Video Game Review: Final Fantasy III

My Mom Always Told Me To Get A Job.

I don’t think she was talking about becoming a dragoon, though 😫.

Rating: star-1star-1star-1

It’s kind of hard to know what to do with Final Fantasy III. It was the last of the games from the NES to finally make it to the USA, but by that time it came repackaged in a 3D remaster for the Nintendo DS. I feel like I’m comparing apples to oranges going from two remakes that were mostly cosmetic upgrades to this more fully reworked game.

Don’t worry though: while the graphics are fully polygonal, it still keeps the Nintendo hard madness. Who doesn’t like ending a 35 hour quest with a 5 hour dungeon? Or, having to frequently switch between toads and miniature replicas to progress the game?

The saving grace for FF3 is the Job system in all its nascent glory. For the first time, you could switch each character to whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. While not a perfect imagining, it kept what would have otherwise been a massive grind of random encounters at bay.

I will never understand how CGI movies are made of things that actually don’t exist in game.


Final Fantasy III was a success in Japan (selling over 1 million copies) for the Famicom (which stands for Family Computer and is the equivalent of the USA’s NES). The usual cast of characters were involved with Yoshitaka Amano providing art direction and Nobuo Uematsu making the music. FF3 failed to make it outside of Japan supposedly due to the release of the SNES. Square lacked the staff to simultaneously develop a new game on a new platform while trying to localize FF3 for an international market.

Floating eyeball in whirlwind = lemur.


Put A Name With A Face.

When Square re-released all of these old NES games, they must have felt immense pressure to make the characters much more like…characters. A couple unique sprites just wasn’t going to be enough in the 21st century! So in the spirit of retconning, they gave each of the four main characters a little bit of a backstory and personality.

The only problem with this: that’s where it stops. To me, why even put in this much effort if it’s going to be over within the first 30 minutes of the game? Also, I have some questions about Arc that weren’t covered in his two sentence biography.

Arc pulling off the furry look.

Unexpected Growth In Jobs.

So the characters are pretty much blank slates including what they do in battle. Final Fantasy 3 introduced the beloved job system where you get to mix and match what your party looks like. By end of game, there are a ton of choices.

Given how many random encounters there are, at least you get a little bit of flexibility with how to approach them. The unfortunate fact is that many of the classes are worthless, so I would wager that most people end up with the same 6-8 choices throughout the entire game. However, there is something special in those 8 choices as you mix and match the best way to use them.

A retelling of Matthew and Mark.

Let’s Waste Time.

The game also boasts a bunch of pointless stuff. One of the worst is requiring you to be a toad or mini to progress into certain areas. Many times I found I had enough items or magic to make myself mini, but not enough to resize myself on the other side. This required frequent job changes, inventory runs, and magic management. It’s not a big deal as the game progresses (when you have plenty of MP and Gil) but it is just a waste of time early on.

What I really don’t get is that the item Mallet not only makes you minature but can also make you regular sized.

I guess you use the blunt side for mini and the other side to stretch ’em back out?

There is also a stretch in the game where every NPC hints that you need a scholar to progress past a certain boss. I wouldn’t even call it foreshadowing; it was a constant threat of “you better do this shit or die.” I went to the effort of switching my white mage to a scholar, really hamstringing my ability to heal and get through dungeons. I gave it up halfway but still steam-rolled the boss no problem. Wasn’t that all a waste of time?

Ocarina of Time crossover.

Music to My Ears.

I was always a video game music nerd buying CDs of orchestrated Final Fantasy music at the local Electronic Boutique. One thing this game absolutely nails is its music.

Some versions of this game have an option to switch between the orchestrated music and the original NES soundtrack. It was a nice touch to have a throwback to the original.

Let’s End This.

A review of FF3 would be incomplete without mentioning the final dungeon. I’m pretty good at time management, but trying to beat this game before bedtime was a mistake.

It opens with a mini dungeon where you get the final crystal. Clearing this leads you to the courtyard of the final trial: the crystal tower. Here, you can either ascend to go towards the final boss or descend to collect important treasure & magic. Either way leads to dangerous enemies and several minibosses.

It’s not always clear where to go.

After you get to the top, you eventually reach a point of no return where you enter some other dimension. Unlike Crystal Tower where you can still bail, this is where you have to get to the finish or perish. Here, you must defeat four dark crystals that also are the home to four tough bosses.

I was getting sleepy.

After this, you finally get to encounter the final boss — the cloud of darkness which is reminiscent of medusa with a bunch of extra snakes. Only after defeating her/him/ze/hir, will you finally be the true warriors of light.


I enjoyed it. Even that final dungeon – yikes!

Other People’s Takes:

  • Games That I Play: “Final Fantasy III is enjoyable to play, even if its the blandest flavor of RPG vanilla out there. The game looks bland, combat is bland with little strategy for veterans, the stories are forgettable and its just coasting along on its hefty customization.
  • Monkey Scrolls: “Despite the game’s shortcomings I did enjoy the game to a great degree. The refreshing battle system and wide variety of enemy types make FFIII for the Nintendo DS a solid game that everyone should take the time to play.”
  • Pix Pen: ” If I could only recommend one of this original set to someone, this would be it. It feels like the most well-balanced out of them, with decent pacing and battles that offer a good challenge. While it is a bit grindy I would say it’s still an alright game

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