Review by Final Fantasy

Reviewed: 06/17/04

The true sequel to the original Final Fantasy. A great game all around.

Ah, Final Fantasy III. The Fantasy that never was, but should have been. Of course I am alluding to the fact that FF3 is the only Final Fantasy not released in the U.S. (As of June 2004). Released in 1989 on the Famicom, (NES) FF3 was a mega-hit. It sold more copies than FF1 and 2 combined. It makes me wonder if it will ever see an American release. I know FF fans (including myself) would eat it up.

Final Fantasy III is the true sequel to the original Final Fantasy. It is basically a longer more in depth game with the addition of jobs. The story, graphics, and gameplay are very similar between the two.

In FF3, when you begin, you have have to give names to your four characters (like in FF1) but instead of picking the job they will have for the first half of the game (until they evolve), all four start off as relatively weak Onion Kids. As the game progresses, you gain access to new sets of jobs, which are more powerful than the ones you have before.

FF3 is very obscure to many gamers, (since it was never released outside of Japan, therefore never discussed by American gamers) but let me assure you, it is a traditional Final Fantasy game. It has Cid (as an Airship engineer, duh), the crystals, airships, chocobos, potions, ethers, phoenix downs, moogles, castles... wait- MOOGLES??? Yes, they don't really play a part in the story, but they make their first ever appearance in FF3. The summoned monsters are also their to do some damage (to the enemies, of course), but you have to fight the most powerful ones (Odin, Bahamut) to get them to join you.

FF3's story is very similar to FF1's. Four adventurers (Light Warriors, as they are called) set out to save the world from evil with the help of the crystals. However, in FF3, you are not trying to completely destroy the darkness, just bring balance and control back to the world. Throughout the story you'll learn about a group of "Dark Warriors" who long ago had to defeat the Light which was becoming too powerful and bring balance to the world. Ultimately the balance of Light and Dark must be restored or the world will be overcome by Void, or nothingness. There are several enemies in the game, and you don't learn who the real enemy is until late in the game. The story is very good. You begin as young adventurers playing around in a cave, and end up being the Four Light Warriors of Legend, destined to save the world from a great darkness. Many NPC's (non-playable characters) aid you in your journey. Some join you, but don't fight battles. The story paces itself well, and the plot slowly pulls you in further.

Your party consists of 4 nameless characters that remain in your party throughout the entire game. The many NPC's that you meet have more personality (and more to say) than your characters. Any character can become whatever you them to be through the "Job" system.
This is the FF that begun Jobs. All FF's owe a debt to FF3 for such an innovative, fun system of character development. There are 22 different jobs in the game, but some are more useful than others. In fact, some are just plain useless. I never even used about 5 of them. The most powerful (physical) job is the NINJA!!!! (Thank you FF3, for giving the ninja some respect!!) The most powerful (magical) job is the Sage. But you don't get these two until near the end. To switch jobs, you must have enough capacity points, which you earn in combat. As you stay with a job, you increase your skill level, and the higher it gets, the more powerful you become at that particular job. If you switch to a new job you start over in skill points. When you do switch between jobs, your basic statistics change, but your HP stays the same. It is a good idea to try to stay with a job as long as you can. FF3's Job system is very simple and fun. It sets the framework for FF5, FFTactics, and FF10-2.

Gameplay is identical to FF1. You accumulate experience to gain levels and get stronger. Spells have levels and require one magic point to cast. There is no MP, only a set number of times you can cast a certain spell. Battles are of course, turn-based. You enter commands at the beginning of the turn, then the character/enemy with the best agility usually gets to attack first. Battles can get quite difficult, requiring you to have a balanced party, good equipment, and a sufficient level. Random battles can get very annoying, as they are very frequent sometimes, and difficult to run from unless you are significantly stronger than the enemies. It is a good idea to heal between battles and carry plenty of potions. The airships are great, as the are the chocobos.

The graphics are about what you would expect from the NES. Its hard to judge now, but back in '89 they were considered good. The enemies are large and colorful, and some look really weird. Each character job looks unique. In battles, there is a mostly black background, where the top portion of has the graphics of the area you are in, such as field, desert, cave, castle, airship... Overall, the graphics are good for their time. But after playing Final Fantasy X, one can't help but notice the ugly sprites and and plain backdrops. But as we all know, graphics aren't what makes a great RPG.

WOW. This some great music for a NES game. Somehow, Nobuo Uematsu did a lot with so little. You know how NES games sound with their blips and bleeps. But the music sounds as if it actually has instruments playing. As with all of Uematsu's great work, the music fits the situation excellently. The boss battle music is very good, as is the music when you are in the cave at the start of the game. The traditional victory fanfare is there as well, in all its glory. (Your party only has two frames of animation to celebrate, however. LOL)

Good God, this game is long!!! It is the longest NES game I have ever played. I swear it took me at least 30 hours to beat.
Replay value is good. You can play through the game again with a different set of jobs and get some of the secret stuff you might have missed. The ending is also a good one, unlike some games.

Final Comments:
Final Fantasy III is a very difficult and satisfying game. I didn't know what to expect when I first started playing it. I had never heard anything about it or read any reviews, it was a mystery game, but it was a Final Fantasy game. I was pleasantly surprised and hooked on it. FF3 should have been re-released along with FF1 in FF Origins. It is much better than FF2, plus it feels more like an actual sequel to the original FF. FF1 and FF2 are being re re-released for the GBA with added features, and I have heard that FF3 will be also be re-released for the GBA in the near future. Lets hope and pray Square does the right thing and brings Final Fantasy III over to the States so it can be with the rest of the Final Fantasy Family.

Long Live Final Fantasy!!!!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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