And boy, did they. Dragon Warrior III
for the GBC is without a doubt the best rendition of the title that I've played--and I've played the SNES remake as well. [Yeah, okay, so maybe my problem with the remake was that it was in Japanese; shush.] This is probably the most epic handheld RPG out there, and there's enough to see and do in Dragon Warrior III
to keep you busy for weeks. Add to that all of the nifty new things since the original NES version and you've got a winner on your hands.
For those of you not in the know, Dragon Warrior III takes the same tack as Castlevania III, acting as a prelude to the earlier adventures. You are a brash young sixteen-year-old, out to find out what happened to your father Ortega and to follow in his footsteps. Within the first few minutes of the game proper, you're set on a quest to defeat the Ultimate Bad Guy Baramos. Unlike most RPGs of the day, there is something of a twist before you finish the game, but I won't spoil it for those of you who never played the original.
The adventure is long, so you take along three companions for the ride. One of the unique things about Dragon Warrior III is that every character has a personality. You're given a series of questions at the beginning of the game, and then you participate in a sort of mini-adventure that determines your particular personality. Your companion personalities aren't chosen in quite the same way, but they definitely vary. Depending on a character's personality, their stats level in a different way, so you want to match the personalities to the class. Having a Tough Mage isn't as useful as having a Sharp one, and so on. Thankfully you can change personalities throughout the game, so if you get one that doesn't quite suit your style you can always change it.
Like the original Final Fantasy, you get to pick the classes of the characters that adventure with you. Unlike Final Fantasy, you also get to 're-level' them. Once they hit level 20, they can become a different class and start over at level 1. Their stats are halved, but by that point losing half still puts them miles above normal starting characters. And they start leveling up just as if they were at level 1, only they keep all of the abilities of their old class. This rather unique form of dual-classing [reminiscent of a rarely-used AD& ;D rule] lets you keep a very well-rounded party, where everyone can become excellent at almost anything.
The game itself entails a lot of typical RPG adventuring. You'll be doing fetch quests, slaying lots of enemies, and getting your levels up to help you defeat the bosses. What's so great about Dragon Warior III is its scope--gigantic--and its variety. You can pick any number of classes for your characters, and each have their advantages and disadvantages. You can make the game easier or harder on yourself, and there's oodles of equipment to give each class. Basically, you play the game the way you want to play it.
Some of the added things in this GBC version that weren't in the original NES one are an increased walking speed, a new character class (the Thief, who has some useful abilities like finding hidden treasure), a collection game where you try to find TinyMedals, a Pachisi minigame, and the collection of monster tokens by defeating them. The game cycles day and night, and different things happen depending on the time, such as enemy appearances and so on.