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LTTP Analysis Retro 30 Years of Final Fantasy III

Claus Grimhildyr

Vincit qui se vincit
Jan 30, 2018
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Released on April 27th, 1990 in Japan, Final Fantasy III was the third release of the hit RPG franchise, Final Fantasy. Developed and published by Squaresoft for the Famicom, it was later remade in 3D by Matrix Software and released worldwide for the Nintendo DS between 2006 and 2007. Over the years, this version was ported to iOS, Android, Playstation Portable, Windows, and more. Its story was simplistic, but engrossing for its time. Its gameplay offered a freedom of choice that few others could match and quality of life changes that many take for granted today.





In the original release, four Warriors of Light who begin as "Onion Knights" are gifted power by the Wind Crystal and are tasked with restoring balanced to the world by seeking out the other elemental crystals. These characters are completely blank slates with no personality or gender to define them in-game, though the manga serialization, Yuukyuu no Kaze Densetsu: Final Fantasy III Yori, provides the names of "Muuchi (ムウチ)", "Doug (ダグ)", "J. Bowie (J・ボウイ)", and "Melfi (メルフィ)". The last of which being the only female party member.

With the remake, the characters were fleshed out and provided official names (which have been adopted for all future media releases), personalities, and backstories (however minor they may be). Also introduced are a number of supporting characters that can help in battle and join the party. Luneth who starts off the adventure by finding the Wind Crystal after falling into a cave at the start of the game. Before he can help rebalance the world, he is tasked with finding the other Warriors of Light. He is joined by his best friend, Arc. Later on, they meet Refia, the daughter of a blacksmith from Kazus, and Ingus, a knight of Sasune. Together, these four do as they did in the original game.





A true evolution of the franchise, Final Fantasy III took what worked from its forefathers and introduces new mechanics that have become staples ever since. A return of the experience point system, missing in Final Fantasy II. It introduced the series to special battle commands such as the abilities Steal, Jump, and Summon. Various quality of life changes were introduced as well, such as the ability to auto-target. This particular feature was considered a boon by the majority of gamers at the time as it allowed your party to re-target to another enemy if they were to die before their turn arrived - something not found in the series to that point. However, the biggest change was its introduction of the Job System. Unlike in Final Fantasy I where you were given a list of six jobs that were unchangeable after the start for your party of 4 (though you could advance them to more powerful versions) and Final Fantasy II's complete lack of classes, you were given the choice between 23 unique jobs that you were able to find throughout the adventure. This offered over 14,000 different party configurations and offered replayability that few other games could beat at the time.

These jobs have since become a staple of the franchise, being reused ever since in both mainline and and spinoff titles. The jobs are listed below:


Onion Knight | Freelancer (Remake)
Red Mage |
Black Mage |
White Mage |
Monk |
Warrior
Ranger |
Knight |
Thief |
Scholar |
Bard
Evoker |
Dark Knight |
Black Belt |
Viking |
Dragoon
Geomancer |
Summoner |
Devout |
Magus |
Sage |
Ninja





Lauded as one of the best soundtracks of the NES era, many of Final Fantasy III's tracks have been reused and performed to this day. There were three major releases to take note of. The first was the Original Sound Version released in 1991 and re-released in '94 and '04. This particular released has been described as the game in which Uematsu's musical style "began to take a more definite form". There were 44 tracks that added up to 54 minutes and 24 seconds of audio.

The second major release was an arranged album entitled Final Fantasy III Yukyu no Kaze Densetsu. This release, once again performed by Nobuo Uematsu, contained a selection of vocal (sung by Dido, a duo composed of Michiaki Kato and Shizuru Ohtaka) and arranged musical tracks interspersed with English narration of its story. 7 tracks over 52 minutes and 32 seconds in length.

The third major release was the remake's soundtrack. This time Tsuyoshi Sekito and Keiji Kawamori rearranged the original tracks of the game. Two remixes were done as well, one by The Black Mages, a rock band formed by Sekito, Kawamori, and Uematsu, with the other by the synth operator for the soundtrack, Yasuhiro Yamanaka. This release came with a DVD containing the FMV opening, promotional videos, and interviews with the game's staff. The album featured 61 songs over 70 minutes and 56 seconds in length.





Original Famicom Version



Remakes

Director & Executive ProducerHiromichi Tanaka
ProducerTomoya Asano
Battle SupervisorKazuhiko Aoki
Main PlannerHiroaki Yabuta
ProgrammersYuichi Yoshida, Shinnosuke Ohasi
Movie DirectorKazuyuki Ikumori
Art DirectorRyosuke Aiba
Character DesignAkihiko Yoshida
Image IllustratorYoshitaka Amano
Graphic DesignersJin Yamuraa, Kango Sumi
ComposerNobuo Uematsu
Music ArrangementTsuyoshi Sekito, Keiji Kawamori
English TranslationAziz Hinoshita


Sources:
Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume I (https://www.amazon.com/Final-Fantasy-Ultimania-Archive-1/dp/1506706444)
 
Jan 29, 2019
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Would have LOVED a PSP-style remake of this. That's the only thing holding me back from giving it my attention. The 3D remakes are just too ugly and rough when the 2D PSP sprite art and backgrounds are flawless.
yup, I'm replaying FF 1 & 2 PSP versions, they're amazing! I wish there was more 2D remakes like this one in the future... But that ship seems to have sailed (Streets of Rage IV may be the light at the end of the tunnel).

FF VII remake should have aimed to stick much closer to the original content, all these additions to the background stories remove too much of the air of mystery around the game's characters.
 
Dec 25, 2018
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Tried the English Translation the other day, it is by far the best NES RPG of them all. It feels like an experiment for 4 a year later even.

I also like the Battle and Boss themes to the game. Although I absolutely hated the DS game with a passion. Story was drab, characters were pretty lame and the Final Dungeon is all sorts of BS with a lack of saving at the final stretch.
 
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Fictive

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Nov 10, 2013
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The PSP/PC version makes its way to the top 5 best entries for me. Great game, great music especially.

Legend of the Eternal Wind makes you want to get ready for an adventure. I almost wish FF5 had some kind of rearranged version since it gives me that same feeling.

 

Claus Grimhildyr

Vincit qui se vincit
Jan 30, 2018
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910
yup, I'm replaying FF 1 & 2 PSP versions, they're amazing! I wish there was more 2D remakes like this one in the future... But that ship seems to have sailed (Streets of Rage IV may be the light at the end of the tunnel).

FF VII remake should have aimed to stick much closer to the original content, all these additions to the background stories remove too much of the air of mystery around the game's characters.

My dream still remains to see "collections" of each FInal Fantasy, including every version of that particular FF. So say a Final Fantasy 1 collection that includes the original Famicom and NES releases onlineside Wonderswan, GBA, PS1, PSP, and Mobile releases with interviews, trailers, and more. I wouldn't mind spending 60 dollars for that alone. Though with other titles like FFIII and FFV, there are so few re-releases that they may need to be bundled with other games (or sold at a cheaper price point).
 
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D.Final

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Released on April 27th, 1990 in Japan, Final Fantasy III was the third release of the hit RPG franchise, Final Fantasy. Developed and published by Squaresoft for the Famicom, it was later remade in 3D by Matrix Software and released worldwide for the Nintendo DS between 2006 and 2007. Over the years, this version was ported to iOS, Android, Playstation Portable, Windows, and more. Its story was simplistic, but engrossing for its time. Its gameplay offered a freedom of choice that few others could match and quality of life changes that many take for granted today.





In the original release, four Warriors of Light who begin as "Onion Knights" are gifted power by the Wind Crystal and are tasked with restoring balanced to the world by seeking out the other elemental crystals. These characters are completely blank slates with no personality or gender to define them in-game, though the manga serialization, Yuukyuu no Kaze Densetsu: Final Fantasy III Yori, provides the names of "Muuchi (ムウチ)", "Doug (ダグ)", "J. Bowie (J・ボウイ)", and "Melfi (メルフィ)". The last of which being the only female party member.

With the remake, the characters were fleshed out and provided official names (which have been adopted for all future media releases), personalities, and backstories (however minor they may be). Also introduced are a number of supporting characters that can help in battle and join the party. Luneth who starts off the adventure by finding the Wind Crystal after falling into a cave at the start of the game. Before he can help rebalance the world, he is tasked with finding the other Warriors of Light. He is joined by his best friend, Arc. Later on, they meet Refia, the daughter of a blacksmith from Kazus, and Ingus, a knight of Sasune. Together, these four do as they did in the original game.





A true evolution of the franchise, Final Fantasy III took what worked from its forefathers and introduces new mechanics that have become staples ever since. A return of the experience point system, missing in Final Fantasy II. It introduced the series to special battle commands such as the abilities Steal, Jump, and Summon. Various quality of life changes were introduced as well, such as the ability to auto-target. This particular feature was considered a boon by the majority of gamers at the time as it allowed your party to re-target to another enemy if they were to die before their turn arrived - something not found in the series to that point. However, the biggest change was its introduction of the Job System. Unlike in Final Fantasy I where you were given a list of six jobs that were unchangeable after the start for your party of 4 (though you could advance them to more powerful versions) and Final Fantasy II's complete lack of classes, you were given the choice between 23 unique jobs that you were able to find throughout the adventure. This offered over 14,000 different party configurations and offered replayability that few other games could beat at the time.

These jobs have since become a staple of the franchise, being reused ever since in both mainline and and spinoff titles. The jobs are listed below:


Onion Knight | Freelancer (Remake)
Red Mage |
Black Mage |
White Mage |
Monk |
Warrior
Ranger |
Knight |
Thief |
Scholar |
Bard
Evoker |
Dark Knight |
Black Belt |
Viking |
Dragoon
Geomancer |
Summoner |
Devout |
Magus |
Sage |
Ninja





Lauded as one of the best soundtracks of the NES era, many of Final Fantasy III's tracks have been reused and performed to this day. There were three major releases to take note of. The first was the Original Sound Version released in 1991 and re-released in '94 and '04. This particular released has been described as the game in which Uematsu's musical style "began to take a more definite form". There were 44 tracks that added up to 54 minutes and 24 seconds of audio.

The second major release was an arranged album entitled Final Fantasy III Yukyu no Kaze Densetsu. This release, once again performed by Nobuo Uematsu, contained a selection of vocal (sung by Dido, a duo composed of Michiaki Kato and Shizuru Ohtaka) and arranged musical tracks interspersed with English narration of its story. 7 tracks over 52 minutes and 32 seconds in length.

The third major release was the remake's soundtrack. This time Tsuyoshi Sekito and Keiji Kawamori rearranged the original tracks of the game. Two remixes were done as well, one by The Black Mages, a rock band formed by Sekito, Kawamori, and Uematsu, with the other by the synth operator for the soundtrack, Yasuhiro Yamanaka. This release came with a DVD containing the FMV opening, promotional videos, and interviews with the game's staff. The album featured 61 songs over 70 minutes and 56 seconds in length.





Original Famicom Version



Remakes

Director & Executive ProducerHiromichi Tanaka
ProducerTomoya Asano
Battle SupervisorKazuhiko Aoki
Main PlannerHiroaki Yabuta
ProgrammersYuichi Yoshida, Shinnosuke Ohasi
Movie DirectorKazuyuki Ikumori
Art DirectorRyosuke Aiba
Character DesignAkihiko Yoshida
Image IllustratorYoshitaka Amano
Graphic DesignersJin Yamuraa, Kango Sumi
ComposerNobuo Uematsu
Music ArrangementTsuyoshi Sekito, Keiji Kawamori
English TranslationAziz Hinoshita


Sources:
Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume I (https://www.amazon.com/Final-Fantasy-Ultimania-Archive-1/dp/1506706444)

Cool game
But one of my least favorite
 
Love this game and have great memories of it. Got it for my birthday not long after release and very much enjoyed it. I think it came out the month prior to my birthday. The two carts pictured below are the very same ones from my young days and they still work just fine but I tend to emulate rather than dig system and such out. Bit of a FF heaven back then since FF3 came out one summer and consumed me and the following summer I had FF4 which is still my favorite of them all. Oh I almost forgot but only a few months prior to FF3, we had Dragon Quest 4. Miss the old days, but relive them by playing these old games and such again all the time. FF5 wait was a bit longer though: no summer the next year after 4 but in time for Christmas.

I have played through the FF3 remake on DS and I think it is fine but I prefer the Famicom version. Nostalgia? Perhaps but Famicom FF3 feels right to me. I also got Wonderswan Color to play FF 16 bit remakes and I was quite happy to have FF1, FF2, and FF4, but sadly FF3 never came despite seeing a few pictures in a magazine: it was true to the Famicom style. Oh well. I got over being bitter about that never happening.....sort of :goog_grinning_sweat:

 
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Bolivar687

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It had legendary status due to being one of the games unreleased in the West for so long. It was one of the first ROM fanslations I messed with as a kid. When I saw the poster for it at Gamestop, it made me realize for the first time that I was going to buy a DS Lite.

I think the release was everything I'd hoped for and more. Such a wonderful game, even if the monster count was restricted and not all jobs were viable for the late game. It was interesting how the game system interacted with the story sequences, like shrinking to make it through a small area.
 

Danny Dudekisser

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Oct 13, 2008
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Would've been interesting to play at the time. I thought the 3DS version was just awful, though - ugly visuals and painfully boring gameplay. Never played the original Famicom version.

The game brought a hell of a lot of new ideas to the table - it's probably way more influential than most give it credit for.
 

Claus Grimhildyr

Vincit qui se vincit
Jan 30, 2018
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My favorite of FF of the NES era, with what I think is to this day the franchise's best "overworld" theme... Eternal Wind.


Eternal Wind is such a fantastic tracK! Apparently it is a motif in a number of FFXIV Shadowbringer's tracks.

Still not sure which rendition I find the best, but if you haven't I highly suggest you find the SQ Chips versions!