You have braved the bowels of Hell to reach me. But the hand of man, which deals in false justice and forsaken love, can never hope to defeat the lord master of Hell!
- —The Emperor
The Emperor of Palamecia (パラメキア皇帝, Paramekia Kōtei?) is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy II. He is the ruler of the Palamecian Empire and aims to conquer the world through demonic forces. Though known simply as the Emperor in Final Fantasy II, he is named Mateus (マティウス, Matiusu?) in the game's Japan-exclusive novelization: Final Fantasy II Nightmare's Labyrinth by Kenji Terada. His name, Mateus, is referred to in Dissidia Final Fantasy with his best weapon, Mateus's Malice.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
The Emperor wears golden armor with purple robes underneath. His hair is blond and spiked, with an extra-long ponytail, and purple ombre at the tip of the side bangs. His head is adorned with multiple tiny sapphires, emeralds, opaques, and rubies. Black and white stripes trace his ribs on his chestplate, and demonic looking faces embellish his waist and back. His gauntlets sport extended claws. The Emperor wears purple makeup on his eyes and lips, and a purple crown depicting a serpent. He has at times worn a darker outfit, with a hairstyle that resembles a pair of demonic horns. This outfit exposes his hands, which have long fingernails painted black with golden lines, as well as rings on his middle and index fingers of his left hand. The pair of horns have golden ornaments as well as a crown with circular rubies.
Because his soul was split to dominate both sides of the afterlife, the Emperor carried on two appearances each representing the spiritual element the form embodies. The first half; Hell Emperor, Emperor of Hell, or simply Dark Emperor; is almost bestial with a skull-like face and razor-sharp teeth, and snakes on his head similar to Medusa. He is covered with spines and wears a dark cape or cloak and has clawed hands. The other half, the Light Emperor, has an otherworldly appearance and always has his eyes closed. He has six wings similar to a Seraph, and a golden gate on his back. He at times appears to be made of clouds and wears a light-colored robe. The Light Emperor's portrait is based on Mateus's appearance from a promotional poster drawn by Yoshitaka Amano.
Being the ruler of Palamecia, the Emperor is arrogant, intelligent and manipulative. He addresses his enemies politely, but is quick to call them insects or worms. His arrogance leads him to refuse to personally fight his enemies unless they prove themselves by defeating his minions. He is a misanthrope, harboring a hatred of humanity, declaring humanity to have a flawed sense of justice and having forsaken love, and being inherently violent. He views himself as the only one capable of ruling as Emperor. The Emperor is implied to be skilled with developing advanced weaponry, as the Dreadnought airship was implied to have been developed by him.
There are subtle personality differences between the Emperor's different incarnations in the mortal world and the afterlives. The Dark Half is destructive to the point of no longer caring about merely ruling the Palamecian Empire, seeking to destroy the world with the powers he gained upon his return from Hell.
In Dissidia Final Fantasy the Emperor's personality from Final Fantasy II is expanded on. He is calm and never loses control of his emotions, as he believes his plan will succeed without fail. His intelligence is demonstrated when he formulates the plan to kill Cosmos for good and end the war in Chaos's favor using the Crystals. He is treacherous, creating dark crystals to ensure his own survival, having anticipated that Chaos would attempt to commit suicide when killing Cosmos. Despite this, he vows to return as long as Chaos lives upon being defeated. Mateus abhors nihilistic viewpoints, evidenced by his reaction when Garland compares him with Kefka. He had an interest in Terra Branford, as the aforementioned conversation had him expressing disappointment that Terra was going to be commanded by Kefka again, and in the previous cycle, he offered to have Terra come under his command after Kefka had trouble regaining control over her due to Kuja's actions.
In the novel Muma no Meikyū it is stated Palamecia is cursed with demonic influences that corrupt its emperors. The demon, desiring to rule the world by human proxy, turns men into malicious masterminds by polluting their thoughts with its malice. This is the only insight into Emperor Mateus's backstory though it's never been supported as canon in any version of the game or by other official sources.
The Emperor begins his campaign for world domination by summoning an army of creatures from Hell. Several kingdoms, like Fynn, Kashuan and Deist, resist, but are subdued. In the case of the militarily-powerful homeland of the Dragoons, Deist, the Emperor orders the poisoning of their wyverns' water supplies, leaving the Dragoons powerless.
The novelization develops on the origin of his powers, attributing it to Satan, lord of Pandaemonium, with whom Mateus makes a pact to summon demonic forces into the mortal world. In the novel Muma no Meikyū the demon that corrupts the minds of Palamecian emperors originates from the beginning of the world when it became trapped within the indestructible "Stone of Iludia" and swore revenge. After ascending to the throne, Mateus exiled his mother, Airu, to the deserts of Palamecia, and yet she still spends her life trying to find a way to save him, although she never manages to do this.
The royalty of Kashuan, which survived the Palamecian Empire's attack, founded the Wild Rose Rebellion alongside the kingdom of Fynn. The Empire attacks Fynn to destroy the resistance and after capturing it, the Emperor begins the construction of the fearsome Dreadnought.
After Firion and the rest of the party gather the Sunfire and Princess Hilda is captured by the Dreadnought while traveling to Kashuan on Cid's airship, the Emperor replaces the captive Hilda with a Lamia Queen. After the Dreadnought is destroyed, the Imperial Lamia is taken to Altair, and later felled. The Emperor announces a tournament at the Palamecian Coliseum, and makes Hilda the prize. Firion and his comrades attempt to rescue her alongside Prince Gordon of Kashuan.
At the Coliseum, the party meets the Emperor personally for the first time. After defeating a Behemoth pit against them, Firion and his friends attempt to kill the Emperor as they approach him to take the prize, but it is a trap, and the Emperor locks the party away. Meanwhile, the Emperor continues his assault on the land above.
After the Liberation of Fynn, the Wild Rose Rebellion acquires the Ultima Tome, but by that time the Emperor has summoned a giant Cyclone and crushed the towns of Paloom, Altair, Gatrea and Poft, and is approaching Fynn. The party makes their way inside by summoning a wyvern, and makes another assassination attempt on the Emperor. The Emperor initially assumes they are not important enough for him to fight, and thus deploys several of his royal guard against them. After two units of his royal guard are wiped out, the Emperor decides he may have underestimated them, and decides to dispose of them personally. The Emperor is killed in the fight, and the Dark Knight Leon proclaims himself Emperor of Palamecia and takes over the Palamecian army.
After breaking into Castle Palamecia, the party confront the Dark Knight and the Emperor appears in the hall in a new demonic form. On his death, Mateus arrived on Hell and defeated Satan making him the Emperor of Hell. After Leon protests that he has no intention of relinquishing the title of Emperor, Mateus reveals he no longer cares about ruling the Empire, but intends to destroy the world with his new powers, starting with the surviving members of the Wild Rose Rebellion. Ricard summons the Wyvern to get the party out of Palamecia while he confronts the revived Emperor, who slaughters him with ease.
While it is unknown if the Emperor intentionally allowed for himself to be killed to arrive to Hell, as he already had power over Hell-spawn, it is likely it was his true intention all along. After killing Ricard, Mateus summons Pandaemonium to the mountains where Palamecia once stood, and resumes his world-domination campaign. The party travels through the Jade Passage and breaks into Castle Pandemonium and after defeating each and every one of the Emperor's hellish generals, Firion and his friends confront the Emperor head on. The Emperor is defeated, and fades away.
Soul of RebirthEdit
In the Dawn of Souls, 20th Anniversary and mobile platform versions, something unforeseen happens when the Emperor is killed: his soul splits in two, one going to Hell becoming the lord of Pandemonium, the other going to Heaven and becoming the lord of Arubboth. With his new powers the Emperor summons the fallen souls of Minwu, Josef, Scott and Ricard as representatives of those who fell in the wake of the Empire's conquests.
As they reach his throne room within the walls of Arubboth, the Emperor asks for their forgiveness and offers them eternal life. They consider his offer, but the souls of the people they care about appear and tell them to look past the Emperor's charade.
The party realize they are being tricked, and that this Emperor is no different from the other, and attack the Emperor's light side while Firion's group battle his dark counterpart. The Light Emperor vows to have them know eternal suffering due to their refusal to forgive him, and as he dies, tells them the struggles of violence and war will continue as long as humans exist. Minwu comments that if anyone can change man's violent legacy, it would be Firion and his friends.
This world can have but one Emperor, and I am he!
- —The Emperor to Leon after returning from Hell
Even before he crowns himself Emperor of Hell, Mateus is incredibly powerful, able to create cyclones destructive enough to devastate entire towns and lift one of his castles to use as a mobile fortress. He casts strong Lightning-elemental spells and uses a variety of protection spells, such as Protect, Wall, Shell, Haste and Blink. The opening FMV included in the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy II implies the Emperor can manipulate the tide of battle via energy from his fingertips, even when he isn't directly at the battlefield.
Upon his death, and eventual rebirth, he gains the ability to summon Pandaemonium to the surface world as well as a slew of new demonic powers. His physical attacks have a drain effect, allowing him to steal lifeforce from enemies to replenish himself and heal injuries. His physical strikes sometimes poison or stun whom they strike. He still uses his Thunder spell and has gained a high level Flare attack and the original Meteor spell, Starfall. The Emperor is nigh invincible to most physical attacks unless it's against the Blood Sword or the attacker is augmented by Haste or Temper. In the novelization of Final Fantasy II, Mateus is strong enough to defeat Satan in battle, and sold his soul to him for the power to summon demons from Hell.
His light half is possibly more powerful than his Hell counterpart, as the Heaven Emperor's Flare and Starfall attacks are stronger and he can use two new equally dangerous attacks, Holy and Blaze. He can return dead souls their bodies as seen when he resurrects Minwu, Scott, Josef and Ricard, along with a town full of war casualties.
In Dissidia Final Fantasy, the Emperor's list of powers expands. He can produce magnetic energy mines, focus explosive magical energy on his staff, and create Lightning-elemental crests that fire projectiles or ensnare enemies, alluding to his original incarnation's powers. He also has the power of telekinesis.
- Main article: Emperor (Boss)
The Emperor is fought three times in Final Fantasy II. He is first fought in human form in the Cyclone, where he fights in the company of two Royal Guards and a Wood Golem. He uses buffing magic like Haste VIII and Blink VIII, with Thunder X as his only damaging spell.
The Emperor of Hell is the game's final boss, fought in the throne room of Pandaemonium. He uses Flare XVI and Starfall X as his offensive spells, and powerful physical attacks that heal him. He uses high-level status magic like Curse XVI and Slow XVI. The Emperor of Hell is resistant to or absorbs all types of elemental damage.
The Emperor of Heaven is the final boss of Soul of Rebirth. His powers are more offensively based, using Flare XVI, Holy XVI, Blaze XVI, and Starfall XVI. His only status spell is Dispel XVI, which serves to weaken the party's resistance to his other spells.
|Battle Scene 2|
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- Main article: Battle Scene 2
As of the Wonderswan Color remakes, the original boss theme of Final Fantasy II, "Battle Scene 2", was used exclusively as the final boss theme, while arrangements of the game's two battle themes were used for every other boss battle. Thus, "Battle Scene 2" became associated with the Emperor alone as it only plays in the final battle(s) since the aforementioned version of the game.
In the Dissidia subseries, he is voiced in the Japanese versions by Kenyu Horiuchi and in the English versions by Christopher Corey Smith. In the latter, Smith voices him with a deep, vaguely British accent with a bit of a dramatic flair, similar to British singer and actor David Bowie, in particular his role as Goblin King Jareth from the Jim Henson film Labyrinth (who the Emperor coincidentally has some slight resemblance to).
The Esper Mateus from Final Fantasy XII is named after, and based on, the Emperor, its appearance resembling the Emperor's armor. The Esper's back story is based on his command of hell. The Totema Mateus from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is also named after the Emperor, but that is where the similarities end.
- Main article: Emperor Mateus/Dissidia
Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate villains to gain control on a number of Crystals. The Emperor of Palamecia is one of these villains and he stands as the villain representing Final Fantasy II, opposing Firion.
As one of the higher-ranking villains, the Emperor is the mastermind of the game's overarching plot to destroy Cosmos and drown the world in darkness. He manipulates hero and villain alike towards this goal and it is later revealed the Emperor orchestrated the plan with the intent for both Cosmos and Chaos to die. Having manipulated Jecht into fighting Tidus when the former was a Warrior of Cosmos in a previous cycle, he has obtained a Crystal from Jecht's fighting attuned to Chaos instead of Cosmos. The Emperor's ultimate goal is for both gods to perish and their warriors with them, leaving him to survive their destruction due to the power of his Crystal and rule over existence unopposed.
His alternate outfit is a pale purple, gray and white palette swap based on his appearance in an alternate Yoshitaka Amano artwork.
The Emperor reappears as a Warrior of Chaos in the prequel to Dissidia Final Fantasy alongside all the other characters from the original. He is the one responsible for Tidus being summoned to fight Jecht, but Tidus's memories are stirred by Yuna. The Emperor attempts to kill her but Tidus protects her, leaving the Emperor to fight Yuna while Jecht tends to the wounded Tidus. During the battle Jecht transfers his light to Tidus, leaving himself an empty husk, and the Emperor enacts his plan to seize a Crystal by taking him to Chaos to be imbued with the power of discord. The Emperor later participates in the final battles, battling Yuna.
The Emperor's second alternate form is his Final Fantasy Origins appearance as seen in Final Fantasy II's opening cinematic, giving him a dark purple and black robe. As a bonus fourth outfit available for download from the PlayStation Network, the Emperor dresses in a gold and purple robe as the Emperor of Arubboth.
The Emperor appears as a boss in Final Fantasy All the Bravest.
The Emperor appears in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game with his Dissidia artwork and renders and with his Yoshitaka Amano artwork. His cards are either ice or dark-elemental.
Mateus is the Portuguese form of the name Matthew, which means "gift of god".
- By poisoning the water supply of Deist's wyverns, the Emperor was the first villain in the series to wipe out an entire kingdom. The same act would later be performed by Kefka Palazzo in Final Fantasy VI to an even grander scale, where the water supply of Doma was poisoned.
- Though the Emperor is arrogant and is not met until halfway into the game, he addresses his enemies (particularly Firion) using their names, in a somewhat non-distant manner. The identity of the Dark Knight may be relevant to this.
- The Emperor is renowned in Japan for his death-cry of "Uboaaa!" and the romanized version, "Uboar!". "Uboar" is the name of his popular Japanese fanclub. His death-cry is used when he loses in Dissidia, and Tidus questions him about his scream. In the English version, his death-cry was changed to "Ungaahhhh!", which has also caught on in Japan due to the English subtitle option of Final Fantasy II for the PlayStation Portable. "Uboaa" is also used in the English prototype of Final Fantasy II, Dark Shadow Over Palakia. "Uboa" is also used as the name of a character in the indie game Yume Nikki.
- The Emperor is subtly referenced in the popular web comic 8-Bit Theater. Black Mage Evilwizardington is killed by Lich and sent to Hell where he overthrows the current rulers and takes over, absorbing the powers of Hell and returning to Earth. He kills Lich and announces his plan to conquer the world, but is stripped of his powers shortly after when Lich heals the overthrown demons and becomes the new king of Hell.
- The novelization states the Emperor killed Satan to become the new Lord of Hell. Satan's name and existence is not stated explicitly in the game.