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Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation (originally named Dragon Warrior III in its initial North American release on the NES) rounds out the original Dragon Quest trilogy by casting the player as the child of the hero Ortega, who…didn't quite finish his grand journey to slay the evil Baramos. So, now that you're sixteen, everyone expects you to pick up where he left off and get to slaying the villain! Thankfully, you're not expected to do this alone: The local tavern serves as an excellent adventurers' hub, where you can recruit a number of loyal party members, ranging from warriors to wizards and even jesters.

III was a mega hit in Japan; so much so that people were actually mugged on the street for their copies, something which just didn't happen with video games back then. The insane amount of hype surrounding it wasn't totally unfounded: Though Dragon Quest II introduced the concept of multiple-character parties to most gamers of the time, it was restrictive to the point that some people complained directly to Enix themselves. In response to that outcry, Dragon Quest III invented the Job System (which would recur in various Dragon Quest entries), allowing you to customize your party to some degree. You could also pick everyone's gender, meaning that if you wanted to compose a team of amazons, nothing was stopping you...and female characters got to enjoy a few benefits denied to their male counterparts.

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And thus, at this juncture, it needs to be emphasized, especially for our younger readers: Dragon Quest III is quite possibly THE single most influential and important Japanese game of all time. Its vast popularity meant it was endlessly-imitated or served as inspiration for other games and their mechanics, either to improve on or challenge parts of the design tenets it laid out. The influence of the game on the JRPG, and subsequently the overall gaming industry, in Japan cannot be overstated. It still has an outsized place in the Japanese cultural zeitgeist: When non-video game media references a JRPG, 99% of the time, it'll be Dragon Quest III (and the remaining 1% will be another game in the series!). Of course, other video games directly reference it all the time. The only games that can be argued to command remotely the same mindshare, both in game industry influence and cultural presence, are the Famicom Super Mario Bros., Pokémon Red and Blue, and more recently, Puzzle & Dragons—and even then, the latter two owe more than a little to Dragon Quest.

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In short, this is a historically-significant game, and if you're interested in the evolution of video games, you should probably be familiar with it.

The game has had a substantial release history. First released for the Famicom in 1988, it was ported to the North American NES in early 1992, which is part of the reason why it wasn't as influential in the west. It received a substantial remake in '96 for the Super Famicom which never got exported. It was then ported to the Game Boy Color in late 2000, with the Anglo world getting a release some months later. Finally, the Super Famicom version got ported to Japanese feature phones in 2009, which wasn't released elsewhere due to differences in phone capacity at the time; however, this version was ported again to iOS and Android smartphones in 2014, and the Nintendo Switch in 2019, to much acclaim. The fact that this version was released in English means it is probably the easiest way to play ''DQ3'' overall.


Dragon Quest III contains examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: While helping the growing pioneer town, the Merchant you left there ends up letting the important role they're playing in its growth go to their head and turns it into Egopolis, resulting in a riot and them getting thrown in jail. They get better after thinking things over, and even rejoin your team in the remakes. Though you'll likely not need them.
  • Addressing the Player: At the beginning of the SFC remake, the game asks you for your real name (using Japanese only). It doesn't do anything with it until the credits, where it prints the player's name in Latin letters.
  • All in a Row: Your party is always going in a row behind the Hero.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Inverted. Your weapon becomes the ancestral sword of the first two games.
    • And averted for a while. There actually was an ancestral weapon, but Zoma stole and destroyed it! Yours is a fresh copy made from the same stuff, and arguably better, because it's loaded with Good Hurts Evil fresh off the anvil.
    • There's also Mountaincleaver (or Sword of Gaia), which you spend most of the game trying to track down and recover from a man named Simão, who's had it in his family for some time. However, the weapon itself is terrible for when you finally get it, outclassed by other weapons, and really more of a key than a weapon, as you throw it into a volcano to get access to the second last dungeon and sixth orb.
  • Artifact of Doom: The golden claws. Far worse in the original game, where it causes an enemy fight every step of the game. In subsequent versions of the game, this only happens while you are in the pyramid; exiting the pyramid breaks the curse. Also in the original, this was the only additional claw the martial artist could use other than the standard.
    • Anything that curses you when equipped. Unlike most Dragon Quest games, they don't have any uses as items either.
    • Bonus points, however, go to the Sword of Ruin, a cursed weapon that is second only to the Sword of Kings in terms of sheer damage, and has a much higher critical hit rate than comparable weapons, but carries the downside of preventing you from attacking about every 1 in 3 rounds. In the original NES version, this weapon is actually sold in a weapon shop in Rimuldar(!), despite the curse.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Provides a sort of temporary Non-Standard Game Over at one point. The reigning monarch can't exactly go out adventuring, after all…
  • Badass Mustache: Behold the magnificent mustachioed marvel that is the male Merchant.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Martial artists. This makes them a very good pick, because you don't have to get them weapons for the most part. Most weapons actually decrease their attack power.
  • Battle Bikini: Female characters can equip these, drastically raising their evasion and making the enemy react erratically. Also, the female warriors wear this all the time (oddly changing into a one-piece when they equip the actual bikini "armor"). Two kinds of bikinis were in the original game: a standard bikini that was the weakest armor, and a very rare magical version that's pretty good if you can get it. The remakes add a third one: a "sacred" version that blows away the best armor and is second only to a dress made of concentrated holy light! Game-Favored Gender? Yes, and we all love it.
  • Betting Mini Game: The monster arenas.
  • Big Bad: Zoma turns out to be the one that's behind all of this, with Baramos serving as The Dragon.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The hero defeats Zoma, saving the world, but the portal to their home realm is sealed off in the process and Zoma declares a prophecy that long after the hero is dead, evil will rise once more. The king bestows upon the hero the title of Erdrick—or Loto in Japanese and certain English translations—the highest honor of the land. The hero spends the rest of their days in this new world, giving their gear to various families for protection, and eventually having a child (or children), thus starting the bloodline of descendants who become the heroes of Dragon Quest I and Dragon Quest II.
  • Black and White Magic: Mages for 'black' magic, Priests for 'white' magic. Sages get both.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Polish description for the game on the Google Play store has the blurb "Dostosuj swoją drużynę i wyrusz na wyprawę, by zabić arcyprzyjaciela", which translates to "Set up your team and embark on a quest to kill the archfriend". That's the complete opposite of the intended translation for "archfiend", which is "arcywróg".
  • Boring Return Journey: The game does not conclude with the defeat of Zoma. You complete the game by returning to visit the King of Alefgard. You can go anywhere you like before doing this, including visiting towns to receive thanks from all the people you've saved. While getting to the Big Bad involves thousands of random battles, after his defeat, there are none to be found, even in the dungeons, since apparently defeating the boss results in the elimination of all his mooks.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The girl that gives you the puff-puff massage simply tells your fortune in the NES. Somewhat odd because she later asks if your shoulder feels any better, which only makes sense in the original context. The Game Boy Color version calls it a "powderpuff massage". This one is not a Bowdlerization, as the context is still there.
    • Priests were renamed Pilgrims in the NES localisation, and the tavern where you recruit party members became an "eatery."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the GBC remake of III, the game addresses you, the player, for your personal information at the start of a new game. This disembodied voice actually belongs to an NPC you meet late in the game.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • One particularly irritating example: Having to let the Recurring Boss Robbin' 'Ood go (twice) after beating him. Can't kill him off when he's still got problems to cause, right?
    • Another example occurs when the King of Romaria offers his throne to you. He simply will not take no for an answer. In the remake, he does give up if you tell him no five times.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: The faerie queen is so pissed that her daughter eloped with a human that she curses everyone in his hometown to sleep eternally, never aging. She later regrets her harshness when she learns that she had actually driven her daughter to more drastic measures than she realized. She agrees to free the village because she says that is what her daughter would've wanted, not because of any sympathy for the inhabitants.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Not until you beat the game, that is. After that, you can drop him / her off at the tavern at any time.
  • Cardboard Prison: At one point, a king has the party thrown in jail... along with all of their weapons, items, teleportation spells, and a key that can unlock any door. Though this is averted in a sense, since the guard who threw you in there hints that he is aware of the king's treachery, and is actually trying to help you.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The double-edged sword is a weapon version of this before it became a skill to be used.
  • Cat Scare: In Jipang, checking the pots in one basement causes you to discover a human head. …Which turns out to be attached to the still very much alive body of a young girl hiding out in there to avoid being sacrificed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: One paid off from two games before, in fact. In the first town in Dragon Quest I, an NPC will offhandedly mention that, legend has it, the hero Erdrick/Loto was from another world. Two games later, and sure enough...
  • Chokepoint Geography: Chokepoints are constantly used. For example, the only way to reach the lake where the Shrine Prison is located -which you need to do in order to progress- is to sail up two very narrow rivers. Though, your ship will always be pushed backwards by the Shrine's guardian's song until you gain the Lovely Memories item.
  • Class Change Level Reset: This applies when you had your characters change their class.
  • Combat Medic: Priests have a far better selection of weapons than mages, while sages outdo them both, even able to wield some of the strongest weapons available.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Your party can walk next to lava pools without getting harmed while navigating the Orochi's Cave.
  • Cool Sword: The Erdrick's Sword, also known as the Sword of Light or Sword of Kings: an ancient one-handed broadsword with a curved hilt resembling a Phoenix bird. It is forged from Orichalcum, shoots lightning bolts and can only be wielded by the lineage of the legendary hero. It has cut down lords of chaos, dragons, demon lords and gods of destruction.
  • Crutch Character: In a way, merchants. While they don't get much passive power at character creation, their equipment selection is excellent early on, including several exclusive items that are more powerful than comparable items available for everyone else at the time. And, most importantly… Their EXP track is the fastest in the game. By far. Even faster than warriors. It's very common for merchants to be two full levels ahead of everyone, very quickly, and for a while the extra stats from this keep them competitive. They begin to run into high-end equipment issues beginning in Isis, though, and by then an extra few levels isn't quite so much of a swing. Once you get to Baramos, even in the later versions, a Merchant will be struggling to keep up.
  • Cursed Item: A special cursed weapon is found in this game that was only cursed until you left the dungeon you found it in. The weapons, a special golden claw, could be found in an extra path of the pyramid. The claw is an Artifact of Doom and while it is in your inventory just about every step you take will lead to an encounter.
  • Cute Bruiser: Female martial artists are twin pig-tailed, big-eyed badasses.
  • Cute Witch: Female mages are the epitome of this.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: The Hero comes across his long-lost father Ortega in the depths of Zoma's Castle. Ortega is fighting a battle against a powerful monster, and seems to be holding his own, but finally runs out of MP for healing and dies. Neither the Hero nor his party considers joining the battle, providing the needed healing, or using one of their spells or items to bring him back to life after he dies.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: On your sixteenth birthday, the king officially sends you off on your father's quest. Nice present, eh?
  • Developers' Foresight: In the event Ortega defeats King Hydra due to cheating, he still dies from wounds suffered before the battle, and the hero fights a resurrected King Hydra.
  • Disappeared Dad: The prologue the hero's father, Ortega, fighting a dragon on the rim of a pit. They both fall in, and are never seen again. Until you get to near the end of the game, where the dragon kills him, and then you finish it off for him.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Baramos' castle. Likely one of the first examples of this in role-playing games, and one of the most effective since you've already explored most of the known world up to that point.
  • Disc-One Nuke: It was possible in the original NES version to get a modest pile of money at the beginning of the game by registering warrior class characters, taking their expensive weapons / armor, selling it, then returning the character to the eatery and deleting their registration. This would let you easily amass enough gold to buy the best equipment at the first two towns for all your characters, which made the beginning of the game a bit easiernote . Re-releases fixed this by having every registered character join the party with no equipment, but the King 'gives' you four full sets of equipment…
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When you enter Manoza, there will be a funeral in the town for someone that was executed for bad-mouthing the king. Or, to be more precise, the king's replacement.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The only differences between men / women of each class are… Physical appearance, female-exclusive armor, and a few personalities in the remakes. (Only male recruits get access to an amusing Easter Egg involving the series' Fanservice Running Gag, though.)
  • The Dragon: In addition to Baramos, the Big Bad Zoma has three of them. King Hydra, Baramos Bomus, and Baramos Gonus.
  • Dub Name Change: Most towns, but only very few people. The most significant being the title of Loto / Erdrick.
  • Eagleland: The new town that you create corresponds to New York in Real Life.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In the remakes, the hero has the ability to "memorize" NPC speeches and dialogues, which the player can play back again by using the hero's Recall spell. As the hero levels up, it gets upgraded versions of this spell, Remember and Recollect. If you use these upgraded spells without having memorized too many pieces of dialogue throughout the game up until that point, the hero will be able to remember a conversation they overheard between their parents when they were just a small child.
    • The swimsuits will give female characters a new sprite; there's a unique swimsuit for every class.
  • Encounter Bait: In the remakes, Jesters can learn the Whistle ability, which instantly triggers a random encounter.
  • Encounter Repellant: Thieves can learn the Tiptoe / Padfoot skill, which lowers the chance of triggering a Random Encounter. Unfortunately, it also raises the chance of being surprise-attacked when an encounter does trigger.
  • Fake King: The king of Manoza was kidnapped and replaced by a BossTroll using the Mirror of Ra to take his form.
  • Fanservice: In the remake, equipping a female character with any kind of bikini armor will replace her overworld sprite with a swimsuit-clad version of her original self. Every class gets a different kind of bathing suit, ranging from bikinis, one pieces, school bathing suits (floater ring included) except for the female Jester, whose default overworld sprite is already wearing a one-piece. Instead, she gets a dominatrix costume, with leather whip and mask included.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The world map is loosely based on that of the real world, with many cities corresponding to actual nations. In addition to Japan analogue Jipang, there's Isis (a desert kingdom, complete with pyramid, pretty clearly based on ancient Egypt), Romaria (Rome), Skyfell Tower located in the area corresponding to France which was originally called the Tower of Champagne in the NES version, Portoga (a seafaring trading kingdom based on medieval Portugal), Asham (Baghdad), Baharata (ancient India), the northern island of "Greenlad", Edina (named after Edinburgh but based on England), and the village of Persistence (nomads based on various native American tribes). The continent that the hero grows up on is the only entirely fictional landmass in the game world; it looks sort of like Antarctica if it was shrunk a bit and moved between Australia and South America.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The 'Night Light' that instantly turns day to night.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The original game introduced Fighters and Monks -strong hitters with high defense and low speed-, as well as Clerics, Wizards and Sages -physically fragile wielders of powerful magic-; and the SNES remake introduced Thieves -low defense, fantastic speed and evasion-, completing the class triangle.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The series has the Sizz (Fire), Crack (Ice) and Zap (Lightning) families of spells. The latter is exclusive to the Hero. Fire Spells were already available in the original DQI, and DQIII was the game which introduced Ice and Lightning magic.
  • Fix Fic: Every Video Game Remake featuring Xenlon (Divinegon in the original western releases), a wish-granting magic dragon. Both Ortega and Pimiko can be brought back to life through wishes, either directly or indirectly.
  • Fragile Speedster: Martial artists and thieves have great speed, but low defensive stats.
  • Game-Favored Gender: Males and females have no statistical based differences, but female characters have more exclusive armors, accessories, and personalities to pick from.
  • Ghost Town: Theddon is one such example, both figuratively and literally, as it was destroyed in a demon-led assault on the town due to its unfortunately close proximity to Baramos' Lair. No one is left alive by the time of the start of the story-line, but you can interact and do business with the ghosts of the former residents at nighttime.
  • Glass Cannon: Martial artists are impressively strong even without a big weapon set, and boast a naturally high Critical rate. However, while they have decent HP, and their armor choices are… Lacking.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: One personality defining scenario involves a selfish queen misleading the king for her own profit. The faerie queen is a vengeful witch fond of Disproportionate Retribution. And later on, you discover Jipang's leader, Pimiko, is actually Orochi.
  • Good Morning, Crono: At the very beginning, the Mother's Hero wakes up the Hero on their sixteenth birthday to go meet the king and take up Ortega's quest.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • In the GBC Video Game Remake, every monster randomly drops a medal; first Bronze, then Silver, then Gold. Getting enough of them gives you access to Bonus Dungeons. Getting all of them makes the Grandragon fall asleep. Wait, what?
    • The latter had an explanation, although it took a significant amount of work to discover it. They had intended to do a similar Dragon Quest IV remake with the same Monster Coin system. These coins are even hidden in Dragon Quest III's data files. You would have, in theory, been able to transfer your coins to the other game in order to complete the full set—which they replaced at the last second with Grandragon falling asleep, when they decided to port 4 to the PSX instead.
  • Grimy Water: The Charlock Castle, where Zoma awaits for the Hero and his Party, is surrounded by purple, poisonous swampy water. The access to Gaia's Pit -and the Dark World- is also encircled by a toxic purple swamp.
  • Guide Dang It!: The map that comes with the game had a chart which shows when a character will learn a spell. However, this is only the earliest opportunity for them to learn the spell. When a character learns a spell is based on their intelligence, and not their level; unfortunately the manual neglects to mention this!
  • Healing Hands: The main reason for bringing Priests along, though The Hero also gains considerable talent in this area, with the expensive HealUsAll spell as one of the final spells the Hero learns.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Not just The Hero, but everyone you create / recruit as well. Though the Hero does have a canon name; it's Loto / Erdrick in the flesh, the fabled legendary hero from the first and second installments of the series, though the finale reveals it is a title, instead of a name.
  • Heroic Mime: Once again, our hero.
    • Averted in the English NES (?) translation, where he yells for a kidnapped couple to run away from Robbin' 'Ood.
    • Also, your party members, although there's one clear aversion: after returning from Gaia's Navel, the party member in the second position will have a comment/question about your experience, dependent on their class/gender. If you sent a party member to the dungeon and put the Hero in the second position, he/she will have Visible Silence instead.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The queen of the faerie village was offended after her daughter ran off, and put a nearby village to sleep. Even after she discovers that her daughter committed suicide, she makes you do the gruntwork for removing the curse and still doesn't like humans.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: After Ortega's death, it feels like the whole world basically just waited for his heir to come of age. Certainly everyone in your hometown did. But hey—no pressure, right?
  • Honest Axe: There's a pond you can visit that your character will drop their weapon into. A water spirit then appears and offers you a really powerful weapon, which if you accept, you don't get, because it isn't yours. However if you say it isn't yours and then say that the original weapon you dropped is yours… You get your original weapon back, and that's it.
  • Human Sacrifice: Jipang is terrorized by Orochi, who demands a regular sacrifice of young maidens. Upon confronting the beast, you learn that Jipang's leader, Pimiko, is actually Orochi, explaining her attitude.
  • I Am Who?: Loto / Erdrick, that's who!
  • Iconic Outfit: All of the classes, but particularly the hero's. If they aren't exact in games, they'll at least resemble them. They're mentioned in Dragon Quest IX, as equipment used by an ancient [class] of old. (Which kind of stings if you played III when it first came out.). Played with as Rule of Funny in Dragon Quest VII onward, as the "Pod" / Pip and "Foo" / Conk families of monsters are tiny critters who dress like the default set of heroes in III, but are so tiny that they use leaves and hollowed nuts as armor, and use rocks and sticks as weapons.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Abacuses, in versions after NES. In the remix, the best abacus is one of the best weapons in the game!
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game introduced a day / night cycle. Sleeping at an inn would always take you to morning, and there were also spells and items that would change it from day to night or back.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Sword of Kings, in both gameplay and story. The original was actually stolen and destroyed by Zoma, but it took him three years to do it. Even if he slept, that's a lot of effort for one of the series' strongest villains, especially when the sword wasn't even new like the copy you eventually get.
    • This may also explain why the sword is so much weaker in Dragon Quest I. Any villains left hiding away, and possibly Dragonlord himself, have been trying to break it, but could only weaken it. They eventually gave up and just buried it in some obscure spot in Dragonlord's castle.
    • The same would apply to the armor and gear you hand down to your descendants, but since those were never damaged, one could guess they're just old.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the Game Boy Color, Super Famicom, and mobile phone versions, defeating Baramos yields 65536 experience points for the party, indicating that he is not the final boss.
  • Intrepid Merchant: Merchants.
  • Irony: You buy the zombiesbane from a ghost merchant who doesn't realize he's passed on (but only in the Famicom/NES version).
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Hero—and, surprisingly, merchants qualify for this early on, with well-balanced stats that can out-Jack the hero during the early game.
  • Joke Character: Gadabouts like to waste turns telling jokes and fooling around instead of doing whatever you actually told them to, and the chances of them goofing off rises along with their level. There are times when their antics actually result in something useful, though.
  • Layered World: Once you are able to access the Great Pit of Giaga, you drop down to the World of Darkness below. However, conversations with characters in this world, and your journey into the cave to get the Hero's Shield, reveal that Zoma crawled out from somewhere BELOW that world. And this may have been doing occurring for several additional cycles ("This world, too, will be covered in darkness..").
  • Lethal Joke Character: If you have the patience to take them to level 20, the otherwise Joke Character Gadabouts can become sages (one of the most powerful classes) for free. Everyone else needs a book (of which there are only two in the game, one of which is just before the Final Boss).
  • Lethal Lava Land: The heroes have to delve into the Orochi's Cave, a cavern filled with lava pools which works as a five-headed's dragon lair.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Early on, warriors can deal heavy damage to enemies while mages are hard pressed to beat Slimes without burning into their relatively small mana pool. Later on, though, wizards get multi-target spells and single target one-shots, while warriors are stuck mashing A. This is especially poignant because of a distinct lack of bosses in the game. There are certainly boss fights, but not nearly as many as you'd expect in an RPG, meaning that the warrior classes, which can normally outdamage mages against singular targets, don't get many opportunities to show this off.
  • Locked Out of the Fight:
    • The Hero is the only allowed to enter the Gaia's Navel (although technically, anyone can enter the dungeon: it's dependent on who's in the first position in the lineup).
    • Erdrick and his comrades are blocked from interfering with Ortega and King Hydra's fight in the final dungeon.
  • Lost in Translation: The Temple of Dharma and Book of Satori reference Buddhism, but this is not as apparent in games with the Dub Name Change of Alltrades Abbey and Words of Wisdom.
  • Magic Compass: The Sailor's Thigh Bone is used as one to locate the Ghost Ship.
  • Magic Knight:
    • The Sages almost hit this; they learn all the spells of mages and priests, and have much better choices for weapons and armor.
    • The Sage's weapon and armor selections map closely if not identically to the Gadabout's.
    • The Hero is a straight example of the type. Class changing a mage or priest into a fighting class can also yield a Magic Knight.
  • Magical Land: Turns out Alefgard, later to become Torland, is this of the Another Dimension sort. The Goddess Rubiss actually created said world herself, a Tantegel NPC making mention of people coming from Ailahan meaning that the Hero's world was one that had already existed before it, to boot. Then Zoma and demons happened.
  • Magikarp Power: The Gadabout class seems useless at first, but they can eventually change straight to the powerful sage class without using a rare item, unlike everyone else. Plus, in the later versions, they learn Whistle, which summons monsters—potentially shaving hours off your Level Grinding. They also have an absurdly high Luck stat, which has a few helpful effects, including helping them save against magic attacks.
  • Mana Drain: There's the traditional version of this as a spell and a weapon version that powers up by draining the wielder's MP. The latter is surprisingly useful in areas that prevent casting spells.
  • Market-Based Title: Was called Dragon Warrior III in America until Square-Enix changed the series's name in the west back to Dragon Quest. The Japanese version also has the subtitle "Thus, Into Legend…", while the western mobile version has its own subtitle: "The Seeds of Salvation".
  • Meaningful Name: Both subtitles carry the same meaning for the game, even though the Westernized one might be misleading at first.note  "Thus, into Legend" and "Seeds of Salvation"; the Legend of Erdrick/Loto is born, and the seeds are planted for a certain solitary knight to emerge and slay a certain almighty dragon in the distant future.
  • Mighty Glacier: Soldiers. Powerful and durable, but very, very slow.
  • Minigame Zone: The game includes Pachisi Tracks -a man-sized board game- and Monster Betting Arenas.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: The Recall / Remember / Recollect set of spells lets the Hero dredge up memories from further and further back. If you haven't memorized too many conversations, this includes the last time they ever heard their father's voice, with their mother pleading for him to think of their baby.
  • Non-Indicative Name: You would think Infernos is a fire based spell but is actually a wind spell. Later releases would change this to Whoosh.
  • Nostalgia Level: The final area in the game is the overworld from the first game. Which sets up the reveal that your character is actually Erdrick/Loto, the legendary hero mentioned in the previous two games of the series.
  • Offered the Crown: After retrieving a stolen crown, the King of Romaly immediately offers you his throne. Accepting leads to a temporary Non-Standard Game Over, But Thou Must! eventually convince him to take his crown back and let you get on with the whole "saving the world" thing.
  • One-Man Party: Because supporting party members are optional and XP is split between the party members rather than copied, having the Hero go it alone means that he's earning 4x the "normal" experience and can easily level up enough to make up for the lack of support.
  • Orochi: Eating sacrificial young women in Jipang.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Baramos doesn't seem to actually do much besides wait in his castle for you to show up and kick his ass.
    • Neither does Zoma after his introduction, but this is justified in that he has essentially already won dominion over Alefgard, and does not consider the Hero a big enough threat to go out and eliminate, even when the party arrives right at his throne. Only once the Sphere of Light is used to break Zoma's Barrier, does he understand the danger the Party presents.
  • Orichalcum: The Sword of Kings is made of the metal "Oricon".
  • Personality Powers: The remakes add one-word descriptions of all of your party members: 'Lout', 'Thug', 'Crybaby', 'Wit', 'Tomboy', 'Lothario / Vamp', and so on. This actually has an effect on how their stats grow when they level up…
  • Playboy Bunny: Worn by all female gadabouts. Naturally.
  • Player Personality Quiz: Used in the remakes. After answering a series of questions, the player is presented with a final scenario where your actions determine what the mysterious voice determines your character to be. Some of these scenarios include:
    • Baleful Polymorph: The hero finds themselves turned into a monster and thrown into the middle of a town. Do they avoid unnecessary deaths and escape as quickly as possible, or slaughter everyone in sight?
    • I Will Only Slow You Down: Two brothers are stranded in the desert; the older one, too exhausted to continue, tells his sibling to take all of their water and continue on alone. The younger brother turns to the hero for advice: Should he try and carry his brother, follow his last wishes, or leave the water with him and hope he finds help?
    • Leap of Faith: People are taking a flying leap off a high tower to prove their courage. The hero can choose to jump themselves or turn around and walk away.
    • My Master, Right or Wrong: A king is about to lead his country to war, unaware that his wife has orchestrated everything to get her hands on their fortune. The hero overhears her Evil Gloating, but cannot convince the king to call it off, and must decide whether they are willing to fight for the kingdom despite disagreeing with its rulers or not.
  • Mythology Gag: In the mobile phone version, the inhabitants of Alefgard speak in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe, a homage to the original English translation of Dragon Quest I.
  • Player Mooks: The first Dragon Quest game to have these. Sadly no one ever sings of their heroism along with Erdrick / Loto's.
  • Post-End Game Content: In the remakes, beating the game unlocks a Bonus Dungeon. Beating its secret bonus boss allows the player to make a wish and bring the Hero's father back to life.
  • Prequel: The game is surprisingly very subtle about it until you kill the Disc-One Final Boss.
  • Prestige Class: The sage class. Only accessible by changing to that class at Alltrades Abbey (and only then by using a special one-use scroll, or invoking the gadabout's Magikarp Power), they learn all the mage and priest spells. And have a better selection of weapons and armor than the other spellcaster classes (though their stat growth is a little anemic).
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender:
    • Again, aside from a few exclusive weapons / armor / personalities and such, gender is a matter of preference.
    • In the original NES translation, the script repeatedly referred to the hero as Ortega's son, male or female. This was referenced in the GBC version at the start, when the king starts to call your heroine son, corrects himself and adds, "But that dauntless look—no man could hope to match you!"
  • Random Drop: Monster Medals in the GBC remake. There are random items as well, approaching the ludicrous—for example, elevating shoes, which have an impossibly low chance to drop off a metal slime.
  • Razor Wind: The main combat spells for priests, the Woosh/Swoosh/Kaswoosh spells.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: All warriors wear pink armor, male and female alike. It's made a bit darker in the remakes… But only a little.
  • Reforged Sword: It's revealed that Zoma destroyed the legendary Sword of Kings because it was a threat to him. If one picks up the the pieces of Orichalcum left from the shattering and sell it to the Ultimate Blacksmith, he'll reforge it.
  • Regional Bonus: The opening cinematic, a proper title screen, and a proper Ortega sprite. The original version of the last more than likely confused a lot of players, because it was a Palette Swap of Robbin' 'Ood, though it also caused many a fan theory.
  • Retroactive Legacy: The Hero is eventually revealed to be Erdrick, the legendary champion whom the heroes of Dragon Quest I and Dragon Quest II are descended from.
  • The Reveal: One of the most epic reveals in the history of videogaming, and the one that cemented the game's place in the zeitgeist (especially in Japan): In the last quarter of the game, the world you travel to is the one with the kingdom of Alefgard on it. The player character is none other than Erdrick / Loto, and you play out the events that precede the rest of the trilogy.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: After using the Sphere of Light, healing spells work wonders against Zoma. So do medicinal herbs. (250 damage a pop!)
  • The Rez: Persistence is your typical 'magical' reservation.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Male mages add long white beards; female mages are Cute Witches.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Depending on your choice in the GBC remake, it is possible to discover that Erdrick/Loto was a girl.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Golden Claws. You managed to find the secret chamber on the first trip to the Pyramid? Neato! You've found the best weapon for the Martial Artist in the game, period. But guess what; you're not leaving with them. From the moment you collect the Golden Claws, every single individual step you take in any direction will trigger a monster encounter. The only feasible way to get them and get out safely is after you've levelled well beyond that point in the game.
  • Secret Test of Character: To determine your hero's personality in the remakes, a mysterious voice asks a series of questions, then throws you into one of these based on your answers. Your reaction to whatever issue you face determines your personality. Said tests range from dealing with a greedy queen leading her country to war based on lies, to exploring a cavern, to deciding whether or not to take a leap of faith off a tower.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Soo village (NES version) you will meet Ed the talking horse. Additionally, a villager at night will mention that "his horse is a horse, of course of course".
    • At the Promontory of Olivia (NES version), you will hear the sad tale of Olivia and her lover Errol (now known as Eric). Bonus points that it is a seafaring tale.
    • The Gaia's Navel dungeon features a creepy hallway with talking heads in the walls telling the hero to, "go back," as he passes each one. This sequence happened in Labyrinth.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Isis and its surrounding area, complete with a pyramid. This area corresponds to Egypt in Real Life.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: In the beginning of the second part of the game, you arrive in the city of Tantegel. You can see Zoma's Castle -the final dungeon- across a narrow strait.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Dub Name Change aside, there's still some disjointment between proper spellings of a few towns: The biggest being Sioux / Soo, Jipang / Zipangu, and Assaram / Ashalam. The last of which gets a few raised eyebrows.
  • Squishy Wizard: Mages. Priests have a few elements of this, but are better about growing out of it.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Faerie princess Aniseed and her human lover, who chose to be Together in Death, leaving behind an angry faerie queen who thought they just eloped. And cursed everyone in his hometown to sleep forever.
  • Suicide Mission: The reason why the King of Aliahan hesitates to ask the hero to defeat Zoma, is because he believes it would be a death sentence and too much to ask someone who defeated what turned out to be The Dragon.
  • Super OCD: A requirement of any player who tries to assemble a full set of the bronze, silver and gold monster medals.
  • Trespassing Hero: The castle at Edina requires your party to trespass in order to gain a crucial item. The guards won't let you in; you'll need to use either the Invisibility Herb or Invisibility spell to get past the guards. For some reason, none of the castle's inhabitants seem to object to your presence inside. It implies that the guard out front is just a Jerkass.
  • Trope Codifier: Not so much in the rest of the world, but in Japan? Good. God. We mean it when we say that Dragon Quest III is the game that codified every major trope and element of JRPGs, and that every single JRPG that followed, in every single series or franchise, owes something to it, either through direct imitation, indirect inspiration or attempting to "answer" a "fault" of the game. For a few examples of the big ones:
    • The somewhat put-upon voiceless protagonist? Yup, they're all patterned after the Child of Ortega and what the Child goes through in this game.
    • Your choice of party members and party customization? Obviously there's been a lot of variance from Dragon Quest III on this one, but everyone really is trying be as good or better than what was on offer here.
    • A late-plot reveal of a whole second world to explore and the game being bigger than originally supposed or advertised? Oh yup. This is one of the biggest — everyone who does this in their games is trying to capture the same lightning-in-a-bottle that resulted from Dragon Quest III's Alefgard reveal.
    • Similarly, (non-Dragon Quest spoilers) a big reveal of a bigger boss to what you were previously fighting? Yup, another one with a lot of variants, but everyone from Zemus (and Exdeath, and Ultimecia) to Blue as Champion to Mithos Yggdrasil to even Rei Ryghts all call back to the reveal of Zoma.
  • Trouble Magnet Gambit: Inverted with the golden claws. Dangerous in the pyramid (every step's a random encounter, and you can't use magic in the basement where you get it), but once you leave, as long as you don't return to the pyramid, it's the martial artist's best weapon.
  • Truth in Television: Seems a little silly that a King is willing to trade a ship for some pepper, right? However, pepper in the past was once extremely valuable (even more valuable than gold)! That's because in the old days, pepper was a type of spice and could only be found in the Far East. For people whose only mean of seasoning was salt, pepper because a valuable commoditity.
  • Updated Re-release: The remakes on the Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, recent modern smartphones and the Switch. All are chock full of extra goodies from IV, V, and VI (though the GBC version has a few features the other don't).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Some of the "Final Questions" from the beginning of the remake feature this. Most notable is one where you're a fire breathing monster coming out of a well in a village. You can leave peacefully, or murder everyone, including a dog and A MOTHER AND HER SLEEPING CHILD!
  • Video Game Stealing: The SNES remake added a Thief class who can steal items in battle.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Mirror of Ra lets you randomly change to different forms. Including monsters. NPC's react accordingly to this. Except for faeries, who can see right through most disguises… Yet will still sell to you if you transform into a dwarf or other creature they're friendly with.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: The swimsuit armors let the player turn any female member into this.
  • Wham Line: After beating Zoma, the hero emerges just in time for the game to inform the player that the hole in the sky has closed. You are now stuck in Alefgard.
  • Whip It Good: One of the best weapons in non-NES versions, actually. Though they tend to have lower attack power compared to regular weapons, whips allow your regular attacks to target whole groups of enemies.
  • With This Herring: It's your Dangerous 16th Birthday and you're off to face the greatest threat to the world the kingdom has ever known. The king is so impressed with your decision to take up arms that he rewards you with a whopping 300 gold pieces, which wouldn't cover a full set of the (crappy) equipment for sale in the very first town. The Game Boy Color version doesn't even give you that much! The king sends you off with a club, a simple set of wayfarer's clothes, and 50G, which is just enough to buy a pot lid for a shield. Thanks a lot, kingy. Not like the whole future of the world depends on me or anything…
  • Wolverine Claws: One of the very few weapons beneficial to martial artists.
  • Wutai: Jipang is based on ancient Japan.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The people of the Dark World, AKA Alefgard, speak this.
  • You All Meet in an Inn: Invoked; you create / pick up / drop off your party members at your hometown tavern.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Baramos has a boss. You find this out during a Fake Ending after exploring literally the entire world, spending 40+ hours to do so. It comes out of complete left field and cemented Dragon Quest III's status as a legendary RPG in Japan—40+ hours was already incredibly long for a NES era RPG, and then it opens up an entire second world map. A very familiar one at that, which led to an even bigger, more awesome revelation of just who the player character was.

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