A Field Guide to Final Fantasy's Creatures and Monsters/Monsters
Monsters are the enemies fought in every Final Fantasy game. In most games, they are randomly encountered, and serve as hindrances or slow the party on their journey. They are not to be confused with friendly creatures, such as chocobos or moogles.
Many of the monsters originate from folklore and literature from around the world. The first Final Fantasy game borrowed several monster types from Dungeons & Dragons, and several of them have become recurring enemies throughout the franchise.
Although the original Final Fantasy had a handful of humanoid bosses and pirates, Final Fantasy II expanded the humanoid bestiary with soldiers and other servants to the Empire; this expanse into humanoid enemies can be seen in the remainder of the games in the series. Beginning in Final Fantasy III, some enemies and bosses talked during battles.
Several entries in the series provide backstories on the origins and motives behind monsters. The backstory of the fiends and monsters given in-game (depending on the series) was first established in Final Fantasy VII, where monsters are animals and some humans who have been exposed to a high degree of Mako. In Final Fantasy VIII, monsters are sent to the game world from one of its moons via a burst of energy from the moon called the "Lunar Cry". In Final Fantasy IX, monsters are spawned from the Mist, which is made up of the souls of the dead unable to pass on. In Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 these hostile monsters are better known as "fiends", which are monsters manifested from the restless spirits of the dead and driven by malice to devour those alive. In FFX-2, these Fiends are classified by type. In FFXII, the monsters have differing origins; however, most of the more powerful variants (namely the particularly powerful 'Rare Game') are the result of a mutation caused by an overdose of any exposure to the Mist.
The series pulls many monsters from worldwide folklore, mythology, and works of fiction.
The most notable staples are dragons, normally massive winged reptiles, and worms (giant legless dragons), drakes or wyverns (their smaller kin). The beasts normally possess magical and physical attacks that coincide with the size of the beasts. Dragons are featured in all of the Final Fantasy games as well as most spin-offs and related material.
Final Fantasy VI includes the dragon as a subplot; eight Dragons exist in the World of Ruin, without counting some ordinary Dragons encountered on the field. In Final Fantasy V, two dragons serve as means of transportation: Hiryuu, which transports the party through the air, and Syldra (Hydra) who is a sea dragon who initially serves as transportation, but is heavily injured later on. He later rescues the party when the Walse Tower sinks into the sea, where he soon dies due to his injuries. Both dragons will turn into optional summons late in the game.
The Cockatrice is a legendary creature about the size and shape of a dragon or wyvern, but in appearance resembling a giant rooster, with some lizard-like characteristics, although they were chameleon-like in Final Fantasy III. It was supposed to be a combination of a Cock and a toad or serpent. A baby Cockatrice is, by analogy, sometimes termed a Chickatrice. Its reputed magical abilities include turning people to stone by either looking at them, touching them, or sometimes breathing on them, like a dragon breathing fire. The Cockatrice is similar to another legendary creature, the Basilisk.
In early Final Fantasy games, the Cockatrice looks far more like an eagle than it does a cockerel and attacks from above using petrifying touches; however, in later games it resembles the legendary cockatrice. In Final Fantasy X, a special monster could be created called Pteryx through the Monster Arena, which is a variation of the bird-specie monsters that can petrify sometimes. In Final Fantasy XII, Cockatrice are a species of birds with the habit of moving around by rolling their bodies into a ball. There is also an optional mini-boss in Final Fantasy XII called Cluckatrice and a Rare Monster called Nekhbet. In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, a larger version of the Cockatrice, the Crushatrice, is introduced.
In addition to the Cockatrice, other creatures have the power to petrify. For instance, the Basilisk, which appears in every Final Fantasy except Crystal Chronicles (spelled Basilic in XI), is based on a creature in European folklore that was said to be able to kill with a simple glance. In Final Fantasy, the petrify-inflicting Basilisk traditionally appears as a horned lizard with large chameleon-like eyes; however, it sometimes appears more serpentine, particularly in later titles.
The Garuda is an enemy frequently depicted as a huge bird in the series. It first appeared in Final Fantasy III as a boss monster. As with other bird enemies like Zuu and Cockatrice, Garuda isn't always featured as a boss, but is more commonly a regular enemy. In most of the encounters against Garuda it is usually an easily defeated enemy. There is an exception in Final Fantasy IX with a "friendly" version in addition to the standard hostile monster. The former is one of a number of "friendly" monsters that appear in Final Fantasy IX and which do not attack on encounter but instead ask to be "fed" various gemstone items for considerable ability points. The two look the same except for the colour: the regular Garuda is predominantly red and green, while the friendly version in rainbow-coloured. In Final Fantasy X and X-2 it has a new attack called Sonic Boom, which it uses often, and is highly similar in appearance to a number of other bird monsters. In Final Fantasy XI Garuda is a summonable avatar (summon) if the player completes certain quests and defeats her in battle. Garuda is the avatar of the element "wind", and as such all of her abilities are wind-based. In Final Fantasy XII it appears first as a boss and then later as a regular enemy, by the name of Garuda-Egi.
The Garuda, based on Hinduism, is an enemy depicted as a giant bird, or bird-like humanoid series. It first appeared in Final Fantasy III as a boss monster, but subsequent games feature, for the majority, Garuda as a common beast.
The powerful land creature Catoblepas is steeped in Ethiopian legend, being a hybrid of buffalo and boar featured in most games in the series.
Giant demihumans, such as Ogres, are also common in the series; in Final Fantasy XI, they appear as a race of beastmen. Mandragorgas, while dolls in most myths, are plantlike enemies appearing in most installments
Tiamat, a primeval goddess in Babylonian mythology and a central figure in the Enûma Elish creation epic, appears as a dragonic being in several games.
The Dullahan, featured in Irish folklore, is an undead, headless monster.
The Biblical Abaddon appears in several games.
Other creatures swiped from folklore include imps, goblins, gargoyles,
Many monsters names and/or designs for the game are based on works of fiction.
Examples include the canine Bandersnatch, taken from Lewis Carroll's poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark,
The Coeurl (a panther-like alien predator appearing in all Final Fantasies except the first, in addition to Itadaki Street Portable) is a near carbon copy of a race of predators featured in works by science fiction author A. E. van Vogt.
The Sand Worms in Final Fantasy (appearing in all games in the series except XII) are similar to the Sandworm in Frank Herbert's Dune series in that they swallow and regurgitate characters (in this case, party members).
Lovecraftian references appear in the game, courtesy of Frank Belknap Long's Tindalos, a reference to one of his short story.
Dungeons & DragonsEdit
Final Fantasy borrows four creature types directly from the original Dungeons and Dragons RPG: Beholder, Mindflayer, Ochu, and Sahagins. Although Beholders (green, tentacle-laden creatures similar to Malboros) appeared as such only in the first Final Fantasy's Japanese version and in Mystic Quest, it is similar to the Ahriman monster seen in the other installments. The other three creatures borrowed from Dungeon and Dragons have appeared in numerous titles. Mindflayers (also known as Illithids) are squidlike mages who have appeared in Final Fantasies I, IV, V, IX, XI, XII, and Tactics. Ochu (also called Otyugh) are subterranean plant-like creatures with large, whiplike tentacles who have appeared in Final Fantasy I, VII, VIII, IX, X, X-2, and Tactics. Lastly, Sahuagins (water-dwelling creatures, originally from Dungeons & Dragons, based on sea hags from European folklore) have appeared in most games.
Real life beastsEdit
Other monsters are based on creatures in the real world, such as wolves, wasps, piranhas, and others have amplified, deadlier versions appearing throughout the series.
Other creatures are not necessarily harmful, such as the Magic Pot and the Mover. The Magic Pot is the name of the creature which inhabits a pot and chooses to fight inside the pot using it to its defense. Because of its general immobility, it favours magical attacks. Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI use the same sprite for this monster. Most incarnations of the Magic Pot reward the player with bonuses in exchange for items or luck.
Movers, on the other hand, are extremely powerful but rare and tend to avoid battles; they appear in Final Fantasy V, VI, VII, IX, XI and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII in groups of three units and provide significant monetary or experience bonuses for the player who beats them.