Dragon Quest III Soundtrack (Nintendo 3DS), Koichi Sugiyama, 2017
While its predecessors had been immensely successful in their own right, it was really with 1988’s Dragon Quest III that the venerable franchise turned into a commercial juggernaut. The original NES game itself sold a staggering 3.8 million copies in Japan alone. Add in a few more million copies for the game’s various remakes and Dragon Quest III turns out to be the franchise’s most successful entry (it also spawned an urban myth about the Japanese government blocking future releases of Dragon Quest games on school days to curb truancy). The game itself didn’t revolutionise the JRPG genre, but developer Chunsoft still expanded upon the gameplay of the first two Dragon Quest titles with the introduction of a character class system. This feature would become a staple of future Dragon Quest games.
After Dragon Quest II’s music had been a marked improvement over its predecessor, Koichi Sugiyama returned for the Dragon Quest III soundtrack, further expanding its breadth and diversity. Sugiyama continued to move away from the template he had established on Dragon Quest I, now including a greater number of location-specific compositions (as opposed to using the same composition for each town / dungeon / castle etc.) The NES score’s quality remained somewhat patchy, but the soundtrack also featured several highlights such as the magisterial ending theme “Into the Legend”.