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Final Fantasy 3

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Reviewed by Greg Colombo Welcome to FF3. The third installment in the Final Fantasy (US) series is the best one yet! Squaresoft outdid themselves again with this title. 1,000 years after the War of the Magi, the war that nearly made humans extinct, things seem safe for the future. But "magic", the force that was the entire purpose of the War of the Magi, is coming back. A frozen "Esper" has been found in Narshe, a large industrial city in the north. Espers are the sources of magic. Now, the evil Empire is attempting to restore magic and take the Esper, then conquer the world. But there is a band of rebels in their way: The Returners! Meet the magic-using Terra, the thief (oops, treasure hunter) Locke, the adorable Mog, and many other characters as you try to stop Kefka!

Graphics 10 out of 10

The artists that did the game put things together well. The characters don't look so chunky, like they seemed in the previous Final Fantasies. The background designs in the battle scenes were drawn well, and make it seem like you're in the desert, river, whatever. Spells look really cool in this game, ranging from a simple Fire spell to the greatest of all, Ultima! Characters have many different poses and looks, depending on their status and emotions. You can even see them blush! The Chocobo (ostrich-like birds) and the Airship views were done in brilliant Mode 7. Great work by Squaresoft on the whole!

Music and Sound 9 out of 10

The music and sound effects sounded like they should. The music sounded like it was appropriate for the scene at hand. The Airship contains an upbeat track that can get annoying. The nice thing about the music is that you can tell whether a city is friendly or not, or if a certain thing is going on (the castle is under attack, etc.) The battle music can often get tedious as well. The sound effects for the spells were great, sounding just like you'd imagine. The exceptions: Ice and Bio come to mind. Character attack effects were good, again sounding like a real weapon should sound. There should have been multiple "miss" sounds, though, depending on your weapon. Great work here, too, but it could use a little touching up.

Game Challenge 9.5 out of 10

Challenge? You're asking me about the game's challenge? Believe me when I tell you, this game is TOUGH! It is required that you build levels if you want to progress. You may find yourself spending hours at a time building levels and learning spells! Also, there are a few "two and two together" puzzles, such as one in Locke's scenario (consult the manual.) What are you supposed to do with a Clock Key? Wind a clock! This opens a door. There were some parts in the game where a little less challenge would have been nice (crushing ceiling in the Zone eater.) The main battle tight spot is when you have less than 4 characters and one of them falls. You only get minimal HP when you restore life with an item, so it can be hard to get up to speed. Great job!

Game Play-Fun 10 out of 10

FF3 has many good hours of play, plus a battery-backed save feature. The game timer will stop at 99:59, but it is quite possible to go well past that. The number of "steps" is also recorded, making it possible to have contests with the count. For example, how few steps can you take to get Mog in your party? An NP reader got 4,735. It's fun going through the game and watching events unfold, especially in the cinema scenes. There are a couple of funny bits, and some things may be confusing at times. But other than that, this is a great, not to mention fun game.

Frustration

The game can be frustrating, when you can't beat a boss or solve a puzzle. A couple hints: Listen to townspeople. Sometimes they can give you the clue you need. GAIN EXP. If you aren't at a high level (55) when you try to defeat Kefka for the last time, you're in trouble. And lastly, STICK WITH IT. Go through for a great ending! The bosses are always challenging, and it may take many tries to beat them. I don't have much else to say. All in all, those who keep trying will win.

Replayability 10 out of 10

Replayability? It never gets better. There are many different ways to go through the game, because it's so easy to make it harder. Some answers can influence your game greatly. For example, at the banquet (midgame) what you say can change a lot. Minus the Tintinabar could make you lose a lot of fights. If you ever get tired of the game, the Game Genie (R) can change things forever too. And if all else fails, sell the game. You can make a lot of money since the game is out of stock.

Game Value 10 out of 10

My copy was for $55 (that was with S&H.) It was worth the cash. You'll get a lot of replay value and fun value out of this game. Not much else here.

Controls & Options 9 out of 10

The game's control setup works well, and its two-player battle is a great feature. You can select text box backgrounds, and even the color of your text! The magic types can be reorganized, too. Use Cure and Life magic a lot, and you can rearrange things by priority. If you prefer items to do the healing, you can do that too. It's not easy for a beginner to make a mistake with the controls, but they can easily make a strategy mistake. (HINT: Be sure to check out the first building you see after Locke joins you in Narshe!)

Overall 10 out of 10

Running out of time. Incredible game. Nuff' said. This game is highly replayable and has great graphics and sound, harnessing Mode 7! And it's FUN. That's the key. FUN. Squaresoft worked hard on this. Great job, Square, and good luck in the future.

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