Final Fantasy Legend III - Staff Retroview  

When Evil Water Jugs Attack...
by Derek 'Roku' Cavin

20-30 Hours


Rating definitions 

   A giant water jug-like thing begins to flood the past, present, and future of the world. It's up to a few time-traveling kids and a cool looking aircraft to save the world. Final Fantasy Legend III once again borrows the name of its more popular brother series (It was originally a SaGa series game). While the game is quite good for an original Game Boy game, it can't compete with real Final Fantasy games or other SaGa games on other systems.

   At first glance, battles may seem incredibly common with the same mix of weapons and magic as most other games, however they have some unique features. Characters are divided into those with primarily physical and magical power (Humans and Mutants). This also effects which weapons are effective for certain characters. You also have a guest character most of the time who will help you out. Things get interesting though, with your ability to use the leftovers from enemies you defeat to transform your party members into various things such as beats, monsters, robots, and cyborgs. You can sometimes even take your aircraft, the Talon, into battle with you. These mix up the battle system a little bit.

If only it was that that easy to fly in real life... If only it was that that easy to fly in real life...

   I can't say the interface is anywhere near the best ever, but it's decent. Searching through menus isn't a problem, but the help system is less than desired. I realize that the gameboy has very limited storage space, but the look-up-items-on-the-poster system can get annoying pretty quickly. That's just a minor complaint in an otherwise above-average interface though.

   I must admit I was quite impressed with the music, especially because this is a gameboy game. While most of it is only average, some of the music is surprisingly catchy and fits well with the environment. It's still heavily limited by the gameboy, but isn't bad at all. Since you spend a lot of time on the Talon and in battle, it's nice that some effort was spent making their themes good.

   FF Legend III has a few fairly original ideas: you travel through time and dimensions, have a cool looking aircraft that you can take into battle, and fight against a giant evil water jug-like thing with characters that can somehow transform into monsters and robots by eating things dropped by enemies. Unfortunately, that's about it. The rest of the game is full of the same old things we've seen in Squaresoft games a million times before.

Yay, battles are cool. Yay, battles are cool.

   They story is surprisingly good for a gameboy game overall. There are some nice twists and turns throughout the game. Sadly, there are some points where the plot seems to stop completely for fairly long periods of time, especially later in the game. This really hurts the flow of the game and makes the story a lot less memorable. With a few exceptions, very little time is spent on non-guest party members. Come to think of it, not a lot of time is spent on the villains either. This gives the game a somewhat incomplete feeling. Despite these drawbacks, the story is still quite good given the limited space of a gameboy.

   The localization is quite nice. There isn't a massive amount of text, but it's all translated fairly well. Even the item/magic description poster is written clearly. No complaints here.

   FF Legend III is quite well-done for a gameboy RPG. There aren't any major annoyances that would convince you to avoid replaying it. Then again, there isn't really anything special that would call you back either. If all you have is a gameboy, this would be a good game to replay, but otherwise you're better off with another SaGa game or a real Final Fantasy.

   There are plenty of well-detailed enemies and decent looking spells throughout the game. They are quite impressive for the gameboy and bring FF Legend III's visuals score to above average. The rest of the visuals, including tiny characters and backgrounds, are only average at best though and not worth commenting on.

   You have a ton of control over your party, how they grow, and what they learn. As long as you have a healer or two and mix some powerful spells later in the game you won't have too much trouble. Dungeons are short due to the limited power of the gameboy so you'll be able to save or escape difficult enemies often as well. Some of the later bosses can be challenging though, most of them have a weakness. The Talon can help you in some battles as well, especially on the world map. These keep most of the game quite easy.

   Dungeons are short and the maximum experience level is low so you won't find massive playtime in this game, even if you do all the side-quests. It'll probably still take you 20 to 30 hours to finish the game though as some areas are filled with monsters which isn't a bad amount of playtime for a gameboy game. It'll keep you plenty busy if you're on a trip or something.

   Overall, Final Fantasy Legend III manages to compensate for the fact that it's a gameboy game somewhat with a nice battle system, original story, catchy music, and nice graphics. There are some annoyances such as having to use a poster to look up items, spells, etc. and the fact that you can't return to certain major places once you've completed them. If you ever need a good portable RPG then this is a decent choice, but if you have access to a gameboy advance or a non-portable system there are better games.

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