Once you rescue the Princess you get her love which can tell you where you are in relation to the castle. You have to locate several important objects on your quest, but the three most important items you need to complete the game are the Stones of Sunlight, the Staff of Rain, and Erdrick's Token, which will prove you are indeed Erdrick's descendent. Once you have all three, you can obtain the Rainbow Drop and form the bridge to Charlock Castle, the stronghold of Dragonlord. There you fight the evil master himself in the final battle to decide the fate of the land.
The graphics are a mixed bag. In the overhead scenes there's plenty of color but everything is made up of blocks. The towns all look the same, as do the caves, and neither have very much detail. The sprites look fine but again aren't the best. The battle scenes, on the other hand, fare a little better. The monsters look pretty good, and unlike the other NES Dragon Warrior titles, you actually have a background in the fight scenes, which looks decent. The music also has its up and downs. Some of the main background tunes, like the overworld scenes and the dungeon theme, are nice to listen to. The battle music, on the other hand, is hard on the ears, and you'll be hearing it a lot. The sound effects are just there and nothing more.
Since the game is mostly menu driven, there's really no problem with the controls. Moving your character around is pretty much a breeze. One curious thing is that in this game, to go up and down stairs you have to use the STAIRS command, which is redundant considering that 99% of all other RPGS (including the other Dragon Warriors) have you automatically go up and down when you touch them. You also have to use the TAKE command to claim any treasure chests you find. Other than that the controls are just fine.
Dragon Warrior may be an RPG in its simplest form. There's only a handful of towns, a few dungeons, and not much variety in weapons or armor. Also gamers used to having groups of heroes in other RPGs may not enjoy the whole one-on-one system this cart uses. But that doesn't mean you'll breeze right through it. This game still requires many hours to reach the end of your quest. Most of the time will be spent fighting numerous battles to get experience and raise funds for that new weapon. It can get tedious at time, but overall it does prove to be very fun and addicting. It also gives you satisfaction when you get strong enough and finally conquer that monster that plagued you for so long. The challenge level is pretty fair; it's not easy, but it's not really difficult either. Although the monsters do sometimes get advatages, such as free hits on you, the game never really gets frustrating. Usually you die from trying too much and not knowing when to run to an inn. One negative is that there's only one save spot in the whole game (King Lorik), which means you have to travel all the way back to Tantegel Castle to save your game. Unless you have a Wing of Wyvern or know the Return spell, you could be in for a long hike.
After all is said and done Dragon Warrior may not be as advanced as the role-playing games that followed, but that doesn't make it a bad title. Quite the opposite; Dragon Warrior is still a very fun RPG to play through, even after all this time. Despite the less-than-stellar visuals and audio, and the fact that the laters games have more depth, DW1 still delivers some great gameplay that's challenging and addicting, especially for players who aren't RPG masters. Plus who wouldn't want to play through the pioneer of modern console RPGs. Overall while more advanced RPGs can be found on the NES, Dragon Warrior provies an enjoyable journey that PRG fans should definetly take up.
- Review posted on May 13, 2006