Soul of Rebirth side story added.
- In previous versions, if the player were to inflict more than 9,999 damage per hit, instead of displaying the true damage value, the game would display the last four digits in the damage window. From Dawn of Souls version onward, the game displays 9999 even if more damage than that is actually inflicted.
Mobile phones & BlackBerry OS 4.5+
A version of Final Fantasy II was also ported to Japanese mobile phones and select international devices by Bandai's Namco Mobile unit. It is not known how much involvement Square Enix may have had beyond issuing the base game.
In most cases, this version, built on Java ME, was little more than a stripped-down version of the WonderSwan Color port, with only the basic color enhancements and control modifications; other features, such as game sounds, were adapted to the features of the target device. Players used the phone's T9 keypad and accessory buttons to maneuver through all aspects of the game.
Following the retirement of legacy BlackBerry platforms, Final Fantasy II is no longer available on BlackBerry World.
PlayStation Portable (Final Fantasy II: 20th Anniversary)
This version was released on the PSP. Marking the 20th anniversary of the original Japanese Final Fantasy, Square Enix released the 20th Anniversary collection for Sony's emerging PlayStation Portable handheld. The PSP's optical Universal Media Disc (UMD) allowed greater liberty on the part of game developers. Games could now be cast in higher definition and had greater capacity for content. Square Enix took full advantage of the format, restoring the original PlayStation release's FMV sequences, upscaling and further refining the Dawn of Souls release for the PSP's wider screen, and adding an entirely new set of bonus dungeons known as the Arcane Labyrinths for players seeking a greater challenge.
Later in the handheld's lifecycle, Sony dropped UMD from its portable roadmap altogether, necessitating yet another digital conversion for the PSPgo and the then-forthcoming Vita. Gameplay mechanics for both versions remain identical to those in Dawn of Souls.
- Changes in this version
- Many features from the PlayStation release have been reintroduced.
- However, the PlayStation/WSC chase scene does not return. Instead, a scene depicting the Wild Rose Rebellion's recovery of the wounded party after the battle with the Black Knights is shown.
- The Square Enix logo replaces the Squaresoft logo.
- A language selection screen was added. Players may choose to view text in English or one of two Japanese scripts.
- Dawn of Souls features retained.
- Additional script tweaks.
- Graphics updated for HD/16:9 widescreen format.
- Field sprites are now fully rendered, based on original Amano artwork.
- Save screen now allows for unlimited* saves. Determined by external media capacity
- Custom Times-based font is used in-game, except in instances where the PSP system gives the user feedback.
- Arcane Labyrinths added.
For devices running on Apple and Google platforms, Square Enix used the 20th Anniversary version as the basis for the mobile game, with minor changes to graphics and sound. Controls were adapted to each platform's touch control systems. Aesthetically, though, this version exhibits a degree of regression from the console ports, drawing more from the original Famicom game.
- Changes in this version
- UI language is now determined by system language.
- A smaller Times-based font was used for text display.
- Automatic suspend/resume added. If a device receives a phone call or enters sleep, or if the user closes the game, progress will be saved at the time it was interrupted. Like the Quicksave system present in handheld ports of Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, and Final Fantasy VI, a temporary file is created. Once this file is resumed, however, it is deleted and replaced with the next suspended state. The player cannot use this feature in battle (e.g. to recover from an unexpected KO), and should save the game to a dedicated file as needed.
- Number of saves is again fixed at three.
- Field UI differences:
- HP for all characters is now displayed in the bottom-right quadrant of the screen when the active character is idle.
- A soft joypad, vaguely resembling a white Iron Cross, is activated when the player slides their finger on the screen.
- A dash button appears in the bottom corner of the screen. Hold while moving to dash.
- Menu button appears in upper-right corner.
- Icon appears over the head where interaction is possible (talk, flip a switch, etc.). Tap to execute the interaction.
- Menu UI resembles original game more closely:
- Character avatars are in a grid layout.
- Menu commands on the bottom; character commands on the right
- Equipment sub-menu is identical to the Famicom version; items are fitted using a grid.
- Shop menus and sub-menus display large icons for items.
- Arrow buttons cycle through quantities, characters, etc. when needed.
- Player can no longer change the background color of dialog boxes and menus.
- Battle changes:
- Turn menu replaced by touch panels.
- Attack command is default; player must touch a target to advance the round, or select another command and its target first.
- Targets have shadows: green for allies, red for foes.
- iOS build, v1.1.1
- Some bugs fixed
- NOTE: If the player has saves from previous versions, they may need to clear all of them; this version has made a change in the way saved data is stored and will flag previous saves as "corrupted" upon launch.
- The game features refined pixel art for characters and enemies, with a majority being based on the original Nintendo Entertainment System release. NPC sprite designs are lifted from later releases of the original game and Final Fantasy V.
- Includes a fully re-orchestrated musical score, supervised by Nobuo Uematsu.
- Several enemies have been tweaked or rebalanced. For example, the Malboro is almost certain to cause paralysis with its attacks.
- Rows now function similarly to the rest of the series. Melee attacks that come from or target a character in the back row or a monster not in the front two rows will now work, dealing half damage.
- Auto-targeting may now activate for dual-wielded weapons, i.e. if the first weapon deals enough damage to kill an enemy, that enemy will die immediately and the second weapon will attack the current default target.
- The Arcane Labyrinths are no longer available.
- Soul of Rebirth story has been removed.
- Esuna can no longer cure Venom at level 1.
- Enemies no longer have a set rotation to their abilities and will randomly select skills from their arsenal, resulting in enemies such as the Captain using the Flee command and Bomb-type enemies immediately using Self-Destruct.
- Enemies such as Malboros, Devil's Blooms, and Antlions now have a 100% chance of inflicting status ailments with their physical attacks, making them a more serious threat.
- The shore line directly south of Altair now has enemy encounters expected of the area, instead of those from Mysidia