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Unlike previous remakes of the Final Fantasy series, the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy III isn't offering the old retro appearance of the original. Instead the company is retelling the game's story for a new generation of gamers, using the Nintendo DS system's 3D capabilities and touch screen controls to reintroduce the adventure nearly two decades since it originally hit the Famicom in Japan.
The Nintendo DS game is full 3D running at a smooth 30 frames per second, and enables players to fully control the action using the handheld's stylus. If you're a stickler for the classic control, you're free to use the D-pad and button combo throughout this role-playing game, but it's pretty convenient having the ability to wander through the environments, chat, and battle simply by tapping the screen. The game looks better than the original PlayStation version of Final Fantasy VII, and that's saying a lot considering that the first PlayStation Final Fantasy game utilized 3D sparingly with its use of 3D character models on top of prerendered backgrounds.
The version at Square's event was clearly tooled for the E3 convention, as the demo begins with a moogle greeting the player to E3. This demo is only a small sampling of the gameplay that will be in the full Final Fantasy III experience - it allows players to do a few random battles and ends with a final boss fight. The fights show off the 3D engine pretty well, and offer up some modest special effects for the attacks and magic elements.
The only disappointment so far is the fact that Square Enix is barely using the upper screen. When wandering around the overworld, the top screen is utilized to display a map to show where players are. But during battles and cutscenes, that upper screen remained black. Hopefully as the game progresses in development Square Enix will find some use for that extra display.