How To Skip Half Of Final Fantasy IV By Climbing Stairs
The fastest way to beat the iconic role-playing game Final Fantasy IV isn’t to dash through the final dungeon or grind for all the best spells. It’s to walk up and down the same staircase 63 times.
An obscure, elaborate glitch, discovered nearly six years ago, allows players of the Super Nintendo game to skip nearly half of the story by manipulating the counter that keeps track of what floor their character is on. With precision and a little bit of luck, an experienced speedrunner can use this glitch to beat Final Fantasy IV in under two hours. For comparison, the length of an average playthrough, according to How Long To Beat, is 23 hours and 56 minutes.
I’d heard about the stair glitch in the past, but I hadn’t really seen it in action until I watched Rivers McCown’s fantastic speedrun of Final Fantasy IV at Awesome Games Done Quick earlier this month. For the first two hours, McCown plays through the game fairly normally. There are plenty of weird tricks and glitches, but the path will look familiar to anyone who’s played Final Fantasy IV, as McCown takes Cecil on a journey to collect crystals, chase Golbez, and get betrayed by Kain over and over again. Then, right after he hits the Underworld, things go off the rails.
As soon as McCown enters the Dwarf Castle, a little over halfway through Final Fantasy IV, he walks up and down the stairs connecting the foyer and the throne room 63 times. Then, right after killing the creepy boss Calcabrena, McCown uses Rydia’s Warp spell—which is meant to send the party back to a previous floor—to head back to the castle’s crystal room. When he leaves that room, he suddenly winds up in a series of glitched maps, which he uses to 1) go to the Sealed Cave and drop off Kain; 2) warp to the Moon to pick up FuSoYa; and 3) zip straight to the final dungeon, where he can immediately kill the boss and beat the game.
This all happens because of those stairs.
“There’s a counter in the game that changes when you change rooms,” McCown told me in a phone interview this week. “It’s used by the Warp spell and Exit spell. It starts at zero on the world map, goes to one when you enter a town or dungeon But there are also stairs that mistakenly were put in that increase the floor counter both ways.”
One of those staircases is in the Dwarf Castle, and when you walk back and forth that staircase 63 times, you’re adding to that floor counter incrementally as you go. In other words, instead of realizing that you’re just walking between the first and second floors of the castle, the game thinks you’re walking up to the third floor, and then the fourth floor, and so on, all the way up to
“If you go through a plus-1 door on floor 63 it returns you to zero,” McCown said, noting that Final Fantasy IV has no dungeons with that many floors, so the developers would have never expected the counter to get that high. “But if you go through a minus-1 door after that it sends you to ”
That’s when things get really broken. Once the floor counter is at -1, the game will start sending you to all sorts of weird places, starting with a dummy map and then changing based on all sorts of variables, which range from the game timer to the items in your inventory. Even the color of your menu screen is involved, for some reason.
Because you’re dealing with glitched code, one bad move during this process can freeze or crash your game. Entering one specific room with a certain time on the in-game clock, for example, will lead to a soft-lock. So for McCown and other speedrunners who use this glitch, there’s a very specific path to take, one that involves parking a chocobo in the perfect spot, swapping your items in exactly the right order, and pausing during some big battles.
“Along the way in the run we’re doing a lot of subtle things to manipulate potential soft-lock areas,” McCown said. “Also we bought all these items in the Baron weapon shop that basically serve as coordinates to what map you want to go to.”
These coordinates would look like gibberish to even an experienced Final Fantasy IV fan, but thanks to this glitch, they can allow you to warp immediately to any map in the game—including the final fight. Problem is, there’s no way to beat the final fight. If you’re speedrunning, then by this point your characters are too underpowered to survive the Zeromus battle, and there are no good tricks to beat him like there are in all the fights leading up to this point.
Fortunately, there are glitches. As McCown demonstrated at AGDQ, the current fastest route is to warp to the Sealed Cave to drop off Kain, freeing up a slot in your party for the wizard FuSoYa. Then, because by this point your game is glitched to hell and back, you can corrupt one of FuSoYa’s magic slots to create a spell called “upt Co,” which is actually Reaction, a little-known enemy ability belonging to the Dark Grenade monster. The function of this Reaction spell is simple: It takes every enemy on screen and triggers their death flags, ending a battle instantly.
With that spell in hand, it’s safe to warp to Zeromus and then use FuSoYa to kill him before he even transforms into his final incarnation, allowing you to finish the game no matter how weak your characters are. The whole process takes about 15 minutes, and it cuts out the entire second half of Final Fantasy IV, allowing intrepid speedrunners to beat the game without even getting one of the final party members. The current world record, by the_roth, is 1 hour, 54 minutes, 50 seconds. McCown is in second place, with 1 hour, 56 minutes, 26 seconds. He estimates he’s played through Final Fantasy IV about times.
The Final Fantasy IV speedrunning community was mostly able to piece all these elaborate steps together because of a player who goes by pirohiko. You can watch pirohiko’s tool-assisted run (TAS), which keeps track of every possible variable including the floor count, right here:
If you’re interested in trying out the Final Fantasy IV stair trick for yourself, I recommend this guide. This deep dive is also a fun read.
by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
It all begins here.
Though I grew up in the 80s, I actually didnt play Final Fantasy on the NES until the mids, despite owning a Nintendo since it came out around I remember the moment quite fondly, too. There was a retro/used video game store right across from my neighborhood, and I went there anytime I could convince my Mom or Grandmother to take me. Other times, Id just ride my bike up there. I saw a copy of Final Fantasy 1 and wanted to try it, and wound up spending close to a half hour picking a team, naming them, and doing some leveling up outside of Corneria. I begged and pleaded (every year) to get them to go buy it for me. This was before the price of NES games really began to skyrocket, and the collecting scene had not really grown to the level it did in the s. In fact, I didnt get to play Final Fantasy 1 until well after I got out of High School. I played more of Final Fantasy 2 and 3 (4 and 6) than I did of 1. I eventually played several playthroughs of the NES version, completing some of the more difficult challenges (four white mages, for example).
Ah yes, the stairs glitch. One of many!
Final Fantasy 1 was a real achievement for consoles, despite the many (many) loopholes, glitches, bugs, and problems the game had. A single-player RPG where you had a party of characters that you selected the class for, went on a difficult but rewarding journey, upgraded their classes, traveled back in time and did battle with an ultimate evil? Sure, Might & Magic came out before Final Fantasy, but that was an entirely different kind of turn-based RPG. It was more like a PC RPG (since Might and Magic is a PC franchise mainly), and Final Fantasy 1 was its own beast. It changed RPGs forever. A turn-based RPG where you got to see your characters and the enemies, and incorporated a lot of the then-current AD&D rules, like initiative, armor class, spell slots, armor/weapon types, each character needing specific types of spells and equipment.
God did I ever hate spell slots. Even DQ didnt do that.
There are so many options for Final Fantasy parties, where your four characters can be a Fighter, Black Belt, Thief, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage. During the Bahamut portion of the game, you can undergo a rite/ritual to upgrade to Knight, Master, Ninja, Red Wizard, White Wizard, and Black Wizard. This will drastically change some characters, like Knight being able to cast some spells, as a prime example. First-time players could very well miss it though if they dont find Bahamut and his castle. This is one of the first games where you really needed to talk to everyone, and many times that could not be enough. Nintendo Power was the MVP though, having the free Final Fantasy strategy guide, for subscribers. It was one of the several free strategy guides they released, and it was definitely a driving point for me wanting the game since I had the guide and would read it obsessively.
I defeated Lich, Kary, Kraken and Tiamat with a chortle. Then I died to Warmech.
Your first goal is just to save the princess of Corneria from the rogue knight Garland. Once the strongest knight in Corneria, for reasons unknown he kidnaps the princess and leaves, fleeing to the Temple of Fiends in the Northwest. Hes not really that strong, but youre a team of heroes and hes just one sinister knight. Easy, right? You bring her back home, but you better not forget to talk to her again. That useless item she gives you is the key to getting to the last dungeon. Now youve learned that the world is slowly dying. The seas are slowing, food isnt growing. The land is growing hot and unbearable. The crystals power is weakening (if not gone) and its up to this squad of colorful badasses to go fight the four fiends and recover the Orbs. Lich, Kary, Kraken, and Tiamat are the four henchmen of Chaos, who has trapped the world in a time loop. Peace wont happen until Chaos is bested once and for all.
Using items for attack/heal spells is the real key to success.
Its a nice, long RPG (unless youre speedrunning), and its key to talk to everyone to figure out just where youre going next. Despite it being a very linear game, you do a lot of globetrotting. Its not easy though. Its frustrating and tedious to level and grind unless you know the right spots to do it, like the Penninsula of Power. Thats a spot on the map where enemies much stronger than normal appear, and its one of the best early grinding spots in the game. In the NES version of the game, Mages felt almost impossible to use without items that cast spells, because you have very limited spell slots. The Black Belt class was bugged and borderline useless in the early game too. These were both corrected in the GBA version (Dawn of Souls). Then there are the wealth of enemies that can instantly kill you with death spells, death attacks, petrification, etc. This is before the time of Phoenix Downs, and you only had a few Life spells per rest period. No ethers, either! So you had to go back to Church. Few things were more frustrating than losing two party members mid-dungeon, having to trudge all the way back to town and fix the problem.
Get ready for NUKE.
While the actual game is frustrating and difficult, its not all bad. Visually it was the first of its kind, and it has some of the most memorable music any RPG. Its the first of a franchise that is still going strong today, and there are some pretty easy-to-exploit things in the game for exp, like Chest Bosses. Some treasure chests have a boss in front of them or an encounter that triggers. It will be triggered every time you step on it that tile, so with knowledge and preparation, you can grind these spots for tons of exp and gold. This is also the first RPG with a Superboss. A Superboss is typically much stronger than the Final Boss and is hidden somewhere in the world. In a lot of games, these are also in the post-game, but theres only one spot you can find the Warmech. It can cast the strongest damage spell in the game, and it, like most bosses in the game, it can murder your whole team. Warmech, which has an incredibly low encounter rate on the last path of Tiamats Flying Fortress.
Garland Might Knock You All Down: 3/5
This is the best version of the game. Play the GBA version instead.
Final Fantasy was truly the first of its kind in the West, and kickstarted my love of the series, despite my first real exposure being a Nintendo Power magazine featuring Final Fantasy 2. Its filled with bugs, glitches, and the NES version feels frankly unplayable once youve played the GBA or PSP versions of the game. But it was bold, it was fresh, and it was something we had never seen before. It was a colossal undertaking and was the first RPG I played that really felt like an epic, nearly impossible quest. It felt far more difficult than Final Fantasy 4, and my first playthrough of that took 80+ hours. Despite having one ending, and one linear path, it had replay value in the challenge of trying different party combinations and different approaches to party makeup. Its not even in my top five Final Fantasy games of all time, but I have fond memories of it. I had memories of this game before I even played it, which is a testament to how strong the pull was. Final Fantasy 1 unknowingly led me down this path, and though I played other RPGs first, this one made me smile so much more.
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Final Fantasy Speedrun Includes 28 Minutes Of Walking Up Stairs
This video features about half an hour of a guy doing nothing but walking up and down stairs in Final Fantasy for the NES. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Speedrunner gyre_, who set a new "any%" world record on Sunday by "completing" Final Fantasy in 59 minutes and 10 seconds, used a save-corrupting glitch to make his game think that A) he'd already gotten all four orbs of light; and B) his characters were over level 99, therefore leading enemies to run away. To do this, he entered specific commands as his character names and then overloaded the game's memory—by walking up and down stairs—until wonky things started happening.
"This glitch has been known about for a while," he says, "but people didn't understand how to take advantage of it until quite recently."
You can watch the whole video here (skip to if you don't want to watch stairs):
So what's with all the stairs? Allow gyre_ to explain:
Your party names are stored in some scratch memory when you enter them on the character select screen. As long as you soft reset, it'll still be there when you start up another game. What I did was a stack smash attack where by walking up and down the stairs 70 times it would start executing code nearby that scratched memory. I had to pick a couple things correctly, like my character classes and so on, for it to actually reach my character names, but it'll execute my second character's name.
When you saw me enter two codes what I was actually doing was jumping from the second character to the fourth character to get a couple more bytes of space, since I only have four bytes of executable code in these character names. You really can't do much, you're extremely limited in CPU instructions cause there's only a handful of characters. And then there's all these instructions, which take two or three or four bytes to encode. So that becomes an issue—how do you actually input those in the game. A lot of it's trying to chain to other parts of memory where you actually can do useful things by taking advantage of code that's sitting around.
In other words: magic.
You can reach the author of this post at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jasonschreier.
Stairs glitch fantasy final
Various bugs and glitches appear in the Final Fantasy series, referring to programming errors that result in behavior not intended by the programmers. Glitches can be harmless and only manifest as incorrectly displayed graphics, or they can be hazardous and game-breaking, effectively ruining the player's save file.
"Glitching" is the practice of a player exploiting faults in a video game's programming to achieve tasks normally impossible if the game's script runs as intended, such as running through walls. Glitching can be used to gain an unfair advantage over other players in multiplayer games.
The Intelligence bug and the critical hit bug are the most game-changing bugs. As a result, physical attacks are substantially more powerful on average than they would have been had the correct critical rates been used. The Intelligence stat is broken, meaning Red Mages are just as powerful spell-casters as White and Black Mages. The critical hit bug has been retained through various remakes, but the Intelligence bug has been fixed in recent releases.
The spells intended to raise effectiveness of physical attacks and evasion are glitched in the NES version, as is the item House, which saves the player's progress before it restores their spell charges. Several weapons are also bugged in the NES version, in which the weapons' intended special effects do not take effect.
There exists a bug in the NES version, where upon level up, the game checks if the Monk/Master has a weapon equipped instead of their armor to determine what formula to use. If they have no weapon equipped, but do have armor on, the game will mistakenly set their defense to their level, as if they were not equipping any armor. This error can be fixed by viewing the armor screen from the pause menu. This bug can also be exploited by granting the Monk/Master special armor properties but using the naturally higher defense of the unarmored Monk (e.g., leveling up with a Ribbon equipped and no weapon, to give the Monk the Ribbon's elemental and status protection but use the Monk's higher natural defense).
Most of the glitches are fixed in later remakes, apart from the critical hit bug, leading to the assumption it being a conscious choice by the programmers, and thus can no longer be viewed as a "glitch". The remakes also add some bugs of their own: in the Dawn of SoulsWhisperwind Cove dungeon, the Angel's Ring can never be obtained, as the map that is supposed to have it never appears.
Final Fantasy II
The Target-cancel bug was the most game-changing bug, but has been fixed since the Dawn of Souls release. The bug would allow the player to level up their weapons and magic effortlessly by simply choosing a command and then cancelling it straight away.
A similar exploit is to purposefully finish battles with low HP and MP to gain more of these stats; this isn't really a glitch as much as it is an exploit of the character development system. Most other bugs are only present in the original NES version, which had bugs related to equipment, spells and the dual wielding system with weapons that didn't work as intended.
Final Fantasy III
Various equipment and spell bugs were still present in the original NES release, where certain spells and weapons don't behave as intended and the player could duplicate spells. The biggest exploit in the original NES version is the Item upgrade glitch, which would potentially let players get access to the most powerful equipment right at the start of the game.
The DS version is an entire remake and thus doesn't suffer from the glitches present in the original version, but it has a whole new glitch of its own, the Item duplication glitch.
Final Fantasy IV
Due to the releases on multiple times on different platforms, smaller and bigger glitches can be found across versions. It was the first game to feature the Active Time Battle system, but in the original SNES version, it didn't have the time bar indicating the characters' turn order. When this feature was added in the Game Boy Advance version, the system was bugged.
In the original SNES version, there are various bugs concerning equipment, ranging from weapon effects that never take effect, and the Avenger weapon that, among many other glitches, fails to update the character's attack stats to those in the Avenger weapon, retaining whatever stats the character had in the previously equipped weapon, to weapon duplication glitches.
Final Fantasy glitched
- As fast as possible
- Memory corruption
- Executes arbitrary code (not total control though)
- Encodes a message with an ancient cipher
How to use the glitch
Mothrayas: Judging. Mothrayas: Walking up and down stairs repeatedly for five minutes is a repetitive affair, but results in an oddly comedic effect for this run. It's also nice to see how that action ends up breaking the game entirely. Accepting for Moons as a new branch. sheela Processing. feos: Fixed the branch.
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Her body ached with the delight of the first orgasm. She suddenly realized that a man is not a king and a god, but the same person, and can just help you, or. Can deliver a fabulous pleasure when you lose yourself in time and space. Yevsey put his hand on the back of her head, pulled her closer and kissed her passionately.