Written by  :  Bregalad (963)
Written on  :  Jul 08, 2006
Platform  :  Game Boy Color
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Classic, but still fun game to play

The Good

This is my review for the Game Boy Color version of Dragon Warrior III. I tried all Dragon Warrior games under NES emulators, and no one really interested me. The games were interesting, but had slow controller response and all, and playing them became quickly annoying. But for some reason the third was the one which was the closest to catch me, mainly for its good music. Then I got the chance to purchase the GBC version of the same game, so I did. It was surprisingly good.

Dragon Warrior III is a classic and basic game. This doesn't retain the game to be fun, however ! You take the control of Loto (or Erdrick), the legendary hero of Dragon Warrior/Quest 1. This comes chronologically before the first Dragon Quest, even trough it has been made later. The Demon Lord Baramos attempts to rule the world to evil and hatred, and your father got on a journey to defeat him while you were still a baby. He didn't return from battle for any reason, and you're 16 years old now, so you must follow him, but that time with 3 companions to help you to fight. Now go on, the adventure begins !!

The game is almost unlinear. After completing the first few quests, you can go pretty much anywhere you want. What determines where you'll be going to complete your quest is all item driven. To defeat Baramos, you need to go to his castle. To go to his castle, you need a legendary bird that will allow you to fly over the world. To get that legendary bird, you must have 6 colored orbs. To have the orbs..... continue a very very long list of items here in that manner and you're doing the whole game backwards. Anyway, you aren't under the impression of being forced to do something, you just are constantly growing stronger and collecting key items.

The backgrounds are very well done, it looks just like an average SNES game, even trough it's a GBC which has slightly lower power than the SNES. Now monsters are animated unlike the original NES version. The characters, while still being typical blocky 16x16 sprites, looks much closer to the original artwork than they did on the NES, and I really like them that way. You have typical Game Boy characters, but made the right way.

Musics are, overall, splendid ! You got variations of the same theme in village for day and night : It is more dancing the day and rather calm at night. Musics in dungeons are dark and mysterious. You really cannot go far in the game without found yourself humming all music from the game anywhere.

Eventually, the gameplay is solid. It has turn per turn battle system, and each ally can have various classes. Each class has its own function : Warriors are somewhat strong physically and can carry heavy equipment; Clerics can learn healing magic and are decent physically; Wizards can learn strong black magic, but are weaker physically; Fighters fight well with bare hands, and are strong but cheaper than Warriors (while they have lower defense); Dealers can appraise your items, which is quite useful, and win more money after battle; Thieves can stole items from battle, and have funny useful skills such as smell the number of treasure you haven't checked on a floor, and can drive the player to found nearby towns/dungeons when exploring the world map. There is also jesters, which are total useless and play instead of battling.

Over that, how stats of each character is incremented is dependent of their personalities. The hero's personality is made by passing the player a test when the game starts up. After that, the personalities will change with books the characters can read and/or items they will equip.

Eventually, there is a lot of minigames and secrets. You can collect tiny medals, and give them to a guy which repay you with equipment. You got the challenge : If you got all medals, you got interesting equipment in exchange. However, if you fail to found too much medals, you will be rewarded too late with items that are already weaker than what you have. The Pasichi's track minigame is fun : You can play a board game, gain money and items, battle some foes and won a price if you can go through the whole board. You'd also want to replay it a lot to found as many items as possible.

The difficulty level is high, but not ridiculous. You often have to do some training to your party before go into huge dungeons, but if you get killed you keep your turn back to the last save point with all EXP and half of your money is gone, which is useful to levelup without be especially forced to re-visit old places. The difficulty also comes when you have to figure out what to do next. The player is on his own and has to figure everything out from more or less obscure information from townspeople involving items and dungeons. Also there is a few side-quests unlocked after beating the game, for hardcore gamers. I didn't do any though.

The Bad

While the battle system works fine, you'll found yourself pressing the 'A' button all the way and therefore attack without thinking. Magic is in most cases less powerful than plain attack, unless the monster is especially weak against the spell in question, and it is somewhat hard to guess which monster is weak against which spell. The enormous variety of monster in the game doesn't help here. Additionally, monster will dodge the magic quite more often than physical attacks, and that is annoying.

Also you'll found monsters healing or reviving another monster you already hurt/killed, but that wasn't hurt/killed at the start of the round. How did the monster guess the player was going to hurt/kill its ally ?

While most music of the game is great, the battle music is plain awful, while it would most probably be the Dragon Quest game with the less bad battle music. Koichi Sugiama is outstanding when it comes to do a town music, but really his style isn't suited to battle themes. Fortunately, you will be able to ignore the battle music quickly by taking habit of it, as opposed to Final Fantasy games where the battle music is typically outstanding at the beginning of the game, and go on your nerves at the end.

Cursed items comes in too big quantify, and it is annoying to have an item and to be unable to equip it because the one equipping it will be cursed : He won't be able to remove the item, and will have negative effects like being stunned in battle or have its stat points decreased. Often, cursed items will have other characteristics like astronomical critical hit rate or ridiculously high defense. This make them even more frustrating.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the GBC version of Dragon Warrior III is a fun game. It has been extremely improved from the NES version, adding *much* better graphics, more varied music, collectible items and minigames. The interface is also *way* better, the response speed of the game is now good, as opposed to the NES version which was kind of terrible in therms of response speed. Also, the English is more accessible in the GBC version where they retranslated the whole text and removed all that pseudo-medieval English which is more an annoyance than anything else.

In case of you doubt it, Dragon Warrior III is a worthy game to play as long you like oldschool RPGs that haven't a so much developed scenario and that haven't so much cutscenes.

And if you want to buy a card for Dragon Warrior III, you'd want to prefer the GBC version over the NES version, while both cards are somewhat rare. I think the GBC version is a bit more common, and a lot more fun. If you prefer go trough the way of emulation... I'd say download both and see by yourself...