One of the top 5 RPGs ever made
FF3 stepped the Final Fantasy game up in America. It employed the same basic mechanics of the previous Final Fantasy but added improved graphics, one of the most compelling story-lines of any game ever made, and interesting additions to the battle mechanics. The most notable achievement is that you can pick your party of 3 from out of a pool of maybe 10 characters, all of which share the same basic attack and item abilities but each of which has their own special abilities, such as the thief character being able to steal or the knight having advanced sword techniques. Each of these must be used tactically throughout the battle and in many cases constituted a sort of mini-game in and of themselves; for example Sabin has to execute maneuvers on the control panel similar to Street Fighter special moves in order to attack with his powerful martial techniques.
The goal of the game is to progress through the story and collect items, spells, characters and gear in order to take on increasingly more difficult opponents. Many of the items you find will work in concert with each other, and finding creative ways to combine them in order to milk the most usability will become a broad challenege that gives you a feeling like you are going beyond even the vast playing field that the developers had originally intended.
My enjoyment of this game may have been affected by the fact that the cartridge I was playing it on had a glitch which gave me 99x of almost every one of the top items in the game. In a game where gear can make all the difference between victory and defeat, the outcome was no longer uncertain for me and probably saved me a bit of experience grinding for which RPGs are famous. This was particularly hilarious because the unique ability for one of the characters, Shadow, is to throw an item for increased damage but at the cost of losing the item forever. Chucking Lumina swords like they're going out of style and killing monsters in one hit became a favorite pasttime of mine.
The friend whose house I had been playing this game at (while eating roll after roll of Smarties) thought it would be a great joke if he squandered each one of my carefully hoarded elixirs (the single most effective potion in the game, and an item of which I had not serendipitiously received god-like quantities of) on "Name Change Cards" and changed all my characters names to "Stupid". Fuck you, Jeffrey Nye.
Despite the luck I experienced at the end of this game, I found it to be challenging and amazing fun. Easily 40-50 hours of gameplay and that's if you completely ignore the numerous side quests and optional party member acquisition. The mystery of the rich world that Square creates can be truly breathtaking and I content that it has never been more apparent than in Final Fantasy III.