Best Final Fantasy ROM Hacks & Fan Games Worth Playing

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Considering just how popular and influential the original NES/SNES Final Fantasy games were, it should come as no surprise that FF ROM hacking is cherished by fans.

Not only that, but the series has spawned a wealth of fan-projects that take its core concept and build it out in various ways.

Whether that means telling an entirely new story with a game’s assets, or re-creating a canon narrative with different gameplay and presentation.

The recently-released remake of Final Fantasy VII has sparked interest in the older titles again, so I thought it might be a good time to check out what the ROM hacking and fan-game community was up to.

Whether you’re looking for minor improvements for your favorite games or an entirely new experience, check out these awesome FF ROM hacks below.

 

15. Final Fantasy IV Advance Music Restoration Hack

FF4 advance rom hack

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There are many types of ROM hacks available for the many cartridge-based Final Fantasy titles.

While some give the games complete makeovers, others focus on improving small but meaningful details.

This Music Restoration Hack for Final Fantasy IV replaces the downgraded GBA audio for that of the original SNES game.

It even includes the orchestral piece by the Tokyo Philarmonic Orchestra that plays during the credits.

This specific hack also exists for Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.

 

14. Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced Battle

FF Tactics Advanced Battle rom hack

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Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the offshoots of the storied franchise that I like the best.

And what better way to freshen up the experience than turning it into Pokémon?

This ROM hack of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance adds the possibility of capturing enemy creatures with “Capture Orbs” after weakening them in battle.

Then they’ll fight alongside you on subsequent encounters, replacing the original recruitment system.

Make sure you catch any strong monsters coming your way, because the game only lets you use two human characters.

The rest is up to your monster party!

 

13. Final Fantasy VII: Platinum

FF7 Platinum ROM Hack screenshot

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Mods that make classic games harder are simply the go-to way to reinvigorate any title you’ve grown to master over many playthroughs, and Final Fantasy VII couldn’t be missing a hard-mode hack.

FFVII: Platinum focuses on increasing the challenge level without making the game feel frustrating.

It touches every single enemy and boss, rebalancing their stats and giving them a couple of extra moves.

The hack also nerfs a couple of OP items like the Knights of the Round and MP Absorb.

You’ll start the game with some extra materia to give you a little boost at the beginning of the game.

But the rest is up to you and your skills.

 

12. Cosplay Crisis

Cosplay Crisis gameplay screenshot

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The first fan-game in our list is Cosplay Crisis, a game with a storyline so wacky.

It’s surprising I managed to summarize it.

It follows Kumo Atsureki, a 19 years-old mercenary who gets caught up in a bizarre plot involving something called the C-Virus, which seems to blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

During the game, Kumo and his cosplayer friends start acquiring skills from their Final Fantasy cosplays, but feel their own identities fading in turn.

The gameplay is mostly a turn-based combat affair inspired by Final Fantasy games.

But it does include several creative set pieces that’ll keep things interesting throughout the campaign.

 

11. Final Fantasy VI: Beyond Chaos EX

FF6 Beyond Chaos Ex ROM hack

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Sometimes, you just want to switch things up a bit to reclaim some of the surprise and uncertainty of playing a game for the first time.

FFVI: Beyond Chaos EX is the most powerful FFVI randomizer available, giving you a completely different ROM hack every time you run it.

It swaps treasure locations, enemy spawn points, the order of the dungeons, and even character’s abilities, among many other variables.

It’ll require some customizing from your part, but with ten billion possible combinations, this should keep your FFVI playthroughs fresh for a long time.

 

10. Final Fantasy IX – Unleashed

FF9 Unleashed ROM hack

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Final Fantasy IX doesn’t get as much love from ROM hack creators as other iconic parts of the franchise.

But this Unleashed version of the game makes up for the lack of quantity with excellent quality.

It’s mostly a hard mode for FFIX.

But it focuses more on rebalancing the game to provide a different, more sophisticated experience rather than merely turning enemies into damage sponges.

Bosses have access to more status ailments than before, sport more native abilities like Auto-Shell and Auto-Protect, and are considerably more aggressive.

It’ll be hard as nails initially.

But once you get going, you’ll get used to thinking before you act. Also the ultimate weapons are stronger now, so go hunt them down!

 

9. Final Fantasy VII: Re-Imagined

FF7 Re-Imagined ROM Hack

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Few fan-games are as polished and fun as FFVII: Re-Imagined, which takes the classic turn-based RPG and turns it into a side-scrolling beat-em-up starring Cloud and Tifa as playable characters.

It’s a love letter to both classic beat-em-ups and the FFVII source material, with an attention to detail that’s characteristic of a passion project like this.

The characters look gorgeous.

The enemies are fantastic.

And you can even summon Barret for fire support.

Regrettably, it only covers the introductory phase of FFVII. We should start a petition to get this as a full game.

 

8. Final Fantasy VII: New Threat

FF7 New Threat ROM Hack screenshot

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A New Threat feels like a FFVII from another dimension.

It’s essentially the same game, but with more side-quests, brand-new enemies, and a bunch of balance tweaks to both characters and equipment that turn battles much more strategy-heavy.

This hack also includes a revised script with grammar correction and some extra clarification regarding some of the most critical and hazy plot points.

 

7. EightBound

EightBound preview ROM Hack gameplay

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I struggled to determine whether this was an EarthBound hack or a Final Fantasy fan-game.

Maybe it’s both.

EightBound is a hack of the original SNES EarthBound ROM which replaces its characters, locations, and enemies for Final Fantasy ones taken from all across the SNES/PS era of the series.

The story parodies both FFIII and EarthBound, and it features loads of characters from all over the Final Fantasy multiverse in some shape or form.

 

6. Final Fantasy VI: Brave New World

FF6 Brave New World ROM Hack

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Next up we have a pretty divisive ROM hack for Final Fantasy VI, which promises to overhaul the original experience.

One of the hack’s best features is how it promotes differentiation between the game’s characters, giving them individual spell lists only they can learn and pushing them into strategic roles.

What makes this hack so divisive is that it significantly alters the dialogues, and many in the community feel the change was unnecessary.

Play it and decide for yourself!

 

5. Final Fantasy VI: Stand Guard

FF6 Stand Guard ROM Hack screenshot

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If you’re looking for an optimized “vanilla” experience for FFVI, Stand Guard might be ideal.

Not only does it feature a slightly modified script that deals with translation errors, censoring, and the like, but it also fixes many bugs and even restores censored sprites to their original form (taken from the Japanese release).

Among my favorite features is accessing your old characters late into the game to create your ideal party and go around clearing optional content.

 

4. FFVI: Return of the Dark Sorcerer

FF6 Return of the Dark Sorcerer ROM Hack

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For a considerably more extreme alteration of the original FFVI we have Return of the Dark Sorcerer, a completely new game with an original story running on FFVI’s engine.

If features new characters, enemies, and movesets – and even includes several cameos from other franchises, such as the iconic Prinnys from the Disgaea series.

This hack also supports difficulty selection, introduces a music player, and even lets you sprint while on the world map – something I’d love to see in the original FFVI.

 

3. FFVI: Ted Woolsey Uncensored Edition

FF6 Ted Woolsey Edition screenshot

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Like many other titles from its time, FFVI’s script was heavily censored for Western markets to cater to younger audiences.

The Ted Woolsey Uncensored Edition promises to fix this by bringing together the work of many translators.

It takes the best from each of them and patches-up Ted Woolsey’s nuanced but ultimately censored translation.

Having played it myself, I can assure you it’s a superior experience.

And considering it also fixes some bugs and restores some censored sprites, there’s little reason to play the original over this.

 

2. Final Fantasy: Blackmoon Prophecy

FF Blackmoon Prophecy ROM Hack

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Final Fantasy: Blackmoon Prophecy may look like a FFVI ROM hack.

But it’s actually built from the ground up in RPG maker, even if the first six entries deeply inspire it.

This love letter to retro gaming offers around 20 hours of excellent gameplay, with over 12 playable characters, 30 mandatory dungeons, ten optional dungeons, and over 20 towns to visit and explore.

 

1. Final Fantasy: Blackmoon Prophecy II

Final Fantasy Blackmoon Prophecy II Hack

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If you liked the original Blackmoon Prophecy, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s already a sequel, taking place over 100 years after the events of the first games.

This time around, the story is considerably more focused and easy to follow. Which is surprising considering it involves time travel, among other things.

With over 40 hours of gameplay, this incredible fan-game is the perfect way to spend an entire weekend taking a rest from society at large.

Don’t we all need a respite sometimes?

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.