Dragon Warrior 1&2
Reviewed: 04/10/2005


In the vast world of RPGs, it’s very hard to get more classic than the original Dragon Warrior. It is a game that has managed to integrate itself with the Japanese culture in ways that other games can’t even dream of. In this review, we shall explore the Gameboy remake and how the game has withstood the test of time.

As far as story goes, there isn’t a whole lot to see. Basically, you are the descendant of Loto, the legendary hero. Your misssion is to save Princess Lara and stop the machinations of the evil DracoLord. Pretty standard stuff, but then again this practically invented a genre, so it’s probably to be expected. The story did have some moments that rather surprised me. NPCs were given a good amount of personality and the dialogue wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be. Overall, it is a fairly average story, even for the market today. The second game tells the story of three heros who need to prevent an evil sorcerer from destroying the world. Dragon Warrior II delivers pretty standard stuff, but it is at an acceptable quality. The stories aren’t fabulous, but they work for the games.

Screen Shot
And so, the dragon got its head stuck in a building. The silly thing.

The gameplay might very well be where this game suffers the most in today’s modern world. To be honest, the gameplay was rather repetitive and boring, escpecially in Dragon Warrior I. With only one character at your command, bashing the bad guys gets old really fast. The random battles are moderately infrequent, however, and the game as a whole is a bit short. However, you’ll have to do some levelling up at a point, and that’s where you’ll probably find that you just aren’t having fun. The equipment system is very linear, with weapon and armor upgrades coming in straight succession. The battles basically consist of attacking, then the opponent attacking, etc. in a first person view with no animation and very little variety. Dragon Warrior II is a bit better because you now have three party members at your command, each specializing in a different field. You have the pure warrior (main character), the pure mage (a princess), and the one moderately adept at both (a prince). This adds much needed variety to the battles, and helps keep it from getting QUITE as old. I will say, though, that it made quite a few improvements on the originals, such as taking a lot of the menu messing out. If you want to go up the stairs just walk into them; you don’t have to worry about selecting “Stairs” from a menu. But, in the end, gameplay is not these games’ strong point.

Screen Shot
Bow to thy King! Also known as The World’s Only Save Point. He didn’t get to be King for nothing, you know.

The graphics in Dragon Warrior I&II are strictly average, but do the job well considering this game was made to be played on the original Gameboy. The sprites were functional, and the battle backgrounds were okay. The monsters were probably some of the most interesting stuff. They were all designed by Akira Toriyama and so they have a bit of a cartoonish look to them, but for the most part they were nice to look at. It should be noted that Dragon Warrior II has a distressing lack of battle backgrounds.

The sounds of Dragon Warrior I&II weren’t very impressive, but they were functional. The music, however, was actually pretty good. Bits like the one that plays in the castle in Dragon Warrior I and in dungeons was all very heavily classic-influenced and it fits the mood of the game well. Overall, an above average soundtrack for a Gameboy game.

So we come to the conclusion that these games haven’t aged as well as some others. The lack of interesting gameplay is what really hits hard here. The first two games of the series hadn’t allowed for the gameplay to develop yet, and it’s the main thing keeping it from becoming like Final Fantasy 1 here in North America. However, for the hardcore RPGer here is a piece of history that you should probably give a try sometime. The casual gamer had best steer clear though, because there are many better games you could be playing at this point.

-Orie House

Score Breakdown
Below Average
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Bad
Story Below Average
Graphics Average
Sound/Music Good
Replay Value Horrible
The Verdict: 4