Final Fantasy IV.

Final Fantasy IV was the fourth game in Square's (now known as Square-Enix) successful Final Fantasy series. It was originally released on the Super Famicom in Japan in July 1991. It got a North American release on the Super Nintendo later that year, under the name Final Fantasy II, as the original FFII and FFIII had not at this point been released outside of Japan. It did not get a European release, because someone wanted me to suffer a deprived childhood. The first English edition was the Japanese "Easy type" version of the game, and suffered from censorship and an atrocious translation. Since then, the game has been re-released and slightly modified approximately one billion times, and is now almost universally known as Final Fantasy IV.

SNES version

Ported to the Playstation in 1999 (2001 and 2002 in North America and Europe respectively) as Final Fantasy Chronicles, the game got a new and slightly better translation. In the US it came packaged with Chrono Trigger, and in Europe and Australia it came with Final Fantasy V and was known as Final Fantasy Anthology. In 2002 it was released on the Wonderswan Colour (a Japan only handheld console), and in 2005/6 FFIV Advance came out on the Gameboy Advance. The GBA version uses the updated graphics first seen on the Wonderswan, as well as the best English translation so far, new features, and added goodies. The game has also been ported to the DS (2007/8), mobile phone (2009), the Wii Virtual Console (2009/10), and the PSP (2011). It was made available on the PSN in 2011 also. And finally, the DS remake was ported to iOS and Android in 2012/2013. I feel like I may even be missing some editions. Basically, you have no excuse for not playing this game.

Game Boy Advance:
GBA version

In 2008, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, a sequel to FFIV was released on mobile phone in Japan only. It was later made available to download from the WiiWare store, and in 2011 was packaged with the original game and a new chapter called Final Fantasy IV: Interlude to explain events between the two games, and released for PSP in all regions. (I feel like I should note here that this fanlisting does not cover the sequel - just the original game in it's many forms.

Playstation (left) and DS FMV scenes:
PS and DS versions

So what's it all about?

The protagonist of the game is one Cecil Harvey - a Dark Knight and Captain of the Red Wings (aka the air force) of Baron. Baron has become a powerful nation and at the beginning of the game, Cecil is busy plundering towns and stealing their Crystals without knowing why. Remember this: these Crystals are important. Battling his conscience and questioning the reasoning of his king, he is relieved of his duty as a Captain for his supposed disloyalty and sent on a seemingly mundane errand to prove his fidelity to the throne. His best friend Kain Highwind (Master Dragoon, ladies man, man's man, man about town, etc) attempts to defend his friend, but is pretty much told to shove it and is also sent with Cecil on his errand as punishment. Their task is to deliver a Carnelian Signet to the village of Mist - a place that's only a short cave and boss battle away from Baron.

Fun fact #1: These are Carnelian stones:

Fun fact #2: It's called a Carnelian Signet in the PSP version of FFIV. It's called a Bomb Ring in earlier versions. Spoiler alert: it's a bomb.

And that's how the game starts. FFIV has betrayal! Intrigue! GIRLS! And a spoony bard. And shenanigans on the moon. And dwarves! And a ninja! It's just my favourite game ever. As events unfold, Cecil ends up in the middle of a battle to save the world, undergoes a magical girl transformation, and winds up with what can only be described as a motley crew. Obviously. This is a Final Fantasy game, after all.