I’m dipping back into the nostalgia pool to talk about some of the games that I used to play when I was a child. Here are a few from the Dragon Warrior series; I enjoyed all of them except Dragon Warrior 2 which for some reason I was never really able to get into. For me, the series ends at number 4.
Dragon Warrior 3
The first RPG that I inhabited at length. (I’m not counting the rather primitive environs of Dragon Warrior 1.) I spent hours upon hours exploring every corner of the world and achieving Real Ultimate Power in the process. Once I had mastered the game, I was able to efficiently grind out level 99 on any profession within a matter of hours.
Dragon Warrior 3 features your typical “hero saves the world from evil” story which is rather short in and of itself. It is paced by sluggish random encounters and clunky travel controls. Not that I’m complaining – it was my world for quite some time in its prime.
My standard party consisted of a Soldier, a Merchant, and a Fighter named after kids with whom I attended high school. In the real-life adult world, the Merchant is now a lawyer, the Fighter does metropolitan data analysis, and I’m not sure about the Soldier – their surname is fairly common and it’s hard to find them online.
When I’m not being a creepy stalker, I’m reliving the past in a party of four that travels around the world killing pretty much everyone and everything they meet, the exceptions being, of course, the people who tell them what they are going to be killing next. Standard fare. It took me 40+ hours the first time around and something in the double digits thereafter. Nowadays, of course, we do it in under two hours by manipulating RNG and playing pixel-perfectly.
Dragon Warrior 4
Story divided into chapters with unique characters in each. Much better in terms of presentation. I enjoyed each of them on their own merits: a soldier meets a healer and saves village children, a princess escapes from the confines of her overbearing royal family’s castle and sets off with her protectors on a quest to prove her might, a rotund merchant seeks fame and fortune (and finds it), and a pair of dancing sisters set off to avenge their alchemist father. In the end, they rally around the hero whose village is destroyed by monsters and eventually vanquish the cosmic antagonist whose fatal flaw is having an overly zealous PR department.
To be quite honest, I enjoyed the story chapters almost more than I did the final chapter in which the “real” game begins. Must be because I’m a sucker for domestic adventures. Eventually we get into airships and kingdoms in the clouds and dragons and so forth because the law of RPG plot geometry dictates that there is a proportionate relationship between vertical power progress and one’s vertical position with relation to the ground of the planet that one is on.
I’m using UberNES for these playthroughs. It’s one of many emulators out there than you can use based on your preferences. RockNES is also solid. Heck, you can even play it in your web browser now using nesbox. Save states can be loaded from disk, although I wasn’t able to get it to work in Chrome. Visit Vimm’s Lair for the good stuff. (Yeah, I own all of these games and I’m sure they’d be better on a real console. *shrug*)