Final Fantasy Legend III

   The Water Entity is flooding past, present and future. Continents are being swallowed by the sea. It is the destiny of three children of the future, sent back in time, to find the source of this disaster and save the world. Recently re-released by Sunsoft, Final Fantasy Legend III is every bit the dramatic Square masterpiece, despite (or perhaps partially thanks to) its portable, play-anywhere form.

The temple of the hidden Talon & the village of Dharm

   The four heroes -- Arthur and Sharon, the human warriors, and Curtis and Gloria, the mutant magic users -- are fairly generic, renameable characters. At the opening of the story, the elder of their village explains how Arthur, Curtis and Gloria were sent back from the future as the last chance to save their world from the lethal, unlimited flooding. They must collect the pieces of a mystical ship named Talon in order to travel through time and accomplish their goal. The elder's granddaughter, who is quite obviously attracted to Arthur, joins them on this quest. Unlike most traditional RPGs where the plot develops and shapes the personalities of the main characters, the four heroes of Legend III are predominantly static and dry. The eccentric, unusual, and quirky characters are instead found in the many NPCs who assist the heroes, occasionally joining the party to lend a hand. Dion, a stubborn and opinionated character, and Faye, a young female warrior, are two of Dharm's residents who grow up to become important rebel leaders in the future. The very same gurus and doctors associated with the mystical Pureland will later assist in sending the heroes to the evil realm. Should the darkness be purged from Pureland, it is believed, the Water Entity itself should vanish.

Borgin & Dion in the future

   The saga of saving the world is a common trait amongst most RPGs, but FF Legend III was one of the first games to extensively incorporate the idea of time travel. The time-traveling ship, the Talon, is hidden in a temple near the village of Dharm. The vessel is missing many pieces (called units), and only when your heroes recover them will they be able to fly, shoot weapons, travel to the past and the future, and return to Pureland. The plot later reveals that the ship is a relic used by Borgin, the man who sent the heroes back in time, when he escaped from Pureland. Besides the obvious changes in Dion and Faye, other characters age over the time span as well, such as Cronos and Granny of Elan. Ironically, Cronos is the character who leads you to where the unit of "Past" is found, allowing the party to travel back in time. There, the city under the sea, plagued by a mysterious disease, grows worse over time, and the seeds planted in the past become a tree that in the future will offer the heroes clues. Perhaps the most amusing aspect of the heroes' time travel is when Arthur meets a man who decides to name his baby son after the hero. Of course, it's rather obvious that this baby is Arthur himself.

The magical spell of float

   The menu based battle system is fairly standard. Magic is bought or found in the game, instead of being intrinsically tied to your party members' magical skill. Some spells affect you outside of battle -- Float allows you to fly over water before you receive the Talon. Dive allows you to explore the ocean floor, and Morph gives you the ability to talk to monsters and diseased humans. These are absolutely essential to completing the game (in addition to being rather unique as compared to the stereotypical Fire, Ice and Cure spells). Although one can custom the characters' magic any way they choose, no character learn every spell due to a limit on the total number they can retain, differing from person to person. Later on in the game, the heroes will find rocks of different elements that can be combined to form special armor or very powerful magic. These rocks are few and far between and must be spent wisely to obtain objects necessary to defeat Xagor, the evil, odious, dreadful (not to mention nefarious) creature behind the Water Entity.

Sharon is morphed into a Sylph

   With the Game Boy's tiny cartridge already packed with time travel across four different worlds, a basic battle engine, and towns and enemies galore, Square impresses gamers further with the addition of a another system integrated into the battle system. As a game from the SaGa series, enemies will sometimes leave meat or parts behind after a battle is won. When eaten or equipped by a character, they may change into Monsters, Beasts, Cyborgs or Robots. Each character is born under a certain element (fire, water, earth, air), and each enemy is a certain element. The combination of the two affects what the characters will become. This functions almost as a twist on the job system -- characters gain special abilities or characteristics with the changes in status, which makes for more variety between them. The characters can reverse the process by eating or installing the opposite parts, and later on in the game, the Talon has a unit called Flushex, which automatically turns any character back to a human/mutant.

The time traveling Talon

   While Final Fantasy Legend III certainly doesn't hold the same overall clout as mainstream console RPGs, it's surprising how close the game comes to the real thing in such a tiny form. The time traveling concept is one that has since been successfully used in games such as Chrono Trigger and Zelda 64. It is truly amazing that Square has managed to create a world, filled with destructive villains, enigmatic characters, and magic, mingled with the mystery of time travel, that is held right in the palm of your hand.

Retrospective by Tamzen Marie Baker.
Final Fantasy Legend III
Developer Square
Publisher Square Soft
Genre RPG
Medium Cartridge
Platform Gameboy
Released 1992
FAQ / Game Genie Codes
15 screen shots
Character artwork