Review by Psycho Penguin
"I do know one thing though, remixes they come they go..."
The Dragon Warrior series has long been one of the more underappreciated and undervalued series.. in America. As most of us know by now, it is a huge deal in Japan. However, many people in America love this series, as well, despite the fact 5 and 6 never came out in America for some unknown reasons. So, Enix decided to port over some Dragon Warrior games for the Game Boy... and they chose the first 3. Now, 4 is one of the best NES games ever, and 5 and 6 never came out in America, while the first 3 are present on NES, so I was a little stunned. However, I am pleased to announce Dragon Warrior 3 for Game Boy Color is a solid game.
Featuring the same classic gameplay of the original, with new additions and innovations, this is one of the most marvelous ports I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and is actually far more superior than the already good Dragon Warrior 1+2 combo game released a year prior. This game has so many new features, it almost feels like a new game. The battle system maintains the same features, but has all these great additions. Sure, the game loses a little luster, and some of these new ideas do not click much at all, but it's still a tremendously great game.
The game features the same basic storyline as the NES version, which is fine. No need to overcomplicate the game any. The game gets the weirdest introduction I've ever seen, then moves into the actual storyline. You are woken up one morning, and have been sent to defeat the evil Baramos. Why you? Because the legend states the son of Ortega will rise to defeat the Evil Demon Lord on his 16th year.. and he just turned 16. The plot doesn't really develop much during the game, but these older RPGs never really had much plot development, so it's unfair to expect anything more, really. It's still the weakest aspect of the game, though.
The graphics really have improved, though. Everything just looks smoother and crisper. Towns that used to be too colorful and mediocre now look detailed and varied. Battle screens went from black to designs that fit the overworld area you are in. Enemy designs are the same but happen to have more detail. Everything just looks much better. I especially love how everything is more detailed and unique looking. The NES version had too many colors at times, and to see a version of the game that relies less on a variety of colors and more on detailed backgrounds is a dream come true. I really did love the battles, as in addition to the backgrounds now being present, you also get to see your weapons actually hit the enemies now. Sure, it's a minor addition, but sometimes it's the little things that count the most.
You know how Game Boy music is by now. Sadly, the curse of the evil Game Boy sort of caught this game, too. It tries to emulate the NES music, and does so to a certain extent, but sadly the music does turn out sounding a bit tinny and mediocre. It was nice to hear the classic battle theme and overworld theme, and I also loved some of the remixed songs and new songs put into the game. I also loved the final boss theme and some story scene songs. The sound effects are your typical role playing fare: expect to hear some poorly done slash effect sounds done during battle to keep you awake, but don't expect too much more. Sadly, the sound effects during battle can quickly get on your nerves, so I didn't rate the sound effects nearly as high as I would normally, due to the frequency of them.
The game controls like a typical NES RPG would: it's heavily menu based, so get used to using menus to do pretty much anything. Fortunately, they cut off the need to go down stairs and talk to people via menus, which helps, and basic battle field commands are simple enough. You also get to switch your team formation around easily on the menu screen, which was a nice bonus. Battles are easy enough, as you get all the basic battle options, plus a new ''Plan'' option which lets you plan out your attacks beforehand. It makes auto battling so much easier and cuts down on tedious leveling up if you are not into it. I really found no major problems with the controls at all.
The game also features all of the same characteristics that made the original Dragon Warrior 3 such a great game. You start off with one character, and you get to ''enlist'' three more in a shop. You get to pick their class and name them. Each class has certain advantages and disadvantages, and each can learn their own unique abilities, spells, etc. Plus, you can always enlist new members to replace current ones if you get too bored with them, which I found to be a pretty novel idea compared to Final Fantasy's idea of ''stick with the same party the whole game''. The battle system is largely the same, as you get most of the same options. Leveling up is done by gaining enough experience points, and you can always tell how much EXP you need by talking to a king in a town, but now you can also find out on the menu screen (go to status), which was definitely a nice addition.
In addition to all the great things that made the original so great, you get a slew of new and exciting things to collect and mini games to pursue.Each enemy holds three coins: a bronze, a silver, and a gold. There are over 150 enemies in the game, so that's a lot of coins to collect. You have to do lots of battling to collect all these coins, but you can then collect them or trade them in for powerful items, weapons, and armor. I loved this, as it added an element of replay value to the sometimes boring task of leveling up: now, you have more than one reason to do lots of battling. It also required you to take time in each area to battle all the creatures in the hopes to get all the coins the enemies drop. The two mini games are also great: Pachisi and Monster Arena. Monster Arena is more fun because you get to bet on battling monsters. Lots of fun and very addictive, in my opinion.
Alright, now onto the only major weak spot of the game, and that's the personality test. Unfortunately, this is a pretty major part of the game as you have to waste up to a half hour of your life at the start of the game taking this stupid test. Now, I can certainly understand what the point of this was: the game wanted to have this ''unique'' feeling to it. But, it already added all these new features, and this just felt forced. It really should have been optional. Anyways, you have to answer a series of increasingly annoying questions early on in the game, and this will determine your ''personality'' which will then be used to determine your effectiveness in certain scenes of the game. However, it is never used enough to justify the boring beginning, and you can always change your personality if you want by finding items that let you do so, so I never understood the annoying and boring opening.
However, once you get past the boring opening, you will find one of the most replayable games yet. There is so much to do in this game, from collecting medals to battling in the Monster Arena to leveling up by killing various enemies, that it will waste away many hours of your life on those boring road trips. I personally have found fewer better choices for my role playing game needs on the Game Boy Color, and the game's strong replay value is a definite advantage. I loved collecting the monster medals and cannot stress enough how much it added to the replay value. Imagine wanting to collect over 400 medals: sure it gets tedious and you don't HAVE to do it, but if you have a few hours to kill and no home console to play, you could do far worse then pick this game up. And once you do so, you'll find yourself not wanting to put it down. Only Pokemon is more addictive.
A lot of old school RPGs required lots of leveling up, and this one is no exception, so expect to have to do lots of it in order to get anywhere. This is a pretty challenging game, but it's not nearly as challenging as the 2nd and 4th games in the series were. Enemies won't hit you as hard as they normally do, and it's somewhat easier to get armor and weapons. The opening of the game is extremely easy, and by the time it gets to the point that the enemies become challenging, you already have powerful weapons and armor and can easily dispose of them with any sort of strategy. So, don't expect the game to be all that hard, as long as you devote the time needed to level up. Typical 1990 RPG. ;)
There you have it, kids. Dragon Warrior 3 is not for everyone. I don't think it's as good as the NES version, even, because the personality test is seriously one of the most annoying things I have ever faced, and some of the new features kind of got annoying after a while. However, I am extremely glad this remake came out. It features the same classic gameplay as the NES version, and included a bunch of new elements that managed to be unique and very fun. Dragon Warrior 3 is my favorite of the entire series, and I think this remake is very fun, but it's not as good as it could have been. It could have been better if it was made more challenging, but for the most part it IS the same game, with an annoying new feature and some new features that just add onto the gameplay.
I am glad this remake came out, and it's well worth a purchase. Just don't expect a reinvention of the wheel.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 06/25/03, Updated 06/25/03
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