Note: This walkthrough is primarily based on the Final Fantasy Origins remake for the PlayStation (normal mode). The only major differences between the NES versions and Origins are name changes and a modifications to a few enemy stats. The Dawn of Souls edition has the same names as the Origins edition, but radically different stats and four new (optional) dungeons.
A great darkness shrouded the world.
The wind died.
The seas raged.
The earth began to decay.
Only a prophecy kept hope alive in people's hearts:
"When darkness veils the world, four warriors shall come."
And after journeying far, four young warriors did at last appear.
In the hands of each rested a mysterious crystal...
Until 400 years ago, the world benefited from the governance of the four classical elements (Air, Fire, Earth, and Water) by four glowing crystals. Mankind prospered as civilizations were established on each corner of the earth. The people of Onrac lived in massive palaces in the middle of the ocean, scouring the depths with submarines that enabled its crew to survive underwater. A reclusive nation of scientific-minded individuals lived in the forests of Lufenia, using the nearby desert to build towers that reached to the heavens, castles suspended in the heavens, and teleporters to connect the two, all with the usage of the enigmatic Levistone. The people of Melmond preferred to develop a simple farming society on the broad, lush plains of the west, while a group of respected sages founded the town of Crescent Lake on the lake in the east. The seamen of the world gathered in Pravoka to trade, while a race of elves lived in the forests and marshes of the south. Cornelia was centrally located on a peninsula overlooking the vast inland sea and became one of the most powerful nations in the region. The people of Coneria believed they were descended from men who had, thousands of years before, destroyed a great evil in the now-ruined nearby temple. It was never clear what the origin of the legends were, however, and over time they became the material of fairy tales.
On one day 400 years ago, all of this changed. A tentacled monster, the Kraken, attacked Onrac and sunk its palaces, forcing a handful of survivors to try to adapt to life on land. A dragon, Tiamat, drove the Lufenians out of their Flying Fortress and took control of its systems, which included a virtually indestructible walking tank called WarMech, to defend himself. The Water and Air orbs darkened, causing their natural balance to be upset and causing unpredictable storms and winds across the earth. With sea-based trade at the mercy of the elements, piracy ruled the waves, especially in the great inland sea.
200 years later, the two other orbs went dark. The undead, guided by their leader Lich, took up residence near Melmond as the formerly lush plains turned to rock and marsh, while a powerful eight-armed knight named Marilith took over a volcano near Crescent Lake. With fire on the horizon, the chief sage of Crescent Lake, Lukin, looked to the sky and foretold the coming of four Light Warriors who would bring light to the orbs.
As the story begins, Cornelia is faced with another hardship when its brilliant but erratic knight, Garland, kidnaps Princess Sarah and heads to the abandoned Temple of Chaos. Shortly thereafter, four heroes appeared outside the city walls of Cornelia, each holding a darkened crystal.
 Alternate paths
- Chapter 7 can be completed at any point after you have the canoe, which you can pick up after beating the Lich.
- Chapter 8 can be completed at any point after you get the airship.
- Chapter 9 can also be completed at any point after you get the airship, though you will have to get to the uppermost floor of the Sunken Shrine first.
The path listed in the walkthrough is chosen because it gets you the class change as soon as possible. Aside from having access to better magics and equipment after the change, the new classes have different growth rates. This means that the lower your levels are when you change, the more stats will be gained under the new system. This is especially important for the Knights and Ninjas who do not gain any MP until after the change, and Red Wizards who gain little or no MP for the highest magic levels until the change.
In the original Final Fantasy on the NES, the only character that would not benefit from a class change was the Black Belt class. They would gain no improvements upon graduating to the Master class, and would in fact gain less magical defense (a hidden stat) with each level gain.