Final Fantasy IV NES Bootleg Is An Impressive Reproduction, Split On 3 Carts

By Spencer . May 3, 2013 . 12:49pm

image Final Fantasy IV is on everything from smartphones to Wonderswans. Siliconera also found a Famicom version. Yes, you read that right. While Final Fantasy IV was developed for Super Nintendo, a bootleg Famicom/NES version exists. This 16-bit to 8-bit downport splits Final Fantasy IV into three cartridges called Final Fantasy: Dark Chapter, Final Fantasy: Light Chapter, and Final Fantasy: Final Chapter.


What makes Final Fantasy IV for Famicom remarkable is how close it is to the source material. Well, aside from the title screens with Squall and Sephiroth in them. Let’s take a look at Final Fantasy: Dark Chapter.


The first game in the Final Fantasy multi-cart trilogy covers Cecil’s transformation from a Dark Knight to a Paladin. The opening sequence where Cecil fights FloatEyes on an airship has been cut, but otherwise it’s the same. Cecil expresses his concerns about killing innocent people to procure the Crystal. The King of Baron strips him from his position and Kain comes to his defense. Cecil and Kain then receive a "package" to bring to the Village of the Mist. Baron castle has been recreated and you can explore the Town of Baron.



The localization is impressive too. We had a bilingual Mandarin and English speaker verify the accuracy for us. It’s just like Final Fantasy IV… with down sampled music and out of place enemies. Titan wasn’t in the Cave of Mist (though I suppose that could make sense) and he wasn’t an enemy.


You might be wondering how Final Fantasy IV works since it’s split into multiple cartridges. While you can save your game on each cartridge, you cannot carry your save data over. Final Fantasy: Light Chapter starts out with a summary and gives you characters at a reasonable level to clear the Ancient Waterway dungeon.



After defeating Cagnazzo you usually get an airship, but Final Fantasy: Light Chapter doesn’t have an airship. Instead the game has portals on the map that warp you from one area to the next. Black Chocobos aren’t in the game either so you take another portal to the Lodestone Cavern where the Dark Elf lives.



Final Fantasy: The Final Chapter picks up when the airship crashes in the underworld. The team talks to the King of the Dwarves and defeats Goblez with help from Rydia… who helps offscreen. Rydia comes loaded with low, mid, and high tier elemental spells. So, she can cast fire, fira, and firaga right off the bat. She also retains her white magic which makes her the most powerful character in the game. The bootleggers even managed to keep spell effects for the Famicom version of Final Fantasy IV. Usually bootleg ports are terribly unbalanced and require players to grind for hours just to move on. Final Fantasy VII for the NES suffered from that problem (I own a boxed cart of that too), but Final Fantasy IV is actually playable.


Final Fantasy IV is over 20 years old and it’s on a plethora of devices. Why would anyone bother to make a Famicom port in the 2000s? While it’s true that most gamers in China play video games on PCs, residents in rural towns actually still play Famicom games. That’s why there is a market (albeit a shrinking one) for stuff like a multi-cart port of Final Fantasy IV. You might find this hard to believe, but this version of Final Fantasy is some kid’s first exposure to the Final Fantasy franchise.


Here’s what the cartridges and instruction manuals look like. See how many misplaced Final Fantasy characters you can find!



Final Fantasy: Dark Chapter

ffivfami1 ffivfami3 ffivfami5 ffivfami6


Final Fantasy: Light Chapter

ffivfami7 ffivfami9 ffivfami10 ffivfami11 ffivfami12


Final Fantasy: Final Chapter

ffivfami13 ffivfami15 ffivfami16 ffivfami17 ffivfami18

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  • What will Final Fantasy IV be playable on next, a board game?

    • Well, it was made into a card game. Then again, EVERY Final Fantasy title out there was made into one card game or another.

    • Tony F.

      I wouldn’t mind a game like the ones made by Fantasy Flight!

    • Richard N

      Don’t give Square any ideas!

    • RablaAndrews

      …I’d try that.

  • SirRichard

    The wonderful world of bootleg gaming, isn’t it grand. It’s funny, almost; whoever made the game obviously went out of their way to be as faithful as they could manage to the original game, even if it meant cutting some sequences for space reasons, but then you get to the boxes and the manuals featuring mismatched art from throughout the whole series. Even with that, it’s still a hell of a lot more effort put into it than the vast majority of bootleg stuff.

    Always nice to see one of the few treasures that this weird part of gaming pushes out every now and then.

  • DesmaX

    It feels like they just typed “Final Fantasy Characters” on Google Images and just slapped them in the covers.

    But still, really impressive for a Famicom game

  • Lucas Elexpe

    I’m pretty sure there is a microwave version of Final Fantasy IV.

    • AJ

      Don’t put spoony bards inside. May cause damage.

  • malek86

    Now we just need an actual PC version of FF4 to make my life complete.

    • Zero_Destiny

      Well there was that PC version of Final Fantasy V that Square tried to make. ヽ(´ー`)┌

  • I would totally buy those if I had the chance. Another cool game is the Final Fantasy IX GameBoy Color game. The sprites in that game are AMAZING, they are very detailed, nicely animated and the gameplay looks really fun! Too bad no one ripped that game. :/

    As for these chinese wonders articles, I want more, MORE, MOOOOOOOOOOOORE! I love them.

  • Z

    I want Final Fantasy IV on PS3 :)

  • Randy Marsh

    Eh, well it is better than that Final Fantasy VII for the Famicom, I can tell from these videos. But how come every time these NES bootlegs come out, the music is always ear bleeding bad? I mean not as bad as FFVII NES, but still pretty ear grinding.

    • 9thsage

      the music here is better than in the NES “Link to the Past” bootleg (talking about the one that’s a reasonable reproduction of Link to the Past, not the one with turn based battles).

      • Randy Marsh

        Yeah, you got me there.

  • Aristides

    Awesome! Now someone make a SMS bootleg port and I’ll buy it XP

  • Tom

    Imagine the world of those guys who grow up thinking there are the real games. Horrible what these bootleggers do…

  • 9thsage

    Oooh, I love these! It’s like this cart I have that’s essentially Link to the Past: the NES version. It’s surprisingly impressive, all things considered.

  • This article was awesome; I love when you guys cover this sort of thing.

  • JustThisOne

    Bahaha, I love the art assets they’ve used all over the manuals and covers. Whatever’s pretty, right? *slaps it right on the front*

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