Final Fantasy: All Dungeons RANKED!
The original Final Fantasy has some pretty good dungeons, albeit they aren't that unique. This was one of the first JRPGs, after all. The newer versions of the game have some pretty epic bonus dungeons though, so I will be including those in this list. Without further ado, lets rank the dungeons in Final Fantasy.
#17 - Western Keep
The Western Keep is the home of the "good king" who actually turns out to be Astos, an evil elf. All that you do in this dungeon is fight said villain, but the battle against him is definitely not one of the better fights in this game. Astos can cast instant death spells on you, which can be quite annoying. However, he has a low health pool and it shouldn't be difficult to incapacitate him. After defeating the boss, there isn't anything else to do here. Once you get the Mystic Key, you can come back and open a few treasure boxes, but there still isn't any real gameplay. This dungeon doesn't really have anything to offer, so it gets its spot in good ol' last place on the list.
#16 - Chaos Shrine (Present)
The Chaos Shrine is the first dungeon in the game, so it isn't surprising that the dungeon is quite small and does not contain much. There are a few treasure chests in the Chaos Shrine, and you fight the first boss battle of the entire Final Fantasy franchise: Garland. The fight is not difficult at all, as all you need to do is attack Garland repeatedly until he falls. While this dungeon is still pretty empty and boring, it is better than the Western Keep because it actually has some treasures you can get without the Mystic Key (and some that you can't) and it has arguably one of the most iconic themes in the Final Fantasy franchise.
#15 - Cavern of Ice
The Cavern of Ice is one of the many caves in FF1, and in my opinion it is one of the worst. The reason I dislike this dungeon so much is because of how frustrating it can be. Heck, at one point near the end of the dungeon, there is an inconspicuous staircase that, instead of helping you progress through the dungeon, takes you back to the world map. Any player that accidentally uses this staircase before reaching the end of the dungeon will be forced to go through the whole place again! They should have at least placed a sign next to the staircase that informed players that it was a one-way exit. And to add insult to injury, there are hordes of Cockatrices that can petrify you and Dark Wizards that will instantly kill your party members. The cave also has many pitfalls and other annoyances that just make the dungeon not very fun to play. There also isn't even a real boss here, there's just the Evil Eye miniboss with literally 162 HP that poses far less of a threat than even the regular enemy encounters in this dungeon. The Ice Cavern is just a cave, and a very annoying one at that. But at least you get something useful at the end (the airship).
#14 - Marsh Cave
Oh, the Marsh Cave. This dungeon is the first actually difficult dungeon in the game (and the whole series for that matter). If you don't come prepared with adequate experience levels and either many Antidotes or the Poisona spell, the enemies here will decimate your party with poison status effects and highly damaging attacks. The mazelike cave is also difficult to traverse and the high amount of treasure chests will make it hard for completionists to get through the dungeon. The boss fight at the end (while not really counted as a boss fight) can pose a huge threat if you have to face four Piscodemons. In my opinion, this is one of the more difficult fights in the whole game. Along with the treacherous enemy encounters and confusing structure, the Marsh Cave also doesn't bring anything very special to the table, as it is just a cave. But this dungeon shows players truly how perilous the world of Final Fantasy can be as opposed to the relatively easy gameplay up to this point.
#13 - Waterfall Cavern
The Waterfall Cavern isn't a bad dungeon, but it just isn't special. It's just a cave with one floor. The cave is laid out in a mazelike fashion, but there are no treasures anywhere except the end of the dungeon. If you have access to a map of the dungeon, it is relatively trivial to get through. The robot at the end of the dungeon gives you the Warp Cube, which allows you to enter the Mirage Tower. While this dungeon doesn't really have anything going for it, at least it isn't annoying like the majority of the previous dungeons on the list.
#12 - Cavern of Earth
The Cavern of Earth is the first dungeon on this list that is home to one of the Four Fiends. And as such, the dungeon is longer than many of the other dungeons in the game. But, for the fourth time in a row, IT'S A DARN CAVE! And another thing about this dungeon is that you have to go through it twice before you can kill the Earth Fiend Lich. There are hoards of treasures here, including the Coral Sword and more gil than your grandma has M&Ms when you visit her house for Christmas. This cave also houses one of the best grinding spots in the early game: the Hall of Gigas. You fight a battle every step in said spot, making it easy to gain experience. The Vampire you encounter at the end of B3 does not pose much of a challenge (in fact, you can fight six of them in one battle just a couple hours later in the game), but the fight with Lich requires much more strategy. Actually, it really doesn't, because all you have to do is cast Haste on one of your attackers and then spam Temper on them every single turn while healing with your white mage. The Cavern of Earth is not a bad dungeon, but it isn't as unique as most of the other dungeons in this game, so it earns a spot at number twelve.
#11 - Mirage Tower
The Mirage Tower is found in the center of the massive Yahnikurm Desert and has one of the coolest looking interiors out of any dungeon in the game in my opinion. However, there are only three floors in the dungeon, one of which you can take about five steps to get to the stairs, and another has absolutely nothing in it except for the warp to the Flying Fortress. You can get quite a few good pieces of equipment here (especially if you have a Warrior/Knight), such as the Aegis Shield, Dragon Armor, and the Sun Sword. Some of the enemies here can be kind of annoying (like the Vampires), but they aren't so bad that they take away the fun of playing through this dungeon. The Mirage Tower is not bad by any means, but it is just far too short to compete with some of the better dungeons in the game.
#10 - Mount Gulg
Mount Gulg is the second dungeon housing one of the Four Fiends, and it is certainly more interesting than the Cavern of Earth. The volcano is filled with lava that can damage the party and enemies here are stronger than in previous dungeons. If you play the game like I do, however, the dungeon doesn't pose much of a challenge as I usually go through the Cavern of Ice and Citadel of Trials to upgrade my party before coming here.
#9 - Earthgift Shrine
The Earthgift Shrine is the first bonus dungeon that is unlocked in Final Fantasy, and as such, it isn't a surprise that it's my least favorite. There are only five floors, and there are quite a few encounters, especially in the purple forest. The encounters aren't difficult, they just take forever to kill. Also you have to go through four times. However, the bosses are super fun to fight and quite difficult and strategic if you aren't overleveled. This dungeon is definitely a good introduction to the bonus dungeons in FF1, and although it is repetitive, the Earthgift Shrine has some good items and foes that make me always excited to go here after beating Lich.
#8 - Citadel of Trials
The Citadel of Trials is another optional dungeon, but this one has an even greater reward in giving you the ability to upgrade your party members to their epic groovy versions. The Citadel has a puzzle with warp tiles that take you to different locations in the floor, and some even take you back to the beginning. The two Zombie Dragons that you fight at the end of the dungeon before getting the Rat Tail are some of the best enemies to grind levels on in the whole game. You also get the gauntlets here, which can be very useful to wipe out weaker enemies or deal damage with your mages without spending tons of MP. The Citadel of Trials is a pretty great dungeon in FF1, and the rewards are the best part.
#7 - Flying Fortress
The Flying Fortress is the home of the final member of the Four Fiends, and it is a great dungeon. The atmosphere here is great, the backgrounds are cool, and the enemies are challenging. The Fortress also holds the Adamantite, which is required to make the second best sword in the game (excluding bonus dungeon content). On the final floor, an elusive apparatus lurks in the encounter pool. The WarMech (also known as Death Machine), was considered to be the first superboss in Final Fantasy history. I personally did not find the battle with it to be that difficult, but it could've been quite a scare to unassuming players who had just prepared for the Tiamat fight. Speaking of said battle, Tiamat may be the easiest of the Fiends, as he is susceptible to status ailments (including petrification, which would instantly kill him). Another upside of the Flying Fortress is the bopping music, it's great. However, the high encounter rates are annoying and treasures are spread out far apart from each other. Even with these things, the Flying Fortress is one of the better dungeons in FF1.
#6 - Heckfire Chasm
Y'know, I don't like to use the H.E. double hockey sticks word, but the Heckfire Chasm is a really good dungeon. The chasm is unlocked after slaying Marilith, and it has floors similar to Mount Gulg (being the fire dungeon, of course). In addition to these pretty regular floors, there are the very unique world map floors that don't really make any sense (how the heck do you go from, well, heck, to a green world full of trees and water?), but they are still cool. Like the Earthgift Shrine, you have to go through the Heckfire Chasm multiple times in order to fight all the bosses and receive the rewards. You only have to go through twice instead of four times though, so that makes it less repetitive. The FFIV bosses here are also quite tough if you aren't overlevelled, and you can get a couple good weapons from them: the Braveheart and the Kikuichimonji. The Heckfire Chasm is a good bonus dungeon, but as you can tell, it definitely isn't the best.
#5 - Sunken Shrine
Man that music is beautiful... The Sunken Shrine, deep under the waters near Onrac, is the home of two important story requirements: the Rosetta Stone on 5F and the Kraken on 1F. When I first played FF1 when I was younger, I was certain the Sunken Shrine's staircases took you to random places because I always got lost and had no clue how to get to the boss. Needless to say, that is in fact not the case. I really like the ocean atmosphere of this dungeon, and the battles here are not too repetitive. You can also find a heck of a lot of gil in the shrine, which can be really useful in buying those super expensive Lv. 7 and Lv. 8 spells for your mages. The fight against Kraken is also very fun and strategic, as he is able to blind your party members, making it harder to obliterate him with Temper, Haste, and physical attacks. However, it is still not very difficult to kill him with said tactics. I personally find the Sunken Shrine to be the best of the four dungeons holding Fiends because it's atmosphere and music are amazing, and the battles are good.
#4 - Lifespring Grotto
It is an absolute shame that the Pixel Remaster doesn't include any of the bonus dungeons, because man are they good. I honestly don't know what Square Enix was thinking, because I know they wanted to stay true to the originals, but come on, these dungeons are way too fun to throw down the drain. In the Lifespring Grotto, you have your regular old floors with a couple treasure boxes and random encounters, but there are also many special floors that you can find here. You have floating towns with invisible walkways, Dark Bahamut's lair, flooded towns, and mermaid villages. That's just unique and epic. And in addition to these great floors, the two bosses at the end are actually quite difficult superbosses from FFV: Omega and Shinryu. If you aren't prepared well enough, your whole party could easily be wiped out, and I love bosses that are actually difficult like that. FF1 doesn't have that many of them. I really enjoyed this dungeon when I played it.
#3 - Chaos Shrine (Past)
You've come all this way. It's finally time to end the reign of the monsters and bring peace to the world. The Chaos Shrine has even better music than the Sunken Shrine, and the idea is epic. What's better than finishing a game in the same place you started your journey, only in a different timeline? In fact, there are quite a few better final dungeons, but I digress. There's lots of floors, boss rematches (and I love those), the best sword in the base game is found here, and of course, the final boss. The enemies are tough, especially the White Dragons, and each floor that holds one of the four fiends has themed enemies to go with the boss. For example, on the floor where you fight Kraken, you'll also fight lots of Water Elementals and sharks. The final boss is also amazing, but we'll talk more about that in another article. The Chaos Shrine is a great final dungeon, and it's impressive for the first in the series.
#2 - Labyrinth of Time
The Labyrinth of Time is the only dungeon exclusive to the 20th Anniversary Edition of Final Fantasy, and it's very, very unique. Each time you go through, you will encounter 7-10 of the 30 challenges. Each one has a puzzle, ranging from pretty easy and basic to almost as headache-inducing as the Klotski puzzle from Lufia II. Before each trial, you must sacrifice your abilities to gain more time to solve the challenges. On every floor, you can go through the blue gateway if you finished on time, or the red gateway if you didnt. Depending on how many of each you go through, you will fight a different version of Chronodia, the boss at the end, and get a different reward. If you're trying to get all of the different pieces of equipment and bestiary entries, it can get quite annoying and repetitive at times, especially if you keep having to go through the same puzzles. I just think it's a great concept and a very fun dungeon to go through. However, it doesn't quite make it as my favorite dungeon in the game.
#1 - Whisperwind Cove
And my favorite dungeon in the game is the Whisperwind Cove. This is the final of the four "Souls of Chaos" dungeons in FF1, and the longest one. But because of this, you only have to go through once instead of two or four like the Earthgift Shrine, Heckfire Chasm, and Lifespring Grotto. This dungeon was inspired by Final Fantasy VI, and there's lore, bosses, treasure, and all the stuff you would want in a dungeon. There are randomly generated shops that can have great sales, an even better world map than the ones in the Heckfire Chasm, and a town where you have to play hide-and-seek with some kids (that one is actually kind of a nightmare). But I just think the Whisperwind Cove is so complete of a dungeon that doesn't require you to go through multiple times, which is certainly a plus. While not as unique as the Labyrinth of Time, it isn't annoying at all so I believe that the Whisperwind Cove is the best dungeon in the original Final Fantasy.