RPG Hack Showcase: FF4 Darkness Within

Hack Showcases and RPG Hack Showcases are a series where I show off various game and rpg hacks. I try to stick with hacks that improve gameplay or add quality of life features, completely or partially change the plot and characters, along with dialogue, graphical and sound improvements. I try to stick with games that have enough changes in the beginning to show off, and when I can, try to show parts later in titles. There may be spoilers in the reviews and videos. Some of these I may stream or play on my own.

Darkness Within is a FF4 hack by Rynzer completed in 2019. This hack starts out very dark where Palom and Parom are killed by baron soldiers and Cecil is killed during the assault on Mysidia for the crystal there. You end up in the underworld doing tasks for the King of the Underworld to restore your soul. From there the plot proceeds partly like it would in the vanilla game, but in a different order, just like you did the underworld missions when you started. Party members you know and love will join at different times and sometimes have a new ability than the original title with a number of other twists.

With a revised plot comes new dialogue and other changes to the gameplay and other mechanics. Some spells that you could target on all enemies can now only target one enemy, different consumables replace some from the original, and now you only have to buy 1 arrow and you’ll not run out! Enemies were rebalanced or nerfed depending on where you are in the story, and this hack can be hard! Especially in the beginning when you’re still doing the underworld stuff.

From romhacking.net:

Hack features

  • Character and Enemy stat, AI, and drop adjustments.
  • Spell lists and learned spell levels have been adjusted for most characters.
  • Several spells have had their power/accuracy/elements/cast time adjusted in an effort to make all spells serve a purpose. Some spells removed. Some spells added.
  • Summons revamped or altered.
  • Several new abilities have been changed/added/re-introduced to the game.
  • Equipment overhauled including new accessories which behave like relics from later games. Crow!’s TLD Equipment Screen mod makes the equipment menu far more informational. A Weapon/Armor Chart is also included for viewing items outside of the game.
  • Several characters are capable of equipping different weapon types. These weapon types offer differing styles of gameplay intended to allow the player to hybridize certain characters. Different weapons grant different stat bonuses.
  • Fat Chocobos no longer require an item to summon. They can be found in most small chocobo forests as well as a few other places.
  • Many dialogue and naming changes to coincide with later releases and easier reading.
  • Nearly every dialogue box in the game was edited or completely altered. Proper English is now used in most cases, and the characters should display more personality with their new dialogue.
  • Events occur in a different order from the original game almost right from the start!
  • A number of sidequests have been added at roughly the 2/3 point of the game which provide a break from the action as well as VERY lucrative rewards.
  • Y-button dashing, increased menu speed, and ATB bars visible in battle courtesy of Myself086!

So how is it? The revised plot of this hack is fascinating as it takes such a dark turn right from the beginning. This leads Cecil on a much more involved path of redemption, starting with reclaiming his soul and his rise to a paladin and discovering Zemus being the cause of all the chaos on the planet. After the underworld stuff the game sorta progresses like it would normally, just kinda in a reverse order on your way to Baron Castle and other plot beats. As dark as the plot can be there is a good amount of humor sprinkled into the dialogue. When I streamed the showcase of this viewers and i ever started comparing the underworld stuff to Star Trek V and DBZ! The dialogue can be mature and salty at times, which could turn off players. Once you got an airship in the overworld, go find some old friends and see if there’s any side-quests to do for new gear!

There’s a number of new gameplay elements that will change the way you play than the vanilla game. One of which being offensive magic can’t target all enemies anymore, except for using Rydia’s summons. So no more targeting everyone with virus or the elemental magics. This does take getting used to at first, but once i got used to it, I liked the strategic element behind it. Healing magic can still target multiple party members, along with spells like slow and fast. I also like the fact that buying arrows means you got infinite arrows for a party member! No more dumping your gp on arrows and hoping they’re useful in battle! Buy once and you got it, of course gotta buy multiple if/when you equip bows on multiple party members (like for the Dark Elf cave). On the battle screens you can see your HP and max HP, along with an ATB bar!

2/3rds through the game once you have an airship, you can find a number of sidequests if you go looking around and revisiting npcs and former party members places! Finishing them can get you some new gear exclusive to this hack! There’s stuff at end game too!

I GIVE THIS HACK 4 OUT OF 5 CHOCOBOS!

Gameplay video:

Download it here: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/2926/