|SNES VERSION - Don't believe the lies: Take 2.|
Available on: PS1, SNES
Developer(s): Square, TOSE
Publisher(s): Square, Sony Computer Entertainment
Players: 1-2 [cond. multiplayer]
The development of Final Fantasy VI began soon after the ill-fated Final Fantasy V was released in Japan. To add to the confusion, the game was released in the U.S. as Final Fantasy III, which kind of obscured its remarkable standing as yet another great turning point in the series. Final Fantasy's creator Hironobu Sakaguchi passed on duties of lead designer and director on the behalf of Final Fantasy V's field planner Yoshinori Kitase and ATB designer Hiroyuki Ito. Under Sakaguchi's tight surveillance, the duo created one of the greatest stories and at the same time, essential games in the whole series, in other words a well-balanced masterpiece created from the best qualities of the games that came before it - a whole new standard for the series, but also the very last 2D Final Fantasy adventure. Final Fantasy VI is not the best game in the series - but it is STILL easily one of the best games ever created.
The pros and cons of power and greed
|The new world map, complete with a proper|
minimap to keep track of your surroundings.
|Either way, he rules.|
|They have the POT from Final Fantasy IV|
|A prehistoric peacock?|
|You got mofos on this side, and mofos on that|
side... so whatcha gonna do?
|I believe I could fly.|
The graphics of the game are great. I really don't understand why people keep dissing the graphical display as "bland". Yeah, well, let's take that into consideration for a moment. It's true that the less remarkable towns in the game look exactly the same, only the infrastructure is different. There are not too many different sprites among the NPC's, and the world map - finally in a constantly active minimap form - lacks landmarks besides the places you can enter. Look at all the different enemies, though. Look at the level of details. Look at the seamless Mode 7 graphics, applied to airship and chocobo rides, and to some extent, simply walking on the world map. There's one Mode 7-powered cart ride sequence that looks just horrible, but everything else done in 7 is awesome. After all this, look at the sheer size of the game. Its dozens of sidequests, its huge unique cast of playable characters, and the 40 hours it will take you at the absolute minimum to beat the game... if you're not some sort of boring and self-buff loving speedrunner. The game might not look like the polished-to-the-hilt Chrono Trigger, but keep in mind that Final Fantasy VI came out earlier, and features a huge world map, and a huge load of impressive Mode 7 effects, replaced in Chrono Trigger with several small world maps, and special effects which were made possible by the cartridge's larger capacity.
|The Twilight Zone. Na-na-na-na...|
|Yeah. Or maybe you're just a nice guy after all.|
|A suicide attempt translated as a "leap of faith"|
in the North American version. Fluffy, but
admittedly quite clever. Way to go, Ted.
|There's not one perfectly stable old guy in this |
|Doom Gaze - the most difficult secret boss to|
find, one of the easiest to kill.
How about ATB? Word to word, what I said just before: the battles are very dynamic. In easy battles, you can get by just by pressing and holding the A button throughout the battle. The guys are quick to take commands, and the complex scheme of Sabin's Blitz works like magic even if a particular move requires you to rotate the digital pad, which would seem extremely hard at first. You can target all enemies with applicable spells simply by pressing L or R instead of awkwardly toggling your way to the furthest enemy and beyond. In addition to back attacks, there's the pincer attack, in which enemies attack from both sides, and a pre-emptive side attack, which is the same, but you're the one who's attacking. Payback time, bitches - for all those annoying back attacks over the years. One last thing, and to me, it's the most important tweak to the Final Fantasy series' battle scheme, not just the ones in which ATB is applied; you can FINALLY change the active character at any time as long as that character's time bar's full, without having to sacrifice a valuable turn by defending or doing something equally useless.
|Some of the last dungeons are large-scale|
puzzles based on the benefits of teamwork. You
can even use two controllers.
Regardless of your playing style and/or speed, you're guaranteed a fun, lengthy game... what am I saying, one of the most distinguished masterpieces of a video game the world has ever seen. Not too easy, not too hard, but the longest 16-bit game in existence. Final Fantasy VI is all about the will to explore. You're prompted and tempted to go out of your way to do those sidequests and increase your probability to succeed; leveling up is easy, comfortable and fun, and absolutely everything you do in the game takes you deeper into the brilliant story the two equally brilliant stand-in directors produced us.
|We'd like a word with the lord of this wasteland.|
Graphics : 9.1
Sound : 9.0
Playability : 9.8
Challenge : 9.2
Overall : 9.7
Surprisingly, for the most part, the game is near 100% identical to the original game. The default button scheme has been changed to correspond to that which has been used since Final Fantasy VIII, and you can run without having to equip Sprint Shoes, but that's about it. Everyone knows of the opening cutscene that was added in to take advantage of the console's properties and for the developers to have some 3D fun with familiar, 2D characters. It looks very nice by the late 90's standard, but kind of makes you feel you would've liked a full-scale remake of the game instead of some three-minute teaser of one. Besides - Gau, Cyan, Strago and Relm are missing from what's supposed to be a definitive cavalcade of non-optional characters.
|Paul Phoenix got lost.|
The CD format of the game brings in a couple of unwanted glitches. I haven't played on a physical PS1 in almost a decade, so I don't remember if it was ever an issue on that apparatus, but on the PS3, scripted scenes, including the opening credits of the game, skip forward, or simply break in midway. The loading times of random encounters - presented as screen fade ins/fade outs - spawn awkward pauses to the smooth, dynamic flow of the game, both in the beginning and end of battles. This I remember to be a problem all the way from the days of the PS1.
|The great escape from Figaro... just one of the|
things I would've liked to witness in 3D.
Final Fantasy VI for the PS1 sports the game's correct title and cool bonus features, but in the big picture it's just a near-identical dose of one masterpiece of a game, yet less fluid and dynamic than the SNES original. Those who haven't yet experienced the game's greatness are strongly advised to seek this version out - Game Boy Advance owners, on the other hand, should turn to the next one.
Graphics : 9.2
Sound : 9.0
Playability : 9.3
Challenge : 9.2
Overall : 9.2
GameRankings: 93.68% (SNES)
Nintendo Power ranks Final Fantasy VI #14 on their list of the Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time.
The last Final Fantasy game to be released on a Nintendo system for the next 11 years.
The first Final Fantasy installment to feature voice samples, although they're fully synthesized - namely main antagonist Kefka's maniacal laughter and the "vocals" in "Aria di Mezzo Carattere".
For the first of many times, several character names were localized in North America, for varying reasons. Five main characters were renamed: Tina -> Terra, Lock -> Locke, Macias -> Sabin, Cayenne -> Cyan, and Stragus -> Strago.
The characters of Biggs and Wedge make their first of many appearances in a Squaresoft game, as Imperial soldiers from Vector, hired to escort Terra to Narshe. However, Biggs is a victim of mistranslation and is called Vicks in the original North American version of the game; the same mistake was repeated in Chrono Trigger (1995), which was also translated by Ted Woolsey. This mistranslation later became an inside joke and used on purpose in the Dissidia manual. Biggs and Wedge are named after Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles, minor characters in the original Star Wars trilogy. In Chrono Trigger they're accompanied by Piette, another minor character in Star Wars.
Character designer Yoshitaka Amano considers the character of Terra Branford his best work.
Kaori Tanaka, who worked on the game as a co-writer and artist, later took part in the development of Xenogears. The game features royal siblings Rene and Roni - which are also the middle names of Edgar and Sabin Figaro. Rene and Roni's castle is a mobile desert fortress, just like Figaro Castle.
Whenever Edgar uses the Chain Saw tool, missing his target or instantly killing it, he sports Jason Voorhees' mask from the Friday the 13th movie series.
Sabin's Aura Bolt Blitz is executed the same way as the Hadouken fireball in Street Fighter II, and it's also a projectile attack.
Strago Magus shares the honour of being the oldest playable character in a Final Fantasy game with Cid Pollendina in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. Both men are 71 years old by the game's end...
...Umaro, on the other hand, is the youngest playable character in a Final Fantasy game with only 4 years of age. Of course, they're yeti years.
Gogo is rumoured to be the boss character Famed Mimic Gogo from Final Fantasy V, who enters a dimensional warp, never to be seen again. However, as fans of the series know, there hardly are this kind of strong links between any of the games, except maybe for the character of Gilgamesh, who also made his first appearance in Final Fantasy V, and is also known to travel between dimensions. There are many other rumours swirling around as well, about Gogo being a character whose fate is rendered unclear during the course of the game.
The thief Siegfried is named after the hero in the German poem Song of Nibelungs. During development of Final Fantasy VIII, parts of Siegfried's personality were applied to the character of Seifer Almasy; the name Seifer itself is a relocalization of Siegfried.
The final battle is heavily influenced by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. This final battle, on the other hand, influenced Sephiroth's ultimate form in the next game.
The original script of the game differed a great deal from the final product, and it was even less centered on one character. Here are some original drafts (SPOILER WARNING!).
- Terra was to be a 25-year old male, and supposed to vanish and die in the end with the rest of the Espers.
- Locke was to be an older man, sort of mentor and rival of Terra's. He had the Runic skill.
- Cyan and his backstory remained the same throughout development, however originally he had a female rival named Angela, who was supposed to be a playable character in the game. It is possible that some of this Angela's design was passed on to Celes.
- Gau was to be a totally secondary character, who would leave the party once reunited with his now sensible father after the Sabin scenario in the World of Balance. However, he was apparently perceived such a funny character the designers decided to leave him in the game. Still, he's the only non-optional member of the party who doesn't have the ability to use the regular Fight command, an extensive sidequest or some other true place in the game's main story, which makes some people refer to him as the game's most useless main character.
- Celes was to be just as mentally unstable as Kefka, and indeed the double agent she's constantly suspected to be by Cyan. Her character would have become more loyal to the party due to their acceptance towards her despite her past, and comprehensive of what it's like to be "one of the good guys". This concept was later used for designing Cait Sith in Final Fantasy VII.
- Mog was re-recruited into the party differently, through a moogle chasing minigame.
- Strago had a wife named Lara, and their constant bickering was a humoristic focus in the character's backstory.
- Gogo was recruited differently, through another minigame based on his mimicry.
- Umaro was recruited differently, through a random encounter on the world map, during which the player had to bait him in. This was partly rewritten and made a part of Gau's recruitment process.
Terra, Locke and Shadow, along with a Stone Golem, were later used to test the battle system in a 3D environment, when Square was first planning to release Final Fantasy VII on Nintendo 64 (back then, known as the Ultra 64), before moving on to the Sony PlayStation and choosing CD format over cartridges. There were even rumours of a quick 3D port/remake of Final Fantasy VI. This famous technical demo was shown in several gaming conventions during 1995, and stills from it can be found all over the Internet.
Terra, Locke, Mog, Strago, Relm and Umaro can be seen in the crowd in Secret of Evermore.
Four bosses from the game (Phantom Train, Ultros, Atma/Ultima Weapon and Doom Gaze) made a return in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, as crystal guardians of the New Moon.
Terra is also the name of the planet of Genomes in Final Fantasy IX, as well as a little girl at Giza Plains in Final Fantasy XII.
Locke is also the name of one of the playable characters in Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest and an NPC in Final Fantasy IX. A namesake character can also be communicated with in Secret of Evermore. Locke's Desperation Attack, Mirage Dive, is a name of a Band ability in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years.
Setzer makes a cameo appearance in Kingdom Hearts II, as the alternate Twilight Town's reigning Struggle champion. He is voiced by Crispin Freeman. Setzer's name and allusions to him are mentioned in Final Fantasy Tactics, and in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, pieces of equipment named Gambler's Gear and Gambler's Hat make the character look like Setzer.
Mog can be associated with almost any later Final Fantasy game, but it would seem the playable character named "Mog" in Chocobo Racing is designed after the one in this game.
Gogo is mentioned in Final Fantasy IX, in a few gift item descriptions.
Kefka "appears" as a chance card in Itadaki Street Special, and his infamous laughter makes a return at Gold Saucer's Ghost House in Final Fantasy VII. In Bethesda Softworks' Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there's a dungeon called Kefka's Burial.
TNA professional wrestler Joshua Harter uses "Chris Sabin" as his ringname, and it is indeed derived from the game.
Terra Branford (voiced by Natalie Lander) and Kefka Palazzo (voiced by Dave Wittenberg) are rivals in Square Enix's all-star anniversary game Dissidia - Final Fantasy, released on the PSP in 2008. Locke was originally planned to take the lead, but the designers figured that Terra had a stronger emotional link to Kefka than Locke. The treasure hunter does appear in the game's instruction manual, though, as a tutor, alongside some other characters. Siegfried also "appears" in the game, as a Ghost Card.