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Title: Dragon Warrior II
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Tawna Evans

Synopsis: After the hero from Dragon Warrior defeated the Dragonlord, he embarked on another journey with Princess Guaelin to establish his own kingdom. Generations pass by, and his descendants become the rulers of three kingdoms: Middenhall, Moonbrooke, and Cannock. The people in these kingdoms live their lives peacefully, until one day the minions of Hargon invade Moonbrooke castle.

The game begins with showing the invasion of Moonbrooke castle. You control the game at this point by controlling the rate at which you read the dialog appears on the screen. The characters move around the screen, simulating the action in the dialog. This opening story is one of my favorite aspects of the game. The invaders defeat all of the guards in the castle, except for one, who journeys to Middenhall to warn the king of Moonbrooke's defeat. Upon hearing the news, the king asks his son to journey with the prince of Cannock and defeat Hargon. At this point, your adventure begins!

The game play is similar to that of the first Dragon Warrior, except that instead of controlling a single character, you control up to three: the princes of Middenhall and Cannock, and the princess of Moonbrooke. The worlds you explore in this game are considerably larger than of the first, plus the prince of Cannock and the princess of Moonbrooke have a plethora of spells at their command, instead of the small handful offered in the first Dragon Warrior game. There are also lots of weapons and armor to choose from and many treasures to find. Using the control pad to explore the world is much easier than it was in the previous Dragon Warrior game; the reponse time is much faster. Changing directions in the path you follow isn't as much of a problem as it was before. Another difference to this game are the options that appear in your basic menu. No longer must you press stairs to climb stairs; the game does that for you automatically. In additon, you can the option of choosing which weapons and armor to wear, using the equip command. The weapons and armor you own appear in the items menu. You can use this to swap gear with the different characters. I miss the door command. In its place, you select a key from the items menu. The doors appear in different colors and shapes, and there's a different key for each.

The music in this game adds to the game play. You hear a different tune while traveling in the overworld, depending on how many players you have in your party. There is an exception, in that the land of Alefgard has his own theme song, which is the same tune that was played in the first Dragon Warrior game. The geography of Alefgard appears slightly different and smaller, but it still includes many of the original landmarks. This area's importance in the game is minimal, in comparison to the rest of the land around it. You can sail around the world in a ship, journeying to distant lands and all around the globe. A separate melody accompanies your trip at sea. You also enter various towers, caves, shrines, and palaces. You can teleport from place to place by entering the teleport spirals that are normally located inside each of the shrines. Fittingly, once you do so, you hear a spiral-like sound effect, and rainbow colors spiral around within the teleporter. Many of the sound effects in this game are the same as the one in the original Dragon Warrior game. One subtle difference is the lack of a bump sound whenever you bump into objects and people. It's nice that you don't hear it when bumping into people, but sometimes I miss the sound while exploring labyrinths, because it clues me in that I touched a boundary while exploring. The graphics in this game are not too fancy. However, fancy graphics are not as important as quality game play and large worlds to explore. It's a fair trade-off that I appreciate.

Best Cheats: Under normal circumstances, you may only acquire one gown made of water flying cloth. This garb offers tremendous protection for the princess of Moonbrooke and the prince of Cannock. Wouldn't it be great to get two of them? With this cleaver cheat, you can. Once you give Don Mahone the magic loom and dew's yarn, do not save the game just yet. Before doing so, acquire a second set of the loom and yarn. Once you do that, save the game, then press reset. Once you continue the game, Don Mahone will give you a gown made of water flying cloth. Speak to him again, and he will take the second set of the loom and yarn, and he will make another gown made of water flying cloth. Now, all you have to do is save the game, press reset, then return to Don Mahone. By then, he will present you with a second gown made of water flying cloth.

Sailing around the world can be time consuming. Should you wish to take a short cut around the map, what you do is use a teleport to get close to where you want the be. Once you do that, save the game at a place near where you would like your ship to appear. Press reset and continue the game. Once you exit the town, the ship will emerge right before your eyes!

Before facing Hargon, you must battle against three powerful monsters: Atlas, Bazuzu, and Zarlox. Battling these monsters will drain away the magic and life of your heros. After that, you must face Hargon. Would'nt it be great to bypass these deadly foes and face Hargon fully powered up? There is a way to do it. First, defeat those three henchmen. Once you arrive at Hargon's chamber, exit and return to the final monolith, where you can restore your life and save the game. DO NOT PRESS RESET. (If you do, those three monsters will not disappear, and you will have to battle them again.) Return to Hargon's castle. On the return trip to Hargon's chamber, you will notice that the three henchmen have disappeared. Now, you're all set to face Hargon with the magic points of your heros at a decent level.

Game Play: 8
Graphics: 5
Music/Sound: 7
Originality: 6
Overall Rating: 7

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