Final Fantasy VI Advance - hands-on

The major gameplay difference between FFVI and other titles in the series comes in the way of magical beings called Espers. Espers are FFVI's version of summoned monsters, and can be equipped and removed. Characters learn magic spells and earn stat boosts from their equipped Espers, and can call upon them to execute a mega-powerful attack during battle. You'll run across most Espers going through game normally, but like any good FF title, the most powerful beasts are lurking in out-of-the-way places. FFVI also boasts a massive amount of accessories with unique and varied effects - and two accessory slots per character provide potential for killer combinations. Otherwise, it's turn-based battles plus town and dungeon exploration as per the usual.

So what's different in the GBA version? For starters, the visuals and sound. Graphic quality is on par with the SNES original, though character sizes have been altered to the GBA's smaller screen size. The music also sounds noticeably different due to the GBA's sound hardware. These discrepancies probably won't turn older fans off, and FFVI newcomers won't even care.

A few screenshots of "new playable characters" have been floating around. Unfortunately, these have been revealed to be the result of cheat devices. What are genuine, though, are the new bosses. New Espers appear during the latter half of the game: Leviathan, Jumbo Cactuar, Diabolos and a certain sword collector we've seen before. Also introduced is an extra "team dungeon", where three four-person groups work together to proceed. Series mega-antagonist Omega appears here, as well as the fierce Kaiser Dragon. They're both ready and willing to tear you to shreds. The characters themselves get some great stuff, too. Everyone has their own ultimate weapon, and there are three all-new magic spells to wield.