In the world of Dragon Warrior, you are Erdrick's descendant, and must follow in his footsteps. Princess Gwaelin must be rescued, and the Dragonlord must die. Your journey will take you across the various lands of Alefgard. Visit towns and gather information. Explore the dark dungeons and claim their treasures. The road to the Dragonlord is paved with enemies, but you are the Dragon Warrior.
Dragon Warrior, also known as Dragon Quest in Japan, is a console role-playing game developed by Chunsoft and published by the Enix Corporation (now Square Enix Co., Ltd.) It was released on May 27, 1986 in Japan for the MSX and the Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom, the Japanese NES) and is the initial game in Enix's flagship Dragon Quest series. It has been remade for several platforms including the Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, and in Japan, the cellular phone.
The series includes eight games (so far), with several spin-offs, including Rocket Slime for the DS. The release of Dragon Quest is regarded as a milestone in the history of the console RPG, a popular genre that also includes the Final Fantasy series. It was the first console RPG to use a top-down perspective, a staple of 2D console RPG's, and has since been cited by Gamespot as one of the fifteen most influential games in the history of video games.
The game's story centers on a warrior deemed as the last hope of a fragile world. Following in the footsteps of his legendary relative, Erdrick, the player guides the warrior on a journey to rescue the kingdom of Alefgard from the hands of the evil Dragonlord.
With story written by Yuji Horii and characters designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame, Dragon Warrior was the first title in one of the most influential (arguably more so than Final Fantasy) role-playing game series for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
The protagonist of the story is a warrior who is a descendant of the legendary hero Erdrick. Starting in the chambers of King Lorik, the player is made aware that the Dragonlord has stolen the Ball of Light which must be reclaimed to restore peace to the land. Although this minimalistic story presents itself at the beginning, the player will find more minor story elements to the game as it progresses. These mostly occur through dialogues with NPCs that detail rescuing the Princess Gwaelin, the destruction of the town of Hauksness, and the hints about relics needed to reach the Dragonlord.
Although this is the first title released of the Dragon Warrior franchise, Dragon Warrior I is actually the second of a three game series which share a storyline. The story is preceded by that of Dragon Warrior III and followed by Dragon Warrior II.
The Warrior: Little is known about the hero besides his ancestry, being of the bloodline of Erdrick. The only hints of personality for the character are a somewhat forced relationship with Princess Gwaelin and the "Yes" or "No" answers the player can select to certain questions proposed by certain characters throughout the game.
The Dragonlord: A dragon from Charlock whose soul became evil from learning magic. He sought "unlimited power and destruction," which resulted in a rising tide of evil throughout Alefgard. He rules from Charlock Castle to the south-east, where surrounding swamps and a destroyed bridge to the mainland have rendered his castle inaccessible. Inside Charlock, a complex maze of turns and monsters further protects his throne. The Dragonlord's origin is unclear, but his motives are to enslave the world with his army of monsters.
North American Localization
The original Famicom game was localized for the North American release in 1989, but the title was changed to Dragon Warrior to avoid infringing on the trademark of the pen and paper role-playing game, DragonQuest. The North American version of the game featured improved graphics and a battery-backed ROM savegame, whereas the Japanese version used passwords.
The map graphics and character sprites were enhanced, with better definition and multi-directional facing (in the original version, sprites only faced forward regardless of which direction they were moving, and the player had to choose which in direction to interact with objects and NPCs from a menu)
Spells went from having nonsensical names in the Japanese version to straight-forward one-word names.
Many locations were given names relating to the Arthurian legend, and the game text was rewritten with a distinctive Middle English style.
Dragon Quest (left) and Dragon Warrior right).