Final Fantasy IV Comparison: Mt. Ordeals

It’s been a long time coming (and a lot of work!) but at last it’s time to climb Mt. Ordeals and turn into a Paladin! Check out the localization comparison stuff here!

On another note, I’ve decided it would help my workflow a lot if I play through the game entirely first, rather than play the game, make page, play the game, make page. So I’m going to spend the next couple weeks playing through all three versions of the game to get that part out of the way. After that, it should make it a little easier for me to put pages together, as well as help me analyze stuff on a larger scale.

tl;dr: No comparison updates for a few weeks, although I might post interesting tidbits here on the main page sometimes!

Also, I finished watching Let’s Plays of FF2 and FF3 for the Famicom and just started watching one of J2E’s FF4 translation. It’s amazing how poor of a job it is, so every once in a while I might point out especially wonky things in my updates – in fact, I did that in this latest update. I also went and updated some info on that fan translation here.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

18 Responses to “Final Fantasy IV Comparison: Mt. Ordeals”

  1. Looks like it’s time for another long comment.

    Right off the bat, pretty much every thing I’ve read about the differences between the English and Japanese versions of this game translates Mt. Ordeals as Trail Mountain instead. I’ve always preferred “Ordeals” myself, but I kind of assume that’s more nostalgia/familiarity talking than anything else. The GBA version adds a new dungeon to the mountain, which was translated as the Cave of Trials for the English releases. That inconsistency always bugged me.

    I also don’t think I’ve ever seen “Four Heavenly Kings” being used for those guys before, although the name does sound really familiar to me in relation to FF4 for some reason. Everything I can remember calls them the Four Emperors. Each official translation seemed to come up with its own terminology, too. SNES reused Four Fiends from FF1, I can’t remember what the PSX version used, GBA used Elemental Lords, and the DS script uses Archfiends as a reference to the original, plus gives each one their own title. (Only one I can remember off the top of my head is Barbariccia, who is the “Empress of Wind”)

    It’s reassuring to read your complaints about the quality of J2e’s translation. Back when it was originally released, I thought it was the greatest thing ever, seeing all of the changes in-game instead of just reading about them. Even then I could spot some lines which were unchanged from FF2, though, and FF7 already introduced me to the wonderful world of profanity in video games, so I mostly just found that childish and immature. It’s still a shock to see that they actually completely made up lines, rather than just embellishing them.

    The PSX version was released in the US not too long after J2e put out the final version of their translation, and I gravitated towards that almost immediately. As it turns out, that really isn’t any better. KluYa’s dialogue in Cecil’s battle was completely changed, and they actually used it as the tagline for the game: “Some fight for law. Some fight for justice. Cecil… What will you fight for?” The PSX script was later touched up and reused for the GBA version, and again for the PSP version, incorporating some name changes from the DS version in the process, but not the script itself. It’s kind of disappointing that the only version of the game to get a quality translation is also the worst playing version.

    Back to the game itself, when I originally played it, I was completely oblivious to that whole “overcoming your past self” symbolism and thought you were literally fighting your father here. Who was also a Dark Knight, and left that sword for you in Fabul! That made perfect sense to me as a six year old, heh.

    I’m kind of disappoint you’re going to be changing the way you update, only because I’ve actually been playing FF2 along with this article. It’s been a really long time since I actually played that version unaltered.

    • Mato says:

      Yeah, it can be either “trial” or “ordeal”. I never got past Eblana in the GBA version so I’m kind of sad I missed out on all the secret bonus stuff that got thrown in, although I dunno if I like the idea of party customization/switching at the end.

      Interesting about the fiends’ names – I’ll have to look into it more and see if I can get more screenshots from each version. I thought that surely by now they’d have picked up on the origins of these names/terms.

      I think the only redeeming quality of the J2E patch is that you can try out some of the content that was taken out of FF2. Everything else is such a mess. I almost expect tons of haters to come after me for bashing it, but then again there are so many other versions of the game now that maybe no one cares anymore 😛 Speaking of which, if I can find a decent Let’s Play of the PSX version maybe I’ll watch that too sometime.

      And sorry about the change of schedule thing – I didn’t know people were playing along! I dunno, I might just keep doing what I’ve been doing, especially since my wife just started playing along on the GBA version yesterday. It’d just be very nice to get the game out of the way, that’s how I was able to power through the rest of the EarthBound comparison after so long.

      • Well, don’t make your decision based on me; I’m lousy at playing along and am already at the Tower of Zot! Heh. Decided to stop there until you caught up with the articles. I can see how it’d be easier to play through the whole thing and then do the write ups afterwards.

        I actually thought the party change thing in the GBA version was really cool. For some reason, I got myself pretty convinced that they must’ve always planned on allowing you to choose your own party for the final dungeon, well before the GBA version actually did it. There’s the fact that your party members are all gathered in one place, and also that later game equipment can be equipped on characters that leave early in the game. Knowing what I do about how the original game works internally, there’s no way they could’ve done it. Although I should mention that Phoenix, one of the more talented FF4 hackers, rewrote the party stat shadowing code in a way that would make it possible, which was really cool even if nothing’s come of it yet.

        I think I’ve mentioned it in a comment in the past, but I thought being able to choose your own party in the GBA version was infinitely better than what the DS version ended up doing. Being able to transfer abilities completely wrecked the game design of FF4 for me. The more generalized stuff like Auto-Potion or Counter doesn’t bother me, but it just seems wrong that I can make Kain Cry or Edge Sing. Really strange that the developers mentioned not wanting to do the party switch thing because it weakens the story, but had no problem weakening the character design with the augment system instead.

        • Oh, and while I’m not up for doing a Let’s Play (I probably don’t even have the hard drive space to record), I could grab you some screenshots of the PSX version. I actually have the disc in my drive right now since I was checking some things out for the Cutting Room Floor article.

  2. SomeUser says:

    AWWWWWWWWWWWWW no updates
    As usual, here’s my comment which is just pointing out random stuff. Turns out to be a little long, this time.

    What’s with that hiragana O in “burizadoo”?

    Scarmiglione’s Secret Castle! (obvious reference)

    That “What? You beat me twice.” line is halfway to being good. If it was “What? You beat me…twice?!” or something would have been better.

    When showing the parts of the J2E translation I was reminded of this literal retranslation of Chrono Trigger I saw in a thread, because I guess they thought literal = accurate. Nobody liked it because the honorifics felt out of place, and the English wasn’t very good, either. A lot of it sounds pretty unnatural.
    (Fritz: I’m beat…… I was thinking I’d outdo my old man, and going on a trip to stock up was all well and good…… But at the inn on the way back, I got caught up in the arrest of a gang of robbers. I got arrested along with them. Besides that, the death penalty, without even listening to my story! Why in the…… phew…… You really saved me.)
    (Is it true that the royal army was beaten in the front lines and Magus’s army is coming to attack as far up as the bridge?)
    (I am ashamed of myself…… I’m afraid that at first, not realizing that person was the Hero and thinking he was just a filthy brat, I turned him away. However, I was forgiven. What a generous personage. It is as befits the Hero.)
    (It’s likely that you can hear it too.)
    Plus, they didn’t change any jokes/etc for more human or better understanding. One example was
    ([Old]
    This is no place for kids!

    Wait! Maybe you’d know!
    What’s this «Eyes Cream» stuff that
    Queen Leene wants so badly?
    [New]
    No amateurs in the kitchen!

    But what the heck’s a crepe, what the Queen says
    she wants to eat?)

    no mato don’t make me want to do a fan translation stoppppp

    • Mato says:

      Hiragana is used for odd effect that way in other places in the original FFIV script too – I think it even happens in the intro to the game. It’s interesting, but I guess someone else on the dev team didn’t like it so it got changed.

      The “You beat me twice” line wasn’t in the original Japanese text – so it seems weird for this awesome powerful fiend monster who’s been threatening you with some horrifying things suddenly goes, “Oh noes you beat me two times oh well bye”.

      Your Chrono Trigger thing reminded me of that FF6 retranslation that was supposed to be superior because it was a literal translation, except it suffered terribly from the “over enthusiastic fan syndrome” as well. So it’s interesting how some Square RPGs have gotten the super-literal treatment and then we have this J2E FFIV patch that goes into super-liberal territory. Still, we were all kids back then, so I think some of the people involved have gone on and used these projects as learning experiences. I know I look back at some of my old fan translations and cringe – in fact, I intend to analyze some of my own crappy translations on here someday too!

  3. Dairy Queen has always sold cake as far as i know. My very first job when i was 14 was at a local Dairy Queen. And dammit, now i’m hungry, too.

    In the Easy Type part of Goldez’s speach, you wrote “Your mission to eliminate him before that happens.” I think you forgot an “is”.

    I think i heard somewhere that “Four Heavenly Kings” were what the Elite Four from pokemon were called in Japanese. Neat. Also, i know later english versions of FFIV would change the term to Four Lords of the Elements and Four Archfiends of the Elements.

    Later versions changed Meteo to Meteor. Personally, i prefer Meteor better.

    I loled at your criticism of the J2E version. I’m glad your fan-translations of the Mother series didn’t turn out that bad.

    One thing i always felt funny, and i don’t know if anyone else ever noticed this, is that the Lunarians seem to parallel the Krytonians from the Superman movies. Think about it: they talk in a fancy Shakespearian way, wear long flowing white robes, and utilize a technology based around crystals. Also, though this may just be me, but in the DS version of FFIV, Cecil’s dad’s voice actor sounds awfully similar to Terrance Stamp’s portrayal of Jor-El on the show Smallville. I always wondered if this was just a coincidence or not, and if i was the only one that noticed this.

    • Mato says:

      Thanks for the typo tip, I’ll fix it now.

      I’ll look into the Pokemon thing – if true, that’ll be a cool tidbit to add 😀

      I honestly like “Meteo” because it’s not a real word, but I can understand why “Meteor” might be preferable to others.

      I don’t remember what the moon people sound like in Japanese, so now I look forward to getting there!

      • Jungyin says:

        I believe the group of bosses called the Zombies from River City Ransom were originally called Shitennō as well. The term seems to pop up a lot for powerful quartets in Japanese games and other media.

  4. Joseph Xu says:

    I personally prefer “Meteo” far beyond Meteor as well because… it’s not a Meteor. Not one giant thing of rock is falling on your head. FFVII had a Meteor, FFT had a Meteor. FFIV are meteorites, at most. So the name Meteo sounds so much more… mystical to me, even though it is just one letter. I am glad to see that it is Meteo in the original Japanese though.

  5. PlainOlJoe says:

    Ah yes, I recall my first time with the J2E translation patch. When Palom and Porom made a William Shatner reference at Baron Castle, I knew something was up. And, immediately after defeating Cagnazzo, Cid makes a Pulp Fiction reference! I’m not sure why, but I just could not get over it. It bugged me throughout the rest of the game. Of course, I had already heard complaints about the J2E translation at the time, so perhaps I was already jaded.

    Also, I believe Tella lacked some black magic spells as well. Flare, Quake(?), and Death, I think. Though, those might have been spells he never knew in the first place.

    • Yep, I meant to mention that in my long comment. He doesn’t learn Quake, probably because it would make the upcoming Baigan battle too easily, although Palom learns the spell early enough to have access to it there without too much grinding. Death is funny, because it’s one of the eight spells he can Remember with his command before he regains his spells (losing that command in the process). Flare’s just really strong and really expensive, which probably explains why they didn’t give him that. Flare is really this game’s ultimate spell; it might not multi target, but it casts incredibly fast compared to Meteo and is non-elemental (Meteo is holy, for anyone unaware, so a couple enemies can actually absorb it). Meteo’s actually pretty lousy by the time you get it.

      As for the white magic, I have no idea why Protect, Shell, and Dispel were removed. Dispel is kind of useless, which may be why, but all they had to do was set the bit that lets it piece reflect and it would’ve been the greatest utility spell in the game. Protect and Shell give a minor boost to defense and magic defense (5 and 3 points), but they never seemed to unbalance the game.

      One thing that’s interesting is that Protect and Shell are both still usable in Easy Type, by equipping the Defender, Murasame or Elven Bow (I forget if any of these changed names) and using them as items in battle. Also the Asura summon can still cast Protect on the party, instead of the super healing spell she was given in FF2. Lastly, Zemus’s Mind uses both spells in every version (interestingly, they removed the white magic icon from the spell names in FF2 and Easy Type, trying to mask the fact they used to be player spells).

      • Mato says:

        Ooh, nice, thanks for this info! When I (in about 80 years at this rate) get around to making a specific page about magic spells, I’ll be sure to include this stuff. I never would’ve known otherwise – I usually never use weapons as battle items after around Mt. Ordeals.

        • Well then, adding onto that, the Lunar staff can cast Dispel in the Japanese version, but not in any other. There’s a pretty well-known glitch where if you use the Lunar staff as an item and target someone with reflect status, it’ll play the Dispel animation. This is just a fluke from the game handling effects and animations separately internally – they removed the spell effect from the staff, but not the animation. Reflect still triggers an animation to play on spells/items with no effects, whereas they wouldn’t when cast/used normally.

          Unrelated to changes, you can do the same thing with the Warp (which has an animation defined, hinting at a removed in-battle effect) and Sight (which doesn’t, and looks glitchy as a result) spells.

    • Mato says:

      Oh, you’re right, I forgot about those spells. I’ve updated the page with that info (and some other stuff, like a screenshot from the DS translation). Thanks!

  6. Advanced Lawnmower Simulator says:

    Great update! Getting the game done first might help avoid burning out on the whole thing, which would be totally understandable considering all the work you’ve put in so far.

    On ‘stations’; As used in the Stations of the Cross, it fits with the whole spiritual pilgrimage theme but I’ve no idea if the original text has the same connotations. Maybe I’m reading too much into it seeing as in the same area they turned ye olde grim reaper into a homoerotic ravine pusher. “Oh my body!!” indeed, Scarmiglione!

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!