Platform: NES, Gameboy Color, SNES (Japanese only)
In 1990, America was still behind on the RPG front as this game took three years to get here from Japan. Final Fantasy took the same amount of the time to cross the pond and was released a few months before this game. That game probably hurt any momentum Enix hoped to gain with the Dragon Quest/Warrior series, especially since graphically Enix seemed to be way behind. Still, this is a solid, if not always memorable game.
Like its predecessor, you begin the game as the lone party member. However, as the game progresses, you gain two additional party members that enhance the story line and add variety to the battles. I think the most memorable part of this game for me is the towns you visit. There are many hidden passageways and genuinely interesting puzzles to solve when you’re not mindlessly building up levels. The overall story is not terribly compelling, but there are individual highlights that make up for it.
Where the game falters the most is near the end, where some level-building is required, and the final cave has mazes that not only are pointless but hard to figure out. They are zero clues how to navigate them, and the enemies steal magic points and are brutal.
If you love old-school RPGs, this isn’t a must-play by any means, but you probably wouldn’t be disappointed either, especially if you took in the more user-friendly SNES or Game Boy versions. Dragon Quest II certainly is less frustrating than the original game and makes some positive steps, but Enix still hadn’t come into their own.