Kain Highwind

Kain HighwindName: Kain Highwind
Age: 21
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 134lbs
Job Class: Dragoon (Dragon Knight)
Skill: Jump
Weapon: Primarily spears, can also use swords and axes.
Other: is left handed.

Like his best friend Cecil, Kain grew up in Baron and was raised by the King. However, unlike Cecil, Kain decided to follow in his deceased father's footsteps and become a dragoon, despite pressure to take up the Dark Sword like his almost brother. Kain is a master dragoon and highly respected in the town. He can be aloof, but there is a lot more going on under the surface than you'd first expect.

In battle, Kain is extremely useful. His Jump command is very handy and he can do just as much, if not more, damage than Cecil.

What is a dragoon? Well, it originates as a military term, but Square Enix (and indeed, other game companies) have taken some liberties and made it into something new.

In History and in Life

Originally, a dragoon was a soldier trained to fight on foot and horseback. They later became characterised by their ability to fight while mounted. and are named after their weapon, the dragon, which is a short musket, and that is named so because it resembles a fire breathing dragon when used. There are still dragoon regiments to this day, such as the Queen's Dragoon Guards in the UK.

Aside from the military aspect, a dragoon is also a type of fancy pigeon and a mountain range. Look at that godamn fancy pigeon, look at it.

In Gaming

Dragoons (also known as Dragon Knights or Lancers) have appeared in several Final Fantasy games. They are usually one of the best fighters in the party, even if their magic casting ability is limited or they have no magical ability at all. Characterised by their use of spears and ability to fight in the air, the dragoon's Jump command is very useful. In most cases, the dragoon will have a Jump ability which will remove them from the battle for a turn, before dealing double damage. The fact that they are off screen means they can take no damage, and you can be happy in the knowledge that your dragoon will be appearing out of the sky at any moment, hopefully delivering a killing blow.

Other named Final Fantasy dragoons include Ricard/Gareth Highwind (FFII - the first FF dragoon!), Cid Highwind (FFVII), Freya Crescent (FFIX) and Kimahri Ronso (FFX). Oerba Yun Fang (FFXIII) has dragoon tendencies, even though the game does not strictly have class roles. Apparently Xaldin in Kingdom Hearts II is reminiscent of a dragoon, but I never got that far into the game to meet him. The class also appears in FFIII, FFVI, FFXI, FFXIV, FF: Tactics, FF: Tactics Advance and probably in the various other spin-offs. You get the idea. The class is a Final Fantasy staple, although probably not quite as iconic as the black or white mage.

Various FF games also feature dragoons as enemies, but these are usually more in keeping with the military origins of the word.

Kain's loyalties switch a couple of times during the game, and it's rather annoying for him to leave your party, because not only is he depriving you of his presence, but he will also take all the equipment he is wearing with him while giving you the one fingered salute. And you won't see it again! Presumably Golbez is a hustler, but I guess he needs to pay for his ridiculous armour somehow. Each time Kain returns to your party he'll have a whole new set of goods, so at least Golbez treats his minions well.

Kain will leave for the first time near the very start of the game. In fact, it'll happen right after the first boss. So, once you've defeated the Mist Dragon, de-equip him before entering the village of Mist. Saying that, he is holding starting equipment so it's not like you've wasted your money anyway, but I get a vindictive pleasure out of stripping him of his gear. Don't judge. He will rejoin you much later on in the Tower of Zot, complete with a shiny new weapon, and new armour. Even though he's part of your team again, it could be argued that he's still under Golbez's control. Kain is the one who tells Cecil and the others about the Dark Crystals after escaping from the Tower of Zot, and it could all be an elaborate ploy to keep an eye on Cecil and allow him to do the dirty work. He did it once before, remember, using Rosa as a bargaining tool? So it's all very much "curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal." When Kain rejoins the group after all this, his comment of "Finally, I was able to regain my true self" would also suggest he was never in control - or at least in full control - of himself ever since the events at Mist.

You'll be stuck with Kain - I'm not suggesting that's a bad thing - until you get to the Sealed Cavern. After defeating the Demon Wall and making your way back though the cavern, unequip Kain before you get to the entrance. The voice of Golbez is heard, bringing Kain back under his control - or just letting the others think that, anyway. Kain will sucker punch Cecil, do a Nelson laugh, and leave with the Crystal. That means Golbez holds all the Crystals and Cecil and co. have none. Oh dear.

The party will be Kainless for the first visit to the Moon, and he will rejoin you for good after the Giant of Babel. So rejoice! The days of having no Kain have come to an end.

That's a very big lance!

Kain is a dragoon - a master of fighting in the air. His special command is Jump which allows him to leap off screen for a round, avoiding damage, and then he strikes the enemy with his spear dealing double damage. While he isn't a magic user, he is one of the strongest members of your party and great for the offensive side of things. Of course, Kain comes and goes during the game, and it can be frustrating when he suddenly leaves and you're left without one of your best DPSers. There are times when you'll really wish he was in your party. While Kain can use a variety of weapons such as swords and axes, I usually stick to spears.

(Stats may be different depending on game version. I believe these are Gameboy Advance stats.)

Attack: 8
Hit%: 50%
Price: 60 gil
This is Kain's starting weapon, and can also be bought in Agart.

Wind Spear
Attack: 55
Hit%: 30%
Price: 7000 gil
Equipped when Kain rejoins the party at the Tower of Zot.

Fire Lance
Attack: 66
Hit%: 30%
Price: 11000 gil
Fire element. can be found in the Tower of Babel, and bought in the Dwarven Castle.

Ice Lance
Attack: 77
Hit%: 30%
Price: 21000 gil
Ice element. can be found in the Tower of Babel, and bought in the Cave of Eblan.

Blood Lance
Attack: 88
Hit%: 28%
Drain effect. Found in Eblan Castle.

Attack: 92
Hit%: 30%
Equipped when Kain rejoins your party after the Giant of Babel.

Wyvern Lance
Attack: 99
Hit%: 30%
Strong against dragons. Won from Blue or Red Dragons in the Lunar Subterranean.

Holy Lance
Attack: 109
Hit%: 30%
Holy elemental. Won by defeating Plague in the Lunar Subterranean. Plague can be rather annoying, because as soon as the battle starts he casts doom on all party members, giving you limited time to kill him. However, killing off a party member and then reviving them will cause Plague to cast doom again, resetting the counter. He is also weak against Throw, so let Edge throw ALL THE THINGS.
Plague stats:
HP: 33333
Strength: 146
Defense: 5
Magic: 0
Magic Def: 38
Gil: 550
EXP: 31108

Abel's Lance
Will randomly cast Tornado. Acquired after Kain's trial. It's pretty fantastic.

Please note: This page was written about the GBA version of the game. I don't know if there are any differences in the DS/PSP/WiiWare versions.

The newer editions of FFIV have some added extras that include a huge dungeon on the moon called the Lunar Ruins. It becomes available after you have defeated Zeromus and completed the game. In this dungeon there are individual trials for each character that open up once you have beaten Zeromus with that character present. So you'll have three trips to Zeromus at the very least to open up each trial.

These trials are unique to each character and some involve something to do with their character class. For example, Rosa's trial involves curing injured people - the more you cure within a certain time limit, the better item you receive. Others must face their fears, like Rydia - who loses some of her Eidolons (Summoned Monsters) and becomes a child again. You get the idea, right? At the end of each trial there is a Lunar version of an Eidolon that you need to defeat, which reminded me of the dark aeons of Final Fantasy X.

Kain's trial is the only story based trial (more detail about that here), and isn't difficult - it involves a lot of talking and a bit of wandering around Baron. It's actually very interesting, and you'll have no trouble getting through it. However, this trial is also done solo. Kain is the only character you have, and the Lunar Eidolon at the end of this trial? Is Bahamut. For the actual trial itself there's no fighting, and on my first play through I just assumed that Cecil and Rosa would show up and help me fight the boss. Nope. You are taking that thing down alone.

I found Lunar Bahamut a bit tricky, and in the end I ended up getting some help. (Thanks to Alex and Jackie for that!). Here's how it went:

Lunar Bahamut

HP: 50000
Strength: 213
Defense: 2
Magic: 18
Magic Def.: 24
Gil: 65000
EXP: 65000
Drop: Grimoire LB

Lunar Bahamut will countdown from 3 to 1 before attacking with Mega Flare. To avoid the attack, you should order Kain to jump when the counter hits 2. However, Lunar Bahamut will counter any attack from Kain with a heavy handed slap. If you are well stocked with X-potions, use them.

However, I was not well stocked with X-potions. So the trick is to reflect Lunar Bahamut's Mega Flare attack back at him. Make sure you have some Light or Lunar Curtains. Lunar Curtains are dropped by various Moon monsters, including (but not limited to) the Lunar Virus, Eukaryote, and Prokaryote, all of which are found on the Moon's surface. Keep in mind that the reflect status will wear off - for me, it happened about halfway through the battle when Bahamut had lost roughly 25000 HP. So be careful, and have at least two of the items. At each round I checked Kain's status to make sure that Reflect was still in effect. You can do this by just selecting a potion (or any item) to use on Kain. You can then cancel if you don't actually want to use it. By doing this, you can sit pretty and not have to move a muscle. Lunar Bahamut will kill itself. (Stop hitting yourself, Lunar Bahamut! Why are you hitting yourself?! Ha!)

Defeating Lunar Bahamut will net you the Dragoon's Gloves and Abel's Lance. Kain's Jump command will also change to Dbl Jmp, aka Double Jump, which is only the best thing ever, dealing quadruple damage to enemies. It's about as sexy as 16bit pixel graphics can get. It is, in fact, even sexier than pixel lap dances. It's that good.