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10-hour Challenge Walkthrough by proscientia

Updated: 02/23/04

Final Fantasy 3 (J6) -- Fast Game Walkthrough (to finish the game in under 10

Warning: Because of the nature of the walkthrough, it may contain "spoilers".

General Considerations

I've decided to write up this walkthrough because I have read few FAQS like
it and rushing through the game adds challenge to the game (i.e., low levels,
few spells until you get the Falcon and missing some useful items). I set the
10-hour challenge, because there is some slack if you take proper "shortcuts"
some of which I describe in this FAQ (it might even be possible to finish the
game in 8 hours).  Among other things, it is only recommended for players who
have finished the game at least once because many details will be excluded in
the FAQ and you will need to skip as much dialogue as possible (although you
can use another walkthrough, you will miss many parts of the game, which I
would recommend playing thorugh at least once).  Also, the walkthrough will
describe how I went through the game, so there are probably many improvements
possible.  I will list recommended times (and my times) frequently, so that
you can make goals (I believe that the first time I tried this, my times were
slightly better than those I list here).  Also, I played the game on an SNES,
so you with emulators might have an easier time. Anyways, if you also consider
writing a FAQ, it is quite time-consuming.

***Note:   The information in this FAQ is a description of how my (game)
partner and I played through this game, so some of the information may be
inaccurate -- in the sense of there being a better way of doing things.  This
FAQ is only meant as a guide to inspire various challenges, so minor details
will likely not be corrected. If anyone can suggest significant improvements,
I may add them, though.  If you find enough improvements to finish the game
in 8 hours, you might as well write your own FAQ -- please contact me before
using information from this FAQ though.

General considerations:
-save regularly, but not too often as it might waste time (I'm not sure how
time is counted -- whether the seconds part of the time resets after turning
off the game)
-know your enemies and your skills ahead of time so that you can dispose of
enemies as fast as possible (e.g., elemental weaknesses and, groups of enemies
may be easily dispatched with Edgar's Flash and 2 earrings equipped)
-if you find you are getting too many random encounters, battles are taking
too long, or you have taken a wrong turn, don't be afraid to reset (one of the
reasons to save)
-use multiple save slots (both times that I attempted this for the full
stretch, I wasted ~2-3 minutes skipping talking to Edgar in South Figaro in
-as the points above suggest, don't wander aimlessly
-rarely run from battles, as you will need the experience (also, try to stop
enemies who run away from running away like Vector Pups)
-armour and weapons are not too important if you use your character's
abilities well (don't buy stuff very often)
-vanish and doom trick is useful, though you will likely not be able to use
it until the floating continent (just a few characters need these spells, so
focus on equiping espers with generally useful spells like Cure2, Life, and
basic attack magic and/or status bonus)
-set message speed and battle speed to fast as soon as you start (it will
probably add a few minutes through the course of the entire game
-you may want to skip items early on to get better ones later (cave in
Narshe, South Figaro, etc.)
-don't worry about having to stop to buy stuff (just plan beforehand where
you'll to it and what you'll buy so that you don't waste time)
-tend to place main characters (forget about moogle battle) in the backrow
except under special circumstances (Locke at beginning of game)
-consider Status-bonuses from Espers to get the most from your attacks
-only keep Espers equipped as long as they are useful (don't learn bolt2 with
Ramuh - wait for Maduin -, don't learn drain with Ifrit - unless you use it,
which I don't, which is why I suggest this)
-skip as much explaining text (save point, multibattle info) as possible and
avoid conversations -- I'm not sure if active or wait battle mode is better
for time (with wait, enemies won't get in extra attacks, which may slow you
down, but with active, allies can attack while you choose a spell, item, etc.)
-skip any glitches to avoid unfair advantages or problems (this walkthrough
skips them does not depend on any glitches, like using tents in multi-party
scenarios with the party not on the save point or Relm's sketch glitch)

Walkthrough :
(some details will be neglected because the FAQ is for experienced players,
though I've included many points which don't need to be listed, though there
are fewer at the end, as even less experienced players who try this should
be able to learn useful strategies)

First, set message speed and battle speed to fast as soon as you start
(repeating to emphasize importance)
In the first battle of the game, kill off Vicks and Wedge using Terra's Fire:
1. fire on entire party
2. heal Terra with Heal beam with Vicks or Wedge while the other attacks
3. have Terra cast fire on only Vicks, then only Wedge

This is done to raise levels quickly, as Terra will gain more experience.
You won't be slowed down because Terra can use BioBlast (except against the
rats in the cave).

First save point: 0:06 (skip info message)

Whelk may use slime on you (Terra will be slowed, so if the battle takes too
long, reset).  I had the lucky situation of hitting Whelk twice with
TekMissile before he went into his shell for the first time, so the battle
was quite fast. Go straight to the esper after the battle.

Arvis' house and mines:
Once you awaken in Arvis' house, talk to him immediately and skip the elixir
in the clock (you can get it later).  Go straight to the mines.  Save.  I
skipped the treasures and went straight to where Terra gets trapped by Narshe
guards.  If you want to gain 1 level with Terra (it may help), getting these
treasures may be worthwhile (though they become quite good treasures in WoR).

Moogle battle:
Get to the boss fighting as few battles as possible.   Before fighting the
boss, unequip Mog (the Mithril shield will be helpful), heal the party that
will fight the boss and put characters with long distance weapons (flail,
boomerang, etc.) in the back row.

To Figaro:
Skip the beginner centre until later -- if ever (when you have sprint shoes).
Save outside of Narshe.  Go to Figaro (hopefully getting few battles).
Save outside of Figaro.

Other than buying a bioblaster for Edgar, just go straight to Edgar, then
straight to the Matron, then right back to Edgar.  I skipped the treasure
(picking it up later).  In the battle against the magitek armour, you might
want to avoid using magic, as two autocrossbow hits with Edgar should finish
the armour.  Take the Chocobo to South Figaro Cave.

Time: 0:29

To South Figaro:
Rush through the cave, skipping all treasure.  In South Figaro, buy sprint
shoes at the relic shop (equip on Terra). Then get running shoes and a hyper
wrist in the basement of the rich man's house (you may want to skip this).
Then go straight to Mt. Kolts (skip Duncan's house).

Mt. Kolts:
Pick up the Atlas Armlet (and maybe the Guardian) hidden in the mountain.
Edgar should now have at least one attack increasing relic (and maybe
running shoes as a second relic).  Other treaure is not that great (skip it).
Save at the save point (Time should be about 0:40).  Heal before Vargas.

On bears, cast fire and use autocrossbow (heal with Terra, if necessary).  If
Locke is in the back row, you may wish to steal from the bears.  Once both
bears are defeated, use bioblaster with Edgar (Vargas' weakness is poison).
After Sabin joins, get the tent and save. Go to returner hideout, save again.
(Time should be about 0:45)

Returner Hideout:
Go straight to Banon.  Once Terra wakes up, talk to the other party members
and get all treasure (even the white cape) in the cave.  Buy items (and extra
sprint shoes, if you don't have 3) if you want.  See Banon and become the last
ray of hope.

Lete River:
Make sure all characters are in the back row.  Edgar should have the running
shoes. Both Edgar and Sabin should have attack enhancing relics equip.
Edgar's Autocrossbow is very useful here.  The first decision to choose a
direction doesn't matter.  At the second decision you must pick left.
Save at the 2nd save point, at least.

Have Terra cast Fire, Edgar use autocross bow, Sabin use aura bolt and Banon
use Health.  Ultros should fall fast.

My Time at Save point with Mog: 0:55 (partner's time 0:54)

3 quests:
First do the Edgar, Terra, Banon quest.  Skip all treasure (maybe stop by
beginner centre in Narshe though to heal).  Go through as fast as possible to
Arvis' house.  Skip the Rune Edge. Unequip running shoes from Edgar before
completing scenario.  Hope that Edgar and Terra gain levels.

Next, I'm not sure if doing Sabin's quest before Locke's helps Celes' level.
I did Sabin's first (Cyan and Gau were at level 13, Sabin at 12, but Celes
just started at level 11 in Locke's quest).

Sabin's Quest:
Equip Sabin with sprint shoes and any other relic of your choice.  Get Shadow
and buy stuff from the Merchant (Shruikens, Potions, Fenix Downs).  Remove
Shadow's Ninja Gear.  Go straight to the Imperial Base.  Just go through the
next sequence of screens as fast as possible.  You may want to pick up the
Green Beret, mithril glove and barrier ring.  Also, equiping cyan with sprint
shoes might be helpful.  Head straight to the forest.  Take screens up, down,
up, up.  On the Phantom Train, skip the back of the train (go left right
away).  After you detach the rail cars, get Earrings, Sniper Sight and Hyper
Wrist.  Against the boss, use a Fenix Down.  Afterwards, go straight to Barren
Falls (you might want to equip a black belt if you have one).  Then go
straight to Mobliz (rest in relic shop, if you want, buy items and weapons
-- dried meat, at least).  Get Gau and head straight through Crescent
Mountain into Serpent's Trench.  In the Trench, you may wish to go right
to be able to heal and to get the treasure.  In Nikeah, go straight on board
the ship unless you desperately need to buy something.

Cyan's dispatch and likely all of Sabin's blitz's will find use on this quest.
I don't know Gau's Rage very well (I rarely use him), so you might be able to
gain some time advantage by using proper rages (maybe MTekArmr and Rhinotaur?)

Locke's Quest:
Go straight to the first Merchant and steal the clothes.  You may wish to pick
up equipment (maybe a sword for Celes). Then go straight to the Green Soldier
and steal again.  Loot the town for the warp stone and other easily accessible
items.  Get the Cider. Use password "Courage" to find the passage. Get the
exilir and other treasures.  If you haven't gotten the running shoes and hyper
wrist yet, get them.  Next free Celes, wind the clock and go through the
tunnel.  Get the Iron Armour, Ribbon, and Earrings in the passage (get the
Regal Cutlass if Celes has no weapon). Then go through Figaro Cave skipping
the treasure once again.

Make sure Locke has Running Shoes and a Hyper Wrist or Atlas Armlet equip.
Have Celes use runic and Locke attack.  After a couple of hits with Locke,
you may wish to attack with Celes.  TunnelArmr should fall quickly.

Time before "war" 2:05. (partner's time 2:03)

"War" in Snowfields with Kefka:
The strategy is simple, make one super-party, then rush to the back ranks as
quickly as possible. There is a gap between mountains and a soldier on the
left side (you'll likely have to fight 2 battles upon entering the gap). This
"war" could take as little as 5 minutes.  From the rider, try to steal the
Mithril Vest.  My party was Sabin, Edgar, Locke and Celes -- Locke I keep in
my party in the whole world of balance because he is used so often on
mandatory quests (eventually teaching him useful spells and the potential to
get good espers, making him more useful in WoR).

Get elixir from Arvis' house.  Skip buying items and armour, but maybe buy a
flail or full moon. Get the treasures from the storage house (wall ring, etc.)
My party was Sabin, Edgar, Locke, and Celes. Locke should have sprint shoes
equipped.  Gau is not useful for the fast game because he has few Rages.
Cyan is slow, but he may be substitutable for Edgar or Sabin (battle
strategies would be different than those listed below).

Time: 2:16 (partner's time 2:13)
***from now on partner's time will only be listed

Don't bother to sleep in Figaro castle (skip Sabin and Edgar scene).  With
Edgar leading the party, buy Flash and Drill.  Equipping Edgar with 2 Earrings
will be useful here, while Sabin should have Atlas Armlet and Hyper Wrist.
Celes should have the other Earrings.

Stop here to pick up a Green Beret in the back of Rachel's "mausoleum".  Also
get the Exilir in Rachel's house (upon entering, don't step on the square up
1 from the entrance -- you can move right to skip Locke's memory scene).
After this, go straight to Zozo (do not stop in Jidoor).

Shortly after entering, levels were 14 with Sabin and Edgar, 13 with Locke and
Celes. For multi-enemy battles, use Flash.  For Hadesgigas, use Drill/Chainsaw
and Suplex.  Get Chainsaw, Thief Glove and Fire Knuckle in Zozo (you could
skip the Thief Glove, but stealing and damaging is often nice).

No problems: (you may wish to swap relics between Sabin and Edgar) - Suplex
(aura bolt if he has 2 earrings), Edgar - Drill or Chain Saw, Locke should
steal (capture) and hopefully get a Jewel Ring.

After the battle, get the Runningshoes and X-potion before talking to Terra.
Keep the same party to go to the empire. Equip the espers: permanent stat
bonuses (HP + 10% is only permanent after you get the character in WoR) should
go to either Locke, Edgar or Sabin (because they are the characters often
used).  The character mentioned above without stat-bonuses should have Kirin.
Celes should have Siren -- I rarely use Siren's spells.

Time: 2:35

Go straight to Owzer's House, to find out about Setzer, then head to the
opera house.  Make sure Locke has sprint shoes equipped.

Opera House:
After watching the first part of the opera, go straight to Celes and finish
her scene.  After picking up Ultros' letter see the Impressario, and get to
Ultros ASAP.

Edgar drill or chain saw (slight risk with chain saw).  Sabin - Aura Bolt.
Locke - heal or fight.

On the airship, heal then head for vector. Equip Celes with equipment and
esper.  From Albrook go straight to Vector, find returner-sympathizer.  Enter
Factory and go to Shiva and Ifrit ASAP (just get the few treasure chests not
very far off course).  Here, I switched espers with Edgar and Sabin.  After
beating them (you may wish to skip saving), get the break blade and fight
Number 024.  After escaping with Cid underground, save and maybe change
espers.  Edgar with two earrings and flash may be strong enough to take out
the enemies on the track.  The boss will succumb to normal powerful attacks
(your multi-enemy attacks may be useful).

Time 3:32

Madiun scene is self-explanatory.  Head straight to Narshe.  Get elixir from
Elder's house and buy whatever you think you need (new weapons for Locke and
Terra, mystery veil and power sash may be useful).  My party was Sabin, Edgar,
Locke and Terra (might as well build-up characters quickly found in WoR).
Terra had Maduin equipped.  Get Seraphim in Tzen (give to Kirin-user).

Sealed Cave:
After characters learn Fire2 and Ice2, give them Phantom and Shoat.  Get
Assassin, Tempest and Atma Weapon, otherwise skip treasures. Maduin may be
good for Terra to equip.
Once you re-enter the airship and land near Miranda, head straight to Vector.

Time: 3:50

Make sure you know how to get full points with the emperor (or luck out,
like I did) to get the Tintinabar and Charm Bangle (Tintinabar is very useful
for completing the game quickly, as it can be wagered for an Exp. Egg at the
Colisseum).  Take all treasure you find while talking to soldiers.

To Thamasa:
Simply go to Albrook, talk to Leo, rest, talk to Leo again and get the ship
ride over with. Go straight to Thamasa.  Make sure you give Shadow 1 esper
(Seraphim, Maduin -- basically useful spells).
Levels were: Locke and Terra L18, Shadow L16.

Time: 4:12

Go straight to Strago, talk, then go to the inn -- you may wish to buy various
magical rods (ice for now, fire for a little later and thunder for even
later), though (if you have enough money to afford Zoneseek and Golem later). 
Once you go into house, pick up both rods.

Flame Eater:
Morph Terra, use ice rod -- then follow up with Ice2, if you have it.  Strago
uses Aqua Rake. Stealing with Locke could be considered ($ for Flame Blade).
This battle shouldn't last long.

After saving Relm, get the Memento Ring.  If you don't have 2 fire rods, you
might want another one.

To Mountain:
Go straight to the mountain where the Espers are from Thamasa.  Get the Heal
Rod, then go straight to the statues.

If you have multiple fire rods, you can use 1 early.  Otherwise, use Fire2.
You could steal with Locke to get a WhiteCape, though I didn't.  As soon as
Ultros transforms, morph Terra and use a Firerod.  Just attack afterwards.
Strago should heal with the Heal Rod, if he can't use fire spells or items.
Once Relm joins, hope that you get lucky by having success with her sketch
soon (I had to wait 4 turns).

After the battle (time was 4:39), skip all treasure go to the Espers.

Preparations for floating continent:
Buy 3 Gaia Gear and 2 Thunder Rods (more if you can afford it). Only get items
if you're desperate. Get Golem and Zoneseek in Jidoor (If you don't get 1
after 2 tries, reset. Also save after getting 1).  You'll need 30000 GP
(Zoneseek 10K, Golem 20K).  Don't forget the hero ring in the house where the
colisseum will be and the treasure in the imperial output where the sealed
gate was.  My characters were Sabin, Edgar and Locke (Terra may be a good
substitute for Locke, though Terra learns fairly good spells over the next
30 levels, so you may not want to put the time into her).  Locke was kept
because of his level and spell choice, while Sabin and Edgar were picked
because of learnt spells and muscle (if you did something different earlier,
your best party may be different).

To Floating Continent:
With your relatively low levels, the IAF sequence will be fairly difficult.
Sabin and Edgar should have enough power between them.  Hopefully someone
has the following spells: vanish, doom, ice2, fire2, bolt2, cure2 (the more
people that have these spells, the better).  If you don't need these spells,
equipping Zoneseek and Golem could be useful (stat-bonus, osmose, and
learning Cure2 etc.)
Edgar's chain saw may be very helpful.  If someone has bolt2, this will also

Burn him with fire magics (rods) or normal strong attacks -- vanish and doom
may work too (though I forgot to try it this time).  Once Chupon joins, use
ice stuff -- or try vanish and doom (once again I forgot to try it).

Hopefully, you have at least 2 thunder rods.  Use 1 to start off. If you only
have 2, have Sabin and Edgar use Flash, Fire Dance, otherwise continue with
Thunder rods.  Once there is just the AirForce left, use the last Thunder rod
(hopefully, the magic absorbing speck doesn't appear so soon).  Just follow
up with your strongest attacks (healing when necessary).

Levels: Sabin L19, Edgar L19, Locke L21
Time: 5:07

Floating Continent:
Save then get Shadow, giving him a useful Esper (maybe Maduin or Seraphim).
Here, enemies give a lot of magic points, so take advantage of it.  If
enemies have weaknesses, like Brainpan (fire) or Ninja (pearl), attack with
that element.  You might wish to try stealing with Locke (though it might
waste too much time).  Against Behemoths and Dragons, vanish and doom
eliminates them quickly.  Of the treasures, skip the Beret and maybe skip the
Hardened (if vanish and doom works, you might want it).
Save at the save point.  Prepare for Atma Weapon.

Atma weapon:
Try stealing with Locke -- you'll either get a Ribbon, Atma Weapon or Exilir
(I got a Ribbon this time).  Otherwise, vanish and doom to bring a quick end
to the battle.

After Shadow stalls Kefka, equip Celes and make sure she has Maduin.  Enemies
only give magic points here.  An effective strategy is Aurabolt, Drill, and
fight (Celes front row with break blade or back row with morning star).
Normally enemies will die in 1 turn.  If you are waiting for Shadow, get the
Elixir.  Against Nerapa, use the same strategy.  I strongly recommend waiting
for Shadow (when asked to jump).  While waiting, walk around and fight battles
(Celes will be very close to learning level 2 spells, if she hasn't already
learned them).

World of Ruin:
After Celes wakes up, equip sprint shoes and save.

Time: 5:39 (personal best time for arriving here was 5:35)

If you are lucky, saving Cid will be faster than letting him die (I saved
him).  After saving him, get the raft and go to land.

To Tzen:
Make sure Celes learns Ice2 before she is in Tzen.  You may wish to have
Zoneseek, Shoat or Phantom equip (Shoat or Phantom for Vanish and Doom
combo, Zoneseek for stat-bonuses).  Clear the house of all treasures, as
this is a good place to raise levels.  Run from the Scorpion enemies
(unless they are weak against Fire or Bolt), otherwise kill enemies with Ice2
(tinctures may be helpful).  Once done, you have Sabin again.

To Nikeah and Figaro:
With Sabin and Celes, go straight to Nikeah (Punbaba can be dealt with later).
Here, if I buy anything, it would be the enhancer for Celes and items if
desperate (otherwise wait till Figaro to get half-priced items with Edgar),
otherwise no worries.  Find Edgar's gang and Edgar and follow him.  In South
Figaro, go straight to the inn to meet Edgar.  If you skipped any items in
boxes, you can get much better items now (just search -- I could find a
Revivify and an Elixir).  Go to the cave. Don't bother with Ziegfried.  In
Figaro Castle, I would recommend getting all of the items.

Using Golem, may save you some grief.  I think at least one of the tentacles
is not affected by vanish and doom (vague memory from many years ago).  If
you know which can be defeated by vanish and doom, eliminate those, otherwise
attack with their weaknesses (fire, ice, etc.) After battle, you might want
the soul sabre.

Figaro Castle:
Go to Kohlingen.  Buy items (the items in the castle are unfortunately not
upgraded as in South Figaro) with Edgar leading the party.

Time: 6:17

Get Setzer.  If you have money, buy armour, weapons, or items.  Otherwise
head straight for Daryl's Tomb.

Daryl's tomb:
What can I say? Undead enemies, fire, pearl, fenix downs, know your enemies.
If you matched or beat the prescribed times, you know how to fight battles
(my partner fought many battles for me, that's why our time was as low as it
was).  Anyways, get the treasures (don't miss the Exp. Egg).  Make sure
you save at the save point.

I would skip this mini-boss because Sabin doesn't need weapons. To get the
dragon claw, use doom on this enemy (I don't think vanish helps, but cast
vanish before hand, if it makes you happy :)).

Fire magic (and rods if you still have somme) will be most effective against
this guy.  Although he casts many spells, don't bother using runic -- just
heal and attack with your best attacks.

Time: 6:36

The first 2 things I would recommend are getting Bum Rush and a second
experience egg.  You can get Palidor, if you want, the summon is useful but
the spells aren't particularly useful and there's no stat-bonus.  The
Tintinabar can be traded for an Exp. Egg  in the Colisseum.  To get it,
I would send Edgar or Celes with a Break Blade and hope that the Break Blade

To preapre for Kefka's tower (I):

General considerations (not part of walkthrough):
Now many options are open. You could probably just raise levels (Dinosaur
forest) and fight through the Kefka's tower. Because of the lack of Espers,
this could be problematic. Getting Mog will make getting Shadow, Gogo, Relm,
Strago and/or Cyan faster (along with a couple of Espers).  Also Mog is 5
levels higher than the other characters, so getting him will increase the
levels of the characters you get afterwards.  Getting Terra and Shadow is also
pretty easy.  Locke is useful because of Phoenix and Ragnorak.  Gau is easy
to get, but his level will be very low, so he'll be nearly useless.

Anyways, before entering Kefka's tower, you should spend a little time to buy
items, weapons and armour.

If you want to finish the game on time, you should enter Kefka's tower around
8:50 (or before if you have few characters).  Saving right before Kefka, you
should be no later than 9:20 (I was 9:22 the first time I tried and the end
appeared 1 minute too late).  The ending is about 25 minutes and the last
battle takes about 10 minutes (with speaking beforehand, I think).

Level up (walkthrough continued):
Go to the dinosaur forest.  With 2 experience eggs equipped, make sure
characters have stat-boosting espers (particularly magic power) equipped and
that they all have at least one of vanish or doom -- teach it.  The battles
are easy (unless you get stuck in a pincer attack) because you can just use
vanish and doom (even a party under level 30 can take out a Brachosaur this
way). When your lowest level character is at level 30, leave here.

Get Mog (I think going through Arvis' house is fastest).  Get the Moogle Charm
and open the chest in the far corner of the room to get a Ribbon (instead of
the Rune Blade in WoB).  Use a warp stone (or warp magic) to leave.  Have Mog
join your part and go straight for Tritoch (with Moggle Charm equipped).
Avoid the snow dragon until after you get Tritoch.

Tritoch/Snow Dragon:
Vanish, Doom, battle over -- make sure all characters have espers equipped, as
to need a variety of spells.

Time: 7:02

Level up more:
Just go back to the dinosaur forest with either 2 or 3 party members (3 if
you have Mog, so that he can learn spells, though don't do this too long, as
it takes away from the experience you gain). (Unequip the Moogle Charm).
Make sure you equip the exp. eggs.  You may even have the opportunity to teach
all of your characters Tritoch -- if anyone does not get Tritoch, it should
be Celes (she will have Ice3).  Magic Power is very important, so give your
characters magic stat-bonus espers (Tritoch (fortunately), Zoneseek, Stray,
Maduin). Do this until about level 50.

My levels were: Characters (L50-53) except Mog L40

Time: 7:42

Now, you should maybe consider getting Locke (it may help increase your
other character's levels). I, however, picked Relm first, but if your levels
are about the same as mine, you should have no problems with the rest of the

For the rest of the quests, if there was any risk of random battles, Mog came
with his moogle charm.

Go straight to Owzer's House.  Avoid the chair painting.  Only get the Moogle
Suit here.  To beat the boss, just pound it with powerful spells or Bum Rush
-- the demon form may be susceptible to vanish and doom, though I didn't try
it and it might be a hassle to execute (switching between lady and demon).
You now have Starlet and Relm!

Time: 7:48

Phoenix Cave:
Let one party be Mog, the other party should include Relm (she has fairly
high magic power, so she should learn level 3 attack spells -- don't give her
shoat and phantom, because enough other characters should have vanish and
doom)  Get the Wing Edge, Warp Stone and Ribbon (I guess you could miss the
any of these treasures, but if Mog is your party for the Wing Edge and
Ribbon, it won't waste time).  Defeat the Red Dragon unless you need to make
up time.

Time:  8:02

With Locke, return to Narshe to get the Ragnorak Esper.

Veldt Cave:
You're here to fetch Shadow, so don't forget the Striker.  Although I got the
Tiger Fangs, you shouldn't because they're a waste of time because Sabin
doesn't need weapons.

First form, vanish and doom.  Undead form, life (I think I used vanish
beforehand, though it likely isn't necessary).

Now, just go through Thamasa and the Colisseum to get Shadow (Any character
will easily overpower him).

Time: 8:10

I would take only 1 or 2 characters (1 being Mog) along because it might take
long to get eaten. Skip the Fake Mustache, but the other treasures are
worthwhile. Get Gogo, then leave.

Time: 8:15

Fanatic Tower:
Have Relm in your party and get Strago.

You fight Puhnbaba with your party 3 times (not including Terra's first
fight).  At least 2 characters should have vanish and at least 2 should have
First time: vanish and doom.
Second time: If only 2 characters have the spells listed above, use vanish
and doom, so that only one character gets hit by Bababreath.  Otherwise,
fighting might be faster (because it ignores boss death scene).
Third time: Vanish and doom.
It is up to you whether Terra is worth the hassle (she takes a while to get,
but she is a good magic user, so it may be worthwhile).

Additional note:
The first time I tried this, I remember having more time than I did now.  I
think I was able to learn more magic and even get Cyan (or maybe I just
picked up the items in Mt. Zozo). This time, I avoided him.

Reasons to go to Mt. Zozo: Items! (Aegis Shld, Elemental Shlds, Red Cap,
Gold Hairpin among other things) -- as I said above, you can just pick up
items without cyan.  He also takes a little long to get.

Magic learning:
Go to the desert southwest of Miranda to fight Hoovers and Cactrots. You will
need Sabin, Edgar, Shadow, or Strago (with blow fish or some other useful
lore) or Ultima to easily defeat Catrots. You should stop magic learning
latest at 8:45 unless all of your characters are already well-equipped (then
stop at 8:50).  Make sure 1 person gets Ultima.  Phoenix is useful because
you could learn Fire3 with 3 characters in the time it takes for 1 Ultima.
You will gain few levels, so don't worry about stat-bonuses.

Of the characters with not well-developed magic, Shadow does not need to learn
spells -- Ninja Stars will be good for most fights. The character who should
learn ultima should be your low-level character (if you have one) or a higher
level character without good spells (Strago, Relm).

Time: 8:40

Preparation for Kefka's Tower (II):
I will list two scenarios -- one which failed, one which worked (thank
goodness for multiple save slots):

Failing scenario:
Fought in colisseum for Minerva (traded Czarina Gown) -- 2 doom spells first
round (enemy missed, I hit). (Time 8:42).  Bought armour and weapons in
Miranda and Thamasa.  Buy items in Figaro Castle (Edgar lead party).
Equip party in 4 separate groups.  Landed in front of Kefka's tower
(Time 8:51).  Fought through Kefka's tower, picking up most items.
After 3 statues (9:25).  Kefka's defeat (about 9:38).  "The End" appeared at
about 10:02.

Problems with failing scenario:
-2 Minerva's are pointless -- only Celes needs one as most battles will finish
very fast (exception Poltergeist: 2 Minerva's might help protect party if
both Terra and Celes battle him).
-Only needed tents -- going to Figaro castle was pointless.
-Only Minerva, Hero Ring, Fixed Dice, Ribbon, Force Shield, Megaelixir, Red
Cap (and maybe 2 or 3 more items) are on the way; other items waste time to
get (don't get them)

Successful scenario:
I had about 150,000 GP. (both scenarios of course)
-Bought items in Miranda and Thamasa (Ninja Stars, Dark Gear,
Crystal Armour, helm, shield, circlets).
-equipped characters currently in party
-so I only had to change parties twice
-Stopped by Figaro Castle (shouldn't have--could have saved more time)
-landed in front of Kefka's tower at 8:46 (forgot to equip a couple things,
but time was 5 minutes better)

1.Terra, Celes, Setzer, Strago (Strago was learning Tritoch still)
2.Sabin, Relm, Shadow, Locke
3.Edgar, Mog, Gogo (Mog had ultima)*
*teaching Mog Tritoch's spells might have been better (Relm or Strago
because they are at higher levels)

-Use Charm Bangle, if you have it, to reduce the frequency of random
-balance parties (it should be easy to create three dominating parties)
-Earrings and Hero Rings are the most essential battle relics (as they speed up
battles).  Memento Ring, Ribbons and Running shoes and economizers (if you
were lucky against brachosaur) also help
-Gogo should be in the party with the character who has ultima

Kefka's Tower (continuation of Kefka's scenario):

In spite of decent levels and powerful spells, it was quite tough the first
time I tried (a couple months ago) because many strong weapons and armour are
missing and parties aren't full.  This time, however, I just coasted through
-- particularly the second time I tried.

Just walk through the tower with a party until it reaches a dead-end.  Skip
the dragons and skip Atma -- vanish and doom will work, but it is a waste of
time as you should have all of the skills you need.  As for the treasures,
only get those mentioned above.  Make sure you open paths for your first
party. Save before fighting Inferno.

Each part has different elemental characteristics, so either focus spells, or
use non-elemental attacks.  My party was my Mog party, but I still had an easy
time against him -- just attack almost full out (curing occasionally).

When you have to choose which party fights which statue (button-pushing,
door-opening place), make sure you have your best party go against Guardian
and Poltergeist -- I didn't but all of my parties were decent, so I didn't
waste too much time.

Same strategy as Inferno, except strike with Bolt spells.

Doom and Goddess:
Vanish and Doom (suckers ...)  Against Goddess, make sure your vanish user
is lower in your party than your doom loser -- preemptive attack battle order
--, though a ribbon on both characters will make this almost unnecessary.

Force shield, Minerva, Red Jacket, Flame Shield and Thunder Shield will save
you some grief against this boss.  You can't use vanish and doom so you'll
have to resort to brute force -- ice spells (watch out for Fire3 counter).
Blaster (memento ring, protects against this) and strong attacks make this
boss annoying.

Just heal and save before the fight with Kefka.

Time: 9:14
Levels: Mog 43, other characters between 49 and 53.

Battle with Kefka:
Ribbons, hero rings, and earrings are your friend for this battle.  I put
people with high magic power and special non-elemental attacks up front
(Sabin, Celes, Edgar, for magic; Mog, Gogo, Sabin, Edgar and Shadow for
non-elemental attacks). A high M.Block would be nice, but unless you equip one
or two characters with your best stuff, this could be a problem.

Battle order:
1.Sabin 2.Celes 3.Mog 4.Gogo 5.Edgar 6.Terra 7.Shadow 8.Setzer 9.Locke
10.Relm 11.Strago
(Mog and Gogo were chosen to start because of Ultima -- though one of them
was picked off early in each attempt because of low defense)

1st level:
Left arm is weak against wind (Air Blade, if you think it'll help). Any strong
spells will get you through here quickly -- watch out for counters at time of
death (quake, etc.), so stay healthy, as you don't want to lose good
characters so early.

2nd level:
Fairly easy, just attack with strong spells, but keep your health up.

3rd level:
Eliminate healer (on left).  Only non-elemental attacks work, but the healer
has few HP, so it shouldn't be a problem.  Watch out for Calmness at the end
of battle -- though it doesn't matter which character is eliminated, unless
you are approaching the end of your line up (most of your characters should
be able to deal massive damage to Kefka.

Like poltergeist or guardian (just heal when you have to).  An easy last boss.

(timed by self: 9:28)
This battle could be even shorter, if you coordinate your attacks better than
I did.

After Ending: 9:52 for stop of music.

The end ... finished game in less than 10 hours.

partner (brother) for doing better on the fast game
From various sources (I've played through the game probably about 10 times
since 1994 -- so I assimilated the knowledge before writing the FAQ -- and
haven't used these sources in such a long time that I can only give a list of
probable sources): Nintendo Power, classmates in elementary school

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