Review: Final Fantasy III (SNES)

By Drew Wilson

Perhaps one of the most iconic RPG games released on the Super Nintendo (SNES) was Final Fantasy III (also called Final Fantasy VI for those who followed the series on the Playstation). We review this game that brings back nostalgic memories for many.

For those that spent a part of their childhood playing Super Nintendo, this is perhaps one of the games most remember. Released in 1994, the game is part of the legendary series Final Fantasy. One of the attributes of this series is that each game is it’s own thing. There is no story-line continuation that is from any previous game and, as far as we could tell, the story ends when you beat the game.

The game starts off with Terra and two empire soldiers going through the town of Narshe trying to find an Esper – a magical being that had been encased in ice. After coming in contact with it, Terra is able to break out of the crown that allowed the empire to control her actions. Locke, another main character, then vows to protect her. This begins a long and event-filled adventure as you fight the forces of the empire and Kefka.

The game allows for the player to customize the characters names, but the default names is what their names were originally intended to be. Different characters have different abilities. Locke is able to “steal” from enemies. Terra is able to use magic. Sabin has “blitz” abilities. Edgar can use special “tools” in battle. This can allow for strategy on the players part because a maximum of four characters can be put in a single party (there are also multi-party portions of this game that require an extra amount of strategy).

As the player goes through the game, there’s a number of things the player can do that affects gameplay. For instance, it’s possible to save Shadow. If you save Shadow, you can use him in the second half of the game. Some abilities for characters can only be learned in the first half of the game. The game is somewhat linear, but as you progress, the game gradually opens up and different objectives can be completed at different times.

One of the few downfalls of the game is that it might have been a little heavy on the story-line. A lot of the text can ultimately be skipped, but this is only a nuisance for those less interested in the back story of each character.

Like many RPG games, this game features turn-based battle scenes. However, this game offers the twist of using timer-based turns. Once a character does something like attack the enemy, the character has to wait a particular amount of time (which depends on certain attributes of the character. Starting amount of time depends on how your party enters battle in the first place). This is a departure from many RPG games which explicitly allows the players characters to do something, then gives the enemy party a turn to attack before going back to the players party. This allows the battle scenes to have a more “live” feel to it. This element certainly is refreshing and offers variety to the RPG genre.

The graphics is certainly quite impressive for a game of its time. It’s like the only limitation to the graphics is what the hardware could allow. The various monsters and environments are very well done.

As mentioned, there is a very involved storyline. While it may be heavy in backstory at times, the storyline here really gave the game feeling. At some points, it’s very serious. At other points, it’s amusing. Overall, the storyline evokes a rainbow of emotion that really makes it memorable. The different personalities of each character really made this game pop.

The audio of this game is so well done, you almost forget you’re listening to something put together and put in a Super Nintendo console. This game set a very high standard for other games on the console. The music mostly centers on orchestral-style, but also features some techno-style elements as well depending on what part of the game you are on. Considering the hardware, the game also does an impressive job at emulating real world sounds. Things like wind, chainsaws and earthquakes are very believable to your average gamer.

The overall difficulty depends on what you want to do in this game. If you want to just blow through this game, then this game is at your average difficulty. If you want to get almost every item in the game of collect every esper, or obtain every ability for every character, then the difficulty can ramp up substantially. I personally never got the re-name card for instance even though I played this game a couple of times over the years.

Overall, this game is very play-worthy. You can get several hours worth of quality entertainment from this game.

Update: This game is officially the 1994 game of the year.

Overall
Furthest point in game: Beat the game three times. Third time around, got most characters to level 99 just for fun.

General gameplay: 25/25
Replay value: 10/10
Graphics: 10/10
Audio: 5/5

Overall Score: 100%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85