FFIII was released for the SNES in 1994. However, it's original title is Final Fantasy VI in Japan. Squaresoft didn't make the Japanese versions of FFII, FFIII, or FFV for the US SNES console. I played it on the US SNES. I will be referring to the game as FFVI in the review.
Background: The story starts off with a girl named Terra who has the innate ability to cast magic, something that was thought to be forgotten by time. She is being used as a weapon of the Empire in order to help the Empire retrieve magic stones(called magicites). The Empire give a rebirth of magic and start a new War of the Magi, a war taken place a 1000 years ago.
Story: The tale is told at a fairly quick pace, and many new characters are introduced within a short period of time. As a result things never seem to get boring. The actual storyline part of the game is relatively short, due to the later half of the game being a "sidequest." More info will be revealed later, without saying too much. 7/10
Graphics- Great for the SNES era. Characters models and backgrounds are vividly detailed, and make the world of FFVI come alive. The overheard map is not the prettiest to look at, but it is expected, considering this game was made about 13 years ago. The airship and chocobo riding elements of the game try to emulate 3D graphics, while not pulled off too well, is usable. Kudos for Square trying to immerse gamers into another world with great graphics. 9/10
Sound- Perhaps the best sound I've heard in any video game. A lot (if not all) of the main characters have their own little tune, and is perfectly orchestrated. The sound effects are decent too, but a little repetitive from time to time. All the instruments sound so well put together and the sound quality for a SNES game is truly outstanding. 10/10
Gameplay- The traditional Final Fantasy battle formula. You wait for the bars to fill up under your characters name, and you now have the option to do as you please, whether it is attacking with a weapon or casting magic, among other things. What makes combat very non-linear is that any character has the option to learn any magic spell they want using the Final Fantasy VI summons, espers. When you equip these espers you acquire magic points in battles, which in turn are used to learn magic attacks such as Fire 3 or Cure 3. While this feature is nice, it can sometimes take over an hour of leveling to learn a single spell, which can be very tedious. Still, the option of choosing what you want each character to be is quite nice. What I thought was also nice is that there are varied weapons throughout the game, and not just the usual sword or clubs/rods found in other games. 8/10
Characters- There are fourteen characters that can be obtained in the game that can stay permanently in your party. Some of them are very useless when you obtain them, because you will have to teach them all the spells your other characters know in order to keep them up to par. There are quite a few cool characters you can get, and all have their own sense of humor (well, almost all of them) and background story, which are revealed through sidequests. One thing that gets really annoying is that your characters get split up very often, making it a bit hard to learn new moves and such. 8.5/10
Length- It took me about 25 hours to beat this game. There are plenty of sidequests to do, and the whole half of the game is basically a series of sidequests. Without spoiling anything it's very worthwhile to do a majority of these sidequests, as beating the final dungeon will be near impossible otherwise. 7/10
Difficulty- This is the first Final Fantasy game that I died in quite a few times. It appears to be easy, and then bosses ramp up the difficulty, and if you aren't well equipped, high leveled, and/or know good magic, then the game gets a lot harder. With a bit of level grinding and some dedication you should have too much of a problem. I enjoyed the difficulty, as it has been a good change compared to later Final Fantasy games. 8/10
Learning curve- As always, easy to pick up and play, hard to master. Getting down the basic game mechanics isn't hard, but things move quickly, and if you don't grasp certain ideas quickly than the game seems to a nosedive in the fun factor. 8/10
Overall- At first I disliked this game, but once I gave it some time and thought of how it would've been to play this in 1994, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a great RPG that isn't too easy or too hard, has a captivating story, some cool characters, and a decent combat system. The music alone makes this game a great gaming experience. I highly recommend this game to any RPG fan. It's a wonderfully created world with great heroes, comical villains, and a gameplay experience only Squaresoft could have created. 8.7/10
Also one more thing: When the time comes, choose the "Wait" option. You'll thank me later.