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Andriux

FFIV (aka FFII): Cecil vs. Kain

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I’ve had some spare time to get into the lore of this game.

I don’t quite understand how Zemus’ control over Kain made him that much more powerful than Cecil. Power wise isn’t Cecil the stronger of the two or am I missing something? 

I know they’re best friends so maybe Cecil is thinking to himself “I can’t fight my friend” but who knows?

Edited by Andriux
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I think there are two primary factors into it.

1. The "power unleashed" aspect that comes with having your inhibitions removed. It's not a small thing that you mentioned Cecil's thought process of concern towards whether or not he could fight his friend. In many forms of media, mind control/inhibition removal is always treated as a quick path to power; that doubt and emotion take away from how perfect a fighter can be at their apex. We actually have some precedent for this, I think, also in FFIV: Golbez's indentity is kept secret for some time, until FuSoYa mentions it to Cecil. Perhaps, to avoid the same issue as had been had with Kain, FuSoYa mentions it in advance in order to give Cecil time to compartmentalize it, and prevent it being used at the last second to sway Cecil's resolve. I can't remember 100%, though, maybe it was told after Golbez was free of the  mind control, but with Kain as an example, we already knew being subjugated again was possible.
Furthermore, with all of that aside, Kain didn't seem to be mind-controlled as thoroughly as Golbez was (who seems to have forgotten everything about his life except Zemus's plan). What was controlled was a certain emotional aspect, the jealousy he felt towards Cecil and Rosa. Though he hesitates to kill his friend, as the true feelings fight within, I think it's fair to say that Kain was tapping into anger that they admit already existed; like Anakin and Luke both, Kain taps into the power of the dark side to channel that hatred. Anger is always shown to be a quick but corrupting path to power, and it may have been enough to beat down a dark knight who was already starting to question the path he had chosen (As they mention in Mysidia 20 or so minutes later, Cecil's heart was questioning most of his actions)
If you've played FFVIII, consideration of Irvine's behavior in Disc 1 can also be applied, but I don't want to spoil that example if you haven't played the game.

2. Cecil and co. had been fighting a few rough battles in Fabul previous to this point. While it may have been simple encounters from the party's perspective, the encounters were enough to kill several guards, and game mechanics do not always show the full perspective of what's happening. Exhausted and thunderstruck by the appearance of his best friend, I don't think it's too surprising that Cecil was beaten pretty quickly.

A final note, while I think they mention at the beginning that Cecil was Baron's top knight (or similar wording to imply he is the #1 of the Baron armies), that doesn't have to mean the power discrepancy between Kain and Cecil was too large to start with. Could be that after he mind control, Kain was put through some tough training to catch up to Cecil for team evil (Like the excuses used to bring Vegeta to Goku's level, and, for an episode or two, overcome him before the plot gives Goku a shiny sword and healing magic different colored hair)

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Can't remember much of this game since I have played this game for years already. From what I can remember, Kain was really one of the strongest character in Final Fantasy IV and I think that he can really go on par with Cecil. They are both known for being strong as told in the story and I don't think it would be much of a surprise if Kain defeats Cecil in the story.

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