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Summons are a principal type of magical attack in the Final Fantasy franchise. Summon magic brings forth a summon, which is a type of monster that typically performs a major attack on every opponent. Since their debut in Final Fantasy III, Summons have appeared in nearly every Final Fantasy game. Summoners are one of the main classes that can bring forth a summon.
In several titles, namely Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Summon Magic has little to no role in the storylines, appearing only in the command list for the Summoner job class or as attacks provided by various Summon materia. Summons have served as a key plot element in the rest of the series, notably Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX — in which they play a large role in certain parts of the story — and Final Fantasy X, in which they are part of the main story.
Final Fantasy series
Final Fantasy III
In Final Fantasy III, there are character classes that can cast summon spells, and the effect of the summon varied depending on which class cast the spell. In other words, each summoned monster had three distinct attacks. The first type, which was only initialized when cast by a Conjurer, generally served to cast positive status conditions on the player's party, or to inflict harmful status conditions on the enemy. The second was a single attack to a monster that could only be casted by a Conjurer, showing that they are still studying summoning. The third type of attack, which was initialized when the summon was cast by either a Summoner or a Sage, generally invoked powerful attack magic against every enemy on the screen. Like all other magic in the game, summon spells could be purchased at various magic stores in towns across the world map. However the highest level summons could only be purchased after defeating the appropriate summon in a battle.
Final Fantasy IV
Summon magic took on more central importance in Final Fantasy IV's plot. During a part of the game, Rydia discovers a vast underground kingdom of summoned monsters, presided over by King Leviathan and Queen Asura.
In battle, summon magic, unlike typical black magic spells, is comparatively quick to cast. Most summon spells were learned through events, although a handful of secret summons, such as Goblin, Mage, and Bomb, could only be learned from items dropped by specific monsters. The Cockatrice summon was removed from the North American Super Nintendo release.
In the 3D remake, summons are known as Eidolons, just as in Final Fantasy IX.
Final Fantasy V
Summons reappear in Final Fantasy V. One of the character classes available through the game's "Job" was that of Summoner, and many now-familiar summoning spells make a return appearance. Although other types of magic were purchased in magic stores, much like in Final Fantasy III, all but level one summons could only be learned through a series of optional battles or story sequences at various points throughout the game.
Final Fantasy VI
The summon magic system takes on a very different form in Final Fantasy VI, in which summoned monsters named Espers play a major role in the storyline. Espers are described as humans that were transformed in the magical crossfire between the three Statues during the War of the Magi. Afterwards, Espers created their own world and sealed the gate between it and the human world tightly. This did not, however, prevent power-hungry humans such as the Emperor Gestahl from attempting to harness the magical abilities of the Espers. Opening the gateway to their dimension, Gestahl plans to reduce all of the Espers therein to Magicite, the distilled essences of deceased Espers.
Several of his top generals, including Kefka and Celes, have been recipients of magical infusions drawn from Espers, and the Empire's great war machines, Magitek Armor, are powered by unwilling Espers. Terra is the daughter of an Esper and a human woman, and later in her adventure, she gains the ability to "morph" into an Esper-like form. Magicite Shards allow Espers to summoned, much like summons in previous installments. Every player character can equip Magicite, and each Esper can only be summoned once per battle.
Final Fantasy VII
Summons are incorporated into the Final Fantasy VII's materia system, and operate much like summons in previous games in the series. As the first game in the series to enjoy a fully 3D battle environment, however, summoning sequences have been greatly expanded, leading some critics of the game to argue that they were, in fact, too long, and distracted from the gameplay itself. Like in some previous installments, there were a handful of secret summons which could only be obtained through a complicated subquest. The most famous of these summons was Knights of the Round, the most powerful Summon in the game, which could only be learned by raising a Gold Chocobo and riding it around the game world.
Final Fantasy VIII
- Main article: Guardian Force
Final Fantasy VIII introduced Guardian Forces, or GFs, a substantial retooling of the summoning system, and a major component of the game's plotline. Balamb Garden, an elite military academy with which most of the game's main characters are affiliated, is devoted to the training of special mercenaries known as SeeDs in the usage of GFs in battle. It is later explained that the powers of GFs dangerous to the human psyche, and that regular usage of such magic results in long-term memory loss. In terms of gameplay, GFs are given their own set of battle statistics and abilities, which affects the power of their attacks. Additionally, they play a central role in the junctioning system, which is one of the primary ways of improving the statistics of player characters.
Final Fantasy IX
Deliberately reminiscent of earlier games in the series, Final Fantasy IX was similar to Final Fantasy IV in that only two player characters were capable of casting summon spells: Dagger (also named Princess Garnet) and Eiko Carol. In this game, summons are called Eidolons, powerful extra-dimensional beings that can be called upon by summoners. They are utilized by the villains to render destruction around the world.
Certain Eidolons are learned through the attachment of precious minerals, such as amethyst and diamond, to Dagger and Eiko Carol; the latter is a six-year-old girl who lives in Madain Sari, the lost village of the Eidolon summoners.
Final Fantasy X
- Main article: Aeon
Yuna, the female lead of Final Fantasy X, was one of a long line of summoners, whose duty it was to invoke the power of Aeons to defeat Sin, a monstrous entity who would periodically return to devastate the surface of the planet Spira. Once again, summon magic plays a pivotal role in the plot of the game, but there are two departures. First, the manifestation of the Aeons in the game is the result of dream-imagery provided by a Fayth (the sentient spirit of a dead person), in effect they are not living creatures in their own right. Secondly, the summonable entities came under player control for the first time in the series, replacing the player's own party members when called into battle and remaining until either recalled, defeated or victorious. Aeons possessed a number of new unique offensive abilities alongside the ability to attack and use magic, and could carry out their traditional main attack via the Overdrive system.
Final Fantasy XI
In Final Fantasy XI, summon magic appears once again, as the primary utility of the Summoner class. Summoned monsters, here called Avatars, are obtained through two methods: magical scrolls, which are notoriously difficult to obtain and allow the Summoner to call forth elemental spirits (e.g. Air Spirit, Dark Spirit, etc.); and by defeating the Avatar in either solo or group combat. Once obtained, the Avatar can be summoned at will, provided the Summoner can pay the Avatar's perpetuation cost (given in MP per second). The Avatar exists as a non-playable character indirectly controlled through player commands, including Blood Pact abilities which enable the Avatar to use special skills. Despite the tradition of summon magic being primarily offensive, Summoners are just as sought after for those Blood Pact skills which confer positive status effects on party members as for their damage output.
Final Fantasy X-2
In Final Fantasy X-2, the Aeons return as enemies after the game's antagonist sequestrates the Fayth who dream them.
Final Fantasy XII
In Final Fantasy XII, Summon Magic appears once more with creatures known as Espers, as they are named in Final Fantasy VI. Many espers are Lucavi monsters from Final Fantasy Tactics, Totemas from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and final bosses from earlier Final Fantasy games. In this game, they are scions created by the gods. The female esper, Ultima, convinced the other espers to rebel against the gods (except for Zodiark). The espers lost this war and their fate can be known as players acquire them. Characteristics of these espers are based on the thirteen Western astrology star signs, evident from the gems players can steal from them during their respective battles (e.g. Belias is characteristic of Aries, players can steal an Aries gem from him). Espers must be defeated in order to acquire them, and once defeated, one character will be selected to perform a pact with the said esper, thus becoming the only character to use it. Espers are controlled by A.I, except for the Final Fantasy XII Zodiac Job System release, where the player can opt to take control of an esper.
Final Fantasy Tactics series
Final Fantasy Tactics
In Final Fantasy Tactics, the Summoner job is reintroduced. In this game, the whole list of summon spells (minus one) is visible from the start, but the characters can only use those they have unlocked by spending the Job Points they gathered in battle. The innovative part is that unlike the other Final Fantasy games, there is no level or plot requirement: any summon (but one) can be unlocked anytime, provided the character has enough Job Points. Only one summon can be obtained through a special side-quest and can only be learned if the targeted summoner survives the attack. The summon spells work almost like the other kinds of magic (with a cost in magic points and a casting time) but they only target enemies OR allies, even if there are both enemies AND allies in their area of effect.
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, "Summon Magic" is used by one class, the Summoner, although it is never explained what was being summoned. Like its predecessor, any summon can be obtained at any time given an adequate number of Job Points. Once the player has defeated and obtained the first Totema, the Totema command becomes available to the characters whose race is eligible for the Totema (ex. A Viera-class character cannot use the Totema for the Humans, and vice versa). Each of the five races can call forth their own Totema.
Final Fantasy: Unlimited
Summon Magic also appears in the anime series, Final Fantasy: Unlimited. It is the central means of combat for two of the main characters, Kaze and Makenshi. Kaze's Summon Magic functions through his MaGun by mixing three types of bullet that each contain a sandy material created from the lives of those who fought Chaos in vain (called "Soil") that represent qualities of the summon. When he then fires the MaGun, the summon associated with that Soil is called into action. Makenshi's own summon power comes from the Mist bottles he carries and unleashes their power by linear cuts from his MaSword. Another character, Lisa, can use her Kigen Arts for a summon, but the strain of the life energy needed could weaken her severely or kill her.
Kingdom Hearts series
Summons are also used in the Kingdom Hearts series, although a majority of them are Disney characters.
Commonly summoned creatures
- Main article: List of summons
Despite some regular appearances, the various creatures of the Final Fantasy summonable pantheon have never been given any consistent backstory. Creatures have sometimes featured as a part of the storyline of their game, but this backstory does not carry forward beyond the greater storyline of that title.
- Alexander is a huge humanoid machine whose attack ("Holy Judgment") damages all enemies with holy magic (Pearl-element in Final Fantasy VI). He has appeared in Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy VIII. He also appears in Final Fantasy IX during a full-motion video scene, but his summoning magic can never be used during battle in that game.
- Bahamut is a dragon whose attack ("Megaflare") does massive non-elemental damage which ignores evade probability to all enemies. In Final Fantasy V and after, he is regarded in most of the series as King of Dragons (龍王) While at first the most powerful of his kind and especially hard to acquire, in later games he's typically the penultimate summon while the strongest ones require specific side-quests to acquire. He has appeared (as a summoned creature) in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. He appears as a non-player character in Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy X-2 & Final Fantasy XI, as a boss in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and as a racer in Chocobo Racing. In Final Fantasy VII, in addition to his regular form, Bahamut appears in two more powerful forms, Neo Bahamut (Bahamut 改KAI) and Bahamut Zero (Bahamut 零式RESHIKI). In the sequel (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) a new version of the Dragon appears, called 真/新SHIN Bahamut (Bahamut Tremor in the still unreleased American localization). "Bahamut" (in Arabic: بهموت;Bahamūt) is originally an aquatic creature of Arabic mythology, an enormous fish that resides in a vast sea being the very base of the world with various animals standing on top of each other on it and finally a huge turtle with its shell as the ground of our world. In modern culture, Bahamut is a fictional dragon that first appeared in Dungeons and Dragons.
- Carbuncle is a tiny green-skinned animal with a gemstone on its forehead. When summoned, Carbuncle will perform "Ruby Light" which casts the "Reflect" white magic spell on all friendly combatants. While active, any magic, either hostile or friendly, targeted at affected characters will be redirected to an enemy. Carbuncle has appeared in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. In Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Carbuncles appear in the Legendary City of Mag Mell, but not as summon creatures. In Final Fantasy XI, he plays a role as one of the game's terrestrial avatars, alongside Fenrir, Diabolos, Phoenix, and Bahamut. In Final Fantasy IX The colour of the gemstone and the action performed by Carbuncle can be modified by equipping different gems. The alternatives are Diamond Light (Casts Vanish), Emerald Light (Casts Haste) and Pearl (moonstone) Light (Casts Shell).
- Fenrir is portrayed as a wolf with varying colors of fur based on Fenrisulfr, a wolf of Norse myth. He has made an appearance in Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XI and as a non-summon in Final Fantasy X. In Final Fantasy IX he sets himself apart as being Eiko Carol's first summon. He normally would call forth an earth attack, but according to the item Eiko has in her accessory slot, Fenrir can change his effect dramatically. In Final Fantasy XI he is the hardest to obtain summon (although not necessarily the best) and represents the element dark. Fenrir makes recurring appearances in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, not only in person, but on Cloud's accessories. In the movie, Cloud's motorcycle is also called Fenrir.
- Golem is a vaguely humanoid being composed entirely of rock. It is given its name from the beings of Jewish mythology made from inanimate material. When summoned, Golem intercepts all physical attacks directed at the party, taking damage in their stead until his hit points are depleted. Golem does not block magic or special attacks, however. He has appeared in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy Tactics.
- Ifrit, a fire elemental named after the Arabic jinn spirits that embody fire, is a demon-like monster whose attack ("Hellfire") damages all enemies with fire-based magic. He has appeared in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. The first North American version of Final Fantasy IV (a.k.a. Final Fantasy II) referred to him as Jinn. There is a resemblance between him and Efreet of Tales of Series also, where he could be summoned after defeating him in battle.
- Leviathan, named after the biblical sea monster, is a sea serpent whose attack ("Tsunami") damages all enemies with water-based magic. It is also known as the King of the sea (海王) in the series. In Final Fantasy VI and the anime series Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Leviathan is replaced by the whale Bismarck. He has appeared in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. He also appears as a non-playable character in Final Fantasy II.
- Odin is a humanoid male who is usually dressed similarly to an armored samurai on horseback name after the high Norse god. Odin's attack ("Atom Edge," or "Zantetsuken (斬鉄劍)") usually attempts to kill all enemies instantly by cleaving them in two, and on some appearances is replaced by non-elemental damage to uncleavable enemies ("Gungnir"). The attack different is the number of enemies, with only one enemy, he will use Gungnir but Zantetsuken when more enemies are present. This is well demonstrated in Final Fantasy V where the second stage of the final boss Death Cross have multiple bodies and when using Odin, players can finish him in one hit by cleaving them into two each and finishing the game. He has appeared in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy IX, and Final Fantasy Tactics. In Final Fantasy VI, Odin can be "upgraded" into the Esper known as Raiden. In Final Fantasy VIII, he appears as a non-controllable Guardian Force; he may pre-emptively strike the enemies at the beginning of a battle. At the end of Disc 3, if the player has obtained Odin, he is destroyed by Seifer Almasy with him using Gilgamesh by a strike called "Zantetsuken Hen (斬鉄劍．返)" (counter Zantetsuken), and is replaced by Gilgamesh. In Final Fantasy IX, Odin can either dispatch enemies in battle, or with a special ability, does damage if a monster isn't automatically K.O.ed. In Final Fantasy X, the mercenary Aeon Yojimbo possesses similar attacks.
- Phoenix is a giant bird of fire whose ability ("Phoenix Flame") revives all dead party members and in some games inflicts fire damage on all enemies as well. Phoenix is named after the mythical firebird of Egyptian mythology. In Final Fantasy VI, Locke is searching for the Phoenix magicite in the World of Ruin in order to revive his departed love Rachel. In Final Fantasy VIII, Phoenix can be summoned by using a Phoenix Pinion, and may appear randomly at Game Overs to restore the entire party. Similarly, in Final Fantasy IX, after having Eiko learn the Phoenix summon, there is a chance of Phoenix coming at Game Overs to revive the entire party in a percentage equal to the number of Phoenix Pinions in the player's stock divided by 255. Phoenix also appears in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. In Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Phoenix was the first summoned creature. It attacked by entering the enemy body and exploding from the inside.
- Ragnarok is the name of both a sword and a summon in Final Fantasy VI. The owner of the weapon shop in Narshe (World of Ruin) will first offer it as a piece of magicite. If the player declines, he can forge it into a sword. The magicite Ragnarok is one of two items in the game that teaches the spell Ultima and has the ability to morph enemies into items. Ragnarok also appears in Final Fantasy VIII, although it's not a summon; instead it's an airship that's recovered by the party in the latter half of the game.
- Ramuh is an elderly humanoid male whose attack ("Judgment Bolt") damages all enemies with lightning-based magic. Although the Lightning element is as much a Final Fantasy staple as fire or ice magic, Ramuh himself appears less often than Ifrit or Shiva, sometimes being replaced by a different spirit of lightning. However, he does have a much larger impact on gameplay in some of the games he appears in. He, in the form of a human, first informs the players of the Espers and magicite in Final Fantasy VI. He is also the first Summon that Princess Garnet receives in Final Fantasy IX, after he tells a short story. He has appeared in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. The North American version of Final Fantasy IV (a.k.a. Final Fantasy II) referred to him as Indra, perhaps in reference to the Hindu god of that name. In Final Fantasy VIII he is replaced by the Guardian Force Quezacotl; in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy: Unlimited he is replaced by the Ixion.
- Shiva is an ice elemental taking the form of a willowy human female with extremely pale skin and long, blue hair, together invoking an image of ice and cold. This image is reinforced in later summon sequences by the addition of arctic winds, freezing temperatures and large ice crystal formations. Despite the cold, Shiva invariably wears only enough clothing to conceal her modesty, along with boots and other minor aesthetic pieces. She carries no weapon, and implements her main Diamond Dust attack (which inflicts ice-based damage against all enemies) with arm gestures and/or force of will. Later games in the series allow Shiva to carry out physical attacks in the form of kicks and punches. Shiva is commonly mistaken to be derived from the Hindu God as she shares her name with it, but where the latter is a being of ambiguity, the Shiva of Final Fantasy has never changed in either form or function. Shiva has occasionally been shown as one of the more 'friendly' summonable entities. Whereas most others maintain a particular indifference to the player or, often, initial hostility which must be subdued by defeat in battle, Shiva has rarely been portrayed as an antagonist to the player's party.
- Titan is a humanoid male whose attack ("Anger of the Earth") damages all enemies with earth-based magic. He has appeared in Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy XI, and Final Fantasy Tactics. In Final Fantasy VI he is replaced by the Esper Terrato and in Final Fantasy VIII he is replaced by the Guardian Force Brothers. The name Titan comes from the race of divine beings in Greek mythology, and is often an epithet or alternate name for the titan Atlas.
- Shiva, Ifrit and Bahamut are the only summons to appear in every main series game from Final Fantasy III to Final Fantasy XI and Tactics games (with the exception of Bahamut's absence in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance). Bahamut also appears in the original Final Fantasy as a non-playable character.
- Leviathan first appeared as a monster in Final Fantasy II that swallows the main party. They must travel from its bowels to its mouth to get out. He also figures early into the plot of Final Fantasy IV, attacking Cecil's ship en route to Baron and swallowing Rydia, taking her to the Land of Summoned Monsters.
- Bahamut and Leviathan appear as summon dragons in Bahamut Lagoon. There's also an Alexander in the game, but it shares little but the name with the one in the Final Fantasy series and uses a dark-based attack. Bahamut and Leviathan's attacks are fire and water elementals respectively, deviating from Bahamut's non-elemental attacks in the Final Fantasy titles.
- In the anime series Final Fantasy: Unlimited, summon creatures are called by a Demon Gun (Magun in Japanese) that mixes three types of "Soil" that represent qualities of the summon. Most of these summons appear in the Final Fantasy games, including Atomos, Bahamut, Bismarck, Chocobo (who is a normal chocobo, not called by the gun, but by a chocobo pinion), Ifrit, Ixion, Odin, Phoenix, Typhoon, Shiva, and Titan. There is also upgraded versions of Ixion and Phoenix, formed when a Moogle upgrades the summoning gun, and a "Rainbow Bahamut" that forms when Kaze (summoner) and the Moogle, along with Lou Lupus, who fall in loves with Kaze, turn themselves into soil to defeat the final boss. Something similar to Leviathan also appears when Lisa (martial artist/spiritualist) uses her strongest technique. The only original summon in this series are the Meteor Master and the Sword Dragon (who may be Leviathan, as well).
- Fenrir (sometimes spelled Fenir) is the name of Cloud's jet-black bike in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The colour of the bike may also refer to the dark nature of Fenrir in Final Fantasy XI. The idea that Cloud destroys Sephiroth, who hopes to become a god (and whose name is associated with the qualities of the Hebrew God, and therefore indirectly with Odin) may be a reference to Fenrir initiating the destruction of the gods in Norse mythology.
- Most of the original Japanese versions of the Final Fantasy games refer to the summoned creatures as shoukan jyuu (召喚獸), which loosely translates to "summoned beast". Exceptions include Final Fantasy VI, in which they were called maboroshi kedamono (幻獸 "phantom beast") and Final Fantasy VIII, in which they were referred to as G.F., which carried over into the translated version of the game. Varying terms such as Esper, Eidolon, Aeon, and Avatar are inventions of the different localization staffs who have translated the games into English.
|Dungeons • Gameplay modes (Difficulty · New Game +) • Gold • Shop • Save|
|Battle and story|
|Arena • Battle (Boss · Fixed encounter · Random encounter) • Chapter • Quest (Sidequest) • Treasure chest (Hidden treasure)|
|Hit Points (HP) • Magic Points (MP) • Agility (Agi) • Vitality (Vit) • Mind • Strength (Str) • Intelligence (Int) • Dexterity (Dex) • Weapon & Armor Proficiency • Class (Class change)|
|Attack • Auto-Battle • Dance/Sing • Death • Inventory (Equipment) • Abilities/Skills • Status effect • Talk • Limit Break • Summon|
|Avoid • Critical hit • Element|