- "We shall devour your light, and use it to return this world to the Void!"
- —Cloud of Darkness
The Cloud of Darkness (暗闇の雲, Kurayami no Kumo?, lit. "The Dark Cloud") is the primary antagonist and final boss of Final Fantasy III. Although it is the final boss, it does not appear in the game until the very end. The Cloud of Darkness manipulates Xande to destroy the Crystals.
Xande believes this will stop time and allow him to prolong his mortal life, but in reality this is the catalyst needed for the Cloud of Darkness to manifest. Its goal is to cause a flood of darkness to reduce the world to nothingness.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
In Final Fantasy III, the Cloud of Darkness appears as a green-skinned female humanoid emerging from a portal of darkness at its waist. A red heart-shaped mark is on its forehead, and several mouthed tentacles emerge around it. In Yoshitaka Amano's concept art of it and in Dissidia Final Fantasy, the Cloud of Darkness takes the form of a shapely human female wearing a red and black cape with the rest of its body covered in red and black markings. It has the same red heart-shaped mark on its forehead, and has long silver hair. It has only two tentacles, emerging from its waist.
Though the Cloud of Darkness universally appears as a female, it is officially considered a genderless being that merely chooses to appear in a female form. The Cloud of Darkness refers to itself in the plural form; using "We" instead of "I". Dissidia Final Fantasy explains this as its two tentacles having minds of their own, and the humanoid body speaks for all three of them.
The Cloud of Darkness's personalty is not explored in Final Fantasy III, as it is more of a monster rather than a character. Dissidia Final Fantasy characterizes it as cruel and condescending, having a total disregard for human life. In Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy it dislikes the arrival of the manikins in the cycle, feeling they are a foreign presence that disrupts the order of the cycle. It tells Laguna where the manikins are coming from to see how he handles the information, and is intrigued when he and his allies choose to track down this location and close the portal knowing it will cost them their lives.
Though Cloud of Darkness is aware of the other villains' schemes to end the cycle and seize power for themselves, it does not care, as it is an emissary of the Void and thus believes all will be consumed regardless of their actions. Both Final Fantasy III and Dissidia Final Fantasy present the Cloud of Darkness as a timeless, eternal entity - it will always exist to consume the world, defeating it merely sends it into sleep to recover its power and awaken at a later date.
The Cloud of Darkness reveals itself Xande's death, due to the imbalance between light and dark caused by him, and reveals its intention of returning the world to a state of nothingness. A battle ensues in which the Cloud of Darkness defeats the Warriors of Light without difficulty, seemingly ending any resistance to its plan.
The Warriors of Light are revived by their former allies and return to the World of Darkness to confront Cloud of Darkness. The Cloud of Darkness sent out its Guardians of the Dark Crystals to guard the Dark Crystal and kill the Warriors of Light. However one by one the guardians fell and the Warriors of Darkness appear to help Warriors of Light to weaken it. In the game's DS remake it is revealed by one of the Warriors of Darkness that Xande was being used by the Cloud of Darkness the entire time, and that Cloud of Darkness was the one responsible for the earthquake that almost drew the floating continent to the surface world.
At first the Cloud of Darkness is too powerful for the Warriors of Light, but the Warriors of the Dark sacrifice themselves to weaken it, thus making it vulnerable. The Cloud of Darkness unleashes its full power onto the Warriors of Light, but in the end, it is defeated and its plan to extinguish all life is unfulfilled.
- Main article: Cloud of Darkness (Boss)
The Cloud of Darkness is fought twice in Final Fantasy III. The first time it is invincible and, after a few turns, it will use Particle Beam and defeat the party. The player must make sure to rescue the four Warriors of the Dark in the World of Darkness located in each of the four corners of the dungeon before facing it again in the center area. This time Cloud of Darkness uses a wider range of attacks including its signature Particle Beam, but since the Warriors of the Dark have weakened it, this battle can be won.
In the Nintendo Entertainment System version, the snake-like tentacles nearby the Cloud of Darkness were simply for decoration. In the Nintendo DS version the tentacles' numbers were reduced to two and were given attacks. The one to the right of the Cloud of Darkness has abilities such as Haste and Esuna, while the one to the left uses Lightning whenever possible.
|"Battle to the Death"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
The original battle theme for the Cloud of Darkness is called "Saigo no shitou" ("Final Battle to the Death"). The track is split into three parts, each successive part faster than the last. The Black Mages included a rearrangement of the theme in their third studio album. The theme was retitled "Kurayaminokumo" ("The Cloud of Darkness"). The song also appears, albeit in a slightly different version, in the Fantasia stage of Chocobo Racing, where Bahamut is the opponent.
- Main article: Cloud of Darkness/Dissidia
Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate villains attempting to gain total control of the Final Fantasy worlds. Cloud of Darkness is one of these villains and stands as the villain representing Final Fantasy III, opposing Onion Knight.
Among the villains, the Cloud of Darkness plays a small role in the storyline. Along with Kefka, Kuja, and Exdeath, it desires to plunge the world into the Void and destroy everything. Under Kefka's instruction, it kidnaps Terra to use as a tool for their plan, and confronts the Onion Knight with his childish fears and bravado. After Terra is rescued and the Onion Knight claims his Crystal, the Cloud of Darkness takes a minor role in the game.
The Cloud of Darkness's alternate outfit colors its cape blue, while its EX Mode is colored a mixture of light green and dark green with a dull red for the legs.
The Cloud of Darkness reappears as a Warrior of Chaos in the prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy alongside all the other characters from the original. It attacks Laguna, but is intrigued by his behavior and attitude towards serving Cosmos and fighting the Warriors of Chaos. Cloud of Darkness tells Laguna about the portal the manikins are using to cross over into World B from the Void to see what he does with this information, as seeking out the portal would be a suicide mission. The Cloud of Darkness's actions result in Laguna and other Warriors of Cosmos finding and closing the portal, and as punishment for its treachery Kefka kills the Cloud of Darkness in the twelfth cycle, costing it its memories in the thirteenth.
The Cloud of Darkness's second alternate outfit gives it a white cape with white, blue and lavender body coverings. Its EX Mode in its original alternate outfit is changed to an orange and blue form resembling its NES battle sprite.
The Cloud of Darkness is set to make a cameo in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn at the new Crystal Tower dungeon.
- "This being born of Xande's death sees all creation and it wants it painted black."
- —In-game description.
Cloud of Darkness's manikin and Cloud of Darkness in her Alt 2 EX Mode from Dissidia Final Fantasy appear in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game. Her Alt 2 EX Mode card is able to use her Ultra Particle Beam EX Burst as its special ability. Another card depicts her Yoshitaka Amano artwork.
- The Totema, Famfrit, from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and the Esper, Famfrit, in Final Fantasy XII are loosely based on the Cloud of Darkness.
- A spoof of the final battle of Final Fantasy III appears in the credits roll for DynamiTracer, a Japan-exclusive Squaresoft game for the Super Famicom SatellaView add-on. Four characters from the cast substitute for the Warriors of Light while another parodies the Cloud of Darkness.