E3: Dragon Warrior III impressions
[05.18.01] » It's like there's a four-character party in your Game Boy and everyone's invited!
Admist the hustle and bustle of games competing to be the "next big thing," two major RPG developers are reworking classic RPGs into their best form ever. As previously mentioned, Square's Final Fantasy IV is coming to the U.S. PlayStation with an improved translation, new gameplay modes and cinemas, and a helpful dash manuever, bringing the game up to modern standards and making it more appealing to both newcomers and fans of the original. In an example of parallel evolution in action, Enix's Game Boy Color port of Dragon Warrior III features an improved translation, new gameplay modes and cinemas, and a blazingly fast dash feature. It's also the best version of Dragon Warrior III ever to hit the U.S. market.
Dragon Warrior III for Game Boy Color isn't just a port; it's a port of a port. Dragon Warrior III was already remade once for the Japanese market for the Super Famicom; the Game Boy Color version contains all of the graphical enhancements of that version, plus additional features and cinematics. Enix has given the game an entirely new translation for the U.S. release, and it reads fantastically. Fidelity to the original Japanese story and content has earned Enix a Teen ESRB rating--no mean feat for a Game Boy Color title. The text is a very readable font in 16-character, 2-line text boxes.
The game begins with a series of questions from a disembodied voice. ("I represent all.") The player answers questions until the game feels it understands your "personality." It then gives you a short quest that tests your personality. The example we saw was of you and a friend stranded in the desert, a day's walk away from town, but with only enough water for one person. Do you stay with your friend out of loyalty, let him go ahead while you stay, or take the water and run? Each of these choices will affect how the game perceives you.
Once the game starts, it's off to Ruidra's Tavern to recruit some party members! Some premade characters are available downstairs: Tess the Warrior/Bully, Jule the Cleric/Ordinary, and Sami the Mage/Unique. Each character has a class and a personality type. (When we created a character named "GIA," he was a Lewd Jester.) Once your party is complete and you've spoken with the king, you can leave the town and go adventuring.
Battles can begin with a number of different transitions from the field map. There are no backgrounds, but enemy attacks are surprisingly well animated; in fact, the graphics are fantastic for a Game Boy Color title. Even after the Game Boy Advance hits U.S. shores, the title should be able to hold its own on the portable market. Music and sound effects are on par with the NES original.
When Dragon Warrior III hits U.S. shelves this July (in a snazzy box designed by Akira Toriyama's studio exclusively for the U.S. market, no less), Enix will have brought the Loto /Erdrick trilogy to an entirely new generation of gamers. The care and expertise put into these Game Boy remakes is sure to generate goodwill with gamers, rebuild the strength of the Dragon Warrior name, and pave the way for Enix's next-generation Dragon Warrior titles.