Hello, good people! And welcome back to another installment of THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!
This time, I wish to pay homage to a game I played at least a dozen times during high school, and several times afterwards: Final Fantasy VI for the SNES.
Disclaimer: Even though it was first released as Final Fantasy III in North America, I am calling it Final Fantasy VI, for the sake of simplicity (and because that’s what everyone calls it now anyway).
So, without further ado, here I go!
Final Fantasy VI was released in North America in 1994, but I first played it a year later, right after I finished elementary school. I already knew a good deal about the game, because I had a subscription to Nintendo Power at the time, and my interest was piqued.
The story starts out with three Imperial soldiers invading the town of Narshe, in search of a recently discovered, frozen Esper – a magical creature that was used in a war fought a thousand years ago. After discovering it, the Esper kills two of the soldiers and spares one, a girl who can also use magic, who was being brainwashed by the Empire. Long story short: the girl joins a rebellion against the Empire and the Empire gains control of a source of unimaginable power. A trusted aid of the Emperor (who is also psychotic) betrays and kills the Emperor and then uses the ultimate power to lay waste to the entire planet. The remainder of that rebellion then rally together to stop this goddamn psycho, who also happens to be the best Final Fantasy villain ever, Kefka!
Okay, now to catch my breath… give me a minute and enjoy a picture of this… thing!
I love this game because it gave me a reason to care about its characters, who all (except the two bonus characters) have their own reasons for fighting against the Empire. My favorite character is Sabin, the brother of Edgar, who is the King of Figaro. But before I talk some more about Sabin, I just have to mention that Edgar is king of a castle that can sink into the sand, and he can use a chainsaw in battle… with a Jason mask!
Sabin is my favorite because he uses martial arts to fight his enemies. Like most of the main characters, he can eventually learn magic, but it’s his Blitz attacks that really make him shine, and as the game progresses, he can learn more powerful Blitzes. One of the best moments in the game is when you can use Sabin to pick up and suplex a train… that’s right, a fucking train!
The music in Final Fantasy VI is among the best in the entire Super NES library. Every single track is a goddamn masterpiece. It doesn’t matter if I’m listening to the battle theme, the victory fanfare, or Terra’s theme – they all rock! However, “Dancing Mad” is probably at the top of everyone’s list (mine included). I’ve probably mentioned it in a previous article, but it bears repeating: Nobuo Uematsu is a composing legend.
The art style is beautifully done. Even after all these years, it still looks amazing watching the world pass beneath you on the Floating Continent, or traversing the Phantom Forest. There’s also something inherently beautiful about travelling the World of Ruin, while listening to “Dark World,” or “Searching for Friends.”
There’s not really anything I hated about Final Fantasy VI. I mean sure, grinding was tedious at times, but I took it as an opportunity to catch up on my music library, more specifically, Weird Al. An opportunity to enjoy Weird Al is an opportunity not wasted.
For the record, my biggest complaint was the Tower of Fanatics, which I found to be the most boring dungeon in the game, because of its linearity and the “magic only” rule. It became a lot more bearable for me when I discovered that Mog’s exclusive relic, the Moogle Charm, prevents random encounters from happening, but the “magic only” rule in the tower was still annoying.
So, after so many years of having fun with this game, why have I decided to retire it? Simply because I have played it to death. Since 1995, I’ve played it dozens of times on the Super Nintendo. I’ve also played it several times on the Game Boy Advance. I’ve maxed out characters, I’ve taught every single character magic, I’ve beaten the Kaiser Dragon, Omega Weapon, and conquered the Soul Shrine. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do with this game (and the Advance port), and after I reached that point, I no longer had a strong desire to finish it again. Also, I’ve played it on the PSOne, but the PSOne version sucks because the loading times are horrible, so it doesn’t really count.
Even though I won’t be picking up this game again in the near future, I still had a hell of a lot of fun with it, and I feel that everyone should play it, at least once. You will find something enjoyable about this game, be it the story, the characters, the gameplay, or the awesome music.
Final Fantasy VI, you are a legend. Thanks for the memories.