Dragon Warrior II - Reader Re-Retroview  

The Pantheon of Evil Spirits
by Prince Jeremy, Duke of Otterland

Medium to Hard
10-15 Hours


Rating definitions 

   The forces of Hargon have destroyed the Kingdom of Moonbrook, with a surviving soldier conveying the news to the Kingdom of Lorasia, whose Prince thus embarks on a quest to find his cousins, descendants of the legendary hero Loto, so he can put a stop to Hargon's ambitions. Dragon Warrior II, originally released on the NES and years afterward remade on the Super Famicom and the Gameboy Color (which this review covers), continues its predecessor's storyline and proves to be a worthy and often challenging sequel in spite of some flaws.

   The first Dragon Warrior sequel disposes of one-on-one random battles in favor of party-based, turn-based random encounters where the player's party of up to three playable characters squares off against an enemy party. Each character has the commands of attacking normally, defending, using an item, or using magic (except in the case of the Prince of Lorasia). A round begins after the player has inputted a command for every character, with character and enemy turn order supposedly depending upon agility, though turn order can annoyingly vary at times.

   Still, battles are fairly fast-paced, and if the player's party happens to die, the game revives the Prince of Lorasia at the last place where the player saved (though his allies will still require revival) at the price of half the player's money, though storing money at banks can somewhat lighten this penalty. There is a bit of a spike in difficulty near the end, moreover, though effective use of the party's skills, maybe the use of certain pieces of equipment as items, can help the player survive the final battles. The combat system is fairly traditional and simple, though it still works overall despite its minor shortcomings.

Though others can still teleport here My own private island

   The interface in the Gameboy Color version is cleaner than it was in the original NES version, with easy menus and shopping, although it can be a bit difficult at times to find out how to advance the main storyline and make it to the end of the game, and that the sequel's world is larger than it was in the first game can make travel and occasional backtracking tedious at times. Each character also has a limited space for items, sometimes requiring trips to depositories. There are, however, spells that can teleport the player's party outside of dungeons and back to the last save point, and overall, interaction is passable but could've certainly been a bit better.

   The leap from one-on-one battles to party-based combat was certainly a big leap in the original version's time, not to mention the expansion of the first game's world in the sequel, which naturally makes for connections to the first Dragon Warrior as well as the return of many enemies. The story itself starts off nicely and provides motivation for the heroes to defeat their enemy, although the plot from thereon falls somewhat flat, with few cutscenes or development until the ending, as was the case in most old RPGs, and isn't much of a reason to play the game.

   Koichi Sugiyama's soundtrack, though, is certainly more of a reason to play, with plenty of good standout tracks such as the sailing theme, though the sequel features many of the same primitive sound effects from the original version. The graphics are nice and colorful, though aren't a whole lot to write home about, with flaws such as inanimate enemies in battle and no indicative scenery in combat, despite Akira Toriyama's decent monster art. All in all, the music nicely fits the game, and the visuals, while not perfect, do have their own simple charm.

   Dragon Warrior II, finally, is a little longer than its predecessor, taking somewhere from ten to fifteen hours to complete, depending upon how much leveling is necessary to win the final battles and how long it takes players to find out how to advance the game. Overall, Dragon Warrior II is a worthy sequel, building upon its predecessor and featuring an easy, though sometimes challenging, battle system, a larger world to explore, and decent music, among other things, despite a few flaws. It mightn't be as complex as many modern RPGs, although those looking for a decent old-school experience will likely enjoy this.

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