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Final Fantasy III
Fainaru Fantajī III
Developer(s) NES version:
Square Co., Ltd.

Nintendo DS version:

Matrix Software
Publisher(s) Square Co., Ltd.
Release date
NES version:
Japan April 27, 1990

Nintendo DS version:

Japan August 24, 2006
United States/Canada November 14, 2006
Europe May 04, 2007
Australia TBA

Wii Virtual Console:

Japan July 21, 2009
Genre Role-playing game
Game modes Single player
Ratings CERO:All Ages All Ages
ESRB:Everyone 10+ Everyone 10 and up
Platform(s) Nintendo Family Computer, Nintendo DS

For the game originally released as Final Fantasy III in North America, see Final Fantasy VI.

Final Fantasy III is the third installment in the Final Fantasy series, developed by Square Co., Ltd., and released on the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom). It was officially released outside of Japan for the first time, when it was remade for the Nintendo DS.

Up until 2006, it was the only installment in the series to have never seen official English localization and the only one of the early numbered Final Fantasy games to not see a port or remake. There had been an earlier plan to remake the game for Bandai's WonderSwan Color handheld (as had been done with the first two installments and the fourth game), but the developers faced difficulties converting the original Famicom version's cartridge size to the WonderSwan Color, leading to several delays and eventually cancellation after the premature death of the platform. However, an enhanced remake for the Nintendo DS handheld system was released in 2006 in Japan and the U.S., and subsequently released in other parts of the world in 2007. The DS remake of Final Fantasy III is the first iteration of the game to be released internationally.

Final Fantasy III was scored by Nobuo Uematsu, and it is Uematsu's twenty-first video game music composition.



Job class selection in the DS version.
Main menu screen in the Famicom version.

Gameplay contains elements of the first two Final Fantasy games, along with some new features. The experience point system featured in the original Final Fantasy makes a return following its absence from Final Fantasy II. There is a new class system featured in Final Fantasy III, however. Unlike the original Final Fantasy, where the player chose each character's class alignment at the start of the game, and Final Fantasy II, where there are no specific classes, Final Fantasy III introduces the "job system" for which the series would become famous. Out of all of the four party members and all 23 jobs in the game, there are 279 841 diffrent party configurations. Jobs themselves are simply interchangeable classes: all four characters, the Light Warriors, start out as either "Onion Knights" (in the Famicom version) or "Freelancers" (in the DS Remake), and are given the option to switch to a variety of other classes as more crystals are found and sidequests completed. The classes featured in Final Fantasy III are:

Physical-Oriented Jobs
Onion Knight
Freelancer (DS version only)
Ranger, also known as Hunter
Black Belt
Magic Knight (NES version only)
Dark Knight (DS version only)
Magic-Oriented Jobs
White Mage
Black Mage
Red Mage
Evoker, also known as Conjurer
Magus, also known as Warlock
Devout, also known as Shaman

Final Fantasy III is the first game in the series to feature special battle commands such as Steal or Jump other than Magic, and each of these is associated with a particular job. It is also the first game in the series to feature summoned creatures.


Nameless warrior, Artwork by Yoshitaka Amano

In the original NES version of the game, the player controlled four generic Light Warriors, four children without distinct identities, who literally fall into their adventure and upon finding the Wind Crystal were granted its power in order to save the world. Though their genders are never made note of, it is assumed that all the children are male. Over the course of their journey, the light warriors are joined by several support characters who join the party, but don't actually fight; instead, they offer help on the world map.

The DS remake, however, gives the four protagonists different personalities and names than the ones featured in the official manga. They are also given different back-stories, which are used in several places to accelerate the plot. The main character is Luneth, who, after being tasked with saving the other world's Crystals, heads forth with his best friend Arc in pursuit of his quest. Shortly after setting out, they meet the blacksmith's daughter, Refia, and the Knight of Sasune, Ingus. Supporting characters such as Cid and Sara still join the party, but now randomly help the party in battle, either by attacking monsters according to their specialization, or by healing the party.

Although the Onion Knights are not named in the original version game, the manga serialization of the game, Legend of the Eternal Legend: Final Fantasy III, names them Muuchi (ムウチ), Doug (ダグ), J. Bowie (J・ボウイ), and Melfi (メルフィ, the only female in the group). In the screenshots of the original game seen in the Dissidia Ultimania, the Onion Knights are given the names of the main characters from the DS version.

Both versions of the game's logo and several of Yoshitaka Amano's artwork show a white-haired muscular warrior. This character is never named and never appears in the game. However, his design is strikingly similar to later Amano drawings of the protagonist of Final Fantasy V, Bartz Klauser. His ponytail and longsword are also similar to that of Desch's character in the DS version of Final Fantasy III. His general appearance greatly resembles Luneth. Many assume that the unnamed warrior was the basis for Luneth's design.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
Screenshot of the aborted WonderSwan Color port

Many years ago, on a Floating Continent hovering high above the surface of an unnamed planet, a technologically advanced civilization sought to harness the power of the four elemental crystals of light. They did not realize that they could not hope to control such fundamental forces of nature. This power of light would have consumed the world itself had the light crystals not had their natural counterparts: the four dark elemental crystals. Disturbed by the sudden interruption of the careful balance of the light and the dark, four warriors were granted the power of the dark crystals in order to re-contain the power of the light crystals. These so-called Dark Warriors succeeded in their quest, and restored harmony to the world. But their victory came too late to save the doomed civilization that had foolishly tried to harness the power of the crystals to begin with. Their once-proud culture was reduced to ruin, though their floating continent remained, a reminder of what had come before. And on that very continent, the circle of Gurgans, a race of blind soothsayers and fortune-tellers, predicted that eventually things would come full circle. Just as the power of light can be abused, so too can the power of darkness. And when that occurred, the crystals of the light would call forth their own champions to restore balance to the world....

One day, an earthquake opens up a previously hidden cavern in Altar Cave near the village of Ur on the floating continent. Four orphaned youths under the care of Topapa, the village elder, go exploring and come across a crystal of light. The Crystal of Wind. The crystal grants them a portion of its power and their first several jobs, and instructs them to go forth and restore balance to the world. Not knowing what to make of the crystal's pronouncements, but nonetheless recognizing the importance of its words, the four inform their adoptive family of their mission and set out to explore.

In the DS Version, only Luneth falls down and discovers the Crystal of Wind, and is not initially granted its power. After receiving his task, he goes to find his friend Arc, who is being picked on by the other kids of the village. Together they journey to Kazus, the village cursed by the Djinn. They seek out Refia, and all three journey to Castle Sasune to see the King and retrieve the Mythril Ring. They are granted access by the royal guard Ingus, who becomes their fourth companion.

The Four DS Warriors of Light; (From left to right) Arc, Refia, Luneth, and Ingus. Artwork by Akihiko Yoshida

The four journey back to Kazus and enter the Sealed Cave. There they find Princess Sara, who has the Ring and with her help, they are able to defeat the Djinn. She returns to the castle while they are transported to the Altar Cave, where lies the Wind Crystal. It bestows upon them its light and several jobs, and officially makes them the warriors of light. They are instructed to restore the other crystals and bring equilibrium back to the world.

Back at Castle Sasune, Princess Sara uses the Mythril Ring to break the curse and free the people. The warriors say farewell, Ingus promising to return to visit Sara, and then go and find Cid in Kazus. He uses his airship to aid them in ramming the boulder that blocks their way. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of the airship, rendering the party land bound. In order to fulfill their destiny they must find King Argus, however, they must first find a ship.

In the mean time, they journey to the town of Canaan and meet Cid's wife and a strange girl named Salina. She mourns the disappearance of her love, Desch. The four, hearing that he bought the last Mini spell which they were searching for, journey to Dragon's Peak where he was last seen. After scaling the peak, they encounter and are kidnapped by Bahamut, who drops them off at its nest. There they encounter the mysterious Desch. They learn that he has lost his memory, and so he decides to join them in hopes of regaining it.

Using Desch's Mini spell, the group heads for Tozus, the hidden village of the gnomes. The main purpose in traveling there is to pass through Tozus Tunnel, beneath the Myranos Mountains, and reach Vikings Cove, where they may acquire a ship. However, they find the Vikings in an uproar as their feared water deity, the Nepto Dragon, has become wild and angry. The Viking Chief requests the warrior's aid.

They journey to the Nepto Temple, and there they find that an idol of the Nepto Dragon is missing an eye jewel. They shrink down in order to work their way through the tunnels inside the Temple walls, and fight enemies along the way. Eventually they find the missing eye in the horde of a rat, and after defeating it, the four take the eye. After this, they return the eye to the socket it was stolen from, and appease the angry Nepto Dragon. In gratitude, the Vikings bestow upon the heroes the good ship Enterprise.

Sailing upon the Enterprise, the heroes then explore the continent. They travel to the Village of the Ancients, and learn that the continent they are on is actually floating above the old world. They eventually find the Tower of Owen. They battle through the tower, hearing taunts from a mysterious person every now and again. When they reach the main room, they find Medusa, servant of Xande, waiting for them. After defeating her, Desch's memory comes back. He recalls that he is one of the ancients who was the Guardian of the Tower. He also tells the warriors that the tower is the force keeping the floating continent up. As it threatens to fall, Desch leaps into the central furnace, much to Refia's dismay. The tower soon stops shaking and the four leave.

They head for Dwarven Hallows, in search of the Fire Crystal. The dwarves are preoccupied because one of their precious ice horns was stolen by Gutsco the Rogue. They follow him into the subterranean lake, making use of the Toad Spell. After "defeating" him, they make their way back up to Dwarven Hallows, followed by a mysterious shadow. When they reach the main altar, Gutsco reveals himself and grabs both horns.

The four pursue him again, this time into the Molten Cave. Gutsco leads them straight to the Crystal of Fire, whose power he absorbs. He turns into a dragon and the battle ensues. After defeating Gutsco a second time, they receive the Light of the Fire Crystal and several additional jobs, and return the Horns of Ice.

With their new jobs and abilities, the Warriors of Light sailed to Tokkul, a village left in shambles. There they learn that the evil Hein, adviser to King Argus, has captured the King, enslaved the people, and uprooted the Elder Tree from the Living Woods. They are attacked and kidnapped by Hein's men, and taken to Castle Hein, which is actually the floating Elder Tree.

The warriors of light defeat the evil sorcerer and restore the Elder Tree. Upon reaching Castle Argus, King Argus welcomes them and thanks them for their deeds. They receive the Wheel of Time from the King, and finally takes it back to Cid. He then changes their ship into an airship and tells them the truth. The four of them are not from the floating continent but are instead from the world below. They were traveling with Cid when they were very young, and ran into a mysterious cloud. The ship crashed and Cid never saw them again. Made even more curious by the news, the four travel back to the world below and find that their "continent" is nothing but a small island on the face of a huge world.

The Overworld is a swirling mess of darkness with a few large landmasses visible here and there. They fly the Enterprise to a wrecked ship and find an old man tending to a young girl inside. They aid her with a potion and immediately she recovers. She instantly recognizes them as the Warriors of Light and asks if the world is no longer frozen. Hearing that it isn't restored, Aria, the girl, journeys with the warriors to the Temple of Water and recovers the shard of the Water Crystal. Using the shard, she opens the way to the Cave of Tides.

She reveals that she is one of the last Priestesses of Water. They make their way to the Crystal, and Aria returns the shard. As she stepped from the altar, she instructs the warriors to return the light to the crystal. As they approach, Aria suddenly pushed Luneth out of the way of a blast of magic. She falls, and Kracken reveals himself. The four battle him, and once he falls, light is restored to the Crystal and the World is returned to normal, as Aria slowly dies.

In the new world, the four awaken in the Town of Amur. They find their ship tied with a chain, and so journey to Goldor's Mansion to retrieve the key and the Fourth Crystal. Goldor shatters the crystal, but drops the key. They return to Amur and free the Enterprise.

They fly around, visiting several towns, but are shot down over the Megalopolis of Saronia. They find the kingdom in uproar over the decrees of the seemingly mad king. The army has been divided against itself and shops everywhere have been closed. They find the King's son, Prince Alus in South west Saronia, who has been banished from the castle by his own father. Arc convinces the rest to aid him. Strangely, they are permitted to enter the castle upon their return but later that night, Alus wakes up to find his father standing over his bed with a knife. His father plunges the knife into his own stomach and is immediately free from the spell placed upon him by Garuda. They fight and kill Garuda, and Prince Alus becomes the new king.

Shortly afterwards, scholars inform the party that the airship Nautilus has been unearthed. Using it, the party journeys the perilous skies to the Dalg Continent. There they meet Doga and his Moogle body guards in Doga's Mansion. He joins their party and he uses mini on them to enter The Cave of the Circle. When they reach the end of the cave, Doga uses a spell to make the Nautilus capable of safe underwater travel, making it a submarine in addition to an airship. He tells The Warriors of Light to go to the Temple of Time and recover Noah's Lute, which would awaken Unei, the guardian of the dream realm, from her eternal slumber. He then leaves the warriors, asking them to give Unei his regards.

Doing as Doga had asked of them, the light warriors use Noah's Lute to awaken Unei. She happily joins the party and together, they go to the Ancient Ruins and manage to take control of a large airship called the Invincible. After telling the Warriors of Light of its many uses, she bids them farewell.

Amano's version of the Warriors of the Light

When the party travels to the Cave of Shadows, they find the Fang of Earth, and they head back to Doga's Manor to visit Doga and Unei. Upon entering Doga's manor, they are teleported to a cave, in which Doga and Unei are waiting. There, they tell the Warriors of Light to defeat them in battle. Reluctantly, they do as they are told and are explained why they were needed to be killed. As it turns out, their souls were needed to power the keys needed to open the forbidden land of Eureka and Crystal Tower.

Before entering the Crystal Tower, they go through the Maze of the Ancients, which is where the final crystal was held. After receiving said crystal, the warriors travel through the Crystal Tower and attempt to cross over to the Dark World. Before crossing, they find themselves under the curse of the Five Wyrms, which holds the party locked in place. Doga remedies this by finding five past allies of the warriors to break the curse. The five allies are Princess Sara, Cid, Desch- who did not die upon hurling himself into the tower, King Alus, and one of the four old men from Amur. After interrupting the curse, the allies wishing the light warriors the best of luck, and the heroes reach the portal to the World of Darkness.

In front of the black vortex, the warriors confront Xande and defeat him. After he dies, they face the Cloud of Darkness, who was manipulating Xande without his knowledge to reduce the world to nothingness. They fail to defeat their enemy and are killed in the process. Fortunately, with the light of the five allies that had helped them before, they are revived and continue into the World of Darkness. Within, they defeat four malevolent beings, who were guarding dark counterparts of the crystals. These crystals reveal the four Warriors of the Dark, who stopped the Light from engulfing their world many years ago.

When they all face the Cloud of Darkness again, the four Warriors of the Dark sacrifice themselves so that the Warriors of Light are able to defeat their adversary. With one last battle, the Cloud of Darkness is defeated and the heroes and their allies all return to their homes. The old man returns to Amur, Alus returns to his kingdom, and Cid and Desch return home to their lovers. Sara on the other hand, does not want to leave Ingus, and stays with him a while longer. Each of the heroes end up going their own ways, with Ingus and Sara returning to Castle Sasune, Refia taking up blacksmithing again in Kazus, and Luneth and Arc returning to Ur. This conflicts slightly with the Famicom version, in which all of the main characters returned to Ur together.


NES Version

NES Logo

The NES Version of Final Fantasy III was visually similar and used the same graphic system as the previous two games. However it expanded the gameplay dramatically with its introduction of the changable Job system. Another major addition was that this was the first game in the series to feature auto-targeting. In the previous two titles, a character attacking an enemy that was killed by a previous attack would simply attacking nothing, and a message would read "ineffective".

The NES version also eliminated the text heavy battle presentation of the previous games. In the previous titles, attacks, spell names, damage registered, number of hits, and other info was displayed in cascading windows at the bottom of the screen. Final Fantasy 3, however, replaced this with damage being displayed on the enemy sprite after the attack.

One notable stylistic change was that the background of all windows and menus was changed from black to blue, something that would become a staple of many games in the series.

Another major gameplay enhancement was that this was the first title to feature characters that had unique action commands in battle, such as Summon, Throw, and Jump.

Nintendo DS version

A battle in an early version of the Nintendo DS remake.

The Final Fantasy III Nintendo DS remake was first revealed to be in development on October 7, 2004, but detailed information did not emerge until a year later. Hiromichi Tanaka, one of the main designers of the original, was the head of the project as both the executive producer and director. His guidance and supervision was needed because the game was not meant to be a mere graphics update like the updates for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, but a total overhaul using the Nintendo DS's 3D capabilities even though the layout of the dungeons and towns would remain identical to the original. Ryosuke Aiba, the art director of Final Fantasy XI, was hired as the new art director. Akihiko Yoshida was hired to revamp previous character designs, and the game changed the main characters into developed characters. The characters were given default names: Luneth (Runesu), Arc (Arukuu), Refia (Refia) and Ingus (Inguzu), Luneth, Arc and Ingus being male and Refia being female. The characters were given their own background and development, but it would not change anything in the main storyline.

An official shot of Luneth in an early shot of the English version of the remake.

There were also overhauls made to the job system, including the re-balancing of the classes, the addition of new abilities, a new "Bare" ("Freelancer" in the US version) class that became the default job class for the characters at the beginning of the game (Onion Knight became a separate class with its own advantages and disadvantages), and it was changed to use of Capacity Points. Unlike the original Famicom version, most of the jobs remained useful for the entire game; the ultimate jobs, the Ninja and the Sage, were rebalanced to stay on the same level as the others.

Finally, the game made use of the DS's Wi-Fi capabilities through an e-mail system known as "Mognet", in a nod to Final Fantasy IX's similar system, for players to exchange messages to each other through Wi-Fi communications. Besides being a way to share thoughts, using Mognet could also be used to unlock and complete sidequests, as well as just send mail to the NPCs they meet on their way.

The DS remake of Final Fantasy III was released in the United States on November 14, 2006. The game was released in Europe on May 4th, 2007.

Special Edition DS

On the same day that Final Fantasy III was released, Square-Enix began selling the bundle package with the game and a special Crystal White DS Lite. The DS has Akihiko Yoshida’s artwork on the top of the system. The DS Lite was released in Japan only and is shown with the Final Fantasy III logo and a few of the main characters emblazoned on the front.

Easter Eggs

  • In the Famicom release, a little girl, hidden in an east room in the town of Gyshal, encourages the player to write inquiries to Square, listing out the mailing address.
  • In Ur and Amur there are pianos that Luneth and friends can play on.
  • In many towns, there are dancers who look identical, but are palette swaps.
  • The dancers in the DS version seem similar to the dancers in the Final Fantasy IV DS remake.


  • In the DS version, there is a contradiction towards the story of how the four children came to be. According to Cid, the children were not originally from this world, stating that ten years prior to the game, he was ferrying people to and from the continents when an unknown evil struck, causing his ship to be destroyed. This contradicts what Unei says at one point of the game: that the Surface World had been closed off for a thousand years. However, this could be due to a time anomaly caused when the Surface World was engulfed in darkness; for all Cid knows, he could have been drifting aimlessly, frozen in time, for a thousand years, directly near the Floating Continent, and the power of the crystals may have allowed his airship to drift into the Floating Continent, freeing him from being frozen in time.
  • In 1999, Final Fantasy III was unofficially translated into English by Neill Corlett and Alex W. Jackson.
  • This was the first appearance of Moogles and the Fat Chocobo in the series.
  • The "circumnavigate the world on a chocobo for reward" quest originated here, to be repeated in Final Fantasy V.
  • This was the first game in the series to graphically show hit points when a target was attacked or healed, rather than use caption as in the original versions of the previous two games. It was also the first to contain auto-targeting, as well as the first to contain special battle music for boss battles. All of these aspects were also adapted in the remakes of the previous two games.
  • The names of Doga and Unei, two key characters in this game, appear in multiple Final Fantasy games, including Final Fantasy IX, which contains a sub-quest involving two items named "Doga's Artifact" and "Une's Mirror". These items unlock a hidden theme titled "Doga and Une" in the Black Mage Village.
  • A crab-like monster named Uruk-Hai exists in this game; the name, although not the monster itself, is a reference to J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
  • Several of the game's songs were used in Chocobo Racing, including the opening theme ("Crystal Cave") and the final battle theme.
  • Though most of the sprites for 8-Bit Theater are from the original Final Fantasy game, many other sprites including the new class changed Light Warriors are game sprites from the Famicom Final Fantasy III.
  • The original background music for the town of Amur was used in creating the song "Cloud Smiles" in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
  • In the original idea of the DS version Luneth, Arc, Refia, and Ingus were adopted children of Topapa, but this was changed to make the four separate characters have their own stories.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, the Onion Knight bears a yellow sword that resembles a sword of the Unnamed Warrior. In fact, when he changes to his Ninja Ex-Mode, he now wields two swords (one is his yellow sword, the other, a red sword) that resemble the Unnamed Warrior's swords. Also, in his Ninjutsu Ex-Burst, when he finishes it with his Back Attack!, his position resembles the Unnamed Warrior's position in the logo of Final Fantasy III.
  • In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the Two Headed Dragon, Echidna, Cerberus, and Ahriman are guardians for the crystals of the True Moon. In Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary and the Final Fantasy portion of Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, they return as bosses in the optional Earthgift Shrine.
  • Although Dissidia's references to each game are typically version-neutral, the character of the Onion Knight is explicitly based on the NES version, with the profile on the official website even going as far as to mention the three other orphans from Ur.
  • Final Fantasy III is the only game in the main series to never appear on a Sony platform, although it should be noted that Square Enix did consider porting the game to the PlayStation 2, but was eventually convinced by Nintendo to develop the title for their new handheld system, the Nintendo DS.

See Also

Packaging Artwork

External links

  • Final Fantasy III DS official site (Japanese)
  • Final Fantasy III DS official site (North American)
  • Final Fantasy III DS official site (European)
  • Final Fantasy III Sprites ~NES~

This article uses material from the "Final Fantasy III" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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