Kirin's Gratuitous Final Fantasy Hero Battle

A Winner is You!

Who's the best Final Fantasy hero? Let's find out! It's simple, really. We'll just do a point-by-point comparison and see.

Some of these questions involve information about the final moments of each game. Proceed at your own risk.

Rules of the Game
In each category, I'm awarding 5 points for first place, 3 for second, and 1 for third, then we'll add them up at the end. Judging is at my own personal whim.

Why these games?
I've included Final Fantasies 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. I'd love to add 2 and 3, but I only know a little of 2j's plot, and an emulator ate my save game 2/3 of the way through 3j... As it is, my 5 will be a bit rusty as I've only seen the Japanese version, ages ago. I also thought about adding Chrono, Xeno, Vagrant, etc, but this is getting out of hand enough as it is. ^_^;
[Ed. Note: Where's FF10 and later? In order to avoid this getting too big, I've decided to declare this the "NES-SNES-PS1" edition. Up next will be the "PS1-PS2" edition, presumably including FFVII-FFXII.]

Just who the heck is FF6's main character?
Good question, since nearly every character becomes optional at some point! Around the middle of the game, Celes is the obvious choice. Locke gives everyone a good run for their money (er, so to speak). But in the end, I had to go with Tina/Terra - you start the game with her, the early parts really center around her, and even though she drops out for a bit in the last half, she really seems to embody the spirit of the game.

Credit where it's due...
I originally stole this basic idea from Tiercel, who made a post along these lines in her LiveJournal. Credit goes to her for over half of the category titles, and the answer for FF 7, 8, and 9 for those titles.

Enough babble... on with the show!

Character Attributes

Class or Profession - interestingly, they're not all just warriors...
FighterFighter / Knight
Cecil Dark Knight / Paladin
Bartz Traveler (or anything)
Terra Half-Esper
Cloud Mercenary
Squall Soldier (SeeD)
Zidane Thief / Actor
Discussion: Well, Terra's is certainly interesting. And Zidane gets big points for originality - who ever thought Thief class would make main character? And changing from dark to light may be cliche now, but it was pretty interesting in FF4.
Points: 5-Terra 3-Zidane 1-Cecil

Weapon - ok, this one's a little dry. Don't worry, more interesting categories are coming up.
Cecil sword
Bartz anything
Terra anything
Cloud really big sword
Squall gunblade
Zidane daggers or butterfly polearm
Discussion: Tough one. Squall's is original, but it's just so... silly. A few of Zidane's are cool. Hmm. Oh heck, let's just say size matters and be done with it. Moving on...
Points: 5-Cloud 3-Zidane 1-Squall

Clothes ...make the man?
Fighterbright red plate mail
Cecil dark armor, then light armor and cape
Bartz generic armor, also varies
Terra reddish armor and tights
Cloud dead best friend's military uniform
Squall leather jacket and pants
Zidane lacy shirt
Discussion: Hmm, another tough one. In honor of Tiercel, I think I'll have to give the nod to Squall's leather ensemble. Personally, I like Terra's outfit, even in its Amano weirdness. And Fighter's just got that classic look down.
Points: 5-Squall 3-Terra 1-Fighter

Hair - where the heck to these people find so much hair gel?
Fighterbright red, shaggy
Cecil platinum blond, mid-length
Bartz brown, short (or white, short in Amano sketches)
Terra green, ponytail (or blond, flowing by Amano)
Cloud blond, spiky
Squall brown, short-ish, bangs
Zidane blond, mid-length, middle-part
Discussion: Ok, I'm just a sucker for green hair and that's all there is to it. I've heard people say good things about Cecil's hair once he comes out of that helmet. And Squall once again gets a nod from Tiercel for having not only "sexy" but physically possible hair.
Points: 5-Terra 3-Cecil 1-Squall

Best Attack - whatever big flashy things they get to do periodically or when they've been beaten on
Cecil Dark Wave, later.. um... hit-with-sword?
Bartz variable
Terra Morph (turn into half-esper being that kicks ass)
Cloud Omnislash (hit-with-sword-a-whole-lot)
Squall Lionheart (hit-with-sword-a-whole-lot)
Zidane various weird firey arcane magic
Discussion: Sadly, early games get kind of left out here... oh well. Terra's didn't get used often, but the concept was cool. Squall's, while ass-kicking, gets no points for copycatting Cloud. Zidane's are pretty...
Points: 5-Terra 3-Zidane 1-Cloud

Name - what's in a name? Ask namingway.
Cecil "Cecil Harvey"
Bartz "Bartz Klauser" (sometimes "Butz")
Terra "Tina Branford" ("Terra" in English release)
Cloud "Cloud Strife"
Squall "Squall Lionheart"
Zidane "Zidane Tribal"
Discussion: For some reason, the main heroes always seem to get the short end of the naming stick. Poor Cecil, in particular, gets a point just for sympathy. I guess I'll go with Terra for having decent names in either language. And Cloud gets a nod just for starting a streak of silly names...
Points: 5-Terra 3-Cloud 1-Cecil

Friends and Enemies

Love Interest - just the canonical one folks; we'd be here all day if we were talking fanfic.
Fighternone? Princess Sara?
Cecil Rosa
Bartz maybe Lenna?
Terra none, really, though lots of good friends
Cloud Tifa (and Aerith?)
Squall Rinoa
Zidane Garnet
Discussion: This is another hard one, since surprisingly few of the early people have an entry, and the last three are practically the same. I think Cecil takes it just for having a good stable relationship, even if she does keep getting kidnapped. Hmm, I find Garnet less annoying than her predecessors.
Points: 5-Cecil 3-Zidane 1-Cloud

Best Friend - no, I don't mean interceptor.
FighterBlack Mage?
Cecil Kain
Bartz Boco
Terra Locke, maybe? doesn't really have one
Cloud Zax (deceased)
Squall Zell, sorta, but really a loner
Zidane Blank (stoned), perhaps Vivi later
Discussion: Well, Kain is just cool, despite betraying the party several times. And Vivi is cute! Blank's pretty cool at that. And Bartz gets a point just for making a chocobo into a significant character. Whoo-hoo!
Points: 5-Cecil 3-Zidane 1-Bartz

Arch-Enemy - generally the final boss, though not always (see FF4 and FF9)
Cecil Golbez
Bartz Exdeath
Terra Kefka
Cloud Sephiroth
Squall Ultimecia (passed through other witches, remember)
Zidane Kuja
Discussion: I think I'm gonna have to bow to overwhelming fan support on this one and give top honors to Sephiroth. But it's a tough field - Kuja is kinda cool, Kefka is wonderfully nuts, Golbez is regally evil, and Chaos is an elemental incarnation... decisions, decisions.
Points: 5-Cloud 3-Cecil 1-Terra

Recurring Rival/Annoyance - you know them; the supporting bad guys who just won't stay down.
Fighternone that I remember?
Cecil Kain, perhaps?
Bartz Gilgamesh
Terra Ultros
Cloud The Turks
Squall Seifer and company
Zidane the annoying jesters?
Discussion: there's some really good entries here... The Turks have huge fan support and are pretty cool, and the same almost goes for Seifer &co. Gilgamesh, of course, is The Man. But I just have to give props to the one and only, Ultros! 'Don't tease the octopus, kids!'
Points: 5-Terra 3-Cloud 1-Bartz


Home Towns - I'm including all the places they've lived - older places generally get revealed later in the plot
Cecil Baron, Luna
Bartz ??
Terra Empire, Mystic Land
Cloud Midgar Slum, Nibelhiem
Squall Balamb Garden, Orphanage, Winhill
Zidane Lindbulm, another planet
Discussion: wow, we've actually got three people here who weren't even born on the same planet/dimension as we're originally led to believe. I think Zidane takes it overall, for that and for both his locales just being generally pretty. I have a certain fondness for Cloud's towns too...
Points: 5-Zidane 3-Terra 1-Cloud

Final Battle Location - the last dungeon is usually someplace a bit... odd
FighterChaos Temple, 1000 years in the past
Cecil the center of the moon
Bartz um, a cleft of dimensions?
Terra atop Kefka's tower
Cloud bottom of the Northern Crater
Squall Ultimecia's Castle, beyond time
Zidane Memoria, a construct of memories
Discussion: Interestingly, FF1's time loop still holds up pretty well for weirdness, perhaps beaten only by Squall &co having to go outside time completely to find their end boss. I liked Memoria for general weirdness, too.
Points: 5-Squall 3-Fighter 1-Zidane

Personal Issues

Response when asked to help save the world - what's the attitude, yo?
Fighter"I like swords!"
Cecil "I must do what is right."
Bartz "Let's go on a journey!" (?)
Terra "For the children!"
Cloud "I don't care. Just as long as I get paid."
Squall "Whatever"
Zidane "Which way, and will there be cute girls involved?"
Discussion: This category was actually Tiercel's original inspiration, so we'll go with her call of Zidane by a landslide. After that... hmm, weak field. I guess I could give Cloud originality points for being one of the first RPG characters not to care. These days, though, Fighter's approach seems refreshingly straightforward. ^_^
Points: 5-Zidane 3-Cloud 1-Fighter

Mental Problems - these days, all RPG heroes ought to have a staff psychiatrist...
Fightera bit singleminded... "I like swords!"
Cecil initially conflicted over betraying his kingdom, a bit taciturn.
Bartz none that I remember?
Terra tormented by guilt over being used as a weapon of the Empire. Prone to freak Morphing episodes.
Cloud post-traumatic flashbacks, repressed memories, susceptible to mind-control
Squall falls asleep and dreams he's an idiot
Zidane just a short depressive episode
Discussion: Ok, do we give this category to people with impressive problems, or people who are actually sane? Argh, I can't decide. Maybe I'll just have to do both.
Sanity Points: 5-Bartz 3-Zidane 1-Cecil
Insanity Points: 5-Cloud 3-Terra 1-Squall

Best Quote Overheard - not that this has much to do with the heroes themselves, but hey...
Fighter"I, Garland, will knock you all down!"
Cecil "You spoony bard!"
Bartz "A... a girl!?!"
Terra "Don't tease the octopus, kids!"
Cloud "This guy are sick."
Squall "RAGE!", "Doink", "Booyaka!"
Zidane "No cloud, no squall, shall separate us."
Discussion: Well, it's obvious that we have to give head honors to the immortal spoony. After that, the knocking down is also classic, and represents a whole era of wacky NES censorship. And I have to admit, that line in FF9 had me on the floor.
Points: 5-Cecil 3-Fighter 1-Zidane

Who takes it? Who's cuisine reigns supreme?
Just a quick note... this wasn't rigged. I didn't keep track of points as I went along, so I'll be as surprised as you at the outcome. Well, ok, I'll bet Fighter doesn't win first place, but hey, you never know...

Point Tally

Final Points - placesTotal
Fighter0 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds 8
Cecil 3 firsts, 2 seconds, 3 thirds 24
Bartz 1 first, 0 seconds, 2 thirds 7
Terra 5 firsts, 3 seconds, 1 third 35
Cloud 3 firsts, 3 seconds, 3 thirds 27
Squall 2 firsts, 0 seconds, 3 thirds 13
Zidane 2 firsts, 6 seconds, 2 thirds 30

A winner is... Terra!
Terra takes it home by a comfortable margin, with Zidane in a good second and Cloud fighting him for a close third. Cecil also puts in a very respectable showing for such an old veteran.

That's all for now...
...but stay tuned; the winners may get shaken up as more games are released, or I get inspired to add new categories. Anything can happen in the Gratuitous Final Fantasy Hero Battle!

Last updated by Kirin on 12 Oct 2001. His email address is something like belgin swirl cs point hmc point edu.