Final Fantasy III
Not to be confused with Final Fantasy VI, which was originally released in North America as Final Fantasy III.
Four souls shall be blessed with light, and so it shall begin...
Kids will be kids, right? And if you tell them that a particular abandoned and unguarded cave is dangerous, you can pretty much expect the kids to wander in. This goes double if the kids in question are orphans and don't really have parental influences in their lives.
Little do the orphans know, they're about to stumble on a power that will change their lives, and force them to save the world. With the crystals of light sensing that darkness is about to take over, they find the first folks to come along to grant their powers - the four orphans. It's now up to these kids, so inexperienced that they're called Onion Kids (after the Japanese term negibozu, literally a green onion sprout but also meaning a callow youth), to save the world.
For a long time called the "lost" Final Fantasy, as it was never released anywhere outside of Japan for many years - even after all of the other pre-PlayStation games received at least one release. However, a remake, with more plot and characterisation, came out worldwide on the Nintendo DS, finally getting the game to a wider audience. And now, the DS version has been ported to iOS.
Ironically enough, in terms of gameplay, it's very much one of the most important games in the series, as several concepts in the series as a whole originate in this game. Moogles, summon magic, terrain effects... this game started many of them.
Has a character sheet.
- Affirmative Action Girl: Refia was the only one of the original Onion Knights to be given a gender change along with a name and personality.
- In the official manga for the original game, there was a female Onion Knight named Melfi.
- All in a Row: More like Both In A Row, as guests will follow your party leader perfectly.
- Always Check Behind the Chair: Dances between Always Check Behind the Chair and Notice This. The DS remake lets you zoom-in using L/R, with spots hiding objects giving off a yellow-gold sparkle.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: King Alus of Saronia.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Most notable in the DS version, where only three enemies can be onscreen at once.
- Badass Grandpa: Dorga and Cid.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: The Monk class.
- Bare Your Midriff: Refia's Thief outfit.
- Blow You Away: This is the first FF installment to feature Wind-element magic (Aero/Aera/Aeroga). Strangely, it is classified as White Magic.
- Breather Episode: This game brought in some much needed humor after Final Fantasy II.
- Bonus Boss: The guardians of the Dark Warriors, who will help in the final battle if freed. They are not completely optional in the DS remake, but the remake does add the Iron Giant.
- Bonus Dungeon: In addition to the various sidequest dungeons, as well as the DS-exclusive ??? bonus dungeon, which is a single tiny room with dragons as random encounters, no treasure and a Bonus Boss.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: The dragons in the Crystal Tower.
- Broken Aesop: The Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good message is undermined in the DS Updated Rerelease by extra lines in the pre-ending crawl going on and on about evil being defeated by "the light of hope." The Cloud of Darkness also applies, if only in name, though it's unclear what she was called during the flood of light.
- Canon Name: The manga adaption names the quartet Muuchi, Doug, J. Bowie, and Melfi. The DS remake names them Luneth, Arc, Refia and Ingus.
- Check Point Starvation: The final tower does this to you. After the last time you can save, you have to go up 8 or 9 floors of the Crystal tower, gaining experience all the way, and then you defeat a boss, get warped to the World of Darkness where you have to beat 4 more tough minibosses, get items, gain experience, defeat the final boss, and then watch the whole ending scene before you can finally save again.
- Contrived Coincidence: It just so happens that a guy who fell down a hole one day, his best friend in town, a girl they meet on a ship, and a guard who greets them at a gate are all the chosen ones, as well as orphans.
- Actually, it is later revealed that The four children were all passengers aboard Cid's ship, which was headed for the floating continent from the surface world, when they were babies. During the earthquake, all of their respective parents died, and Cid gave the children to various accepting foster parents after the crash. That is why they are all orphans and all live in the same area.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Lampshaded in the DS version.
- Cool Old Guy: Dorga and Cid both qualify.
- Cool Old Lady: Unei doesn't even let the party suggest she's too frail to come along and thinks nothing of blasting apart giant adamantine boulders. With her mind. And antimatter.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Present in the backstory, when the Dark Warriors have to save the world against abuse of the elemental powers of light. They also can help out your party if they are freed, showing that they're apparently not inherent rivals to the Light Warriors.
- Dual-Wielding: In a twist, everyone (except the bard) can do it. Yes, even mages, who can dual-wield staves. There's at least one viable strategy that involves dual-wielding shields.
- The opening FMV in the DS version even shows everyone doing it just because.
- One of the most famous pieces of the Amano concept art (now used as the background of the game's logo) is one warrior dual-wielding swords.
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower: The Sage and Ninja classes in the original. They're better balanced in the remake.
- Enemy Scan: The first game in the series with it, and intended to be required for a boss fight at one point.
- Fake Difficulty: Pseudo-random turn order. You're not likely to get enough Agility to make a difference on more than one party member, and the bosses where it really counts are pretty much all over the place on their attack order.
- Faux Symbolism: Ur and Canaan are two towns your party visits very early on in the game.
- Featureless Protagonist: Only in the Famicom version.
- Floating Continent: Unusually, that's where the game actually starts.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: It's a Final Fantasy game. Of course this is in there.
- Foreboding Architecture: This game continues the Final Fantasy trend of "lots of stark crystal structures" at or near the end of the game.
- Get on the Boat
- The Ghost: Despite being mentioned as the main villain for most of the storyline, Xande is only seen in person when you battle him.
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: You didn't really think Xande was going to be the final boss, did you?
- Global Airship: Four of them. One of which is a submarine, and another which fires cannons at random encounters and is so massive that it doesn't actually land. Three out of the four, however, aren't that good at flying over mountains, which limits exploration a little. And the fourth cannot fly over every mountain, either.
- Going Mobile
- Gratuitous English: Roaming Sheep
- Guest Star Party Member: Characters who tag along will occasionally show up in battle to help.
- Healing Shiv: One of its earliest appearances. Of course, like all other weapons, they can be Dual Wielded.
- Healing Spring: The first appearance in the series.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: In the Famicom version, you name all four of the characters. Sometimes those four names appear in list form when a character is addressing everybody in the group; other times, only the character currently being used as your sprite is addressed. However, since you can use the Select key to rotate which of the four is your sprite, this can (depending on the translation) make some follow-up conversations a bit jarring.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The Cloud of Darkness will kill most parties in the first round the first time you fight it.
- Bahamut near the beginning. You have to escape, not win, because although he's not dangerous your party will still be unable to kill him.
- Job System: Trope Codifier as far as the Final Fantasy series is concerned.
- Joke Item: The Gold Sword has an attack power of one, but can be sold for 10,000 gil.
- Hey, at least it's realistic. Gold's too soft and heavy to make effective weapon material.
- Infinity Plus One Equipment: Onion equipment.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Want to kill splitting enemies without them splitting? It's either a katana, or burn through all your magic.
- Leitmotif: One 4-man group has one.
- Lethal Joke Character: Geomancers definitely fall into this in the remake. Their effects are laughable for the first few levels - but when they do screen-clearing non-elemental attacks at higher levels for no cost, you'll wonder why you bothered with other classes. The Onion Knight class also behaves like this.
- There's a curious build to turn a Viking into this. Make one character a Viking, equip them with the best two shields and best armor you have, stick them in the back row, and continually have them use Taunt/Provoke. This attracts enemy attacks, absorbed by the Viking's high defense (and improves as the character's shield skill increases), freeing the other characters to wail on foes (though one of the other three is usually on "heal the Viking" duty). The strategy breaks down against attacks that hit the whole party, but works extremely well if the enemies lack those attacks.
- Level Map Display: The Sight spell displays a map.
- Lighter and Softer: It's not as dark and grim as its predecessor or its successor, but it does have its share of sad moments.
- Light Is Not Good: See Dark Is Not Evil, above.
- Luck-Based Mission: The final series of bosses (and Garuda) due to random turn order. Their offensive power necessitates a party-wide Curaja every turn, at least until this scenario happens...
Boss nukes the party, possibly killing someone (hope it's not your healer!)
Healer heals party.
Healer's Curaja goes off before boss attacks while everyone's already topped off.
Boss nukes the party, leaving everyone in the red or on the floor at the turn's end.
Boss attacks first this time, nukes the party before the next heal goes off.
- The Woman(?) Behind The Man: Cloud of Darkness is more or less controlling Xande's actions to institute her release.
- Magikarp Power: Several classes, most prominently the Onion Knight.
- Master of Unlocking: Thieves can unlock doors without using up Magic Keys.
- Money Spider: Most obvious when you go into Goldor's castle. As his Meaningful Name suggests, everything there, including the minions, are made of gold for you to harvest.
- Mortality Ensues: The great sage Noah awards each of his three students with a gift. Doga is bestowed with great magical power while Unei is given control over the world of dreams while she slept, and both go on to become renowned sages in their own right. Xande? He receives the "gift" of mortality. He doesn't take well to this snubbing.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Xande seems to disagree that mortality is more awesome than magical omnipotence or ownership of a dream realm.
- Mythology Gag: If you unlock the special Onion Knight class in the DS version, it starts with Luneth rescuing a group of 4 Onion Knights who also fell into the cavern you did. In other words, the 4 Onion Knights from the original game.
- In the DS version as well, the classes granted by the Wind Crystal are the six classes from the original Final Fantasy.
- Never Mess with Granny: Unei is this in spades.
- Nerf: The Sage and Ninja classes in the DS version.
- Nintendo Hard: Even moreso in the DS version, since engine limitations meant that they simply upped the stats of existing monsters rather than make you fight multiple groupings of them. Said monsters can often attack two or even three times per round, making bosses more dangerous. Oh, and one more little detail - THERE ARE NO SAVE POINTS, EVER. The only place to save your game is on the world map. Enjoy traipsing through a three hour dungeon with no save points and dying at the end!
- Moreover, with one or two exceptions, there are no healing points in the dungeons either. This isn't such a big problem with HP, as you can restore that with potions, but MP restoring items are much rarer. What this means is that you have to do each dungeon twice - one run to collect all the items and level up your characters, and a second run where you run from every random encounter to make sure you have enough HP and MP to face off against the boss.
- The final room in the World Of Darkness has random encounters with offensive power comparable to the most difficult of the four bosses you just fought -- except they're additionally capable of Back Attacking you, attacking three times to wipe out half your party and leave the other half in the red before you get the chance to input commands, then attacking three more times to finish you before any of those commands go off. And you thought WarMech was bad?!?
- Nonstandard Game Over: Trying to cross the swamp in front of Goldor Manor without the Levigrass Shoes causes your entire party to sink into the swamp.
- Not Completely Useless: A few classes fall into this. Scholar is most prominent because although the job isn't one that you'll be using all the time, at certain parts of the game their abilities can help you a lot.
- The Geomancer especially. They've been joke characters/shrugged off in other games with them, but in this game, they're actually feasible damage-dealers with just melee damage and their abilities are actually rather useful if a bit random. It's not uncommon for them to get Shadowflare and hit for damage near the cap in the middle of the game.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Dorga and Unei, among others.
- One-Time Dungeon: The floating Hyne Castle, which after finishing gets planted into a forest you're not allowed to get back to.
- One-Winged Angel: No matter how human an enemy looks, they WILL be a monster after the Fight Woosh. Cloud of Darkness is an inversion, in that it looks more human during the boss fight.
- Outside Context Villain: The Cloud of Darkness.
- Palette Swap: Aside from the monsters, the Onion Knights in the NES version. The other classes use the same sprite for all the characters, though.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Quite a few of the class outfits qualify.
- Summoner Refia is the most stand-out example-most elaborate job costume in the game, and the only one that really screams out "I am the female party member."
- Plotline Death: Several of the additional party members, although only a few (Elia, Dorga and Unei) stay dead.
- Powers as Programs: The job system, in its first Final Fantasy appearance.
- Power Crystal: Not worn, but sought out for new jobs.
- Power of the Void: Cloud of Darkness.
- Precursor Heroes: See above about the Warriors of Darkness.
- Prestige Class: Although jobs are more balanced in the DS version, each new set of jobs tends to be just plain better than the ones you had before. Better start grinding job levels again.
- Randomly Drops: Onion equipment, rare drops from dragons, which are rare Random Encounters in the Crystal Tower (and common encounters in the DS remake's ??? Bonus Dungeon).
- Recurring Riff: Several recurring Final Fantasy themes (the battle theme, Chocobo theme, the Prelude/Crystal Theme, the main theme) are found in this game.
- Respawning Enemies: The splitting enemies, spawning by being hit by melee attacks.
- The splitting enemies use up half their remaining HP when they split, however, so in the original you can split them enough to wipe them out with a magic attack.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Sara and Alus, who both help out your party several times on their quest.
- Sailor Earth: The Dark Warriors, of course!
- The Smurfette Principle: In the DS remake, one of the four orphans is a girl (Refia). In the original, they're apparently all male.
- The blue one does look very feminine, though.
- And just because they all look male doesn't mean they're all male.
- The blue one does look very feminine, though.
- Spell My Name with an "S": One of the final bosses, Zande(straight romanization)/Xande(DS translation)
- Squishy Wizard: Potentially averted and potentially played straight; the stats progression is influenced by which job you are when you level up, and your four characters begin with the exact same stats (well, they are the same job at that point). That means, on one hand, that if you juggle the classes around you can end with a very balanced party, but if you make the mistake of letting yourself be influenced by the concept art (or other RPGs) and dedicate Arc and Refia to the magic classes, you will be building the Squishy Wizards yourself.
- Stealth Pun: The Onion Kids. The Japanese word for onion can be read as a callow youth.
- Stripperific: The Cloud of Darkness barely wears anything but a few ribbons and a cape, setting the trend for many more female Final Fantasy characters to come.
- She only has the cape in her original Amano artwork, and she also gets it in Dissidia. In the original, she's just got zebra stripes and Barbie Doll Anatomy. And no legs.
- Averted by Refia, whose default outfit is possibly the most sensible one seen on a female FF character.
- Although played straight with Refia's Thief outfit.
- ... Aaaand played straight with Princess Sara's cleavage-enhancing, midriff-baring top. Seriously, that thing can't be comfortable.
- Technicolor Death.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The World of Darkness.
- Too Awesome to Use: Ninja Stars - they do a ton of damage, but they're so easy to run through.
- Ultimate Blacksmith: She shows up in the DS remake.
- Unscaled Merfolk: Kraken
- Updated Rerelease: The first one to be released outside of Japan.
- Useless Useful Spell: Although, in this case, it's more of a case of Useless Useful Classes. The bard, evoker, and many others simply do not have the statistical leanings and/or skills to survive later-game battles. Oddly, however, the Geomancer's skillset starts and stays insanely powerful, especially if you're lucky enough to consistently roll Shadow Flare.
- In the original Famicom version, the "Onion Knight" ultimate class didn't exist as a separate class -- it was just that the weak, no-abilities starting class "Onion Kid" got super-high stats at levels 90 and up, and was able to equip the ultimate Onion equipment, which granted huge stats bonuses itself. So the class becomes useless as soon as the first set of jobs becomes available -- unless you powerlevel, at which point it becomes the ultimate killing machine.
- Bard does get a single use -- their healing song is a free 10-20% party heal. This scales nicely until the later parts of the game, and when combined with the Dark Knight's self-damaging attack, works as a good 1-2 punch.
- Vendor Trash: The golden swords you find in Goldor's mansion are utterly useless for fighting with, but merchants will happily buy them from you for an extortionate sum.
- Video Game 3D Leap: The DS remake swapped sprites for full polygonal graphics.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Bahamut is very weak to a Dragoon wielding dual Gungnirs. How weak? OHKO weak. Can't recall if it's from a normal attack or Jump, though.
- We Win Because You Did Not: Subverted when the Earth Crystal guardian Goldor shatters the fake earth crystal.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Mortality. Great Magus Noah gives his student Xande the gift of Mortality. Said gift ends up driving Xande completely insane as he ended up unleasing the Cloud of Darkness on the world.
- White Mage: The second appearance in the series as a job class.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: This seems to be what Noah, Doga, and Unei feel as they all considered being able to die a great gift.
- Why Did It Have to Be Frogs?: Refia hates frogs and toads. Guess what the party needs to turn into in order to infiltrate a couple of dungeons? She even whimpers the second time it comes up. Somewhat ironic if you made her the white magic user, which means that she has to cast the Toad spell on the party.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Cloud of Darkness, despite its name, is a living one of these. It has shown up as either darkness surrounding a core of light, or light surrounding a core of darkness.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Refia as a Devout and Scholar. And for bonus points, Scholar gives her Meganekko glasses and Girlish Pigtails.