7. Dragon Warrior III
Though it was the third in a series of NES remakes, Dragon Warrior III ("Dragon Warrior" was the US name for Dragon Quest until 2005) was hardly a down-and-dirty port. DW3 is arguably the most popular game in the series, which made Enix go the extra mile when adding stuff like new collectibles, side quests, minigames, and not one but two extensive post-game dungeons. You’d literally have to play at least 150 hours to see everything. However, even if you stripped all that away, you’d still have a game that was the pinnacle of 8-bit RPGs.
Though the story follows the usual “destined hero must destroy ultimate evil,” it takes some really interesting turns, the biggest of all being its twist ending. This second sequel, which seems completely unrelated to the previous two Dragon Warrior games, is revealed as a prequel late in the adventure. The story takes a backseat for good reason though, as DW3 introduced the series’ stellar job system, in which the hero and their teammates leveled up special types of skills (like thief, fighter, mage, etc.), with mastery of a new job making random encounters all the more worthwhile. DW3 was a great introduction to what made the series so popular, and is perhaps the best straightforward RPG on the Game Boy.
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