Anyone who reads this column already knows what the most important class in any RPG is the Fighter. There’s no question about that, so stop questioning it, already! Fighters are great not only because they get to hit stuff, but also because they happen to be the most generic characters in any given game. Characters like:
Jian Campbell (Lunar: Dragon Song): A 15-year-old who sleeps in and has a secret crush on his best friend? And he is totally NOT dating her, by the way! That’s NEVER happened before! Fortunately, he has his attacks nerfed part way through the game, then spoils everything by learning black magic spells. What a chump.
Randolf (Shining Force II): An optional character that you can recruit to the Shining Force. When he joins you, he says, “I’m not just any warrior, I’m RANDOLF!” This apparently means that he’s just like your other dwarf warrior that you’ve had since the beginning of the game, except not quite as strong.
Dart (Legend of Dragoon): Dart is the prototypical example of a post-Cloud hero: He’s annoyingly reticent, surly, and has a giant sword. Unlike some other fighters, he can also use insanely meticulous timed attacks, which experienced Super Mario RPG players would have to be on crack to be able to master.
Rad (Final Fantasy Tactics): There’s nothing special about most of the interchangeable recruits in the Final Fantasy Tactics series, but Rad is the one that you can always count on to be there. Seriously, he’s present in every version of the game, no matter what other recruits you have in your army. Leave him as a Squire (the FF Tactics version of a fighter) to give him his props. And he’s totally rad, man.
Tanis Half-Elven (Heroes of the Lance): Tanis may be all morally and spiritually conflicted and such, but that sure doesn’t show in this NES game. Yeah, he’s got a sword that sucks and a bow with arrows (they suck), and he’s just all around ho-hum. He can’t heal people or scale cliffs or anything, and the sprites are so small you can’t even see his beard. Stick with the right character and choose Sturm Brightblade instead.
Wedge and Biggs (multiple Final Fantasy games): Named for the famous Star Wars fighter pilots, these fighters (see where I was going, there?) first became playable in Final Fantasy VI, where all they could do was use items, and… you guessed it… fight. They continue to show up and not matter in successive games.
Fighter (Final Fantasy): The prototypical example of the class. The best way to take on the original Final Fantasy was to take a party of four of these bad boys into battle. Who needs magic when you can get a whole bunch of items that cast spells when you use ’em? Total Final Fantasy dominance. Sure, fighters existed before this 8-bit masterpiece, but were they ever as important? Surely not.