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Final Fantasy 3

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Reviewed by Brandon Smith I would just like to take a few minutes to talk about a company that has captured the hearts of, in my opinion, the greatest number of people world-wide since, oh...Mario? I speak, of course, not so much in reference to Nintendo themselves, but of the programmers and technicians at the almighty center of the RPG world. That's right: Squaresoft. Allow me to explain. Take a trip with me, if you will, back to the by-gone days of the 80's (sigh...) as we explore the game players' world of Role Playing Games. So, if you're interested, please feel free to pull up your chair, pop a CD into the Rom Drive, grab a Squirt, maybe some Cheetos, and take a trip with me down memory lane. We all remember the 80's, don't we? 1985, I believe it was, shocked the world with a little Gold cartridge called Zelda for Nintendo. Never before had console gamers had a game with SO MUCH replay value... but as far as RPG's went, it wasn't quite it. Nintendo players needed something to call their own. They had Mario, but what about the strategy games? Where was the storyline? Genesis already had their Phantasy Star series, and later, the Turbo Grafix 16... (never mind, let's NOT go there...). Sure, we had "Dragon Warrior" but that just couldn't cut it for most of us RPG freaks (an RPG with only ONE character? Come on!!) And then, along comes this company that no American player had ever heard of before (most likely) and changed everything. When I saw Final Fantasy sitting on that store shelf, with a $50 price tag, I Zelda II cartridge was I long for those days...). Have you ever had one of those moments when you say to yourself "My prayers have been answered?" It was like that. So of course, I pestered my mother to no end until I got it for my birthday, and I have been an avid Squaresoft fan ever since. Of course, I've already gone into FAR too much detail about the first one. let's just suffice the rest to say that I had already beaten the Japanese version of Final Fantasy II in the states (it was FF4 in Japan, in case you live in a box) before they even THOUGHT of bringing it out is the US...and no, I didn't understand a WORD they were saying the Japanese 2,3 and 4, that's why I was so happy when Final Fantasy 2 came out here. Yes, I bought it, even though I had the Japanese one, and yes, I was damn glad that I did. I was fortunate enough to have a friend from Japan who did not have the monetary resources to be the RPG freak he wished he was, so we passed Final Fantasy 5 (Japanese, of course...) together, neatly solving the language barrier I had suffered on 2,3 and 4... And then, miracle of miracles, Squaresoft had to go and do it again, releasing Final Fantasy 3 in the states (I had somehow been kept completely in the dark about FF6 in Japan...a conspiracy??), and the RPG world was once again turned on it's side by this awe inspiring company. Now, all this rambling of mine aside, let's kick it into high gear and take a look at the game that changed he genre. Submitted for the approval, of The Midnight Society, I give you... "Final Fantasy Three"

Graphics 10 out of 10

For those of us who remember seeing the enemy flash and hearing a "Thunk" noise to accompany a successful spell cast in Final Fantasy 1, I would have to say that the Espers caused something along the lines of a Heart Attack the first time I say them in action. This was an amazing have this piece of a superior being that has passed away, and you use it to create and learn powerful spells. Not only that, they have ass kicking attacks of their own. But let's leave the spells behind for a moment and talk about the rest of the game. From the first 5 minutes of this monster of an RPG, the 3D quality of the graphics is astounding. I was awed an event as simple as the three Magi-Tech Armors walking through the snow towards Narshe. We got to see Chocobo riding and the Airship fully rendered 3D!! You can't argue with that. Anyone who doubts the quality of Squaresoft's programming ability need only sit back and bask i! n the glow of the cpu controlled flight to the Empire's base in the see the flashing lights in the sky, the music washing over you. From the animations of the characters, weapons and spells, to the detail of the caves and overworld, the graphics are outstanding. I'm not saying that they are flawless, by ANY means. Let's not forget that the overworld does tend to turn a bit "grainy" or pixelated on you while you're in the airship, but we have to remember that we're playing on the SNES, not a super computer =]

Music and Sound 10 out of 10

All I can do is take my hat the game that made we fall in love with Ragtime music (who can forget the Spinach Rag theme from the Opera House). This game is fully orchestrated, with even better quality than Final Fantasy II had. If you've never played true Stereo Surround Sound with this game, you don't know what you're missing. While walking through the caves of Narshe, I was amazed to find that I could actually HEAR what direction the wind was blowing from... And the music... from the cute themes, to the love themes (Celes' music is my favorite tune of all time), this game's music is unbeatable. A perfect 10, all the way.

Game Challenge 8 out of 10

Let's be honest here. Unless you lived your whole life inside a bubble, the words "RPG" and "challenge" don't belong in the same least, not in terms of beating the game. No, the hard part about this game is FINDING THE SECRETS!! You cannot even begin to imagine the noises I made the first time I won an Economizer in the Colliseum. Or how about that feeling you get when you FINALLY made it to the top of the Mage Tower? Gem Box? I'm in Heaven... This game has more secrets than a chicken has feathers. What more is there to say than that? Except maybe "We hail you, mighty Squaresoft...we're not worthy!!" he he he And let's not forget the challenge of finding and destroying all eight dragons (Two of which are IN Kefka's Tower...) in the second half of the game, just for the joy of another esper to pound your opponents into the Earth. But as far as the last boss goes...come on. With all four members of your party well versed in the art of casting Ultima twice in one battle (for a grand total of TWO mana each =] he he he), Kefka is far from "hard," but it certainly is FUN to watch him suffer!!

Game Play-Fun 9 out of 10

Come on, be honest...the first time you saw Mog the smiled. Or how about when you were given a Battle or Esper Tutorial by an IMP of all things... (Remember when he trips? I laughed my butt 2 in the morning, no less...) To say that this game is "Fun" is the understatement of the Millennia. Has anyone ever seen the look of embarrassment on Celes' face if you mess up her lines in the Opera? I messed up on purpose just to see what would happen. That's the whole idea behind this game: it's fun to WANT to can't STOP playing!! Credit where credit is due, Final Fantasy III outweighs FF7 as far as playability, AND replay value, by FAR!


My only real gripe about this game is that it wasn't long enough. Unlike Final Fantasy 7, however, this game has a SOLID feel to it (at every step of FF7 I was going...wait, you missed something there...slow down...) Final Fantasy 3 seemed more real to me, and that's all there is to it. Of course, I think all of us gamers were kind of mad to finally get General Leo in your party...only to have him killed by Kefka...sob sob sob. And what's up with Shadow? He's in your party, he's not...he joins again, he dies...but then he isn't dead...sheesh.

Replayability 9 out of 10

With somewhere around 20 different endings (I'm ashamed to say I've only found 16 so far...) to wind up with, and tons of secrets you can't possibly find all of in the first try, this game has an incredibly high replay value. Be many of you found Edgar's Chainsaw the first time through, without someone telling you? I sure as hell didn't. And what about Umaro and Gogo? They're not exactly easy to get a hold of, if you know what I mean... This game was meant to be played again and again, and that's EXACTLY what I do with it... I'm STILL, after 3 years of playing it, finding new items in the Colliseum. The combinations are endless...

Game Value 10 out of 10

This game just speaks for itself...get it now get it now get it now! (Assuming you can FIND it...another hint that it must be a good game...) There's isn't much more to say about Final Fantasy Three than this. It was a welcome change over Final Fantasy 2 to be able to choose your party members, but I feel the esper/spell thing made the game a BIT too easy for my tastes. And let's face it, Final Fantasy 2 had a more "melodramatic" feel to it (no other RPG made dying characters more believable, more lamentable...) As far as Kefka goes... I take my hat off to him and his "Weeee heee heee heee"-ing. =] This game, by any measure, is a MUST. If you don't have Super Nintendo, GET IT, AND BUY THIS GAME!!!!! =]

Overall 9.5 out of 10

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