Final Fantasy Legend III, originally released in Japan as SaGa 3 The Ruler of Time and Space, is an RPG developed by Square for the Gameboy handheld as the third of their SaGa series. Released in Japan in December 1991 and almost two years later for North America in September 1993.
This is your basic RPG stuff here. You view your status and information from a character menu by pressing Start. The battles are turn based, you issue the commands to your party of four characters+, which range from Weapon, Talent, Magic and Item. The game does have something unique that sets it apart from its two predecessors being that each character starts at their default class (human or mutant). When fed the meat of slaim monsters, characters will transform into a monster. When ‘parts’ of a slain robot or cyborg are installed, then he/she will become a robot. This little system can be fun to mess around with, but time will soon tell that it’s far from beneficial. Character statistics and abilities are changed, and for the most part they become more of a hindrance as being normal the characters are far more balanced and able. Combat doesn’t push your abilities at all, and mashing ‘A’ will get you through the majority of them. Boss battles however are a different story and can be fairly tough at times, even requiring a bit of luck. If you’ve played Mystic Quest, FF I – III or past SaGa games you’ll be fimiliar, maybe too fimiliar with the gameplay.
A beast known as the Pureland Water Entity engulfs the world in a great flood, and drew monsters onto the land. Three youths were sent back in time to prevent the disaster. Along with numerous companions they meet along the way, they must travel through time by augmenting their flying time-travelling ship, the Talon, with upgrades from the past and future. There’s a combination of fantasy and sci-fi here, with some similarities to Chrono Trigger regarding the use of time-travel and that past actions affect the future. There’s very little, if any story development here. In fact what story there is, is simply to glorify the constant fetch-quests and backtracking. Playing this game for plot is comparable to playing Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow for character development. There’s so little to talk about here I’m at a loss for words.
Ah…well… Yeah. This is a Gameboy game people! What am I really supposed to say here? The character sprites are kinda cute and have their own charm, and enemies (especially bosses) are fairly detailed. The same can’t be said about the world map which feels pretty square for the most part without any real detail or variation in areas. So much so that you can actually just get lost out-right by how bland it is. As decent as the monster sprites are, almost all of them are re-used and re-titled as different enemies 3-4 times over the course of the game, which really doesn’t help the game seem any less repetitive. Believe that..the graphics make the gameplay repetitive!
… *sigh* Again, there’s really not a lot to talk here. The four protagonists are Arthur, Curtis, Gloria and Sharon. Sharon hints to have a crush on Arthur at the beginning but it never goes further than that. There’s never really a main antagonist figure to hate, or any shining development moments to love. There are a few characters that come and go like Shadow in Final Fantasy VI, and even they don’t do or say a whole lot. Again, there’s about as much character development in Final Fantasy I or III. At least Legend II made it a personal search for a long-last father, damnit..
For its limitations, Final Fantasy Legend III actually sounds fairly good, and was composed by Mystic Quest composer Ryuji Sasai. There are some really nice, catchy tunes on offer here. Some do play a little too frequently such as the town and battle theme but hey it’s expected in an old JRPG. I found myself enjoying going to certain areas to hear those little, enjoyable tunes over and over again. There’s no truly epic stuff here, but it does really add to both the sci-fi and fantasy themes. I encourage you to look-up ‘Gods of Another Dimension’ and ‘Divine Ruins’ as they are worth a listen!
In conclusion, Final Fantasy Legend III is a below-average experience. The characters are about as interesting as Bella Swan, the graphics make the gameplay repetitive and can even get you lost, and character customization is very unpredictable. The sound is okay (sometimes good), and the dungeons are fun to explore and run around in but beyond that there’s really nothing to say that hasn’t been said a lot before. Unless you’re a die-hard SaGa and old-school JRPG fan you’ll not find anything on offer here.