RPG Review #54: Final Fantasy Legend III

NuMetalManiak A lot of college projects are making me work hard lately, so expect these reviews to pop up a lot slower than usual. Anyways, I am obviously continuing the SaGa series with Final Fantasy Legend III. This is the last of the games to have the "Final Fantasy Legend" name tacked on, and also the last Game Boy game for this series, as it will move on to Romancing SaGa on the Super Famicom next. So here's the third SaGa game reviewed.

Gameplay: Rather surprisingly, the gameplay of this one is much different than its predecessors. It actually employs the traditional turn-based RPG gameplay, but not similar to the first two games at all. Those two games made it hard-pressed for weapon usage as well as spell maintenance. This game just has traditional equipment, and learning spells is easy, just buy from a magic shop, use as an item, and then you can make a character learn it. Also this game has a traditional level up system, as opposed to the strange stat gains the previous games had. Characters can also have talents in the game, which can be status or elemental resistances or depending on the class, actual attacks.

As for combat, it's not too different from before. As I said, turn-based, but it's like other RPGs rather than the games before it. Guest characters can be in the party at plot times just like FFL2. Magic can be used by anyone, except for a few character classes outlined below. This game did not have an annoying random encounter rate like 2 did, thankfully. Furthermore, you can jump with the B button, which can be used to hop across stuff or get around annoying NPCs in towns. Some spells are needed for travel though. It's rather difficult to gain levels in this game since you need a lot of experience. But there's no trouble in getting money as the amount received from battles is tremendous almost all the time. Many enemies in the game are very fast and durable though, and usually get the first turn unless you get the Strike First! when you enter combat.

The game revolves around you traveling this aircraft known as the Talon, upgrading it by finding parts. Late in the game there are four recruitable crew members that can sell stuff in shops, or do other duties like combining materials received for top-tier equipment. Also if combat is triggered in the Talon it gets to shoot at enemies before they board. Grade: B-

Characters: Unlike the preceding games, this one has canon names for the main four characters. There's also elements that each character falls under, although that really never bothered me much during gameplay. The first character, and the one that does all the talking in cutscenes apparently, is Arthur, a human of the fire element. Next is Curtis, a mutant with an element of wind, Gloria, water element mutant, and finally Sharon, an earth elemental human.

As it stands though, they are humans (Arthur and Sharon), and mutants (Curtis and Gloria). Humans excel with weapons while mutants excel in magic. Both classes cannot use active talents, but can have passive talents based on equipment. There's no choosing classes in this game at the beginning, instead, the drops that the enemies sometimes drop can create a class change in a character. Eating meat can transform someone into a beast (excels in martial arts and can use talents), further meat can turn someone into a monster (can't equip, but have very strong talents). On the reverse, it's possible to install parts, turning someone into a cyborg (powerful stats) and then further into a robot (can use capsules for stat gains, no magic though). Personally, I'm not a fan of this and will stick to the 2 humans 2 mutants combo that this game provided, and that was my preferred party for the other Final Fantasy Legend games if you didn't already know.

There are some NPCs that join and leave at plot points as well. They each have fixed levels and gain no experience, usually it's a good idea to be at or above the level that the NPC is so things aren't that hard. The extra support is great at times. Final Fantasy Legend III had okay characters in it, no real development so to speak of, but that would be difficult to do on a Game Boy game anyways. Grade: B

Plot: Arthur, Curtis, and Gloria are friends from the future. Sharon is a friend from the present who is the daughter of an elder and permanently joins anyways. Their friend Myron runs a combat simulator, in fact, that's the first thing done in the game, combat simulation. The Talon is available but isn't powered enough. That means the group finds their way to upgrade the Talon. They go back in time (while Myron stays behind), and save a girl called Lara who joins later. The main villain of this game is a monstrous water entity known as Xagor, and has several "followers" so to say, as bosses. On the return to the present, Lara leaves and the party confronts Ashura later on, yet another callback to that one boss from the first game, and I believe the boss Chaos is also from a previous game as well (I could be wrong on that one though).

By upgrading the Talon the group heads to the future. Finding some allies, they end up planning to reach that one floating land that keeps whizzing by, and an old friend Dion joins. Dion loses it at a certain boss, Maitreya, and apparently he is fixed up by one of the allied doctors. Then the party reaches Pureland, a different world where they try to rescue Faye, a girl that can draw the Excalibur sword. Dion goes one way while the rest do another, and it's the player party that of course finds her first. She joins, and sticks around for awhile. Basically she sticks around the whole time as you gather the other four crew members of the talon, then after the Excalibur is attained, Faye leaves, Dion rejoins, and everyone goes to the underworld. They need to infiltrate to get to a barrier preventing air access to a mountain where Xagor lies. Dion blows himself up at the barrier while Borgin, the last guest member, joins. Then they head for the mountain, finding the old man Sol and then Xagor himself. The Talon aids in this final battle, and after that, they would all eventually head back home, although they lose the Talon in the process. Okay plot. I wasn't able to follow most of it though. Grade: C+

Music: Now the music here is probably the best of the three Final Fantasy Legend entries. Fun themes throughout but my favorite is the one dungeon theme that plays in most mountainous regions. I don't know if it had a name though. Grade: B

Overall grade: B-

Probably the best Final Fantasy Legend game, and the most different one too. Maybe those differences were a good thing too. This game had its moments, not the greatest thing ever and I couldn't follow the plot well, but it was another turn-based RPG that manages to be enjoyable in its own way.