"The world thrived on the power of the four elemental crystals; Wind, Earth, Fire, and Water.
With the power of Wind, people sailed ships. With the power of Fire, they began the industrial movement. With Water, people quenched their thirst, and from Earth, they received blessings.
One day, the King of Tycoon, upon feeling an irregularity in the air currents, rushed to the Wind Shrine, only to find the Wind Crystal shattering to pieces right before his eyes. In addition to this catastrophe, an enormous meteor had fallen to the ground, causing earthquakes in the surrounding land near Tycoon Castle. In the ensuing chaos, the King of Tycoon disappears mysteriously."
Eighteen months after unveiling Final Fantasy IV, and irrevocably changing what Japanese gamers expected from a console RPG, Square was back again with a new chapter in the series. With its seemingly unbeatable track record, some people were beginning to wonder if Square could maintain the same level of quality and imagination in its games. As Final Fantasy V proved, the answer was yes.
Probably the darkest of the Final Fantasy games to date, Final Fantasy V was set in a world where the elemental crystals that protected it from evil were breaking, and all hope seemed lost. The story began with the King of Tycoon, sensing something wrong and travelling to the Shrine of the Wind Crystal. Sadly, when he arrived, the Crystal shattered into a million pieces, and the wind died. That, however, was only the start of his problems.
Final Fantasy V featured one of the most unpleasant villains ever to appear in a Final Fantasy game - both devious and insane - and the result was a very downbeat story, with major characters getting killed throughout the story, the world exploded and more. As the unfortunately named Butz, the hero of the story, it was up to the player to try to sort everything out across no less than three worlds.
With Final Fantasy V, Square upped the ante and filled up a 16Mb SNES cartridge with one of the best Final Fantasy games to date. The links between this and the previous titles were both the Final Fantasy name and many common elements in the gameworld.
Final Fantasy V combined these elements from the systems used in the earlier releases, and added a few unique twists of its own. Once more, the player controlled a party of four characters, with their fixed identities tied into the background story and plot. This time, though, instead of each character having established class, they could be switched around, enabling players to create a customised party. As players moved through the game, they discovered special crystals containing the souls of dead heroes, each of which enabled access to new character classes - over 20 in all. At any time outside of combat, each character could be changed from one class to another, learning more skills and abilities as they went. By mastering different classes, elements from each could be combined to form a unique mixes of abilities.
This clever game system was a major pull for RPG fans, with the inevitable result that Square had another his on its hands. Sadly, though, Final Fantasy V was never translated into English, and no US version was ever released until the release of Final Fantasy Anthology on the PlayStation in 1999.