Cactuar FF8

Final Fantasy VIII

Cactuar FF10

Final Fantasy X

Cactuar FF12 

Final Fantasy XII

^Screenshots of different Cactuars. Click on the images below of this article to enlarge them^

The Cactuars are recurring characters of the Final Fantasy role playing games in many different roles

According to an article in the V-Jump magazine in February 1997, Tetsuya Nomura mentioned that the Cactuars were designed by him years ago when he drew sketches of them during his high school time.

In most of the games, the Cactuars are enemies which can only be found on specific regions, are sometimes considered rare enemies.


They made their debut in Final Fantasy VI and returned in almost all later Final Fantasy games.

They are known for their 1000 Needle attack and are often giving a lot of EXP or AP / MP and special items too.

There are a few Cactuar individuals and special boss versions of them like the Cactuar King / Gigantuar

They are playable characters in a few of the FF spinoff and crossover games.



The Cactuars from the Final Fantasy Games: an Overview

Charactername: Cactuar / Sabotender (Japan) Cactoids (FFXII)   Developed /Created by Square-Enix
Gameseries: Final Fantasy & Crossover Games   First seen on: Super Nintendo
First Game:  Final Fantasy VI   Year first seen in: 1994
Last Game:  Final Fantasy XV (2016)   Birthplace:  
Role(s) and Characteristics: Enemy, Unlockable Summon, Friends /NPC’s   Weapons: 1000 Needles!
Additional Tags:     Similar Characters:  
Has Relations to: King Cactuar   See also:  


Official Art and the development of the Cactuars from Final Fantasy VI in 1994 up to today!


Cactuar Final Fantasy VI 

Fighting the Cactuar in FFVI

The Cactuars are known for their “1000 Needles” attack which occurs in Final Fantasy VI after every 2nd turn.

The Cactuar need to charge their attack it seems when the message “Bundling up something…” is displayed

Final Fantasy VI in 1994


In their debut, the Cactuars could only be found the desert near the town of Maranda and can be extremely dangerous enemies if the player’s party is not well equipped and prepared for them.

While the Cactuar has only 3 HP, their defense and evade ratings are so high that attacks are often either missed or do no damage. They are also immune to all status effects!

Useful attacks are the Blitz techniques by Sabin or the Tools by Edgar. It’s also useful to equip the Sniper Eye to get sure attacks would connect and to attack the Cactuar with the Ultima & Ultimate Weapon spells if available.

If the player can’t defeat the Cactuar in 7 turns, he has no chance of surviving the next round when the Cactuar would use the 1000 Needles attack 10 times in a row dealing 10000 HP damage!


Early Cactuar Concept Art

  Like in later games too, it is rewarding to battle the Cactuars, they give 10 AP each drop gold needles.

The classic (and cute) Cactuar drawn for the Game-Art-HQ Video Game Character Database

One of the cutest Cactuars ever was drawn by Quartette back in May when we introduced the idea to feature fan arts by the community as a part of our Video Game Character Database on Game-Art-HQ.

Quartette is just like myself a big fan of the Final Fantasy games and also drew the Chocobo and a super cute Moogle for us so far. He also participated in our Pokemon Tribute among others already. To get a real overview of his works I toteally recommend to have a good look at his gallery here!



Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Cactuar FFVII Animated by_VVKiti

The Cactuars from FFVII reprise their role and are again only found in the Corel Prison Desert. In the game they are again quite difficult to beat if the players does not know how. The Chocobo-Mogry Summon and the blue-magic “Matra Magic” as well as grenades are effective against them.

Cactuar FFVII

The Cactuars are very small in the game and look like in FFVI, they have again a very high evade rating and flee often after three rounds. Again, the player can gain 10000 Gil by defeating them

The Cactuars don’t have their 1000 needles attack, but a different form of them called Cactuar can be found later in the game on the Cactus Island.


While these give only 1000 Gil, the player gets 100AP for defeating one Cactuer. Useful against them are the L4 Suicide Blue Magic.

A Cactuar can also be made to race as the ghost racer in the Snowboard racing game at the Gold Saucer.



1000_needles Cactuar Fan Art by_themeleni

by TheMeleni

Cloud and Tifa FFVII Cactuar by Linda Bedwall

by Linda Bedwall




Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

In FFVIII the Cactuars are not only enemies, but also a secret and very useful Guardian Force / Summon found on Cactuar Island. The normal Cactuar is again very fast and often flees before a battle already.

Defeating one means to get 20 AP which is a lot in the game and helpful to learn new abilities with the Guardian Forces. The Cactuar has again its 1000 needles attack and also the kick.Useful against them are water attacks, Squalls high accuracy stats also allow him to hit the Cactuars.

The Cactuar is of course also featured in the Tripple Triad Card Game of FFVIII, 1 refines into 1 Cactus Thorn item.



by Andrew Malbas



Final Fantasy IX (2000)


The Cactuar’s can be found in two locations in FFIX, the Donna Plains and on the mainland of the forgotten continent. They behave a bit different than before and can hide into the underground. If the player attacks them while they are underground they will counter with their 1000 Needles attack, they also cast confuse during being in the underground. Quinna can learn the 1000 needles attack from them.

FFIX Cactuar

They are not giving unusual high AP, EXP or Gill in Final Fantasy IX and are more like normal enemies than before.




Final Fantasy X (2001)

FFX Cactuar

In FFX, the Cactuars are not only enemies but also part of a sidestory in which they have a small village in the desert of Bikanel Island. This is known as the Cactuar Nation there and was protected by a sandstorm until Tidus and his party finish a little puzzle with ten cactuar gatekeepers.

Beside being enemies, they also are one design of Lulu’s weapons and add special support abilities.

Like in earlier Final Fantasy games, the Cactuars have again low HP stats but are very agile and magic has almost no effects on them, they often flee during a battle too. Beside many AP’s they also drop weapons with Initiative and armor with HP Stroll, MP Stroll, and HP +10%, that and the high AP amount makes them worthy use them to collect many HP and Gill. Beware of their 10000 Needles attack however which kills a character easily.


Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)

The Cactuars returned in the first direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game and beside being enemies they have a leader called Marnela now and the player can again learn a bit about their civilisation. The Cactuars can be fought in chapter 5 of the game and give no big amount of exp, ap or gill there.

A stronger version of the Cactuars can be found in the Coliseum and can use a 10000 needles attack and heal themselves.

The cactuar is also Paines weapon for the mascot dressphere


The visual design on both games sticks to the traditional Cactuar design again.



Sabotender-Cactuar-FFXI-Concept Art 


Final Fantasy XI (2002)

For the first time in Final Fantasy history, the Cactuars got a different visual design and look more humanoid now than before with almost human like body proportions.

They are monsters of the Sabotender family (the name commonly used for Cactuar in the Japanese games) in FFXI and are aggressively attacking the players in the Kuzotz region with their 1000 needles ability.

FFXI Sabotender Cactuar



Dirge of Cerberus – Final Fantasy VII (2006)

The cactuars return as enemies in the FFVII spinoff game. In the main game during chapters 6 and 7 they appear but are not attacking Vincent Valentine. They will attack him with their classic 1000 needles ability and kicks just like in FFVII during the extra missions though.

Cactuar FFVII Dirge of Cerberus 




Final Fantasy VI (Game Boy Advance) (2007)

The Cactuar stayed the same as in the previous version of FFVI, but now the Cactuar can also be found as a summon /esper exclusive to this version so far.



Final Fantasy XII (2006)

FFXII Cactuar CactiteCactuar / Cactoid from FFXII

The Cactuars got their 2nd design change for FFXII and are actually harmless creatures now unless the player attacks them, often they can be found while sleeping on the fields 🙂 Their name is now Cactoids instead of Cactuars.

They are some of the first creatures, the player can battle and are located in the many Dalmasca Desert regions (Eastersand & Westersand) they are not hard to beat for the first time and have no special stats, they are also not giving any unusual high rewards.

There are a few quests related to Cactuars including one clam primer quest against the “Flowering Cactoid” who is an aggressive Cactuar who has the traditional 1000 needles attack too. It is possible to obtain the 1000 Needles technick during FFXII.

Cactoid FFXII Revenant Wings

The summonable Cactoid from FFXII RW

Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings ( 2008)

The Cactoid does not return as an enemy in FFXII RW but as an summonable esper which attacks with the traditional 1000 needles ability


Final Fantasy XIII (2009)

Cactuar FFXIII

 The Cactuars in FFXIII returned in their traditional design and are again only found in one particular location, the Archylte Steppe where the player has to hunt to them to fight the Cactuar since they are fleeing from Lightning and her party. The Cactuar is not super fast in the game but has a unusual high amount of HP (77777) and can grow into a Giant Cactuar, its recommended to wait till chapter 13 of the game to attack them.
 They have the traditional Cactuar attacks, the Kick, and the 1000 Needles, new is a Cactuar Dance.



by Blackorb00



Final Fantasy XIV (2010)

FFXIV Cactuar Sabotender

 The Cactuars are again called Sabotender like in FFXI and their design is also almost the same as in the first FF MMORPG. They are again normal enemies.


The Cactuars appeared also in the following FF Spinoff games and crossover games:

 As Enemies

As Unlockable Character

As NPC or Friends / Summonable / item

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

Chocobo Racing

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King & Darklord

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Mario Hoops: 3on3 Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest Mario Sports Mix Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon 1&2   Final Fantasy: Dissidia & Dissidia 012
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon   Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales
Before Crisis: FFVII   Kingdom Hearts
 Crisis Core: FFVII  

Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Special


Crisis Core: FFVII



What Gamers like you and me think about the Cactuars:

The Final Fantasy games are full with interesting or funny creature designs, and the Cactuar is a special one still with its often weird animations and behaviour and stats which make him super difficult to attack and often very dangerous as well.

I like the traditional cactuar design the most, the one from FFXII is great too though. Personally I look forward to a new fun Final Fantasy game which goes back to the basics and introduces a Cactuar as a playable protagonist! somewhen in the future..but we know it will never happen anyway -)

 by the GA-HQ Admin Reinhold Hoffmann

Updates and additions in Cactuar’s Game Art Gallery and Character Overview

25.09.2017 – Updates here and there, added the super cute take on Cactuar by Quartette