A timer (時間制限イベント, Jikan Seigen Ibento?, lit. Time Limit Event) is a gameplay element used in multiple games in the Final Fantasy series. A timer is typically a countdown that appears in a corner of the screen to trigger "against the clock" events. Typically, the result of time running out is a game over, but less severe outcomes exist, such as losing a valuable item. The countdown usually does not pause during random encounters or other battles.
The Game Boy Advance version introduces the Lunar Ruins. Cid's trial involves him flying a passenger on his airship to a destination before the timer reaches a certain limit. Rosa's trial involves her going around town healing as many people before time runs out.
Edge's Challenge Dungeon consists of five floors. The faster the player can get to the fifth floor and open the final treasure chest there, the higher the chance it contains a rare item. Getting to the chest in under five minutes mostly ensures it will be a rare item. The Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection version is more generous with time and allows up to ten minutes to get the best items.
Porom's Challenge Dungeon consists of the player running around a field helping NPCs with various tasks. The player has fifteen minutes to help as many people as they are able, then make it to the exit and open the treasure chest. When the fifteen minute timer runs out the player is teleported out of the dungeon without being able to collect their prize.
A ten-minute timer appears when the party attempts to escape Karnak Castle from an explosion. The timer continues during battles and the party must win a boss fight before escaping. If the timer runs out, the player receives a game over.
The summon Odin is located in the basement of the Castle of Bal in the Merged World. Upon being found, he must be fought as a boss before being acquired. There is a one-minute timer attached to this battle; failure to defeat him in one minute results in a game over. The timer disappears after the battle. It is possible to defeat Odin and still lose the battle, as the timer doesn't stop when Odin says "That's it!", so if it hits 0:00 by the very moment he says that and "disappears", the battle will end in a game over.
In the Sunken Tower a timer with seven minutes appears simulating how long the party can survive without drowning. The timer stays in battles and thus during the Famed Mimic Gogo battle. The timer continues after the battle due to the party still being underwater. If timer runs out, the party will run out of oxygen and instantly die, resulting in a game over.
At the Opera House, a time limit of five minutes is given to stop Ultros from ruining the opera from the rafters. A number of rats appear as fixed encounters. The timer stops when the player reaches Ultros.
At Vector, the Returners get four minutes to talk to all 24 soldiers in the Imperial Palace. Four of these soldiers wish to keep fighting, so talking to them results in a battle, during which the timer continues. It continues until it reaches 0, at which point the Returners have a banquet with Emperor Gestahl. During the banquet, the player has the option of taking a break to talk to other people around the table. One of the sentries wants to fight; this battle has a two-minute timer attached to it.
A timer is used when escaping the destruction of the Floating Continent. If the party waits at the end of the area until five seconds remaining, Shadow will rejoin the party and will be recruitable in the World of Ruin. Otherwise, he is left behind.
In the World of Ruin, Sabin is found in Tzen holding a crumbling house up. A time limit of six minutes is given to the player to find the child inside and escape. The timer continues during random encounters.
After planting a bomb in the Sector 1 Reactor and defeating the Guard Scorpion, the player is given ten minutes to escape the Mako Reactor. If the player runs out of time, the reactor will blow and they receive a game over. The timer continues during battles. In the 1996 demo the player was given three minutes to detonation, but time was not lost during battles, and the time remaining was given in message boxes, for three, two, and one minutes remaining, then seconds remaining for thirty, ten, and finally five down to one.
On the last train from Midgar, when the carriages are scanned and fake IDs are found on board, the player attempts to run down the carriages before they are locked. Talking to NPCs during this time may earn items. The carriages each have their own timer; for the first two, the timer is 15 seconds, and for the third, eighteen seconds. If the player reaches the final carriage they will exit the train close to the next story destination, whereas if they run out of time at any point, they will be forced to exit the train from the carriage they reached, and will be deposited further from the destination.
In the Wall Market gym the player can have a squats competition against "Bro". The player is given thirty seconds to out-perform their opponent, with the item received depending on whether they win, draw or lose.
The player is given 20 seconds to open the safe in Shinra Mansion. If the timer runs out, the player has to retry.
When the party is in Rocket Town, they see a flashback to Cid's failed flight into space in the Shinra No. 26. A thirty-second timer displays in the top-right counting down until the rocket's ignition. This timer is part of the flashback, and has no bearing on gameplay.
During the Huge Materia mission on the Coal Train over the tracks at Mt. Corel, the player is given a time limit of ten minutes to stop the train. If the player does not catch up to the other train, the party walks into North Corel and will not get the Huge Materia. If the player runs out of time after catching up with the train, it will crash into North Corel, and the party will still not get the Huge Materia. Additionally, the residents of North Corel will give the player the Ultima Materia for free if they stop the train; otherwise, the player has to pay 50,000 gil for it.
In the Shinra No. 26 in Rocket Town, during the Huge Materia mission, the player is given three minutes to enter the correct combination to release the Huge Materia. If they run out of the time, they cannot recover the Huge Materia.
A timer of 20 minutes is given when encountering Emerald Weapon to simulate the characters holding their breath. If the timer expires, the player receives a game over. Because the timer is to simulate the characters holding their breath, the game will end with all characters dead. The timer does not appear if the player equips the Underwater Materia received from the Kalm traveler. If the player defeats Emerald Weapon when there are eight seconds left on the timer, the battle results screen will overlap with the game over screen, resulting in the Emerald Weapon countdown glitch.
Zack can play a squats mini game that has a time limit in the Shinra Headquarters SOLDIER Floor.
At the start of the game, the player has a test at the Fire Cavern. The player may choose a time limit befitting their confidence, depleting as the player progresses through the cavern until Ifrit is defeated. The timer depends on what time the player selects; 10, 20, 30, or 40 minutes. The less time left at the end of the test, the better the score the player earns for the SeeD exam. Running out of time triggers a game over.
During the field exam in Dollet, a timer of 30 minutes is given to return to the beach, during which the party is pursued by X-ATM092. If the timer expires, the player receives a game over. The player is granted a bonus on the SeeD exam based on reaching the beach within certain time goals, but escaping from battles to achieve this goal will result in a reduction, save the initial battle with X-ATM092, which is unavoidable and unwinnable. Defeating the X-ATM092 can take some time, but doing so results in a 100 point bonus that more than offsets the points lost for the time spent fighting it, providing the player still reaches the shore within the time limit. The best strategy is to avoid the X-ATM092 until the player reaches the town, as after defeating it random battles against G-Soldiers ensue that, while not difficult, take time and the player is still in danger of a game over if they run out of time before reaching the beach.
When the party is assisting the Forest Owls on the trains, the player is given five minutes to input the codes. If the player runs out of time they receive a game over.
When in the MD-levels of Balamb Garden during the Balamb Garden Revolt event, the party has to open a valve. A timer of ten seconds, displayed in semi-transparent message boxes, is given to the player to do this. If with one character, the player fails, two characters attempt it, and then three, each time becoming easier to succeed.
At the Centra Ruins, the player is given a timer of 20 minutes to find and defeat Odin. If the timer runs out before the party encounters Odin, it simply vanishes, and the player can no longer encounter Odin without exiting and returning to the ruins. If the timer runs out during the battle, Odin will use Zantetsuken, and the player will receive a game over.
At the Missile Base, the player sets the self-destruct mechanism for the base and can delay the detonation by 10, 20, 30 or 40 minutes. The player then has that amount of time to exit the facility and defeat the BGH251F2. Choosing the shorter options allows the party to use a shortcut back outside from the control room.
The party is given a timer to encounter Omega Weapon in Ultimecia Castle. Once one party has pulled the bell in the stairwell south of the Art Gallery, the player must switch to the other party and encounter Omega Weapon in the Chapel before the timer expires. The timer is set to a minute long, and random encounters, even if the player escapes, will considerably waste the time.
When the player participates in the Festival of the Hunt, they have a 12-minute time limit to defeat as many enemies and collect as many points as possible. If they die, the hunt ends without a game over. Zaghnol is found in the Business District's Fountain Square, where the shops are, but it won't appear until there is less than four and a half minutes left on the clock.
When the party is trying to save Princess Garnet in Alexandria Castle, they have a 30-minute time limit. If the time expires before the team reaches her, it is game over. While rescuing Garnet within the time limit is easily achievable, it becomes a challenge if the player wishes to battle the optional boss Tantarian during this time.
The player is given a timer to catch butterflies in the Macalania Woods. Catching all the blue butterflies within the time limit gives the player an item. Among the items earned is the Saturn Sigil for Kimahri's Celestial Weapon.
There is a seven minute time limit during the first story mission when Yuna, Rikku, and Paine race against the Leblanc Syndicate to the top of the Floating Ruins at Mt. Gagazet. The timer is frozen during battles, and is dispelled when the player reaches the spot where the Syndicate is hanging from the ledge near a treasure chest.
Onboard Dreadnought Leviathan the player can use a System Access Key on the top floor to disable the alarm for a set time. Although this does not stop enemies from spawning, they will not be actively seeking the party when the alarm is not sounding.
While riding on a chocobo, players are given a 180-second (3-minute) time limit. If the player has not dismounted when it expires, the chocobo will throw them off and depart, although there is a way to avoid this by entering and exiting the menu right when the time is about to run out: this will give a tiny amount of more time on the clock.
The boss Zalera has a 5-minute time limit. If the player fails to kill it in this time, they will be ejected out of the battle and they have to try again.
In Great Crystal the gates have varying time limits and the player must get past them before they close again. This is made challenging because Great Crystal has no in-game map.
While there is no timer during field exploration, certain battles are to be completed within a time limit set by the spell Doom. Depending on battle speed, the counter for most battles with Doom present is 1800 frames for Normal setting and 3124 frames for Slow setting, but during the final battle Doom gives 4200 frames for Normal setting and 7289 frames on Slow setting. Not completing the battle before the timer runs out, results in a game over.
Temporal Rift puzzles can appear with timers. The timers are present in the more difficult versions of the puzzles, and if the player runs out of time while attempting to solve a puzzle, they will have to start again. The timer is represented by a circular red gauge that depletes as the time runs out.
As the game revolves around the concept of a world doomed to destruction in a matter of days, the ever-present timer is one of the game's key elements. The timer is displayed underneath the game's minimap at the top-right of the screen, showing both the current time and how many days remain. The timer will still display even if the player hides the minimap.
The timer will not be displayed whenever no time limit exists, such as in the game's prologue, or during the Final Day. While in the Ark, the timer is displayed but remains at 6 AM until Lightning teleports back to Nova Chrysalia. The timer is also paused while in menus, cutscenes, dialogue, and battles; the exception to the latter is within the Ultimate Lair, where time will continue to pass even in combat. The timer is not displayed on-screen during battle, but can be checked by pausing and accessing the item-select menu.
The Chronostasis ability pauses the timer for an in-game half hour (about 75 seconds of real time). The ability can be used to pause the timer indefinitely, provided Lightning has the EP to cast it. Chronostasis cannot be used in the Ultimate Lair, and will be canceled if Lightning enters the Lair, rides the monorail, or sleeps at an inn.
Various amounts of time are spent by sleeping at an inn, taking the monorail, and battling at the Slaughterhouse.
In the original version several activities had a time limit for completion, displayed on the top left of the screen by default. Guildleves, Behests, Hamlet Defense, Skirmish and most quest fights are on a 30 minutes timer. Caravan Security can last up to 20 minutes, and instanced dungeons have a 1 hour limit. The timer is not frozen during cutscenes.
In A Realm Reborn, every instanced dungeon and trial have time limit, displayed on the quest list. If the party fails to clear the instanced duty it will be resulted as a failed duty and the party will be removed from the instanced location to their original position. Most FATEs have a time limit of 15 minutes, while some have 30 minutes.
Toward the end of Chapter 13, Noctis must race to a hangar gate before it closes. The player is given ninety seconds.
If the timer hits to zero for all events, the game is over.