Final Fantasy Legend III, originally released as Jikuu no Hasha: Sa・Ga 3 [Kanketsu Hen] (時空の覇者 Sa・Ga3 [完結編], lit. The Ruler of Time and Space ~ SaGa3 [Final Chapter]) in Japan, was the third in the SaGa series released for the original Nintendo Game Boy. Like its two predecessors, the English version was re-branded as a Final Fantasy title due to the series' popularity in the Western territories.
A remake of the game known as SaGa 3 Jikū no Hasha: Shadow or Light was released for the Nintendo DS.
The player can transform into a robot, monster, cyborg, beast through eating monster meat or installing parts. They can also purchase magic, unlike Legend and Legend II where the characters learned abilities through level ups. The party in this game is made up of two humans, Arthur and Sharon, and two mutants, Curtis and Gloria. Each of the party members, and just about every character in the game, is "attuned" to a particular element which affects the creatures they can transform into.
All four of the main characters are able to transform into various enemies. This is done using meat or installing parts left behind from defeated monsters. After a battle, the party may receive either meat or parts, and the player has the option of using it on any of the four main characters.
The players start out in their world, and can eventually travel to the past and the future. They also learn to go underwater. After a time, they go to Pureland, a much larger world, but no traveling through time there.
Initially, the players can just walk along the ground, but they quickly gain a spell called "Float" which enables them to hover above the ground, enabling them to cross the water, but not over mountains. The players also learn a spell called "Dive" which enables them to go on water and dive underwater. There, they can find shipwrecks on the seafloor. Eventually they rebuild the space-time battle cruiser Talon and the different units they install enables them to do different things, such as fly over oceans, and over mountains. The Talon can also travel through time (with the requisite units installed), even before its engines are fixed. Once the party arrives in Pureland, the party is forced to use ferryboats to ferry between continents since the Talon can't cross the ocean upon arrival.
Final Fantasy Legend III features four permanent player characters as well as five guest characters who are only briefly controlled by the player. Most of the main characters are children sent from the future into the present so they can change the doomed future, and find a way to put a stop to the Water Entity.
- Arthur: The main character of the game who was sent back in time from the future to the present. He starts out as a Human fighter.
- Curtis: One of the children sent with Arthur to the present. He starts as a mutant who is good at casting black magic.
- Gloria: A female mutant who accompanied Arthur to the present. In contrast to Curtis, she is more skilled with white magic.
- Sharon: The granddaughter of Dharm's Elder from the present. Like Arthur, she is a fairly skilled fighter. She seems to be infatuated with Arthur.
- Myron: A skilled fighter who grew up with Arthur and the others in the future. He lends his support but does not accompany them any further in their journey.
- Lara: A young woman who was brainwashed by Dogra. She was raised by Granny in Elan.
- Dion: A boy from the present who eventually trains to become a powerful rebel leader in the future. He is a strong warrior.
- Faye: A girl from the present Dharm who grew up with Dion to become a strong warrior.
- Borgin: A man rebelling against the Pureland Entity in the future. He is the one who decided to send Arthur and the others to the present. In the remake, he is the true final boss and is the same entity as the Wanderer, a mysterious man who appears in the Talon.
The Pureland Water Entity appeared and flooded this world's present, past and future. The water brought monsters, which hunted people day and night. Cities fell one by one, covered by the sea... However, a few individuals prepare for a journey that may determine the fate of the world. Behold: the sealed city Dharm. Here three young people sent back as children from the ruins of the future, are living with the Elder. He has reared them together with his own granddaughter.
In the future, the world is being destroyed by the Pureland water entity, and a band of rebels have gathered to avert this disaster. Their leader, Borgin, has sent three children back in time to the present in the hopes altering the future.
The game begins in the present with Arthur, Curtis, Gloria, and Myron all engaged in a fight using the Battle Simulator, a huge device which simulates actual battles (including the spoils earned from them) with less risk than real battles. After the battle is over, Myron leaves and the remaining three go and talk with the Elder of Dharm about their mission, which for the time being is to travel to the town of Elan and talk to Cronos about the Talon units. Units are devices that are installed into the futuristic fighter called the Talon, which can travel to the past, present, and future, once the proper units have been found and installed. The first key item Arthur received is the Radar, which detects the number of units that remain uncollected in the current time period.
While talking to Elder in the Palace, the party is joined by Sharon and Myron. Upon reaching Elan, Cronos gives Arthur the Past unit, allowing the party to travel into the past. On the way back to the Palace where the Talon is held, the party is attacked by a WaterHag guarding the entrance to the Palace. Working for the Masters. Before boarding the Talon, Myron leaves the party to go protect Dharm. The Past unit is then attached, and the party is off to the past.
In the past, the party encounters the younger Elder, who is looking for a place to build a town. Arthur recommends to build one east of the Palace, and the Elder agrees and decides to name the town Dharm. The party then travels to Elan, and they find the young Cronos who informs them that Granny went to a cave to rescue a young girl named Lara. Naturally, it is now Arthur's duty to go to the cave and rescue both of them. Granny is found not that far into the cave, and she tells Arthur that Lara was taken by Dogra, and she leaves the rescue up to him. When the party encounters Lara, she's being controlled by Dogra and attacks them. After defeating her, she regains control of her body and joins the party. Deeper in the cave lies Dogra, who mistakes Arthur for Borgin and attacks.
After Dogra is killed, the party finds the Rover unit, which is an engine type for the Talon. Upon returning to Elan, Granny instructs Arthur to return to the present and bring Lara to the Elder. She also gives Arthur the Dive spell, which will allow him to dive under the oceans and explore further places. In the past there is also a town, Lae, where people are being infected with a disease that is slowly turning them into WaterHags. One of the diseased people will give Arthur the Flushex unit, which, when installed into the Talon, will allow the player to reset any character's class to the default. A second town, under the ocean, can be visited and also holds the Ifram seed.
Back in the present, Arthur takes Lara to the Elder, who will keep watch on her. He then tells Arthur that Cronos has found something. In Elan, Cronos tells Arthur that he has found out where the Future unit is located. Suddenly, the ground starts shaking and somebody runs in saying that something is happening in Lae's Bay. Cronos and Arthur go outside and find a structure rising from the water, and Cronos tells Arthur that one of the four Water Entity monsters, Chaos is behind this. They both return to Elan and Cronos gives the player a copy of the key to the South Tower. At the top of South Tower, the party runs into Ashura, and Arthur demands that it return the units. Ashura, however, had already moved them to Castle of Chaos, and a battle ensues. Upon defeating Ashura, Arthur finds the key to Castle of Chaos. At the top of the castle the party encounters Chaos, and they fight and defeat him. After defeating Chaos, Arthur finds the Future and Hover units. Upon returning to the Talon, Arthur than warps to the Future.
Fifteen years have passed. The future is a world mostly of water, with a few islands remaining. Arthur first travels to Elan and finds Granny now on her death bed. She gives Arthur the Morph spell and tells him to travel to the mutated city of Muu. Dharm has sunken bellow the water and a new town has been founded named New Dharm, told by the Ifram Tree where it is hidden below a cemetery. Elan, however, is unaffected. At a base in New Dharm, the party runs back into Myron, who has aged and become an even more accomplished fighter. He tells Arthur the password for the base in the technological Viper City, "ERAUQS" ("SQUARE" backwards). At the base in Viper, the party joins up with Dion, who has grown and urges Arthur to defeat Maitreya. He also mentions going to see Dr. Pulcer in an Undersea Shelter. When Arthur meets Dr. Pulcer, he tells him of the plan to get to Floatland.
After using the Rocket to get to Floatland, Arthur journeys along the mountains and valleys atop it. Along the way the party comes across the Northern Ruins, and inside they find the Remote. Pass the ruins is a huge mountain, atop which is Maitreya's Tower. Partway to the top of the tower, a monster will block the path, and Arthur will tackle it, falling down a floor and becoming separated from Dion. Dion then finds a hidden door and confronts Maitreya by himself, but is defeated. Arthur then rushes in to find Dion wounded, and attacks Maitreya. After defeating Maitreya, Arthur finds the X-Plane unit and takes Dion back to the base of the mountain, where Arthur calls Dr. Pulcer on the Radio. Dr. Pulcer destroys the Palace, freeing the Talon for use. Calling the Talon with the Remote and after boarding the Talon, Arthur takes Dion back to Viper City to get Dr. Belski to help him. Dr. Belski restore Dion, rejoins the party, and they head off to the Pureland aboard the ship.
The Talon warps to the Pureland, the Talon malfunctions, and the party can no longer return to the Original World. Its engine units cease to function, limiting it to land movement. Dion and Arthur disembark and agree to separate and search for the advance party and Faye. Arthur come upon Eitar's Village roaming with BlackCat monsters with the villagers having been turned to stone. He learns from Eitar that Fenrir is located in the North Maze, and before leaving the village Arthur grabs the Catnip growing on a tree in the back of the village. Arthur uses the Catnip to lull all of the BlackCat monsters, allowing the party to proceed deeper within the dungeon.
At the back of the dungeon, Fenrir mistakes Arthur for Jupiah and attacks him. After defeating Fenrir, Arthur finds the prison key which allows access deeper in the maze, where he finds Faye. Faye asks where Dion has gone to and Arthur tells her that they have split up. Faye then tells Arthur of the Masters, who intend to rule Pureland and they need her to draw one of the four Mystic Swords. Faye then joins the party to aid them in their search for the four original Talon crew members.
Eitar's Village that was turned to stone by Fenrir has now return to normal, and one of the villagers, Eitar, tells Arthur he can find one of the four Talon crew, Buzi, atop Mt. Hasbid. At the city of Darius to the east, Arthur take a ferryboat to the city of Knaya, the center of trade in Pureland. The party then travels to Mt. Hasbid, in search of Buzi. At the top, the party finds Buzi who is asking Guha why the Masters seek to destroy other worlds. Guha admits that is up to Xagor to decide, and then tries to attack Buzi. Arthur intervenes and a battle ensues.
After defeating Guha, Buzi joins Arthur, and awaits aboard the Talon. Arthur then retrieves the Mystic Sword Durend that Guha was guarding. At Cape Frost, Arthur meets Shar, another crew member, and is told to retrieve the Tablet from the Southwest Ruins. The Tablet is said to hold the key to releasing the people of the Pureland from serving the Masters. At the entrance to the ruins, Arthur encounters Dahak, and must defeat it to proceed. After his defeat, Arthur finds the Tablet and treks deeper into the ruins in order to stop the flow of water of the river that blocks travel across the Jorgandr Desert. After the river dried up, Arthur delivers the Tablet to Shar, who then tells Arthur to travel to Talonsburg across the desert while he deciphers the Tablet.
As Arthur crosses the desert in the Talon, it gets trapped in a sandstorm and crashes at the feet of the sandstorm master Jorgandr. Yet another battle ensues, after which, Buzi tells Arthur to take what's left of the Talon and go to Talonsburg. Initially, Dr. Quacer mistakes Arthur for Jupiah, but then realizes who he really is. After being told of the destruction of the Talon, Dr. Quacer attaches the recovered units to Talon2. Now with the Hover unit, Arthur is free to fly anywhere, except for the Goht region found to the north which is surrounded by the barrier. Arthur returns to Cape Frost and gets Buzi and Shar to board the Talon2. Arthur then flies to Cirrus, the floating city. Here, Arthur finds Juba, who wishes to go to the Goht region. Arthur then beseeches King Clamin to give him the pass into the Goht region, but he won't give it to him until he's recovered the sword Xcalibr. On a small island located near the northern continent lies Zhakal, Arthur finds Xcalibr in the stone, and urges Faye to go ahead and draw the sword. She does, and Arthur receives the Mystic Sword Xcalibr. Arthur brings the sword back to King Clamin, shows it to him, and receives the Pass into the Underworld.
Arthur heads to Porle, and just as Arthur is about to enter the Underworld, Dion appears from the whirlgate and replaces Faye as the party's fifth member. After traveling deep in the Underworld, Arthur exits the Underworld and arrives in the town of Donmac. After leaving Donmac, he comes upon the Eastern Ruins where Agron is guarding the Barrier Machine. Halfway through the ruins, Arthur runs into Borgin who tells Arthur he must go and investigate Mt. Goht before running off. Arthur is then left to face Agron. When Arthur tries to strike Agron with one of the Mystic Swords, he is unsuccessful because the Barrier Machine also protects Agron from its power. However, Dr. Quacer had installed a bomb in Dion for just such an occasion. Dion blow himself up and destroys the machine, leaving Agron vulnerable to attack. After defeating Agron, Borgin arrives to discover Dion's dead, then tells Arthur that it is now time to go and face Xagor atop Mt. Goht. Arthur then leaves the ruins. Back in Zhakal, the city where Faye drew Xcalibr, Arthur meets up with Masa, the last of the four Talon crew members, who boards the ship.
Arthur and his friends then travel to Mt. Goht, where they find Xagor's Castle atop the mountain. After defeating Ballor, they meet Sol, who has taken in Xagor's soul and pleads with them to kill him. They reluctantly do so, but Xagor emerges to defeat Arthur and the party. After defeating Xagor, Sol thanks Arthur and stops the Pureland Entity with his dying breath. Fleeing from the destruction, Arthur and the party make it out alive, and uses the Talon2 and flies into the Hole in the Ocean and emerge from the Water Entity in the future of the Original World. The Talon2 gets destroyed in the process.
They return to Viper City, where Dr. Belski is able to revive both Dion and Jupiah with their tissue cells. Due to the destruction of Talon2, Dr. Quacer tells Arthur that it'll take time to build another time machine and Arthur replies that he'll stay with Myron in New Dharm until its completion. Before leaving for New Dharm, Jupiah tells Arthur he will name his son after him. After meeting up with Myron in New Dharm, he introduced them to the Battle Simulator2 before the credits roll.
Final Fantasy Legend III was the first game developed by Square's Osaka department, who later produced Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Due to this, both games share more than a few similarities. Ted Woolsey also handled the translation (and eventually Mystic Quest), hoping to improve upon the quality of the translations seen in Final Fantasy IV (known then as Final Fantasy II) and Final Fantasy Legend II. Chihiro Fujioka, the executive producer, noted that a lot of effort was put into the game's development because they were also attempting to establish the department. Effort was made to overcome the Game Boy's limitations by leaving some things in the game to player's imagination. With the graphics, sprites were drawn as an object with shadows, leaving the player to visualize the missing colors by themselves. Composer Ryuji Sasai also approached the music a similar way, which was only composed with three notes. Fujioka also contributed some music to the game, being a musician himself. Sasai has compared the limitations of the audio to a guitar with six tones. They focused on shorter music, cutting down the length of the songs until they thought the music conveyed the proper impression.