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Retro Dragon Warrior I & II and Dragon Warrior III for the Game Boy Color (my wonderful introduction to the Dragon Quest series)

May 9, 2019
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What I love about older games, especially the graphics, is that a lot of what you experience can be left to the player's imagination. This is especially true for what was my introduction to the Dragon Quest (then Dragon Warrior) series almost 20 years ago, via a dual pack release of the first two games on a single cartridge. Shortly after that, I had played Dragon Warrior III and my mind was blown by the twists in its story along with the new gameplay features (class system, mini medals etc). It was a proper sequel and a great end - or I should say, beginning - to the Loto/Erdrick trilogy.

From left to right, you can see how the graphics improved between Dragon Warrior I & II and Dragon Warrior III on the Game Boy Color Game Boy Color :




One thing I particularly liked about Dragon Warrior III were the brief attack animations of the monsters during battle (see the far-right screenshot below). Although nothing to really get excited about nowadays, back then I thought it was one of the coolest things to see happen in a handheld RPG, making the turn-based battles more immersive in my opinion.

And although the two sequels didn't retain any backgrounds during battles, a nice tradeoff was that you gained two party members in Dragon Warrior II and then three party members for a total of four in Dragon Warrior III.



And the intro to Dragon Warrior III was amazing. Funny thing was that I would find out later there was an SNES version which of course looked even better.




Another thing is that I hadn't played any other Dragon Quest games for a while after finishing Dragon Warrior III. I think I paid too much attention to game reviews because I remember reading Dragon Warrior VII on the PlayStation fell short as a new entry. But I would go on to play Dragon Quest VIII on the PlayStation 2 and it quickly became my favorite entry in the series. But yeah, I have fond memories of these games. I would love to know if people other than myself here played the first three Dragon Warrior games and if you also enjoy playing RPGs on handhelds like the Game Boy Color, Nintendo DS, PSP etc?

EDIT: Some magazine scans weren't displaying after a while. I'll add more to this later.
 
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Belmonte

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Nov 6, 2018
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The thing which strikes me the most about DQ1 and 2 is how open they are. It is before heavy narrative in JRPGs so you can go anywhere if you have enough level (and a boat in DQ2 case). Despite having a simple gameplay, I like the adventure of going in the unknown on DQ1, trying to find a new city, without being sure if you have enough level/itens to arrive at it. This sense of discovery/danger is very rare in modern JRPGs -if you don't count Dark Souls as JRPG.

I played Dragon Warrior on NES and now I'm playing the snes version of DQ2. I'm surprised how much I like it since many people call it the black sheep of the series. It is fun to searching for itens, open new paths/doors in the cities and paying attention to the tips NPCs give. Feels a little bit Zelda-ish. Even the bigger dungeons I find fun.
 

hybrid_birth

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DQ XI was my first dragon quest I've played. I missed all the other dq games. I didn't get into jrpgs until around 2007 for whatever reason. I enjoyed the game so much. Everything about it. The music, the characters, and the story. Always trying to get the best equipment. It's addictive.

Now I want to go back and play all the dragon quest games I missed. They released 1-3 on the switch so I'll have to check it out.

I fell in love with the series and movie that came out on Netflix recently.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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I, too, first played DQ1 on the GBC. I was already in my late teens/early 20s, mind. Maybe it wasn’t as grindy as the NES version, but still... while I think what they went for was probably revolutionary for console gaming at the time, the fact that you absolutely have to spend half an hour killing slimes before you can even cross that first bridge without getting annihilated in a single hit is not something I ever wanted to go back to.

Exploring the dungeons was also painful, what with having to bring enough torches and the constant random battles.

Still, I guess that’s the beauty of the game. It makes perfect sense that all the odds are stacked against you, and that basically every encounter could be deadly. That RNG is very, very nasty, though. DQ11 seems incredibly easy in comparison, too bad it didn’t click for me in the 10 hours or so I spent on it.

Some time ago I tried the NES version of DQ2. I played for an hour or so, but the intro was damn impressive for a game of its time.
 
May 9, 2019
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Well, it's true that you do a lot of grinding but it was the allure of buying better weapons and armor with enough gold that kept me going, haha. I love the monster designs too. Especially in Dragon Warrior III. It helped a lot that I liked Akira Toriyama's art and traditional turn-based gameplay but I did also welcome some of the improvements they made, like in Dragon Quest IX for the DS they did away with random encounters.
 
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Raven117

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Oct 5, 2015
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level scaling kinda wrecks this. Dragons dogma tried to give this a shot with night and travel.

man, capcom with their new found footing needs to give dragons dogma another shot
 
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sublimit

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Never played 1-3 but i was considering to pick up the Switch collection. Are those direct ports or do they have any extra features?
 

Erdrick

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Never played 1-3 but i was considering to pick up the Switch collection. Are those direct ports or do they have any extra features?

They're basically the best modern versions to get, IMO. Localisations are consistent with the modern DQ lexicon since 8 on the PS2, and while say 3 doesn't have all the extras exclusive to the GBC version, all 3 games on the Switch are based on the mobile versions, which in turn, were based on the SNES remakes. I've got them on both and enjoy them either way. I grew up with the NES originals, so I appreciate all the improvements within to make them more playable in this day and age. They're not perfect, but for English speakers? Get the Switch versions. Or if you don't mind touch controls, get em on your phone. They're cheaper and play perfectly fine.