Game Series: Dragon Warrior (NES) Episode 1
The first game in the Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) series came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System (otherwise known as the Family Computer or Famicom in Japan) in 1986, and got a North America port in 1989. It was a stellar success in Japan, but was received a little less favorably in the western markets. However, it’s still regarded as the great-grandfather of the console RPG genre. I have written a review of the game, but decided that I’d do a Let’s Play Classics play through of the game. This is episode 1, featuring the the first approximate hour of game play. Below is the video:
We open in on the intro screen, which is pretty impressive for an early cartridge. Then we name our hero… my name? Asher of course! Let’s start a new adventure! Fast, medium, slow…? Fast, life’s way to short for slow.
We open in on the first scene of the game, the throne room for Tantegel Castle where King Lorik begins to tell us (as soon as we push a button):
Descendant of Erdrick, listen now to my words.
It is told that in ages past Erdrick fought demons with a Ball of Light. Then came the Dragonlord who stole the precious globe and hid it in the darkness.
Now, Asher, thou must help us recover the Ball of Light and restore peace to our land. The Dragonlord must be defeated.
Take now whatever thou may find in these Treasure Chests to aid thee in thy quest. Then speak with the guards, for they have much knowledge that may aid thee.
May the light shine upon thee, Asher.
So we pick up the treasure chests, which contain 120 gold, a torch (which comes in handy when we go into caves), and a magic key. It’s kind of a weird throne room, but hey, you do what you can with eight bits. I’m not sure why we have to unlock ourselves out of the throne room, but alas, that’s what the key is for. When you talk to the guards they tell you a few things, but I don’t know if they come out to be as wise as the King says. The wandering guard says, “Dost thou know about Princess Gwaelin? (No…) Half a year now hath passed since the Princess was kidnapped by the enemy. Never does the King speak of it, but he must be suffering much. Asher, please save the Princess.”
The right hand standing guard explains, “If thou hast collected all the Treasure Chests, a key will be found. Once used, the key will disappear but the door will be open and thou may pass through.”
The left hand standing guard also has this to share, “East of this castle is a town where armor, weapons, and many other items may be purchased. Return to the Inn for a rest if thou art wounded in battle, Asher. Sleep heals all.” Now, this is handy information. The town he’s speaking of of course is Brecconary, which we’ll get to later.
So we use the magic key, sigh, and get out of the throne room. Outside of the throne room we’ve got the base floor of the castle. Two standing guards keep watch to the entrance to the throne room and have this to say, “King Lorik will record thy deeds in his Imperial Scroll so thou may return to thy quest later. If thou art planning to take a rest, first see King Lorik.” They’re telling us of course that if we plan to turn the system off we need to save first.
I wander around the castle a little methodically, talking to everyone. A man with a blue cap tells me, “There was a time when Brecconary was a paradise. Then the Dragonlord’s minions came.” Poor guy! His woman companion, I think, is searching for someone, “Where oh where can I find Princess Gwaelin?” (I would think the guy would be saying this, but hey…)
Walk past that awesome room filled with treasure chests, damn magic door! And onto the next guy, “To become strong enough to face future trials thou must first battle many foes.” This is an understatement.
Alrighty, let’s venture round the back end of the castle, ugh, another door. This guy’s helpful though, “Thou must have a key to open a door.” Got it.
In the southwest part of the castle, near some water (a swimming pool) ,are some merchants. The outside merchant introduces himself, “We are merchants who have traveled much in this land. Many of our colleagues have been killed by servants of the Dragonlord.” Damn, gotta get rid of this guy then! His companion adds, “Rumor has it that entire towns have been destroyed by the Dragonlord’s servants.” We will meet such a town, but not for a while.
Guards at gate, “Welcome to Tantegel Castle.” How… yeah. So, let’s venture east, and find some more guards. Now this guy is actually looking for the princess, “Where oh where can I find Princess Gwaelin?” His companion offers us some good advice though: “When entering the cave, take with thee a torch.”
Finally, the seer wizard strange robe guy behind the counter of unknown purpose tells us, “Asher’s coming was foretold by legend. May the light shine upon this brave warrior.”
Well, anyways, let’s get out of here and on to the town to the east where we can buy stuff, like the guy told us! Just a few trots east outside the castle…
The man in the blue cap (blue is an awfully popular color it seems) greets us like we just entered Walmart in the middle ages, “Thou art most welcome in Brecconary.” So that’s what this place is called. Good to know. I head over to the shop and talk to the greeter… hey, there is a Walmart greeter here. She tells us, “Welcome! Enter the shop and speak to its keeper across the desk.” Will do…
Turns out he’s got stuffs to sell us! He’s got a Bamboo Pole for 10, nah, and a Club for 60, yay! Also, let’s get something on our naked bodies, and get some Clothes. Lucky we found that money in the throne room right? Anyways, now we’re equipped to grind a bit. Yet, there’s the rest of the town to explore. The old man near the sandy trees has this to say, “Watch thy hit points when in the Poisonous Marsh.” Yes old man.
A fellow adventurer, or possible townsperson, who knows, informs us of the world at large, “Go north to the seashore, then follow the coastline west until thou hath reached Garinham.” There’s… a place besides here? Good to know! But for now, I’ll save up for the equipment here, seeing as how, with 16 HP, I probably can’t make it to Garinham. Who comes up with these names?
Guy by strange warehouse is like, “Please, save us from the minions of the Dragonlord.” Will do good man, will do… after I beat this slime. What’s that strange red soldier hiding in the corner behind the trees? Beware the bridges? Uh, okay, you loco. But no really, beware the bridges, go over a bridge and things get tough fast, as he says, “Danger grows when thou crosses.”
The more amiable soldier tells us, “See King Lorik when thy experience levels are raised.” Which is good advice for anybody playing this without a save state system. King Lorik is the only place you can save. Yes. That’s right, the only place.
Looks like you can get cursed in this game, and the old guy in the room is the place to go if you do, “If thou art cursed, come again.” The other guy in the other room? “There is a town where magic keys can be purchased.” But… he apparently doesn’t know it’s name?
The red soldiers wish us luck, “Many have been the warriors who have perished on this quest. But for thee I wish success, Asher.” And, “Art thou the descendant of Erdrick? Hast thou any proof?” Geez man, harsh.
I gotta wonder about the women around here. Do I just think they all look alike? Am I that sexist? This woman in Breconnary apparently has to inform me that, “No, I am not Princess Gwaelin.” Of course life can’t be that easy. What did you think this was, a game?
Poor guy in the back room of the inn though. A sad tale in such few words, “Tell King Lorik that the search for his daughter hath failed. I am almost gone…” Wow, that took a turn.
We also come across our first building. The door is obvious, and when we enter it switches from outside view to inside view. To help ease us with this concept the bouncer outside informs us to, “enter where ye can.” Okay. His companion is a bit more talkative, “Within sight of Tantegel Castle to the south is Charlock. The fortress of the Dragonlord.” That’s not a complete sentence, but it’s good to know.
The tool shop doesn’t have a nothing particularly noteworthy, so… it’s time to kill some baddies and raise us up some gold so we can buy better equipment to kill more baddies! I spend the rest of the video fighting increasingly harder monsters, starting at the blue and red slime and upgrading to warlocks and ghosts. Once I’m able to afford some more equipment, I decide I’m in the for the day and see King Lorik as suggested.
Next up? The town of Garinham, and… more equipment! Cause that’s how these things work! Stay tuned!
This post is part of a series known as “Let’s Play Classics” focusing on the Dragon Quest series.
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