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Dragon Quest/ Dragon Warrior I Review (NES)

Story

Excellent (4)

Satisfactory (3.0)

Needs improvement (2.75)

Notes: There is not much here as far as story goes. The hero, who is a descendant of the legendary hero Erdrick sets out to rescue a princess and save the world from the evil dragonlord. The story is not terrible for a game from this era, but it definitely is not enough to motivate a player to grind through the game.

Poor (1)

See me after class (0)

Gameplay

Excellent (4)

Satisfactory (3.25)

Notes: Gameplay is one of the better aspects of the game. As one of the first RPGs of its kind, it heavily relies on simple combat mechanics and has very limited interactions outside of it. There are some cool spells that can be used outside of combat that helps the player overcome certain overworld obstacles. The combat itself is pretty repetitive. The player will see a lot of the same enemies, without many varying attacks. Progression through the game is completely dependent on player’s level of strength. Leveling up nets the hero character some stat boosts (more or less depending on how you name the character), which are crucial to making it through the game.

Needs improvement (2)

Poor (1)

See me after class (0)

Design

Excellent (4)

Satisfactory (3.5)

Notes: The designs for this game are impressive for the time. Akira Toriyama contributes his talents to the games artwork, which are then converted down to pixel models. The character and enemy designs are quite nice overall. The main problem I have is that the overworld is quite bland and empty and there are repetitive enemy designs. Even with these flaws, game design was easily my favorite part of Dragon Quest I.

Poor (1)

See me after class (0)

Sound

Excellent (4)  

Satisfactory (3)

Needs improvement (2.75)

Notes: There just isn’t enough here for sound to justify a high score. The soundtrack is very limited. Understanding the constraints of the NES console, I can’t give it too much criticism based solely on lack of diversity. Many of the games in that era are limited to around a dozen tracks. Nothing sticks out as far as music goes and due to the grinding nature of gameplay I often muted the sound altogether. The sound definitely did not add much to the game, sadly.

Poor (1)

See me after class (0)

Replayability

Excellent (4)

Satisfactory (3)

Needs improvement (2)

Poor (1.75)

Notes: Once the game is complete, there is very little to draw someone back in. I would like to play this game on a different versions in the hopes of getting more enjoyment out of a second playthrough. I can’t see myself ever returning to the NES version, when there are superior versions of the game available. The NES version is decent, but the mobile versions are supposed to be better.

See me after class (0)

Credit to: ShiinaSoreiyu

Closing Remarks: Dragon Quest I was enjoyable overall. Some aspects that I didn’t like was grinding in order to advance the story was the majority of the game. I spent most of the near 24 hours of in-game time grinding to level up the hero character. I also didn’t care for the emptiness of the game. Although there are NPCs in the game, they are mostly there to give hints to player, so they can figure out where to go next. This game is incredibly difficult to navigate (at least in the NES version) and it can be difficult to know where to go without using a guide. The most praise I can give this game lies in the design. Toriyama’s work is excellent and I must give credit to the team that was able to translate his artwork into a video game format.

If you are a player that hates grinding, I can’t recommend this game to you, however, if you don’t mind grinding and are a fan of simple RPGs, then Dragon Quest I is the game for you.

Final Verdict: 14/20

A+ 97%-100%

A 93%-96%

A-90%-92%

B+ 87%-89%

B 83%-86%

B- 80%-82%

C+ 77%-79%

C 73%-76%

(C- 70%-72%)

D+ 67%-69%

D 63%-66%

D- 60%-62%

F+ 50%-59%

F 40%-49%

F- 30%-39%

F – – 0%-30%

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