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Title: Dragon Warrior III
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Tawna Evans

Synopsis: In the opening scenes, the mighty warrior Ortega battles a fierce dragon at the mouth of a volcano. Ortega defeats the dragon, only to be dragged down into the volcano with the dragon. It's interesting to view a battle scene from a side view, rather from the 1st person view that is used when playing a Dragon Warrior game.

You play as the son/daughter of Ortega. On your 18th birthday, mom wakes you up to visit with the king, who tells you to follow in your father's footsteps by defeating the archfiend Baramos. To go on your journey, you can add three characters to your party. You can select the occupation, gender, and name of your party members. Members of different occupations possess different strengths, and it is important to select members that would strike the right balance between casting spells and fighting. In comparison to other games of this type, the creation of party members is nothing new. You can do this in other games, such as Ultima of Exidos. However, having party members change occupations midway through the game is something different. During the game, party members can change their occupation upon reaching level 20. With the Book of Satori, anybody can become a sage, which is a character that can use the magic of both the wizard and pilgrim. When changing occupations, it's important to consider that certain weapons and armor can only be equipped by certain party members. Wizards cannot use the most powerful weapons and armor, but a soldier can. If a wizard becomes a soldier, it becomes a soldier that uses magic. Party selection and changing the occupations of party members adds to the strategy of this game.

The worlds you explore seem a world apart from the land of Alefgard. Where is Alefgard? I wondered about this at first, but got hooked on all of the sub-plots I find in this game. You rescue a sleeping village, return a stolen crown from a happy-go-lucky king, create a new town, re-unite lovers, dethrone a false king in disguise, resurrect a magical bird known as the phoenix Ramia, defeat a false god, and explore countless lands, caverns, towers, castles, towns, oceans, and dungeons. I totally forgot about Alefgard, until after I defeated Baramos, only to discover that he is an underling of Zoma, who dwells in a world of darkness hidden deep within the Great Pit of Giga. This world is none other than Alefgard.

The use of menus in this game appear little different from how menus were used in Dragon Warrior II. The differences that do appear serve as improvements. You can change the order of your party members, which is nice. You can also move an item to the bottom of a party member's list of items without first having to give that item to another party member. In addition, you can store the items you do not need immediately at a safe in the hero's hometown. You can save gold, as well, which helps when you're defeated. The gold saved in the safe doesn't get cut in half whenever your party dies. When exploring towns, things get a little awkward at first, because you cannot walk over trees, but in Dragon Warrior II, you could. The sound effects possess an improvement when bumping into objects. In Dragon Warrior I, a sound was made when bumping into objects. This sound was completely eliminated in Dragon Warrior II. In Dragon Warrior III, you do not hear the "bump" sound when bumping into people, but you hear it only when you bump into things. This helps, when exploring the various worlds in the game. Another added element to the game is the passage of time. The color of the screen changes as the sun rises and sets. At night, you witness a bluish screen. Many people sleep, though different people appear in the towns, or people say things they do not say during the day. This adds a bit of strategy to the game.

The graphics in the game appear no different from the graphics of the other two Dragon Warrior game. One thing I do not like about the graphics are the glitches that appear when more than four characters appear on a horizontal line the screen. Some of the characters flash, until you move one up a line. At the cost of fancy graphics, you get better game play. However, the music sure is great. Each category of an area of the game possesses its own melody. You can hear the difference between a town, a castle, a cavern, a battle scene, and traveling by land, ocean, and air. This goes in accord with the game-play. To top that off, once you arrive at Alefgard, you can listen to a modified version of the Alefgard theme song.

This game serves as an ideal completion of the Dragon Warrior trilogy. In the previous Dragon Warrior games, you play as the descendants of Erdrick. In Dragon Warrior III, you get to learn more about Erdrick towards the end of the game. The ending compels me to play the first two Dragon Warrior games all over again.

Best Cheats: During battles, you can cut in half the damage a character takes by using the parry command. Normally, all that parry does is guard against attacks. Here's a trick that combines parry with an attack: first, let one party member select parry. Then, press "B" to cancel. Next, select the command you want that character to do. After that, repeat this process for the rest of the members of your party. When the fight ensues, your party members will receive half the damage that they normally take from enemy blows.

With the Book of Satori, goof-offs serve a beneficial purpose. Should you have any other party member use the Book to become a sage, the book will disappear. If you have a goof-off use the book, you will not lose the book, and another party member can become a sage.

Game Play: 8
Graphics: 4
Music/Sound: 9
Originality: 6
Overall Rating: 7

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