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4.1.4 - Translation aside, what are the differences between the Japanese and American versions of these games?

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This article is from the Final-Fantasy and other Square Soft Games FAQ, by nickzman@eskimo.com (Nick Zitzmann) with numerous contributions by others.

4.1.4 - Translation aside, what are the differences between the Japanese and American versions of these games?

Final Fantasy I (Japan) -> Final Fantasy I (USA):
- The "crystals" in the Japanese version have become "orbs" in the USA
version.
- The clinic's symbol was modified.

Final Fantasy IV -> Final Fantasy IV Easytype/Final Fantasy II:
- Almost all of the plot/character development, character special
abilities, special items, and subplots were removed from the game. See
article 2.3.2 for a summary.
- When the dialogue was censored & translated into English, the censors
didn't do a very good job in doing so. See article 4.3.15 for more
information.

Final Fantasy VI (Japan) -> Final Fantasy III (USA):
- Much of the game's dialogue was censored and replaced with
"appropriate" dialogue which would be less offensive in America. There
were several translation mistakes made in the process.
- The opera lyrics were changed.
- The characters' job descriptions were removed.
- About 90% of the monsters underwent name changes. For instance, the
Sabotenders of FF VI became Cactrots in FF III US.
- In the Returners' Hideout, there was a sheet of paper laying on
Banon's desk. This sheet of paper was a joke that would only make sense
to the Japanese, so no one really understands it in the American
version.
- The message on the tombstone in Darril's Tomb was changed. (In the
Japanese game, it said: "Rest in peace, my friend..." In the US game, it
says: "The World Is Square")
- Mashe was renamed to "Sabin," and Tina was renamed to "Terra". Some
other characters had smaller, more subtle name changes.

Final Fantasy VII (Japan) -> Final Fantasy VII (USA/Europe):
- Several characters had slight name changes: "Barett" is now "Barret,"
the Tarks are now Turks, "Ylena" is now "Elena," and "Aerith" is now
"Aeris".
- Square added four new items: the Desert Rose, Earth Harp, Rising Sun,
and Guide Book. They also altered one materia, 'Underwater', which was
in the Japanese game but was not usable in that version.
- Two entirely new bosses have been added: Emerald Weapon and Ruby
Weapon. An existing character, Diamond Weapon, was also made into a boss
character.
- Supposedly, an enemy has been removed: Test Zero (whose validity is
doubted).
- In the Japanese version, all the menus had two items/materia/etc. per
line. In the US version, the item lists were made longer, but there
could only be one object per line.
- A new feature, 'Exchange', was added to the Materia Screen, which
allows you to switch active Materia orbs between members who are not in
you party.
- The number of characters allowed for a name was increased from six to
nine spaces.
- The random encounter rate was reduced.
- Square added some dialogue to some of the battles to help players
through some battles (e.g. Reno in sector 7, the Tail Scorpion in
reactor #1).
- Overlays outlining exits and climbing points were added.

Final Fantasy Tactics (Japan) -> Final Fantasy Tactics (USA):
- Several of the job names were changed. For instance, "Ying Yang Mage"
became "Oracle," "Beginner" became "Squire," and "Dragoon" became
"Lancer".

Final Fantasy VIII (Japan) -> Final Fantasy VIII (USA/Europe):
- Selphie's trademark line was changed from "Ma-mi-mu-me-mo!" to
"Booyaka!"
- The food served at Balamb Garden's cafeteria was changed to hot dogs.
- A few of the monsters, GFs, and battle techniques had minor name
changes between localizations. For example, "Sabotender" became
"Cactaur," Squall's "End of Heart" limit break became "Lion Heart," etc.
- Square added the ability to draw out some GFs from the monsters in
Ultimecia Castle if the player missed certain GFs earlier in the game.
- The game's first timed encounter in the Fire Cave was made easier.
- The USA version also received a much more extensive online help
system.

Final Fantasy Collections (Japan) -> Final Fantasy Anthology (USA):
- Final Fantasy IV was unbundled from the collection.
- Faris was given a pirate's dialect for the USA version of Final
Fantasy V.
- The translation and localization for Final Fantasy VI is nearly
identical to the original localization of Final Fantasy III USA, with a
couple of things edited (eg. "Vicks" became "Biggs," "Fenix Down" became
"PhoenixDown," AtmaWeapon's speech has been uncensored, etc.).
- The USA version also includes a music soundtrack CD containing a
sample of the music from Final Fantasy V and VI.

Final Fantasy IV (Japan PSX), Chrono Trigger (Japan PSX) -> Final
Fantasy Chronicles (USA):
- Final Fantasy IV was almost completely retranslated from scratch.
However, the names of characters, monsters, and places were mostly taken
from the original localization of Final Fantasy II USA.
- Final Fantasy IV's load times were dramatically reduced from the
original Japanese release.
- The translation and localization for Chrono Trigger is nearly
identical to the original localization of Chrono Trigger (see 4.1.5
below)
- NOTE: The US re-release of Final Fantasy IV is based on the original
Japanese game, rather than the "easytype" version that Final Fantasy II
USA was based on.

SaGa series -> Final Fantasy Legend series:
No known differences. Some of the dialogue might have been censored, but
without knowing any of it no one can really tell the difference.

The censorship present in Final Fantasy II & III (USA) can be mostly
attributed to Nintendo. Nintendo has, or appears to have, strict rules
about what can or can't appear in one of their games. Specifically;
their policies attack violence, sex/nudity, death, religion, vulgarity,
blood, or anything else that might make American parents angry at them.
There are a few exceptions to these guidelines (Mortal Kombat II comes
to mind here), but unfortunately, the Final Fantasy games had to be
watered down because of this.


 

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