Games | NES | Dragon Warrior III

Article by Andrew Bentley? | December 7, 2010

Dragon Warrior III

Developer: Enix
U.S. Release: 1991
Format: NES

You have to applaud Enix’s determination to break into the U.S. market with the Dragon Quest series, even after the abysmal failure of Nintendo’s promotion of the first game. The biggest problem the series faced in the U.S. was that most of its user base had no clue about why the series would be interesting to them.

Enix persevered, however, and self-published the rest of the NES entries in order. Dragon Quest II was and is the most forgettable entrant in the series, but III and IV were special. Dragon Quest III is particularly notable in that it was the last game in the series until IX rolled around to feature a generic fantasy plot with little in the way of specific characterization for the PCs and NPCs. What was special about it was the way the game allowed the player to assemble their own party and play the game however they wanted. In essence, it traded on the restrictions of a greater plot to give the player more choices in how to approach the game itself. It did this while retaining the classic Dragon Quest aesthetic of minimalist user interface and dialogue all while enacting some rather severe changes and upgrades under the hood. Yet even as it was noisily revolutionizing the genre in Japan, it sold peanuts in the U.S. That’s probably why Square decided to give American audiences the insultingly simplistic Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.

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