Final Fantasy 6 is one of my favorite games, so we now have seven different articles about Final Fantasy 6 posted over the course of three weeks. This is the finale, and we will finally advance to a new game on Friday. Now we conclude Final Fantasy 6 coverage with…
Now let’s throw the book at Final Fantasy 3.
Back in the time of Final Fantasy 6, if you wanted more out of a videogame, you were pretty well stuck. Only very particular franchises had direct sequels, so even if you wanted more Super Mario Bros. 3 action, it was still very likely that that raccoon tail would be dropped for a dinosaur by the next adventure. The internet as we know it was still a few years away from allowing for endless online discussions, and DLC was an unknown acronym that could only marginally apply to errant echidnas. However, we did have one place to fill the void: books and magazines.
I have never seen an in-depth interview with a 90’s Nintendo Power or strategy guide writer, but I have always assumed that there was more at play in those publications than just “tips from the pros”. Yes, everyone has recounted eternally how they were videogame propaganda rags, and the fact that the worst licensed pap would still score in the higher percentfiles seems to support this hypothesis. But these periodicals were written in the early days of gaming by people that had to be exposed to the most gaming content that had ever existed at that point in human history. They had to love it, right? They would not have lasted through seven seconds of reviewing Day Dreamin’ Davey otherwise! And they must have had the same desires as the players, too, right? A desperate need to get more out of the games they 100% enjoyed, even knowing full well that the next Final Fantasy would have nothing to do with their previous, beloved entry.
So here is something that I have to believe is a labor of love… Even if it is a mostly wrong labor of love…
I purchased this book when “Final Fantasy 3” was still fairly fresh. I never needed this book. I already owned multiple issues of Final Fantasy 3 Nintendo Power coverage, and the official Nintendo Power strategy guide for Final Fantasy 3. By the time this book was in my hands, I already knew every “real” trick, secret, and tip for Final Fantasy 3 (except maybe that it wasn’t actually titled Final Fantasy 3). This was a random Electronics Boutique purchase, and I know that because I still have part of the price tag on the back cover…
And, let me tell you, this had to look like a deal back in the day. Over 480 pages! The danged official guide was barely broader than a pencil, but this bad boy was thick enough to wallop a Pearl Dragon into next week! Just think of all the extra tips and tricks that must be in this complete guide not from the pros at Nintendo!
(This is the number one google result for “Final Fantasy 3 Thicc”)
And this was, of course, a giant trick. This guide is garbage, and, more often than not, factually incorrect. It is literally the opposite of helpful for any conceivable reason.
I also absolutely love and adore this book.
So allowing for inflation and my extremely limited allowance as a child, I’m pretty sure I paid a relative $10,000 for this guide. Let’s roast it so my 12-year-old self gets his money’s worth
(from here on out, click on any image to see a larger version)
First of all, we need to address whatever is happening here. According to fanboymaster of Even Worse Streams, “Hayaku Kaku’s” signature characters above his name roughly translate to
“quickly written”, or since they aren’t really conjugated "quick write"
Hayaku Kaku is definitely not anyone’s name. Names in Japanese are basically never written in a mix of character sets. Hayaku Kaku is here written as a mix of Kanji and Hiragana which you’d basically never see in a name, they’re also not really name kanji to my understanding and to more accurately explain the point of conjugation, hayaku and kaku are both the sort of plain form of the respective verbs, you’ll sometimes see it referred to as the dictionary form. So if you were just thumbing through a dictionary those are the forms of quick and write you would see.
So, yes, I am 100% convinced this was a C.B. Cebulski – Akira Yoshida situation, and this is the work of a white guy pretending to be Japanese while writing about a Japanese game. Ol’ Kaku doesn’t have any other writing credits, so if someone else wants to prove me wrong here, have at it.
Note that this is the official unofficial Prima guide for Final Fantasy 3. Also, at this point, all images were provided by the internet archive. Previous pictures were taken on my library’s couch.
There is nothing I like more than an opening table of contents that makes this all sound appropriately epic. Historical Overview! The Watersheds of History! Play Mechanics!
If you are paying attention to the page numbers, you can figure out immediately where the bulk of this book’s bulk originates.
The authors of this book “have over 25 years of experience evaluating interactive entertainment”. In 1994, this just meant they could remember playing Pong. Also note that we are told that it would be “virtually impossible” to complete the quest without the knowledge found in this book. So anyone that is only hearing about Complete Final Fantasy III Forbidden Game Secrets for the first time, how did you do it, you genius!?
This is an elaborate way of introducing the world of Final Fantasy 6, but it is at least accurate. Remember that this is Page 3 of this book before we get to a later point where it is completely contradicted.
This guide uses the weird tactic of describing all the locations in the game in order, but not yet providing an actual walkthrough. It is basically an overview of the game with the loosest explanations possible. It… is pretty alright, actually. It is here to fill up page space, but I appreciate the summaries.
I was approximately twelve when I read this guide, so suffice to say I did not understand references to “the Medici of early Europe”. Someone assumed a reader would need help getting through the first hour of Final Fantasy 6, but knew details of the Renaissance.
I mentioned earlier that this game is just loose enough that an active imagination could fill in the blanks and make even the most “we should probably put a dungeon at this point in the plot” location like Mt. Koltz an important part of the greater story of this world. Kaku apparently agrees, and fills some page space by describing Mt. Koltz as a sort of spiritual Mecca.
Cyan swore fealty to Samurai Masters… who must appear in some other game.
Aw, I distinctly remember looking up the concept of “liver spots” thanks to this passage on the Ghost Train/Phantom Forest.
Also: Baren Falls is “a one-way trip to Hell”. Gau should be offended!
Aw, yeah, here’s the entire reason I will always remember this book.
This history of the world was seemingly created whole cloth. I have found no source for all of this nonsense, and was theoretically an invention of this book from start to finish. I do not believe these time spans are based on anything, whether they be parallel “real world events” or just some nonsense from a Star Wars novel. Even some of the specific things, like Figaro using “machines” 84 years back, seem to be contradicted by the actual events of the game (isn’t the whole point of the first Figaro sequence that the empire/Kefka is surprised by their mechanical prowess?). Stuff like Kefka inventing Magitek is also downright bonkers.
Regardless, I cannot get mad, because being reminded that this “world” existed for a thousand years before the actual game started always set my own imagination ablaze…
Kefka is identified as the main threat from jump street here. I mean, he is, but spoilers, guys.
There is no such status effect as “cursed”. Given “echo screen” is supposed to cure it, it looks like you guys couldn’t figure out “mute”. Doesn’t matter, you don’t explain what status effects do anyway…
Here would likely be a good place to note that, as a connoisseur of strategy guides of the 90’s (or just someone that would do anything to complete The Seventh Guest), I know exactly what happened here: This is a strategy guide for a 16-bit “console” videogame being written by an author who traditionally writes guides for Western “PC” style videogames. References to Wizardry and Ultima give it away. In fact, the start of this page all but assumes you are coming over to Final Fantasy 3 from, like, The Incredible Machine. Thomas Covenant! Betrayal at Krondor! Bastard Swords! Get excited for treasure!
Various “intricate” mechanics are described on the following pages, which basically works out to explanations of the individual character abilities. I am featuring this page because Nintendo Power rarely made Metallica or Doom II references. Or, for that matter, to the concept of “sass”.
Well that’s an ominous title for a map.
These maps were all hand (mouse) drawn in 1990s AutoCad, right? I want to state plainly again that this book is often wrong, but I love the effort that went into it.
Okay, I checked the SNES instruction manual, and, after that sacred object nearly put me in a nostalgia coma, I realized that all this “stat information” does not appear in that book. Ages, blood type, and alike does not actually appear in the game. However, the information here is correct, insomuch as it can be found in the official Final Fantasy Ultimania books… albeit with a slightly skewed translation. For instance, the Ultimania notes that Celes likes “antique picture books”, while you can see “Old books and pictures” listed here. Similarly, officially Celes hates “weak men”, but that is recorded as “rowdy males” here…
My point? It appears this “unofficial guide” had access to some official sources. Still got the mechanics of Runic completely wrong, though.
But over and over again, it seems like everything else comes exclusively from the SNES game, and specifically “that” translation. There is no way “blow fish”, which is Cactuar’s 1,000 Needles everywhere else in the franchise, would make reference to fish in the Ultimania. Lore “Reflect” is 100% wrong.
Gogo listed on the same level as Banon is an insult to Mimics everywhere.
Let’s get Shakespeare all up in here! You get an English degree, and you use it.
Here is what I was alluding to earlier: despite the history of Final Fantasy 3 being mostly correct on Page 3 of the book, here The War of Magi that occurred centuries before the game is conflated with the meeting of Terra’s parents, which happened (at most) 20 years back. Additionally, Kefka could be interpreted as someone with the power of the “mechanized fist” of the Empire, but he certainly doesn’t already have “Magicite Statues” in his “fortress”. Bro doesn’t even seem to have his own apartment in Vector! And then this half wrong recounting of half the plot segues into “here’s how Espers work”.
It’s weird, y’all.
So now we get a rundown of all the Espers and their attendant spells and learn rates. No, this section does not ever tell you where to find all of these Espers.
The permanent switch from Odin to Raiden is noted here, but it ignores that Crusader can teach meteor, too. Which is odd, considering Crusader is properly listed as the next esper!
Come to think of it, I do not believe I have ever been poisoned in Final Fantasy 3 after Mt. Koltz.
Does anyone know if these “three times” and “seven times” calculations are correct for the spell progressions? They are repeated for the Elemental 1/2/3 descriptions as well.
Does that imp look like a zombie to you!?
On seemingly only this page, there are references to “classes”. Most items apparently cure all classes, but Echo Screen only works for “fighters”. They had a chance to make this relevant with the Shadow/ninja-based items, but whiffed it.
Petrifaction. Microsoft Word claims that is a synonym for Petrification.
That is not how Cherub Down works. That is not how the Cure Ring works. That is not how the Dragon Horn works.
Expecting the Relic Ring to work like that will get you killed. Or… double killed?
We get pages of information on equipment. Occasionally, the descriptions of the items are fun.
I’m trying to remember if “Minerba Vische” is a Woolsey-ism or complete nonsense.
By volume, the majority of this book is the least useful bestiary ever to appear in print. Maybe 1.4 monsters per page, barely any pictures, and no information on where you actually encounter these creatures. And, given how the rest of the book works, there is no way anyone has ever proofed this information for exactitude. Before or after publishing. Who would have the time?
The bosses are listed in alphabetical order. This is violence.
Kefka walloping your party, you hastily flipping to the boss section, always seeing “Air Force (Laser Gun)” first while your HP dwindles down to nothing… Be glad you never have to fight Zoneseek! … Until World of Final Fantasy, at least.
This screenshot gives me secondhand anxiety.
As you have probably guessed, Kefka’s angel form and Tower of Power is listed under “F” for “The Final Boss”. The full description for the boss is marginally valuable (yes, tools are useful), but the whole “face the adventure of a lifetime” denouement seems to imply this section would have once reasonably listed the bosses in plot-order. But here, we just go from “the absolute end” to “that fire boss”.
This strategy for Magi Master is more or less suicidal.
“At this point, however, our data become more general.” Book write hard, tired now.
If you learn one thing from this guide, it is that you must rotate the egg.
The general guide tips are actually pretty helpful. I appreciate any advice that derides hording and encourages spending that gold.
This section goes all in on the maps that I simultaneously find impressive in their craft, but wholly useless in their functionality. At least label the entrances and exits!
Yes. Bruins. Good.
One of the most iconic scenes for an entire hardware generation is described as a “critical timing puzzle”.
My brother in Christ, did you think Lonewolf was somehow two wolves? Did one of the two wolves inside of you tell you this?
Do you mean “transparent points” like there would be a counter on the screen, but it is see-through? Because any other interpretation of that phrase is absolutely inapplicable.
That said, I think the answers to the dinner questions are correct here. Small miracle, considering Gestahl is repeatedly referred to as “the king”.
The death of General Leo gets a sentence. Ha.
Anti-Shadow bias detected.
“Cid dies, Celes is inconsolable.” Guess that’s canon.
Just because something sucks does not mean it is a “vacuum-like creature”.
These are the only maps of Kefka’s Tower available in the book. They are easily the most ineffective maps ever created.
You said I could live without Shadow earlier, and now he’s part of the final party recommendation!?
I had to stare at the list for a while to work out that this writer’s two “leave behinds” are Gau and Cyan. Those would be my picks on the SNES version, but Pixel Remaster does improve Cyan a tweak.
A handy-dandy index is included to navigate that page count and increase the page count further.
You think this got everything wrong? Write your own damn strategy guide!
And that’s about it. I never purchased either of those guides, but they’re “Official” and “Authorized”. I only buy renegade strategy guides now.
In lieu of filling out this survey, I have decided to complain on the internet. I wonder if Question #4 was there so they could petition Square for greater access to Terra’s blood type.
Question #8 being on a scale but still phrased as “covers most of what I need” amuses me.
It is its own envelope! Neat!
Do you reckon you can beat Final Fantasy 3 now? Because I feel like this guide has bimbofied me to the point that I might be able to approach the game with fresh eyes. Let’s see if I can clear Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster again… Or just use it as an excuse to stall before playing Final Fantasy 2 Pixel Remaster…
FGC #655 Final Fantasy 6
- System: Originally Super Nintendo, but then it managed to appear on nearly every console (and sometimes handheld) generation since. This recent playthrough was on the Nintendo Switch.
- Number of players: The original version had a weird “two controllers can control battles” function that no one ever talks about. So we are going to say single player today.
- All other bullet items: Please see the previous Final Fantasy 6 article. I have drained myself of all FF6 knowledge now.
- Did you know? Many Final Fantasy 6 sprites appear in the background of the coliseum of Secret of Evermore. This is what is known in some circles as “slummin’ it”.
- Would I play again: And despite being drained, I would still play it all over again in a heartbeat. You probably can figure out why by now…
What’s Next? Random ROB has chosen… Double Dragon II: The Revenge! And it is the end of everything! Please look forward to it!