: US- Final Fantasy Legend III
/ Japan- SaGa 3: Jikuu no Hasha
: December 1991
: Game Boy
The Pureland Water
and flooded this
past and future.
The water brought
hunted people day
and night. Cities
fell one by one,
covered by the sea...
However, a few
prepare for a
journey that may
fate of the world...
The story :
In the world of Final Fantasy Legend III, there is an enigmatic and ornate pot inexplicably hanging in the sky above the ocean. As it relentlessly pours out water, the world slowly floods and the tiny islands end up becoming enveloped by the ocean as the introduction describes.
Just before the world is completely flooded, however, a scientist conveniently discovers time travel. This scientist and his friends rest their fate not on the plethora of battle hardened warriors guarding their secret laboratory, but instead on an unlikely group of three children. Perhaps they figure it would make a better story to tell over drinks that little kids saved the world. And so these children, Arthur, Curtis, and Gloria, are sent back in time to the game's present. The game begins once these three are grown up and decide they'd better get around to saving that ominous future.
A random girl named Sharon from the present joins the three heroes. The four then proceed to rip back and forth between three epochs known as the past, present and future in an effort to stop the world from being flooded. Their mode of transportation is a pretty cool black fighter jet called the Talon.
As the story progresses, the Talon is able to fly or time travel to new areas. Throughout the first half of the game, it's stuck in a temple only to be used for time travel. Once the heroes figure out how to unleash its potential, it becomes their regular mode of transportation. Eventually, the Talon can fly to the Pureland, which a separate world from the one the heroes start in.
The game can be divided into two major sections: the original world with its past, present and future, and the Pureland. The Pureland, a transcendental place above time, is where most of the interesting story development takes place. Powerful characters like Dion, Faye, and Borgin join up there. Essentially, the Pureland is an isolated dimension where an entity named Sol lives. Sol is evidently the cause of the flooding, so the heroes main objective becomes clear that they must convince Sol to stop it.
The game play :
Final Fantasy Legend III plays out in a traditional style RPG format. The four main heroes kill monsters, get experience and gold, level up, find or buy better equipment in the next town/dungeon, then conqueror the ultimate evil that plagues the land. Sometimes a fifth person joins up to make things interesting. Unfortunately, carrying out this basic formula is much harder than I've put it here.
The bosses in this game are insanely hard. I'd argue this is the most difficult RPG I've ever played, moreso than the original Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, or Phantasy Star. Each boss has an unreasonable amount of hit points combined with intensely concentrated attacks. In particular, I cite the fiend Chaos as the most monumentally difficult boss I've ever encountered. If he has an opportunity to use an earthquake attack two turns in a row, no one anyone at a normal level could survive. And concerning building levels...
Deliberate leveling building takes aeons as the time it takes to fight out a battle is mind numbingly slow. It's strange that the battles go as slow as they do considered the scrolling text of Final Fantasy Legend II is gone and has been replaced with the modern day disembodied numbers indicating damage that pop up over sprites.
However, disregarding the bosses, the game play flows smoothly. Although non-linear as the ability to fly is gained almost immediately, certain items are needed to proceed in the game. Usually finding mechanical parts for the Talon opens up new time epochs or places to fly.
The Talon is my favorite part of the game play. In addition to its transportation abilities discussed early, it deals out damage like a fifth (or sixth, sometimes) character in battle if enemies are random encountered while traveling in it. Included inside is an inn (free!) as well as four of the best shops in the game: an item shop that sells all the best items, a weapon smith that builds one of four legendary swords and sells other good stuff, an armor crafter that helps create some nifty defensive equipment, and a magic mixer.
The man that helps your group make magic looks like a traditional Red Mage. Once he joins the Talon's crew, all the high level magic spells are opened up: Earth, wind, fire, and water crystals scattered through the game can be combined in pairs to make spells. This system of learning magic is quite strategic. If you use up all your fire crystals making Flare spells, there won't be any left over for Full Life and the group cures. I found magic mixing to be another innovative and successful part of the game.
One of the biggest problems with the game is the translation. Engrish is sickeningly abound all over the dialogue. For example, take the introductory passage I quoted. "Water brought monsters"... Since when does your harmless, everyday H2O bring monsters? The game never explains this. Other chunks of text make even less sense. There's a too big of a gap between what the game says and what it implies. There is also the failure to address the paradoxical nature of time travel. Other RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VIII, although by no means comprehensive, at least touched on the concepts and attempted to explain their paradoxes. Traveling from past, present or future in Final Fantasy Legend III basically just changes the map screen around as the land masses get smaller or bigger due to the flood.
Miscellaneous stuff :
The has to be among the LOUDEST Game Boy games. With the volume cranked all the way up, you can disturb a whole floor on your dorm. This isn't a good thing, considering the music is nothing special. The graphics were solid for their time, as they were definitely an improvement over the shoddy pixelation of the earlier two Final Fantasy Legends.
This game shouldn't be hard to find as Sunsoft, who bought the rights to the Game Boy Final Fantasies, recently re-released them.
This write-up complies with the E2 FAQ: Video Games standards.
Playing the game