GB – #34 – Dragon Warrior I and II

History:

I’ve never played Dragon Warrior II (Though I’ve never heard its praises sung) and I’ve never played this compilation on the GBC before. I do have and have played the original Dragon Warrior on the NES though, and have never beaten it. To be honest, it was never one of my favorite games.

Expectations:

I’m hoping that having the game on a portable console, and having the game updated and optimized for the experience, will help me better appreciate it. I’m not entirely sure if I have the attention span to make it through both games, but I should at least be able to handle the first one.


Day 1:

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The little slideshow cut scene in the beginning of the game is a nice touch, and adds some context. The princess was kidnapped and stuff is bad and I’m the descendant of some legendary hero and RPG…

I was happy right away to see that the ye olde English from the NES version was gone. Some flavor is fine, but I always found it somewhat distracting. I was also happy to see the classic Dragon Warrior control scheme was ditched in favor of something much more sensible. Now I can just interact directly with objects by pressing A, and walk up and down stairs just by walking over them.

After exploring the castle and taking one step outside…

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Combat is pretty decent actually. I set the message speed to the fastest it will go and battles zip by nice and quickly. I bought some armor and a weapon from the nearby town where I learned of Leto’s Tomb to the north. Before setting off, I farmed slimes until I reached lv3 and learned Heal.

The tomb was dark, requiring the use of the torch I was given earlier. Now able to see where I was going, I navigated the monster-free cave and located Leto’s tombstone, informing me that there were three sages all possessing an item I need around the world… great…

After that I headed back to the first town and farmed up 180g (Enemies drop between 2-4g) and bought my Copper Sword which made a pretty massive difference in damage.

Incidentally I ran into one while getting lost on the world map.

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sigh

This is where I had to pack things up. I’m a bit worried that I can’t really form a solid opinion on this game yet. Even games I hated I had plenty to write about, but so far this RPG just seems so painfully generic and boring that I’m having trouble not getting bored. That’s not to say I’m giving up on it, I’ll give it its due time.


Day 2:

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With little to no guidance and where to go for my quest, I fired up Google and found an incredibly helpful world map. Funny how after travelling forever I found that the cave I was looking for was practically next door to the castle… Before entering I went back to town to buy an herb and a torch, then wandered around leveling up just a little more.

Those red tiles are apparently poison marshes, which sap 1 HP every time I step on them, so good thing I grabbed an herb before spelunking.

Good thing I grabbed that torch as well…

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The monsters in the cave were tougher than I was used to, but nothing I couldn’t manage. Definitely emphasized my need for some better armor though… After exploring the cave for a bit I came across a stairway. Turns out this stairway leads to the cave’s southern exit… and upon re-entering the cave, I was delighted to find my torch had expired…

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Well, the monsters waiting for me on the other side of the river were a bit too much, and I was dead soon enough. Luckily the game doesn’t really punish you for dying, and simply sends you back to the castle and lets you save.

Guess I’ll try again tomorrow, with more torches!


Day 3:

I am sick.

Not the awesome “Well since I can’t do anything else I may as well sit on the couch and play video games all day” kind of sick but the “I just had a long night at Buffalo Wild Wings and I should have known better but I didn’t and now my body can’t physically cope with what I just put it through” kind of sick.

Even still, I’ve found a bit of time for some RPG’ing.

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Although really all that entailed was a bit of grinding. I’m surprised no one in Kol noticed I was running laps around their city for about a half an hour. Anyway, I eventually farmed up the 800g I was after to buy my Iron Shield and have another go at the Marsh Cave.

Unfortunately… that’ll have to wait while I go… take care of something…


Day 4:

Last night I threw the game on the TV via the Gamecube’s GBA player, and hated it. I played just long enough to backtrack to Kol and pick up the PixyFlute, the shut it down.

Today I was able to squeeze in some solid lunch-time play, picking up right where I left off. Nothing too exciting though, just a bit more exploring and a LOT more farming. I traveled back through the Marsh Cave and found the town of Rimuldar, home of magic keys and pricey armor. I bought up a stash of keys and circled the town, fighting the more difficult native monsters. The goal was 1500g for a new sword, and in the process I made it to Lv10 which, among other things, included a Light spell, meaning not having torches could no longer screw me.

I thought about sticking around to farm up the gold for that Steel Armor, but decided to move on instead, this time in search of the ShinyHarp.

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My new set of magic keys gained me access, but it was at that moment I had to turn it in for the day. Still, new places! Yay!


Day 5:

Didn’t get to play as long as I usually do today but I did play!

Apparently I’m not as awesome as I thought I was, or at least I got a little careless. I explored down to the second floor of the tomb and found a dead end, and some nice treasures along the way. Unfortunately, I didn’t heal when I should have and a monster sent me back to the castle. These are the same monsters that I was fighting earlier around Rimuldar so I really should have known.

It’s not a long walk back to the tomb, but it’s getting harder to maintain interest in this one…


Day 6:

Back to the dungeon!

I didn’t get lost this time, which was a huge plus, and I was more careful with the monsters. I made it down a few floors, taking it easy and picking up treasure chests along the way, until some crazy rogue skeleton started beating on me at a third of my health at a time while healing between attacks! Needless to say…

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Sigh…

At this point I’m out of keys, or at least don’t have enough to get back to where I was before. I’ll have to take a long hike back to Rimuldar to restock, and apparently do a good deal more grinding while I’m out.

The problem here is that I really don’t feel the incentive to move forward. I know that once I find this thing, I’ll have to grind levels then find another thing, then grind and find another thing, then go kill the bad guy. Cue credits. The payoff doesn’t feel worth the frustration, and I’ve given this game plenty of my time, enough to be able to call it quits and not feel too bad about it…

…and move on to Dragon Warrior II.


Day 7:

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Well that sure was nice. 50g and a copper sword would have been like a half hour of farming in the first game!

Right off the bat there’s some obvious differences from the first game, and I’m finding the majority of them to be good ones. I’m more engaged in the story for one thing. Your character from the first game has been busy and his descendants have all established kingdoms. Now the newest generation of Leto’s bloodline must defeat some evil force that’s already attacked one of their castles. Great, fine, I have a reason to do what I’m doing and I don’t find it annoying. Off to a good start.

It’s a bit of a bummer that battle backgrounds from the first game have been REMOVED, but at least you can fight multiple enemies, as well as have some party members!

The leveling in this game also seems to be a little faster, and at least for now the combat is a bit easier. Things seem to be moving at a slightly faster pace and I really appreciate that.

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Also gone are dark caves! Say what you will about immersion but I found them to be annoying in the first game and I’m glad to see more of the dungeon maps this time around. It’s just too bad the music isn’t as good as the first game’s…

I didn’t have a lot of time to play today, but Dragon Warrior II has my attention, which is frankly surprising after how I felt about the first game. Still, we’ll have to see if that can keep up…


Day 8:

Only took a week but I finally got the chance to play this game again, and should be getting even more Gameboy time in the near future!

We last left off with me reaching the Hero’s Spring in search of Prince John. After exploring the cave, leveling up along the way, I was informed that I just missed him, and that he was on his way to my own castle of Lorasia! After healing up and heading out of the spring, I started south…

Upon reaching Lorasia I was told I just missed John AGAIN! Annoying, but fine. I eventually find him lounging in some pub off to the west…

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Yay…

John joined my party at lv1, which meant I should spend time leveling and gearing him, but instead I decided to just bring him along into the higher level zones and hope he’d catch up quickly.

After buying the poor guy a shield we headed off to the Silver Mine in search of a key. John did in fact level quickly, but, not quite quickly enough…

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Oh @#$% you dad!

Death in DW2 works just like it did in the first game, only this time you’ll respawn at the last king you talked to rather than the starting castle. Time to try again… tomorrow!


Day 9:

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Okay, real talk time…

When I get to the point with a long game where the thought of sitting down and playing it again fills me with some weird combination of dread and boredom, it’s time to call it. I put in another 45 minutes this morning and I just don’t feel the want or need to keep moving forward…


Conclusion:

So… Dragon Warrior. I’ve never really liked this series’ older games. Not sure what it is, probably exposure. I loved 7 and 8, even beating the former, but my NES copy of Dragon Warrior 1 will probably sit lonely on the shelf for years to come.

I’m still looking forward to playing the widely considered “good” games like Dragon Warrior III and DragonQuest IV, but these first two just did not do it for me. The gameplay is, for all intents and purposes, fine. It functions well enough to almost stand on its own and carry you forward. Unfortunately, the games are SO generic and uninteresting, there’s little else to move you from place to place. It’s so bad it starts to feel like work after a while. Dragon Warrior II tries to help in this regard by setting up more of a back story to events than its predecessor did, but once the game itself got going you were right back to go to A to find B to go to C to find D…

Now, even though I really didn’t enjoy the time I spent with this game, I still appreciate it, or rather its original incarnation, for what it is. Without Dragon Warrior we probably wouldn’t have Final Fantasy, and the landscape of console JRPGs would be radically different than it is now. It’s an important game, and that’s why I have it on my shelf in the first place. The GBC ports offer a better, faster, easier why of playing that game, but in the end a shiny new coat of paint isn’t enough to hide the fact that, really, these weren’t the greatest games.

Liked:

– Fast. light combat helped the game flow quickly.
– Leveling and grinding is much easier than the NES originals.
– In addition, the field save system makes this game play very well as a portable title.

Disliked:

– Game practically requires a map.
– Very little direction in what you’re supposed to be doing, or where you should be going.
– Story is overly generic, if barely existent at all.
– Like most early JRPGs the game demands a ton of grinding, even in the GBC ports.

Dragon Warrior I and II

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One comment on “GB – #34 – Dragon Warrior I and II

  1. Pingback: Breath of Fire II – Day 5 | 600 Games

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