The much-ballyhooed Final Fantasy franchise is one of the longest running and most beloved in gaming. This isn’t to say it’s infallible, that’s for darn certain (there have been some major missteps and fan qualms over the years) but it’s risen to become the very last word in popular RPG action.
The original game first released in Japan, way back in December 1987. I wasn’t born until the following summer, so you’ll forgive me for not being knowledgeable enough in Japanese to have hopped on board in utero and been around since the very beginning.
As it turned out, I wouldn’t own a title in the series until the seminal Final Fantasy VII, which –as it did for so many others— introduced me to the JRPG, and to RPGs in general. Falling in love with the title, I pounced on its fellow PS1 releases, VIII and IX, falling for them just the same.
Strictly speaking, this trio of classic titles were the only true PS1 Final Fantasy installments, and they contained all manner of pain-in the-cheeks-to-acquire weapons and equipment. Remember trying to steal the Fairy Flute from Hilgigars? Or the bizarre Ancient Forest quest for the Apocalypse? Those are just some of the long-repressed horrific childhood memories I’m going to relive for you in this piece, friends.
While those three titles are our main focus here, it’s important to remember that many of the previous entries were ported over to PS1 too. Just for the sake of variety, I’m going to consider those fair game too. Let’s dive into it.
30 Gastro Fork, Final Fantasy IX: For Fork’s Sake
Ah, yes. For my money, Final Fantasy IX's Quina is one of the more peculiar player characters in the entire franchise (and that’s saying something around here, friends). Her/his weapon of choice is a gigantic fork. They all have the odd quality of randomized damaged on hit, and the strongest of which is a real pain to acquire.
You earn the Gastro Fork by completing the frog-catching sidequest. After nabbing 99 of the critters (which will require the ponds to be managed so they don’t run out), Quale will challenge you to a battle. The fight isn’t especially difficult (though Quale does have the highest enemy HP in the game, tied with the Friendly Yan), but it’s a battle of attrition. Victory grants you the Gastro Fork.
29 Lion Heart, Final Fantasy VIII: So, I Heard You Like Triple Triad
As players will know, Final Fantasy VIII’s weapon system works a little differently to the rest of the series. You can’t simply find or buy weapons, equip them and start carving enemies into sad, defeated hunks of monster-spam. What you do is collect components, visit a Junk Shop and ‘remodel’ each character’s weapon into a stronger version of itself.
With handy tools like the Card Mod ability at your disposal, you can do this much sooner than you’d think. All of the main characters’ ultimate weapons can be built on the first disk (with one exception, as we’ll see later). It just depends how dedicated you are to doing so. Constructing Squall’s best gunblade, Lion Heart, alone, can require many hours of farming levels (some low, some high, as demonstrated in this Steam Guide).
28 Excalipoor, Final Fantasy VIII: A Pretty ‘Poor’ Replacement
Another thing that long-time series fans will know is that Final Fantasy does love its recurring weapons. Names like Ragnarok, Masamune, Ultima Weapon and Excalibur will be immediately familiar to franchise veterans. So, too, will the Excalipoor, a joke weapon generally connected to Gilgamesh.
While Final Fantasy VIII doesn’t give your party this weapon to directly equip, they can make use of it.
How? By acquiring Odin prior to the Seifer battle on the Lunatic Pandora. Doing so will cause Seifer to ‘defeat’ Odin, and Gilgamesh (himself a series stalwart) will take the legendary warrior’s place. When doing so —and in every battle in which he happens to appear thereafter— he’ll randomly ‘equip’ himself with a weapon, one of which can be the Excalipoor.
Which deals a mighty 1hp damage to all opponents.
27 Excalibur, Final Fantasy: Now That’s More Like It
That’s great and all, Gilgamesh, but sometimes you want to deal just a shade more than 1 damage to your opponents. Such as in every freaking situation ever, for instance.
When that’s the case, you’ll want to junk Excalipoor with the rest and pick up its no-snarky equivalent, the Excalibur itself.
This renowned sword has appeared in almost every main series entry to date, and always performs well. In the original Final Fantasy, you had to complete a little sidequest to earn it. this consisted of finding Adamantine in the Flying Fortress, taking it to Smyth the… Smith and having him create it for you. It’s a bit of a trek, but you’ll definitely want to do it. Your Knight will thank you for it.
26 Construct 8, Final Fantasy Tactics: The Puppet Is Not A Real Boy
Can a character also be a weapon? There’s a philosophical debate to be had there, when we’re talking about machines, but I’m not going to go into that now. I’m in charge here, and I say oh heckola yes it can, buddy boy.
On that note, here comes Construct 8 of Final Fantasy Tactics. This root warrior can only be added to your team by completing a very specific sidequest, which you can only begin with Mustadio in the party. Defeat Belias, head to Goug and a cutscene begins which starts everything off (as this guide explains).
There are some tough battles ahead to unlock the character, but when you do, it’s a valuable ally. As a robot, it’s immune to all magic but Lightning (its weakness) and Water (sadly, this includes healing spells), and has some very powerful abilities that cost a little HP to use.
25 Tinkerbell, Final Fantasy V: No, Not The Fairy
While the series offers the usual array of swords, spears, daggers and such as weapons, it also boasts a selection of more unusual choices. One of these is the Bell class of weapons. When it comes to recurring ones, the major example is the Tinkerbell.
In Final Fantasy V, it’s instead known as the Tinklebell, and is the strongest weapon of its type. To acquire it, you’ll have to get lucky and snag it as a drop from Twintania. Bear in mind, though, that this is only possible when the boss isn’t charging its Gigaflare.
24 Great Gospel, Final Fantasy VII: One Weapon I’ve Never Acquired
Just for the sake of mixing things up a little, I’m going to keep pushing the definition of ‘weapon,’ like the fearless renegade from the depths of Satan’s shirt pocket that I am.
Owing to certain unfortunate I used to be an Ancient, then I took a Masamune to the everything story events, I’ve never really used Aeris to her fullest in Final Fantasy VII. It’s a shame, because she boasts some excellent supportive limit breaks.
Her level 4 limit, Great Gospel, is acquired by grabbing a piece of Mythril (acquired from the sleeping man in a cave near Junon, if your total number of battles ends in two matching odd numbers or zeros) and taking it to the cabin by the Gold Saucer after the Rocket Town events.
Great Gospel fully heals the party’s HP and MP, and also makes them momentarily invulnerable to all attacks.
23 Lightbringer, Final Fantasy VI: Sounds Like A Fair Trade To Me
Another recurring weapon in the series, the Lightbringer (or Illumina) is another sword that just keeps popping up.
Always boasting high attack (where equippable), it tends to have the handy-dandy bonus effect of randomly casting Holy when wielded in battle.
What with Holy generally being regarded as the Ultimate White Magic spell, that’s sure as heckles not a bad side effect to have.
How do you get your hands on this mighty blade, then? Well, that varies from game to game, but the most obscure method is probably that of Final Fantasy VI. There, you must first nab yourself Ragnarok (which isn’t easy), and then wager it at the Dragon’s Neck Coliseum.
22 Excalibur, Final Fantasy IX: I Found It On eBay
I don’t know about you, friends, but Treno’s auction house in Final Fantasy IX never really did it for me. With my deep-rooted need to nab myself every new piece of equipment from the regular stores and synthesis shops that I could, I rarely had the gil to compete with those nobles at the auction. There were some neat items in there, but nothing I thought was important and missable, so I tended to skip it.
There is, however, one important item that you can only gain in this way: Excalibur. In this game, it’s a sword for Steiner, and you get it by buying the Doga’s Artifact, Une’s Mirror, Rat Tail and Griffin’s Heart item from the auction, and giving them to the corresponding Treno nobles.
After that, the Magical Fingertip starts being offered there, which you must also win and take to an old man in Daguerreo, the secret mountain location in the bottom left of the map. He trades you the sword for the item.
21 Knights Of The Round, Final Fantasy VII: Because ‘Table’ Was A Word Too Far
RPGs often run into the problem of what to reward players for defeating the optional superbosses. Oftentimes, these enemies are far stronger than anything you encounter in the course of the main story, and that’s where the problem arises: if you get a spangly new ultimate weapon, what’s left to use it on?
The neat thing about Final Fantasy VII’s Knights of the Round summon materia is that you do get a chance to use it on the game’s toughest opponents: Ruby and Diamond Weapon. Assuming that you get a Gold Chocobo by breeding, that is, and not by trading the item you win by defeating one of them.
Riding your Gold Chocobo to an invisi-island in the far corner of the map, you’ll be rewarded with a super, super strong summon, which is more than enough to breeze you through any story battle.
20 Rune Staff, Final Fantasy IV: *SILENCE!*
Now, it’s only fair that, as a general rule, RPGs don’t just want you to easily come across their best gear. It’s not always difficult or expensive to find either, though. As Octopath Traveler players will have found this year, sometimes, it’s simply a case of stealing from the right enemy or NPC, or hoping for their drops.
This is a simple enough matter in the age of the internet, but before we had FAQs, finding Final Fantasy IV's Rune Staff was much more puzzling. What you want to do is head for the optional dungeon Passage of the Eidolons, and hope that you get a lucky drop from a summoner.
19 Ehrgeiz, Final Fantasy VIII: It’s Ex*Zell*ent
Now, I can appreciate Zell Dincht, I definitely can. His boisterous nature and short fuse grates on many people, both in the real world and in his own, but I find him darn funny. Actually quite charming, too.
Do you want to know what wasn’t funny OR charming? Acquiring Zell's ultimate weapon, that’s what.
As I say, in Final Fantasy VIII, you don’t buy weapons outright, but find the rare pieces to craft them. The final versions are supposed to be endgame items, but with enough patience, you can get them very early. The key to doing so, in the case of Zell’s Ehrgeiz, is modding the Minotaur card into Adamantines as soon as you get it.
It just depends how the completionist in you feels about that.
18 Fairy Flute, Final Fantasy IX: Flute-ing Heck, This Is Not A Fun Time
It’s in a gamer’s nature to be darn stubborn. Dedicated. There’s something you shouldn’t be able to do at this point in such-and-such a game? Well, I’m going to go ahead and do it, just because I can.
Veterans of Final Fantasy IX will know how notorious the Fairy Flute is. You have a very low chance to steal it from the Hilgigars boss near the Lifa Tree. I’ve been sucked into the attempt for hours at a time, knowing it’ll be available for purchase later (granted, much later, at Oelivert) but also knowing that it could be the next steal… the next steal… the next steal…
17 Missing Score, Final Fantasy VII: Come On, Who Wouldn’t Choose Barret?
Now, this is just my personal bias talking, but I can’t see how this weapon could be at all difficult to find. It’s all but unmissable, providing Barret’s in your party at a certain moment. On the flipside, if he isn’t, the weapon isn’t obtainable at all.
As a lifelong member of Team Barret, I have no issues with this. If you’re one of those who actually thinks it’s acceptable to remove him from the party at any point, other than when you’re forced to (which it isn’t, don’t @ me), here’s the skinny: Barret’s ultimate weapon is in a very obvious treasure chest —which doesn’t appear if the man himself isn’t in your party— on your way to the Hojo boss battle at the Sister Ray, during the Midgar raid.
It’s quite awkward to use, as its damage increases with the AP of its equipped materia, and it’s permanently missable if you don’t grab it during this one moment.
16 Ragnarok, Final Fantasy IX: That Minigame Leaves Me Feeling Cold, Not Hot
Why, yes, the music for Final Fantasy IX’s Chocobo Hot and Cold minigame is fantastic. Thanks for asking. Be that as it may, though, the amount of grind you have to go through to get all of the chocographs really got to me after the umpteenth playthrough.
It’s totally worth it, though, because it’s the only way to get most of the best equipment. If you’re not shooting for Steiner’s true ultimate weapon, Excalibur II (which I never have, for reasons we’ll get into later), the Ragnarok sword is the next best thing. It’s found in one of the later chocographs, Outer Island, which is located on the easternmost edge of the north-east continent.
15 Onion Sword, Final Fantasy IV: Almost Enough To Make You… Cry
Yep, because it’s the onion sword. I’m darn proud of that pun, and I’m going to bask in the glory of it for a couple of minutes before continuing.
So, yes. Final Fantasy IV’s onion sword can only be acquired in the later remakes of the game, but I’m going to go ahead and include it here because… well, darn the onion sword, that’s why.
Has tail-collecting ever been a good time? You’re darn right it hasn’t. These rare drops are worth the effort, sure, but it sure can be tedious. To get the onion sword, you’ll need to exchange a Red Tail for it with the Adamant Isle Grotto Tail Collector.
14 Eden, Final Fantasy VIII: *IT’S OVER NINE THOUSAND* (Nine Hundred And Ninety-Nine)
That’s right, friends. Having never used Final Fantasy VIII’s Quistis much, I never got to see her Shockwave Pulsar limit break top the damage cap back in the day. Or anything else, for that matter. The first time I summoned the ultimate GF, Eden, seeing damage above the typical 9,999 totally blew me away.
As with the Knights of the Round summon materia, Eden is an ‘ultimate weapon’ of sorts, in summoning terms. There are only two chances to obtain it in the game: one at the bottom of the optional Deep Sea Research Center (from Ultima Weapon, a darn tough fight in its own right) and the other from Tiamat in the final dungeon, at which point the game is all but over.
Pick your poison, and enjoy the darn useful and rare stat junctions this GF gives you.
13 Ultima Weapon, Final Fantasy VIII: We Have To Do *WHAT*?
Speaking of Eden, let’s back up a little and take a look at just how difficult it is to obtain. The Deep Sea Research Center is hidden on the world map, for one thing, an optional dungeon that is first occupied by Bahamut. On defeating the Dragon King and returning, you then have to descend the levels of the center, expending a strictly-limited number of steam units to open each door.
Persevere in this puzzle and you’ll eventually reach Ultima Weapon (yep, we’re playing fast and loose with the term ‘weapon’ again). It’s a powerful opponent, boasting the infamous Light Pillar attack that one-shots any party member it hits.
12 Mace Of Zeus, Final Fantasy IX: Come On, Zeus, You Can’t Just Leave Your Mace Lying Around
When it comes to ultimate weapons, Final Fantasy IX is a bit of an unusual case. Some, like Zidane’s and Quina’s, are locked behind obscure side missions or other obstacles. You have to earn them, in short, and I’m fine with that. Others, like Amarant’s Rune Claws and Vivi’s Mace of Zeus, are just lying around in the final dungeon, Memoria.
They’re in such peculiar places, unseen on screen and waiting for you to activate theirs! prompt. With the way that some of these are unlocked, it seems just a little lazy, as though they were running out of time to add them to the game. If you didn’t know where they were, you could quite easily miss them.
11 Heaven’s Cloud, Final Fantasy VII: Almost Heaven
Almost heaven, West Virginia, blue… nope, let’s no go there. There’s no time for that now.
What’s really important here is that Heaven’s Cloud is a great weapon for our spiky-haired protagonist (certainly the best-designed in my opinion), and it’s another that’s quite easy to miss entirely.
It’s only accessible after you unlock the submarine, as it’s found in the sunken Gelnika (along with such other great treasure as Cid’s final limit break and Yuffie’s ultimate weapon).
That’s all well and good once you know where it is, but what if you don’t?
Even worse, what if you do (dive from just around the corner from the Junon dock) but you get there too early and Emerald Weapon’s guarding it? The green salt machine is there at first, blocking the wreck of the plane.
10 Excalibur II, Final Fantasy IX: A Sidequest Too Far
Final Fantasy IX is one of my favorite games of all time, and I don’t want to think about how many times I’ve played through it. I mix it up each time, in terms of parties and strategies, keeping it fresh. I’ve completed most of the side stories and distractions, but there’s one thing I’ve never done. You guessed it: picking up Excalibur II.
There’s a case for this being the hardest and most unreasonable sidequest in the whole franchise. Why? Because you have to reach this particular spot in the last dungeon (essentially completing 99.9% of the game) and defeat Lich within 12 hours, or it will disappear and cannot be obtained.
That’s what we call an ouch-aroonie (or rather, it would be, if that word was socially acceptable).
9 Masamune, Final Fantasy II: Guess Who’s Back, Back Again
Ah, yes. We’ve got yet another iconic recurring weapon from the game on our hands here. The Masamune, Sephiroth’s weapon of choice, is a vicious katana (sometimes depicted as a regular sword), and tends to be excellent endgame equipment.
As such, it does not come cheap. In Final Fantasy II, for instance, it’s found in the fiendish dungeon Pandaemonium, 4FB. Unusually, the weapon is just there for the taking, but you’ll darn well want to watch out for the enemies in this room.
Red and Blue Dragons? King Behemoths? No part of that sounds like a good time.
8 Alexander, Final Fantasy VII: Don’t Touch Me!
As much as I enjoy Final Fantasy VII’s diverse range of summon materia, and have great success combining them with other materia to make super-fun Summoner builds, I’ve got to admit: it can be a real pain in the cheeks to unlock them all.
Just look at the Holy summon, Alexander. To obtain it, you’ve got to touch the hot springs at the Great Glacier, then find your way to an NPC who will reveal herself to be a Snow Woman and attack you. On her defeat, she’ll drop the Alexander materia.
This summon is a truly unique weapon for your party, being the player’s only source of Holy magic damage (what with Holy itself being a plot device and all).
7 Exeter, Final Fantasy VIII: Irvine’s Always Got To Show Off
With the fluid nature of Final Fantasy VIII’s junctioning and weapon upgrade systems, it’s easy to completely break the game by having characters far stronger than they should be at that point. As I say, all ultimate weapons can be acquired very early, if you’re willing to grind for them.
All except Irvine’s, that is. The Exeter requires a Moon Stone, which you can’t get until after the Lunar Cry events on disk three.
Dino Bones and Screws are easy enough to acquire, and Star Fragments are a pain but doable, while there simply aren’t any Moon Stones at all until then.
6 Death Penalty, Final Fantasy VII: An Apt Name For This Beastly Weapon
Heading back over to Final Fantasy VII now, I’ve got to admit that I’ve never really been overly fond of Vincent Valentine. Remember Spider-Man 3, when Tobey Maguire was infected by the symbiote suit and was trying just a little too hard to be edgy, with that flicky Justin Bieber fringe? I get that same sort of vibe from Vincent.
Nevertheless, his ultimate weapon is super neat. You acquire the rifle Death Penalty from Lucrecia’s Cave, a secret location accessible only by submarine or advanced Chocobo. You visit once, watch the cutscene, fight ten random battles and return. The weapon and Vincent’s level four limit break will be waiting.
The weapon’s power increases with every enemy Vincent defeats with it, and can eventually defeat any enemy (including optional bosses) in a single hit, thanks to the shonky overflow glitch.
5 Artemis Bow, Final Fantasy IV: Bow Down Before It
Back in Ye Olde days of Final Fantasy, characters adhered to a strict job system. You could swap between them whenever you wanted (depending on the game), but while equipped, they would define each character’s appearance, weapons, and abilities.
My personal favorite? The Ranger. They weren’t the best by a darn long chalk, but I always had one in my parties regardless. My favorite weapon for them is the (again recurring) Artemis Bow, which is a real darn pain to get in Final Fantasy IV. It can be acquired from Moonmaidens in the Lunar Subterrane, but the chances are very low and they’ll be accompanied by Dark Sages, whose own drops ‘compete’ with the Artemis Bow. Good luck.
4 Apocalypse, Final Fantasy VII: Strangest. Forest. Ever
As much of a fan as I am of Final Fantasy VII, and as many times as I’ve played through it, there’s one obscure location that will always vex me: the Ancient Forest.
You can access this place only by riding an advanced Chocobo or defeating Ultima Weapon, either of which gives you access to that ridge near Cosmo Canyon. Once instead, you’ll engage in a strange collecting-bugs-and-feeding-them-to-flytraps-in-order-to-open-paths puzzling to access the other side.
Your prize? Apocalypse, another sword for Cloud. It’s far from his strongest, but it boasts triple materia growth, one of only two weapons (Cid’s Scimitar being the other) to have that trait.
3 Ultima Weapon, Final Fantasy V: You Call That A Dragon? *THIS* Is A Dragon
Here’s an interesting thing. I’ve already touched on the fact that earlier Final Fantasy titles were ported around from system to system, and a whole array of changes were made to the game in the process.
Final Fantasy V, for instance, arrived for the PS1 seven years after its Japanese Super Famicom release. It later dropped for Game Boy Advance and mobile formats, the latter of which saw a feature the PS1 did not have: Ultima Weapon. It’s found in Shinryu’s Lair in the Sealed Temple, and guarded by the fearsome dragon super boss Neo Shinryu.
2 HP Shout, Final Fantasy VII: Backtracking Like A Boss
During my initial playthrough of Final Fantasy VII, I had absolutely zero patience for the Shinra Building. Those many, many flights of stairs, the randomness of stopping the elevator on the right floor… it was just an all-round bad time.
In addition, I really was not a fan of Cait Sith. So when I learned that I had to backtrack through the building much later to get the HP Shout, Cait Sith’s ultimate weapon, I was every kind of unamused all at once. Remember looking through those lockers, and Cloud says something to the effect of “A megaphone? It wouldn’t do any good holding onto this”? That’s the one. It’s a long way back.
1 Dragon’s Hair, Final Fantasy IX: Where The Heck Is That Spear?
Speaking of things I didn’t have the patience for back in the day, have you ever tried to find Freya’s best lance in Final Fantasy IX? It’s a Dead Pepper treasure (the Chocobo pecks at the mountain, part of the wall crumbles, it’s hidden inside), which are indicated by cracks in walls on the world map, but… the mountains are so darn blurry it’s tough to tell.
I’VE BEEN PECKING AT THIS FREAKING STRETCH OF MOUNTAIN FOR THREE HOURS, AND I’M GOING TO ROUNDHOUSE KICK SOMEONE’S GRANDMA IN THE DENTURES IF I DON’T FIND IT SOON.
Incidentally, it’s found on that long stretch of mountain near Oelivert, on the reverse side.