The Four Gods (Sì Xiàng or Four Symbols) are the four servants of Ashura created to spread misfortune and prevent adventurers from obtaining the Spheres.
The Four Fiends are the servants of Ashura and by extension, The Creator. They were created to cause suffering and prevent people from reaching the top of the Tower as part of the Creator's plan for his game. Each of the Four rules one of the four main worlds within the Tower, though how they go about it is quite different and ranges from indifference to malicious. In order to obtain the Spheres needed to the Tower, each one is slain by the heroes. When Ashura is defeated and the heroes climb the newly transformed Tower, The Creator resurrects the Four as undead minions to thwart the party's ascension.
Genbu (Gen-Bu in FFL) is the first of the Four Gods encountered and appears as a turtle with a long snake like head. He rules the Base World of the Tower which befits his dominion of Earth. He hid the Black Sphere within the Hero Statue and then sundered the King's Equipment from the statue and granted them to three kings whom he told would become ruler of his world should any one of them obtain all three pieces. He is initially fought once the party assembles all three pieces and places them on the Statue of the Hero. He is fought again with his fellow compatriots when the party falls back to his world after almost reaching Paradise.
Seiryu (Sei-Ryu in FFL) is the second of the Four Gods encountered. He appears as a typical Chinese style dragon with a long thin, snakelike body with arms and fins. He is the ruler of the Ocean World. He once ruled with another Dragon known as Ryu-O and both protected the Blue Sphere. The two quarreled and broke the Sphere into two pieces. Seiryu protects his Red Orb within his Ocean Palace beneath the waves. As added protection, he created several fakes of his orb and hid the real one among them. When the party finally finds the real one, Seiryu appears to try and stop their theft only to fail. He is later resurrected by the Creator along with his cohorts in order to stop the heroes from re-entering the Tower.
Byakko (Bya-Ko in FFL) is the third of the Four Gods the heroes face. He has two forms in the game. He initially appears as a robed and regal ruler with a tiger's head, but once disrobed, he reveals that his lower body is that of a four legged white tiger while the upper part is a humanoid cat monster in armor. He carries a double sided trident and sword in each arm. He rules the Sky World with an iron fist, employing a large force to keep the general populace in line. His main goal is to obtain the White Sphere, which was in position of a human who lead the Resistance that fought against his regime. With the leader dead, he has to find his two daughters to figure out where he hid it and employs clever traps for both the Resistance and the heroes to get what he wants, including recruiting one of the sisters to his side to work as a double agent. He is killed in a battle within the Sacred Palace after killing one of the sisters. He appears again with his fellow compatriots when he is brought back from the dead in order to stop the heroes from entering the Tower.
Suzaku (Su-Zaku in FFL) is the final of the Four Gods the heroes meet. He appears as a bird made of flame with several long tail feathers and the head of a stork. He rules a dystopian 20th century city, which he has personally destroyed. Using a powerful force field to make himself invincible, he terrorizes the sky and kills anyone he sees from above, forcing the inhabitants to utilize the subway systems as a means to travel. He nearly kills the heroes in their first encounter due to his force field, which forces them to flee into the subway and meet So-cho of the Biker Gang. When he realizes that the heroes have destroyed his force field, he attacks the Biker Gang hideout and kills everyone except for Sayaka, whom he kidnaps and takes to the Skyscraper as hostage to have a final showdown with the heroes. He is defeated, but like his brethren, he reappears when the Creator brings the four back from the dead to face the heroes once again.
Though the four of them do not make any appearance within the narrative, they are referenced as four unique monster evolutions the player can make their monsters into. Oddly enough, only Genbu resembles his original design from the first game, the other three use different enemy sprites of their same class used in the game. They are also some of the strongest monsters in the game.
Origin and Mythology
The Four Gods are based on the Four Symbols, which are four mythological beasts in the Chinese Constellation. Each beast represents a color, season, cardinal direction, and element; and thus are a rich source of inspiration in Asian media. Though originated in China, the Four Symbols have found their way into the mythologies and culture of surrounding countries such as Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. The four beasts as represented in Japan are:
- Seiryu (Qīnglóng) - The Azure Dragon representing Water, Spring and East
- Suzaku (Zhūquè) - The Vermilion Bird representing Fire, Summer, and the South
- Byakko (Báihǔ) - The White Tiger representing Wind, Autumn, and The West
- Genbu (Xuánwǔ) - The Black Tortoise representing Earth, Winter, and North
It should be noted that the element, seasons, and direction do have variations between the cultures. There is also a fifth member that is often overlooked being Huanglong The Yellow Dragon. He is often absent in the Japanese version due to the differences between Chinese and Japanese element systems, where Huanglong represents Earth in Chinese, whereas the fifth element in Japanese systems is Void, meaning it cannot have an animal representation.