The Final Fantasy series is so rich in terms of content that choosing one of the best games out of the multitude of titles present in this genre is a hard task. The worst part is that there's no single definitive answer — such is the quality of (almost) all the titles in this series. Do you choose Final Fantasy VII, the JRPG that pretty much paved the way for this genre to break into the mainstream? Or do you choose Final Fantasy IX, the game that most people consider to be the definitive classic Final Fantasy experience? Of course, let's forget Final Fantasy X and XV — after all, both games are the definitive Final Fantasy experience for their respective consoles, making them excellent titles in every sense of the word.
However, a large proportion of the fanbase has set their sights on one title as the best Final Fantasy title of all time (no points for guessing what it might be). While Final Fantasy VII's cyberpunk landscape might be one of its most appealing aesthetics, Final Fantasy VI is the title that pushed the title away from its historical fantasy roots into a more futuristic setting, with glorious results. With an incredible story, an ensemble cast that is memorable in every sense of the word, and excellent gameplay as well, is it any wonder as to why this game has stood the test of time to become one of the greatest role-playing experiences of all time?
Of course, even the greatest games have their flaws. While the dungeons and areas of Final Fantasy VI might be excellent for the most part, certain areas do become nothing short of tiresome at points. So, keeping this in mind, here are 5 of the best areas in Final Fantasy VI, coupled with 5 of the very worst in this regard.
10 WORST: The Veldt
Let's kickstart this list with a rather controversial pick. The Veldt is admittedly a rather memorable area in Final Fantasy VI, with party members Sabin and Cyan meeting Gau for the first time.
However, this place isn't all it's shaped up to be. Monsters have varying powers and are only useful for Gau to develop his Rage abilities — something that one might argue isn't really worth it in the first place. Couple that with some other frustrating connecting areas, and The Veldt slowly loses everything it gained through its initial charm.
9 BEST: Ancient Castle
The manner in which you encounter the Ancient Castle itself is quite unique, with players facing an obstruction while traveling under the sands.
Embarking into this castle leads to a battle with one of the eight legendary dragons and a Magacite with some pretty heavy lore to boot.
8 WORST: Serpent Trench
An area somewhat connected to the Veldt, it must be said that the Serpent Trench is one of the most annoying places to navigate. You'll definitely miss out on some important items if you don't have a guide handy.
This, coupled with the fact that one of Mog's Dances can only be learned in this area, makes the Serpent Trench an absolute pain to traverse.
7 BEST: Phantom Forest
The Phantom Forest is one of the most iconic areas in the game, featuring a somber atmosphere, challenging enemies, and perhaps one of the most memorable boss fights in Final Fantasy history — the Phantom Train, who can both be suplexed and taken care of in one move.
The only bad thing that can be said about this area is that Shadow leaves your party halfway through, which just sucks. Shadow is the best character in the game, man.
6 WORST: Phoenix Cave
A dungeon that's too long, features too many party switches, and has a ton of encounters? Why, if there was no context to this statement, then one might compare this line to the entirety of Final Fantasy XIII.
Instead, what we have is the Phoenix Cave, a challenging area that is hard for all the wrong reasons. Pretty much any player would inevitably breathe a sigh of relief upon completing this crapshoot of a dungeon.
5 BEST: Zone Eater
When it comes to novel dungeons, nothing comes close to optional areas that provide you with a new character! Gogo is one such character that rests inside the belly of the beast... quite literally.
Oh, I think we forgot to mention that the Zone Eater is a freaking humongous beast that resides in one specific island. To enter this area, you need to let the Zone Eater suck your party members in, one by one. Things like this are what separate Final Fantasy VI from the rest of the games in the series.
4 WORST: Cave On The Veldt
Surprise surprise — another area related to the Veldt. Honestly speaking, the only reason why we're including this area isn't that its bad, but because it's so empty that it feels like a rushed area that the developers scrapped together days before release.
The only thing happening in this area that's of note is the trigger that lets you recruit either Shadow or Realm in your party, courtesy of a much-welcome appearance by Interceptor. Speaking of which...
3 BEST: Floating Continent
Whether you find Realm or Shadow after the events in the Cave On The Veldt depends upon your actions in the Floating Continent — an area that is arguably the best location in Final Fantasy VI had it not been for one sole exception.
This area has it all, nail-biting choices, challenging random encounters, a seemingly insurmountable boss in the form of Atma Weapon (or Ultima Weapon, whatever suits your fancy), and a plot development that literally changes the face of the entire world! Oh, and if you chose to leave Shadow behind, then you're a MONSTER.
2 WORST: Cultists' Tower
The Cultists' Tower seems like a good idea on paper. Give players a challenge where they can only use magic to attack enemies. Sounds great, right? Wrong.
The use of MP in Final Fantasy games is normally judicious, but the Cultists' Tower completely throws this out of the window. Things would've been bearable had it not been for the last boss, which can post a challenge... until you realize that he is not vulnerable to Berserk, making for a rather easy boss fight.
1 BEST: Kefka's Tower
Now, THIS is how you do a tower, cultists! Kefka's Tower stands out as one of the most engrossing final dungeons in any JRPG, period. Unlike the annoyance that is the Phoenix Cave, splitting up your party in this tower is actually quite fun and serves a purpose that isn't hamfisted.
Honestly, this area could've been a barren wasteland and it still would've made the top of this list just because of that incredible final encounter. Beating all the forms of Kefka is a treat to behold, and Dancing Mad is perhaps the best musical accompaniment to this conquest.