by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
A while back, I covered the most useless/disappointing optional characters, but it occurred to me I haven’t talked about my personal favorites – the most busted, the most overpowered, the ones that frankly, just looked the coolest. This winds up being a very difficult list to draw up because there are games like Suikoden, Ogre Battle, and Chrono Cross that just have tons of units/characters you might never see without having a guide first. This is a list of characters that are quite powerful, but you do not have to get them to complete the game. Whether you opt to kill them, or simply never seek them out in the first place, these are just a few of my personal favorite characters that are not required to beat some classic RPGs. Since these are all fantastic, they are in no particular order. I also skipped over generic classes in RPGs, otherwise, Sage would be represented from Dragon Quest 3. Star Ocean 2 had some pretty awesome hidden characters, so there are plenty of other picks.
What are your favorite optional/badass hidden characters? Let me know below!
T.G. Cid (Cidolfus Orleandeau – FF Tactics): Could I have a list of busted characters without including the Thunder God? Of course not. He’s easily the most ridiculous character in Final Fantasy Tactics. He has one of the best unique sprites, and as a Sword Saint, he can utilize almost every Sword Strike in the game. Want to run Holy Knight and Dark Knight at the same time? Just grab Cid! Combining him with the Excalibur sword is a recipe for disaster for any opponent. Sword Saint also has the second best stat gains in the game, and you can even give him an awesome secondary job if you need (not that he actually needs it). T.G. Cid trivializes any fight he’s involved in after you recruit you, but you definitely don’t have to. I know a lot of people who don’t, because he just makes the game too easy. He’s got a sword strike for just about any occasion, and he’s tough as a two-dollar steak.
Bleu/Deis (Breath of Fire 1 & 2): Bleu is an ancient naga sorceress, that you can unlock in Breath of Fire 1 and 2. It’s the same character across both games as far as I’m aware, but her magical powers are second-to-none in both games. She has access to virtually all attack magic, and in Breath of Fire 2, her “Shed” special can leave her alive when everyone else has perished. In casual runs, I’ve had fights where it came down to Bleu using Attack -> Shed -> Attack -> Shed, just to wear someone down when I was out of MP. Shed restores her HP to full and clears away all negative status effects. Nina in Breath of Fire 2 is an okay spellcaster, and her power can be bolstered with using the Shaman combinations, Bleu is a powerhouse on her own – she doesn’t need Shaman powers! She’s actually not able to utilize them at all! There isn’t a caster that matches her might in BoF 2.
Vincent (Final Fantasy VII): Final Fantasy VII had two optional characters, as far as I can think – Yuffie and Vincent. You pretty much just stumble onto Vincent, but you can avoid him if that’s what you want to do. Yuffie can do some pretty awesome damage in the late game, but Vincent, his shotguns and transformations just felt way more badass, right out of the gate. He looked cool, had a grimdark, edgy backstory, and he transformed! Vincent was how I unlocked every single Arena prize back in my first playthroughs. When his transformations didn’t do it, him using Quad-Summon Hades definitely did. Vincent’s mostly on the list because I liked using him more than Yuffie. He felt more useful to the squad, and always dealt plenty of damage. You can’t control his transformations, but they were always awesome to use.
Magus (Chrono Trigger): When I first played through Chrono Trigger, I recall distinctly how I felt when Magus asked if I wanted to fight him. Thinking pragmatically, I had just lost Chrono, who was the strongest character in my party. Did I want to fight a superboss again? That’s a negative, Ghost Rider. When I first fought Magus, he beat my ass over and over again. I was not keen on fighting him. So, that’s how I learned he could join my party! If you defeat him, Frog is a human again in the end credits, but that doesn’t affect me now. Magus has access to all three styles of elemental magic, plus dark magic. So he can Lightning/Ice/Fire 2, plus all of his own busted spells. If that’s not enough, there’s a trick you can utilize with him to make many boss fights incredibly trivial, with his end-game gear. Get him hasted, kill off your other two party members, and with that+berserk, he absolutely melts many bosses by hitting for 2k+. He’s also a part of the Omega Flare triple tech, which is amazing in a casual playthrough.