First impression: Dragon Warrior III

We spend some time with the Game Boy Color version of Enix's classic.

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Enix hit town this week and brought along the Game Boy Color version of the NES classic Dragon Warrior III. The company has carefully stuffed the 8-bit cart onto a 32 Mbit GBC cartridge that is twice as big as its portable predecessors, Dragon Warrior I and II. To make sure the conclusion to the "Legend of Loto" trilogy made as big a splash on the GBC as it did on the NES way back when, Enix has gone the extra mile and has given the game quite a bit of polish. Retaining everything from the original, DWIII on the GBC will offer a host of new features, making it more of a director's cut than just a port. The game will feature larger and more detailed sprites, and text will now be twice the standard size on the GBC. Castles, town architecture, and the overworld map art have been improved to show more detail. A new cinematic prologue will give players a personality test that will influence their game to a certain degree. Enemies and magic effects will now animate, and the game's interface has been streamlined for ease of use. A new memory system will let players collect villager text.

A board game, bonus dungeon, and new boss will be included. The bonus dungeon and boss will be accessed via the new sidequest: medal collection. As players defeat enemies in the game, they will collect a medal bearing that enemy's likeness. Every enemy in the game will have a bronze, silver, and gold medal, which can then be used to unlock the new dungeon and allow access to the new boss. The GBC link cable support will let players trade medals with friends to complete their collections. But the most significant enhancement to the game is its most subtle: DWIII will feature an all-new translation, which Enix believes will be much closer to the original Japanese version.

After spending some time with the game, we were taken back to the days of blowing on the backs of cartridges and carefully putting them in our NES. The gameplay is classic, the quest is huge, and the enhancements are the icing on the cake. DWIII is shaping up to be one cool game when it hits this July.

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