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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Here.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Luneth, after Aria dies in his arms. He wakes up at the inn in Amur and says nothing about this for the rest of the game.note 
  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: The Guest Star Party Members every now and again—go ahead and try stealing Phoenix Downs on Dragon's Peak while Desch is in the party. They can also be annoying by their absence if said party member fails to turn up at all during a boss fight.
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  • Broken Base: The treatment of the Sage and Ninja jobs in the remake gets some of this. In the original, they were the Infinity +1 Sword options, being Purposefully Overpowered and undeniably the strongest magic and physical jobs, but in the remake, they were nerfed significantly and put on par with the others. This created either relief ("thank god, now they're just an option rather than broken") or irritation ("dangit, I liked stomping the endgame with a party of Sages and Ninjas!"
  • Demonic Spiders: Every enemy that splits when it takes physical damage from a non-katana. They can quickly prove overwhelming if you're not prepared for them. Fortunately, these foes are easier in the DS version, in which these enemies only split on their turns if they're hit with a non-katana instead of immediately after they're hit, and only three of them can be out at a time, making it easier to kill them with a multi-target spell, or with the Dark Knight's Souleater.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Aria, mostly for her theme. This is especially strange, as she seems to be treated as the most important NPC party member in the game (technically she is as she frees the rest of the planet, yet she dies practically ten minutes after she joins you); she even has her own scene in the remake's intro which no other NPC party member has, not even Cid who is a playable character in the Theatrhythm games. (Unless you count him piloting the airship shown flying alongside the party members in the beginning, but regardless he isn't actually seen.)
  • Even Better Sequel: While III may feel dated in this day and age, it's important to remember how much of what would be Final Fantasy's standard gameplay was actually fleshed out in this installment. While Final Fantasy 1 started the franchise, it had a lot of early JRPG crustnote , and Final Fantasy II switched to a stat grinding system that ultimately wasn't well received. Final Fantasy III, however, went back to a more realized version of Final Fantasy 1's system, introduced a far more balanced level curve, streamlined a lot of the crust of the earlier games out, introduced the Job System to RPGs as a whole, as well as introduced many elements of what would become the series iconic staples.
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  • Face of the Band: Refia is the most popular of the four DS protagonists, only rivaled by Luneth. Her Tomboy with a Girly Streak design and a few funny lines give her the most personality. She was made the representative summon for this game in World of Final Fantasy.
  • Fanon: Given the Dark Is Not Evil/Light Is Not Good elements, it's a common fan extrapolation that the Final Boss was called the "Cloud of Light" during the first cataclysm.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Refia/Desch is popular over Desch/Salina.
    • Arc/Luneth for people who see their relationship as more than brotherly.
    • Likewise, Luneth/Ingus also has a significant following thanks to their scenes in the opening FMV.
    • Though not so much a couple, Alus having a Precocious Crush on Arc is also popular.
  • Game-Breaker: Here.
  • Good Bad Bugs: A bug involving the inventory in the Famicom version allowed the player to acquire the very powerful Onion Equipment at the start of the game. (It takes a huge amount of time to set up, however.) Another one in the DS version allows players to duplicate any consumable item in the game, up to and including the rare and precious Phoenix Downs.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Gigameth, humanoid form of Garuda, in the remake. An Evil Chancellor with red hair done up into horns, a mustache, and a green outfit? Say, replace the hair horns with actual horns, and that sounds awfully familiar now...
    • In the arranged soundtrack, the narrator refers to God using female pronouns. Fastforward to Dissidia where we have the closest thing Final Fantasy has to God: Cosmos, Goddess of Harmony.
  • Idiot Plot: The entire plot of the game could've been avoided if Noah thought for a second about his "reward" for Xande, or allowed him to switch rewards with a pupil that doesn't think of mortality as a curse.
  • Moe
    • Arc gets a lot of very cutesy, woobish fanart due to his shy and bookish personality, and having freckles.
    • The Onion Kids. The Dissidia version of the character helped a lot, but it still applies to the original 8-bit characters, who more or less look like toddlers in that job class.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Nepto Dragon's design in the original Famicom version is very unsettling.
  • Polished Port:
    • The DS remake gave the game a graphical revamp with 3D models, balanced the job system, fixed several bugs, gave the party names and distinct designs, and added several extra bosses and an arranged soundtrack. Much like the Final Fantasy Origins versions of Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II, this version became the basis for later ports outside of emulated ROMs of the Famicom game.
    • The Mobile and Steam ports use a live orchestral soundtrack and make a single but important change: The Mognet sidequest is now tied to plot progression rather than sending letters to other players.note 
    • The PSP port sharpened the graphics and added a Auto-Battle function to speed-up level grinding. This version also gives the player the option to use the original 8-bit music.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Here.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The class system this game introduced to the series has been done better in so many other games by the time it was finally localized it doesn't reach the standards of even V. Never the less, several gamers found it to be a refreshing break from the immense complexity of other titles in the series.
  • Sequel Displacement: In Japan, this is absolutely the case for the NES version, as it was the first FF title to truly get "huge" — the first two aren't obscure by any means, but much like the Distinguished Quompetition, many NES-era gamers in Japan considered this to be the first good Final Fantasy and the first to really show Square's burgeoning graphical flair, Uematsu's soundtrack skill, and had (for the time) a very memorable story. As a result, it sold like hotcakes and lodged itself firmly in the Japanese zeitgeist; if a work outside of the gaming sphere (like a TV show or somesuch) references NES-era Final Fantasy, 99% of the time, it will reference this game specifically (with Cloud of Darkness being particularly iconic).
  • That One Attack: In the DS remake, Cloud of Darkness will start using an attack called Particle Beam, dealing massive damage to the entire party. In the NES version, this is her only attack, and she does it every turn. She does have one alternative attack in the NES version, but it's arguably worse than Particle Beam, because it's a physical attack that always hits and usually deals 9,999 damage points.
  • That One Boss:
    • Salamander. He comes just before you get the Fire Crystal jobs, some of which are upgrades from your first set, so anyone who's a Warrior is on the edge of obsolescence. His physical attacks are also very strong, so anyone he hits twice in a row will probably die. Then there's his full-party Fire Breath, which will likely kill your party members if he decides to use that ability in consecutive turns. And (if playing the remake at least) you didn't pick up Blizzara from the Village of the Ancients? Well...
    • Garuda. The game drops boulder-sized hints about using Dragoons for good reason, because you will die without them and very quickly. It's not just because he's weak to spears—it's because they'll be out of range of his lightning attack when they jump, which he loves to spam and can easily one shot most of the party unless you're ridiculously high leveled. It's quite frequent for even a well-prepared, four-dragoon party to only have one or two alive at the end through the luck of timing, and with turn order being all over the place in boss battles, the entire battle can easily come down to a game of RNG roulette. Luckily, in the NES version, Garuda can be skipped with the item overflow glitch.
  • That One Level: Do you like grinding? No? Well, then you better get used to it, because you'll need to do a lot of it in order to get through final dungeon without having to retread it every single time you die. One of the bosses, at least in the remake, has high strength and attacks three times per turn. If he decides to target your dedicated healer, you might as well reload your save and climb back up. The four optional bosses have over 90,000 HP, three times more than the bosses you've faced up until that point. Actually, the bosses aren't so much "optional" as they remove the luck-based element from the upcoming Final Boss. (The Cloud of Darkness has a Total Party Kill attack which can only be countered by beating the four bosses in the area.) Worse yet, there are zero opportunities to save! It's so notorious that most walkthroughs and people in the Final Fantasy community suggest that you grind your characters up to level 60. For reference, if you've been playing normally with no opportunities for grinding, you ought to be in your late forties. Even Sakaguchi himself called this dungeon horrible!
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It's stated that the world goes through cycles, with the Ultimate Evil changing between a Cloud of Darkness and Cloud of Light depending on which is more powerful at the time. The last time all this stuff happened it was with a team of champions of darkness defeating the Cloud of Light. Unfortunately, all of these interesting ideas about Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good are relegated entirely to the game's backstory, with the game itself being another standard tale of Heroes of Light defeating the Dark Lord and driving back the Darkness. Imagine if this game took place during the last cycle instead, with a story about chosen heroes of darkness fighting against the Light, and turning all those old RPG tropes on their heads.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Several of the jobs fall as this, in both the 8-bit original and the remake. These jobs include:
    • The Scholar, which is unlocked after the Fire Crystal, is woefully underpowered and unimpressive. They get the ability to have a free cast of Libra. However, their stamina is by far the worst in the game, and leveling your characters as this job can cause problems with their HP for the rest of the game. The remake buffs them by giving access to level 3 magic, double effectiveness of items used in battle and giving Enemy Study the ability to remove buffs, but their vitality still remains the worst of all the jobs
    • The Geomancer can cause terrain effects during combat, but they're overshadowed by the other jobs. They were buffed in the 3D remake and earned earlier.
    • In the NES/FC version, Sages were extremely powerful. They had access to every spell and could use summons like Summoners do. Needless to say, they were nerfed considerably in the 3D remake, and can no longer use Summoner magic.
    • Ninjas were also too good in the NES/FC version. Their stats were more normalized in the 3D version, preventing them from being overpowered.
      • It should be noted that the Sage and Ninja jobs were earned in the Bonus Dungeon ("Bonus" in the sense that it was optional, but heavily encouraged to enter) in the Famicom version, making them more akin to Infinity Plus One Jobs. When they got moved to the Earth Crystal in the remake, they were nerfed to be on par with the jobs rather than blatantly overshadowing them.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: While Xande may be painted as purposely sympathetic in some ways, the fact that he's so distraught over being forced to accept mortality is treated within the game as something he just doesn't appreciate. However, while few players could excuse his methods, most agree that suddenly being "gifted" with the ability to die, especially when your fellow disciples are given gifts such as great magical power or control over a dream realm, many agree Xande going off the deep end is quite understandable.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: It's possible to see someone from time to time who thinks or initially thought Arc was a girl. His initial Shrinking Violet personality and Youthful Freckles do not help. Luneth also gets this reaction from time to time but much less than Arc tends to.
  • What an Idiot!: Noah, the master who trained Xande, Unei, and Doga, decides to give his pupils a gift as a reward for completing their training.
    • You'd Expect: Noah would give them all the same gift, or at least one he knew they'd like (which is arguably the point of gift-giving). And if they object to their gifts, let them switch it around.
    • Instead: Doga gets granted immense magical power, Unei gains dominion over dreams, and Xande is rendered mortal.
    • The Result: Xande is pissed at getting his immortality taken from him (especially as it was done so without his permission), seeks out the Cloud of Darkness, and becomes the bad guy.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Ur and Canaan are two towns your party visits very early on in the game.

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