Submission #1476: dave_dfwm's NES Dragon Warrior 3 in 2:14:07.67

Console Nintendo Entertainment System Emulator FCEU0.98
Game Version USA Frame Count 482860
ROM Filename Dragon Warrior 3 (U).nes Frame Rate 60
Branch Rerecord Count 11386
Unknown Authors dave_dfwm
Game Dragon Warrior III
Submitted by dave_dfwm on 3/10/2007 12:46:55 PM

Submission Comments
TAS of Dragon Warrior 3 === Movie Length: 2:14:08 === Played by: Dave Brown (dave_dfwm)

Emulator used: FCEU 0.98.15
ROM used: Dragon Warrior 3 (U)
Genre: RPG
Goals: Aims for fastest time
Uses death as a shortcut
Manipulates luck

Suggested Screenshots:
77177 -- Bomb crags appear
329506 -- Wins 50,000 gold
290675 -- Poison needle on Metal Babble
359933 -- Baramos attacks and misses
472090 -- Wizard uses Medical Herb on Zoma


After having the other 3 NES Dragon Warrior games on this site for a while, I was beginning to worry about there never being a DW3 run. Instead of worrying, I decided to do something about it and make this run. The topic had been dormant for 3 months and I revived it with great interest after posting a WIP up to the Magic Key.
Shortly after my WIP videos were being posted, new information arrived about a glitch that allows items to be transformed into other more useful items such as orbs and keys. This of course will allow huge chunks of the game to be skipped. I believe this game is popular enough to warrant two movies. Similar to “The Adventures of Link”, I believe this game can have a glitched and a non-glitched version. I believe many people would want to see a full playthrough along with the glitch version. My official stance is this: I will strongly support a glitched version if someone completes it, on the terms that it doesn’t obsolete a full playthrough (mine or anyone else’s) video.
I hope you all enjoy this run. I learned much about the game while creating this, and had a good amount of fun also. I would like to thank adelikat, ledauphinbenoit, and Catastrophe for their support and input while making this video. Also thanks to Dwedit for posting information about a future glitch run.

About the game

The Random Number Generator (RNG) in this game is very different from the other DW games in the series. In battles, critical hits and spells cannot be manipulated by the time the input is entered. Fights are “pre-scripted”. In other words, your actions will results in the same enemy actions no matter what the timing. However, different actions chosen by the character will result in different enemy actions.
Fights in the overworld can be skipped by waiting them out, or by chanting a spell or using an item that uses the RNG. The best spell to use is obviously Heal, and items include herbs, the Wizard’s Ring, and Seeds. Herbs and Heal have the same effect, but herbs take longer to use, and they have to be bought. Fights in the overworld can also be avoided or changed by moving into a different “area”. For example, two different areas are near Assaram. One causes enemies such as Poison Toads and Caterpillars, and the other area causes enemies such as Wild Apes. This can also work when traveling on water vs. land. This is why I sail a few extra spaces around Kol. It avoids two fights. Different floors of dungeons can also be considered different areas.
Fights in dungeons, however, cannot be waited out. They must be manipulated away by one of the above methods. Heal works the best, and can be used over and over again, assuming enough MP.
Special fights in town are considered overworld fights. The first round can be manipulated by Heal or by waiting some time. The two examples of this in the video are the Boss Troll at Samanao and the second Orochi.
Special fights in dungeons can be manipulated into having a good first round by chanting Heal before the fight starts. I consider a “good first round” one in which most of my status spells work successfully, or can be manipulated into working in the second round. Bosses in this game have HP regeneration, so it is useless to attack unless you can take away a lot of HP. This is why I never attack in the first round of a boss fight.
The RNG goes even further, though. If I use Heal to avoid a fight in a dungeon, the RNG determines the number of steps before the next battle.
Upon playing, I think I may have a crude idea of how fights work in the dungeons and towers. Upon entering, two “fight queues” are created. You can walk up to step before a fight and use an herb, the Wizard’s Ring, or chant Heal. This will advance you to the next fight in the first queue. Entering a fight and running, using a seed, or fighting a fight (and using different combinations within the fight) will advance you to different spots in the queue.
The second queue is reserved for entering a new room in the dungeon or tower. These fights will be pseudo-randomly chosen upon entering a new room, and can be manipulated by healing or by extra steps. I use a heal to manipulate the first Metal Babble in the Necrogond, and use seeds to manipulate the second one. In the tower west of Kol, I manipulate a fight in one room (which contains Metal Babbles) and run from it. I run from this fight because the Metal Babbles were going to both run in the first round no matter what my actions, and were unable to be killed. However, this manipulated a fight in the next room where I was able to kill two Babbles.
When you enter a fight, the actions will always be the same no matter what order you enter the fight. The things you do in the fight can only manipulate WHICH fight occurs next, not what happens in that fight. However, as stated earlier, outcomes of special fights (that is, fights that are fought no matter what) can be manipulated out of battle.
Finally, Alefgard is treated as a dungeon, and I must use heal there to avoid fights outside of dungeons, unless I can use the “different area” idea to avoid fights using land and water.
There is much more information in the discussion forum for this game.

About the video:

This game has 3 ‘phases’. The first phase is to beat Kandar II and get the ship. The second phase is getting the 6 orbs and beating Baramos. The final phase is Alefgard.

Phase 1

In order, this phase involves the following:
  • Register a merchant
  • Get a party
  • Get the Thief’s Key in the Tower of Najima
  • Go through the Cave of Enticement
  • Get the Poison Needle at Kanave
  • Get the Magic Key, Golden Claw, and Meteorite Armband
  • Go to Portoga and Get the Royal Scroll
  • Sell the claw and buy stuff
  • Get to Baharata and Dhama
  • Kill Kandar II
  • Get the Ship
In this phase, I have two periods of leveling up. The first involves a single fight with 4 Bomb Crags that heavily exploits the Poison Needle. The second period involves 3 metal slime fights that get me to a high enough level to take out Kandar.

Phase 2

  • Invisibility Herb, Vase of Drought, and Final Key
  • Blue Orb at Navel of Earth
  • Green Orb at Tedanki
  • Mirror of Ra and Boss Troll at Samanao
  • Sailor Thigh Bone and Phantom Ship
  • Sword of Gaia, Necrogond Cave, Silver Orb
  • Orochi and Purple Orb
  • Get the Merchant
  • Get the Red Orb at the Pirate House
  • Drop the Merchant off in the New Town
  • Get my Wizard back
  • Win some money and buy equipment in Samanao
  • Visit New Town for Yellow Orb
  • Ramia
  • Sphere of Light
  • Baramos
In this phase, there is an additional period of leveling. I fight some metal enemies on the shrine island before the Boss Troll so I can learn the Bikill spell. In addition, I fight 2 Metal Babbles on the way through the Necrogond Cave. Also, I complete one fight in the Navel of Earth to gain an extra level for my hero. I use the Poison Moth Powder that I picked up in Isis to confuse a Simiac which causes a Metal Slime to be killed. This is probably the best example of long-range thinking in the video. I also use the Magic Key in this fight to manipulate a better level-up for my hero.

Phase 3

  • Stones of Sunlight at Tantegel Castle
  • Fairy Flute in Kol
  • Armor of Radiance and Sacred Amulet in the tower west of Kol
  • Staff of Rain
  • Rainbow Drop
  • Zoma’s Castle
No leveling periods were use in this phase, but Metal Babbles were manipulated and fought sporadically when only a small amount of time was needed to make them appear. I needed enough experience to learn Healall for the Zoma fight. I manipulate a Thor’s Sword from the final pair of Granite Titans in the first floor of the Zoma’s Castle. This weapon is much stronger than the Thunder Sword, and takes a LOT less time to get than the Sword of Kings. In addition, this final phase contains a speed/entertainment tradeoff. By pure accident (which is how a few things happened in this video) I discovered I could very quickly get a Magic Bikini. I use a few seconds to get it, and my female pilgrim puts it on in preparation for the Zoma fight. For a 2+ hour video, I figured the 7 seconds or so wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I specifically created my second pilgrim as a female in case I got this item (or in case I thought I needed it, but the Magic Armor has the same defense), and it worked out pretty well. She winks when she walks.

Other random things about this run, or things I learned while doing this run

  • It seems that my Wizard has a huge amount of luck. I’ve never seen this happen before. There were at least 3 level ups where his luck increased by 7 points.
  • I discovered that chanting Stepguard (or not) at barriers also affects monster appearances.
  • The Kandar II boss fight is actually the longest.
  • Metal Slimes can be confused, but not Metal Babbles
  • I never use any helmets in this run.
  • My Wizard is fully equipped just before Baharata with the Cloak of Evasion drop.

Questions that may be asked:

Q: Why the exclamation point after your name?
A: This gave my default Pilgrim 9MP instead of 7MP. This let me cast Heal 3 times at level 1.
Q: Why fight the 4 Bomb Crags instead of just going for Metal Slimes?
A: Metal Slimes at level 1 are deadly with their blaze spell. If one of my characters survived the fight and managed to kill a few metals, he would gain huge experience, but revival time would be needed, and if not revival time, then possibly a trip to the inn. The additional MP gained from the Bomb Crag level-ups were also used in manipulating the fights to happen in the first place, and were used in the fight itself to manipulate the outcome. The Bomb Crags are a sure bet because they give a decent amount of experience (enough to get to level 8 in one fight), won’t kill me, and can be reached early in the game. It gives me a chance to gain stats and use and inn before the slime fights. Also, as ledauphinbenoit says, this fight “shows off” the area east of Kanave.
Q: Why this party choice?
A: As stated in the discussion forum for this game, I believe that this party choice is the best for a couple of reasons. You obviously need a Wizard because the Poison Needle is “vital” (heh) for speed leveling and the Bikill spell is a must for bosses. You need a Pilgrim for the Heal spell to manipulate dungeon battles. The fourth character was a struggle for me. I had debated between a Soldier and a Pilgrim. I chose the Pilgrim because at low levels, it’s a backup in case the first one runs of manipulating magic in the dungeons. At high levels, he has many in-battle spells that can be used to manipulate the outcome. A soldier can only do 3 things in battle. Fight, Parry, or use an Herb or Seed. A pilgrim has many more options. Also, a pilgrim is a very formidable opponent when properly equipped. See my purchases before Baramos for details.
Q: You often chant spells in battle that don’t work. Why did you do that?
A: This was to manipulate future attacks. Perhaps it kept an enemy asleep, or it made one of my other attacks work. For example, having Hiram attack will cause Elucidus to get 1 damage point on the Metal Slime. Having Hiram chant Sap (unsuccessfully) will cause Elucidus’ Poison Needle attack to kill the slime instantly. As another example, I also manipulated the Blazemore spell into working on the Boss Troll for high damage. Finally, doing this can also manipulate the enemy to drop a treasure at the end of the fight. I have some Hunter Flies drop a Cloak of Evasion and some Metal Slimes drop agility seeds (one of which was used to manipulate a Metal Babble appearance in the Necrogond). I had considered manipulating a Mysterious Hat drop from a Glacier Basher, but realized it wasn’t necessary.
Q: How did you decide your levels before boss fights?
A: For Kandar II, I wanted to be strong enough for high damage after Sap, but I needed a Wizard who could attack too, due to health regen. I level the Wizard up to Firebane – it seems that either Firebane or Icebolt would work, but never both. I alternate in the fight between which spell works. For Boss Troll, I needed the Bikill spell. I learn this in the very last Metal Slime fight before Samanao (and also get the agility seed). I had to manipulate the Wizard’s level up in this fight so he would learn two spells, Snowblast and Bikill. If he had only learned one spell this level, it would have been Snowblast, which was useless at this point in time. For Baramos, I simply just pick up a couple of extra levels on the way through the Necrogond with some manipulated metal babbles. The extra levels gave me the strength and agility needed to greatly shorten the fight. For Zoma, I needed to be certain that both of my Pilgrims knew Healall. In addition, I needed to have enough hit points to survive is his first round attack.
Q: How do you rig the monster arena to win that huge pile of gold?
A: The fight is chosen when you enter the basement. That is why I walk around for a bit before entering. The outcome of the fight is chosen when you talk to the guy taking the bets. Since towns are considered overworld, you can manipulate the outcome by time and by healing. Also, I wanted to do this after leveling because payouts (and fights) are determined by your level.
Q: You take some extra steps before entering the pyramid and the new town. You also take some extra steps in dungeons. Why?
A: These extra steps before entering a town or dungeon manipulate fights when entering the dungeon or exiting the town. The extra steps before the pyramid saved 3 fights. The extra steps before the new town saved a huge wait to avoid a fight when I exited. As for inside the dungeons, enemies can also appear when you enter a new “room” in addition to the regular enemies based on the number of steps you’ve taken. These ‘new room’ enemies can be avoided (or chosen to be fought in the case of the metal babbles) by taking an extra step, or healing before the new room is entered. Unfortunately, to people who don’t know this about the game, the TAS can look sloppy even though it isn’t.
Q: Sometimes you manipulate fights into not occurring, other times you let them happen, but run away. Why?
A: This causes two different outcomes. Running sometimes saved time by causing 3 or 4 less fights to appear in the dungeon. Also, it can be used to get a different next fight.
Q: Why did you fight those Green Dragons in the tower west of Kol?
A: The outcome of that fight made the next Metal Babble fight (and all the fights afterward that were so helpful) appear for me. It took a while to end, I know. However, it was time well spent.
Q: Did you really even need to get the Sphere of Light?
A: Yes. Without it, Heal spells give Zoma HP rather than take it away.
Q: You used a medical herb on Zoma?
A: Yes, I saved it the entire game for just that purpose.
Q: Can Ortega be manipulated into winning the King Hydra fight?
A: I didn’t mess around with this too much, so I’m not sure. I’ve heard that he can win, but still dies of injuries, but I’ve never been able to confirm this. It might just be a myth.

adelikat: Well planned movie. Accepting for publication.
Bisqwit: Marking for encoding by me.

Last Edited by Bisqwit on 4/13/2007 12:59 PM
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