Dragon Warrior III - Reader Re-Retroview  

Into the Legend
by Prince Jeremy, Duke of Otterland

Medium to Hard
20-40 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Shortly after the birth of his child, the hero Ortega of Aliahan receives the duty of defeating the demon lord Baramos, who threatens the world. During his quest, however, Ortega falls into a volcano after engaging in battle with a beast, and sixteen years later, his child follows in his (or her) father's footsteps, traveling across the world to defeat Baramos. Dragon Warrior III originally came out on the NES and would receive remakes on the Super NES and the Gameboy Color. The Gameboy Color version proves to be a solid adventure in spite of flaws such as a shallow storyline.

   When his or her quest begins, the son or daughter of Ortega can select three companions of different classes, usually a warrior, a cleric, and a wizard, although players can create custom allies as well. Battles in Dragon Warrior III are randomly encountered and turn-based, where the player inputs commands for each character and lets them and the enemy fight each other in a round. As with just about any other turn-based RPG with this setup, turn order can annoyingly vary, although most fights are typically fast-paced and don't often drag on forever.

   When one of the hero's allies reaches level twenty, he or she can change classes (the hero can't change classes), which will revert that character to level one and cut all of his or her stats in half. This may sound like a price to pay for changing classes, although characters that have changed classes will typically level quickly with the rest of the party. This class system can create unique possibilities such as a warrior who can cast magic spells; since certain classes like the cleric and wizard have vast skill sets, it's usually a good idea to put off changing classes until they've acquired all their spells. It's decent battle system, and provides reasonable challenge throughout the game.

Leapin' lizards! Shaman gymnastics

   Interaction is acceptable for the most part, with clean menus and decent control, although there are some flaws such as a barrage of dialogue while the player shops, tries to save the game, performs tasks at a church like reviving dead characters, and so forth, as well as a general lack of direction on how to advance the storyline. Still, there are some quirks such as magic allowing players to instantly exit dungeons and teleport to visited towns, and in the end, interaction isn't perfect, but doesn't detract too heavily from the game.

   The original Dragon Warrior III had a few things going for it creatively in its time, such as the aforementioned class system, not to mention a day/night system influencing the appearance of enemies on the overworld and NPCs in towns. The Gameboy Color remake also contains some interesting tweaks such as personalities for each character changed by reading books throughout the game and a mini-game called Pachisi (which were also present in the Super NES remake). There are, however, all the typical elements of the series, such as many items, enemies, and even some links to the first two games, but the third installment is still distinctive in its own right.

   The story is the weakest part of the game, with little, if any, character development, or meaningful cutscenes throughout the game, and many disjointed stories and quests in a few towns that bear little significance to the overall plot. There are some links to the first two Dragon Warriors, but other than that, the story has few redeeming aspects.

   Koichi Sugiyama's soundtrack, however, remains a high point, with plenty of nice tracks such as the sailing theme; some tracks, such as the town and castle themes, even change during day and night. The sound effects could have used some more diversity, though. The graphics, surprisingly, are pretty good for a Gameboy Color game, with well-detailed environments and even animate enemies in battle. However, the battles could have used some scenery around the enemies, and the character sprites could have used more detail. Still, Dragon Warrior III is fairly easy on the ears and eyes.

   Finally, playing time ranges somewhere from twenty to forty hours, with an extra dungeon available after beating the game in particular adding to this time. Overall, Dragon Warrior III is a decent end to the first trilogy of the series, featuring a simple yet effective combat system, decent music, and nice visuals. It does have some interaction and story issues, although these don't detract too heavily from an otherwise enjoyable experience.

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