Monday, July 19, 2021

Dragon Warrior III (Game Boy Color, 2001)

In 2001, DQ3 hit the Game Boy Color. This version borrows a lot from the Super Famicom version and so far it's a blast.

We start with Ortega going off to fight the bad guys. They mention The Baby a LOT.

"The baby" ...what is this, Metroid: Other M?

Ortega marches through the lava-filled depths of a volcano.

This culminates in a fight between Ortega and... the Balrog from Lord of the Rings?!

Ortega fells his mighty foe with a rising uppercut. It's worth noting that he's using an axe, not the sword that he had in the NES version.

The reports come in: Ortega was never seen again. He may have won that fight, but he didn't succeed in taking down the underworld enterprise of Zoma.

The game begins with the personality-defining questionnaire. This game is already a huge step up from the first two ports on GBC, with better visuals and just more to it. I went with the male main character this time.

What kind of impossible questions are these? My God!

Is it morally okay to make a play for a friend's lover?


Er, no, no, it isn't. Bloody hell

After spectacularly failing the questions, my next test has me helping this old guy in the woods.

This involves pushing giant dung boulders, ala Conker's Bad Fur Day.

Pushing dung boulders is lucrative business.

You know what? I've had just about enough of this disembodied voice and it's questions. I wouldn't push dung balls for you for 100G!

Has the game started, or are we still in the nether realm of tests? This is like Inception.

Our lazy, sloth-like (according to the results of the questionnaire) hero is going to meet the king.

Very nice visuals, ramped up from the GBC remakes of the first two games. Since this was released in 2001, it's pretty much at the end of the Game Boy / Game Boy Color life-cycle.

The kingdom decides to rest their hopes and dreams on nepotism, promoting Ortega's kid to hero of the realm. Just throw him out there, he'll figure something out!

Next thing to do is go to the tavern and form a party. For this run, I go with Thief/Cleric/Wizard. That's a nice generic party for the early game, with two meleers and two casters.

I'll probably switch them to Warrior, Fighter, and Sage respectively as it goes on. The Thief can build up lots of Agility, so I'll get a speedy Warrior who can be a decent healer later with a Sage's Stone. The Fighter will have some healing ability (depending on how long I wait to class change). Lastly the Sage will be...a Sage, and should be changed over as soon as possible. I'll probably wait the longest on the Cleric-to-Fighter class change.

Half the fun of DQ3 is planning out your class changes. It's a lot like Final Fantasy (the first one) except you can cross over to any class at the midway point instead of being locked into an upgrade class.

I like that the Cleric can equip a lot of good weapons/armor despite being a caster. Healers really should be tougher/better fighters than damage casters.

Also, as you can see, I gave this group the worst names ever. Not sure what I was thinking. It'll be easier to keep track of what they started as later, as their names become completely incorrect. The extremely-short character limit for names didn't help.

Time to set out into the world and fight tons of things.

The first enemies we see outside are, of course, slimes. Since enemies attack in large packs in this game, it's important to get your party filled-out before leaving the castle. If you try to fight a battle with just the hero hitting for single-digit damage, it'll be 25 minutes you'll never get back.

Raven is one of the more memorable enemy types from this game. They're new, I believe.

Also new: Return now takes you anywhere you want, rather than to the last place where you saved. After the copious amounts of time spent boating around the second game's world, this is a tremendous improvement.

Babbles are awful. They poison you, while making you long for Metal Babbles.

The new Thief class is a bit of an oddball addition that wasn't in the NES version of the game and is making its U.S. debut here. One of their characteristics is that you get more item drops after fights. This isn't actually a good thing, because...

...the inventory quickly gets overloaded with this stuff. Also, when you get a Thief extra-drop, it negates the chance of that enemy set dropping a Monster Medal. In any case, this Thief power is functionally a detriment so far.

Monster Medals are a new addition to this version. Enemies have a chance of dropping their corresponding medal. Sometimes you'll get it in one try, sometimes you have to kill a LOT of that enemy. Only the last enemy defeated in a fight has a chance to drop a medal, which is important to know. So what's the point of these medals? They're a big, time-consuming sidequest. If you collect all of them, you can unlock a bonus dungeon with a new uberboss fight at the end of it. I've never done this, and I might just try it in this playthrough. Having good luck with medals so far, and I've gotten one for almost every enemy type I've seen without really going out of my way. Provided none are missable, I think it's a pretty manageable task. Maybe.

Did you know? Almiraj backwards is... "jarimla".

Well, it looks like it's something backwards, doesn't it? I had to find out.

The Hero is getting some spells. Heal and Return are ever-useful, while Recall and Remember... let you re-read conversations with NPCs. Not exactly a thrilling spell set...yet.

Here's Recall in action!

The Thief gets even weirder spells. Location tells you where you are, EagleEye tells you how far away a random town/location is (like "four steps west and ten steps north") and Smell presumably lets him sniff out beautiful women by following the trail of their musk.

What? Who?

Excuse me??

We'll find out more about this Magic Bomb soon enough. In the NES version, it was the "Magic Ball"

We go through a cave that sends us under a river to a new landmass, much like the Green Dragon Cave in the original game.

In this case, it takes us to an island with a tower. This tower is a bit of a hub zone for the early game, as it connects a few places.

In here, we find a guy watching RAW in 2020.


He wakes up and turns over the all-important Thief Key. That's pretty much the first goal of the game, because you can't get anywhere without it. It's like finding the Morph Ball in a Metroid game.

We also got this book that changes a female personality to Tomboy. Not sure what that does yet.

Another old man has got what we neeeed, and just gives it to us because he's so impressed with the Thief Key.

"The Thief Key?? You must be hot shit! Here, have some bombs!"

The Magic Bomb lets us proceed through to the next area. Always thought Magic Ball sounded weird for an item that knocks down walls.

Crucial item here for finding your way around on the overworld, because that EagleEye spell doesn't exactly help.

Next we arrive at the Kingdom of Romaly. This is a new overworld continent, with new monsters.

The King: "Kandar is a fearsome warrior, and he's fantastic in bed. I hope you can defeat him!"

Look, dude, I don't need to save the game every five seconds. Just back off!

Having the Thief in the lead, with this name I stupidly gave him, means that everywhere I go people call me "THF" like it's Link's Awakening and I jacked the Bow.

For the entire game, since he's going Warrior later and will continue to be the frontman.

Next I find another new addition to this remake: Pachisi Boards. This is basically a giant board game where you roll dice and move along squares for fun and profit.

It's like if Konami in 2020 made a DQ game. Except the entire game would be something like this room.

There are a lot of squares with interesting effects. The ones to go for are the treasure chests. There's also a shop midway through:

Land on this shop and you can buy some pretty decent equipment for this stage of the game, an hour or two earlier than you'd get them from towns.

The main goal is to reach the end without falling down any trap-door tiles.

Got two of these. One is a great upgrade for the Hero at this stage, while the other is getting banked so that THF has a weapon after he class-changes to a Warrior named THF.

Another key item I got on the Pachisi board: Wooden Boomerang. This is a great weapon for the Thief, and hits every enemy onscreen.

A winner is you, sir.

Iron Claws are for sale in the next town. I grab one for my eventual Fighter. Right now I'm thinking late 20's for that class change, though, so it'll be a while. Want that character to have as many healing spells as possible.

Thief->Warrior and Wizard->Sage will likely happen soon after level 20. There's no reason that I know of not to go right from Wizard to Sage the first chance you get, as the Wizard doesn't gain anything the Sage doesn't. I'll probably do the Warrior change at the same time that I do the Sage change, low 20's, then do the Fighter change in the high 20's or whenever I have satisfactory Cleric spells.

I feel like an OP group would be 3x Clerics that turn into 3x Fighters later. Maybe two change around 27 (like what I'll probably do here) and one at a later time (to get Revive).

It would probably be slow-going for the first however many levels before the class changes, then the second half of the game would be super-easy. Maybe I'll try that with the Switch remake. Maybe not though, the party in question might be a little less interesting in practice than it looks on paper.

I also got Bunny Tails for everyone. These increase Luck substantially, whatever that means.

Finally, we arrive at Shanpane Tower: Home of the vile gangster, Kandar.

This very purple. It has the strongest enemies yet, and more importantly, the first real boss.

Kandar is an elusive butterfly, and skips away at the arrival of our heroes.

They looted the treasure already, probably to fund construction of their Hentai Emporium.

"I won't be dogged again!" he says. He and Plok should go bowling.

Kandar is a tough foe on his own, but he's got minions. What's worse, they're divided into their own "groupings" of one each, so you can't use group spells to hit all of them. The boomerang is SUPER useful here, since it hits everything regardless of grouping.

I take my first casualties of the game. Keep in mind that this party is overleveled for this fight. I was expecting to roll it. Not the case at all. I kept up the boomerang attacks and whittled them down while the Hero took on the role of healer.

Got the crown, which means...

...what? Yes, at this point you become the king of Romaly. The game could pretty much end here if you wanted it to for some reason, because it doesn't continue until you give up your new royalty.

Yep, you could just stay here indefinitely. Everyone in Romaly now addresses you as the king, and the game essentially comes to a halt. It's a good time to just chill and see what new things everyone has to say.

You also get frisky with bunny girls. Yo, this dude's only sixteen years old!

"Best birthday ever" he wheezes when reached for comment.

The actual king is gambling and getting drunk. The Hero talks him into taking back the kingship, because F this lounging around doing nothing shit. We've got battles to fight.

Next up is the cave of the DreamRuby, minus Antlion. We need it to lift the sleeping curse on...

...the nearby elves. Don't Astos and Dark Elf do things like this in the FF series? Alas, neither will be making an appearance here. Kandar was the only boss for a while. He's probably a big roadblock for the uninitiated, then it's smooth sailing for a while.

This is a great place to stop for now. The game's first (of very few) healing spring is here, along with the strongest enemies yet. These two things combined make this the absolute best spot to level grind yet, and maybe for a while to go.

The Wizard learns the Bang spell, which hits all enemies regardless of grouping. Between that and the boomerang, it isn't long before I can lay waste to enemies in here. I might even get close to the levels I want for class-changing.

This spell is beastly. In the previous game it was second only to Explodet. Unfortunately it's a group-AOE, not an all-AOE like the less-damaging Bang. Still, this is a really big deal as far as spell acquisitions go. Around the same time, the Pilgrim learned Healmore.

Went from the level 13 average that I fought Kandar at to a notably higher average very quickly. Might do more leveling later, might just continue. It seems like the Thief is leveling faster than anyone else.

Here's a snapshot of my equipment after this first phase of the game. I'll probably check in with equipment-snapshots more often when I cover RPGs in the future. They're a particularly interesting thing to take a look at in a post, and I rarely do that.

It's also worth noting that the Pilgrim class is now "Cleric" and the Wizard class is now "Mage" despite what I've been back and forth calling them. There are too many versions of these games, with too many names, making too many prob-blems.

1 comment:

  1. Granted this is a very late GBC game, but the fact that it has a larger font than almost every other Game Boy game is nice.

    Yeah, I also appreciate Dragon Quest healers being decent fighters. Even Serena could use a spear in DQXI.

    From what I understand, the monster medal ultimate unlock is such a gigantic time-sink it's probably more appropriate for if this is your only game.

    That old man with the bomb is a good friend.

    At least you should be able to change names at the same place you can class change.

    Love all these equipment screens to go around.

    Also of note, pretty sure that the Golden Claw curse isn't worldwide in the remakes, so you should have something better than the Iron Claw for the Fighter when their time comes.