Dragon Warrior 3 - Reader Retroview  

The Epic Quest
by Lucky Melchior

30 - 60 Hours
Click here for scoring definitions 

   Dragon Quest III was released in America in 1991 as Dragon Warrior III. In 2001 a remake was released on the Gameboy Color. I view Dragon Warrior III as the breakout hit of the Dragon Quest series. It is a prequel to the previous two installments and it completes the story of the first three games.

   At first glance the battle system seems to be similar to the previous two installments. Combat employs a basic turn-based system with options to attack, use magic, use an item, defend or run away. However, Dragon Warrior III features an impressive and fairly original, for it's time, class system. The hero's three companions are generic characters you create and assign a class to, similar to the way you pick your party in the original Final Fantasy. The classes you may choose from are Soldier, Fighter, Mage(Wizard), Cleric(Pilgrim), Merchant(Dealer), Jester(Goof-off), and finally Sage, although you can not start an ally with this class. The Gameboy Color version added thief as an additional class. The revolutionary aspect of the class system is that later in the game you can change the class of any ally who has reached level 20 or higher. They will reatain any skills they have learned, have their stats halfed and start from level 1 again. It is possible to make a soldier who knows wizard spells, a dealer(merchant) who knows healing spells or all sorts of other combinations. This also gives the game a solid replay value as you can make different combinations of allies each time you play. Overall, in large part because of the class system, the battle system is very good.

Much bigger world, which is loosely based upon our own Much bigger world, which is loosely based upon our own

    As for the plot, you play as the son, or daughter, of the great hero, Ortega. It is your sixthteenth birthday and you are to have an audience with the King of Aliahan, your hometown. The King requests you follow in your late father's footsteps and take up the quest of defeating the Archfiend Baramos, who threatens the entire world. Since your party consists of characters you create and name, there is no development of your allies' characters. There is some development of the hero, centering mostly around your father's legacy. However, like with most Dragon Quest games, the story is more focused on the adventure. And what a grand adventure it is. First of all, the world is vastly larger than the worlds of Dragon Warrior I and II combined. The world is loosely based on and reseambles our world, Earth. There are many kingdoms and towns which paradoy the place in our world where their location corrosponds to. For example, the Kingdom of Edginbear(England), whose people are snobish and refer to outsiders as "bumpkins" or the Kingdom of Portga(Portugual), whose King seaks spices and has a ship for exploration. Overall, Dragon Warrior III has a very enjoyable story and plot. There are many interesting, fun, and sometimes a little quirky, people and places. Yet the game still retains an epic feel throughout the hero's grand journey.

    Dragon Warrior III features Koichi Sugiyama's breakout soundtrack. The overworld theme captures the epic feel of the story. He also has several impressive remixes of themes from the previous games, such as the shrine theme and the original overworld theme. There are no real bad tracks throughout the game. Overall the soundtrack is very good. As for the graphics, the NES version visually is pretty bad by contemporary standards. However, the GBC version has more average graphics, especially by hand-held standards. On either version Akira Toriyamaís monster designs are the highlight of the game visually. Regardless,the Dragon Quest/Warrior series rarely has needed to rely on graphics to be good.

Plenty of new feature in the GBC version, such as monster medals There are plenty of new features in the GBC version, such as monster medals

    The GBC version of the game offers a plethora of additional features other than the addition of the thief class and the improved graphics. The interface was simplified over the NES version which required one to use the menu to talk, search and open doors. The GBC version features an action button that can be used to do all those tasks. There is also the feature of different personalities, which adds further to the vast amount of combinations of allies you can achieve. There is also the Tiny Medal mini-game, which is seen in later Dragon Quest games, that lets you trade tiny medals you find for special items and equipment. Moreover, there are additional equipment and items not in the original NES version. Finally, one can collect monster medals which can be occasionally won when defeating monsters. You can even trade monster medals with friends who have the GBC game.

   Overall I feel Dragon Warrior III was the first great Dragon Quest game. It features an enjoyable battle system with an original class system. The soundtrack is wonderful and the plot is very good. The only part of the game that is not above average is the graphics. If you have never played this game and you have a GBA you better run out right now and pick up this game because you are missing out on an absolute classic. .

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