Final Fantasy III

aka: FF6, Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VI Advance, Zui Zhong Huanxiang 6
Moby ID: 5202
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Description official descriptions

A thousand years ago, the War of the Magi occurred. People remember it as one of the most horrible tragedies in history. Since the War of the Magi, magic has been all but forgotten, technology began to grow, and people returned to seemingly normal lives. The only true worry people have is the Empire, whose leaders are looking to revive the great force once known as "magic".

The Empire had heard word of the remains of a mystical being, known as "Esper", being found in the mining town of Narshe. Quickly, three soldiers were dispatched to find this Esper and bring it to the Emperor. One of the soldiers, a young girl, triggers a power in the Esper that initiates a dangerous series of events. The only ones who can help her are a rag-tag band of rebels and heroes, who offer their very hearts and souls to save the world from the mad plans of the Empire.

The sixth entry in the Final Fantasy series was dubbed Final Fantasy III in the West because three out of the five previous installments of the series had not been released there at the time. Similar to its predecessors, this is a role-playing game where the player controls a party of characters, traveling between various locales in the world, fighting randomly appearing regular enemies and bosses, and making the characters stronger by improving their skills and getting better equipment for them. The game maintains the ATB (active time battle) system of the two previous installments in the series, spicing traditional turn-based combat engine with a real-time element.

In battle, every character can fight using weaponry and items, and each has a special combat skill as well. It is also possible for nearly every character to learn magic spells. By finding various Espers and equipping them on characters, the player can improve their parameters in different ways and choose the magic spells the characters should learn.

Unlike most other Japanese RPGs, the game does not have a single main character. Rather, the player-controlled party can be considered the game's collective protagonist. The first part of the game develops linearly, with one of the characters playing a central role; however, during the second part, the player is associated with a different character initially, exploring the game world, recruiting characters, and completing sub-quests in a non-linear fashion.

PlayStation re-release of the game includes new FMV cutscenes, bestiary, and artwork galleries. Game Boy Advance version and later Android, iOS, and PC releases remove FMVs but instead include two new bonus dungeons (the Dragons' Den and the Soul Shrine), new bosses, espers, weapons, and gear, as well as many other minor additions and changes.

Spellings

  • ファイナルファンタジーVI - Japanese spelling
  • 最终幻想6 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (SNES version)

64 People (48 developers, 16 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 89% (based on 72 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 414 ratings with 8 reviews)

A sometimes-cutesy, sometimes-macabre follow-up to Final Fantasy II

The Good
Final Fantasy III was a nice little game back in its day. The visuals were fancied-up from its predecessor (Final Fantasy II for North American gamers), the music was infused with some techno beats, and the storyline is just completely nutsoid in comparison to the elegant and compelling plot line that followed Cecil, Kain, and Golbez.

As close as I can figure, the ultimate baddie of this game, Kefka, is a hideous, unfunny clown with a penchant for wild and imaginative behavior, none of which makes a whit of sense to me.

FF3 does, however, sport a wealth of tertiary characters that join sides with our amnesiac green-haired protagonist, Terra.

For example, Celes is an ice queen with tremendous magical prowess and a woeful history of being used by 'The Empire', Kefka's organization. Cyan is a compelling dark-haired lord whose family has been slain, but who is not acting out of vengeance, but altruism. And Shadow is a ninja with a companion wolfhound and a black sense of humor. Some of the other characters are a little half-baked, a few are very wild, and in sum total there's much more variety in combat than in Final Fantasy II -- though I still prefer the latter for its elegant simplicity.

The score of FF3 is perhaps its strongest feature, and was composed by the inimitable Nobuo Uemetsu, whose work arguably declined in quality after this title. The key events in the story are all accompanied by a compelling musical piece, while battles and overworld travel are invigorated with one of many lively tunes.

My personal favorite is a rollicking jungle beat, which plays as your party travels across the Veldt, a savannah region populated by a variety of tame-able beasts. I can still remember just letting the game run, not doing anything, to listen to the track for a few minutes -- it's just that good.

The Bad
There's no flaw at all in Final Fantasy III, except that it's not as well thought-out as Final Fantasy II. It's still a great game, but the overall plot concept does not leave the player in a sublime state of satisfaction as its predecessor does. Simply put, Kefka is no Golbez. Also, needs more Crystals.

But... perhaps not. FF2 is FF2, and FF3 is FF3. It's just that the first features a far more sensible, interesting plot, while the second strays into some pretty zany territory. For example: a ghost train, an end-of-the-world cataclysm, mech suits, human experimentation and mind-control... and a few dinosaurs thrown in for good measure. It's an eclectic mix to be generous, and haphazard to be critical.

The Bottom Line
Hands down, Final Fantasy III is the finest RPG from the mid-90s, superior to anything else on the Super Nintendo, the PC, or the Genesis -- from the 1994-1997 period. 1993 gave us Betrayal at Krondor on the PC, a vastly deeper, richer game, and 1998 saw the release of one of my personal favorites, Baldur's Gate. FF3 did a great job of holding me over between these stellar releases for the PC.

So -- play it on an emulator today? Mmmm if you have a strong nostalgic hankering for one of the four finest RPGs on the SNES. I'll stick with Team Fortress 2 for now, personally.

And yes, the other three are FF2, Secret of Mana, and Chrono Trigger.

SNES · by Chris Wright (85) · 2010

A surprisingly good blend of story and open world

The Good
Final Fantasy VI is structured into two chapters which work very differently: The first is very linear and tells the story of the main characters. This is very well executed, even if the writing (or the translation) is a bit uneven, mostly because of the sprites which manage to transport emotions without words and the wonderful music - yes, it is so good even a tone-deaf oaf like me can recognize it. Like many Japanese games, FFVI mixes up serious topics with goofy moments which works exceptionally well for my taste. Like usually in this series so far, the villain does not have a personality except evil, but his actions make me hate him enough that it doesn't matter.

Without spoiling too much, the second part puts the player into a known world which is drastically changed. Final Fantasy V pulled a similar trick, but it didn't succeed because too much stayed the same. Here on the other hand, everything (except a few minor NPCs dialogue) has changed and it is worth re-exploring every town and every cave. In fact, here the game drops all story and becomes a real open-world adventure. Now the player can freely visit every location and only has one goal: to meet old friends, become stronger and eventually take on the final dungeon. The revolutionary part for the series is that many of the side-quests have a narrative and even result in real character development while others have interesting secrets to find. I'm not an open world person and usually I prefer a bit more linearity, but this game pulls it off almost perfectly - even modern (as of 2021) open world games could learn a few things from FFVI.

The Windows version (which is a port of the mobile version) adds many UI improvements (just make sure to change the combat screen to "Tab" in the options) and portraits which, in contrast to FFV, match the in-game sprites and look reasonably well.

The Bad
The biggest weakness of FFVI are its number of party members. There are overall 14 and this naturally means not everyone gets the the same attention, both from the writers (only a few have actual character development, the rest are just along for the ride) and the player (an active party consists of four). This wouldn't be that bad, but for the final dungeon the player needs to create three teams (i.e. 12 members) which results in the need to grind up every NPC which wasn't used much. I did it once during my first playthrough back in the day of early SNES emulation, never again.

There is also another end-game dungeon with a gimmick: only magic allowed. Against enemies which all have reflect active, i.e. almost all magic bounces off. Oh, and there are no save points, you can't run away from random encounters, the boss dies with a spell which instantly kills the party unless he knows what is coming and afterwards the player has to walk all the way down again. This is about as fun as it sounds. There is an obvious way to beat the odds, but it results in a boring slog in which the enemies slowly kill themselves while there isn't any danger of actually dying. Unfortunately the reward is so good and useful that it can't be reasonably skipped.

The Bottom Line
You probably noticed the negative section is mostly filled with complaints over two specific dungeons and the interpretation is obvious: this is a very enjoyable and competently designed game. It was the first Final Fantasy which impressed me and it remains my favorite up to this day, even if I can't be bothered to actually finish it anymore.

Final Fantasy VI shows how to do a good blend between story and open world, even if the two sections are strictly separated. Of course it would have been better to have both at the same time, but I think it would be unfair to hold it against this game - this feat wasn't actually achieved until 2015 after all. I fully recommend FFVI to everyone with an interest in JRPGs who isn't put off by SNES graphics and a high frequency of random encounters.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (302504) · 2021

Defines everything there is to love about the Final Fantasy games

The Good
A definitive classic of console rpgs, FF6 is the last Final Fantasy to be developed for the SNES, and the last 2D game in the series making it not just a classic but also a nostalgic phenomenon when looked at through the polygonal eyes of today's gaming audience. And as with most classic games of any genre it's too difficult to find anything new to say to add to the praises and awards that have piled upon it as the years went by, but well...that doesn't mean I can't try :)

FF6 is basically the most obvious example of the different approach Japanese game designers do when crafting their "roleplaying" games. Basically speaking, here you have an rpg where the roleplaying aspect is limited to tuning up some individual stats and add some additional skills to each character (usually magic-related) and the story develops with the same interactivity as when you sit your fat ass in your sofa and watch ESPN. So what's the big deal behind FF6 you say? It's story, it's characters, it's attention to detail, it's careful scripting and plot development.

I think it's only fair to acknowledge that the true revolution started with FF4, but in my mind 6 is the number I think of whenever I think of the prototypical plot-oriented console rpg. The kind that weaves a large, epic plotline whose complexity is only matched by it's gigantic cast of characters that, in classic Squaresoft fashion, get their own sections of the plot devoted entirely to them, and become interesting parts of a huge tapestry of sideplots, stories of friendship and love that connect in different ways to the "Kill Gonzo" plot and give it a more human and touching feeling that make it a much more interesting and mature experience. And which ever since this game (FF4, really) have become Square's formula for success, with every character having adding it's own collection of traumas, fears and vulnerabilities to make up a much deeper tapestry of emotions.

In fact FF6 goes the extra mile and gives such a prominent place in the spotlight to each particular character that the final plot ends up taking a backseat to the personal dramas and problems of each character, and the game makes a move that I absolutely loved and consider one of the highlights of the game: you see, it doesn't focus the entire story around a certain easy-to-market character that appealed to a specific demographic. For what I think is the only time in the series, the game's hero is actually a collective assembly of characters that help each other evenly and drive the plotline on their own through very thick situations changing the focus of the story as different events pass the ball around the different characters not just for said character's development sake but as an important dramatic component that allows the story to flow much more seamlessly and with a much more epic scope. In fact, thanks to Square's refusal to focus on a single character to drive the main game's plot for it's 6th FF, the game is one of the few that actually has that operatic flow the series so often strives to reach but which often fail to get and end up composing what's mostly an adventure serial (and hey, there's a reason this particular Final Fantasy has that particular and much-praised opera scene). Emotions are driven home in a much more convincing manner as there isn't a need for forced exposition thanks to the narrative focus's ability to jump around and always seat you on the right place. Making this FF a much more adult and emotionally touching game than most of it's more advanced sequels, which had to resort to incredibly forced and unconvincing setpieces just to drive home a simple point like a character's love for another and which did nothing but mess things up because the story always had to find a way to connect the events to the same X character in some way.

For instance, the game might start you on the shoulders of a certain character who imposses you her view of things and takes you with her through most of the plot, but after a specific earth-shattering event, most of the characters you grew fond of are lost and facing their own problems outside of the main plot. Only one character seems to still have the drive to pursue the goal that you all started so long ago, and now you get to see the world from a different perspective as you essentially start over from her point of view and see that not all the characters you knew were as they appeared. Obviously, that's the most extreme example, and not every character gets "equal share" when it comes to starring in the game, but it's still enough to make a difference and remains an oddity in the world of console rpgs which favor the established hero with a supporting cast (well developed or not) that hardly ever rises above that role. Heck, this is a game were you even take control of an enemy general at one point just to see the story from his point of view! Every character in FF6 (with the possible exception of the bonus ones that hardly get any lines at all, let alone entire sequences devoted to them) owns a piece of FF6, and there's not a single character you can remove from it and not miss his/her mark on the game, and the emotional hole it leaves.

Things are so similar and yet so different because of this simple narrative technique that you might not even notice it as practically on every FF you have a melodramatic component of corny love stories, coming-of-age issues and stuff like that shoved in the game, but rarely they make it fit so well with what's going on. Another reason I dare point out as to why the formula worked so and hasn't really been tried again in the same way is because of a nice side-effect of the technical limitations of our 16-bit ancestors: It enforced on designers the notion of SUBTLETY.

So Yes, characters are the true stars of FF6, but it also has a very good save-the-world plot, and great gameplay value with lots of optional quests, branching areas, extra dungeons to explore and unlockable bonuses such as hidden characters, more storyline revelations, and end-all-be-all weapons and spells. The combat and magic system takes a step towards a much more free-form customizable model as it would eventually become in FF7, were any character can become a powerhouse in the right field with the right materia/esper combo, but 6 still retains those "class-like" quirks in full form with well defined warriors, monks, thieves, dancers and the usual assortment of good game-balancing stuff games like FF8 sent to the gutter.

As far as technical development goes, FF6 refines every aspect of the SNES-era FF engine and showcases everything Square and Nintendo had learned from each other, sporting loads of scripted sequences, pseudo-polygonal map exploration, assorted graphic effects and a refined interface as well as extra advances in the sound department that help it showcase the always impressive FF music. Now speaking about the music, I'm not one of the rabid fans that always have nothing but praises towards Nobuo-whatshisname and his compositions, yes they are effective, but quite frankly I've seen more impressive work and could never really find a FF soundtrack that stuck with me or even moved me (specially nowadays, when the series seems to favor shitty pop songs that not even Christina Aguilera would sing)... That is, EXCEPT for the main map theme as played in FF6. Which I found to be a beautiful melancholic melody that often made me stop playing for a while just to listen to it. It is the sole melody I remember from all the FF games (though I often wake up screaming whenever Eyes on Me [or whatever it was called]is sung on my nightmares).

The Bad
Nothing I can think of. Seriously speaking FF6 represents the most evolved state of console rpgs from the 16-bit era and is still a fully playable game to this date.

Tough to be fair I should mention that in order to fully enjoy this one you have to always remember to switch yourself into "Japanese RPG" mode and be able to ignore those naive quirks and "kawaii" moments our friends of the east can't seem to forget to include every now and then. Or their predilection for stupid, needless mini-games (hey boys 'n girls! Let's play catch the fast fish and save Cid!! YaaaaY!!!)...

The Bottom Line
Look at it this way: Square grabbed this game, slapped some fancy cgi cutscenes, character art and extra stuff to it and re-released it verbatim for the PSX years later. Believe me, there's was a reason for doing that besides slick marketing, and it's because FF6 is a monumental achievement in the history of console rpgs. No self respecting gamer can pass it up, be it on it's original form or on it's souped-up, mucho-macho PSX edition. Get it, live it, love it.

SNES · by Zovni (10504) · 2004

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Named wrong? te_lanus (523) Oct 7, 2018
M A G I C Simoneer (29) Oct 1, 2010
Holy crap. (another game music post) J. P. Gray (115) Jun 22, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Final Fantasy VI appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Characters

The names of some of the player-controlled characters were changed from their original Japanese counterparts: * Tina (ティナ) Branford became Terra Mash (マッシュ) Rene Figaro became Sabin Cayenne (カイエン) Garamonde became Cyan**

Development

Development of the game was rushed and several superbosses are included in the game's code but were not actually used. There are also several glitches in the game, possibly a result of the rushed development.

Extras

The European PlayStation release also contains the Final Fantasy X demo disc.

Manual

The game manual in the PlayStation version contains a major spoiler, by casually mentioning a major plot twist while listing the bonus content available after completion of the game.

Multiplayer

In the configuration menu of the original SNES release, characters can be set to either Controller 1 or Controller 2, making this in effect a two-player game. However, this control to the second player only works in battle and not on the overhead view maps or levels.

References

  • In the SNES version (it is unknown if this applies to the PSX remake), the two soldiers that escort Terra at the beginning of the game are named Vicks and Wedge. This is a mistranslation, and a reference to Star Wars, where there are two pilots named Biggs and Wedge.
  • Larry, Curly, and Moe are named after the slapstick comedy threesome The Three Stooges.

Sequel

Sometime in the mid-1990s, Square released several models showing off their new 3-D system. Much of what they used were characters and images from Final Fantasy VI, modeled into new 3-D. For this reason many people were expecting a sequel using these same characters or some kind of spin-off game. Much speculation was around Project Reality (the Nintendo 64) which promised to be a console system built around rendering 3-D graphics. In the end, nothing developed from these rumors about Final Fantasy VI and Square's following game in the series, Final Fantasy VII became the first to use 3-D modeling techniques.

Setzer

One of the main characters in this game is an avid gambler named "Setzer" (he even has a casino build on his airship). Supposedly, this was meant to be the German equivalent of "one who places a bet" or "placer". While it technically means this in German, it is never used that way; "Setzer" is rather used for "typesetter" (well, not that typesetters are common nowadays anyway). Yet another example of Japanese usage of German "names".

Soundtrack

The entire 25-minute opera sequence is available on CD as played by a full orchestra with singers. It's on the album Orchestral Game Concert #4, (translated, CD is Japanese) which is, itself, hard to find.

There have been multiple albums released with the game's soundtrack, all of them in 1994: a three-CD set with the original music, two CDs with orchestral and piano arrangements of certain tracks, and a CD with unused or remixed tracks. More details are to be found at Wikipedia.

Translation

It is a popular rumor that the lead translator for the English version, Ted Woolsey, apparently lacked professional translating experience. The discrepancies in translations have been attributed to this fact for several years. As with many translations, name changes and dialogue 'corrections' are left entirely up to the staff, but there are many who believe that these erroneous changes are due entirely to the fact that Ted did not have the knowledge to translate the text fully.

Version differences

There were two SNES releases of Final Fantasy III, the later release contains minor hardware revisions, as well as tweaks to the game itself such as the disappearance and renaming of certain items (Hero Ring, etc).

In the original SNES release of the game, Relm's "Sketch" ability is very buggy. Using it consistently against certain enemies can cause all sorts of interesting problems such as graphical distortions, random status effects and/or inability to use party members, a hacked inventory full of items/spells that are not even possible to get, large amounts of various items/spells and sometimes even a wipe of all the game's saved battery data.

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • October 1994 (Issue 63) - Game of the Month
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - Best RPG
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - Best Music (Cartridge Format)
    • 1995 Buyer's Guide - Best RPG (Japanese)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #7 (Readers' Top 10 Games of All Time)
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #9 (Best 100 Games of All Time)
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #28 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • GameFan
    • 1994 (Vol.3, Iss.1) - Overall RPG Game of the Year
    • 1994 (Vol.3, Iss.1) - Best SNES RPG Game of the Year
    • 1994 (Vol.3, Iss.1) - Best SNES Music
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #7 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • Game Players
    • January 1995 - Best SNES RPG Game in 1994
  • GameSpy
    • 2007 – #4 Handheld Game of the Year
    • 2007 – GBA Game of the Year
    • 2007 – GBA RPG of the Year
  • VideoGames
    • March 1995 - Best Role-Playing Game of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Satoshi Kunsai.

Android added by Fred VT. PS Vita, Windows added by GTramp. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. iPad, iPhone added by firefang9212. Fire OS added by Sciere. Wii added by Joshua J. Slone. Game Boy Advance added by Unicorn Lynx. PlayStation 3, PSP added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Roedie, Unicorn Lynx, SAGA_, Alaka, Mobygamesisreanimated, Bregalad, Havoc Crow, DarkDante, Big John WV, DreinIX, —-, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, 64er.

Game added October 22, 2001. Last modified May 12, 2024.