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Title: Dragon Warrior (review #3)
Rom Player: NESticle
Reviewer: Tawna Evans

Synopsis: When this game was first introduced, I heard that it was the first electronic Role-Playing Game created, originally known as Dragon Quest in Japan. Playing this game was interesting, because I control the character by operating various menus, rather than pressing single buttons specifically designated for a single function, such as attack or use magic. As a result, nimble finger skills were not essential for beating this game. More important were battle strategizing and peicing clues together. You could purchase weapons, armor, and items. Worlds are explored using an overworld map view, with towns represented by town symbols, and caves represented by cave symbols. Enter a town or a cave, and the view zooms into the area. Enemies appear at random. Once an enemy appears, the view changes to display a background with the enemy facing you, and a battle menu with options to choose from. You could fight, flee, cast a spell, or use an item. Your character has a limited number of hit points and magic points. Once all of the hit points are gone, you die. You defeat enemies to gain experience points. After gaining so many experience points, your character raises to a new level, becoming more powerful. These elements make this game the first of its kind, and set the standard for many RPGs that came after it.

While the game play was unique for its time, the other aspects of the game weren't the most fantastic. The graphics appear rather dull. The battle scenes tend to be the same when wandering through the overworld. Maybe one positive aspect of battle graphics is that the enemies flash once they are struck and the entire screen shakes once the enemy hits you. The music is okay, but gets most exciting during the final battle with the Dragonlord. The Alefgard theme music suits the medievalistic theme of the game. It's also amusing to see all the people in the game communicating using words such as "thou" and "thee." When speaking to people, a text screen appears. You save the game by speaking with the king, who records your journey on the imperial scrolls of honor. One drawback to the sound effects happens while wandering around the place and bumping into objects, including people. It makes an aggravatingly annoying noise. I'm so glad that sound was eliminated in Dragon Warrior II! At all other times, the use of sound effectively helps to know what's going on in the game. You hear a beep whenever you select an option in the menu. There are also different attack sounds during battle scenes. When stepping through dangerous terrain that drains hit points, sounds are made for those, and the screen flashes. The menus play the greatest role in Dragon Warrior's game play. You can call up a menu to talk, cast a spell, search, use an item, use stairs, open a door, and view your status. Should you pause while exploring, a menu appears that displays your level, hit points, magic points, gold, and experience points. The last option might be nice, but does not appear in Dragon Warrior II. This use of menus has become a standard for RPGs that came after Dragon Warrior. The game play is okay when using the direction pad to move around, but you can sometimes step too far without intending to, and the reaction-time can be slow when changing directions in the path you follow. At least this game offers something playable for those people that lack good hand-eye coordination; game control isn't as essential as strategizing, in this game.

Best Cheats: This game doesn't really have any cheats, but you can explore caves to acquire the treasures within repeatedly. They reappear each time you exit and re-enter a cave. I like to do this in the rocky mountain cave (where you find the hero's ring), in order to increase my supply of gold. In addition, if you get lucky, you might stumble across the cursed necklace in the rocky mountain cave, which sells for more than 1000 gold pieces!

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

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