The Legacy of Erdrick Continues...
On your 16th birthday, you wake to the sound of your mother's voice. She tells you of the meeting between you and the King. Your mother has raised you to be a brave lad and you must now carry on your father's legacy. He was a legendary warrior of Aliahan, who suffered death at the hands of a fiendish monster. The King tells you of the evil Baramos, and his plot to destroy the entire world. It is up to you, the descendent of Edrick, to seek out the evil and destroy it utterly. This time, you will not be going alone. With three allies of your choosing, you are set to embark on your quest to save the world from what could be your final enemy.
With the third installment of the now highly popular series, Enix created a much more complex and enjoyable game than those that came before it and still they managed to keep a ĎDragon Warrior feelingí and many of the traits that makes this series so unique. Some things have remained the same basic style of the other two. That being said, enough new features and complexity were added, making this a much more enjoyable game than the series had offered before this.
In terms of story, Dragon Warrior III isnít the most original game in the world, and yet is at the same time. Once again you are the son of a famous warrior named Ortega. He vanished while trying to end Baramos evil rain. And of course this is similar to the other two in every way minus the name. The twist is not really this, but when the story takes place. You are not traveling in the times after the great hero Edrick was alive, but in a time before this hero actually existed. During the plot, you will find out who Erdrick was and how he came to be in Alefgard, as well as discovering what he did to become the hero of legend. Prequels are all but old news and common-place today, but when Dragon Warrior III was released, it was one of the first ANYTHING to do such a thing. This alone gave it such excitement while playing, that it is no wonder it is the most popular of the 4 found on the NES, and arguably the most popular of the entire series.
The greatest addition to the game play in Dragon Warrior III is in the group of characters you control. Aside from the main character, you get to choose what their class will be, a feature that adds a lot of variety to the game play. Also, you control four characters at a time, and you can change your party at will in the first town. Basically you can create a character for each class, even though you can only use 4 at a time. This makes for great strategizing, and readiness for the need of a particular class of character. Each class has great advantages, and the mix allows for better planning and fighting. Truly a improvement over Dragon Warrior II. This kind of class change ability was seen in Final Fantasy III two years later.
Other aspects made this game more enjoyable and fun as well. Great items such as the invisibility herb and the staff of change playing important role in the story. Also, the attention to detail of the developing team pays off, with such small things as going from day to night, which effects the game. For those who hate hours and hours of level grinding, the leveling up was made easier. More simplistic, instinctive menus also aided in this game hitting the top spot of the series.
Graphically, Dragon Warrior III maintains the same level of quality of the previous titles, only with more variation. There really isnít much to say about the visuals of this game... itís basically the same style, with solid designs for characters (different designs for male and female characters of each class) and monsters, good map design, and good overall quality. Most locations of the game have a unique look, making it easier to recognize where you are. In a general way, it isnít the most visually striking game for the NES, but itís strong nonetheless and will please most people. The only real complaint from people is that the coloring is too strong and dull.
The music in Dragon Warrior III offers a huge diversity of tracks, so that it doesnít get boring in the enormous duration of the game. Itís practically impossible, after playing this game, to forget the scores found in the game. Finally Dragon Warrior hits the truly memorable music. That being said, some might get on your nerves when you are stuck in a dungeon for endless amounts of time for example. But the music overall is excellent not only in quality, but also in setting the mood for the game. Koichi Sugiyama, the man responsible for the music here and in every other game of the series, is the perfect composer for old school RPG games like this.
In general, Dragon Warrior III can easily be considered the most rewarding and enjoyable game in the series up to its release, and in some opinions beyond. Having experienced the first two games, however, will make this game a whole lot more fun, because of the huge amount of references made to elements from those games in this one. This means that the Dragon Warrior games separately may have their faults, but, as a series, itís really much stronger than the sum of its parts. Because of small, but significant changes, the game becomes much more involving than the previous Dragon Warrior games and you wonít get the feeling that you are playing this game only because itís part of console RPG history...you are actually having quite a good time playing it.