Final Fantasy 2 manual-type thingy   11/1/1999.      Ver. 1.2
(This is not a help guide for Final Fantasy 4 for Snes that was 
released in America as Final Fantasy 2.  This is for Final Fantasy 2 
for the Nes.)

Written by El Nino (ElNino42@yahoo.com)

                                                                  
Version History

Ver 1.2 (11/1/99) Another update was required thanks to my stupidity.
Diagram of the "row" system didn't make sense when converted from
.doc to .txt.  So that's fixed now.  Also put the wrong date on Ver 1.1
release, fixed that too.

Ver 1.1 (10/30/99) Almost immediately after submitting Ver 1.0 to the 
net I learned something new that made me feel so dense I'm surprised I 
don't have my own gravity.  Changes made to Attributes Section and 
almost completely redone Adjusted Stats Section.

Ver 1.0 (10/29/99) Initial release.  Yay


What this is: This is a guide designed to explain the basic mechanics 
of Final Fantasy 2.

What this isn't: A walkthrough that will tell you what to do every step 
of the way (if people beg enough, I'll write one of those too)

NOTE: This is an explanation of how I think Final Fantasy 2 works.  I 
have played and beaten the game and so even if my observations are not 
100% accurate, you will still be able to get through the game by 
following them.  If you do find out something I missed or flat-out lied 
about, feel free to email me at ElNino42@yahoo.com.  Put "Final Fantasy 
2" as the subject or I will assume the letter to be spam and delete it.

If you have never played through a single Final Fantasy game, or any 
role-playing game for that matter, don't start with this one.  This is 
one of the more difficult console RPGs I've played.  If the only reason 
you play RPGs is for story you might wanna skip this one, the story is 
crap.  This is an RPG for people who play video games for gameplay 
(what a concept).  Expect to spend about 50% as much time wondering 
around getting levels up as you do following the story.  

There are three sections to this manual-type thingy: Advancement 
System, Stuff That Ain't the Advancement System, Tips and such.

                                                              
ADVANCEMENT SYSTEM

Ok, This is pretty much the reason I wrote this manual-type thingy.  
The Advancement System in FF2 is Square's attempt at a more realistic 
Advancement System. The unrealistic aspect of most RPGs is it is 
illogical for, say, a White Mage to cast spells better because he stood 
there and watched the fighter kill someone.  Or the White Mage could 
use his Hammer of Wussiness to pound a goblin's head in and that makes 
him better able to heal somehow.   Basically, the experience that goes 
into a level up does not fit the abilities received upon level up.

Square's solution, do away with grand overall experience and make each 
skill and attribute build up separately.  For example: if you fight a 
lot, your ability to fight increases.  If you use magic, your ability 
to cast spells increases.  There are four areas of advancement: 
Attributes, Weapon Skills, Magic Skills, and Adjusted Stats. If you get 
confused, don't worry.  Between reading this and playing the game, 
you'll learn the system in about 10 minutes.

Rule Number 1: If you are getting stats up, don't try to run from 
combat.  If you flee, you will lose anything that may have gone up.  
You will also lose all your hard work if you leave combat with a status 
ailment that doesn't go away at the end of combat (dark, poison, etc.)

A * next to a stat means that I think what I have is correct, but don't 
be surprised if its not

                                                                              
Attributes

Attributes generally refer to the player's raw, unfocused energy.  
There are five of them.

Power- Pwr. - Power is your raw strength.  Building it will increase 
the damage done by your attacks.  There are two ways to build it.  
1)FIGHT!!!! Beating people up makes are stronger.  2)Equip powerful 
Armor.  Carrying around all that metal has a tendency of making you 
bigger, go fig.  

*Agility- Agl. - Agility is how quick you are.  It affects who goes 
when in combat and how successful you are at running.  To build it up 
you have to try to run and fail.  Then complete the fight.

Vitality- Vit. - Vitality is how well your body gets hurt.  When you 
get more HP (see HP below) you will receive X more total HP.  X = 
Characters vitality.  To build, lose HP in combat.

Intelligence- Int. - Intelligence is how well you can cast Black Magic.  
Affects how many MP gained on MP up (works with Soul).  Build by 
casting Black Magic

Soul- How well you cast White Magic.  Affects how many MP gained on MP 
up (works with Int.) Build by casting White Magic.

HP- Hit Points- how much pain a character can take before dying.  To 
build, get beat up and lose half (give or take) of your total HP.  This 
must be done in a single combat.  The game compares your HP at the end 
of the combat to your HP at the beginning of the combat.  So if you get 
hurt, don't heal yourself or you won't get more HP

MP- Magic Points- how many spells you can cast.  Building this is just 
like building HP.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Pwr and Vit conflict with Int.  When Pwr. or Vit. go up 
Int. goes down, and Vice Versa. This is done to prevent Ultra-powerful 
Fighter/Black Wizards.  This also means that your magic users will have 
to have crappy armor to prevent Pwr increases.

                                                                       
Adjusted Stats

These are the stats that are not built by your actions.  They go up 
when the stat that affects them goes up.  These are like 
interpretations for your skills, it tells you what having a skill up 
does to your performance in the game.

Defense- Def. - How well you can absorb damage.  Obviously, this is 
adjusted by the Armor you are wearing.

Attack- How much damage you do.  Affected by Pwr. and the weapon you 
have equipped

Hit %- How many times you can hit and your chances of hitting.  There 
are two numbers listed next to this stat.  The first is how many hits 
you can do.  The second is your chances of hitting.  This stat is 
affected by the character's skill in the weapon they are using.  (See 
Weapon Skills)

*Evade -Evad -How well you can use a shield to deflect attacks.  Two 
listed numbers, first is how many attacks you can evade.  The second is 
your chances of successfully evading them. Affected by Shield Skill 
(also in weapon skills) and type of shield equipped.

Magic Power- M. Pwr.- How potent the spells you cast are.  Your Int. 
and Soul affect this stat

***Magic Defense - Mdef- How well you can resist Black Magic.  There 
are two numbers listed, like with evade and hit%, but I have no idea 
what the two numbers mean. Not sure what affects it.

                                                                           
Weapon Skills

Since all of the Weapon Skills are similar, I'll explain them all at 
once.  There are many different types of weapons (swords, axes, lances, 
etc.).  Your characters will become more skilled with the weapons as 
they use them.  Increasing the level of skill with a weapon will 
increase the number of hits you can do.  This is handy because a weapon 
that does 60 points of damage could do 3 hits and do 180 points of 
damage.  There are two numbers listed.  The first the skill level of 
the weapon.  The second is the amount of experience you have built.  
100 points of experience gets a level up.  Shield is also in with this 
bunch.  It advances the same way, but instead of number of times it 
hits, it has the number of hits it can deflect.  Build the skills up by 
attacking with that type of weapon.  Build your shield stat by having a 
shield equipped while attacking.

                                                                         
Magic Skills

Like with weapons, Magic Skills have two numbers.  The first is the 
level of that spell.  The second is the experience of that spell.  To 
build up the level of the spell, cast it.  When a spell goes up a 
level, it will improve its effects in one of two ways.  If the spell is 
a HP or MP altering spell, the spell will affect the HP or MP more 
(we've all played some FF game before, get BOLT a level up to become 
BOLT2.  Get CURE a level up to get CURE2).  If it is a spell intended 
to fix a status ailment (Poison, stone, dead, etc.) The spell will have 
a better chance of being successful. When you get Heal and Life, they 
will rarely work in combat and require some levels up to become useful.

                                    STUFF THAT AIN'T THE ADVANCEMENT 
SYSTEM

Thank god we are past that section.  Man, I had no idea writing this 
was going to be so annoying.  Thanks to everyone who has ever written a 
Walkthrough/FAQ/Manual-Type Thingy.  Back to FF2.

Ok, you have the biggest thing that separates this from other RPGs, now 
on to little stuff.  These are the smallest tidbits from the game that 
I can remember off the top of my head that are either unique to this 
game or are just rarely used.  First is the conversation helper 
"learn".  When someone talks to you they will sometimes have a word in 
parenthesis.  This is a word that can be learned.  Move the pointer to 
learn and select the word.  Now you can a new word that you can say to 
certain people.  So when you are looking for Cid to ask him about 
Airships, you have to talk to him, select the "say" option, and then 
select the word you want to talk to him about.  This is done to give 
the player the illusion that they have some degree of control in social 
actions.  It's kind of cheesy the way it's implemented, but the idea is 
good. 

Like most FF games, This game has the "row" system.  You can put weaker 
characters in the back to protect them from damage.  If a character is 
in the back row, they can only be attacked by bow weapons and magic.  
Any character in the back row can only attack and hit with a bow weapon 
so it's not all fine and dandy.  The monsters have a row system of 
their own.  Look at the following pattern, X's are monsters and O's are 
characters:

                  O
    X X X X         O
    X X X X       O
                  O


The monsters on the two rows closest to the characters are the only 
ones who can be attacked.  Even Bows can't attack the ones in the back.  
Magic can be cast on any monster though.

Like In FF1, you characters will swing at enemies even when the target 
is dead.  If you attack and the message says ineffective, you know why




                                                                       
TIPS AND SUCH

To get the most out of your team, as early as possible put each of them 
into one of two categories: Fighter or Black Mage.  There are no 
character classes defined by the game, but I'm sure you know what I 
mean.  All characters should know and be skilled with the following 
spells: CURE, LIFE, HEAL.

The player has the option of equipping two weapons at once.  Although 
you only do the damage of the more powerful of the two, you will get 
levels up with both weapons.  This is a good way to learn a new weapon 
while still doing damage with your preferred weapon.  Your defense will 
suffer without a shield though.

I strongly recommend you take one character at the start of the game, 
give him a sword, and never give him any other weapon besides a sword.  
Whatever sword you have at a given time is usually better than any 
other weapon available.

Don't have all your fighters as swordsmen.  There are many other fine 
weapons and there is the possibility you won't explore enough to find a 
kick booty sword and you will need to rely on someone else's skills 
with the other weapons until you retrace your steps or finally find the 
next great blade.  <- RUN-ON SENTENCE

When you are trying to get your weapons skills up you may notice that 
you are killing your enemies quickly.  This creates the problem of 
walking around looking for more enemies to kill in one hit (your 
experience in a weapon goes up in each swing).  My solution: put your 
fighters in the back row.  As previously stated, attacks from melee 
weapons from the back row don't hit so you can swing the night away and 
build stats up.

To build your HP up you have to get hit a lot but not neccesarly by 
monsters.  Beat up your buddies.  It's fun and helpful (but be careful, 
you can kill them).

As I said before, HEAL and LIFE start out rarely working in combat 
(which I will add pisses me off!!!!!).  But you can practice on people 
that are alive or on people with not status ailments.  Normally casting 
a spell increases your experience by 2, but if you cast heal on an ok 
person or life on a living person, it only gives you one point.  It's 
worth it though, inasmuch as there is no other practical way.

And as I said before and will restate now, running away from combat and 
leaving with a status ailment wipes the slate clean from everything you 
did in combat.  Be careful, don't spend 30 minutes casting heal and 
attacking from the back row just to get screwed because you are blind, 
get some freaking eyedrops!!


                                                                    
Legal Stuff

This Document is Copyright 1999 Joseph McCain (El Nino).   This 
Document may not be sold or used for any profitable/promotional 
purposes whatsoever.   This Document may be posted on any web site 
provided that 1) there is no cost to access to this file and 2) the 
document is completely intact.  This file may not be reproduced by any 
means other than electronically.