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|“||This world can have but one emperor, and I am he!||„|
|~ Emperor Mateus to Leon after returning from Hell.|
|“||You have braved the bowels of Hell to reach me. But the hand of man, which deals in false justice and forsaken love, can never hope to defeat the lord master of Hell!||„|
|~ Emperor Mateus|
Emperor Mateus Palamecia, also known as the Emperor of Palamecia (in Japanese: パラメキア皇帝, Paramekia Kōtei), is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy II. He is the oppressive ruler of the medieval-esque land of Palamecia and the fearsome figurehead of the Palamecian Empire who aims to conquer the world through demonic forces. Though known simply as the Emperor in Final Fantasy II, he is named Mateus (マティウス, Matiusu) in the game's Japan-exclusive novelization: "Final Fantasy II Nightmare's Labyrinth" (in Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーII 夢魔の迷宮, Fainaru Fantajī Tsū Muma no Meikyū) by Kenji Terada. He usually wields his signature weapon, a seemingly royal bladed sceptre-like weapon called the Malice Rod (better known as "Emperor Mateus' Malice") forged from strongest and even corruptive demonic magic.
He was voiced by Christopher Corey Smith.
Being the ruler of Palamecia, the Emperor is arrogant and egotistical. However, he is also intelligent and manipulative. Despite his arrogance, the Emperor is often reverential and polite when referring to his enemies by name or calling them gentlemen, but at the same time he is quick to call them insects or worms. He also seems to be an unfriendly and standoffish misanthrope, harboring a hatred of humanity. This is especially evident just before the final battle against the heroes in his Hell Emperor form, as well as being defeated as the Heaven Emperor, declaring humanity to have a flawed sense of justice and forsaken love, and being inherently deleterious and violent. In addition, he views himself as the only one truly capable of ruling as Emperor, as evidenced by his first lines upon returning from Hell is telling Leon that the world can only have one Emperor, in reference to himself. The Emperor's dark half was also shown to be very inimical and destructive, to the extent that he explicitly stated that he no longer cared about ruling the Empire, and instead wants to destroy the world with his infernal powers.
In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, the Emperor's personality from Final Fantasy II is expanded on. The Emperor is always calm and never seems to lose control of his emotions, because he believes his plan will succeed without fail. His intelligence is again demonstrated, as it is he who formulates the plan to kill Cosmos for good and end the war in Chaos' favor using the Crystals. He is also somewhat exploitative and treacherous, as evidenced by his backstabbing Chaos nearing the end of Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Nonetheless, he is implied to have little tolerance for nihilists, and was depicted in a pre-battle conversation with Kefka Palazzo to threaten to give Kefka "a taste of Hell".
Powers and Abilities
Even before he crowns himself the Emperor of Hell, Mateus is incredibly powerful, displaying many formidable hellish powers and considerable mastery of offensive and buffing magic. He is able to create cyclones destructive enough to devastate entire towns and lift one of his own castles to use as a mobile fortress. His Lightning-elemental spells are among the strongest, at level 10, and he also uses equally high level protection spells, such as Protect, Wall, Shell, Haste and Blink. The opening FMV included in the PlayStation version of Final Fantasy II implies the Emperor can manipulate the tide of battle via energy from his fingertips, even when he isn't directly at the battlefield. He can teleport, or at least leave behind an illusion of himself, as evidenced by how he traps Firion and his party at the Coliseum. His power is great enough to defeat Satan in battle and overthrow him as Ruler of Hell as well as presumably defeat the Ruler of Heaven as well, allowing both pieces of his soul to take over the afterlives.
As the Emperor of Hell, Mateus acquires incredible demonic powers and dramatically greater strength. He is capable of summoning Pandemonium into the world and apparently cause distortions as well as summon hellfire. In battle, his physical strikes are very damaging and not only can it drain, it can also inflict multiple status effects. He is immune to all elemental magic and status magic except from the Cursed Sword and has acquired the highest level of Thunder, Flare and Starfall.
As the Emperor of Heaven, although not much is known about his true capabilities, it can be assumed he wields incredible holy powers, although most likely twisted. He is capable of ressurecting souls and giving them bodies in Aburoth and granting eternal life. His strength is shown to be even greater than his dark half, displaying greater attack power and stronger Flare and Starfall. He also has access to two equally dangerous attacks, Holy and Blaze. He only has access to high level Dispel and Slow, although he still has his dark half's draining effect on his physical attacks and immunity to any magic and status ailments except from the Ancient Sword.
It seems that only with the Heaven Emperor killed can the Hell Emperor too be desroyed.
In Dissidia, Mateus retains his Flare and Starfall but has new powers to create magical crests capable of homing and firing projectiles and generate explosive mines that home on his enemies and also homing trapping orbs that also explodes. He can access his draining ability, named "blood magic", by taking on either his Heaven or Hell Emperor form, allowing him to heal as much as he damages enemies. His EX Burst is called Absolute Dominion. The player must enter the commands that appear on the screen as the Emperor charges with energy. Successfully entering the commands will have the Emperor end the EX Burst with Entice, where he enters his human form and shocks the enemy repeatedly before light gathers from all around to consume the two in a blast. Failing to enter the commands will have The Emperor end the EX Burst with Cyclone. In NT, he can cast devastating cyclones, shoot blue flares that repels all other magic and red flares, summon lightning sigils and explosive thunder orbs as well as blast eldritch magic, shoot exploding orbs or gravitational ones and cast arcene circles that can pursue and trap his enemies.
Emperor Mateus wears a light gold-colored armor with a purple robe underneath. His hair is blond and spiked, with an extra-long ponytail. Black and white stripes trace his ribs on his chestplate, and demonic-looking faces embellish his waist and back. His gauntlets sport extended claws. His armored gold boots has heels. Mateus wears purple makeup on his eyes and lips, and appears to wear a purple crown with a cobra-like ornament on it (in the opening FMV within the PlayStation 1 version of Final Fantasy II, and later as part of his alternate costume in both Dissidia: Final Fantasy and Dissidia NT: Final Fantasy, he had a gold circlet-like royal crown adorned with few jewels in front). He also wears a transparent quartz-colored cloth belt around his waist.
As the Dark Emperor, Mateus possesses a bestial Stanic visage with a skull-like face, razor-sharp teeth, and snakes on his head similar to a Medusa. He is covered with spines and wears a dark cape or cloak and has clawed hands. His battle sprite in the NES/DoS and mobile/Steam versions seems to lack a lower half, although in the Dissidia subseries, as well as the PlayStation/GBA versions, he is shown to have it. In the former, he overall has a similar build to his human self, with his lower half having the armor appear darker than in the original human form. At least in the case of violet robes, his own skin also darkens in this form. His field and battle sprites from the PlayStation version onward (and in the case of the latter, as early as the NES version) depict him with his Malice Rod scepter, although the PSP/iOS versions omit the staff in the battle sprite.
As the Light Emperor, Mateus holds an otherworldly and even Luciferian countenance (with his eyes seemingly closed as always), having 4 horns (two are black and two are purple) on his head and a golden gate-like ornament (which some perceived as some kind of halo of sorts) on his back. He appears to be made of clouds and wearing a flowing light-colored robe with jeweled red small ropes on it (almost based on his primary costume).
Final Fantasy II
The Emperor was able to build up a gigantic army of demons by summoning up creatures from Hell. With this army, he started taking over the world. Several cities resisted, but they were no match for the Emperor's power. Kingdoms that did pose a threat were conquered by poisoning the drinking water.
After Firion and the rest of the party gather several supplies to help aid the rebels and sink the Dreadnought, the Emperor kidnaps Princess Hilda of Fynn and makes her the prize in a tournament at his Coliseum. Firion and his comrades attempted to rescue her, however it is revealed to be a trap, and the Emperor unleashes the Behemoth on them. Locking the party away, the Emperor continues his assault on the land above.
By the time the party escapes, the Emperor has summoned a giant Cyclone to destroy Fynn. The party makes their way inside, and makes another assassination attempt on the Emperor. He is killed , but it is not over, as the Dark Knight has now taken over the Palamecian army.
After getting into Palamecia's mountain-protected castle, the party confronts the Dark Knight. Before they can do anything, the ruinous the Dark Emperor, formed from the dark half of his soul, in a new demonic body, gained from conquering Hell, meanwhile the other half of his soul has become the deceptive and vile Light Emperor who has conquered Heaven.
In the end, as Firion and his party slay the Dark Emperor in Hell, Minwu and the souls of Mateus's other victims destroyed the Light Emperor in Heaven; with both halves of his soul annihilated, Mateus was unable to ever come back to life again, the wretched Emperor of Palamecia was gone forever.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Chaos has summoned a combined force of the series's ultimate villains in an attempt to gain control on a number of Crystals, resulting in total control of the Final Fantasy worlds. The Emperor of Palamecia is one of these villains and he stands as the villain representing Final Fantasy II, opposing Firion.
As one of the higher-ranking villains, the Emperor is the mastermind of the game's overarching plot to destroy Cosmos and drown the world in darkness. He manipulates hero and villain alike towards this goal when needed. However, it is later revealed that the Emperor orchestrated this plan with the intent for both Cosmos and Chaos to die. The Emperor's ultimate goal is for both gods to perish and their warriors with them, leaving him to survive their destruction and rule over existence in their absence.
Muma no Meikyū
In the alternate continuity of the novel Muma no Meikyū, Emperor Mateus is a more sympathetic character.
Here is stated that Palamecia is cursed by Satan, corrupting its leaders and people. The Devil, desiring to rule the world by human proxy, turns Palamecian men into malicious and vindictive masterminds by using everything at its disposal to pollute their thoughts with its malice.
Rather then being Mateus, the Dark Emperor is instead depicted as Satan having regained his powers and returned to Hell.
- Mateus is a Portuguese form of the name Matthew, which also means "gift of God".
- In Dissidia 012 Prologus, Emperor Mateus's fighting partner is Garland, his superior. Coincidentally, their respective Japanese voice actors, Kenyu Horiuchi and Kenji Utsumi, voiced the Metal Gear Solid 3 characters Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov and Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, who possessed a similar role of second-in-command and commanding officer, respectively, although the main difference between them is that Mateus and Garland's relationship was strictly professional, while Volgin and Raikov were also lovers.
- In addition, the shoe was also on the other foot regarding characterizations and voice actors: In Dissidia, Garland (voiced by Keiji Utsumi) is the comparatively more noble character, while the Emperor (voiced by Kenyu Horiuchi) was Pure Evil, whereas in Snake Eater, Volgin (voiced by Keiji Utsumi) was the Pure Evil villain while Raikov (voiced by Kenyu Horiuchi) was comparably more noble.
- His appearance and, in the Dissdia subseries at least, his voice was similar to Jareth the Goblin King from the 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth, portrayed by singer David Bowie. His Dissidia art even bore some similarities to Jareth's design in the sequel manga.
- Ironically, similar to Jareth and his interest of Sarah Williams, Mateus in the Dissidia series has some interest in Terra Branford, as he expressed disappointment in the first game that, although Terra's likely to be back under their control, Kefka Palazzo will have control over her; and in Dissidia 012, he offered to have Terra under his command in Kefka's stead after Terra had trouble obeying Kefka's demands due to Kuja's interference. In addition, his opening quote when fighting her in the first game in a standard match had him chuckling evilly and saying "Why don't you let me control you?".
- He is also known as "Empire" in the Dark Shadow Over Palakia translation.
- The alias used for the tyrant Mateus within the Japanese version of Final Fantasy called "Kōtei" is the Japanese archaic form of the title "Emperor", which itself was derived from the Chinese term for the commanding epithet, or more specifically, the figure Huangdi the Yellow Emperor, a culture hero in ancient Chinese mythology.
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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates
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