Dragon Warrior (known as Dragon Quest in Japan) is a turn-based RPG, designed by Yuji Horii, developed by Chunsoft, and published by Enix. It was first released in 1986 for the Famicom, then ported to the MSX and PC-98 the same year, and has since gone on to appear on a variety of other platforms. It was later released in the United States in August 1989 for the NES. The game was the first to combine turn-based combat, random encounters and dynamic character leveling. Groundbreaking for its time, the game established the conventions that define traditional Japanese Role-Playing Games which are still in use today.
In old times, Erdrick fought demons with a mystical Ball of Light. In recent times, the Dragonlord has hidden the mystical Ball of Light, kidnapped the Princess Gwaelin, destroyed the town of Hawkness, and taken over the city of Alefgard. The Dragon Warrior hero has two distinct quests for him: first he must rescue Princess Gwaelin and then he must track down the legendary weapon and armor to defeat the Dragonlord
Dragon Warrior uses a menu oriented turn-based combat system. It inquires for The commands and verbosely displays the result of every action taken by both the protagonist and the monster being fought in a combat log on the lower half of the screen. After each battle experience points and gold are earned, and when the protagonist achieves a certain number of experience points he will level up, and gain stats such as additional HP (Hit Points) and useful magic skills like HEAL. Only a single monster can be fought at a time, and monsters appear at random outside of towns.
There are three different types of areas. Towns where the player can talk with townsfolk, search for hidden items, and buy and sell weapons, armor, and items. The overworld, which is basically a map of the world that can be traveled that’s populated with random monstrous encounters of all kinds, from slimes to golden golems. Lastly, dungeons populate the world, and require torches or magic spells to see through the darkness, and much like the overworld they are populated with monsters, except far more dangerous ones and great rewards are hidden in them.
Dragon Warrior is known as Dragon Quest in Japan. Occasionally shortened to Dorakue much like Pocket Monsters is shortened to Pokemon. Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame drew the original box and cartridge artwork for Dragon Quest, but the artwork for Dragon Warrior was replaced with something meant to appeal more to a North American audience. The graphics for the North American release’ maps and characters were enhanced, adding multi-direction facing for characters. Dialog was also changed to reflect an olde English style, and many locations renamed to moreso fit Arthurian legend.
Nintendo Power Promotion
In 1989-1990, Nintendo Power offer a free copy of Dragon Warrior to new magazine subscribers. This was done as a means to boost magazine sales and interest in the game.