This was the first RPG I ever played. The year was 1990. I was eight years old and I was hooked on the role playing genre ever since.
I didn’t quite understand the concept of a RPG at the time. When I played this game for the first time, I took the hero, walked him out of the castle, running as far as I could through the map, evading every enemy until I was instantly killed by a Wyvern. It was then I realized this was not like the rest of my NES titles. I had to think a little more.
Dragon Warrior is a title about a single hero who has been hired by the King of the land to save his smoking hot Daughter/Princess only to find out he has to save the WORLD by defeating the king of all Dragons and an Evil Wizard.
I personally believe this was the best RPG ever created for the NES. It may hold a special place in my heart because it was in fact the first RPG I ever played, but I like to think it was the sense of accomplishment you had from defeating baddies and earning experience points to level up. Gaining experience points was the key factor in learning new spells and gaining more HP etc. to aid you on your perilous quest. The sense of accomplishment was not with out a little hard earned work. It wasn’t uncommon to spend two hours trying to kill Gold Giant Gollum’s to earn enough gold for that decent set of armor to better protect you from that blast of fire headed towards your face.
One rare thing about this game are the battles. Every battle is one on one, but don’t let the one on one battles fool you. Some of the monsters in this game are very tough and the Artificial Intelligence was above average for its time. Sure the smiley face blue and red slimes are easy to kill, but spend 5 minutes in a fight with a metal slime only to have it run away when its hit points are next to nothing.
Some of the weapons and armor purchased were pretty unique. Nothing like an item that will regenerate hit points after every step walked. A lot of the dungeons/caves explored were more like mazes (isn’t that how they are supposed to be?) and it was quite easy to get lost, especially if you couldn’t see anything. The music was memorable as was most of the classic NES titles, but above all else I think the music from the title screen is something that always stands out in my mind when I think of this game.
After replaying this game via emulation with save states, it was much easier to complete. With that said, it was still tough and time consuming. I easily logged 60 plus hours into this game as a tyke just leveling up enough to defeat the baddies of the land. With save states and various emulator tools it took a long time as well. I think this game paved the way for every other JRPG after it. Overall I would like to give this game a A minus. For its time it was the best and only RPG of its time. A instant classic that I can go back to every decade and retain a smile.