When you have a relative that works in a pawn shop, it works out in your favor! Once in awhile my brother and I would be gifted with video games that some perceive to have no value. Among one of those received piles of greatness was a game with a purple logo and a cutesy-pie white creature on the front. The name of that game was Final Fantasy III.
We had no idea the level of epicness we were about to endure!
The game proved to have an engaging storyline, likeable characters, deplorable villians (ahem, Kefka), and an easy-to-understand interface. My brother and I spent MONTHS grinding, leveling up, upgrading equipment and re-exploring dungeons in an attempt to sate our burgeoning curiosity. Final Fantasy III proved to be one of the largest games I had ever played on the SNES thus far, and I wanted more.
Even to this day, few compare to Final Fantasy III!
Now, fast forward fifteen years later. My brother and I are now grown-ass gamers and since we only had one copy of the game between the two of us, he inherited it into his collection. As any collector is aware, buying an SNES cart of Final Fantasy III can be VERY costly, and I was looking for a way to requisition this beautiful game once again on a budget while I wait for that elusive fat sack of cash!
One of my daily habits is to jump on eBay and Craigslist in hot pursuit of awesome video game deals, and recently, my ship came in! I found a copy of Final Fantasy VI Advance that nobody else had bid on and only had about one hour left until action closing! I set a max of $20 and hoped for the best. With 45 seconds to spare, another user began feverishly bidding in an attempt to knock me off the top of the hill! At 5 seconds, the bidder refreshed and placed yet another bid, and then bidding closed, at which time….I purchased this awesome title for only $16!!!
MY GAME, hater BITCH!!!
Now, before I get started, I need to make you aware of two different things: 1) I was aware going in that there would be some differences between the SNES version and the GBA version, and 2) I haven’t played through the entire game yet and encourage you, the reader, to play along with me and REDISCOVER THIS AWESOME GAME!
At the time of this writing, I have completed Locke’s scenario and saved the game as Mog with Sabin’s and the group’s scenarios still needing to be completed. Now that those familiar with the game are aligned with where I am and have a level of expectation as to the depth of this review, let’s get started!
As I snapped on my trusty Gameboy Advance SP, I was greeted with a language select screen, which is common fare when playing GBA games. I was then greeted with the opening cutscene that explains the world’s 1000-year climb back up from the devastating effects of the War of the Magi. Even though the world is aware of the effects of a similar battle, it seems the discovery of Espers and the Empire’s desire for power may incite the whole shitstorm anew! Oh, humanity! Will you ever learn?
Graphically, the game is very similar, but the text differs quite a bit!
For those familiar with the original SNES cartridge, the storyline and text and imbued upon their psyche. As the intro cutscene plays out, the player will notice quite a bit of difference between the text of the SNES version and the GBA version. In some cases, the text simplifies sentences and removes outdated references. In other cases, however, the text is lengthened or positively reeking of attempts at being politically correct, which makes me question why it was done in the first place.
One instance is when the party runs into Shadow at the Pub in South Figaro. In the SNES version, Edgar says that Shadow “would slit his mama’s throat for a nickel”, but in the GBA version, he says that Shadow would “kill his best friend for the right price”. My guess is that the developer felt that a more modern audience would not receive the original line well and thus, changed it.
I don’t feel that this game has to explain itself as it has already proven time and again how AWESOME it is, and was confused as to why the text was changed. If the text altering was an attempt to save on memory, I could understand, but why lengthen some and shrink or outright eliminate others?
It wasn’t enough to turn me off to playing this game through, but enough to concern me as to what other material would be altered. In summation, the text is different, but it DOES stay faithful to the original storyline; it just uses different words to get there, which may turn off hardcore purists.
SNES Version GBA Version
Another element of the game that I noticed right away was the music and sound effects. I have learned as my GBA library grows that classic SNES titles that are ported to the Gameboy Advance have marked differences in the quality of their music. Again, not a disqualifying factor, but one I have to make those who are not familiar with hardware limitations aware of. The soundtrack is the original one as found on the SNES version, but due to the hardware present on the GBA, it comes out slightly tinny.
I have learned that songs with lower pitches don’t suffer from this issue as much as those with dramatic high notes. I haven’t gotten to the Opera House yet, but am curious how the music will sound on the GBA. The SNES set a earmark precedent with its sound capabilities and blew the doors off other consoles of its generation, so don’t go into this title with the same expectation.
For those looking to fill their GBA library with classic SNES titles, please keep this in mind and prepare yourself for some differences between the two systems regarding music.
As I progressed through the game, I didn’t notice anything else worth mentioning until I got to Locke’s scenario, where he has to escape from South Figaro, which has been occupied by the Empire. As I entered the basement of the town’s only mansion, I expected a cutscene showing Celes being beat and interrogated in a nearby room. I was greatly disappointed that the developers chose to omit the scene where Celes is getting beat by the guard! WHAT THE FUCK?!
As I mentioned earlier, this game is so great that it does NOT have to explain itself to anybody as it has already proven its greatness and I was BLINDSIDED when I discovered that this scene was removed. I felt that it showed the ruthlessness of the Empire effectively and how prevalent its moral breakdown was that a male guard felt justified in the beating of a female general, but apparently, the developer felt differently and had it removed.
I feel that the new scene would only prove to confuse players because at the end of her mild verbal bashing, Celes inexplicably falls to the ground! Does she suffer from FAINTING SPELLS? Is the developer implying that as a woman, she is incapable of taking an EXTREMELY MILD tongue lashing and throws herself to the ground when it happens? Are you kidding me?!
For those who don’t know, THIS IS REALLY WHAT HAPPENED!
In truth, this is the ONLY PART of the game that pissed me off, and cannot think of any other scenes later in the game that would warrant such censorship!
Now to talk about some of the small, positive elements that the GBA version has included for aesthetics and convenience. In the original game, plain text boxes would appear that simply display what the speaking character is saying. In the GBA version, a character sprite appears to the left of the text! You want to know the true meaning of scary, just look at Kefka when he (?) speaks!
The SCARIEST character sprite in the game…AND I’M A CLOWN, TOO! (-:
Another aspect of the game that I found excellent was the clean-up that occurred in the game’s menus. The original game was good enough to provide descriptions of its special items, but could have been cleaned up in my honest opinion. In this respect, the GBA version delivers by providing a cleaner, crisper menu that highlights and separates the different areas of the menu, making it more convenient and appealing to the player. Further, a character’s inherent class is displayed next to their name in the main menu, which is an added quirk, albeit its functional purpose eludes me!
Original menu GBA main menu
In conclusion, I would HIGHLY recommend this game to those who want a fresh approach to Final Fantasy III (or VI) and are open to mild changes in the gameplay. Again, I cannot speak on future cutscenes as I have only reached the end of Locke’s scenario after fighting Ultros, but can imagine that the rest of the game will contain slight differences from the original.
For those who have played the original SNES title multiple times, I would urge you to keep a positive outlook and an open mind when approaching this title. The only item I have complaint with is the needless censorship of perceived “inappropriate material” in a game that DOES NOT need to appease anyone with weak constitutions! Other than that, I would say get this title with the quickness, as its price will only go up from here and you may want to get your FFVI fix on the go, because I know THIS CLOWN DOES! Thanks for reading!
Lumpz the Clown is an avid gamer who does Let’s Plays, reviews and other assorted clowny goodness He aspires one day to make video games his full-time career and enjoys interacting with like-minded individuals with the same passion for gaming.