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Final Fantasy III (SNES) artwork

Final Fantasy III (SNES) review

"One of the most popular debates in gaming is determining the best Final Fantasy game. Many people claim VII or X to be the best, many people are also noobs and should be shot for saying such ignorant things. Now that the fanboy flames have been ignited, I present to you what I consider to be the best of the Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy VI. "

One of the most popular debates in gaming is determining the best Final Fantasy game. Many people claim VII or X to be the best, many people are also noobs and should be shot for saying such ignorant things. Now that the fanboy flames have been ignited, I present to you what I consider to be the best of the Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy VI.

Final Fantasy VI was initially released in the U.S. as Final Fantasy III for the SNES in 1994, while the actual Final Fantasy III wouldn’t make its way here until last year. Final Fantasy VI was re-released on the PSone in 1999 in the form of Final Fantasy Anthology which also included never released in U.S. Final Fantasy V. This iteration included CG cutscenes and improved production values. Earlier this year, Final Fantasy VI was ported once more to the GBA as Final Fantasy VI: Advance which included improved dialogue and other gameplay mechanics including a new bonus dungeon. Those who haven’t had the chance to play this great game now have no choice but to do so now.

Each entry of the Final Fantasy series has the nasty tendency to have its storyline fall into one of the two options: the four elemental crystals are destroyed and it’s up to a group of adventurers to restore them, or a power-hungry empire is hell-bent on conquering the world and a group of adventurers must stop them; Final Fantasy VI happens to fall into the latter. A thousand years ago war broke between humans and magical creatures known as espers (people who watch SportsCenter 24/7). This was known as the War of the Magi where ironic gifts nearly brought the destruction of the world but that was prevented when the espers sealed themselves away from the human world. As time passed, the empire managed to break the seal of the esper world and captured several espers, including a young girl. Humans acquired magic-infused technology known as Magitek which was drawn from the magic powers of the espers and utilized the magic powers that the girl, Terra, possessed. Terra becomes an important factor in the war against the empire when she’s rescued by Locke, a thief, or treasure hunter as he prefers to be known as. Locke is part of a group of rebels known as the Returners who oppose the power-hungry empire and they gain the support of various cities who have been raped of their freedom from the empire.

While the story appears to be cliché at first, there are loads of plot twists and emotional scenes that make this game shine above its counterparts. Final Fantasy VI’s is known for a variety of features. One of these includes Ultros, the persistent octopus whom you’ll fight numerous times and is known for his classic one-liner “Don’t tease the octopus kids,” unfortunately it’s omitted in the GBA version. Another feature includes the opera scene where the music is so touching that it can make even tough guys like myself burst out in tears. Of course, the one thing Final Fantasy VI is best known for is its diabolical villain, Kefka. Kefka is arguably the best villain in a video game ever. He’s not some emo vengeance-seeking loser like FF7’s Sephiroth. He’s goes against his superior’s orders and does whatever the hell he wants because he’s evil. Seriously, you have to be one sick son of a bitch to poison a castle’s water supply and kill everyone for no logical reason. Not to mention his laugh is one of the most memorable sound effects in the game.

Final Fantasy VI features the largest cast of playable characters in the series with a whopping 14 characters with different abilities and personalities. In addition to the aforementioned two, there’s Edgar, who’s the master of handling ladies and powerful tools for combat. Edgar’s twin brother, Sabin, requires you to enter various button combinations in order unleash his powerful Blitz techniques such as an energy blast or a fury of punches. Other characters include the traitorous Celes, who is not only a great singer, but also is the only other character aside from Terra who can cast magic early in the game. You’ll also acquire a ninja, a samurai, an abominable snowman, a youth who thinks he’s an abominable snowman, and various others including a moogle. How often do you get to fight with a moogle, let alone a team of them?

Like other games in the series, you’ll engage in random turn-based battles. The game utilizes the ATB battle system where characters have to wait for their bar to fill up before they can make an action. Characters have standard actions such as attacking or using an item, as well as their individual abilities such as steal or blitz techniques. As stated before, only Terra and Celes can cast magic, but later in the game other characters will be able to control espers and eventually learn magic spells on their own. There are instances in the game where you’ll have to break up your party into three groups in order to defend against an invading army. You must battle your way towards their side of the battlefield before they reach yours.

While the gameplay may seem stale, the graphics manage to maintain their pixilated beauty even today. Final Fantasy VI was the first game in the series where characters would maintain a static size both on and off the battlefield. In previous games characters were larger on the battle screen and smaller on the field screens. FF6 is also known for manipulating the character sprites with body gestures to express emotion since technology wasn’t as advanced enough to show appropriate facial gestures. Things such as the twiddle of a finger, winking an eye, or jumping up and down are all clever animations that make classic SNES RPG’s more memorable than modern RPG’s.

Among all the things Final Fantasy VI offers, the soundtrack is possibly the best thing about the game. Between this and Chrono Trigger, I can’t decide which is the better score from composer, Nobuo Uematsu. Terra’s theme echoes throughout the game during key story segments. Locke’s dramatic entrance is accompanied by his epic theme that is probably my favorite Final Fantasy theme ever. Classic themes such as the victory music and the chocobo theme also return. The sound in general is fantastic albeit classic.

Overall, Final Fantasy VI is in my opinion, the best entry in the series and one of the greatest RPG’s in gaming. If you haven’t experienced this epic game, you need to do yourself a favor and pick it up in one of its forms. People like myself who adamantly believe it’s better than FF7 in every possible way are similar to the people who say they loved a band before it went mainstream; they’re liars but are too proud to admit it.


Ness's avatar
Community review by Ness (December 25, 2007)

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