Review by UltimaZER0
"It's a decent game but this game is lacking in quality"
Is the third time a charm?
With the many advances that Squaresoft has made throughout the years, you get a nice kick of nostalgia by going back to the bare-bone days of Final Fantasy when Limit Breaks, Overdrives, and Job Classes were nonexistent. Final Fantasy Legend III was very basic in terms of battle systems and dungeon explorations but it certainly shows you the different unique concepts of gameplay that Square was hoping to develop.
What's this game about?
As with all FF games, FFL3 has a completely original storyline rather than a follow-up to a previous game in the series. Years ago, a strange fountain appeared in the sky, pouring forth unlimited amounts of water and monsters. In response to the crisis, three kids were sent to the future to get them out of danger. The trio, at mature ages, and the town elder's granddaughter go out to find working parts for a time-traveling ship in an attempt to return back to their own time to save their world.
Unfortunately, the story was flawed in terms of characters. Although the game had a very good start, characters were very bland and their developments were nonexistent. For example, Curtis and Gloria, your two main magic users at the start of the game, serve almost no purpose to the story whatsoever. The conversations near the beginning also hinted a possible future love relationship between Arthur and Sharon, your other two main characters, but that never developed either. Had the developers worked on stronger character development, the story would be more interesting.
What makes this game different from other games in the series?
FFL3 takes the concepts of a basic RPG and adds unique features, the first being the deep customization of your characters. You start with two physical-fit humans and two magic-casting mutants. Whenever enemies are defeated in combat, they sometimes leave behind meat or mechanical parts. Consuming these leftovers transform your characters into various creatures or machines with different abilities. Unfortunately, the problem with this system is that many monsters don't become anywhere as strong as basic humans and mutants. This variation of the job class system isn't as flexible or as large as that of later Final Fantasy games but the concept is certainly very interesting.
Another interesting idea is the concept of time traveling in an airship that looks like a black stealth bomber. In the later parts of the game, you can go into the past and future and by doing so, you can see changes in environments and locations. While there aren't many significant changes that are done through time traveling, it's a fun concept that may have helped to bring Chrono Trigger to life.
Many of the later Final Fantasy games have ''hero'' characters, that is, extraordinarily powerful NPC's that fight alongside you for a little while before leaving to continue the flow of the story. This concept may have originated from this game. During the course of this game, you'll have a powerful fifth character in your party that stays with you until certain points in the game. The characters you get are mostly humans and mutants but they serve as powerful allies. Unfortunately, because their levels are fixed, they won't grow any stronger, which isn't a problem since you won't go beyond the NPC's levels most of the time but since the final fighting NPC that you encounter stays with you, that can become a problem when all but that one single character in your party grows in power. Aside from this, the Hero concept is quite helpful.
The graphics are terribly bland by today's standards but they were decent back in the days of the olive green-colored Game Boy. Character sprites are flat and stiffly animated with only moving arms and legs, and monsters in battle are motionless portraits, which are good but many monsters share the same graphics and the artwork seems to vary greatly between monsters. Some monsters were drawn with a more traditional style of art while others seem more fit for Japanese comic books. A plus side, however, is the nice collection of monster sprites that your characters adopt when they transform from consuming meat or mechanical parts. Also, battle animations such as swinging swords and magic spells are well-animated.
The sound variations haven't changed much over the years and for a Game Boy game, they aren't too bad. You must expect blips and bleeps from such a system but the sound effects are quite crispy clean, especially when you give a monster a nice clean cut from a metal sword. The music, though not an award winner, is also well composed and works well with the game's environments.
Being a turn-based RPG, you really can't get too complex with controls. Menus are easy to navigate through and moving around the map isn't a problem since you're moving in a very basic two-dimensional field without diagonals. The only problem would be your inventory menu, which can become cluttered with items scattered all over the place if you don't sort them out. Aside from this minor hassle, there isn't much to get in your way.
Developed in the earlier days of Final Fantasy, the gameplay is very simple. Humans and mutants can be equipped with just about any kind of equipment or magic spell in the game, and the dungeon explorations are very basic. It's just simply navigating your way through mazes of rooms until you reach the end boss. No puzzles or traps will show up here. While we'd all love a good puzzle, the game does well without one. The only problem is that sometimes, the monster encounters can become relentless to the point where you won't be able to take a few steps before running into another battle.
Despite its simple, linear gameplay, this game is good. Time traveling is an interesting concept and the idea of transforming into the monsters you encounter adds to the fun and gives your characters more flexibility. However, it's a true shame that Square let the main characters go to waste without proper character development. The story would be so much more entertaining had they done this.
Best Feature: Monster transformations
Worst Feature: Bland story
Also Try: Final Fantasy Legend I & II
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 02/04/03, Updated 02/04/03
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