Old-school fans playing Final Fantasy VII: *squealing brakes* Hold everything! When does Final Fantasy start? I bought a frickin’ Final Fantasy game, and you’re foisting SF on me? Where the heck is this coming from? What does this have to do with Final Fantasy!?
Mythology major: Gee, I’m glad you asked that question.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far away, when the internet was TEH INTERNETS (and bitnet, and ARPAnet, and lots of itsy bitsy regional networks), and the web hadn’t yet been invented, there was this game called “Final Fantasy.” It was a simple story about four Warriors of Light who had to restore Four Crystals of Light: Earth, Wind, Fire, Air and Water. Dastardly forces of darkness had drained the crystals of their power, and the planet began to die:
(Final Fantasy I, iOS remake with prettied-up graphics and demented fontography.)
Final Fantasy II bucked the trend, although the final prep-before-endgame quest was to reach the Four Elemental Crystals (orbs) — Earth, Wind, Air and Fire — that bestowed the Ultima spell.
Final Fantasy III returned to the theme:
(Final Fantasy III, again with retro graphics dressing up the original game).
Yep, in FFIII, nasty villains are again tapping the elemental forces of the world, stored and nurtured by the Four Crystals of Light, for nefarious purposes.
In FFIV, our enterprising villain collects not only the Four Crystals of Light, but also the Four Crystals of Dark, because he needs lots of power. At least this time their abduction does not sap the world of its energy, although something seems to be sapping dear, dear Cecil of brainpower:
(Final Fantasy IV, once again with the retro graphics)
The twist in FFIV is that Cecil starts out as a villain himself, collecting the Crystals.
And Final Fantasy V? We’re back to the plot of FFI and FFIII. Someone’s tapping the Four Crystals of Light for power. Only this time, it’s the good guys doing it, using machines built by the well-intentioned genius Cid.
(Again, FFV iOS retro graphics)
Cid doesn’t realize until too late that his machines are damaging the crystals and sucking their elemental energies from the world. The world nearly dies as the powers of Earth, Air, Water and Wind are drained from it.
Final Fantasy VI finally moves away from the Warriors of Light / Crystals of Light idea. Now we’re in a new, steampunk-technology world (Wait, how dare they do this in a Final Fantasy game!) blazing an entirely new path…
…and of course he’s doing it by using the Magitek Research Facility that distills the powers of Espers (summoned creatures, personifications of elemental powers like Earth, Air, Fire and Water) down into Magicite crystals, which are then drained for their magic.
Nope. Final Fantasy VII is a total break with the past. It has no right to call itself Final Fantasy!
…because while it may be the same old plot, it’s doing it in the key of SF, instead of F!
And while we’re at it, Shakespeare is a lousy playwright; all his stories are remakes of Plautus. (And we won’t even talk about West Side Story and Titanic.)