There’s been a resurgence of Final Fantasy on Switch lately, one that will continue this month with the release of both Final Fantasy X/X-2 and Final Fantasy XII. But in the course of this great return, it’s importance that we don’t forget which game is on top. Final Fantasy IX? Yeah, it’s a masterpiece. Final Fantasy VII? One of the most influential and groundbreaking video games ever made. But there can be only one king — or queen, or non-gender conforming video game cartridge — to stand above the rest. And on its 25th birthday, Final Fantasy VI still reigns supreme.
I’ve waxed poetic on Final Fantasy VI in the past, and I see no need to repeat myself in full when much of the sentiment still holds true. It is a perfect encapsulation of everything that made the golden age of JRPGs — a rich cast of characters, a dense game full of activities and side quests, and a soundtrack that makes the SNES sound chip into a full blown orchestra. From the initial Narshe march set to Terra’s Theme, to the showstopper Opera Sequence, to unraveling the pasts and anxieties of each of your party members, all set in a pixel art style that’s remained ripe with time. And who could forget the final boss, a four-stage masterclass set to “Dancing Mad,” a video game song with movements, as Kefka’s beyond iconic laugh rings in the background?
If you somehow haven’t experienced the unmitigated classic, your options are a bit sparse. It was available on the once-alive Wii Shop Channel before its untimely demise, which leaves a SNES Classic as your best bet to getting your hands on the original. There have been a myriad of re-releases on other consoles over the years (such as the GBA) as well, though you’ll want to stay away from the mobile/Steam versions due to being graphically ugly. No matter how you get your hands on it, it is a game worth playing for yourself.
Happy 25th, Final Fantasy VI! We’re sure to be teasing the octopus and thieving- er, treasure hunting many more times before that point comes, and I can’t wait to talk about it then — even if I don’t look like a waiter.
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