2: Dragon Warrior IV

Genre: RPG

Developer: Chunsoft
Publisher: Enix
Year: 1992

Basic Idea: Rescue missing children, help a princess become a warrior, run your own shop(!), rescue the father of a fortuneteller and a stripper, and if you have time, save the world.

Review:  A rare and mostly forgotten game in the NES library, Dragon Warrior IV should not be ignored by fans of classic RPGs.  While, like its predecessors, it remains underwhelming in the graphics and music department, it more than makes up for it with a tight, epic story.

The game is incredibly long, straining the memory capacity of the system.  There are five separate chapters to the game.  The first four, where we meet (and plays as) all of the ancillary characters, is close to the length of Final Fantasy.  The fifth story is where the game really opens up, slowly merging all of the stories together while starting you on a rewarding journey.  While there are more in-depth characters in future RPGs, this is easily the most impressive story line in an RPG for this system. There are also some rewarding sidequests that don’t dominate the main story.

One significant change from Dragon Warrior III is that once the game merges, you only fight with one character. With your other party members, you must assign general tactics (e.g. aggressive, defensive, conserve magic) and the A.I. takes over the rest.  At first, this annoyed me, but I came to enjoy this change immensely.  The A.I. does what I would have done 90% of the time, and can actually respond quicker to healing needs than I can.  It also negates the need for endless menu scrolling during battle, making them quicker, less tiring.  And, unlike previous games, there is little need for endless level-building as long as you don’t run away from most enemies.

One aspect of the game I always loved (which was in the previous game as well) is the monster pit where you can wager on which monster will win in a face-to-face battle.  Nothing like betting on the slime to beat two more powerful monster at 80:1 odds and somehow coming out victorious.  This game also adds a casino where you can gamble your hard-earned gold as well.  Unlike the last game, the purpose here is not to win more gold, but to win tickets in order to purchase some rare, exceptional items.  They’re not necessary to win the game, but can be a fun diversion.

Despite this game being ranked #2 on my list, there is no need to play this version of the game.  Find it on the Nintendo DS under the title Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen.  It markedly improves the graphics, music, and interface while leaving all of the great parts fully intact.

12 thoughts on “2: Dragon Warrior IV”

  1. Hey, that four-story convergence thing sounds pretty awesome. I wonder if I could track this down on DS…

  2. Boy this is tough… every time I think of a game I realize it was already in the list. I’ve narrowed it down and I think I’ve got it.

  3. Nope, I was wrong. One of the two in my head must be tomorrows. I would have thought both of them would have made the list somewhere, so which one is being left out all together? Weird.

      1. I think I know which of the two are not on the list, but considering the time spent playing it, I would have thought it would crack the top 100.

        So #2 on the list is the game I got really far into, changed computers and thought I had copied over my save states but didn’t. Go me.

          1. Ok, doing a quick google, I see that one was actually a SNES game. So there is still hope for the one I thought was off the list entirely.

  4. I am happy with Beau’s choice of a Dragon Warrior game in slot #2. I love Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Zelda, Willow, all those role playing NES games. John gave me the DS version of Dragon Warrior IV for Christmas in 2008, Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. I think I got two-thirds of the way through it, then I went onto other things (can’t remember why I didn’t finish the game back then). Role-playing games like that, if you let them sit too long without finishing them, you have to start all over again . . . well, I do. So, Beau, as soon as I finish the current Professor Layton, I’m going to revisit that game, and I’m determined to finish it!

    and hey, later, Beau, I’ll let you know what my top 10 NES games were, and Ryan, what were yours? Curious Mom wants to know. :} (no need to post on here, this isn’t a family blog site, ha ha, so through email?)

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