Dragon Warrior III
By Jason Vincion Saturday, 24 Oct 2009

I received Dragon Warrior III as a gift back in the days when Nintendo games were still in the stores. I was an absolutely rabid fan of RPG’s at the time (which really hasn’t changed much), and considering how much I loved the previous two installments, I thought Dragon Warrior III could quite possibly be one of the best games ever. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t let down one single iota. There have been a lot of great RPG’s that have been released since Dragon Warrior III came out, but to this day, I believe it is one of the best RPG’s out there. Sit back, and let me tell you why.

The plot of DW III revolves around a brave young man who anxiously looks forward to meeting the King of Aliahan. Upon arriving at the castle… King of Aliahan: “Welcome unto thee, Hero, son of the brave Ortega! It is said that thy father Ortega met the end when he fell into a volcano’s crater at the end of a battle. We do hereby accept your petition to follow in the footsteps of your brave father. Thy enemy shall be the Archfiend Baramos. The name of the Archfiend Baramos is yet unknown in the world of men. If things remain unchanged, before long the world will be destroyed by the Archfiend. Baramos must be defeated! Seek companions at the local eatery and start your quest. (Hero receives money for his party.) Farewell! Until we meet once more, Hero!”

Well, there’s your basic foundation for a solid plot, but the sub-plots also add so much more to the story. There’s the search to find a king’s stolen crown; a city full of sleeping people that you must awaken; a city which is dead by day, but populated by night; a party member’s desire to create a thriving town, and many more sub-quests. Of course, Baramos is not the final enemy. Once you defeat Baramos, you will be challenged by another Archfiend, and you will travel towards a place that looks strangely familiar. While plots like these may be commonly thought of as cliché in this day and age, DW III’s is fantastic and one of its best assets. The game itself can be a bit challenging at times (trying to escape the Pyramid with the Golden Glove, for instance), but

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never so insanely difficult that the urge to do a little cartridge extraction will wash over you. There are some tricky puzzles in the game that provide an excellent challenge. Not all of the information is handed to you on a silver platter (or in a large instruction manual), but the clues given by some of the townsfolk can be quite useful to solving puzzles and figuring out what to do next. Length-wise, like many of the Dragon Warrior games, Dragon Warrior III takes a while to beat, but when it’s a great title like this, who wants it to be over with in a short period of time? It can take anywhere from 2-3 days (if you put every waking minute into it) to 2-3 weeks (if you play an hour a day or so). I can’t say that I have any complaints with the length.

Being an RPG (and on the NES), strong graphics are not really necessary. However, DW III comes through nicely. The palettes are nice and colorful (although the castles can be a bit overwhelming), and while the graphics look small, it’s really not a problem. The graphics are a bit primitive considering the game came out in 1991, although they probably left it that way for continuity purposes between the games. The animations are limited to two frames, yet some of the monsters are fairly detailed. While the graphics certainly aren’t amazing, they’re nothing to complain about either. The variety of the music in this game is outstanding. From the majestic castle music, the upbeat town jingle, the wanderlust-inducing world map music,

the angelic flight music, the easygoing boat music, the gloomy and ethereal shrine music, the eerily-familiar dark world music, to the excellent and creepy dungeon music, the soundtracks run the gamut and never fail to please.

The play control for Dragon Warrior III is very similar to the previous games, and is rather easy to work with. A is to call up a menu or proceed with an action, and B is to cancel. The overworld menu has six different commands (Talk, Status, Search, Spell, Item, and Equip), and is easy to negotiate. Walking around, sailing, and flying move at a reasonable pace, and the control is never obtrusive or an issue to the gameplay. You know, they really don’t make games like this anymore. The diversity of the different characters, the ability to have up to 12 characters in the game and switch between them at your leisure, and the ability to change classes at level 20 while still being able to retain some of the skills and attributes of the previous class are just some of the perks which make this game so enjoyable. There’s a vast variety of monsters, weapons, equipment, and items, and even with the rather linear plot, all the different party combinations and character development quirks make it a game that can be replayed multiple times. I’ve heard other people that have reviewed this game say that it takes too long to build experience. I’ve got two words for them… quit whining! This is an RPG, you don’t need to blast through it. If I continue on at this rate, it’ll become a rant, so I’ve just got one more thing to say – this is the best RPG for the NES.


2 Responses to “Dragon Warrior III”

  1. Charlie Goodrich Says:

    Behind Dragon Warrior/Quest VIII and V, this is my favorite Dragon Warrior. Great review for a great game.

  2. Eric Kennedy Says:

    I must say, this review has got me pumped up to play the GBC remake of DWIII. I’ll try to resist the urge to whine about level-grinding, lest Jason come and browbeat me into oblivion!

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