Dragon Warrior II
This is the second game in the Dragon Warrior series (hence the 2 in the title). Dragon Warrior 2 takes place after the first Dragon Warrior (at least it's not 1000 years after). At the very beginning of the game is a neat little intro which shows Moonbrooke castle being invaded by Gargoyles. A guard escapes and makes it to Midenhall castle to warn the king. That's where the adventure starts. You play the game as the Prince of Midenhall, and as progress through the game the Prince of Cannock, and the Princess of Moonbrooke will join you. (Yes you heard right. Three playable characters!) As the three descendants of Erdrick you must fight evil and save the world from Hargon the evil wizard (He's a very evil wizard)
This is you standard RPG game. You wander through the world exploring towns, dungeons, towers, etc. and fight monster along the way. It uses a standard 2-D overhead view just like the first Dragon Warrior.
The menu system is simple and easy to use, although you still need to select talk from the menu to talk to people. Using items, equipping your characters, and anything else you want to do is easily done. However it lacks a feature that most new games have. When you buy a weapon from a shop it doesn't tell you whether or not it is better than what you have equipped. You need to waste your money buying the equipment, just to see if it is better.
Combat has been greatly improved from Dragon Warrior. When you get into a fight it shows a black screen (why not a picture of the terrain like the first, I feel robbed by Enix). Each monster you fight appears and below that is the stats of all your characters (HP, MP, etc.) This is the first in the series where you can fight more than one monster, and more than one type of monster. Of course to be fair you also get three character on your side. This adds a lot more strategy to the combats.
This game also has much more to do than the original. There are tons of towns and dungeons to explore. You also don't need to spend all your time leveling up, although you'll still need to frequently stop to level up characters before moving on. Dragon Warrior II has a much larger world than the original, and you must thoroughly explore everywhere if you wish to beat the game.
Before you get you boat, the game is heavily linear, you really don't have much choices of where to go. Once you get a boat, however the world is open for you to explore and find all the wonders of the game. You even get to go back to Alefgard (the land from the first Dragon Warrior). Some people complain that the game doesn't tell you what to do, but that's what makes it fun, you are free to explore and go where you want. It's always fun to explore a new area and find a new dungeon or new town.
One thing I don't particularly like about the game is the fact that you need to find all the crests in order to advance to the final area. Finding all the crests can be quite hard, some are well hidden. In most games something like this would be a secret sidequest. But at least it forces you to fully explore the world.
Another added benefit over the first Dragon Warrior is the ability to save at more than once place. Most towns have a place where you can save your game at. It sure beats having to walk all the way home to save.
This game can be quite difficult. Some of the fights can be quite difficult, and you'll need to level up to survive. There are also certain places in the game where you must go long distances without the opportunity to heal, this can be quite hard.
The hardest part however is the puzzles. Finding all the crests can be quite difficult and time consuming, you really need to thoroughly explore everywhere to find them all.
Replayability : 6/10
Not to many secrets in this game (other than the ones necessary to complete the game). You probably won't want to play through the game too many times. One interesting reason to play again is to see all the names the game picks for your characters. You get to pick the name of the main character, but the other two characters have their name randomly determined, it may be worth playing until you get the second character just to see what names the game has.
Story : 7/10
I would have given it a 9/10, but the story was butchered in the translation (stupid NOA censors, no cookie for you). The basic story is that the evil wizard Hargon is trying to take over the world and you must stop him. At the beginning if the game Moonbrooke castle is destroyed by Hargon. However, the story throughout the game is not really ever advanced. In the original Dragon Quest II the story was much deeper, but it dealed heavily with religion, and those sill NOA censors deemed it inappropriate. You never even learn anything about Malroth (you don't even know he exists), you until you beat him. But still considering the game was originally made in 1987, still a pretty decent story.
For an NES game it has fairly good graphics, but nothing spectacular. I personally like Akira Toriyama's style, and think the graphics are pretty good (you got to love the slime!) Well it's an NES game so don't expect super flashy graphics and neat cutscenes (this game has neither). But the graphics are certainly good enough to see what's going on (and that's all that is really necessary, although better graphics don't hurt).
(This section shamelessly stolen from my Dragon Warrior review --- I pretty much have the same thing to say so why not use the same words)
Once again --- it's an NES game! Don't expect anything but bleeps and boops, but nonetheless the overworld music is quite catchy, and I rather like it. Too bad the game only has 3 or 4 music themes, and each one lasts only 5 seconds before repeating. However, as far as NES game goes I like it.
Actually this game has a few more tunes than the first Dragon Warrior, and I still like the overworld theme,
Overall Rating: 8/10
I really like this game. That's a lot of stuff to do, and plenty of places to explore. I would have given it a 9, except those NOA bums censored the entire storyline. But still if you like old school RPGs this game is worth trying. Just don't get frustrated to quickly, completing the game can be difficult.