Time for more Games You Should Have Played. I’m about to hit you with a game that will take you a very, very long time to finish on your first playthrough (assuming you don’t just stick to the storyline), but is also one of the best examples of a great story and excellent characterization in video games. Hold on to your pants ’cause here comes Final Fantasy III on the SNES.
History lesson for non-gamers or new gamers: Final Fantasy was a game that came out on the Famicom in Japan and the US on the NES. It was called “Final Fantasy” because Squaresoft was literally about to go under. The game became a huge success, so they made a sequel in Japan called Final Fantasy II, followed by Final Fantasy III. The Super Famicom came along and Japan got Final Fantasy IV, which we then got as Final Fantasy II on the SNES.
A recap: Japan makes Final Fantasy V and then Final Fantasy VI. We get VI but for us it’s III. Confused? Yes, it is confusing, but to sum up I’m telling you to play Final Fantasy VI, but when we FIRST got it in the US on the SNES it was called Final Fantasy III. We clear on that? Good.
I first played FFIII my freshmen year of high school when a friend told me that it was “The best RPG of all time.” I didn’t believe him since I considered Super Mario RPG the best, but I still played the game when he lent it to me to test his claim.
For the first hour or so I hated the game with a passion. And then something clicked in my brain and I was stuck playing the game for dozens of hours on end. I played it to the half point of the game but when I found out some actions I had taken permanently killed off one of the characters I immediately restarted my game to undo the damage. I even RESTARTED a game I was 30 hours into. That should set the stage for you just enough.
the Storyline of Final Fantasy 3
The game begins with Terra, a girl with amnesia, being lead to a magical creature called an Esper. Things get pretty crazy from there as Locke, a treasure hunter, helps her join a group of rebels called the Returners that are fighting against the Empire, the people who brainwashed Terra and caused her amnesia. Give this plot some time and it explodes into some really touching moments.
Of the more than a dozen memorable characters that pop out with their own unique storylines, none of them compare with the villain of the game and my nomination for best villain of all time: Kefka.
Kefka is not a god or the last from an ancient race. He isn’t enhanced with robotics or science and he isn’t possessed by a demon or anything like that. Kefka is just an evil man, and that’s what makes him fantastic. He doesn’t get a deep backstory or a great motive for why he does what he does. He just wants power and he sees all life as expendable to the point that he kills an entire town just because they won’t join the Empire. That’s cold.
The world the story takes place in is huge and gets bigger the further you progress through the story. You can’t beat this game in one sitting no matter how much you’d like to. You also can’t sit down for short sessions with this game. You have to commit to playing this game when you can devote hours to powering through everything it has to offer.
But it’s all worth it, especially when you get to the Opera House. Yes, in case you didn’t know, this game has an opera in it. One of the greatest moments in all of video games.
I prefer to play the game as it was originally meant to be played on the Super Nintendo. However, a copy of the game can run quite a few bucks. There are other options available to you, though.
There is a port on the original Playstation in Final Fantasy Anthology, a port on the Game Boy Advance as Final Fantasy VI Advance, and I’ve heard rumors of it being released on the Wii’s Virtual Console sometime in the near future. Plus, they are making a remake of the title on the DS. This is another one of those instances where the longer you wait to play the game, the fewer excuses you can come up with not to play it.
If nothing else, go find the soundtrack and hear the best the Super Nintendo has to offer in music. Pop in your headphones and just drift to sleep listening to the soundtrack and by the time you wake up you should want to play this game.