|Dragon Warrior III
Enix produces one of the best hardcore RPGs available for the
Game Boy Color.
by Peter Sellers, Contributor
July 20, 2001 -
When Enix released the Dragon Warrior I & II game pak last year,
I was a bit skeptical. Sure they were planning to upgrade it,
but how much better could the game become if it were done on the
Game Boy Color? Much to my surprise, I soon found out that the
game remakes were of far greater quality than the originals,
with upgrades to the game mechanics, graphics and sound that
really made me realize that Enix still had the utmost respect
for a game that was father to an entire genre. Fortunately for
gamers everywhere, Enix has once again taken a Dragon Warrior
title and given it the royal treatment. Dragon Warrior III is
now here and it was definitely worth the wait!
* More than 150 different monsters to fight
* Nine different character classes
* Battery Back Up with special "save anytime" field log
* Monster medals to collect and trade
* Only for Game Boy Color
Dragon Warrior III is essentially the prequel to the series,
taking place years before Hargon and the Dragon Lord began their
reign of terror and destruction. Players assume the role of a
young man who carries a heavy burden. Upon turning sixteen, the
King confronts you, challenging you to perform the task that
your father, the brave knight Ortega, had failed to execute some
sixteen years earlier - destroy Baramos, the Demon Lord. Sounds
easy, right? Yeah, nothing your average 16-year-old kid, who
just happens to have his Mother show him where the castle is at
the beginning of the game, can't handle.
I'm not going to get overly descriptive when it comes to
gameplay, considering that, for all intents and purposes, most
role playing games play the same. You take on quests, gain party
members, build up experience points, find items, procure money
and fight evil in whatever incarnation is available at the time
in order to ultimately save the world from a big bad guy (in
this instance, Baramos would be the Demon in question). As with
most RPGs, Dragon Warrior III utilizes a simple menu system
which allows for simple use of items, equipping weapons, etc.
and turn based combat in which you can fight, defend or flee
like a wuss. However, there are a fair amount of new features
which make it stand apart from not only other games in the
series, but also other games in the genre.
Parties consist of four distinctive characters, including the
main character. At the beginning of the game, your character is
assigned a unique persona and rank, which is based upon a series
of questions, asked of you by some unknown force which
"represents all". By answering questions such as "Is victory
earned in battle" or "Do you prefer to fight with magic rather
than fight with a sword", the all-knowing force gives you a
tarot type reading of who you are, similar almost to the Ogre
Battle games, and starts you on your way. It's an interesting
way to establish a character and is, in some ways, insightful.
Once this has been done, you begin the game and eventually plan
out your party. The three remaining characters can be chosen
from one of seven classes, Warrior, Fighter, Mage, Cleric,
Dealer, Jester and Thief. Each class is unique and has something
to offer the party whether it be heightened magical stats or
increased fighting ability.
Another way in which the game deviates from the norm is with the
addition of "Monster medals", trophies of a sort which can be
traded from player to player via the link cable. Even though
this is a definite nod to Dragon Warrior Monsters, it sure makes
finding the 150 monsters a real challenge in and of itself.
Different monsters will appear depending upon what time it is in
the game and players will have to work their tail off to
actually get all 150 medals. I didn't mention that before, did
I? The game shows the passage of time, with day and night coming
and going throughout your quest. It's a cool feature and makes
for entertaining monster-hunting expeditions!
Another nice addition to the game is the inclusion of new items.
Dragon Warrior III on the GBC features twice as many items and
armaments when compared to the NES version. Whoohoo!
Again Enix deserves the highest praise when it comes to their
loving attention to graphics, or in this case the re-designing
of graphics. From the look of the first scene, in which your
character walks from a lush, verdant forest onto an isolated
rock ledge overlooking a waterfall to the lavishly designed
towns and locations, Enix proves that this is a game close to
their hearts. All of the landscapes, which change graphically
when representing the passage of time, characters, who all share
facial expressions, cut scenes, and monster designs are
opulently detailed and exquisitely colored. For GBA gamers, be
aware that the game is at its optimal for the system it was
really made for -- the game tends to be a little darker all
around, contrast wise, when played on the GBA. Colors overall
seem perhaps a shade darker, but it's otherwise not a real big
worry to play on the new system. The only real downside to this
Dragon Warrior's graphic splendor would be the lack of
backgrounds during battle sequences. This is easily overlooked
once you see how beautifully animated the creatures are during
the battles. Incredible. Simply incredible.
The music is rich and full, making quite an impressive
transition to the GBC. Almost all of the music has been ported
over from the NES version with changes made that only improve
upon the quality. Serious fans of the series will recognize many
of the games overtures and themes, while newcomers will be
completely enthralled with the musical ambience that Enix
Sound effects could've been a bit better, maybe if they had been
given more of a digital sound type treatment, perhaps something
reminiscent of the game Warlocked. Yet even so, the sound
effects do their job above and beyond what most games today have
been shown to do, giving berth to a wide array of different
sounds that fit well in context with the game.
What else is there to say? With a compelling storyline,
astounding graphics and beautiful music and sound, simple
gameplay and being one of the largest RPGs on the GBC to date
(spanning over 40 hours), Dragon Warrior III stands apart from
the multitude, a shining example of what the definitive
role-playing experience on the GBC should be. Simply put, this
is one of those must have games in your game library. Again, my
kudos and highest regards to Enix on a job well done!