Final Fantasy IX checks off each Final Fantasy trope and cliche before reinventing the familiar.
Final Fantasy VIII uses all of the elements which made Final Fantasy Final Fantasy and deconstructed them.
We start out with young protagonists who’re actual mercenaries trained to fight.
We can already guess that, once again, teenagers are going to save the world. Only this time, they’re in school. And orphans, among other orphans. Every kid except for Rinoa and Ellone are orphans. And even then, Squall isn’t technically without a parent.
Cid chooses them, not the crystals. He doesn’t really engineer mechanical apparatuses, but he does engineer the mechanics of our characters’ fate. You know how every Cid propels the characters to their destiny by giving them an airship? Cid’s school is an airship, but it’s their training that gets them to really take off.
Our character’s’ first mission is to stop an invading state. Only this time it’s a democracy whose citizens are more or less OK with their country.
SeeD has to stop Galbadia from talking over a radio tower. It’s an electronic device that, like most electronics, runs on crystals. So our characters aren’t protecting the crystals, they’re protecting what the crystals power.
On a side note, Ultimecia talks through radio waves powered by the crystals, and it harnesses their power.
Our characters’ next mission is to stop a powerful magic wielder, who’s an actual sorceress. Not a man this time; she’s a woman. And she has relation to our main characters, but not by blood. She’s a caretaker and mother figure. An enemy who appears to come out of nowhere controls her mind. But was controlling enemy after enemy the entire time.
The main villain is female, not a man and not just an entity that can take female form (i.e. Cloud of Darkness).
Our main protagonist’s rival is an enemy who’s also mind controlled.
For some reason, we have to go into space to go to the moon, the source of all the chaos. But we don’t have to enter the moon. And space itself is irrelevant to the mission.
The great magic war only accelerates magic powers. Magic and enemies don’t disappear from the world.
The evil scientist ends up helping our protagonists rather than exploding, putting his madness and brain power to good use.
Friendship wins in the end, but the main protagonist has learned this.
The main protagonist is “royalty” in a way (his father becomes president of Esthar).
The main character fights with himself, not about overcoming his vulnerabilities, but about becoming vulnerable.
The main character becomes the leader of his group reluctantly.
The “crystal room” is actually a pillar of crystal. Yet it isn’t the final stage like it was in Final Fantasy II, III, IV, and V.
Our characters’ travels through time to fight the enemy, not to the past but to the future. In the future, the world stopped but isn’t decaying.
When they defeat Ultimecia, they’re in a blinding white light. They’re “Warriors in Light”.
We find out they were the children of fate after all, after saving the world from a time loop.
I’m sure we can identify all of the tropes used in various Final Fantasy games from I – VII.
No surprise here that Final Fantasy VIII also deconstructs the magical school and harem genres.