Dragon Warrior 4
Box Shot
Dragon Warrior 4
Platform: NES
Publisher: Enix
Designer: Enix
Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Published Date 1992
Reviewed by: Chuck Roberts

The final NES chapter of the saga, you'll probally wonder how does this ever fit in with the others, since it never evens hears a whisper of Erdrick anywhere. Gone are the abilities to customize your party and deciding names, you can only do this for the hero (and make it female too!). Gone are the days of just one big quest to play, now it's divided up into 5 chapters, all differing in size and characters that you control. Gone is Alefgard, or anything to do with it, now Zenithia is the mystical place that you visit. Dragon Warrior 4 is like a saga of it's own. You meet new characters every chapter, where by Chapter 5, you meet the hero and everything weaves together into one huge climax.

Chapter 1 is a simple, introduction chapter. You must help Ragnar of Burland save some missing children. Along the way, Healie (a healer) joins you in hope of becoming human. The computer controls this character, as you go into Loch Tower to free them. One child named Pipen mentions a special hero. This sends Ragnar on a quest to find the hero that is destined to bring peace.

Chapter 2 is about Princess Alena of Santeem trying to get her father to recognize her freedom. Escaping, Cristo (the chancellor) and Brey (her tutor) join her on a small series of quests. You can control all 3 and it ends with Alena in a contest of strength at Endor, where you first hear the name, Necrosaro (it comes into play later). After everyone at Santeem vanishes mysteriously, Alena and group embark off again.

Chapter 3 is the story of Taloon, a merchant who wants to make it big. He leaves his monotonous job (you get to do it, so it could be interesting) and goes out for his ultimate goal: To own a shop of his own. After playing diplomat and seeking a statue, Taloon gets the shop and his wife and son to move in. After fulfilling orders from the king of Endor (where your shop is), Taloon is tempted by the Zenithian Sword and helps fund a tunnel so he can cross the waters in search for it.

Chapter 4 is the story of Mara and Nara, two sisters who want to avenge their father's death on Balzack, a former student of his. After finding Orin, another of their father's students, they head to Keeleon. After an unsuccessful attempt, the two are forced to depart to Endor to find this hero they learned of.

Chapter 5 is the longest and the final one. It begins with the hero in a secluded village where he is being raised in his mystical heritage. All of a sudden, monsters attack the place, led by Necrosaro (remember?). The hero, hidden away, is the lone survivor and sets out on his quest at age 17. You met new and old characters, some on a temporary basis. You are only able to control the hero, while you can decide on tactics to influence the computer's control of other characters. You meet old characters in reverse order, starting with Mara and Nara and ending with Ragnar. Eventually, Necrosaro becomes a powerful overlord of evil and after visiting Zenithia (where the hero's mother originated from), you befriend the Master Dragon, who guides you to the underworld for the final showdown. Yes, Mara and Nara get revenge and the other problems are solved. A major focus of chapter 5 is to find the Zenithian Sword, Armor, Helmet and Shield so the hero is allowed to enter the realm.

Whew, that's over, now for the evaluation. The graphics have improved very little over DW3, though the towns have...yup, modernized a tiny bit (no electricity yet). Enemies are nothing amazing and the characters don't demand any extra attention.

The sounds are once again the same thing as before, which gets a little old about now. With this Dragon Warrior, like all the others, has a bunch of new music, whoopie doo-dah day! The menu finally has the door command back again, so opening is no longer a chore. The characters mock the classes of DW3 mainly. Ragnar that typical soldier, Alena is a fighter, Taloon is a merchant (but he doesn't find gold anymore), Brey and Mara are both wizards with some different spells and Cristo is a pilgrim-like character. The hero is still a strong attacker with good spells, but now his MP supply is much better than DW3's, plus his spells don't cost as much in MP's anymore!

There are some cool towns with added buildings. Izmit has a school to coop the youngsters up in (everyday too). Endor, the central place of visit, has a neat casino with the only monster ring left in the entire world! Now, houses of healing do the saving and informing and you get a wagon to hold and mix your allies.

The game does have a couple problems though. First, you may feel restricted by the lack of options in this one. You can't even exercise complete control in battles anymore, sometimes nice, until the computer does some pretty dumb things, like having Cristo using Beat or Defeat on a boss multiple times! Pleeeeeaaase! Some of these little quests get so annoying and meeting them in Chapter 5, they're still at the same weak levels! Also, now you got about 8 permanent characters to shop for, yikes! Once again, solo characters now face groups again (Chapters 1, 3 and 5).

You may not think this game is so bad since it does have most of DW3's features, with some nice additions of it's own. Still, the few improvements to the graphics/sound departments kind of bites. Also, you may not feel accustomed to hearing nothing about Erdrick, of which the three previous one's did. It almost is a complete different game, only it's connected by name and a familar way of operating. Dragon Warrior 4 is not a complete disappointment, though it's not the sequel that DW3 was over DW2. It's not as frustrating or exciting as the third, as in the fact that it has a feeling of repetition. Still, it's worth giving it a try, since you may just like it, but if you are faced with a choice between this and 3, don't feel guilty if you pick 3...