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A timer is a gameplay element used in multiple games in the Final Fantasy series. A timer is typically used as a countdown that appears in a corner of the screen at various times within games to trigger "against the clock" events. Typically, the result of the timer reducing to 0 is a game over. However, in other circumstances there may be less severe outcomes such as losing a valuable item. The countdown usually does not pause during random encounters or other battles.
A ten-minute timer appears when the party attempt to escape Karnak Castle from an explosion. The timer continues during battles and the party must win a boss fight before escaping. If the timer runs out, the player receives a Game Over.
The esper Odin is located in the basement of the Castle of Bal in the Merged World. Upon being found, he must be fought as a boss before being acquired. There is a one-minute timer attached to this battle; failure to defeat him in one minute results in a Game Over. The timer disappears after the battle is over.
In the Sunken Tower, a timer with seven minutes appears simulating how long the party can survive without drowning. The timer stays in battles and therefore stays during the Famed Mimic Gogo battle. The timer goes after the battle despite still being underwater.
At the Opera House, a time limit of five minutes is given to the player to stop Ultros from ruining the Opera from the rafters. In this time, a number of rats appear as fixed encounters. The timer stops when the player reaches Ultros.
At Vector, the Returners get four minutes to talk to all 24 soldiers in the building. Four of these soldiers wish to keep fighting, so talking to them results in a fight, during which the timer continues. It continues until it reaches 0, at which point the Returners have a banquet with Emperor Gestahl.
During the banquet, the player has the option of taking a break to talk to other people around the table. One of the sentries wants to fight; this battle has a two-minute timer attached to it.
A timer is used when escaping the destruction of the Floating Continent. If the party waits at the end of the area until there are just five seconds remaining, Shadow will rejoin the party and will be recruitable in the World of Ruin; otherwise, he is left behind and dies.
In the World of Ruin, Sabin is found in Tzen holding a crumbling house up. A time limit of six minutes is given to the player to find the child inside and escape. The timer continues during random encounters.
After planting a bomb in the Sector 1 Reactor and defeating the Guard Scorpion, the player is given ten minutes to escape from the reactor. If the player runs out of time, they receive a game over. The timer continues during battles. In the 1996 demo, the player was given three minutes to detonation. In this version, time was not lost during battles, and the time remaining was given in message boxes, for three, two, and one minutes remaining, then seconds remaining for thirty, ten, and finally five down to one.
On the last train from Midgar, when the carriages are scanned and fake IDs are found on board, the player attempts to run down the carriages before they are locked. The carriages each have their own timer; for the first two, the timer is 15 seconds, and for the third, eighteen seconds. If the player reaches the final carriage, they will exit the train close to the next story destination, whereas if they run out of time at any point, they will be forced to exit the train from the carriage they reached, and will be deposited further from the destination.
In the Wall Market, at the gym, the player can have a squats competition against "Bro". The player is given thirty seconds to out-perform their opponent, with the item received depending on whether they win, draw or lose.
When opening the safe in Shinra Mansion, the player is given 20 seconds to do so. If the timer runs out, the player fails and has to retry.
When the party is in Rocket Town, they see a flashback to Cid's failed flight into space in the Shinra No. 26. A thirty-second timer displays in the top-right counting down until the rocket's ignition. This timer is purely part of the flashback, and has no bearing on gameplay.
During the Huge Materia mission on the Coal Train over the tracks at Mt. Corel, the player is given a time limit of ten minutes to stop the train. If the player does not catch up to the other train, the party walk into North Corel and will not get the Huge Materia. If the player runs out of time after catching up with the train, then the train will crash into North Corel, and the party will still not get the Huge Materia. Additionally, the residents of North Corel will only give the player the Ultima materia for free if they succeed in stopping the train; otherwise, the player has to pay a substantial amount of gil for it.
In the Shinra No. 26 in Rocket Town, during the Huge Materia mission, the player is given three minutes to enter the correct combination to release the Huge Materia. If they run out of the time, they fail the Huge Materia mission, and cannot recover the Huge Materia. This also prevents the player from being able to create the corresponding Master Materia.
A timer of 20 minutes is given to the player when encountering Emerald Weapon, to simulate the characters holding their breath. If the timer reduces to 0, the player receives a game over. The timer does not appear if the player equips the Underwater Materia received from the Kalm Traveler. If the player defeats Emerald Weapon when there are eight seconds left on the timer, the battle results screen will overlap with the game over screen, resulting in the Emerald Weapon Countdown Glitch.
At the start of the game, the player has a test at the Fire Cavern. A timer is assigned to the player, reducing for all the timer spent in the cavern until Ifrit is defeated. The timer depends on what time the player picks, 10, 20, 30, or 40 minutes. The less time left at the end of the test, the better the score the player earns for the SeeD exam. If the player runs out of time, this triggers a game over.
During the field exam in Dollet, a timer of 30 minutes is given for the player to return to the beach, during which they are pursued by X-ATM092. If the timer expires, the player receives a game over.
When the party is assisting the Forest Owls on the trains, the player is given five minutes to input the codes. If the player runs out of time they receive a game over.
When inside the sub-levels of Balamb Garden on Disk 2, the party has to open a valve. A timer of ten seconds, displayed in semi-transparent message boxes, is given to the player to do this. If with one character, the player fails, two characters attempt it, and then three, each time becoming easier to succeed.
At the Centra Ruins, the player is given a timer of 20 minutes to find and defeat Odin. If the timer runs out before the party encounter Odin, it simply vanishes, and the player can no longer encounter Odin without exiting and returning to the Centra Ruins. If the timer runs out during the battle, Odin will use Zantetsuken, and the player will receive a game over.
At the Missile Base, the player sets a self-destruct mechanism for the base at a selection of 10, 20, 30, and 40 minutes. The player then has that amount of time to exit the facility and defeat the BGH251F2.
The party is given a timer to encounter Omega Weapon in Ultimecia Castle. Once one party has pulled the bell in the stairwell south of the Art Gallery, the player must switch to the other party and encounter Omega Weapon in the Chapel before the timer expires. The timer is set to a minute long, and random encounters, even if the player escapes, will considerably reduce the time.
When the player participates in the Festival of the Hunt, they have a 12 minute time limit to defeat as many enemies, and collect as many points, as possible.
When the party is trying to save Princess Garnet in Alexandria Castle, they have a 30 minute time limit.
There is a seven minute time limit during the first "proper" story mission when Yuna, Rikku, and Paine race with the Leblanc Syndicate to the top of the Mt. Gagazet Ruins. The timer is frozen during battles, and is dispelled when the player reaches the spot where the Syndicate is hanging from the ledge near a treasure chest.
Onboard Dreadnought Leviathan the player can use a System Access Key on the top floor to disable the alarm for a set time. Although this does not stop enemies from spawning, they will not be actively seeking the party when the alarm is not sounding.
While riding on a chocobo, players are given a 180-second (3-minute) time limit. If they have not dismounted when it expires, the chocobo will throw them off automatically, and depart, although there is a way to avoid this by entering and exiting the menu right when the time is about to run out: this will give a tiny amount of more time on the clock.
The boss Zalera has a 5 minute time limit. If the player fails to kill it in this time, they will be ejected out of the battle field and they have to try again.
In Great Crystal the gates have varying time limits and the player must get past them before they close again. This is made challenging because Great Crystal has no in-game map.
All Temporal Rift puzzles can appear with timers. The timers are present in the more difficult versions of the puzzles, and if the player runs out of time while attempting to solve a puzzle, they will have to start again from the beginning. The timer is represented by a circular red gauge that depletes as the time runs out.
Several activities within the game have some sort of time limit for completion, displayed on the top left of the screen by default. Guildleves, Behests,Hamlet Defense, Skirmish and most quest fights are on a 30 minutes timer. Caravan Security can last up to 20 minutes, and instanced dungeons have a 1 hour limit. The timer is not frozen during cutscenes.