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Dragon Warrior III

Developer: TOSE | Publisher: Enix
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 07/16/01 | Genre: RPG

With all the success the Final Fantasy series has enjoyed here in the States, Enix's own phenomenal RPG series, Dragon Warrior, has been pushed out of the spotlight. However, the series is still a huge hit in Japan and few could argue that Dragon Warrior has had more than its share of success in the homeland, and now, thanks to Nintendo's Game Boy, we have the chance to relive a classic: Dragon Warrior III.

Dragon Warrior III first appeared on the NES, and was recently released for the Game Boy Color. The visuals in the game are pretty impressive, and in fact, it's hard to believe that this game was not made for the Game Boy Advance. The graphics look just as good as some of the new Advance games coming out, and will certainly put a nostalgic grin on the face of any old-school RPG fan.

DW III follows the classic elements from the RPG's of yesteryear, but also adds a few things that really make the game stand out. For instance, you have the ability to create your own party members by selecting a certain class of character and adding skill points to several different attributes. How these points are arranged will ultimately affect what kind of personality the character has; if one character is too unruly, he or she may decide to disobey the commands given in battle. Obviously, you don't want that to happen as most of the time this could lead to some serious trouble. Throughout the game you may find powerful books which can be used to alter the personality of one character, be careful though, some books may have negative effects and once a character has changed, there's no way to go back (although another book could alter the character once again). Another great thing about this game is the inclusion of monster medals. After defeating monsters they may, on occasion, drop a monster medal. These medals come in three qualities: gold, silver, or bronze. If you collect all the medals, you can unlock a special secret!

In the game, you take the role of the son of Ortega. Your father was a brave warrior who set out to vanquish the evil demon, Baramos, but he was killed in battle. Now you set out to finish what your father started, and trust me, it's a looong journey. There's an estimated sixty hours of gameplay packed onto this tiny cart! I'm not saying it will take you that long to finish, but if you wanted to explore absolutely everything, then you'd better be prepared to log some serious time playing this game. Actually, no matter how you play, you'll have to spend some time leveling your party up; otherwise you'll be no match for the monsters roaming the countryside.

Dragon Warrior III is a great game, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good handheld RPG, but it is my solemn duty to warn you of the few drawbacks contained within the game. Overall, I liked the tunes in the game, but the battle theme is extremely annoying and since there are a great deal of random enemy encounters, it doesn't take long for this to become excruciatingly painful; I highly suggest you turn down the volume while exploring the land or passing through a dungeon, it will add years to your life. Another thing I noticed was that my party was always very strapped for cash. It seemed like everything was too expensive, and had it been an option, I know we would have been reduced to begging on the streets for more gold on multiple occasions. Also, I mentioned above that you'd have to spend some time leveling up, and you do, unfortunately battling monsters over and over again isn't the most exciting thing in the world. I know I usually play an RPG for its story, not its battle system. It would have been nice if your party leveled up accordingly as the game progressed.

All in all the negatives mentioned above only manage to detract slightly from the overall experience. This is about as good as handheld RPG gaming can get for a Game Boy Color game. Even amongst the slew of GBA titles coming out, this is still a sound purchase for RPG fans.

By Ryan Schaefer - 01/15/02
ESRB Details: Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes

Screenshots for Dragon Warrior III

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