Sunday, September 2, 2018

Dragon Warrior Reviews

With the upcoming September 4th release of Dragon Quest XI from Square Enix I thought these older reviews would be a fun read for fans. However, I wasn't sure if I should call this post Dragon Warrior or Dragon Quest reviews. Of course, since these are from 1990's North American magazines all of the games are titled Dragon Warrior as the game name was changed with each release up until 2005. Enix America must have thought "warrior" would make the games sound more appealing and thus lead to more sales. If you're not familiar with the series the first Dragon Quest, developed by Chunsoft, released in 1986 on Nintendo of Japan's Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System or NES for short) and is one of the longest running Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) series.

However, the first wasn't released in the U.S. until 1989 and since three of the games had already been out in Japan before 1989 they rolled out quite fast here. From 1990-92 the next three parts released though I'm not positive of the dates. Multiple sources online state part three released in March 1992 but the two reviews I have indicate late 1991. GamePro even says available now at the end of the review though it's possible they simply expected it to be out when the issue hit newsstands. In any case, the first four did release on the NES with the series continuing on the Super NES after that. There have also been numerous re-releases and spin-offs, such as Dragon Quest Heroes from Koei's Omega Force (Dynasty Warriors) which is the only Dragon Quest game I've actually played any of since I grew up with Sega systems and for a long time the series was only on Nintendo platforms, and I rarely play JRPGs these days.

The reviews I scanned are for parts two, three, and four as the first game predates many of my issues or the magazines I have simply did not review it. Video Games & Computer Entertainment (VG&CE) was, perhaps, a bit harsh in its reviews of two and three while GamePro rated all three games a four out of five on "FunFactor." Three of the Game Informer staff reviewed Dragon Warrior IV rating it a 7.5, 7.5, and 9. It's not surprising that most publications rated the sound and graphics rather low since these are NES games that, as mentioned above, were already a few years old by the time they reached North America and the 16-bit generation had begun by then as well.

Dragon Warrior II

GamePro - November 1990
VG&CE - November 1990

Dragon Warrior III

GamePro - December 1991
VG&CE - November 1991

Dragon Warrior IV

GamePro - November 1992

Game Informer - Nov/Dec 1992

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