Developer: Enix Corporation
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Genre: Turn Based RPG
Release Date: August 1989
As a descendant of the hero Erdrick, You have been tasked to defend the kingdom from the clutches of the villainous Dragonlord. Your first task is to seek out the mighty dragon that has kidnapped the fair princess. Will you rise up to the challenge and live up to the legacy left by your mighty ancestor?
Very little can be said about the story or its characters beyond the premise. What Dragon Warrior really did for its franchise is create a style for its games. The use of lines such as “A slime draws near” and “Thou hast done well in defeating the Slime” have become well known lines. This ye olde style of speech is still used in current Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest games, and with each new game, I look forward to it. Not many games out there still use this language, so it maintains its individuality with this method.
Ok, we’re talking 8-bit graphics here, but they still managed to create a good looking set of monsters for its time. Many of these designs have only been updated over the years to look better and better. For me, a game system that can keep using the same monsters over the years and still be impressed by them helps define the success of a series. These designs were made by Akira Toriyama, famous for the DragonBall franchise. It’s hard to see this unique art style in an 8-bit game, but it becomes more and more familiar down the road.
The music for Dragon Warrior was composed by Koichi Sugiyama. This composer has been working on the Dragon Quest franchise from the beginning, and has had a hand in most, if not all games in the series. I found the music for this game incredibly memorable, in that after twenty five years, I can still remember the music for the world map, and the continuously used level up music. When I’m not even thinking about the Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest franchise, I catch myself whistling these tunes every now and then and knowing exactly where they are from. It’s that kind of impact that really helps make a game a classic in the eyes of fellow gamers.
Gameplay – Exploration/Combat
Exploring dungeons, towns, and the world map are done with the classic bird’s eye style. There is also an action menu that is used to do things like opening treasure chests, or opening doors. Once combat begins, things are seen from a first person perspective. You only see the monster, and never yourself.
During combat, you have four main options. Attack, Cast magic, use an item, or attempt to flee. If you’re not keeping track of your health, you are warned when you are critically low on HP with all the white text and borders turning red. Simple, but effective.
There really isn’t anything inherently special about combat in the game. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable experience when you feel like some simplicity.
Gameplay – Character Progression
Once again, we are dealing with a simple system. You gain experience after battle, and you level up. At certain levels, you will receive a new spell. Spells are balanced based on the challenge you are facing with monsters, so when you get the spell, it will most likely make things easier for you.
I was hoping to write more for this game, but it’s not that easy with a game that has much less depth than a game you would find on a later generation console. That being said, I find myself going back to it every now and again. It’s not a long game, as it can be cleared in ten hours at most.
What’s nice is that the game has be re-released for Android and IOS devices, and the graphics were jazzed up to look a bit more modern. It’s nice that I don’t have to break out an NES every time I want to play it.
This was my first RPG. Maybe that’s why it sticks with me more than other games do. I can remember spending time at my friend’s house playing it for hours, finishing it several times. Each time I go back to it, it’s hard to put down until it’s done. If you are looking for a quick fix that’s not too challenging, and not nearly as deep as other games, give it a try.