FF Anthology in my queue of games right after I finish Resident Evil 4. I hope I don't have to buy a cheap PSOne just to play it; I believe launch-day PS2 hardware can lock up while playing this particular game.
Well, Final Fantasy 6 is my favorite from the series,
but after having played through it on the SNES,
I just couldn't muster the patience for the load times
of the PS1 version.
I think that's the compilation I have. A quick search reveals it contains V and VI.
V never made it to the states in its original form. It's considered to have the best gameplay of the classic Final Fantasty games, and it might just have the best of the whole series, because it was the game that introduced the "Job System," later seen in Final Fantasy X2 Super Otaku Fanservice Dressup Quest. It seems a lot less icky in V, though.
The idea is, you have four characters who stay with you basically the whole game (really five, one leaves but the girl that takes his place has the same stats), but you can change their character classes at any time outside of battle. A character's clas determines what attacks they get, what items they can equip, even some out-of-battle abilities like avoiding damage from floors, quick party movement and seeing secret passages. A character gets an "overall" experience level, and the character's class upon gaining one determines what stats he gets. Characters also get new abilities as each individual class advances, and they are also allowed to have with him *one* skill they have learned from another class during the game.
Gameplay-wise, FF VI, which once upon a time I ate up, is less interesting. After a short period at the start of the game, the game settles into giving the player a "pool" of characters that he can decide who he takes with him. Late in the game, the player can get a secret character who can be given skills learned by the other characters, but it's a poor substitute.
As for stories... well, they're Final Fantasy games. They're essentially a fantasy soap opera. I find it amazing that people (including, again, myself once) get so attached to characters that, when you sit down and write out what they say, don't actually have all that much that defines them.
FF III (not released in any form in NA), introduced the job system.
Final Fantasy VI, much like Chrono Trigger, is overrated to high hell. Final Fantasy V was way funner than VI. I'd also recommend getting Final Fantasy 3j, if you like Job Systems.
Final Fantasy V doesn't get the respect it deserves. Overshadowed by the melodramatic garbage that is Final Fantasy VI.