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Monster refers to a recurring type of enemy fought in the Final Fantasy series. Monsters make up the bulk of enemies in each game. In some games the existence of monsters is not given a back story and they exist simply as the flora and fauna of the world, but in other games, the element of monsters the player fights throughout the game is incorporated into the lore of the game world, by giving their occurrence a more specific explanation.
Over the course of the series, monsters have had multiple backgrounds, which also explain some of their behavior. While in most games they are shown to be hostile, this is a result of them being used by other more malevolent entities, such as the Four Fiends, The Emperor, Xande among other antagonists. As of later games the influence the game's villains have over the monsters is diminished, but are still shown to exert some control over them.
In several games, some monsters are known to be docile, the first known example being in Final Fantasy IV, with the Antlion, if one does not count the summons in Final Fantasy III, although even then, these monsters are known to be aggressive unless defeated and earned by the player. Despite what some may believe of their overall behavior and fear by humans, monsters can be tamed, therefore being both friendly and cooperative to humans. The first known example are the Wyverns who are tamed by the Dragoons. This game displays that monsters have their own language and that they can be used for military purposes.
Also later games, mostly Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, show that monsters display enough level of intelligence to understand human language, while in some of them, being capable of speaking it themselves, although these case are known to be extremely rare. In some more later games, the player is given the ability to tame Monsters and have them play a role in the player's party; in games where this is possible each monsters have limited, albeit unique abilities of their own.
At least some monsters are identified as servants of the Four Fiends. Since the Four Fiends get their power from the Crystals, it can be inferred that at least some of the world's monsters come from Chaos corrupting the Crystals.
Direct mention is made several times to the Emperor summoning armies of monsters from Hell. Why some of the Empire's monsters manifest as undead, others as plants, etc. even though they all come from the same place, is unknown, although some monsters in Final Fantasy II may not be connected to Hell.
Kashuan employs monsters to guard its treasures, and monsters also appear in Arubboth, the game's equivalent to Heaven. However, the monsters that appear in Arubboth are still connected to the Emperor, albeit the Emperor of Light.
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The game's opening sequence mentions that only recently have monsters begun to appear and overrun the world, suggesting their appearance is connected to Golbez and the Archfiends beginning their scheme to gather the Crystals. Some monsters appear during the Siege of Fabul and on Kain's airship. Early in the game monsters consist of various animals on the overworld, with undead being confined to mountain trails and more monstrous creatures appearing in caves. Enemies in the Tower of Zot and Tower of Babil are more magically inclined, some appearing as elemental embodiments, and demonic and spellcaster-type enemies are common sights in the underworld, the Passage of the Eidolons and Sylvan Cave containing many such enemies. The Giant of Babil contains machine enemies prominently, and the Red Moon has various "alien" organisms and various types of dragons.
The number of monster attacks have started to increase once again after a year of peace. The dwarves becomes in the need of assistance when monsters are starting to pour out of the Sealed Cave. The dwarves can't beat them all on their own, so Cecil, Palom, Porom, and Cid decides to lend them a hand and try to find the cause of this.
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Most enemies roaming the planet seem to be just natural wildlife, but at least some of them appear connected to the Interdimensional Rift. When Enuo was cast in the Rift and the Void sealed within the Rift, many monsters were locked within this plane as well.
When Exdeath gains the power to the Void the entrance to the Interdimensional Rift is unlocked and it appears as a strange plane of existence separate from the real world roamed by powerful monsters. It is also shown that evil spirits that have been locked away into objects can become sentient and turn into sort of monsters; Exdeath is one example of this happening.
Monsters, at first, appear as normal animals, such as birds of prey, rabbits, insects, etc. Some also appear as humans, or humanoid. The Phantom Forest, being connected to another world, hosts undead monsters capable of using magic. Magic and monsters largely only appear around Vector on the southern continent, likely due to either purposeful experimentation in, or magical fallout from, the Magitek Research Facility. Some monsters appear in the facility and can use advanced magic, giving strength to the idea that the Empire is experimenting on infusing monsters with magic. Monsters near the Esper Caves and Thamasa can also use magic, as the island is a font of magical power.
Beginning on the Floating Continent and continuing into the World of Ruin, monsters take on much more varied designs, ranging from undead to demons to mutated animals. Given that the Eight Dragons and Humbaba are stated to have been sealed monsters unleashed in the end of the world, these monsters may have been lesser creatures also sealed, or may simply have been transformed in the waves of magical energy that engulfed the world during the Apocalypse.
Several different groups of monsters are explained. After Cloud's story on the Nibelheim Incident, in which he notes Shinra Electric Power Company was creating monsters at Nibelheim through modifying humans with Mako, Red XIII notes that there has been a steep rise in the number of monsters. The leaking valve in the Mako Reactor in Mt. Nibel appears to have caused an increase of monsters in the area, which was why Sephiroth's party that Cloud was part of was sent to investigate the reactor.
Professor Hojo also produces many, many other monsters that the party fights as experiments. Additionally, undead only appear in areas where large scale death has occurred. "Like stagnant air", Bugenhagen says, they refuse to move on to the Lifestream and haunt the area where they died. Some monsters, such as dragons and giant scorpions, only live in caves, but it is unknown if there is any meaning to this. According to Ifalna, Jenova also transformed the Cetra into monsters with the use of a virus.
It is unclear if any monsters are naturally occurring, and if so, how many. The Weapons the Planet produces can arguably be classed as monsters as well. In general, denizens of the Planet seem to use "monster" as a catch-all term for "a violent, non-human entity".
Monsters are classed and cataloged in some way, as Case of Denzel notes that Cloud gave Denzel a "monster manual". It has also been shown that monsters can be commanded. Notable examples include Shinra's Guard Hounds.
Monsters in the world of Final Fantasy VII can also be generated out of the Lifestream itself, as seen when the Remnants of Sephiroth use corrupted Lifestream to create the Shadow Creepers. Kadaj is able to withdraw the Shadow Creepers at will, in which case the monsters disperse into black smoke.
Angeal Hewley is able to imprint monsters with his DNA creating specific kinds of monsters known as Angeal Copies. Genesis Rhapsodos has a similar ability, but appears unable to create copies from monsters, although the human equivalents can appear very monstrous on their own right, and some seem to lose their previous humanity becoming mindless drones.
Angeal's ability to create copies is a two-way conduit and he is also able to absorb traits from monsters into his own body. When he absorbs too many monsters at once he transforms into a monster himself, Angeal Penance.
- "Creatures on the moon. Monsters fall to earth at regular intervals. This phenomenon is called the Lunar Cry. The monsters bred on the planet since the last Lunar Cry to make up those roaming the planet at this time. The Lunar Cry phenomenon also transformed some animals into monsters."
- —FFVIII Info Corner
The monsters on the planet of Final Fantasy VIII originate from the Moon. At certain intervals when the Moon and the planet align perfectly and the Moon has reached saturation point with monsters, the monsters fall onto the planet from the Moon in a phenomenon known as the Lunar Cry.
It is also possible to induce Lunar Cry artificially with the Crystal Pillar within the Lunatic Pandora. Lunar Cry is known to mutate native wildlife into monsters, but although this is mentioned in the game, this phenomenon is not specifically shown, although it appears there is a soldier in Esthar City who transforms into an Elnoyle, suggesting humans are not immune to this phenomenon.
Some monsters appear to be commanded by the Galbadian army, but the origin of these monsters is not more specifically explained. The monsters residing in the Balamb Garden Training Center are also shown to be commanded by the Garden Faculty during one scene.
Guardian Forces could be classified as a type of monster, but they are different in that they exist as embodiments of powerful energy fields. If a person is to make use of this energy field in the form of the Junction System the Guardian Force loses its physical existence only to manifest at the summoner's command for a brief period of time. Some Guardian Forces appear sentient able to communicate with the player characters.
Monsters appear as native wildlife to the planets of Gaia and Terra, but they become stronger and more ferocious when exposed to Mist. This is why areas that are located below the Mist-level on the Mist Continent are known as dangerous and people rarely venture to these places on foot. Evil Forest is a location within the Mist that has in a sense come alive itself and appears somewhat sentient.
- Main article: Fiend (Final Fantasy X)
In the world of Spira monsters, called fiends, are corrupted souls formed of pyreflies. Upon a person's death, if they do not enter the Farplane either on their own volition or being sent by a summoner, they stay on the world of living as unsent. If the unsent does not find meaning in his or her continued existence in the form of a "mission" of sorts, they are in danger of being consumed by envy and hatred they feel toward the living and transform into mindless fiends.
Some unsent who have not been corrupted and turned completely into fiends are still shown to be able to transform into a fiend-like monster at will, and are still able to revert back into their human form. Curiously, the Farplane itself still appears to be filled with fiends, as seen in Final Fantasy X-2. Defeating a fiend disperses its pyreflies and the fiend ceases to exist.
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Like Final Fantasy X, monsters are called fiends, though not as often. Monsters appear as native lifeforms to Ivalice and most don't have any common origin. The Mist, however, appears to make monsters stronger and more ferocious, and thus areas abundant in Mist are not inhabited by humans. Undead monsters appear abundant in areas full of Mist as well, such as Necrohol of Nabudis and the magicite mines.
Some monsters appear to have been either created by the Occuria or at least commanded by them, as monsters are seen protecting the entrances to Pharos at Ridorana and Great Crystal. The viera appear to view Golmore Jungle as a sentient entity, and the Elder Wyrm is a wyrm that takes the appearance of a tree and other plants, and perhaps works as a guardian of the jungle created by the forest itself. Some monsters are usually tame, but when exposed to Mist turn ferocious.
- Main article: Esper (Revenant Wings)
The Espers, known as Yarhi, are the monsters of the Lemurés in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. They are summoned via auracites and, unlike the Espers of Ivalice, the Yarhi are born from the stolen anima of the aegyl.
The stolen aegyl souls gathered, creating their own plane of existence, the World of Illusion, and it is from here the Espers can be called to the material world via a Summoning Gate by a person carrying an auracite. In doing so the anima of the summoner is itself eroded, creating more Espers.
- See also: Feral Creature.
Cocoon is an artificial world whose every function is looked after by its fal'Cie. Monsters on Cocoon still exist, either as natural vegetation as seen in Sunleth Waterscape, or monsters specifically bred by PSICOM to be used in a hypothetical war against Gran Pulse. A lot of the monster breeding and experimentation takes place in Gapra Whitewood, an area that is prohibited from civilians. PSICOM can transport their monsters to different areas of Cocoon instantly by the use of summoning gates that operate by the use of Antimatter Manipulation Principle.
The monsters on Gran Pulse appear to be part of the planet's wildlife, but their evolution is guided by the fal'Cie Titan whose task is to breed bigger and stronger monsters.
Cie'th is a type of monster that is different from the normal flora and fauna of the world. Cie'th are l'Cie who have failed their Focus and have turned into a crystal-based monster. A Cie'th's existence is eternal, but after a long while they eventually turn into a stone. Different l'Cie take a different form as Cie'th and the mechanism of determining the type of Cie'th a l'Cie becomes is not fully explained in the game, but Cocoon and Pulse l'Cie who fail their Foci do take distinctly different appearances; Pulse Cie'th are dark in color, often with a red crystal somewhere in the middle of their body, and Cocoon Cie'th appear crystalline and luminous blue and gray in color.
Monsters are mostly the same as the original game, but due to multiple paradoxes completely new monsters have appeared, and some have suffered severe mutation. Royal Ripeness is a prime example, as a faeryl devoured an artefact that sucks Miniflan to another period of time, creating this monstrosity.
A parallel dimension introduced in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Valhalla, has monsters of its own, known as Rift Beasts; they roam around the dark city of Valhalla, its shadow-world the Void Beyond, and due to the paradoxes, can also appear in the worlds of Cocoon and Gran Pulse.
Some entirely new forms of Cie'th are also seen.
The presence of monsters is not explained in Final Fantasy Tactics, but they share specific properties. All monsters are hermaphrodites and count as the opposite gender of any given unit targeting them. Monsters appear to reproduce asexually, by laying eggs, even the undead. The eggs can hatch into any subspecies of that species of monster.
For example, a Black Chocobo can lay an egg that becomes a Red Chocobo. Each "normal" monster has three subspecies. Some "special" monsters exist, such as the Lucavi demons, which cannot be obtained by the party (with the exception of Byblos). Undead appear both in the wild, and in places where the dead have been revived. Ghost units are story elements--they are undead, but do not count as monsters.
Monsters can be trained to obey the player and perform special abilities, but humans seem to forgo this practice in Ivalice, as a general rule. The Lucavi are much more likely to employ monsters in battle, especially their own demons. Monsters can level up, and slightly improve their stats, but they cannot learn new skills (with the exception of a single ability, granted through Beastmaster).
Monsters speak their own language, and have a faith of some kind. Monsters are more likely to be encountered in certain settings; Panthers and chocobos in plains and watersheds, squidraken and malboros in watersheds, dragons and minotaurs in deserts, and undead almost anywhere. Other types of monsters outside of the species the player fights in the game are hinted to exist in errands, but not much is known about them.
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On day, the Vile Four battled their way into the Focus Tower, and stole the four Crystals of the Earth, and then took off with the magical Coins that had kept the Tower's door unlocked. With the Tower doors sealed behind them, the monsters relaxed their guard and turned their attention to the Crystals.
As they basked in the radiant glow of the Crystals, the monsters grew stronger and meaner and even more wicked. The more light the monsters consumed, the more the World was drained of its warmth and color. Tremors shook the land while the sky grew cloudy and dark. The seasons went berserk. Monsters appeared everywhere and terrorized the people. The World was thrown into total chaos.
Monsters in this game represent a distinct race in the worlds connected by the Tower, and so were created by the Creator. While some Monsters fill a role related to the Creator's game, such as the Four Fiends or the demons and devils that occupy a False Paradise on the lower floors of the Tower, Monsters are often found as accepted members of society. Monsters can be found running shops, wandering through town, and filling jobs and roles normally filled exclusively by Humans in other Final Fantasy games, such as work as Guards.
The notorious Bandit in the first world is actually a common P-Frog from World 2; a minor plot thread involves King Shield (a Human) trying to seek the hand of his beloved: a Slime-type monster from the village to the south. In spite of this inclusiveness, all opponents in the game are technically Monsters in the end: the few exceptions (Human foes like King Sword and the Steward) are represented in-battle as recolors of established Human-like Monster types.
Monsters are most notably one of the three playable races in Final Fantasy Legend. By consuming Meat, these party members can transform into nearly any common monster type in the game.
Monsters continue in a similar role to the original Final Fantasy Legend and continue on as a playable race. However, there have been some minor changes. Human and Mutant enemies now exist, and do not drop Meat. Robots (technically unrelated to the generic playable Robots) also appear in enemy groups: as one would expect, they also do not drop Meat. Mr. S, the first Guest party member in the game, is a Slime-type Monster.
Monsters are used to a variety of roles in the game. In some worlds, certain Monsters are used as beasts of burden: Dragons are used in races on a faraway world, and the new god Odin is accompanied by a horse, Sleipnir. However, they are more often shown as sentient beings, treated or mistreated with the other species: Venus, one of the other new gods, has exiled many of the Monsters she deems "ugly" from her perfect city in her world. The lead player-character's Dad and mother are both Human, even if the player character is of a Monster species. Before he joins the party, Mr. S was the player characters' teacher.
The Water Entity, a powerful artefact created by Xagor, pours not only water to floor the World. It also pours forth savage monsters without numbers that proceeds to invade the World, these monsters systematically sacked the towns of the World searching for the Talon Units. The monsters are also responsible for all the shipwrecks in the World, this reason alone is why the people of the World have no ships. It is also too dangerous for the citizen of the World to venture outside of their towns due to the presence of these monsters.
- Main article: Manikin
In Dissidia series manikins work as the common monsters fought in the game. Manikins were themselves artificial experiments banished in the Rift, but during the 12th cycle the forces of Chaos find a way to summon them to World B and pit them against the forces of Cosmos.