Dragon Warrior II

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Dragon Warrior II
Dragon Warrior II
North American boxart
Developer(s) Chunsoft
Publisher(s) Enix
Square Enix
Director(s) Koichi Nakamura
Producer(s) Yukinobu Chida
Programmer(s) Koichi Nakamura
Artist(s) Akira Toriyama
Writer(s) Yuji Horii
Composer(s) Koichi Sugiyama
Series Dragon Quest
Platform(s) Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX, MSX2, Super Famicom, Game Boy / Game Boy Color, mobile phone, Wii, Android, iOS
Release date(s) Famicom / Nintendo Entertainment System
JP 19870126January 26, 1987
NA 199012December 1990
MSX
  • JP February 1988
MSX2
  • JP May 1988
Super Famicom
  • JP December 18, 1993
Game Boy / Game Boy Color
  • JP September 23, 1999[1]
  • NA September 27, 2000
Mobile phones
Wii
  • JP September 15, 2011
Android & iOS
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single
Distribution 1-megabit Famicom cartridge, 2-megabit NES cartridge, floppy disk (MSX), SNES cartridge, GBC cartridge, digital download, Wii optical disc

Dragon Warrior II, known as Dragon Quest II: Akuryou no Kamigami (ドラゴンクエストII 悪霊の神々?, lit. "Dragon Quest II: Gods of the Evil Spirits") in Japan, is a role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix (now known as Square Enix) in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System as a part of the Dragon Quest series. Enix themselves created the American version of Dragon Quest II, publishing the game there in 1990.[3]

Dragon Quest II is set 100 years after the events of the first game. The game's story centers on the prince of Midenhall, who is ordered to stop an evil wizard named Hargon after Hargon destroys Moonbrooke Castle. On his adventure, he is accompanied by his two cousins; the prince of Cannock and the princess of Moonbrooke. Dragon Quest II greatly expands on the series formula from the first game by having a larger party, more areas to explore, multiple heroes and enemies in a battle, and a sailing ship.

Dragon Warrior II was successful in Japan; the original Famicom version shipped 2.4 million copies. Later, the game was remade for the Super Famicom and the Game Boy Color with Dragon Warrior as Dragon Quest I & II. A version of the game for Android and iOS has been announced for release in Japan in Winter 2014.[2] The third title in the series, Dragon Quest III: And Into the Legend..., was released in 1988 in Japan.[4] Dragon Warrior III is the prequel of the first two games; it follows the ancestor of the main characters, the legendary hero Erdrick;[5] the three games are collectively called "Erdrick's Legend Trilogy".[4]

Gameplay[edit]

The party wanders in a castle.

This game allows the player to control more than one character, each of whom has their own characteristics,[6] and it is the first game in the Dragon Quest series to do so.[7] The game introduced a party system where, instead of beginning the game with an entire party like in previous computer RPGs, the player begins the game with only one character and gradually recruits more party members during the course of the game.[8] The player controls his or her characters as they move in the game world. They can search treasure chests, talk and trade with villagers, equip themselves with weapons and armor, and cast spells.

While wandering fields, towers, caves, seas, and dungeons, the player encounters battles that happen randomly.[6] The game's battle mode introduces groups of monsters, which is an upgrade from the one-on-one battles of Dragon Warrior.[7] In the battle mode, the player gives orders to the characters on how to fight the monsters. Once the player defeats all of the monsters, the characters gain experience points and gold. The experience points raise the characters' experience levels. This improves the characters' attributes, and they may also learn new spells.

To win, the player must fight monsters to improve the characters' experience levels and get gold to buy better weapons and armor. Eventually, the player's characters become strong enough to make it to the next town or dungeon. This repeats until the player reaches the final boss and defeats him. However, the gameplay is not necessarily linear, especially after the player gets the boat. Exploration is a key component of the game. The game offers a few spots to save the game.[9] In most of the towns, talking to a king or minister saves the game. It also allows for the deletion and moving of saved games. This was an upgrade from the Japanese version, which utilized a password system to restore progress.[10]

Dragon Warrior II is noted for greatly expanding upon the gameplay from the previous game, Dragon Warrior.[11] Dragon Warrior II is the first game in the series to feature multiple heroes and enemies in a battle, as well as a sailing ship.[7] Unlike Final Fantasy released that same year, which only allowed the player to dock the ship at ports, Dragon Quest II allowed the player to land the ship anywhere, allowing the entire game world to be explored in an open-ended manner.[10] It was also the first to have weapons which cast spells when used in battles.[clarification needed][12] Compared with its predecessor, Dragon Warrior II offers a wider array of spells and items[13] and a much larger world.[7] The game also expanded the inventory management system of its predecessor by giving each character an individual inventory that holds up to eight items, placing a greater emphasis on conservative item management between the characters.[10] Dragon Quest II was also the first Dragon Quest game to include a game of chance (played with Lottery Tickets that the player finds), and was also the first Dragon Quest game to use multiple key types and to include travel doors (warp gates).[14]

Plot[edit]

Story[edit]

Dragon Warrior II is set one hundred years after Dragon Warrior.[11][15] The story begins with an attack upon Moonbrooke Castle by the wizard Hargon. A wounded soldier escaped the battle and fled to the kingdom of Midenhall, where he informs the king of the attack before he dies. The king them commands his son, who is a descendant of Erdrick (knowns as Loto in Japanese translations and later localizations), to defeat Hargon.[16][17]

The Prince begins his quest alone, but is later joined by two cousins: the Prince of Cannock and the Princess of Moonbrooke. After finding the Prince of Cannock, who began a similar journey at the same time as the Prince of Midenhall, Erdrick and Cannock save the Princess of Moonbrooke from Hargon's assault on Moonbrooke Castle.[7] As the trio quest to find and defeat Hargon, they secure a ship which allows them to travel across oceans to reach new continents, including Alefgard, which is where Dragon Quest took place. There they meet the grandson of Dragonlord, the villain from the previous game, who gives the party valuable information.[18] He tells them that by collecting the five crests hidden around the world, the party can create the Charm of Rubiss, allowing them to defeat Hargon and his illusions.

Setting[edit]

The early part of the game takes place on land. From a few magical tiles or tunnels, the player can visit a few tiny islands in the beginning, but only upon reaching a major port and fulfilling a specific task does the player get a ship which allows the player to explore much more of the world by sea. Magical teleportation is the last means of transport that the player must use. Architecturally, some castles are presented as ruins.[19]

The game world of Dragon Warrior, Alefgard, is included on the world map in Dragon Warrior II (albeit in slightly reduced scale), although it is possible to win the game without ever setting foot there.[7]

Characters[edit]

  • The Prince of Midenhall (Lorasia) is the main character of the game. He is sent out by his father, the king, after a guard from Moonbrooke announces Hargon's attack. He is the classic warrior of the party and can use almost any armor or weapon in the game.[13] He has no natural magic ability, although there are some weapons that can be used as items and have the same effects as spells, but his physical attack and defense are the greatest of the three. This is the character the player starts out with in the castle of Midenhall.[20]
  • The Prince of Samantoria (Cannock) is the first character to join the party and is a blend of the classic warrior and wizard archetypes, having a lot in common with the series' well-balanced "Hero" class. He cannot use as wide a variety of weapons and armor as the Prince of Lorasia, but he compensates for this with his ability to use magic. However, it should be noted that his magic is not as powerful as that wielded by the Princess of Moonbrooke.[13]
  • The Princess of Moonbrooke (Moonbrook) is the second and last character to join the party, entering the party with a curse that must be cured, and is the classic mage in the party.[13] She too cannot use as wide a variety of weapons and armor as the Prince of Midenhall, but she compensates for this with her ability to use magic, being the most powerful caster of the party. However, she can use even less weapons and armor than the Prince of Samantoria.
  • Hagron is the evil sorcerer who destroyed neighboring Moonbrooke Castle at the beginning of the story.[10] While he is defeated by Prince of Midenhall and the gang, he summons a Destruction God — Malroth.

Development[edit]

Like other main games in Dragon Quest series, Yuji Horii wrote the story, Akira Toriyama did the artwork, and Koichi Sugiyama composed the music. Co-creator Koichi Nakamura, Chunsoft's president, directed the game and did half of the programming.[21] Barely a year after the original Dragon Quest was released in Japan,[10] Dragon Quest II was released on January 26, 1987.[22] Compared with its predecessor, the game was better in nearly all aspects.[10] Yuji Horii believed many players would play Dragon Warrior II without first playing Dragon Warrior and thus had players search for the other party members.[8]

In original Japanese Famicom version, passwords were used for saving, but the NES version featured a save feature without passwords.[10] The storyline introduction in Moonbrooke is present exclusively in Dragon Warrior II.[10] In Dragon Quest II, the game starts right with the injured soldier from Moonbrooke entering Midenhall castle, seeking help from its king.[23] Dialogue of American localization often used (intentionally) archaic English vocabulary, among other differences from the Japanese version.[24] Like Dragon Warrior, the American version of Dragon Warrior II was censored in some aspects; for example, it used one ghost-like sprite instead of the original defeated character's coffin with cross sprite.[10]

The world of Dragon Quest II was later used as the setting of Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart on the Game Boy Advance. It starred Kiefer, a hero from Dragon Warrior VII.[25]

Remakes[edit]

Dragon Quest II was ported for MSX in February 1988,[26] but the ported version had many issues, like choppy scrolling, black-surround characters titles, poor graphics, along with sluggish combat and menus.[10] The MSX2 ported version was released in May 1988 in Japan.[27]

On December 18, 1993,[28] Dragon Quest II was remade and combined with Dragon Quest as part of Dragon Quest I & II for the Super Famicom, which used Dragon Quest V's engine.[10] Besides enhanced in graphics and sound, gameplay was also improved. The Super Famicom remake features a smarter intelligent targeting system: if one enemy was defeated before your character's attacking, the character will attack another enemy rather than do nothing like in the Famicom version. And as its successors, players can find stat-improving items from pots or dressers.[29] The Super Famicom remake was only released in Japan.[10] In 1999, Dragon Quest I & II was released for Game Boy, and a year later, it was localized in America as Dragon Warrior I & II.[10] Compare with NES version, it featured the better graphics and was reduced the difficulty; remake also provided a quick-save function which allows players save and load game anywhere unless they reset the Game Boy.[30] In the Game Boy Color localization, the main characters' and towns' names were retranslated to be similar to the original Japanese names:[10] legendary hero "Erdrick" was retranslated as "Loto", and the castle name "Midenhall" was re-dubbed "Lorasia". The original translation had a lot of errors and Enix changed the names to fix that.[31] Both remakes added a few new scripts.[10]

Dragon Quest II was remade for Japanese cell phones in 2005.[32] Its capacity is 4 times as large as the original Dragon Quest port,[33] and for capacity limiting, it was divided into two parts. The first part was pre-installed in cell phones and the last part could be downloaded for free; the world map was provided by a pre-installed PDF file.[34] And in 2006, mobile Dragon Quest II was distributed for more brands of mobiles.[35][36]

Both the Famicom and Super Famicom versions of this game, along with Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest III, were re-released under the Dragon Quest 25th Anniversary Collection compilation for the Wii in Japan on September 15, 2011.[37] The Wii compilation featured interruption save functions for each games.[38] The compilation also included original copies of the strategy guides for the games, along with original artwork and material on the games' development.[37]

Other media[edit]

Similar to other main games in the series, Dragon Quest II was novelized and adapted to game books. The Dragon Quest II Novel was written by Hideo Takayashiki and published in 1989; it was reprinted in 1991 and 2000. The Dragon Quest II Game Book series was also published in 1989.[39]

Music[edit]

Koichi Sugiyama composed and directed the music for the game.

The first album of Dragon Quest II, Suite Dragon Quest II ~Gods of the Evil Spirits~, was released in February 1987. It covers ten orchestra version soundtracks with a twenty-five minutes "original sound story"; this suite was performed by Tokyo Strings Ensemble. Some of them are classical and some are jazz-style.[40] On August 20, 1987, the first "Family Classic Concert" was held. In this concert, Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest II's music was performed by Tokyo Strings Ensemble.[41] Later in October 1987, the concert recording was released as symphonic suite CD under title Dragon Quest in Concert.[42] Dragon Quest II's musics were also released as a piano CD,[43] a Drama CD[44] and several Symphonic Suite albums.[45][46] Dragon Quest II's musics were also collected in music compilations, like Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest Best Selection Vol.1 ~Roto~ (1997),[47] Dragon Quest Game Music Super Collection Vol. 13 (2001–2002),[48][49][50] Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest Complete CD-Box (2003)[51] and Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest Scene-Separated I~IX (2011).[52]

The song that is played when wandering the fields of Dragon Warrior, "Unknown World", is also played when the Hero is in that area. "Only Lonely Boy", the background music in the game's name and password input interface, is a single by Anna Makino,[53] this music is also used for Japan professional baseball team Chiba Lotte Marines's fight song.[54] The ending theme "My Road, My Journey"[55] is the also ending song of related anime Dragon Quest: Dai's Great Adventure.[56]

Reception[edit]

Dragon Warrior I & II (GBC)
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81.50% (10 Reviews)[57]
Review scores
Publication Score
Famitsu 38/40 (FC)[58][59]
35/40 (SFC)[59]
30/40 (GBC)[60]
GameSpot 9.6/10[11]
IGN 8.0/10[61]
Nintendo Power 8/10[57]
Awards
Publication Award
RPGamer's Game Boy Color Award of the Year for 2000[62]

The Famicom version of Dragon Warrior II was a financial success in Japan, having shipped approximately 2.4 million copies.[63][64] Issuance of Dragon Quest II also promoted Dragon Quest's distributing.[21] In 2006, readers of Famitsu magazine voted the game the 17th best video game of all time.[65]

Dragon Quest II is generally known for fixing problems found in the first game, including improvements such as allowing parties of three characters, having a larger world, better graphics, and the ability to carry more items.[11] Other noted improvements were keys that can be used multiple times and new strategic elements introduced because of larger parties and larger groups of enemies.[11] The game's music is often praised, despite its limited 8-bit capabilities.[11] Considered a classic for the RPG genre, the game is regarded as praiseworthy.[66][67]

Japanese reviews highlighted the Famicom versions difficulty, stemming from issues such as the many traps in the Cave of Rhone, and the final boss's ability to cast a "Healall" spell, and this has lead to some critics calling the game "the most difficult Dragon Quest".[68]

Famitsu awarded the Japanese Super Famicom remake a 35/40.[59] While Game Boy Color remake got a 30/40 from Famitsu,[60] Dragon Warrior I + II received fairly high marks in America. These including a 8.0 out of 10 from IGN,[61] a 9.6 out of 10 from GameSpot,[11] and 8 out of 10 from Nintendo Power.[57] It also received the RPGamer's Game Boy Color Award of the Year for 2000.[62]

Together, both the Super Famicom and Game Boy Color remakes shipped in excess of 1.92 million copies worldwide.[63] With the success of this game, Enix released Dragon Warrior III for Game Boy Color in 2001, which was based on a previously unreleased Super Famicom update of the original Famicom Dragon Quest III.[69] Japan Mobile version was downloaded more than one million times.[70] Wii Dragon Quest Collection sold 403,953 copies in 2011.[71]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]