Not to be confused with Final Fantasy VI, which was originally released in North America on SNES as Final Fantasy III.
Four souls shall be blessed with light, and so it shall begin...
The third entry in the brain-implodingly popular Final Fantasy series.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 Knights (after the Japanese term negibozu, literally a green onion sprout but also meaning a callow youth), to save the world.For a long time this game was 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 characterization, came out worldwide on the Nintendo DS, finally getting the game to a wider audience. And now, the DS version has been ported to the iOS, Android, PSP and recently has been released on PC via Steam.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.
Adaptation Displacement: Invoked by Word of God, though subject to a Flip Flop of God — some materials state the four orphans from Ur are now considered the same characters as the DS heroes, and the Onion Knights/Onion Kids are Canon Discontinuity. However, spin-offs still use the Onion Knight as the game's representative hero, and he's mentioned to be one of the four orphans from Ur, despite the fact that in appearance and personality he's a distinct character from any of the DS heroes.
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.
The Artifact: Fat Chocobo stores items for you. In the Famicom version, where you had limited inventory space, this was useful and important. The remake versions have an unlimited inventory, so Fat Chocobo serves no purpose (unless you want your inventory to be a little less cluttered).
Broken Bridge: The game is just a string of Broken Bridges. First, you need to turn the people back from ghosts to break a large rock. Then you need to Get on the Boat and beat Nepto. Then you need to destroy the whirlpool. After that, you need to get the horns back from Gutsco. Followed by getting locked up in prison by Hein. And then you need to lower the water level. After that, you need to unchain the ship. But to do that, you need the Levigrass Shoes. Then your airship gets shot down and you're stuck in a Civil War. Then you need to wake up Unei. Then when she gives you the Invincible, you need to get the last Fang. Then you need the Eureka and Syrcus keys... and then finally you can get to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
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.
Strictly speaking, Eureka is optional. You know, the caves with about a dozen weapons that Doga and Unei gave their lives to unlock, saying they were all supposedly neccessary? Granted, climbing CrystalTower without them is tantamount to suicide (within the context of Final Fantasy III), but there's nothing stopping you from giving it a try!
But Thou Must: After defeating Gutsco the Rogue, you may notice that an unusual shadow is following you back through the dungeon. Naturally, this is Gutsco trying to pull a fast one on the party. Despite that fact, you have to fall for the trick to progress the story.
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 eight or nine floors of the Crystal Tower, gaining experience along the way, and then you defeat a boss, get warped to the World of Darkness where you have to beat four more tough minibosses, get items, gain more 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.
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.
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. Also, the Dark Knight class.
Difficulty Spike: Due to limitations at the time, the maximum enemy count of the DS version was reduced to 3 (this was later fixed in IV). As a result, all of the enemies were given higher stats and HP.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The World of Darkness has regular enemies with double the hit points of the bosses faced in the previous dungeon. Also the mini-bosses have triple the HP of the previous bosses.
Disney Death: Desch jumps into the Tower of Owen's furnace. No One Could Survive That... but when Dorga is looking for people to help the Light Warriors at the end, he pops up without a scratch, and in fact quite surprised that anyone would think he'd been in mortal danger. It just took him that long to fix it.
Do Well, But Not Perfect: Once a Thief hits Level 99, nearly all the elemental that are good for Scholar (like Arctic Wind) are blocked by Turtle Shells and Tranquilizers.
Drought Level of Doom: The endgame is infamous for this, forcing the player to go through not one, not two, but three consecutive dungeons (plus a fourth dungeon in the Famicom version if the player wants to get the Ninja and Sage classes) and the Final Boss without a single chance to save. Even worse, once you reach the final dungeon, you don't even get the option to backtrack to the world map to save. Even worse than that, there's a ton of boss fights on your way to the Final Boss, with four of them in the final dungeon. Even worse still, one of those four bosses is That One Boss, who'll almost certainly slaughter you at least once until you can figure out what to do.
Dual Wielding: In a twist, everyone (except the Bard) can do it. Yes, even Scholars, who can dual-wield books. 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.
Elemental Powers: The Geomancer stands out for being able to use all of them... albeit at random.
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.
The Ghost: Despite being mentioned as the main villain for most of the storyline, Xande is only seen in person when you battle him. In fact, he actually appears less in the game than the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere does.
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.
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.
Leitmotif: One four-man group has one, called simply "The Four Old Men."
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.
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 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.
With clever item use, Scholars can also do this with their doubled effectiveness with items. It does get expensive, though.
In the Famicom version, the Onion Knight is the starting class and not very good, but can use some endgame equipment and gets insane stat growths past level 90.
The Geomancer can behave like this, particularly at lower job levels when their most powerful abilities are less likely to occur. This intersects with Magikarp Power, as the odds swing heavily in the player's favor after enough work in the class.
Magic Knight: Both the Dark Knight and Ranger classes can use some White Magic in the Famicom release, while the Knight class gains White Magic in the DS remake.
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.
Mugging the Monster: The Viking's Provoke ability — particularly effective if the Viking in question dual wields shields.
Mundane Made Awesome: Defied. Xande seems to disagree that mortality is more awesome than magical omnipotence or ownership of a dream realm.
If you unlock the special Onion Knight class in the DS version, it starts with Luneth rescuing a group of four Onion Knights who also fell into the cavern you did. In other words, the four 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.
Nerf: The Sage and Ninja classes, which were the best classes in the NES version, are balanced in respect to the other classes in the DS remake. The Evoker and Conjurer are slightly weaker as wellnote Their status condition and instant kill attacks went from 100% success to the same as a Black Magic.
Nice Hat: The Black Mage, Red Mage, Ranger, Magus, and Sage classes all get one. The Black Mage and Red Mage in particular get their iconic Nice Hats, while the Magus gets a sweet variant of the Black Mage's.
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. Which means 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 game's magic system also kicks things up a notch: Rather than the Mana system found in later games, characters are capped at casting a certain number of level 1 spells, a certain number of level 2 spells, etc. based on level. Mana isn't restored when you switch jobs and there's no such thing as Ether, so you have to use either the extremely valuable Elixir or a Tent to restore magic. The DS version actually reduces Mana, especially for low-level spells. This is much worse than it sounds, since Cure and Cura are extremely valuable in the late game because they're not competing with Raise or other high-level White Magic for MP, and high-end black magic is overkill against most random encounters.
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. Also, trying to pass the statues without all of the Fangs towards the end of the game will result in the party instantly dying from an unknown force.
Not Completely Useless: A few classes fall into this. The 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.
Bards in both versions. There specialty is teamwork so they are best when used with other characters. In the Famicom version they are great with other Vikings, Evokers, and Bards who need more setup for attacks. In the DS version Dark Knights will love their free healing.
Palette Swap: Aside from the monsters, the Onion Knights in the Famicom version. The other classes use the same sprite for all the characters, though.
Peninsula of Power Leveling: If the party can handle the splitting monsters with ease without needing to rely on katanas, then any cave can count. Since each half has the hit points of the first one after the hit, and each gives full experience, it's possible to farm a whole bunch of weak ones that will split from a mage's punch and then die in a single hit, for mountains of experience. The DS version's limit of three enemies on screen at once hampers the effectiveness of this strategy.
In the original once you have unchained the airship the party can visit the Ruin of Ancients. The Bone Dragons and Pyralis in the first room can be killed with Cure or Life, and Ice from the back row.
Precursor Heroes: Many years before the main storyline, the Warriors of Darkness were forced to defend their own world from being swallowed by the light.
Prestige Class: In the Famicom version, some of the classes introduced by later Crystals are upgraded versions of earlier classes, and for the most part are better in every way. Taken Up to Eleven with the Ninja (ultimate physical class) and Sage (ultimate magic class), which are better than everything else. (The DS version rebalances all of the classes to make them more even.)
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. The ones prone to it are the White Mage, Black Mage, Devout, Magus, Evoker, and Summoner classes.
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 Shadowflare.
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.
Evoker. Obtained before any summon spell is, and their use of summon spells are extremely impotent.
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.
White Mage: The second appearance in the series as a job class. There's also the Devout, which is the Prestige Class version in the original.
White Magic: In addition to the White Mage and Devout, usable by the Ranger and the Dark Knight(Famicom version), and the Knight (DS version).
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.
Windmill Crusader: A bunch of old men in Amur who think they're the real Light Warriors.
Yin-Yang Bomb: The Cloud of Darkness, despite her name, is a living one of these. She has shown up as either darkness surrounding a core of light, or light surrounding a core of darkness.