Guaranteed 100% Spoiler Free!
Dragon Warrior (aka Dragon Quest) was published in the same era as Final Fantasy by the Enix part of the now-juggernaut Square Enix, or “Squeenix” as lovingly called by us professionals. Also similar to Final Fantasy, it spawned a gaggle of sequels and offshoots. Finally, like all good fantasies, it only made sense to update the graphics, tweak the balance, update the King James script, and re-release the game for a modern console. Well, modern at the time.
But wait, there’s more! Why update one game when you can update two for twice the price? Unlike (classic) Final Fantasy storylines, there is continuity within the (classic) Dragon Warrior franchise. The first three games and second three games each form a story arc. It’s teetering on this first arc where my story begins…
Dragon Warrior I
I named my character Biff (given the four character limitation of the Game Boy version) and quickly learned he was a descendent of Loto (known as Erdrick in the North American NES port). Apparently some evil genius DracoLord (Dragonlord on the NES) had stolen a magic tchotchke and was using it to ruin everything for everybody. Of course, it fell to me to save the world; this wasn’t The Sims where I could expect to beat the game by calling friends and selling used cars.
So it was with great expectations that I nestled into my chair to begin the next chapter of my quest…
Dragon Warrior II
In this adventure, you play as the descendent of the warrior in your first game. So, I named him Baff.
From the introduction, you learn you will not be alone this time. Your first objective is to assemble your team. If you are able to complete this objective, you may have a chance at beating the game. I’m serious.
Fortunately, our third teammate revealed herself much sooner, and we were on our way.
With your team assembled, you embark upon a mighty fetch quest. Unlike the last game, where the McGuffins you collect along the way are either useful or novel, in this game, little of what you collect does more than allow you to collect something else. There are a few neat locations you visit along the way, but the game by and large lacks the charm of the first.
All those changes almost made up for the negatives. That is, until I arrived in the final area and unlocked hard mode. After hours of searching, finding, unlocking, revisiting, band camp, grinding, grinding, and grinding, I felt prepared. Unlike the first game, I had managed a deathless run to this point. I set foot out into this new land and was crushed like an ant on a kindergarten playground. It happened over and over and over again. I was dumbfounded.
Still, despite returning peace to the kingdom once more, my dragon sense tingles. I feel, perhaps, evil has yet to be permanently vanquished. When asked why, I can point to only one sign: the Dragon Warrior III cartridge on my shelf.
To be continued...