Dragon Warrior III

The third release of the Dragon Warrior franchise saw the story take a trip back in time before one and two, taking up the sword of the warrior of legend, Loto. In this game the hero sets out to destroy Baramos after his/her late father Ortega fails.


Dragon Warrior 3, or Dragon Quest 3 in Japan, is an RPG and the third of four Dragon Quest games for the Nintendo Entertainment System/Nintendo Famicom. It is a prequel, setting its story before the first and second games.

Dragon Warrior 3 represented a number of leaps forward for both the series and JRPGs in general. The original Famicon version of Dragon Warrior 3 not only had improved graphics over its predecessors, but also an improved user interface, a larger and better developed game world, and a much more complex story line. The robust class system was also quite innovative for console RPGs at the time, and the ability to change classes part of the way through the quest added even more depth. Dragon Warrior 3 also debuted a unique Day/Night system that has been an established feature of the series ever since. The Day/Night system allows time to pass while the party moves about on the overworld map. The effects of the system were more than just cosmetic as towns and castles could change remarkably during the night and some characters and quest objectives could only be encountered at a specific time of day.

The game was rereleased several times:

  • The 1996 Super Famicom port, subtitled Soshite Densetsu e... ("Thus Into Legend..."), is an enhanced remake that upgraded the graphics and expanded the game's features. This version of the game was never localized for North America due to how late it was released in the Super Nintendo's lifespan, but was fan translated in 2009 by the DQ Translations group.
  • The 2001 Game Boy Color port was based on the Super Famicom version, and saw both Japanese and North American releases.
  • The game became available for Japanese mobile in 2009, and for iOS and Android phones and tablets in 2014. It was also included in the Wii compilation Dragon Quest Collection for the series's 25th anniversary.

Party and Class System

Changing Classes
Changing Classes

In Dragon Warrior 3, the player controls a party of four. Dragon Warrior 3 was the first Dragon Warrior game to implement a robust class system, allowing the player to control both gender and class of the party members. The main character was a special "Hero" class, with both strong physical attacks and magic. In the original NES version, the initial classes to choose from are Soldier (high defence and attack), Fighter (fights unarmed and with claws), Wizard (attack magic), Pilgrim (healing and support magic), Merchant (finds extra money), and Goof-Off (high luck). Additionally, the Sage class is unlocked during the course of the adventure and other classes can transform into this advanced class. Later versions of the game on Super Famicom and the Game Boy Color added a Thief as an additional class as well as expanding the abilities of some of the original classes.

Battle System and Leveling Up

Taking care of some Slimes
Taking care of some Slimes

Dragon Warrior 3 has a traditional turn-based battle system. Monsters are encountered randomly on the overworld maps and in dungeons. Defeating monsters yields gold and experience. As party members level up, attributes increase and new spells are automatically learned. Interestingly, the distribution of new attribute points and the exact level at which new spells are learned is somewhat random, and can fluctuate in different playthroughs. Spells are cast using a traditional MP-based system. Because the primary method of regaining MP is staying at inns, the player had to be careful with MP management, so as not to run out in the middle of a dungeon. An interesting innovation of the game was battle arenas scattered in some towns throughout the world. In these arenas, the player could bet gold on the outcome of computer controlled battles between sets of monsters. Odds were given before the fight and betting on unlikely victors could mean big payoffs.


Ortega vs. Dragon
Ortega vs. Dragon

Dragon Warrior 3 takes place before the events of the first two games in the series. Additionally, the game begins in an entirely unique world, although the party will eventually travel to the original world, Alefgard, as well. At the start, the main character leaves his/her hometown of Aliahan, tasked with defeating the Arch-Fiend Baramos, who is out to destroy the world. The search for Baramos takes the party across the world. Upon defeating Baramos, the party is surprised to learn that their quest is not over. Zoma, who was Baramos' master, reveals himself and opens a portal to the dark world, which is Alefgard from Dragon Warrior 1 and 2. In order to defeat Zoma, the hero must first collect a number of artifacts scattered throughout Alefgard. Interestingly, these artifacts were the same as those gathered in the original Dragon Warrior game. The party will also encounter Ortega, the Hero's father, during the course of the adventure. Ortega had travelled to Alefgard as well in an attempt to defeat Baramos, and dies shortly after the encounter. Once the artifacts are gathered, a Rainbow Bridge appears, allowing the party to enter Zoma's castle and defeat the great evil.

Connections to Dragon Warrior 1

At the end of Dragon Warrior 3, Zoma promises that a great evil will one day return to Alefgard. This foreshadows the events of Dragon Warrior 1, where a great evil once again returns to Alefgard. However, in Dragon Warrior 1 this great evil takes a notably different form as the "Dragonlord". In addition, upon finishing Dragon Warrior 3, the Hero receives a new name by the king. The new name is Erdrick in the original NES version (later changed to Loto in subsequent versions). Erdrick is referenced in the original NES version of Dragon Warrior 1 as a legendary hero who saved the world from great evil in the past. Erdrick's descendent saves the world once again.

Game Designers

Female Sage - Character Design by Akira Toriyama
Female Sage - Character Design by Akira Toriyama

Dragon Warrior scenario designer was Yuuji Horii, who also designed the scenario for all the other main games in the Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) series. The artwork in Dragon Warrior was done by famed Manga artist Akira Toriyama (author of Dragon Ball). The music in Dragon Warrior was composed by Koichi Sugiyama.