Black Belt sucks.

Final Fantasy (NES): Playable Characters

The Fighter is a fighting machine (as the name Fighter suggests). He has the most HP out of any class, and the ability to wear all the best armor lets him keep that HP for a long time. The Fighter also has access to most of the weapons in the game; his offensive power is matched by no other class (except maybe the BB). However all of the Fighter's strengths come from having the right equipment, and the best equipment is pretty expensive sometimes. The Fighter is the most expensive class to buy weapons and armor for, but that's more of a problem early in the game than later on. If you want an easy time in FF1, you pretty much have to take a Fighter.


The Thief lacks the strength of the Black Belt or Fighter, and he lacks the magic skills of the Mages. The Thief's main strength is his ability to run from battle and dodge attacks. In situations where running is the best option, the Thief is the best character to have, and there are MANY times in FF1 where you need to run (Sorcerers?). The Thief's also pretty inexpensive to equip; money saved on the Thief can be used on other players to help you through the game faster. Although he's not nearly0 as good a fighter as the Fighter or Black Belt, the Thief can hold his own in battle when he needs to. He's very weak at first, but at around Melmond you'll start finding better weapons he can use, and he keeps getting better from there. All in all, the Thief can be a good substitute for another fighting class.

Black Belt

The Black Belt is a pure fighter. He's the only character who can't use magic before or after class change, which is a minus in my book. Although he's not able to equip many weapons, and the weapons he can equip are very weak, the Black Belt's most powerful weapon is his fist. After level 7 or so, if you unequip the BB's weapon and let him use his bare hands, he'll start doing damage comparable to a Fighter. Because he doesn't require much (if any) equipment for most of the game, the Black Belt is cheap as dirt, and his extra armor and weapon slots can be used to store weapons and armor for other characters or magic-casting weapons like the Heal Staff. The Black Belt's weakness is his inability to use magic and his horrible defense, but if he has proper support from a White Mage, and you hide him in the back row of your party, the Black Belt might live long enough to be an effective fighter. (Sometimes.)

Red Mage

The Red Mage is the most well-rounded character in the game. He has access to the magic abilities of the White and Black Mages, and he can equip many weapons and armor not available to the Mages, making him strong in some regards as a Fighter. In the beginning of the game the Red Mage is going to be one of if not the strongest character you have. He can use the Silver Sword, and all the second and third strength elemental and healing spells, so he can pretty much do anything, at first. His usefulness starts to slacken as the game goes on though.

White Mage

The White Mage's main purpose is to heal her comrades. She lacks physical strength, being able only to equip Hammers, and will never be an effective fighter. Likewise, the inability to use armor other than Bracelets and some minor accessories make her very vulnerable to attack. In spite of her weaknesses, however, the White Mage is indispensible in her unique power to heal and protect her allies. Even the strongest fighter will die pretty quickly if you don't have enough white magic to keep him alive; the White Mage's job is to keep the fighters alive long enough to do their job, and this she does with more skill than any other class. Another strength of the White Mage is her strength against undead. White Mages are the only character that gets to use HARM magic, and there are a ton of undead monsters in the game, enough to make HARM magic worth getting. Although the White Mage's spells will be expensive in the beginning of the game, they're well worth the investment, and she makes up for it somewhat in that she doesn't need expensive weapons or armor.

Black Mage

The Black Mage is the weakest character, physically speaking. Black Mages have the lowest HP of any class and have pretty much no offensive power at all. However, his strength comes from his unique skill in wielding black magic. The Black Mage's use of black magic is matched by no other class; spells that damage all enemies at once, or kill an enemy instantly regardless of HP, are in some cases more helpful than even the strongest fighter. From a safe place in the back of the party, away from danger, the Black Mage can deal death to the enemy from a distance, quickly and efficiently.


The Knight has all the skills of the Fighter and more. He has access to every piece of armor in the game, with exception of only a few, which suck anyways. He's also the only character who can equip the mighty Xcalber, the second best sword in the game. At high levels, with a good suit of armor and the right weapon, the Knight is a one man army, almost invincible. In addition to his physical strengths, the Knight has the ability to learn some white magic spells, effectively adding a low-level healer to your party. In terms of raw strength and defense, there's no one that beats a Knight.


The Thief undergoes a major transformation when he becomes the Ninja. The Ninja's offensive power is pretty darn good, since the Ninja has access to every weapon in the game, with the exception of a few (too bad he can't use Xcalber). The Ninja is the only character who can use the Katana, which is the third strongest weapon in the game. The Ninja also gets some black magic, effectively adding a low-level Black Mage to your party. The Ninja can also use almost all the good armor; the Ice Armor is darn good. With his speed and agility, and armed with a good weapon and his Black Magic, and of course his ability to run from battle, the Ninja can actually be a good addition to your party. Even if you think the Thief isn't worth it, the Ninja probably is.


The Master is exactly the same as the Black Belt. He gets nothing from class change. So if you liked the BB before, you'll probably like the Master too. If you hated him before, you'll hate him more now, because every other character gets a bonus from class change and the Master doesn't. The Master is still a pretty strong fighter though. In fact at very (very) high levels, the Master will do more damage bare-handed than a Knight with the Masmune. At level 50 the Master is by far the strongest character, in terms of physical attacks. He still doesn't get any magic, and he still doesn't get any good armor at all, and his HP progression isn't all that great, but if all you want is someone to punch stuff really hard, the Master is your guy. Just make sure you continue to hide him in the back row. Or give him the Opal Bracelet and a Ribbon, it's better than nothing.

Red Wizard

The Red Wizard is able to use more powerful weapons and armor than the Red Mage, as well as a wider range of White and Black magic. The Red Wizard is still the most well-rounded character, in that he can use semi-good equipment and most of the good magic. The Red Wizard's disadvantage lies in his inability to learn most 7th level spells, his inability to learn 8th level spells at all, and his inability to use the strongest weapons and armor. He's OK at everything, but he's not a master of anything, and that'll start to cost you the further into the game you get. Despite his disadvantages the Red Wizard's broad range of skills makes him a good addition to your party, as long as you have some more specialized characters to back him up.

White Wizard

Having mastered the healing arts, the White Wizard's healing magic is second to none. The White Wizard has access to all White Magic spells, including powerful 8th Level spells that no other class can use. Spells like LIF2, which brings a comrade back to life with full HP, is very helpful when fighting the powerful foes near the end of the game. FADE is probably tied with NUKE for the most useful damage spell in the game. The White Wizard's protection spells become more and more valuable as you fight more enemies with strong magic attacks. Although she's still not much of a fighter, the White Wizard is a great addition to any party.

Black Wizard

A master in the art of offensive magic, the Black Wizard possesses strength to rival that of any fighter. The Black Wizard's use of Black Magic is matched by no other class; he's the only class that has access to the powerful 8th level spells. Killing lots of enemies very quickly is a skill you're going to need, and no one does it better than the Black Mage. In addition to his magical strength, the Black Wizard is able to equip the CatClaw, a fairly powerful knife that greatly increases his physical prowess in battle. The Black Mage has enough magic by this point in the game that you're not going to be using the knife very much though. The Black Wizard make a powerful addition to any party.

Dec 29, 2009 09:04 AM PST

My choice of characters were the Fighter, (Crono) Black Belt (Frog) White Mage (Bob) and Black Mage (Doug)

*nom nom*
Dec 29, 2009 04:48 PM PST

I see what you did there, you hoser.

Dec 31, 2009 10:32 PM PST

umm, nitro? your fighter has more than the max number of characters, sooo... yeah.

Dec 31, 2009 11:56 PM PST

He's probably playing DoS, Origins or the PSP version. I have all 3 :)

Jan 01, 2010 06:05 PM PST

My parties are all different, but they always have a Black Mage.

Jan 02, 2010 10:53 PM PST

fine then, toasty. be that way. punk

Jan 19, 2010 07:54 AM PST

Black Belt's suck Long live the Drago....ehh Fighter

Jan 21, 2010 10:51 PM PST

I love that the Black Wizard in the original game has his hood off, but all future releases just make him look just like the Black Mage with a more flowery outfit. The original Black Wizard icon makes him look like a royal knight or something.

Jan 26, 2010 10:58 PM PST

Bl Wiz w/o hat means he's graduated this magic crap. He's the most badass dude in the game and the sexiest sprite to boot.

Meanwhile, the master's sprite makes me want to puke.

I used to read Bl Wiz in stat screen as BI Wiz (Bye Wiz) which meant anything that approaches him goes "bye bye." And let's ask ourselves how. Rubbed off the graphical plane, quaked into the fissures in the earth, zapped to the 4th dimension (which is time, btw), XXXX (DIE), Nuked to oblivion, BRAK'd to bits/stone, BANE'd to asphyxiation, Fried/Electrocuted/Frozen. Am I missing anything. Bye.

Jan 31, 2010 10:54 AM PST


Feb 05, 2010 12:20 PM PST

im going to beat the game now will all black mages

Feb 05, 2010 01:29 PM PST


Fighter/Knight 4.999999/5

Thief/Ninja 3.5/5

BB/Master 3/5

Red Mage 3.75/5

White Mage 5/5 :)

Black Mage 4/5

These are just my opinions. Though White Mages are good to use, I don't use them cause I always want a challenge.

Feb 16, 2010 09:03 AM PST

i never really got into the magic aspect of the game i just love the powerhouse that is the Fighter/Knight

Feb 21, 2010 03:05 PM PST

black belts/masters are only good if you have no life and overgrind, thiefs/ninjas suck balls until they get promoted

Feb 21, 2010 03:05 PM PST

black belts/masters are only good if you have no life and overgrind, thiefs/ninjas suck balls until they get promoted

Mar 07, 2010 01:47 PM PST

White Mage Sprite on the NES is way better than it is on any of the remakes.

Mar 20, 2010 04:34 PM PDT

I may have to Change my favorite party, im rather liking the Fi/Bb/Rm/Wm combo.

Apr 01, 2010 11:07 PM PDT

character ratings

fighter/knight= useful [ because, the knight can use excalibur and masmune but, their fine with just using excalibur.]

thief/ninja= not very useful [ because, the thief can't even do a stupid thing but, ninja's can be useful with black magic for levels 1 to 4 and can use katana.]

black belt/master= kinda useful [ because, they have better hp than the thief and when they are masters they are realy awesome with masmune!]

red mage/red wizard= useful [ because, they can cast both black and white magic up to level 7! but, they can even equip powerful armor too and they can even use bane sword and awesome with masmune!]

white mage/white wizard= useful

black mage/black wizard= useful

Apr 06, 2010 08:52 PM PDT

Uh... Master? Masmune? Together?

Apr 12, 2010 12:47 AM PDT

I pity people who don't like BB/Masters. In no time at all (even without grinding) they become straight up death dealers.

WM/WWs are entirely useless, and Thieves are only useful after class change when they can FAST themselves and use the Katana for some good damage. If you use the other four characters in any combination (even solo), you can win the game quite easily.

Apr 14, 2010 04:00 PM PDT

Um, excuse me joamiq? Solo White mage? Easy? I think not.

Jun 02, 2010 08:30 AM PDT

>because, they have better hp than the thief and when they are masters they are realy awesome with masmune!


Well i don't know why you hate BlBelt, Unne. I mean, it's just not true that you have to grind excessivly to make them useful. I mean when hitting level 10 they already make extremely good damage, so i dont know what the problem is. The thief is by far more useless.

Jun 07, 2010 09:50 PM PDT

My favorite has to be the RM's. Great all-around and always good to have in your party imo

Jun 12, 2010 01:21 AM PDT

Just a suggestion this page should be written in neutral gender like the NES manual.

Jun 13, 2010 08:54 PM PDT

why are you so down on the BB? he is one of your strongest guy in the game after lv10 and he is the cheapest... my Master on lv 33 was taking about 1000 damage

Jul 13, 2010 06:39 AM PDT

Ya, but I have to say, the master is better.

Jul 13, 2010 12:42 PM PDT

Im going to try a 4 Ww party, wish me luck.

Jul 26, 2010 06:46 AM PDT

Wow....The Black WIZARD looks so dumb....

Jul 26, 2010 07:58 AM PDT

I like the BlackMage but not the BlackWizard.

Jul 27, 2010 11:12 PM PDT

I don't care if: ooh black wizard looks like a dumb ass or, black belt and master are nothing but useless! sorry to say this but thief sucks! sorry.

Jul 28, 2010 12:59 PM PDT

Thief FTW!!!

Aug 01, 2010 01:50 AM PDT

Why do so many people hate BB's? They do a lot of damage for less money than a fighter. And I agree with 017149, thieves suck. They can't attack, they can't defend and they can't cast magic. After class change they are outclassed by Knights and masters in the melee department and by the red and black mage in the black magic department.

Aug 02, 2010 06:55 PM PDT

I will take that as a yes? matbe...

Aug 04, 2010 07:28 AM PDT

I just beat the game with a 4xBB party and it was a snap. There's really only three major threats to your survival, in the forms of Astos, Kraken, and Warmech (and one of those is optional); and the lack of magic is partially offset by the huge amount of damage they do, then completely negated once you get all the magical equipment.

Now if only the Power Gauntlet worked...

Whatev. I like BBs.

Aug 04, 2010 08:26 AM PDT

I agree.

Aug 05, 2010 09:58 AM PDT

I'm doin' the FI,FI,TH,BB party tactic. It's going very well and I'm all ready at the earth cavern.

Aug 11, 2010 12:21 AM PDT

All ready at guru volcano.

Aug 11, 2010 05:16 PM PDT

halfway through the game already.

Aug 14, 2010 06:17 AM PDT

from my opinion...Fighter/B.belt/W.mage/B.mage is the best!!!

Aug 15, 2010 04:20 PM PDT

If you hate black belts, your a dumb idoit that has no EXP.

Aug 15, 2010 04:21 PM PDT

90% though the game also.

Aug 29, 2010 11:19 AM PDT

The BB is awesome in NES. Remakes: worse than NES thief.

Aug 31, 2010 12:04 AM PDT

The easiest party to beat the game as fast as possible is Fi/Fi/Wm/Bm.Fighters do major damage and absorb most of the hits,Wm heals and casts life so you don't have to go back to town so much,and Bm? He kills em all on the first turn with spells like NUKE and ICE3.Also,the game gives way too much Fighter-only equipment.The best way to adjust for this is to take 2 fighters.But I never use this party anymore because I don't like 2 of the same character.

Feb 14, 2014 07:49 AM PST

I see Supersage. I will try many party variations when I own Dawn of Souls on the 26th.

Mar 04, 2014 02:05 AM PST

My absolute favorite thing about black belts? Those who don't like them get so upset and insist that they suck. I have always wanted to play a party of 6 with one of each character. Then balance the game difficulty to compensate. This is probably why I have such a hard time picking a party...I can never take multiples of any class.

Mar 10, 2015 01:40 PM PDT

A personal Tier list for the NES version. :P Enjoy!

1) -Fighter: Every group should have at least one, at most 3. They boast having both the strongest defense in the game while also capable of reaching the HP cap. Their attack power is second to none, unless you overlevel a Black Belt.

-White Mage: It's almost a requirement to have at least 1 per group. No more than 2. With or without this class's support, you should get into the habit of making the most out of your items via potions and unique gear in order to save MP for when you really need it.

2) -Black Belt: Very weak early game, arguably the strongest class by level cap. This guy will always hit max HP along with the fighter while providing the strongest single target damage in the game. His defense is subpar, so he should remain in the back until you're comfortable keeping him alive in the 2nd row.

-Red Mage: Thanks to an Intellect glitch, the Red Mage provides equal Spell Power as the Black/White Mages. He's best used as a backup healer/buffer while supplying the party with much needed AoE damage to handle large groups of monsters. Although he is unable to use top level spells, he can still provide level 3 elemental black magic along with every useful buff available (that isn't already bugged). For a mage, they have solid defense allowing them to remain in the 2nd row for a majority of the game if necessary.

3) -Thief: They use "light gear" compared to the Fighter's heavier gear. They excel at hitting the target several times per turn, while providing weak yet somewhat useful black magic when promoted. They're better at running away from fights than they are at dealing melee damage. To be fair, there ARE equipment exclusive to the Ninja and they can use Katanas. They also have stronger survivability in the 2nd row compared to the Black Belt, but there's very little reason to not simple choose the Fighter over this class.

-Black Mage: A personal favorite and an iconic character in the many Final Fantasy games to come, the Black Mage can eventually cast higher level spells than the Red Mage. I personally find Nuke a bit overkill against large groups and save it exclusively for bosses. The Black Mage is also the most fragile class in the entire game, occasionally dying instantly from an unlucky direct hit. A major flaw I have with Spell casters in general is their reliance on MP to deal damage. In this game, MP is precious yet ironically black magic is best used to quickly handle wave after wave of mobs. I tend to simply use Items to conserve MP, which any other class could be doing anyways. If you do choose to use a Black Mage in your group, always keep them waaay in the back row and enjoy blasting away your enemies with flashy effects! :D

Feb 27, 2016 07:02 PM PST

@jbk I like black belts.

Feb 27, 2016 07:02 PM PST

i liked how to overworld fighter sprite is actually cute.

Nov 10, 2016 11:11 AM PST

Hard to believe there's a better class then white mage in my opinion, that is until class change when you get white wizard, after that I could give a crap about opinions its just a fact

Nov 26, 2016 07:30 PM PST

I Use 2 Fighter and 2 Red Mages

Nov 27, 2016 09:22 AM PST

What's Better? 2 Red Mages Or 1 White mage and 1 Black mage?

Dec 12, 2016 09:14 AM PST

Wh.Mage n 1 Bl.Mage

Dec 12, 2016 09:14 AM PST

kain lion king and dragoon reference

Jan 20, 2017 11:14 AM PST

Red Mages... Clearly the best.

Mar 10, 2017 05:20 PM PST

That is WEIRD!!!

Mar 18, 2017 08:03 PM PDT

Thief FTW

May 15, 2017 11:48 PM PDT

Fi/Bb/Bb/Bb. I fight the magicless fight, ya'll.

Jan 20, 2018 01:54 PM PST

"most well rounded character in the game" means "will save your guys early on until they actually start pulling their weight and contributing!"

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