Thanks for the insight all of you; I must have hit R by accident when trying to toggle the run feature with L, and changed the lead sprite
Good looking out, chillyfeez, I'll reorder my party with the information that you provided regarding turn priority when getting a preemptive strike.
*EDIT* So after a marathon session, I blitzed through the final section of the game... and was victorious!
I got off to a really bad start against Zeromus though, as I opened with Rosa casting Pearl (BIG mistake!), which led to a losing battle trying to keep everyone alive. It got really dicey, to the point where I had just Cecil alive, and at REALLY low health. After battling back, reviving everyone and getting them up to full health, it was a cinch. Is this the beefed-up Japanese Zeromus, or the easier US version?
Two disconcerting things happened during that battle (apart from being at death's door on the brink of defeat); I had Edge open by throwing the Cleaver... and it did nothing!?! Secondly, I had Edge try to steal the dark matter from Zeromus, which someone advised me to do in order to reduce Zeromus's Big Bang attack power... and it failed 5 times before I gave up and moved on to have him throw.
I have one final piece of user feedback vivify93; I feel that the line by Zeromus " ...I am animosity!" really lacks weight, and is somewhat awkward in execution. The word "animosity" may very well be the literal translation for all I know, but for me, that line does not encompass the narrative momentum that I see the character of Zeromus expressing at this point. I see this line as the declaration by Zeromus that he is, in essence, the eternal, all-encompassing personification of evil in the Universe.
Here is my proposed alternative: "...I am the Darkness behind the Stars!"
That line (originally from the film Event Horizon) has always been one of the most unsettling that I have heard, and would in my opinion perfectly fit with the tone and context of this scene in question.
In addition, I must echo what I'm sure others have said- FuSoYa's final line of "live long and prosper!" was for me really painful; it completely detracted from the immersion of the moment, and was ultimately distracting.