Let’s Review All the Final Fantasies – Final Fantasy III for the Famicom.

This is the script used for my You Tube Review of Final Fantasy III.  All grammar errors, spelling errors, and crimes against entertainment are intact.

Video: https://youtu.be/IoHd79d16fc

Welcome to the fourth installment of “Let’s Review all the Final Fantasies”.  Today I want to talk to you about Final Fantasy 3 for the Famicom.
[Intro]

Final Fantasy 3 was released on April 27th,1990 for the Famicom.  Unfortunately, us scrubs in North America wouldn’t see a localized version until August 24th, 2006 when it was remade for the Nintendo DS.

In Final Fantasy 3 you start off in a cave filled with dangerous monsters and your characters are trying to find their way out.  Here we see a good example of what Final Fantasy 3 is about.  You are once again, dropped into the middle of ongoing action, like Final Fantasy 2, but the four characters under your command are blank slates, like in Final Fantasy 1.  Your characters all start as Freelancers or Onion Knights, depending on the translation you’re playing.  This is a great little starting class, it has fine attack and defense, and can use level one white magic.  You won’t be playing as a freelancer for long though, you’ll quickly find your way out of this tutorial dungeon.  I say tutorial dungeon, because it shows you what secret doors look like and how they work, it also shows you healing water, and treasure chests with battle items in them.  You’ll fight the dungeon boss and come up on your first crystal.  That’s right we have the return of the glorious crystals.  Although here they play a larger role that just being plot McGuffins.  Don’t get me wrong, they are still plot McGuffins, but now each crystal will unlock new jobs for your characters to perform.  These jobs change how your character grows.  Higher job levels in one class may cause your defense to grow faster, while higher job levels in another will cause your HP to grow faster.  In total are 20 jobs that you unlock through the crystals, and 2 secret jobs that you must find to use.  Each job has a specialization, with their own strengths and weaknesses.  The vast amount of jobs is what will keep you playing Final Fantasy III perhaps you can challenge yourself to play through the whole game as a freelancer? Maybe you’ll play it as only magic casters.  I loved all these classes but didn’t actually play as very many.  Besides the ones required to progress through the story, like Dark Knight and Scholar, I only really used Warrior, Black Mage, White Mage, Knight, Magus, Devout, and one of the secret jobs.  Knight, Magus, and Devout aren’t even really new classes, they’re just stronger versions of the Warrior, Black Mage, and White Mage.  I did play around a little with the Dragoon, Red Mage, and other secret class though.  I will be playing as other classes in future play throughs.

The battle system is just like before cosmetically.  Now though you won’t be running into packs of 8 or 9 monsters and you can hit all of them.  I never ran into the bullshit of missing because a monster was too far in the back of the enemy party, like what happened in Final Fantasy 2. They rebalanced the magic so that it stays useful to the end as well.  Running away is still useless, but now it’s not because you have to level it, it’s useless because the risk is too high.  When you use the run command your party’s defense is set to zero.  Not just the member who’s trying to run away.  A hit when you run will hurt a ton, especially in the late game when your party’s armor brings their defense to between 50 and 100.  Also, the magic system is back to charges, instead of MP.  I do think that Final Fantasy 3 has the best looking sprites and enemy designs of any of the Famicom Trilogy. You no longer have drab browns and greys.  We’re back to bright fantasy colors and it’s all more detailed and impressive.

Some of the biggest improvements made by Square were in the menu.  It’s easy to read, easy to understand and it’s so much easier to see the effects of new equipment, you don’t even need to change screens.  To top it off, they made inventory management better.  You can still run out of space in your party’s inventory, but now you can summon the Fat Chocobo who will “eat” your excess inventory and let you retrieve it later. Square even improved on buying items at the shop, now you can buy 1, 4, or 10 items at a time.  The only significant improvement that I can think of would have been to show job descriptions, but Final Fantasy 3 came out back when video games came with good manuals that you were expected to read.  Now, I can’t read Japanese, but when looking through the manual, it seems like it covers all the basics quite well.

I don’t really want to go through a plot synopsis.  Partially because it’s almost the same as Final Fantasy 1, but they just sprinkled more in and partially because it is much longer than Final Fantasy 1 or 2.  Also, I think more people should play it, everyone outside of Japan was robbed of a great game.  There is just so much more going on.  The world map is simply massive when compared to 1 or 2, it honestly feels comparable to the world map in four in its size and variety.  It’s not a simple story of visiting the four fiends to light the crystals, nor is it a straight story about just the stuff you did to help a rebellion and defeat an evil emperor.  Final Fantasy III marks the first time, in the main series, Square expanded a story with detours and events that are inconsequential to the game’s base story.  I liked most of these detours, they showed the most creativity.  There are dungeons in some of the detours that require you to completely change your party makeup or keep yourselves as toads to finish.  When I say that Square sprinkled more into Final Fantasy 3, I mean that their design philosophy appears to be have been “do like we did in FF1, but more and bigger”.  You get the customizable party, but now you don’t need to start a new game to change it and you have way more than 6 classes and their upgrades.  You don’t just get the canoe, boat, and airship; you get a canoe, a boat and 4 airships!  The airships are where the team at Square really let their imaginations run wild.  One of the airships gets destroyed half an hour into the game.  Another transforms into a boat.  The third airship is super-fast, allowing access to areas with high winds; it also transforms into a submarine allowing you to explore the oceans (lots of cool secrets there).  The final and forth airship is massive, shoots cannon balls during encounters, and ‘hops’ over small mountains unlocking more areas of the map.  To finish the game and find all the secrets, you’ll have to use the 3rd and 4th airships to their fullest. Square also expanded on the lore behind the crystals.  You learn about the world of darkness, the warriors of darkness and the balance of light and dark that keeps both worlds alive. As a package, Final Fantasy 3 feels like the first time Square wanted to build a long running series out of the Final Fantasy brand.  I love Final Fantasy 1 a lot, but it doesn’t really feel like it’s part of the same series, and Final Fantasy 2 was such an ambitious departure, that it really didn’t feel anything like the first game.  With 3, though you get a game that is obviously evolved from the first, and clearly builds on that foundation giving you… well more.

I breezed through most of Final Fantasy 3.  It wasn’t particularly difficult, until the end. Getting the Keys to Eureka and the Crystal Tower was the first time I struggled.  After that I thought I was good to go.  Nope! Now it was time for the traditional gauntlet.  In 1 and 2 the gauntlets where tests of your stamina and how stocked up you were on healing items.  In 3 the gauntlet is the crystal tower, followed by the dark world.  It’s a complex maze with lots of secret walls and treasures.  The Crystal tower isn’t a test of your stamina, it’s at test of your patience.  My first attempt was at level 45.  Its a couple hours to get to the top, and I barely made it.  I was out of healing items, then the first bad guy mopped the floor with my team.  So I leveled up to 50, and raided the tower for all the treasures, so I could just walk through the maze without anything to collect.  At 50 I made through the first boss fairly comfortably and wiped to the first random encounter in the dark world.  So, I went and unlocked the secret jobs and tried again.  I got to the first dark crystal and became a floor cleaner again.  So, I ground out levels until 60, bought 48 shuriken and cheesed the shit out of the tower.  I used shuriken on the four dark crystal bosses and the Dark Cloud.  I barely made it, with 1 shuriken left and half the party dead.  I was this close to quitting the game, thinking that there was no way that the payoff could be worth it.  By modern standards, the payoff wasn’t worth the struggle at all, but back in 1990, this scene would have been so cool.  To be honest, 4 or 5-year-old me would have absolutely loved this final scene.  What makes finishing Final Fantasy 3 worth it is the jobs and finding the best party to beat the game.  I will be playing again.

Wrap up time!  My estimate for completing Final Fantasy 3, if you are an experienced and good player of JRPGs, is about 20 hours.  I’m putting Final Fantasy 3 at number two in our ranking of the games played so far.  I’m a little shocked myself.  I loved this game and the Final Fantasy 1, but even as I played, and especially as I was on the grind to finish it, I really wanted to play Final Fantasy Legend again.

This original cartridge cost me about $10 on ebay, but you don’t need to learn Japanese to play Final Fantasy III.  In fact, I didn’t even play this cart, even though the Retron 5 allows me to apply a translation patch.  Instead I found this reproduction cart for $15 on AliExpress.  It’s not a perfect translation but it has the added feature of allowing you to run when you hold the ‘B’ button, and it has all three Famicom games on it.  You don’t even need to import a dodgy repro to play 3 though.  There are high quality reproductions all around the internet, or there is the remake.  In the beginning of this video I mentioned that the game was remade for the Nintendo DS in 2006.  This remake has since been ported to iOS, Android, and Steam.  If you are adventurous, the remake was ported to the PSP.  The PSP port was only released in japan, necessitating import, but it has the full script in English, so you’ll be good to go.  I don’t really have an opinion on what version you should play, I remember liking the DS remake back in 2006, but I don’t remember any details about it.

Thank you for joining me today.  I hope you’ll join me next time for Final Fantasy Legend 2 on the Gameboy.  I am excited to see what the Legend series has in store.  To see the other videos in this series, check out the LRAFF play list on my channel. If you have any questions, or comments please leave them below.  I love reading comments and answering questions when I can.  Remember to leave a thumbs-up if you liked the video and thumbs-down if you didn’t.  If you want to see more of what we do here at Game Dawgs, weather it’s reviewing all the games in this massive series, or dumb 3D printing projects, please subscribe.  Links to the music used in this video are in the description box below.  Over and out, watch your six.

 

 

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