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by Enix

Cool-Pic-1.jpg (13572 bytes)To some, the thought of an intensely long commute through the pan-handle of Idaho would thrill, or even make a soul sick with happiness, but for the poor wretches like myself, who troll from apartment to car to road, the only idle relief we have is the thought of an in-transit beer or Enix’s Dragon Warrior III—I had no beer, just batteries.

Popular-Enix-Guy.jpg (9663 bytes)DWIII pits you as the young son of the hero Ortega who fell in his quest to defeat the Demon Lord Baramos. Due to your determination, the King of Aliahan has bestowed this quest upon you. You are to lead a team of adventurers against the Demon Lord and succeed where your father failed: defeat the enemy of the land. Sounds likes a classic DW plot, eh? It is, and it’s so cool.

Your-Father-Hero.jpg (12006 bytes)One neat feature of the game is the ability at the start to create your character’s personality, if only in a primitive sense, by answering a series of questions and then going on a quasi-mini-quest. It took me a few tries to get the right mix for my character personality. Along the way, you’ll find various articles in dungeons or shops that you can purchase to modify your personality type. I still haven’t gotten the hang of this yet, but, nevertheless, it’s a cool idea. You can also choose to play as either a male or female character. Once you have done this it’s off to the Ruida’s Tavern to create your party. Here you can create characters with the following classes: warrior, fighter, mage, cleric, thief, dealer, jester, sage, leaving you, that is your character, alone in his class, the hero, which mixes the best of most of the other classes together. You can pretty much kick-ass through the game, but this isn’t a one man show, so the other character classes are pretty important, too. Some mentionable ones would be the sage, who is kind of mixture between the cleric and the mage, and the fighter, a more refined version of the warrior. I found that you need to balance your party’s powers out, but always, and I mean, always, have someone, maybe two, who can heal. No worries if you become unhappy with the class you select for your teammates, you’ll get a chance midway through the game to change classes.

Castle-Front.jpg (11858 bytes)The bulk of the game is rambling from cave to dungeon to tower through the sprawling game-world. Along the way you’ll fight a plentitude of monsters, some of which can really beat you down if you’re not careful. It brought back memories to die so many times in the game. Like its predecessors it steeply challenges you, starting out easy and tossing maybe a few blobs at you or some slimes, but then you get into the wolfs and crabs and knights, etc., who seem to possess some intense armor and even more intense strength. It’s probably a good idea to plan out points in the game where you’ll circle a ‘base’ town and build up enough HP and money to proceed without problems further in the game. In terms of skill-set, you acquire spells pretty quickly and your levels rise relative to your quests, meaning as you wander through a dungeon, and if you have enough healing herbs to last you, you’ll find that you’ll rise a few levels before getting to the boss character.

Ship-2.jpg (16359 bytes)Commuting is done on foot through the first third of the game until you acquire the ship, which allows you to, obviously, explore the world in its entirety. For me an RPG doesn’t become really cool until this point; however, DWIII has some perks with speed and how quickly you move across the game-screen. As for efficiency, that is getting from dialogue and plot back into quest / battle-mode, you won’t be disappointed. It’s like the programmers took all that was annoying in RPGs and removed it. I guess that comes with the territory of producing one of the coolest and longest running RPG series, coming in alongside other epics like Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star. I remember playing this game on the Nintendo, and truthfully I spent more time with it than Final Fantasy.

Battle-Multi-5.jpg (8034 bytes)Sure, this game makes it easy to slip into a death-rut in which you find yourself being the only one resurrected, left to fend for yourself until you’ve built up enough capital to recall your friends from the dead, but it wouldn’t be a true Dragon Warrior game, or RPG for that, if this didn’t happen once in a moon. Another cool aspect of the cart is the ability to save your quest at any point; however, while you can pull up your adventure log it only allows you to restart from it, but don’t worry, pretty much every castle you find on your journey allows you to save a permanent record.

Beat-up-monster-please.jpg (9730 bytes)Probably the only annoying thing about the game was the music; most of the time I was forced to play it in silence or while I listened to something else, but still the game is rock solid when it comes to pure RPG. Now, while the graphics are nothing to write home about, they are pretty decent for something on the GBC. I had the luck of playing the whole thing on my GBA, so the "widen-the-screen" feature really came in handy and increased my enjoyment of the cart.

Medal-Slime-01.jpg (6833 bytes)There is one last reason to buy a game for the GBC, and that reason is Dragon Warrior III. It makes commutes from city X to city Y more enjoyable and quicker. DWIII is definitely a zone-out game, and a classic RPG. Enhanced from the original, this is a must-play title whether you have fond memories of the NES version, or if you want to play what is simply the best RPG so far for a handheld system.

Matt Baldwin   (09/22/2001)


Ups: Cool personality test; really nice GBC graphics; excellent and involving RPG; streamlined and fun to play.

Downs: What, you don't like RPGs?

Game Boy Color


GamesFirst! Magazine