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Square Enix first released Final Fantasy III in Japan on April 27, 1990, for the Famicom (Family Computer). Final Fantasy III is the first game in the franchise that introduced the interchangeable job system.
In America, Square Enix did not initially release Final Fantasy II, III, and V; hence, they named Final Fantasy VI to Final Fantasy III for continuity purposes. Please don’t get confused, as we’ll be tackling the original and the 3D Remake of Final Fantasy III for this article.
Final Fantasy III 3D Remake vs Original
The Final Fantasy III 3D Remake first came out for the Nintendo DS in Japan and United States on August 24 and November 14, 2006, respectively. With a follow-up release on the Playstation Portable in 2012 and 2014 for Microsoft Windows.
The 3D Remake retains the gameplay from the original game while giving it a fresh coat of paint with more balanced elements and, of course, the 3D sprites.
Instead of starting with a job called Onion Knight, the four characters in the 3D Remake now start as a freelancer. Additionally, during out-of-combat scenarios, the player can now switch jobs as often as they want.
However, this does come with a debuff for a few battles; every time a player switches a character’s job, they will have decreased stats for the subsequent few battles.
The story is much fleshed out for the 3D Remake, providing names for the characters instead of four generic Warriors of the Light.
Main Characters: Original
Onion Knights are the protagonists for Final Fantasy III, similar to the Warriors of the Light in Final Fantasy I. In the original game, Square Enix opted not to give any names to the Onion Knights. Topapa, a priest in the village of Ur, raised the four Onion Knights.
When an earthquake disturbed the Wind Crystal, the four Onion Knights investigated the disturbance. Upon investigation, they stumbled upon the Crystal, which foretells to them about the incoming Darkness that will upset the balance of the world.
The Crystal granted them the power of the Light, and the four Onion Knights set out to save the world from the incoming threat.
Luneth is one of the four Warriors of the Light. Fans consider Luneth, the main protagonist of the Final Fantasy III 3D remake. Luneth sports silver hair and his signature violet eyes. Doga and Unei consider Luneth as the Light of Courage.
The Wind Crystal chose Luneth as the first Warrior of the Light and instructs him to find the other three destined to become Warriors of the Light.
Arc is a supporting character for Luneth and is another of the four Warriors of the Light. He is the shortest party member and has brown hair and freckles on his face. Doga and Unei consider Arc as the Light of Kindness.
Refia is another supporting character and another destined for the role of Warrior of the Light. Her white long-sleeved blouse and blue vest complement her red hair and red eyes. Doga and Unei regard her as the Light of Affection.
Ingus is the last supporting character met at Castle Sasune. He has straight blonde hair and blue eyes. For his primary protection, Ingus wears heavy armor and chain mail for his arms and legs. Doga and Unei revere Ingus as the Light of Determination.
Also known as Dorga, he is a temporary playable party member. Doga is a powerful wizard and resides in his manor. He helps the party throughout the game and sometimes casts firaga or flare at the beginning of the battle.
Similar to Doga, Unei is a supporting character for the party. She is also a magician that can provide a buff or deal damage at the beginning of the battle. She can either cast Holy or Haste in order to aid the party members during their journey.
Final Fantasy III still has the traditional and original turn-based battle system since the first Final Fantasy game. This battle system Akitoshi Kawazu and Hiroyuki Ito.
For every turn, the player can choose an action for each party member, and once all of the members have their own respective actions, they will then perform the actions before the player’s turn ends.
The player can either choose between attacking, performing spells, healing, or applying buffs to the party, depending on the job for their characters.
Introduction of the Job System
Final Fantasy III is the first game to introduce a proper job system for the Final Fantasy series. Hironobu Sakaguchi wants something fresh and not just a rehash of the first two games. The job system for the original game has 22 different jobs, each with their unique abilities and strengths.
One of the features that made Final Fantasy III a very grind-y game is to level each job independently. So that’s 99 levels per job, and for 22 jobs, you’d have to level up at least 2000+ times to max your jobs fully.
The Onion Knight is the default class for the original Famicom version. A generic job with no magic and the attributes don’t elevate him to being a viable job for late game. However, when equipped with the complete Onion set, this job can be utilized as a heavy-hitting tank for the early-mid game.
Freelancers are the Onion Knights for the 3D Remake. Their abilities revolve around basic attack and elemental support spells; however, these are nothing compared to the jobs you get after obtaining them from the Wind Crystal.
Wind Crystal Jobs
Warriors are one of the first heavy-hitting jobs that you can obtain. They do not use magic; however, they excel in defense and tremendous physical damage to enemies.
Warriors have a special skill called Advance wherein they will be able to deal more damage in exchange for more damage taken. Although they are suitable for the early to mid-game, they lose value once you acquire other physically-based jobs.
The Warrior job can not equip axes and had no special skills for the game’s original version.
Monks are fist-reliant jobs, and they only wear light armor. They have a higher damage potential than the Warrior to offset their lack of defenses. They also have a signature attack called Retaliate, which allows them to counterattack physical damage done by the enemy.
In the Famicom version, Monks can not use knuckles; instead, they equip nunchaku as their primary weapons, and also, Monks could not use the Retaliate ability.
The White Mage is a support job that has the ability to cast healing spells to heal or cleanse the party from status ailments. White Mages can use a few attack spells, limited to light and wind elemental only.
White Mages have pretty much the identical skills and statistics as the original version of the game.
Black mages are the opposite of White Mages; instead of healing and supporting the party, their primary purpose is to deal with and exploit enemies’ elemental weaknesses. Not much has changed from the original Black Mage of the Famicom version.
Red Mages are a hybrid between Black and White Mages. They can support and deal damage at the same time. Although they do not have the same levels of black or white magic, Red Mages are still one of the best jobs for early to mid-game.
Thieves specialize in being fast in battles. They can steal items from enemies and use Flee to run away from battles. The thieves can also unlock doors if the thief is slotted first at the party. The only difference between the original version and the 3D Remake is that players can unlock the thief job with the Fire Crystal.
Fire Crystal Jobs
As the name suggests, Rangers exclusively use ranged weapons to deal damage to enemies. They have a special skill called Barrage, which allows them to fire weaker attacks on multiple enemies simultaneously.
Knights are an advanced version of Warriors with better stats and the ability to at least use level 1 White Magic. A valuable ability of the Knight is defending low-health characters on the field. For the Famicom version of the game, Knights cannot use any magic at all.
Scholars are somewhat a weaker version of the Red Mages; however, Scholars have less attack than Red Mages. One significant advantage of Scholars is that they can use the ability similar to Libra called Study. To compensate for the Scholar’s less stellar physical damage, Scholars can get twice the damage from attack items.
Geomancers are elemental mages that utilize the terrain to attack enemies. The damage depends on the job’s level, so it’s best to level up the geomancer as much as possible to maximize the job. Players can unlock the Geomancer job through the Water Crystal in the original version.
Water Crystal Jobs
Fans consider dragoon as one of the better versions of the Warrior job. Their weapon selection might be narrow; however, they have an ability called Jump, which increases their physical power and gives dragoons an evasive phase for one turn.
Vikings have the most potent physical damage potential. They can also serve as your main tanks due to their decent defense and high HP; however, they are very slow. They can also use Provoke, which garners enemy enmity; provoke is not present in the original Famicom version.
Dark Knights are known for their high physical prowess however are held back by their poor defensive statistics. In the 3D Remake, they have Souleater, which does a lot of damage on every enemy on the battlefield.
Souleater is not available in the Famicom version. However, Dark Knights have access to level 3 White Magic.
Evokers are a combination of black and white mages and have a high MP pool. Usually, Evoker’s spells consist of two effects, multi-target support or debuff, and a single target black magic. The Famicom and the 3D remake version of Evokers are pretty much identical.
Bards are a support job in Final Fantasy III. They use harps which can either buff or deal damage based on a bard’s intelligence. Bards have an ability called Sing that can either buff or heal the party or damage the enemy team.
In the NES version, Sing can only attack/debuff enemies, and bards have two different abilities for buffing the team and debuffing enemies, cheer and scare.
Earth Crystal Jobs
Black Belts are an upgraded version of Monks, providing immense raw physical attack damage. Limited by their armor selection resulting in lower defense, Black Belts have high strength, vitality, and decent agility as compensation. Players can access this job through the Water Crystal in the Famicom version.
Devout is a better version of the White Mage. They can cast all White Magic spells and have an even higher MP pool than sages. They can cast level 1 to level 8 White Magic spells and even gets Curaga when they reach level 99.
Magus is much like the devout is to the White Mage, with magus’ being an upgraded version of the black mage. Magus can cast level 1 to level 8 Black Magic and obtain Blizzaga once they reach level 99.
Summoners have higher attributes than the Evoker; however, Summoners’ spells do not have the same variety. They can only cast different elemental spells to all enemies.
Eureka Jobs (2D)
Sages are the best wizards who can cast every spell in the game. To balance Sages, they have lower MP than any other late-game magic-based jobs. In the 3D Remake, players can unlock the Sage job through the Earth Crystal.
Ninjas are hybrid physical-based jobs that use close or long-range weapons. Being a hybrid between melee and ranged jobs, Ninjas are flexible and can be placed either in your party’s front or back row. Like Sages, players can unlock ninjas through the Earth Crystal in the 3D Remake.
Mognet Jobs (3D Only)
Onion Knight (3D)
Onion Knights are the default classes for the original Famicom version of Final Fantasy III. And similar to their original counterparts, they are weak and not viable. This viability is true until Onion Knights get to level 92. Once they get to level 92, every succeeding level grants them tremendous bonus stats, making them the best job in the 3D Remake.
The Story of Final Fantasy III 3D Remake
I chose this version for this article because the story is much more precise than the original version, providing you with a better insight into the game’s overall story. This story overview will only tackle the beginning hours of the game to avoid spoilers.
At the beginning of time, Ancients utilized Crystals of Light to build a civilization. This event triggered a flood of light resulting in a disaster. Dark elemental crystals chose four Warriors of Darkness to counterbalance the flooding light.
The Warriors of Darkness were victorious; however, they were too late. Soothsayers and fortune-tellers foretold that sooner or later, these events would become a repeated cycle, with Warriors of Light fighting to stop the flood of Darkness.
The Beginning of Final Fantasy III
As time passed, an earthquake wreaks havoc into the lands, providing access to the old Altar Cave. Luneth, a young orphan, fell through the holes caused by the earthquake.
Luneth eventually stumbled upon the Wind Crystal upon venturing forward through the cave. The Wind Crystal spoke to Luneth, instructing him to find the others, destined to become Warriors of the Light.
The Journey to Find the Warriors of the Light
With the task provided by the Wind Crystal, Luneth sets out to find the other Warriors of the Light. Arc, Luneth’s friend, accompanies him to a town called Kazus. Kazus is a town cursed by an evil Djinn.
They eventually meet Refia, who has hidden in an airship. All three travel to Sasune to meet the royal guard, Ingus. Finally, with all four candidates of Warriors of Light assembled, they travel to the sealed cave to find the King’s missing daughter, Sara.
In the sealed cave, they find Princess Sara trying to seal the Djinn and end the curse once and for all. They defeat the evil Djinn and return Princess Sara to the castle.
Afterward, the four candidates travel back to the Wind Crystal, where the Wind Crystal grants them the power of the Light, effectively transforming them to the fabled Warriors of The Light.
The Town of Canaan
After receiving the power of the Wind Crystal, the party flies aboard Cid’s airship. Unfortunately, Cid’s airship cannot pass over mountains, and eventually, a huge boulder hinders their airship journey. The party continues on foot, where they end up in the town of Canaan.
They meet a young girl named Salina. Salina mentioned that the spell the party needs is only known by Desh, who unfortunately disappeared. The party travels to the Dragon’s Peak to look for Desh, and Bahamut eventually captures them. Bahamut took the party to its nest.
The party finds Desh in the Bahamut’s nest, who lost his memory. Desh helps the party escape with his magic spell called Mini.
Finding a Ship
Upon escaping Bahamut’s nest, the party goes through the gnomish village named Tozus and eventually gets to the Vikings’ Cove in hopes of finding a ship. Unfortunately, the Guardian Dragon ravaged through the Vikings’ Cove, destroying everything.
The party investigates through the Dragon’s Temple, where they find a Nepto Dragon statue that was missing an eye. This missing eye was why the Nepto Dragon is going on a rampage.
Venturing into the rat’s nest, they find the missing eye of Nepto’s statue and place it back onto the statue. As a reward, the Vikings reward the party with a new ship, The Enterprise.
The Temple of the Ancients and the Tower of Owen
With their new ship, the party travels to the Temple of The Ancients, where they find out the truth. The land they were living on is an island that floats over the rest of the world. The party travels to the Tower of Owen, where they discover a medusa that plans to topple the floating island and send it falling to the ground.
Upon defeating the medusa, Desh’s memory returned and revealed that he is an ancient who built the Tower of Owen. Desh throws himself into the tower’s furnace to save the floating island.
Onwards to Find the Crystals
After these events, the party slowly uncovers the truth behind their past as they continue their journey to find the other Crystals. Eventually, this journey put Luneth, Arc, Refia, and Ingus in a position to fight the Darkness enveloping the rest of the land.
As the Soothsayers foretold, they need to stop the flooding of Darkness from consuming the world and eventually restore the balance of Light and Darkness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is Final Fantasy III Remake Good?
Answer: Although not much has changed, except much more compelling storytelling and a few new balances to keep the game modern, I think that the Final Fantasy III 3D Remake is the best version of the game. However, it comes down to your gameplay style, whether you want the classic 2D sprites or the modernized 3D sprites.
Question: Which Version of Final Fantasy III Should You Play?
Answer: I highly recommend the 3D Remake version, whether you’ll be playing Final Fantasy III for the first time or replaying the game. I would also suggest you play either the Playstation Portable version or the PC version, as they offer the original soundtrack.
Unfortunately, the Wi-fi only content locked out some end-game items from the Nintendo DS version, so I highly advise you to stay away from it.
Question: How Long is Final Fantasy III?
Answer: For the Final Fantasy III 3D Remake completionist run, you should be expecting around 89 and a half hours on average. If you’re only looking for the main story experience, it will take approximately 30 and a half hours to complete the main storyline.
The original version has a much lower playtime, with the completionist averaging at around 23 hours per run, and the main story only averages at approximately 20 hours.
Final Fantasy III had a rocky and uninteresting story when first released in the Famicom until the Final Fantasy III 3D Remake came to save the game’s story.
Although its story is not as competent as the later installments in the Final Fantasy Franchise, it is still a very competent Final Fantasy game.
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