The Seven: Most broken exploits / glitches in Final Fantasy

by May 23, 2017 0 comments

This is the sixth entry in an ongoing series of articles on The Lifestream called The Seven, in which we turn the spotlight on seven of the best (or worst) aspects in the Final Fantasy series. Previously in this series, we have looked at the best lines of dialogue in Final Fantasy VII, the best FMVs in the Final Fantasy series, the most difficult boss fights in the series, the most appropriate character themes , and the most interesting NPCs. The selections are made with the help of our community.

As long as there have been computers, there have been glitches. Lovely little mistakes within code, things the developer overlooks, or things that seem to happen by pure magic. From the earliest days of arcade gaming to now there seems to be no end to these amusing things. If Final Fantasy XV taught us anything, it’s that bugs aren’t going anywhere (and that Cup Noodle is God’s Own Foodstuff).

But what exactly counts as a glitch or an exploit? Many of the known bugs within Final Fantasy are unintentional consequences of coding, and are often catastrophic, though most of the ones you will see here are beneficial to the player. Some exploits, however, can occur by using the system a way that wasn’t intended (or at least doesn’t seem to be intended) by the developer. Then there are some popular “tricks” that do nothing at all! For instance, it is widely believed that if you are back attacked in Final Fantasy VII and begin to “run away” you will turn around to face the enemy, thus avoiding extra damage. This is not true. Your characters do turn around, but this is simply a cosmetic change: damage is not affected. The more you know.

Anyway, on to the list. You may question a few of the community choices below, but our general rule was that if it felt odd, it probably was. There were over 35 nominated entries to go through to boot, and some popular ones such as the 64-Door Hierarchy, Lete River Leveling and Catnip Gunner were left in the dust. Just know we considered them all carefully. These are ordered not by their game but in ascending order of popularity among our community.

A battle scene from Final Fantasy X.

01. Overdrive->AP; Comrade

Final Fantasy X massively improved the Limit Break concept with its Overdrives. Along with the standard format from Final Fantasy VII of “take damage, get mad” you could set your Overdrive to charge under a variety of circumstances, such as killing enemies, winning battles, or even simply having your turn come round. And then the game gave you the ability to learn “Overdrive -> AP” which converted any rise in your Overdrive gauge into AP. There are numerous exploits involving this, such as setting your Overdrive condition to “Ally”, which charges every time you get a turn, and just never attacking.

But by far the easiest method is setting it to “Comrade”, where your Overdrive rises whenever your allies take damage, and facing off against Arena superbosses such as Don Tonberry. If you’re looking to fill up that Sphere Grid, this is the way to do it. Some might argue that this isn’t a true exploit and is the system working as intended, and for that reason it’s the lowest on this list.

Thank to community member Joker for adding this tidbit:

“If you want to really EXPLOIT Overdrive -> AP, you’re going to want the Don Tonberry AP farming method, where you can easily gain 99 [Sphere Levels] in a single fight.”

The battle from Final Fantasy VII against the "mystery ninja" Yuffie Kisaragi.

02. Yuffie Warping (Final Fantasy VII – PC Only)

Site author and forum moderator Ryushikaze mentioned this during The Lifestream’s Final Fantasy Retrospective podcast about Final Fantasy VII. It is a curious coding glitch which has some rather humorous and potentially useful results for those willing to set it up; however, it’s PC version-exclusive.

Our technical editor, Flintlock, explains it here:

“This PC version-only exploit lets you warp to any part of the game you want after finding and beating the Mystery Ninja in a forest. Unfortunately you still have to go to the place you want to warp to on a second save file (in which you haven’t recruited Yuffie), limiting its value in my eyes. It’s certainly interesting, though, since you can do things like skip the end of disc one and keep Aeris in your party for the rest of the game.”

The Final Fantasy XII creature Dustia, found in the Dalmasca Westersand.

03. Dustia Respawning (Final Fantasy XII)

Community member Fangu is our resident authority on Final Fantasy XII, and she provided the nomination round with six different glitches from that game filled with detailed explanations of how they worked. The only one to make it onto this list, however, is the Dustia Respawning trick, and I’ll let her explain it:

“When you kill an enemy, if you manage to zone out of the area before the “EXP” and “LP” text shows up, the game will interpret the enemy as “not killed” – you’ll still get the EXP and LP, but the enemy will still be there.

How is this useful? Mostly because of the enemy Dustia, an enemy that can be killed with a Phoenix Down, so you can pretty much farm this enemy for EXP, LP and gil (drops, Books of Orgain and Flame Staves) from a very early level. Even better, as you only need one character to kill Dustia, you can farm it with Vaan only before you pick up the other characters. And since the levels of other characters depends on Vaan, well… it’s pretty much the best way to level all your characters very early.”

A battle scene from Final Fantasy II.

04. Command Spamming (Final Fantasy II)

Final Fantasy II tried something different with its leveling system – direct leveling stats based on characters actions. On paper it’s a brilliant idea. If you use magic, your magic stats go up. If you take damage but survive your HP goes up. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so to speak. In practice, however, it’s all shot in the foot by a programming glitch which means actions you take will register the moment you enter them. What does this mean? Well, if you back out before setting the last character’s action, the first three will still get their benefits. You can do this multiple times in a single battle allowing for an insane boost of stats after only one fight.

Community member Mr. Ite is a fan of this one:

“Your abilities become more powerful as you use them, so the most efficient way to do this for all four of your party members is to whack the ever-living hell out of one another, then heal each other, leaving the random enemies more-or-less alone.”

Two shots from Final Fantasy VI showing the spell Vanish and X-Zone being used against the boss Doom.

05. Vanish + X-Zone/Doom (Final Fantasy VI)

Perhaps the most broken of these glitches featured here in that it can be used to undo instantly almost every single enemy in the game, including bosses. Use Vanish on an enemy and then cast X-Zone or Doom on them. This will result (more often than not) in an instant death. X-Zone is more reliable but you get no items (including losing out on the Bahamut Magicite if you use it on Deathgaze) whereas Doom is less reliable but you get the loot.

Flintlock explains how this one works:

“The point of the Invisible status in FFVI is that it makes you impervious to physical attacks but vulnerable to all magical attacks – they never miss. As a result, you can use Invisible to inflict status effects which normally shouldn’t be possible, like casting Doom on bosses to defeat them very quickly. An extremely powerful exploit which has never been fully fixed in any release of the game!”

The battle against the Phantom Train in Final Fantasy VI, which can be defeated instantly with a Phoenix Down.

06. Phoenix Down On Bosses (Series Wide)

Now this one might make you scratch your head. It may not be exactly an exploit or a glitch, but it certainly feels like one to us when we’re playing. The inclusion of Undead enemies and bosses in the Final Fantasy series often come down to one oft-repeated trick: kill them with a Phoenix Down (see Dustia further up this list). The fact that this feels like a cheat even though it may not be stems from the fact that it essentially makes some of these bosses complete non-events. And besides, wouldn’t you rather suplex the train?

Yours truly said this at one point, I’m sure:

“Just use a Phoenix Down? What does that do? … Wait it’s dead?!”

A picture of the materia menu from Final Fantasy VII and the materia W-Item.

07. W-Item Duplication

Ah, Item Duplication. One of the most common forms of video game glitches and one that is present in almost every Final Fantasy game. Perhaps unsurprisingly the community’s favorite is this trick using the W-Item Materia in Final Fantasy VII which allows you to populate your Item menu full of Elixirs, Hero Drinks and Vaccines to your heart’s content. So how does it work? Select the item you want to duplicate, use it, then select another item (doesn’t matter what, just something different). Cancel it out and your item count goes up by one. Give it a shot yourself next time you play!

Let’s hear from Flintlock one more time:

“I think everyone here knows about this one.”

We sure do, Flintlock, and it’s our favorite Exploit in the series!

The FontStruction “Glitch” ( by “subversivetype” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( Fontstruct is copyright ©2013 Rob Meek

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