The Villains (continued)
The main villain, X-Death, derives his name from "exceeding death." His final form is a horrible abhorrent arboreal. All right, no use mincing words: a tree. And let's face it - a tree, even an evil tree, isn't that frightening. His mu attack is far more terrifying than his appearance. Instead of fire or ice, mu simply brings nothingness and nonexistence to its target. What once was, now isn't. Creepy.
Many hard-core Final Fantasy fans argue that Final Fantasy V features the series' greatest system: the refined "job system." Each character can be assigned one of 22 possible jobs or classes. Choices range from traditional classes like knights, wizards, dragoons, and thieves to more esoteric classes such as chemists, dancers, magic swordsmen, and animal trainers. Each class has certain innate skills and abilities; for example, ninjas can use two swords, thieves have high agility, and White / Black / Time / Enemy Skill / Call wizards can cast a variety of magic. Ability points earned from battle increase the job's level and earn secondary abilities. Each class can then "equip" a single earned ability. This flexibility can lead to powerful combinations: A knight can use the ninja's "equip two swords" ability and then wield a heavy sword in each hand. A monk can use the knight's "wear heavy armor" skill to become a defensive powerhouse. This level of flexibility and customizability is what has endeared the job system to many players.
Gilgamesh, baddest of the bad.
US game players have been waiting for Final Fantasy V with bated breath since its Japanese debut in 1992. Originally, Final Fantasy V was announced as Final Fantasy III. The project ran into unforeseen difficulties, however. Some say Square thought the game was too complex for American audiences and backed out at the last moment. Others whispered rumors of behind-the-scenes squabbles with Nintendo of America over cartridge size. The most likely reason is simply that the original Final Fantasy V development team was unable to assist with the localization. Whatever the true reason, Final Fantasy V was canceled for a US release, and Final Fantasy VI became the US Final Fantasy III.
X-Death in human form.
In 1995, SquareSoft of America resurrected Final Fantasy V as Final Fantasy Extreme. Intended for the hard-core RPG fan, Final Fantasy Extreme was axed during Square's massive restructuring in early 1996. SquareSoft Redmond shut down, and many of the employees went on to found Crave Entertainment. Meanwhile, Square moved development from Nintendo to Sony and founded Square LA and Square Honolulu. Final Fantasy Extreme fell to the wayside, a victim of a dying 16-bit era and Square's paradigm shift.
X-Death in tree form.
All seemed lost until late 1997, when Final Fantasy V was dragged into the spotlight yet another time. Eidos announced that in addition to publishing Final Fantasy VII, it would also publish Final Fantasy V and VI for the Windows 95 platform. A prominent computer magazine even ran screenshots of the title with clearly visible English text. Eidos, however, canned the project for unknown reasons.
Though things seemed grim, gamers finally got their wish in October 1999 with the US release of Final Fantasy Anthology. The Anthology contained translated versions of the PlayStation ports of Final Fantasy V and VI, including the first-ever official English translation of Final Fantasy V. Unfortunately, the localization was embarrassingly poor, combining early-'90s sloppiness and late-'90s "attitude." Intrepid gamers finally released a patch for the Final Fantasy V ROM that translated the entire game into English. Moreover, the fan translation was superior in every way to the "official" translation. By late 1999, anyone who wanted to play Final Fantasy V had already done so, and Square's efforts, though well meaning, were ultimately empty.
Now show me Final Fantasy VI