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Dragon Warrior III (NES)

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Title Screen

Dragon Warrior III

Also known as: Dragon Quest III Soshite Densetsu e... (JP)
Developer: Chunsoft
Publisher: Enix
Platform: NES
Released in JP: February 10, 1988
Released in US: March 1992

CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

Dragon Warrior III is where the series' popularity really took off — it sold 1.1 million copies in Japan in a single day and 3 million copies in a week. Many kids skipped school to buy it, prompting Enix to only release future titles on weekends.

Hidden Credit

Present at 1ED0E is the following string, which the game uses for the SRAM initialization routine to check the save bank integrity.


Disabled Debug Features

Using the Game Genie code AEENSNNY in the US version, you can re-enable some debug leftovers. Holding B on controller 1 allows you to move freely through walls and other obstacles. This doesn't disable the random encounters and can cause occasional glitches.

(Source: CaH4e3)

Regional Differences

To do:
Address the new music cues that were added in the localization.

Graphical Differences

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-King.png Dragon Warrior III-King.png

The cross on the king's clothes was removed.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Priest.png Dragon Warrior III-Healer.png

The priests were completely redesigned and renamed healers.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Priestmonk.png Dragon Warrior III-Pilgrim.png

The Priest class, known as Pilgrim in the American version, was altered to get rid of the crosses on their clothes. Due to what seems to be sloppy sprite editing, the female version got other details of her sprite edited as well.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Old Man.png Dragon Warrior III-Old Man.png

The old men got their walking stick redesigned. Again, due to what seems to be sloppy sprite editing, other details got edited as well. The most obvious example is the size differences of his foot on the left-facing animation frames in the American version. Also, one of the right-facing animation frames in the Japanese version use an incorrect tile, causing his walking stick to look awkward.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Shrine.png Dragon Warrior III-Shrine.png

The shrines were also redesigned.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Coffin.png Dragon Warrior III-Ghost.png

Like in the previous game, defeated party members follow you around as ghosts in the North American version. In the Japanese version, they are represented by coffins with crosses on them. The same coffin sprites are also used at other parts in the Japanese version of the game, but since they had been replaced with ghosts, new coffins, without crosses on them of course, were added in the North American version:

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Tomb.png Dragon Warrior III-Tomb.png
Dragon Quest III-Funeral.png Dragon Warrior III-Funeral.png

Additionally, crosses in graveyards were replaced with tombstones.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Lancel.png Dragon Warrior III-Lancel.png
Dragon Quest III-Necrogond Shrine.png Dragon Warrior III-Necrogond Shrine.png

In the Japanese version, the shrines in Lancel and Necrogond are decorated with a cross on the floor. And like in the previous game the cross icons in churches and shrines were replaced with a pentagram-like icon in the American version.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Dharma.png Dragon Warrior III-Dharma.png

The Dharma Temple features a large manji which was removed in the American version.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Ortega.png Dragon Warrior III-Ortega.png

Ortega was given a unique sprite in the American version, including an additional death animation frame.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Ortega Battle.png Dragon Warrior III-Ortega Battle.png

Ortega was updated in the scripted battle as well. For some reason the palette on the battle window was changed from white to blue.

Japan USA
Dragon Quest III-Ending.png Dragon Warrior III-Ending.png

The North American version received a fancier ending screen.

Other Changes

  • The North American version adds an intro showing a fight between Ortega and a dragon on top of a volcano.


  • In the Japanese version, the hero starts the game equipped with Wayfarer's Clothes, while in the North American version, the hero comes equipped with the better and more expensive Leather Armor.
  • In the Japanese version, the king gives you 50 Gold, Wayfarer's Clothes, two Clubs, and a Cypress Stick to prepare your party with. In the North American version, you only receive the gold. The reason why is because the classes already come equipped with both weapons and expensive armor in the North American version, while in the Japanese version, all six character classes come equipped only with Cloth Clothes.
  • EXP and gold drops were increased by 25% in the North American version.
  • In the Japanese version, bettings in the monster fighting arena is 2 times the leading character's level, while it's 10 times the leading character's level in the North American version.
  • The antics you learn as a Goof-Off/Jester increased from 8 types in the Japanese version to 34 types in the North American version.


  • The North American version adds a unique title theme. The Japanese version is silent.
  • The music for the opening game select screens is the same music heard in Dragon Quest IV, the Japanese version is silent.
  • The North American version adds a unique Ortega death theme.
  • The credits roll theme has been extended in the North American version to match the longer credits.

Revisional Differences

There are two versions of the Japanese game, a "Revision A" and a "Revision B". The initial version contains a developer debug leftover: By holding the A Button on Controller 2, you can disable the random enemy encounters. This was removed in the "Revision B-version".