Review by arzenal007

Reviewed: 07/21/03 | Updated: 07/21/03

A gem for the true RPG fan

Dragon Warrior, as we all know, is the father and mother of all RPGs. It is, along with Final Fantasy, what started it all. That alone should be enough to make RPG fans want to play these games, but sometimes, their age alone can be a turnoff, especially to newcomers of the genre. In addition to that, being that the first of these series were really the first RPGs out there, one might think that they lack creativity and uniqueness to some extent. I was once fooled by these thoughts, until I made up my mind between Lufia III and DW III and went for the latter.
Dragon Warrior III has nothing that can really dissapoint you. Rather, it has everything that an RPG needs to keep players into the game. It is simple, yet complex, and easy, yet it has an enjoyable level of difficulty at times.

The graphics on the whole were very enjoyable, and they made full usage of the GBC's 50-odd color palette. However, many reviewers hail the battle graphics, telling of how the animations were awesome, and just because of this, they give the graphics score a 10. My only turnoff is that there are absolutely no backgrounds in battle, and it just gives you an empty feeling. The enemies are nice, and some spells are impressive, but the white background could have been worked at. On the other hand, the animations were impressive. The Final Boss' movements were the most shocking. And what was really neat about the animations was that every enemy had different animations, depending on what attack they performed, and they all were smooth and accuratly portrayed. Now, aside from the battles, the graphics were nearly perfect for the GBC. The towns all looked unique - so much that if you name every town, one-by-one, you can very lickely picture it in your head - and the colors were well-chosen. Every little area is well-detailed, and many places look better than a lot of what has been seen on the SNES. For example, what impressed me the most (sometimes I still turn on the game just to look at it) was Tantegel Castle. If you stand outside the front gate, you can get a great view of the entire front facade, and you will be amazed at the amount of detail that was thrown in. The towers look perfectly cylindrical, the torches add to the depressing mood of the town, and the building as a whole is just a work of art. Very impressive graphics. It is also worth mentionning that the opening scene where Ortega battle the Demon Lord is the most beautiful cinematic scene that you will ever see on the GBC, and even topples most of them on the SNES' RPGs.
After seeing graphics of this caliber on the GBC, you have to wonder why Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire on the GBA doesn't even look this good.

Sound/Audio: 10/10
Some might argue that the music in DWIII only used the same beeping instruments, but truly, the audio as a whole deserves a 10. The amount of tracks stored in this tiny package is beyond count, and every one of them fits its scene accuratly. They are all enjoyable, and they are never overplayed to the extent of where you get tired of them. Some will probably think that the main battle theme gets tiring, but when compared to most battle themes in other RPGs, this is hardly what I'd call tiring. Some of the tunes are rather quite impressive for the GBC, and make good usage of the beeping instrument. For example, the Tantegel Castle theme fits the area perfectly, the last battle theme is a fast-paced, menacing theme, and the sadness theme really does move you. As for the sounds, they are beyond count as well. Spells each have their own unique sounds, as do attacks. They are not irratating either.

Plot: 8/10
Hmm... Where to start... There is just so much to say about the plot of this game. Many are narrow-minded and do not look beyond the no-character-development thing, and all that they see is a ''save the world from demon'' type of story. True, there is absolutely no character development here, and neither is the main plot anything new. But don't let this deter you plot-seekers out there. Plot is my favorite part of an RPG, and I am turned off when a solid RPG has a disgusting plot. DWIII however, uses the simplicity of its plot very well, and leads you through many interesting sub-plots, in which many of them are linked to the main one. The story's themes themselves are mostly dark, and they speak of death, murder, suicide and more - hence, partly why it was given the Teen rating. They are, for the most part, captivating. And when you reach the second half of the game, you get some major and minor plot twists, and even though you can easily guess what will happen next, you are just eager to 'see' it happen. The second half consists only of the main plot, and a few surprises await you, especially if you go everywhere on the map. It is more interesting than I make it seem; believe me.
Next, the back of the box and the story's intro in the booklet are not very enticing, but do not let it fool you. If you do, then you will be missing out on a very great game.

Localization: 10/10
This was perfectly done. While there are not any long conversations in the game, there is a significant amount of dialogue, and I did not happen to find any errors, nor have I seen any reports on any. Dialogue is kept short and simple, but always easy to comprehend.

Gameplay: 10/10
Ah this is where the game shines the most. There is honnestly nothing here to displease anyone, unless your mind is set to hate the game before you even try it. The game is simple, and yet complex at the same time. Explanation: DWIII is very easy to get into, and every system in the game is simple and easy to understand and get used to. The battle system is a quick process of hit, cast, defend, and so on, and there are no long, dreary animations of any kind. The menu system is easy on the eyes, and it is the simplest menu system that I have seen that uses the each-character-holds-their-own-items system. Dungeons are never too big that you will be lost for hours in them, but neither are they a walk in the park. Now, as for complexity, this game also holds its chare of it. The clas-changed system is one of the best examples of this. You will never have the strongest character possible, because there is always room for improvement by going through the class-changes. By doing so, your characters can learn a large selection of spells, and their stats will go up or down, depending on which class you switch them to. Doesn't sound like much, but once you get into it, you will find it rather entertaining. As for its difficulty level, again, DWIII will shine for both types of RPGamers: those who love an easy game, and those seeking challenge. Many of the monsters are the hit-once-and-die type, but other require more than just that. And very often, the difficulty level depends on what you have done in the game - not just levelling up. Some of the bosses will be so hard to beat at first that you will think they are impossible, and those who hate to level up may be ticked off. But leveling up is a quick process, and it is not tiring, as characters quickly learn new spells, and strength goes up just as swiftly, so that in no time, you will be able to defeat the boss. Dungeons are to some extent complex, but never to the point that will drive you nuts and make you want to burn the game. There is always an easy way out. There is so much more to say about gameplay, but it would take too long to write.

This game is definitely worth getting, for any true RPG fan out there. It is a definite minimum of 40 hrs of enjoyable gameplay, and more if you chose to go on with the rest of the game after you have defeated the last boss, as there is so much more to do after. If you own a GBC, this is a must have. If not, it is a good reason to get one.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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