Initially released in the US as Final Fantasy 2, since they hadn't gotten around to releasing the previous two games on the NES and didn't want to confuse us poor dumb Americans by skipping numbers. I also didn't realize until much later that the US got the "easy" version of the game, which cut out a few plot bits and other details.
I was soooo looking forward to this game as a kid, and the graphics and music were amazing when i finally did get to play it. My sister even sat around and watched me play it quite a bit, through more than one play-through. It's almost certainly the Final Fantasy game that i've finished most often, and probably still the one that i've started the most games of (though the number of incomplete FF5 play-throughs may start edging it out soon.)
Early on in the series FF developed a (kind of) tradition where in the odd ones you could choose your class, but in the even ones each character got stuck with one. FF2 is kind of a cop-out in that you couldn't literally change classes, but only because there were no classes, but it's in full force for FF4. The characters were all named and important to the plot (which was new for the US) and they all had a class assigned to them that couldn't be changed (with one particular exception.)
I like the named and more detailed characters. I didn't realize how much i missed the job changing until i heard about/got to play FF5 and FFT however.
Times played: 4-5 (Complete) 1? (Incomplete)
First played: 1991 (Really? FF4 came out just 2 years after FF1 in the US? It seemed like so much longer at the time!)
Last completed: 1996-2000?
Last seen: Haven't watched any Let's Plays, so outside of the occasional screencap it would have been the last time i finished it.
Actual spoilers again this time, since i actually remember this one to some degree!
Cecil - Dark Knight, brother of Golbez, son of moon man, lover of Rosa. Eventually no longer a Dark Knight.
Golbez - Dark Something or Other, brother of Cecil, son of moon man, kidnapper of Rosa.
Rosa - White Mage/Archer, lover of Cecil, suffering from damsel in distress disorder.
Kain - Dragoon suffering from chronic backstabbing disorder.
Rydia - Summoner/Black Mage. Starts out young, even for a JRPG character, but grows up fast.
Tellah - Mage, father of some girl who ran off with Edward? Bit of a kook.
Edward - Bard, prince of somewhere or other, definitely a twit.
Palom & Porom - White Mage/Black Mage twins.
Yang - Black Belt, king(?) of Fabul(?)
Cid - Engineer, designer of Baron's airship fleet, bit of a kook.
Edward - Ninja, prince of somewhere or other. Wants to hook up with (older) Rydia.
• In the starting cutscene you fly to Mysidia, beat up the people there and take their crystal.
• When you get back you have a conversation with the king and question the orders to beat up the people in Mysidia, so he sends you and Kain to the Village of Mist to deliver a package. Before you leave you have an emotional conversation/night with Rosa.
• You go through a short cave to get to the Village of Mist, where the package explodes, killing everyone except Rydia. She fights you and summons a Titan, which knocks you out and seals off the tunnel or something. I _think_ Rydia joins you at this point, though i might be confused and that happens later. And is this the first time Kain disappears?
• You go through a cave where you meet Tellah, then end up in Edward's kingdom. Tellah is pissed at Edward because... something involving Tellah's daughter? (You spoony bard!)
• You go to fight the Antlion. Edward doesn't help much.
• I think this is when you get on the ship to go... somewhere? Except you get shipwrecked on the way, and end up in Mysidia. Oh! And this is where Rydia disappears from your party for a long time i think?
• The Mysidians are pissed to see you again, but you manage to convince them you've changed your ways, so they send you on a trial to Mount Ordeals to prove yourself, with Palom and Porom as your guide. You succeed and get your class change.
• You get back to the mainland... oh yeah, by those magical snake path things.
• I think you go by Fabul first and pick up Yang (i think this is when you first meet him? Unless it was after the Antlion and Fabul is where you set sail from) and then go back to Baron where Palom and Porom get stoned, but i might have the order reversed. You also pick up Cid somewhere in the middle of that.
• Then you have to go rescue Rosa on the airship, i think this is when Kain rejoins you? Then you run away into the giant pit/tunnel and Cid "sacrifices" himself to seal it behind you.
• You end up in the underground dwarf world. You go to the big dwarf city where you fight Calobrena.
• Then you run around trying to collect the various dark crystals, always having the bad guys show up to snatch it away just when you get it. In one of the cases Kain gets turned again and hands the crystal over?
• In the middle(?) of this you have to go down into the Summons cave to get Rydia back into your party. You also have the option of going into the Sylph cave to find Cid, though he won't join your party.
• You have to fight... Leviathan to get Rydia i think? Or is it Shiva? In any case you have to fight one, and i think the other is optional? And i think Bahamut is optional too.
• Eventually you have to climb the tower of... babel? And when you get to the top you have to fight the giant of... babel? (Actually, i put it here first, but i think this may be how you get out of the underworld the second time instead. But if that's so i've lost track of how you get out the first time. Does it involve that town on that island with the really deep... well? Giant hole? Something? And i think the people there are midgets or something?)
• I know at some point you either have to go back to Baron and discover the king is being controller or something, or it's an option. In any case when you do that you can go down in the basement to fight Odin and get him as a Summon. I'm not 100% sure if that happens the first or second time you get back from the underworld, but i'm guessing first.
• Then you need to go back down into the underworld for some reason. If you didn't get up the first time through the town of (maybe) Midgets then i think this is how you get down the second time? During the process of which you meet Edgar and he joins giving you your final party.
• Then you have to fight the four fiends (again) and... end up back on the surface again somehow?
• I think it's somewhere around here that you discover that Golbez isn't evil and the real threat is on the moon. Which means things seem hopeless until you go back to Mysidia and find the flying whale.
• Then you go to the moon and meet FoSoYa (unless you meet him earlier and he's the one who wakes Golbez up? But if so where did you meet him? Really losing track at this point.)
• Then you go down into the final dungeon, see FoSoYa and Golbez fight the end boss, but then his finalish form defeats them and you have to fight it. (During which you Throw everything sharp thing you've ever accumulated at him =)
• And then you get the ending cutscene, which resolves at little bit of what's going on with all the characters after the game ends. This was the start of the truly excellent ending cutscenes for Final Fantasy (at least for me.)
Okay, so clarification, you definitely go up and down to the underworld twice. The first time you fly down a gaint hole in the airship, and Cid blows it up behind you. One of the times you come up, _probably_ the second, is through a giant tower. The second time you go down i forget how you get started, but towards the middle/end you're going through some kind of castle or lair, where you run into Edgar and have to fight the Four Fiends, though i'm not sure if this a mid-fight with them or the final fight. I have no idea where on the surface you go to start that trip however, and no idea how you get back up to the surface other than the tower. There is a town (possibly the one on the other end of the snake road? Or maybe not.) that has some kind of feature that foreshadows a connection to an underground world and i think that plays a factor in at least one of the trips up or down, i'm just not sure which.
But anyways, that was Final Fantasy 4! Or at least as much as i could remember of it. Certainly more than the "bonus round" at least! :)