Review by barflytke401

"One of the best all-time!"

Final Fantasy III is one of what many consider to be the classics for RPG genre games. Released as Final Fantasy III for the SNES in 1994, it is actually the 6th installment of the immensely popular Final Fantasy series produced by Squaresoft. The game takes place about 1000 years following the ending of a great war called "The War of the Magi" which removed magic from the face of the world. It is a typical turn-based RPG with the player having control of over 15 playable characters each one with his or her own strengths and weaknesses and different fighting styles and stories to tell. The main character is a young half-human, half-Esper girl whom is trying to find her place in a world torn asunder by war. The main villain in the story is one of the most colorful villains in the Final Fantasy series, a rather funny clown named Kefka. Joining forces with him are a few other military style villains with lesser roles and even a few NPCs who get involved. There are many plot twists that include cut scenes involving characters that allow the player to have a "real-time" feel with the story. The characters have "expressions" that while being very basic, convey the general theme of each scene to the player. In my opinion, this game is perfect for the player who wants to see some of the best the SNES had to offer in terms of RPGs.

Gameplay: 9/10
Really, as far as games for the SNES go, there are only 1 or 2 other games as engrossing as Final Fantasy III. All of the elements that make the other games in the series enjoyable are here. The player can rename all of the characters in the game including the ever present summons (called Espers in FFIII), there are a multitude of side quests in the game that vary in difficulty from easy to difficult in terms of time and involvement to complete, and the level of commitment necessary to complete the game can vary between 25 hours, to just finish the core storyline of the game, up to over 100 hours, if the player wishes to obtain what is called a "complete" gaming experience meaning gathering all of the most powerful weapons, armor, and magic, and also leveling characters up to maximum levels. The only reason the game is undeserving of a 10 rating in this department is the fact that while leveling characters is not a problem in the beginning and middle of the game, once a character reaches the higher levels (above 60) it becomes a very time-consuming, tedious process to level up the character sometimes taking hours upon hours to raise a character just one level. This, I'm afraid, is the common problem with RPGs of this era. But, if you don't mind that sort of monotony, this game is your cup of tea. The characters in Final Fantasy III offer a host of clever individual attacks. Each character has his or her own special talents and the player can choose to utilize each character's talents or can just ignore them. An essential part of each Final Fantasy is magic, and this game is no exception. There are a multitude of magics available to the player to use, each one learned from equipping certain Espers. The longer an Esper is equipped, the more magic is obtained from the Esper and once the learning curve for the Esper reaches 100%, all of the magic available from that Esper is learned. Some magic is able to be learned from 2 to 4 Espers, while other magic may only be learned from 1 specific Esper. This makes Esper use a conscionable thought process. The player must plan their use of Espers in order to learn the needed spells.

Graphics: 10/10
Again, I am comparing this to other SNES games. This game is 2-D. Plain and simple. It features a 3/4 overhead view 90% of the time and also features an overworld which has since been all but removed from most RPGs. The graphics were considered state of the art in 1994 when this game was released. There are rich color textures and some very good use of the Mode-7 graphics capabilities of the SNES in both scaling and rotation which are showcased especially when the characters use the airship for transportation. As far as actual graphic renderings are concerned, the game is 2-D, so if you are expecting to see walking, talking, fully rendered 3-D you are out of luck. In scenes where the graphics are made to be inflated or close-up, they become pixilated the larger they become. These problems aside, the graphics for its day, when compared to other games out at the time, were considered to be very advanced.

Sound: 10/10
Here's where the game shines. The score is enormous! Created by the world-renowned Nobuo Uematsu, there are at least 100 different songs in the game (including renditions of the main theme) and also includes a scene with one of the earliest examples of voiced "singing" in video games. The songs feature 128 note polyphony and a beautifully detailed musical story. Because the game's dialogue is text-based, the music allows the player to get involved on a more emotional level with this game and the characters than many other games out at the time. There is a great combination of deep bass, singing strings, and synthesized keyboards to keep the listener enthralled and engrossed throughout the game. There are very few songs that last less than 5 minutes without repeating so the player never really gets the bored monotonous feeling that usually accompanies games from the SNES.

Replay Value: 10/10
There are very few games that can be left to sit for years on end and then picked up and played again with the same level of commitment and enjoyment as Final Fantasy III. The game is just as much fun the 100th time through as it was the 1st time through. As a matter of fact, with all of the side quests and obtainable items, weapons, armor, and magic, the game could possibly be one of the hardest created for the SNES to obtain a "perfect" game in. There are always ways to expand the difficulty of the game and make each play-through a unique experience.

Collector's Value: 8/10
To this day, 2005, this game will still usually net around $20-30 just for the cartridge itself. This game is not as "Rare" as some people would have you believe but the price remains high for this game just because it is just so darn fun even today. I have seen copies in mint condition with all of the original accessories go for over $150 and I have seen "collector's caliber" examples (never-opened, still in plastic, no creases on the box) go for over $300. In a time when GH versions of PS2 games will go for $20, this isn't exactly a game for someone whom is not familiar with SNES capability games. I would suggest playing it first before purchasing if you have the capabilities to do so and you did not grow up with the SNES. As far as for the serious collector, this is a must-have for any collection.

Concept: 7/10
Not exactly the most cutting-edge in gaming, this game has the very familiar "fight the monsters and gain levels before fighting the final boss and saving the world" theme. While the Action RPG-gamer will find this game very repetitive, the fan of the Turn-Based style RPG-gamer will love it. Having a female as the main character in the game is a concept that wasn't used very much prior to Final Fantasy III. This is a risky idea but Square pulled it off flawlessly. Also, with all of the other characters in the game, the stories unfold rather nicely for each character. This adds to the depth of the game as well as the entertainment concept.

Overall: 9/10
If you are a fan of the Final Fantasy series, a collector of vintage games, or a person who is interested in getting involved in the series but is worried about the complexity of the newer Final Fantasy titles, this game is for you. Final Fantasy III is great for the "old-school" player and the "newbie" alike. It has a great story, great sound, and WILL take over your life for a few days if you let it. The characters are original, have many different abilities to use, and have emotions that make playing this game great. The NPCs seem to have more of an impact in this game as opposed to most and the main characters are some of the most imaginative I've ever come across. The towns are sprawling, the graphics are engaging, and the sound is rich and vibrant. The story unfolds well, and from the opening scene, most players are hooked. The enemies are varied and numerous and the bosses difficult while not being impossible. I highly recommend this game to anyone who owns a SNES.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/18/05

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