Well, I'm sure that there are plenty of Final Fantasy fans out there who would love to see a pre-release version of Final Fantasy III. Thanks to snesmaster, our wish has come true! This prototype came on a long board with six EPROMs on it, and several dip switches. The prototype was purchased off ebay by snesmaster from DreamTR. Later, snesmaster sold it himself. From snesmaster's page on the prototype:
There are six chips on it labeled 0 through 5. In addition to those is one chip for the save game data. Under the chip to save saved games is a dipswitch with switches labeled 1 through 8. Up is on and Down is off. The positions of the switches are:
There is a battery with the date 94-03 on it.
There are five other chips on the board. They say:
Now onto the juicy part: the differences. Unfortunately, there are few. This game is 99% finished, and was likely given to a game magazine for review. The splash screen when the game is first booted up is not in the prototype. There are no graphical changes: at least none that would indicate this was created sometime during the localization from the Japanese version to the US version. The game is fully playable to the end without any noticeable glitches.
Thanks to Slick Productions' FF3 script extractor, I was able to compare the script to the final version. If anyone is interested in doing this themselves, note that the following two character strings in the memory addresses are swapped compared to the final version:
I found ten text strings that were different from the final version. All the changes were to correct grammar and spelling mistakes. Thanks to Novalia Spirit for pointing out one that I missed (the raft screen)!
As you can see, the script got a careful go-over between this reviewer's copy and the commercial release. If it was like above, it would have shown the same level of clumsiness that the translation of Final Fantasy II (IV) got, instead of the excellent translation by Ted Woolsey that we got.
I cleaned up the ROM to remove interleaving and garbage data from the copier overdump. Although there is nothing of particular significance in this prototype, the ROM is available here for anyone interested.
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