Format reviewed: Game Boy Advance
Submitted by: Richard Moore
Regardless of whether or not you think GBA games are old enough to be retro, Final Fantasy VI is certainly retro and a cracking RPG at that. Released in the US as Final Fantasy III, the sixth instalment in the long-running series was one of the highlights of SNES and arguably one of the best FF games of all time.
Telling the tale of an evil Emperor set on reviving the power of magic and starting the second 'War of the Magi', FF VI initially places you in the shoes of Terra Branford, a young woman enslaved by the empire for her magical powers. The empire have brainwashed Terra and made her into a lethal weapon for their evil purposes. Naturally, it isn't long before she gains her freedom and joins up with the resistance, thus beginning an epic tale of war, love and greed.
With 14 characters eventually under your control (some of them optional/secret) and each with their own backstory and personal issues, Final Fantasy VI has plenty of depth and emotional value, proving that an RPG doesn't need fancy 3D cinematics to tug at the heart strings. From Locke the 'Adventurer' to Cyan the samurai, each character has their own special abilities in battle that makes them equally useful as well as memorable.
Of course, it isn't just the story that makes Final Fantasy VI so special; the beautiful enemy sprites, excellent soundtrack and all-round great gameplay are all other factors that make the game stand out. The GBA port of the game also throws in a few bonus dungeons, a bestiary (profiling the monsters you've slain) and a music player. Compressing all this onto a tiny GBA cartridge means that the sound quality isn't perfect but it's a small price to pay to have a portable version of one of gaming's best RPG's.
Released at the end of the GBA's life, this version of FF VI isn't the easiest or cheapest game to come across (widespread piracy of GBA carts doesn't help) but track it down if you can – you won't regret it.