Dragon Warrior II (known as Dragon Quest II in Japan) is a turn-based RPG developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix. It was first released in Japan in 1987 and was released in the United States in 1990. It later appeared on other consoles such as the SNES and Game Boy Color in the Dragon Quest I & II compilation. Terror has befallen a once peaceful kingdom and it’s up to the player to enlist the help of two other royal warriors to defeat the evil threatening the world.
Like all of the other early Dragon Warrior games, Dragon Warrior II is a basic turn-based RPG. Encounters with monsters occur randomly in dungeons and on the world map. However, Dragon Warrior II set itself apart from its predecessor in a number of innovative ways. First, the game was the first in the series to implement a party system, giving the player full control over three distinct characters. Second, battles could now involve more than one enemy. In order to allow the Famicon processor to display the sprites of more than one monster on screen at the same time, the detailed backgrounds from Dragon Warrior I were replaced with simple black backdrops during battles. Third, the game had an improved user interface, although it still seems cumbersome by today’s standards. Fourth, Dragon Warrior II allowed the party to travel by ship. Finally, the world map was vastly expanded, including not only the Alefgard region from the first game, but also several other entire continents to explore.
In the original version, progress can only be saved in certain towns, forcing the player to repeat lengthy play sessions if they died at the end of a dungeon. Careful planning and management of MP are key to victory and avoiding frustration. Grinding for experience and gold is frequently required so that the party does not end up in over their head. Gold acquired from battles can be used to buy new equipment in towns. The three characters are distinct in the kinds of equipment and spells they can use. Spells are learned automatically as a result of leveling up.
Dragon Warrior II takes place after the events of both Dragon Warrior III and I. The player controls three characters, all of whom are descendants of the legendary warrior Erdrick (Renamed Loto in post-NES versions). Since the events of Dragon Warrior I, the world has enjoyed a century of peace. However, this peace is suddenly put into jeopardy when the evil wizard Hargon attacks Moonbrooke Castle and begins his attempt to conquer the world. A wounded solder from Moonbrooke is able to make it out alive and travels to Midenhall Castle. When the King of Midenhall hears of the attack, he order his son (the main character in the party) to save the princess of Moonbrooke and stop Hargon from fulfilling his evil plot. In his quest, he joins forces with the Prince of Cannock and the Princess of Moonbrooke, who are also descendants of Erdrick.
- The Prince of Midenhall: The Party’s main character and the only one the player can name. He is a solder-type character who specializes in powerful weapons and armor, but has no magic.
- The Prince of Cannock: Given a random name from a list of possible choices. He is a combination of solder and magic-user types. He can only use moderately strong weapons and equip lightweight armor, but he gains the use of some magic. This makes him the most versatile of party characters.
- The Princess of Moonbrooke: Also given a random name from a list of possible choices. She has access to the most powerful magics in the game, but as a magic-user she can only equip staffs and light clothing.
- Hargon: An evil wizard set up to conquer the world. In battle he is capable of casting powerful spells including Sleep and Explodet. He can also cure himself multiple times. After defeating him, he will also summon one final monster for the party to defeat.
- Dragonlord’s Grandson: In Dragon Warrior I, the dragonlord was the final boss of the game. In this game, the player meets his grandson during their travels. Rather than fighting him, he provides the player with valuable information to aid in their quest.
- Rubiss: An elemental Goddess that will help the party during the quest.