As mentioned before, Final Fantasy III (VI in Japan) is at the top of the list of my favorite games of all time. My best friend and I discovered the Super Nintendo cartridge in our local convenience store/rental shop when we were quite young and proceeded to spend ungodly amounts of money renting it over and over and over again. As those who have played it will know, you can spend well over 100 hours on this particular game, and so my friend and I would struggle to come up with the money to rent it day after day, knowing that if we allowed it to return to the store it might be rented by someone else who would overwrite our save. I’m quite certain that between the two of us we paid for the game three or four times over in rental costs…and this was back when it only cost, like, $2 to rent a game.
We fell in love with the game for a number of reasons, but for me one of those reasons was the main bad guy of the story. Kefka Palazzo was a general in the evil Empire. He was one of the first subjects that the Empire used to test their methods of transferring magical powers to a human by extracting them from an esper. But the techniques had not yet been perfected, and it is understood that something in Kefka’s brain snapped during the process. He became a complete lunatic, insane to say the least, and eventually (SPOILER ALERT!) he betrays the Emperor in favor of taking control of the entire world for himself.
I always loved the Kefka villain for how just terribly maniacal he is. Our first glimpse of him is during a nightmare that Terra has in which he is taking control of her mind and body by forcing a “slave crown” on her head. The next time we meet him he’s searching for Terra and decides that the best way to flush her out is to set an entire castle on fire. And the story goes on like that, with him ready, willing, and able to murder anyone who wanders across his path, laughing demonically the entire time. In a time – and a medium – in which it was difficult to accurately portray emotions and suspense and the like, Kefka easily came through as a raving mad psychotic, and for that, Square, I salute you.
(As a final note, if you’ve never played Final Fantasy III, GO GET A COPY RIGHT NOW WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!)