Dragon Warrior
Box Shot
Dragon Warrior
Platform: NES
Publisher: Nintendo
Designer: Enix
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Published Date 1989
Reviewed by: Tim Connolly

This game was the first game I ever really "wanted." Sure, SMB3 and MM2 looked like good games too, but I was really into medeival stuff back then (heck, I still am in some respects) and my friends had the other two games already, so if need be I could always borrow them. I got it as a birthday gift (when my friend subscribed me to NP, the game was a freebie) and it's been a great game ever since. This game is one of my favorites.

You can tell that it's one of the oldest RPGs out there without much difficulty. The thing that really sets this game apart is its plot (or lack thereof as the case may be). It's all very straight-forward: "There's a bad guy. Kill him. Oh, while you're at it, my daughter was kidnapped too. Save her if you can get around to it." There are no twists in the storyline, and very little happening between the start of the game and the end. One thing I did notice, though, was the enormous amount of backstory and exposition used to counteract the simplicity of the game. There's a lot of reference to Erdrick, the legendary knight who once trounced the Dragonlord a long time ago and just happens to be your ancestor. In fact, quite a bit of your quest involves proving the fact that you're his descendant.

The technical aspects of this game are fairly average. The graphics are bright and colorful, but lack detail. There's also a lack of variety in the terrain. Not only do all the forests and swamps look alike, but none of them seem blend in with each other. It's as if the programmers just randomly mapped out the kingdom. Also, there are only two battle backgrounds, one for the overworld and one for caves. Thus, no matter where you're attacked, it'll always be the same backdrop behind the enemy. The enemies do have a decent amount of detail to them, though, and again everything is rather colorful.

I refuse to play this game without listening to my stereo. The music isn't that bad, but again there's a lack of variety. It's especially annoying to hear the first three notes of the traveling theme over and over again, when you take a step, get attacked, take another step, have another confrontation, and so on. Besides, that high note is off-key. ^_^ I do like the ending music, though, and the town music is okay, albeit a bit loud. The sounds are also average. For one thing, those "attack" noises sound really wussy. Everything else sounds okay, though.

It'll take a little while to get used to the controls of this game. The character's movement is a bit sticky. While this isn't a real big issue for RPGs, there is a bit of a problem when you just miss a corridor i n a dungeon and wind up getting lost. Another problem is how the townspeople have no AI. Because of this, they'll block your path numerous times, and they won't have the sense to get out of the way. This can be a major pain. Apart from that, everything is pretty good. Although I do wonder why there's both a pause button and an "action" button when you're traveling. It isn't like anyone is going to sneak up behind you when you're standing still.

Since the game is 99% mindless hack-and-slash, it's a fairly easy game, even more of an exercise in patience than Final Fantasy. Most of the work regards getting your levels to the point where you can keep those Magidrakees from pounding you into the ground, while saving up the gold to buy better weapons and armor. This doesn't mean that the enemies don't cheat, though. They get a number of unanswered abilities, including the ability to attack without retribution, the ability to dodge critical hits (this really gets me mad), and the power to use HEAL and HEALMORE spells over and over again with seemingly infinite MP. Once you get over that, though, even the Dragonlord is a pushover.

While the game is technically mediocre with very little plot forwarding, I like this game a lot. Why? For one thing, it's mindless. Keep fighting until you drop to X Hit Points, then go back to the castle, heal yourself, and do it all over again. Also, it's more addictive than you think. Once I start a new game, it's very difficult to pull myself away from it until I beat the Dragonlord. Plus, the frustration level is pretty low, and if I have a CD on, it's a fabulous waste of time.

Because of the Nintendo Power giveaway, this game is not that difficult to find. Once you get it, though, you'll have the time of your life. It's not a technical masterpiece, but then again, it never has to be.

Read more NES reviews at Logaroo's NES site. Republished with permission.


Reviewed By: Adam King
If there's a genre of NES games as big as action, it's RPGs. There are RPGs for everyone. However, we cannot forget the grandaddy of all RPGs, Dragon Warrior. Originally prouced by Enix in Japan, it was released here by Nintendo.

Here's the story. The kingdom of Alefgard used to be a peaceful place, until a man named Dragonlord appeared, and with an army of monsters brought chaos to the land. However, a warrior named Erdrick came along and fought back. Some time later, the Dragonlord returned and attacked Tantegel Castle. His army stole the Ball of Light and abducted Princess Gwaelin. Now it's up to you, a descendant of Erdrick, to rescue the Princess and destroy the Dragonlord.

When you start out, you're pretty weak, barely enough to handle a slime. You need to go from town to town, battling mosnters along the way. Outside of towns, you appear on an overworld map. When you encounter a monster on the map, it switches to a battle scene. Both you and the monster take turns doing damage until one of you wins(or you run away). Each monster you kill gives you gold and experience points. The experience points build up, and when you have enough, you advance to the next level, where you becopme stronger and toughter. Once you reach Level 3, you'll start learning spells, like Heal (which recovers Hit points), Hurt (gee, I wonder), Return (warps you back to the castle), and others. When you reach the town, you use gold to buy better weapons and armor, other stuff, like torches (to see in dungeons, otherwise all is dark), herbs, and others, and you might get a room at the inn, which recharges your hit points and magic points(good night's sleep).

The graphics may have been nice back then, but now, they look old. They're basically blocks (the later games had a bit more detail). The sounds are not that great, either. Again, they may have been good then, but now, they sound sort of lame. The challenge is good. As you progress, you need to fight bigger and tougher monsters, and the Dragonlord can't be beaten unless you're at least at Level 30.

With all the RPGs out there, this cannot compete. However, it's a good journey into the past, so you might want to take a trip.