Dragon Warrior I & II - Re-Retroview  

Children of Loto
by Prince Jeremy, Duke of Otterland

Medium to Hard
15-25 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Enix originally released the first two installments of its Dragon Quest series, very popular in Japan, on the Famicom, but would, years later, remake both games together on the Super Famicom, releasing them in Japan late in 1993. However, that collection wouldn't see the light of day in America since Enix's American branch was closed for much of the '90s, although later in the decade, Enix again remade the first two Dragon Quests on the Gameboy Color; in this instance, since their American branch had revived, the collection, Dragon Warrior I & II, did see its American release. The collection, loosely based on the Japan-only Super Famicom versions, proves to be a pair of enjoyable titles.

   Both titles feature fast-paced, randomly-encountered turn-based battles, with the first game featuring one-on-one fights and the second game featuring party-based battles with up to three characters. Both games require players to input commands for their characters and let them and the enemy fight each other in a round, with the typical flaw of unpredictable turn order, which can vary at times even with the same set of enemies, being present. Death in either game results in the player being returned to the last save point with half his or her gold lost, although storing money in banks can somewhat nullify this penalty. Overall, both battle systems work well despite their simplicity, and are reason enough to play through the collection.

   The interfaces of both games are better than in their respective original versions, with clean menus and easy shopping in spite of some flaws such as limited inventory space (though there are depositories) and a general lack of direction on how to advance through their main storylines. Still, interaction doesn't detract too heavily from either title.

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   The collection, as mentioned, is loosely based on the original Super Famicom ports of both games, with changes like added items, increased enemy rewards, banks, depositories, and so forth. The original versions of both games, though, were fairly unique in their time, with the original Dragon Warrior, even today, being one of the sole RPGs with one-on-one turn-based battles, and its sequel decently building upon its predecessor with an expanded battle system and world with story connections to the original.

   The stories of both games, however, still suffer from the same general simplicity as they did in their original versions, although both do have opening cutscenes that establish their respective plots. Nonetheless, both game's stories don't receive any further development afterward aside from occasional NPC conversations and by extent their endings, which, in the end, makes their plots hardly reasons enough to play them.

   Koichi Sugiyama's soundtrack, however, remains a strong point in both games, with plenty of decent tracks, though the sound effects by large remain the same as they were in their original versions. The visuals aren't as strong, with shortcomings like inanimate enemies and no battle scenery in the second game, although they are nice and colorful, and feature Akira Toriyama's decent monster art. All in all, the music nicely fits each game, and the graphics don't detract too heavily.

   Neither game is terribly lengthy, with the first taking from five to ten hours to complete and the second from ten to fifteen hours. Still, both titles are fairly enjoyable, with easy but fast battle systems and nice music, among other things. There are certain aspects in each title that could've been better, although both games are worthy remakes, and deserve a look from gamers seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of modern RPGs.

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