Dragon Warrior 1 & 2 GBC - Retroview

Making Up For Lost Time

By: Robust Stu

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 2
   Interface 5
   Music/Sound 5
   Originality 0
   Plot 2
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 2
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

30 Hours


Dragon Warrior 1 & 2 GBC

   From the beginning of the Game Boy Color era through into the GB Advance period, remakes and ports were the name of the game. Keeping with that tradition, Enix remade Dragon Warrior 1 and 2 on one GBC cart and released it as Dragon Warrior 1 & 2 GBC, much to the joy of classic RPGamers everywhere. Admittedly, I never really enjoyed the games when they were out originally, but was a port to the GBC enough to breathe new life into these two titles? Surprisingly enough, the answer is yes.

   90 percent of you are going to know the stories already, but for those just joining us; I'll give a brief synopsis. In Dragon Warrior 1, you, as a descendent of the legendary warrior Loto (no longer Erdrick, apparently) are charged with two quests: rescuing the kidnapped princess and defeating the DracoLord (Dragonlord to most people). In Dragon Warrior 2, long after the defeat of the DracoLord, the evil wizard Hargon attacks the castle of Moonbrooke as step one of his plan ot take over the world. You, as a descendent of the descendent of Loto, must first find your two cousins from nearby kingdoms and then defeat Hargon with their help.

   Both games have identical battle systems, and it's as basic (or classic, as some prefer) as you can get. It's you versus the enemy, with the standard fight, item, magic and run commands. The only difference between the two games is in the first game, the battles are one on one while in the sequel your three warriors take on an entire enemy party at once. If you lose, you get revived by the last king you visited, but you lose half the gold you had in your possession at the time of defeat. There were no changes or improvements made, which probably sat well with the purists who were looking for a straight port.

Return to Brecconary
Return to Brecconary  

   I was actually pleasantly surprised with the graphics. While I expected severely lower quality graphics than the NES originals, they actually weren't that far behind their older counterparts. Sure, it's still the crappy old grade school quality backgrounds and character designs, but the fact that they were so faithful to the originals left a good taste in my mouth. Good use of colors, and the animation was as good as the originals, which really isn't saying much, I suppose.

   The really good part about this port is that the music was dead on. It sounded exactly like the originals. Again, while the originals weren't that great, the translation to the small screen was extremely faithful, without missing a thing. In a weird sort of way, hearing those classic tunes represented so well on the Color Game Boy was kinda neat, I must say.

   Another good thing about this port is that the translations were improved. While the originals were all right, for their time anyway, the localizations were greatly improved in this release. A lot of stuff came across WAY clearer than the originals which made this game easier to enjoy. Some of the stuff seemed a little more adult-oriented, as if the infamous Nintendo Localization Laws had been lifted.

   Being exactly the same game as the originals, for the most part anyway, I can't say that either game has a great deal of replay value. If you've seen it once, you've seen it a hundred times. Then again, a lot of people are going to buy this despite already owning the original NES carts, so I guess in this case it's a matter of taste. I'm still going to have to lowball it here, though, as there really isn't much to do besides the extremely linear quests and both games are still as boring as they were before.

Moonbrooke just can't catch a break, can it?
Moonbrooke just can't catch a break, can it?  

   Since this is a pair of previously released titles that are largely unchanged, I'm also going to have to give it the big goose egg for originality. The NES versions were very original because they were among the first, but being almost exact ports, I can't in good conscience give this version the same courtesy.

Another great improvement from the originals is the game time. While it seemed that the originals were merely exercises in leveling up that seemed to go on forever, Enix seemed to reduce the amount of experience points needed to gain each level, and also increased the amount of gold won from battle, so both games went a lot quicker. In the first game's case, you're probably going to spend about 7 or 8 hours, while the second game will probably take around 20. This made me very happy, because both games really dragged by the ending their original incarnations, and the faster pace made these a lot easier to enjoy.

Well, color me pleasantly surprised. While not at the point of hating them, I really didn't enjoy the NES versions of either of these games. But nearly every complaint I had with those versions (with the exception of graphics, for obvious reasons) was addressed in this port, while at the same time remaining extremely faithful to the originals. I suggest to both classic gamers and casual fans to go out and grab a copy of this, I'm sure you'll enjoy this as much as I surprisingly did.


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