Monday, March 2, 2020

Dragon Quest III (Super Famicom, 1996)

The third game of the series got a bunch of remakes over the years, re-releasing on multiple systems. The original 1991 NES version is a classic, and it also got a Game Boy Color version later on that I want to take a look at. One remake that never saw the light of day in the U.S. is the 1996 Super Famicom version, and that's the version I'm playing for this installment. The visuals of this version were more or less repurposed for later phone versions of the game, as well as the phone versions of the first two. So we owe a lot to this one particular remake.

We start with a series of questions that determine your character's personality and stat growth. I don't get angry easily! What's with all these questions? GET OFF MY BACK, GAME!

The intro to this game is fascinating. Here it has me push a boulder around for somebody...I guess to see if I'll do it or try to book it outta there.

Here's Buffy, my main character. She doesn't look like Buffy.

This game actually takes place before the first two, and has you playing as Erdrick. You can be either male or female. I chose female so that I could give the world Buffy.

The best thing about this game is that you choose the classes of your three accomplices, and can switch them later. Sorta like a fusion of Final Fantasy I (a choice at the beginning) and Final Fantasy III (able to change and try different combinations as it goes on). The hero has his/her own unique class during all of this.

As for the classes...

Hero - Only your main character can be this one. Mostly a tank/meleer, but gets a fair amount of offensive and defensive spells and a couple unique spells.

Warrior - The "tank" class, can equip most armor, has a lot of HP, takes hits well, can dish out damage to an extent.

Fighter - The monk class, does a lot of melee damage and criticals a lot

Mage - The offensive spellcaster

Cleric - The defensive healer/buffer

Dealer - Melee class, somewhat inferior to the others though. Their benefit is that they cause more gold to drop after fights, as well as increased rates of items drops.

Jester - The worst class. Frequently goofs off during battle. They can summon enemy encounters at will, which makes grinding easier, but that's about it early on. Their main benefit is that at level 20 they can be turned into Sages without the special item that normally lets a character do that. In other words, if you want a party full of Sages, you'll need to use some Jesters.

Thief - New class that didn't exist in the original NES version of the game. They have super high Agility and usually move first, a new steal ability that gives them extra items after fights, and a few useful spells like one that reduces enemy encounters.

And then there's...

Sage - The secret best class, much like Final Fantasy III. Basically the Princess of Moonbrooke from Dragon Warrior 2. Can use all offensive AND defensive spells, making them a combination Mage and Cleric. Need a special book to turn a character into a Sage, unless they're a Jester (and level 20+)

Angel, Spike, and Willow join our hero on her quest. I tried to make them close to their original look from the show as far as class choices, so Angel is a Fighter, Spike is a Thief, and Willow is a Mage. I should probably have a dedicated healer, but I'll cross that bridge later. This is actually a pretty damn good DPS party, plus I can try out the new class.

The female hero... looks nothing at all like Sarah Michelle Gellar, but let's just roll with it.

Editor's Note: I started playing this while I was watching the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Midway through, I started watching Angel, and made Angel my lead character at that point. But I'm getting ahead of myself, that's a few posts off.

Willow is, evidently, the smart one. Not sure what personalities have to do with anything gameplay-wise. Perhaps it's just to add color to the game.

EDIT: I'm told personalities affect stat growth. "Smart" likely results in good MP growth. One interesting note is that this isn't the first time the series has done stuff like this. The first two games put you into slightly-different stat growth setups depending on what you name your main character.

By the way, this Willow is DARK WILLOW. She promptly sets fire to everything in sight. Somewhere, Smokey Bear is outraged.

Look, dude! Girls just need a little more time to get up and running okay!

For instance, Ayn Rand books, which turn people into assholes.

At this point I decide to start over. There are a few reasons for this that I'll get into. Mainly, I want to re-do the party.

Now I wish I had named the hero Zoolander. "...God?"

I go through all of the questions again and try some different answers.

Yeah? Well maybe I won't, if you're gonna be all caps about it!

Gee, thanks. This time I'm not vain!

I remake the party, and notice that the female hero has more MP than HP. Pretty sure the male hero has those stats switched.

So yeah, you may notice that Willow is no longer on the team. Thing is, story-wise, Willow was more powerful than anyone else on the show. On the other hand, Buffy/Angel/Spike/Faith were all pretty much on the same level. While Willow would have been a great Sage, I have some different plans.

Here's my tentative class route:

Angel: Thief - Warrior
Spike: Jester - Sage - Thief
Faith: Dealer - Sage - Fighter

The idea here is to have Angel end up as a tank with super-high Agi (from being a Thief), since Warriors normally have almost no Agi. Spike will be useless for a while, but in the end he'll be a Thief with lots of spells. Faith will end up a damage-dealing meleer with spells and whatever Dealers get.

Spike might be the weak link throughout, but we'll see. If all else fails I can keep him as a Sage., what a motley crew. This pretty much sucks, as an early-game party. I liked my first party more. Faith is near the front since Dealers are actually pretty strong to begin with (and get lamer as things go on).


He corrects himself. I bet the NES version said "son" regardless... if you could even choose a female in that version. I wish the two hero-types looked a little different though. Can barely tell there's any difference at all.

This is -really cool-. The NES version was the first game in the series to have it.

Faith finds extra gold after fights, being a Dealer. Also, Angel finds extra items, being a Thief. Between the two of them I'm getting probably 25% more money than normal.

The collectable in these games is the Small Medal. I don't normally bother seeking these out, but I keep an eye out for them regardless. There are usually like 200 of them in any given Dragon Quest.

Anyone who plays this better be prepared to fight EVERYTHING, because running away almost never works. Even with a Thief in the party, which I hoped would give a running chance advantage.

This must be one of those personality-changing books. I'll give it to Faith, since she was a bit of a tomboy in the show.

Faith is now a TOMBY.

Then she smashes it! Take that, Warren! She smashed your ball!

...if you didn't watch Buffy, you have no idea what I'm talking about. Also, you should go watch all seven seasons right now.

There's an arena early in the game where you can bet on monsters, then watch them battle for our amusement. Perhaps it is WE who are the true monsters.

Kandar? My God. He is notorious for his famed Hentai Emporium. It seems he'll be the next big foe in the game. Now that I finally have a (bizarre) party that I'll stick with, let's get this underway.


  1. Personalities determine your stat growth. The best one for females is "sexy" and the best one for males is "lewd." Books (avoid the Rand ones) can permanently alter your personality while accessories temporarily alter it for as long as they're worn.

    You could choose female in the NES version, but your sprite was the same and all of the NPCs still refer to your character as male.

  2. Best Ayn Rand joke ever.

    Really unusual starting party for sure.