Due to their longevity, which is great even by pornography standards, and quality, which is great even by Square standards, Final Fantasy games have had a huge impact on gaming. They are praised for their depth of plot, well-designed battle systems, and believable characters. However, as anybody who has played more than about two knows, the games have archetypes and recurring themes out the old wazoo. Whether these are airships, moogles, or villains in mascara, a Final Fantasy fan expects and receives his or her fair share in every game played. What follows is a brief guide to some of the more common archetypes found in characters in Final Fantasy games, and some examples. Enjoy. (If somebody could fill me in on which characters fulfil these in Final Fantasies 2 & 3, I'd be grateful.)

Party members

The AmnesiacTellah, Galuf, Terra Branford, Cloud Strife, the entire cast of Final Fantasy VIII, Princess Garnet, Tidus

Who am I? Where did this sword come from? Am I really trained to be a psychotic killer? Will I ever remember anything again? You'll probably be asking yourself these things as you wake up from the event that either took away your memory or began the road to recovery. All things will be revealed in time, so just suspend your disbelief for now.

The Monarch in HidingEdward Chris von Muir, Faris Scherwiz, Edgar Figaro, Sabin Figaro, Princess Garnet, Ashe Dalmasca

Monsters on the loose? Strife at home and abroad? Why not dress yourself up as a commoner and go roam the countryside for a while? You just might stumble across the one band of peasants capable of helping you! Make sure to reveal your identity at a dramatic moment, or not at all.

The Bruiser with a Heart of GoldCid Pollendina, Yang Fang Leiden, Sabin Figaro, Barret Wallace, Zell Dincht, Adelbert Steiner, Wakka, Kimahri Ronso, Basch fon Ronsenburg

Because of a trauma earlier in your life, you went into serious training and are, for all outward appearances, a big butch meathead. But that doesn't mean that you're not a softie on the inside — where it matters. You treat all sexes fairly (even if you are a bit gruff and unsure of yourself around women), love animals, and dream of becoming an opera star. Well, maybe not that last one.

The Mysterious StrangerEdward “Edge” Geraldine, Faris Scherwiz, Clyde “Shadow” Arrowny, Vincent Valentine, Amarant Coral, Fran

You join the party for reasons of your own. You prefer to travel by cover of night. Maybe you study ninjitsu. You'll slit the throat of anybody who tries too hard to pry into your past. If they are ever revealed, your secrets will be dragged out of you only in a time of greatest need. Will the pressure of maintaining your secrecy make you crack? Only time will tell.

The All-AmericanCecil Harvey, Parom & Polom, Butz Klauser, Locke Cole, Edgar Figaro, Tifa Lockhard, Selphie Tilmitt, Zidane Tribal, Wakka, Vaan, Penelo

You represent everything that is good in the world. Either you had a happy, privileged past that included training in fighting for one reason or another, or a troubled childhood that taught you to see the good in everybody, and you're now on the side of right in this topsy-turvy world. You keep your shoelaces tied and have a goofy sense of humor. Wouldn't it be awful if it turned out you've been helping the bad guys?

The Last of His or Her KindKrile Baldesion, Terra Branford, Mog, Umaro, Aeris Gainsborough, Zidane Tribal, Eiko Carol

What a burden to carry. You are probably the only person in the entire world remaining of your ancient, honorable, and moreover learned group. Because of this, it's more than likely that you have powers beyond the imaginations of…what? You forgot/never knew of them? Well, that's a shame. Now you won't be able to defend yourself when the big scary guys come to carry you away and run tests on you.

The Poorly TranslatedTellah, Quina Quen, Yuna

You are adventuring type, with many probrematics of the past. Maybe you now take up sword of ancestors and kill the many monster with help of friends! In language before translating, you are poultry and dance. This is good. Now all making the taunts of your wording, and perhaps for voiceing actors too? Your words are trunculated for the sakes of fitting in the text boxen.

And the minor archetypes.

The Wimpy Healer — Yuna

The Comic Relief — Zell Dincht

The Recovering Ice QueenCeles Chere

The Dealing with a Dark Secret PastAuron

The Token Other Species — Quina Quen

The Babe in ArmsRelm Arrowny

The Ladies' Man — Zidane Tribal

The Genius Inventor who Fights with a Wrench — Cid Pollendina

The Probably A VillainSeymour Guado


The Cloned Townsperson

The Cloned Townsperson and his ancestors have lived in the same town for generations and generations now. Unfortunately, Mother Nature and Darwin, working in tandem, have cursed his town with some excessively lazy genetics. The only way you can tell people apart now is by paying attention to where they live, which isn’t such a problem in a town of thirty people.

The Petty Tyrant — the King of Baron

The Petty Tyrant isn’t all that bad; he just wants attention. Unfortunately, he’d sell his own mother to the Empire for a bit of attention. Petty Tyrants usually control one (and only one) important thing, be it a port town or a magic cave. They’re also the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

The Helpful Stranger

The Helpful Stranger is an odd cookie. He possesses secrets of metaphysics beyond everything that his world’s philosophers could understand (namely, what the “B” button does), and instead of using it to better the world, or at least turn a quick gil, he hangs out in a dojo in some backwoods shanty town, dispensing advice to passing strangers in the hope that it will help them.

The ArchrivalGungho

With a party of thirty people, somebody’s gotta have one. The Archrival has known at least one party member since they were knee-height to a chocobo, and keeps their rivalry fresh with an intensity that would embarrass Catullus. Often last seen walking into a cave that doesn’t have any monsters in it.

The Random Encounter

Death on wheels!

Biggs and Wedge

Notable for being Final Fantasy’s sole Star Wars reference.

And the minor archetypes:

The Nuclear Technician with a Loud Mouth

The Cute Fuzzy ThingBobby Corwen, Montblanc, moombas, the Shoopuf guys, the Nu Mou

The Guy Selling Trinkets at the End of the WorldO’Aka

The Walkway Blocker

The ExSir Fratley

The Overly Helpful Royalty FigureRegent Cid Fabool

The Morally Pure Underground Resistance Movement — the Returners, AVALANCHE, the Forest Owls, Tantalus, the Resistance


The Old FriendSeifer Almasy

These villains have been made into bad guys. It's most likely that they will be converted back to good at some point in the game, but until then, they will be able to anticipate your every move and harangue you at their disposal. They are most frequently found at the side of Real Villains, as there is nobody that a hyperintelligent evildoer with aspirations of controlling the power of the gods trusts more than a turncoat. The Old Friend is around to make you think about the nature of evil and make the plot seem very deep. If it doesn't happen earlier, there will be a touching scene at the end of the game wherein the Old Friend will wake up and realize that there has been much evil done. Much hugging will commence.

The Little Annoying GuyFujin

These villains are everywhere. They usually have one specialty, and capitalize on it as best as they can. This might be one single weapon, an unusual or interesting way of talking, or perhaps a very flashy hat. Big Scary Guys are hugely fond of Little Annoying Guys, as Little Annoying Guys are very good at vastly overestimating their strength and covering for big scary guys a lot longer than somebody who values his or her hide really should. They are also very good at identifying who the protagonists/heroes are and tailing them for years, if need be.

The Big Scary GuyRaijin

Known for their tendency to hide behind a series of little annoying guys, Big Scary Guys are real pushovers by the time you get to them. It is not unusual for Big Scary Guys to be partnered with Little Assassin Women or Yes Men. The purpose of Big Scary Guys is to provide comic relief and distract you from the fact that you've been through six final dungeons and haven't fought the Real Villain yet. Big Scary Guys are, generally speaking, about 8 feet tall (2.44 meters), coated in rippling muscles, and fond of armless shirts.

The Evil Royalty FigureQueene Brahne

Completely expendable. There. I said it.

The Real VillainZeromus, Exdeath, Kefka Palazzo, Sephiroth, Kuja, Seymour Guado, Vayne Solidor

This villain is slender and relies on magic and backstabbing instead of outright force. He has a taste in silken white robes and mascara. He dreams of conquering the world and finding a handbag to match his sable wings*. The Real Willain will probably not be revealed until halfway through the game. Until that point, he will enlist the help of a Big Scary Guy or an Evil Royalty Figure to fool you but good. The purpose of the Real Villain is to destroy the world, and then attempt to destroy it again right before you finally kill him.

And the minor archetypes:

The Fashion DisasterSorceress Adel

The Turns Good Two Minutes Before Being MurderedEmperor Gestahl

The Unstoppable Force of NatureSin

The Generic Foreign Soldier

The Prettyboy Turned EvilVargas Harcourt/p>

The CyborgDr. Cidolfus Bunansa

The Zombie in DisguiseMaester Mika

The Ice QueenSorceress Edea

The Holy Shit…Genocide is Wrong?General Beatrix

*I have been told that these character traits are not a coincidence, but rather a reflection of traditional traits of evil people in Japanese symbology; however, I can neither credit nor discredit this.