RPG Review #89: Dragon Quest III

NuMetalManiak
It had always appeared to me that the Dragon Quest series has always been in the shadows of Final Fantasy, even though it has almost the same number of installments. Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation is the third game released for this franchise, also known as Dragon Warrior III and is available on the NES, SNES, and GBC ports. I broke tradition by NOT playing the NES port this time around, instead playing on the GBC port of the game instead, which had several different things in it not present in the NES. How'd it hold?

Gameplay: In Dragon Warrior III, everything is made to be easier. That's good, and makes the game better than its predecessors. The combat is still the same as in II, but not as unfair as before. There are now up to 4 characters to use in battle, starting with the hero, but in this game, you can actually recruit the characters in a tavern, similar to Final Fantasy Legend. There's even a bank too. Most every other amenity in the game is similar to other RPGs, except maybe the monster arena where you can actually place bets (I never cared for those). The remakes also apparently includes a Bag which allows for more storage of items, making the experience a lot easier. I mean though, the overall gameplay of Dragon Warrior III can still be frustrating in a lot of ways, but it's less frustrating than Dragon Warrior II.

The remakes may actually be easier than the NES port themselves, due to loads of other things you can do in-game. One notable feature absent is the Pachisi track, an interesting board-game interwoven into this game in 5 tracks, which all come at the roll of a die. The navigation also features transitions from day to night as well, and different things may happen around these times. There's a sidequest involving TinyMedals, and it's basically find all of them throughout the world to get awesome items. Finally, a GBC port exclusive, monster medals. These things are unfortunately random drops, and a bonus dungeon only present in the GBC version requires all bronze, then later all silver monster medals to attain. This could honestly take YEARS to do, so I left that one off my completion list since I couldn't figure out a good way to get there. Grade: B-

Characters: No real need to get nitty and gritty here. The hero is someone you select not only a name, but a gender too. There's a personality test at the beginning, identifying which stat is best for your character, then you can go and recruit characters from the first town's tavern, giving them seeds to determine their personalities as well as determining which class they are in. Yes, RPG classes are a thing in Dragon Warrior III, you can choose warriors, fighters, clerics, mages, jesters (?), sages, dealers, and thieves (remake-exclusive). Each class has what you can easily expect from them. Notably, once a character (other than the hero) reaches level 20, they are actually eligible for a class change. This means that if they change classes, they are reset to level 1, halved stats, but get to keep whatever spells they got. Another thing I enjoyed about this game was that the characters can be dismissed at the tavern, as well as return to your party too. There's a lot of customization here, but not a whole lot of story to it. Grade: B+

Plot: The opening sequence of this game is pretty neat, done in a cool cutscene for the GBC time. But most people probably don't care about that. After the personality test of the hero, it's now their 16th birthday in Aliahan and they must now go to Aliahan Castle to see the king. The task? Slay the Demon King Baramos. The hero's father, Ortega, dueled the fiend, but seemingly disappeared in a volcano.

That's just sort of the whole gist. After leaving the first continent, the thing to take note is that the world in this game sort of resembles our real world, which is mega cool. There's even romanizations of the real-world places, like Romaly is Rome and Portoga refers to Portugal. The first real villain is Kandar, and he's just a sort of thief of sorts. You find keys as well as six orbs to take with you on your quest, along the way, you cure a sleeping village, save a couple from Kandar, and uncover the mystery of an Orochi. After six orbs are received you go to Antarctica, excuse me, Leiamland where you awaken Ramia, a legendary bird and I think the first real air travel in the franchise. Then we finally confront this Baramos guy, kill him, and all rejoice. OR SO IT SEEMS! We now have a new villain, Zoma, apparently Baramos' master. He's all "everyone must die blah blah blah" and also opens a portal to a dark world which is...

Alefgard! Yep, that place is in this game too, except it's all dark and a shadow (pun intended) of it's former glory. Here it's a repeat of the original Dragon Quest's fetch quest, get a Sun Stone, a Rain Staff, and a crest, not to forget a light orb from a Dragon Queen castle in the overworld. These things of course make that same rainbow bridge to the center castle like in the original game. At the final castle, Ortega is seen battling a KingHydra but is defeated, and then the hero confronts Zoma. Zoma may have gotten the last laugh though, since after escaping his castle, the overworld is sealed off, although Alefgard is shining in light now. Returning to Tantagel (the original Dragon Quest town), the hero is destined the title of Loto (or Erdrick in the NES game), and it's over. Did I forget to mention that this game is actually a prequel game? Because it is. Well, there's some bonus content that can be done once you finish the main game in the form of two new dungeons, but I only ever got to one of them. Grade: B

Music: Again, I get sick of the battle theme after awhile, but at least we got a boss theme (for major bosses only). The overworld theme and sailing theme are okay, but the flying theme is amazing. Dungeon and town themes are hit and miss, but for towns I like that there's separate ones for day and night. And of course, Alefgard's iconic theme is still around, but it's much more sorrowful this time due to its darkness. Pretty decent music. Grade: B

Overall Grade: B

First Dragon Warrior game that was decent. Plenty of content, a little easier than the other ones, and there were quite a lot of things to enjoy about it. Good work.

Comments

Never heard of this series until you reviewed it - iliekpiez

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