The Archfiends, also known as Elemental Lords (Game Boy Advance), Four Fiends of the Elements (SNES and PlayStation), Four Emperors (J2e), or 四天王 (Shitennō?, lit. "Four Heavenly Kings") are a group of powerful elemental beings that serve Golbez in Final Fantasy IV.
The Archfiends are minions of Zemus, who placed them under the command of Golbez. As the strongest monsters under his control and the generals of his army, the Archfiends were only dispatched against Cecil Harvey after he began searching for a way to become a Paladin. Golbez sent Scarmiglione to Mount Ordeals to kill Cecil, as his undead were immune to Cecil's dark sword. With the assistance of Palom, Porom and Tellah, Cecil defeated Scarmiglione's zombies and himself, forcing him to reveal his true form as an undead. However, Cecil prevailed again and Scarmiglione plummeted to his death.
After returning to Baron, the King revealed his true form as Cagnazzo, who had killed the true king some time ago as part of Golbez's plan to take over Baron. With his last breath, Cagnazzo caused the walls of the throne room's antechamber to collapse when he was defeated, forcing Palom and Porom to petrify themselves to save Cecil.
After agreeing to exchange the final Crystal Golbez needs for the life of Rosa Joanna Farrell, Cecil and his companions climb the Tower of Zot and defeat the Magus Sisters, minions of Barbariccia. After defeating them and confronting Golbez, Tellah forced him to retreat when he unleashed Meteor, and both Rosa and Kain Highwind joined Cecil. However, Barbariccia herself emerged to battle them, using strong winds to avoid many attacks. Through Kain's Jump attacks, Barbariccia's storms were overcome and she died, collapsing the tower around her.
With Golbez incapacitated after Meteor and the subsequent battle at the Dwarven Castle, Cecil and his companions turned their attention to the Tower of Babil and retrieving the Crystals. In the underground portion of the tower, the party confronted Dr. Lugae, who told them Rubicante had already moved the Crystals to the upper portion of the tower. After killing Lugae and returning to the surface, they entered the tower with the assistance of Edge and defeated Rubicante.
The Archfiends were later revived by Zemus in the Giant of Babil, in a final chance to redeem themselves and defeat Cecil. They ultimately failed and were once again destroyed. Their malice survives, however, and in the DS remake, they can be battled as optional superboss Geryon.
All four of the Archfiends are fought once again in the True Moon Subterrane. They were summoned from the dead by the Crystals, against their will. After each of them die they will thank the party, oddly showing a more benign side to themselves.
If Golbez is in the party they will each recognize and speak with him, showing a great deal of respect as well as happiness. Rydia will note that each of them is as much a part of the world as themselves. Scarmiglione also claims to be a spirit of the land, implying that the Archfiends are living incarnations of the elements of Earth.
Scarmiglione is fought upon Mount Ordeals. Cagnazzo posed as the king of Baron before being fought inside the Castle. Barbariccia is fought after the defeat of the Magus Sisters in the Tower of Zot. Rubicante is fought in the Tower of Babil.
- Main article: Elemental Archfiends (Boss)
The Archfiends appear in Dissidia as summons. Their effects differ, but all are triggered by the use of the opponent's summon: After the opponent's summon is used, they instantly act.
There are also four equipment pieces named for the Archfiends - Barbariccia's Wristlet, Rubicante's Cowl, Cagnazzo's Carapace, and Scarmiglione's Fang. When all four are equipped, the wearer gains the "Elemental Archfiend" combination.
The group's namesake equipment and their summons all reappear, and they also give the player tutorials in the Labyrinth.
The four Archfiends appear in the game as enemies.
The battle theme that plays whenever fighting the Elemental Archfiends is called "Battle with Golbez's Four Emperors".
The four Archfiends are named after four of the twelve named Malebranches in the 8th Circle of Hell, the Malebolge, from Dante's Divine Comedy. In particular, "barba riccia" is Italian cor "curly beard", an obviously male attribute; despite this, the Archfiend Barbariccia is the only one with clear female features.
- Every Archfiend has two different battle sprites.
- Hanjuku Hero Sikiou 4, a Square RPG for the Super Famicom, features a parody of Final Fantasy IV's Archfiends.
- The Archfiends appear in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as tutors in the in-game manual. They explain how to use the Labyrinth game mode.