Final Fantasy III Story, Explained

Final Fantasy III concept art

Final Fantasy III Story, Explained

Releasing first for the Famicom in 1990 and then eventually receiving a localization via a 3D remake for the Nintendo DS, Final Fantasy III is the last of the 8-bit games in the series and the first to introduce the iconic Job System. After the more defined characters and plot of its predecessor Final Fantasy II, the third game in the series returns to the “blank slate” approach of the original game. Despite the ability of the player to imprint their own identity and backstory on their four characters (as well as mold them into an adventuring party of their choosing with the Job System), the Final Fantasy III story is actually the most complex of the initial trilogy. This story is further expanded in the DS remake, whose additions to the narrative also factor into the recent Pixel Remasters version of the game.


Final Fantasy III concept art

Centuries before the events of Final Fantasy III, an ancient civilization utilizes the power of the Crystals to bring society into an age of utopian technological advancement. However, the over-reliance on the Crystals and their power generates a devastating Flood of Light that threatens to erase existence. Four Warriors of Dark step forward to quell the disaster by restoring a balance between light and dark. Unfortunately, restoring the balance sees the civilization of the Ancients fall to ruin. A race of blind sages that call themselves the Gulgans, who possess knowledge of the past, present, and future, predict that one day four Warriors of Light will again need to restore the balance offset by the presence of the crystals and the propensity of humans to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The Village of Ur and Warriors of Light

Final Fantasy III concept art

Centuries after the Warriors of Dark save the world, a new civilization comes into prominence and the existence of the Ancients is now an old wives’ tale. Near the isolated village of Ur, a massive earthquake opens up the entrance to a previously sealed cave. Four orphans from Ur, growing up under the care of the village elder Topapa, bravely decide to adventure into the cave. Here, the four warriors commune with the Crystal of Wind, which grants these warriors a portion of its power and christens them the Warriors of Light. The four youths return to Ur with their new abilities, and Topapa instructs them to head out into the world and restore the balance between light and dark. With their quest set out before them, the Warriors of Light head to the nearby village of Kazus.

In Kazus, the Warriors discover that a great and powerful genie, the Djinn, holds the town under a terrible curse. The Warriors, realizing that stopping the Djinn must be the first step in their new quest, head to nearby Castle Sasune to get permission from the King to use the Mythril Ring and enter the Djinn’s cave. In exchange for the power of the ring, the King requests that the Warriors save his daughter Princess Sara, who has gone missing while searching for a way to stop the Djinn herself. Naturally, the Warriors enter the cave, save Princess Sara, and defeat the Djinn. With Kazus no longer under the Djinn’s curse, the Warriors accompany the inventor Cid on his airship to continue their journey.

Canaan and Dragon’s Peak

Final Fantasy III gameplay

The first obstacle the party comes across is a giant boulder blocking access to the southern reaches of the continent. Realizing the airship can come in handy for this express purpose, Cid rams the flying machine into the boulder, destroying both the boulder and the airship in the process. The Warriors of Light and Cid travel to the now-accessible village of Canaan, where Cid’s wife suffers from a mysterious illness. After successfully curing Cid’s wife of her illness, the party meets Salina, whose love Desch is missing after heading to nearby Dragon’s Peak. Desch is the only one the party can learn the Mini spell from, which they need to continue their journey, so they head to Dragon’s Peak in search of him.

Journeying up to the summit of Dragon’s Peak proves to be difficult, and to make matters worse, Bahamut kidnaps the Warriors of Light as food for its Dragonlings. Luckily, the party meets Desch inside Bahamut’s nest, and the 5 of them successfully escape. After learning the mini spell from Desch, he reveals to the Warriors of Light that he has lost his memory, and vows to travel with them to regain it. With the Mini spell in tow, the Warriors head to the village of Tozus.

The Enterprise

Final Fantasy III gameplay

Tozus, the village of the Gnomes, requires the party to use the newly acquired Mini spell so that they can enter and commune with the diminutive race. Here, they enter Tozus Tunnel after learning that the nearby Viking Cove can grant them access to a ship. Once through the Tozus Tunnel, the party meets the Vikings, only to find that their guardian dragon is making sailing impossible. Needing a ship to continue their journey, the Warriors of Light agree to help the Vikings and use the Mini spell once again to enter the tunnels within the Nepto Temple. The heroes discover that a rat has stolen the eye of the Nepto Dragon statue in the temple, and after replacing the eye the Vikings’ guardian returns to normal.

In thanks for healing their guardian dragon and calming the seas, the Vikings gift the Warriors of Light with their first ship — The Enterprise. Using their new ship, the Warriors head to the Village of the Ancients, where they learn that the world as they know it is simply a floating continent above the true surface of the planet. Here, the party also meets the Gulgans, who instruct them to head to the Tower of Owen to stop the floating continent from sinking. At the Tower of Owen, the Warriors of Light meet and do battle with Medusa, who identifies herself as a servant of the dark sorcerer Xande.

After defeating Medusa, Desch’s memory returns to him. Surprisingly, both he and his father are surviving Ancients and the builders of the Tower of Owen, and Desch remains behind to save the tower and prevent the floating continent from sinking.

The Fire Crystal

Final Fantasy III gameplay

Thanks to Desch’s bravery and sacrifice the party can escape, and the Warriors of Light vow to continue their journey by heading to the Fire Crystal. With the storm blocking the only route north now gone, the Enterprise can head toward the location of the crystal. After entering Dwarven Hollows, the purported location of the Fire Crystal, the Warriors discover that one of the Ice Horns that helps keep the crystal’s power in check is gone. The Dwarves inform the party that the Rogue Gutsco is responsible for stealing the horn. Accordingly, the Warriors of Light set off in search of Gutsco to retrieve the Ice Horn but Gutsco tricks them and uses the party as a means to steal the second horn.

With both Ice Horns in his possession, the party heads after Gutsco into the Molten Cave. Unfortunately, the Warriors of Light are too late, and Gutsco uses the Ice Horns to absorb the Fire Crystal’s power and turn into a terrible dragon. Thankfully, the Warriors of Light are successful in defeating Gutsco, and the Fire Crystal rewards their bravery with the second set of Jobs and returning the Ice Horns for the party to bring back to the Dwarves.

Journey to the Surface World

Final Fantasy III gameplay

Armed with improved Jobs and a clear path to the next crystal, the Warriors of Light set sail toward the village of Tokkul. However, after arriving in Tokkul, the party discovers that the village is in ruins. Hein, an advisor to Tokkul’s ruler King Argus, is responsible for launching a coup and imprisoning the King. Additionally, Hein has also uprooted the Elder Tree and turned it into his own floating fortress — Castle Hein. Realizing the need to both defeat Hein and restore the Elder Tree to the Living Woods, the Warriors of Light storm Castle Hein and do battle with the villain.

In thanks for defeating Hein and returning peace to the kingdom, King Argus gifts the Warriors of Light with the Wheel of Time. The party returns to Cid, who uses the Wheel of Time to transform the Enterprise into an airship. The Warriors of Light also learn their origins of coming from the Surface World, as well as realizing that the Water and Earth Crystals will require them to return to it. With an airship in their possession, the Warriors can safely travel back and forth between the floating continent and the surface world, and the next step in their adventure is to find the Water Crystal.

The Water Crystal

Final Fantasy III gameplay

When the Warriors of Light first arrive on the surface, there are only two small islands visible. With nowhere else to land, the Warriors bring the Enterprise to a ship wreckage, where they find a water priestess named Aria. Aria agrees to accompany the party to the Water Crystal, and she uses a Crystal Shard to open the path to the Cave of Tides. After reaching the Water Crystal, Aria returns the shard to its rightful place and instructs the Warriors of Light to restore it, but she is soon struck down by an arrow. The Warriors battle with Kraken, but a massive earthquake erupts before they can rescue Aria and the party is quickly sealed off from the Cave of Tides.

After the earthquake, the Warriors of Light awaken to find that The Enterprise is in chains and under the control of the evil Goldor. Goldor, a villanous despot who owns Goldor Manor and is obssessed with wealth, is also reportedly in possession of the Earth Crystal. Needing to retrieve their ship and restore the Earth Crystal, the party reaches Goldor Manor to defeat the despot and obtain the key to the chains imprisoning The Enterprise. The Warriors successfully gain the key, but to spite the party, Goldor shatters the Earth Crystal.

The Civil War

Final Fantasy III gameplay

During the party’s search for what to do next, The Enterprise is shot down over the Kingdom of Saronia. Saronia finds itself amid a terrible civil war after King Gorn is persuaded by his advisor to order the kingdom’s soldiers to fight one another. Additionally, the young Prince of Saronia is a wanted man, banished from the castle for being against the civil war. The party meets Prince Alus and together they resolve to restore King Gorn to himself and end the civil war. 

King Gorn, under the influence of his advisor Gigametz, enters the prince’s room to kill him, but in a moment of clarity, instead turns the blade on himself. Gigametz reveals himself to be Garuda (another of Xande’s servants) and then falls to the Warriors of Light. Following Prince Alus’ crowning as King of Saronia, the party learns that the ship The Nautilus is available for them to use, and they head to meet with the sage Doga to find out their next course of action. Here, Doga reveals the truth behind the evil sorcerer Xande and his machinations to destroy the crystals and stop the flow of time.

The Earth Crystal

Final Fantasy III gameplay

Doga, his friend Unei, and Xande are all former apprentices of the great sage Noah, one of the most powerful of the Magus to ever exist. To signal the completion of their teachings, Noah gifted each of the three apprentices with a special power. Doga receives power over all magics, Unei receives power over dreams, and Xande is granted the gift of mortality. Xande, viewing his gift as an insult and fearing the prospect of death, drains the Earth and Water Crystals of most of their power, which results in disrupting the flow of time and splitting the floating continent from the surface world. Above all else, Xande wishes to obtain the power of the crystals to become immortal, no matter the cost.

After learning about Xande’s goal, the party informs Doga about the shattering of the Earth Crystal, but Doga reveals that the Earth Crystal in possession of Goldor was a decoy. The real Earth Crystal remains safe, and the Warriors set off to search for it after meeting with Unei. Doga gives the party another gift by transforming the Nautilus into a submarine, granting them access to the Temple of Time. The great sage instructs the Warriors of Light to head to the Temple of Time and retrieve Noah’s Lute, while he heads off in search of the Eureka Key.

The Temple of Time and The Invincible

Final Fantasy III gameplay

After entering the Temple of Time, the Warriors successfully retrieve Noah’s Lute and use it to wake Unei from her eternal dreaming. Not only does Unei gift the party with one of the four items they need to pass through the Ancient Maze to confront Xande, she informs them that there is a greater evil at work manipulating her former friend. With Unei’s help, the Warriors of Light activate the ancient airship The Invincible, which becomes their mobile base and means of finally reaching the Crystal Tower where Xande resides.

However, before heading to the Crystal Tower, the Warriors need to retrieve the final of the Fangs necessary to pass through the Ancient Maze as well as finally restore the Earth Crystal. With the Earth Crystal restored, the Warriors of Light head back to Doga’s Grotto, where both he and Unei explain the plan of action for how they will enter the Crystal Tower and stop Xande. Both Doga and Unei reveal that their souls are the keys necessary to enter the Crystal Tower and the hidden realm of Eureka, and they willingly gift the party with their spirits to help them complete their mission.

The Crystal Tower and Final Confrontation

Final Fantasy III cutscene

After successfully making it through the Ancient Maze, the party enters the Crystal Tower. Inside, they use the keys given to them via the souls of Doga and Unei to also enter the forbidden realm of Eureka. Inside Eureka, the Warriors of Light obtain both the most powerful weapons and Jobs while also freeing the Warriors of Darkness from their eternal prisons. After making their way to the top of the Crystal Tower, the Warriors of Light fall under a curse from the Five Wyrms after looking into a giant mirror, but the party’s allies come to their aid and stand in their place.

Entering the mirror, which is a portal to the World of Darkness, the party confronts Xande. After defeating him, though, they discover that a malicious entity calling itself the Cloud of Darkness has been manipulating him the whole time, aiming to return the world to the void of nothingness before existence. Doga and Unei return one last time to revive the party after their initial defeat at the hands of the Cloud of Darkness, and the Warriors of Light successfully vanquish her once and for all.

With balance restored, the Warriors return home, ready to live out the rest of their lives in peace within the village of Ur.

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