Dragon Quest, known as Dragon Warrior in the USA, is the first role-playing video game (RPG) in the Dragon Quest media franchise. It was developed by Chunsoft for the Family Computer (known in Japan as the Famicom) and published by Enix in Japan in 1986. Dragon Warrior has been ported and remade for several video game platforms, including the MSX, PC-9801, X68000, Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, and mobile phones. A version of the game for Android and iOS has been released in Japan on November 28, 2013. During the game, players control a hero character who is charged with saving the kingdom of Alefgard and rescuing its princess from the antagonistic Dragonlord. Dragon Warrior's story later became the second part in a trilogy that encompasses the first three games in the series. Several anime and manga, which revolved around this overarching plot, were created. Two of the manga take place between the events in Dragon Warrior and its prequel Dragon Warrior III.
The game was created by Yuji Horii, who took inspiration from previous RPGs such as Wizardry, Ultima, and his own 1983 title The Portopia Serial Murder Case. Horii wanted to create an RPG which would appeal to a wide audience of people who were unfamiliar with the genre or video games in general, place a greater emphasis than other RPGs on storytelling and emotional involvement, and expose the mainly Western genre to Japan. Manga artist and Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama produced the game's artwork and Koichi Sugiyama composed its music. The North American localization released in 1989 featured numerous changes, including battery-backed RAM save games (rather than using a password save system), modified character sprites and pseudo-Elizabethan English style dialog.
Dragon Quest was commercially successful in Japan; its release as Dragon Warrior in North America was less favorably received. Later, Western critics noted the game's shortcomings but acknowledged its importance to the genre. Its original pseudo-Elizabethan English script has been praised in many of these reviews. Fan-made ROM hacks were released with substantial changes to the game. The game's sound effects have also been orchestrated, and its music has been performed at numerous concerts. As a whole, Dragon Warrior has been credited with establishing the basic template for the Japanese console RPGs that followed.
Dragon Warrior is a role-playing video game. Its gameplay mechanics have been described, years after its release, as simplistic and spartan. Players control a young hero who sets out to defeat a being known as the Dragonlord. Before starting the game, players are presented with a menu which allows them to begin a new quest (a game), continue a previous quest, or change the speed in which messages appear on the screen. In the Japanese version, continuing a quest requires players to enter a password; in the North American Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) English version, the quest is saved onto the game cartridge's battery-backup (known in the game as an 'Adventure Log' in the 'Imperial Scrolls of Honor'). The English version also has options to delete or duplicate a saved quest. If players choose to start a new quest, they may give the hero any name they wish in either Japanese kana or English letters depending on the version. The hero's name has an effect on his initial ability scores and their statistical growth over the course of the game. Each stat falls into one of two categories, one with faster growth than the other, and the game determines which path each stat uses with a formula based on the kana or letters in the character's name.
Dragon Warrior presents players with a clear objective from the start and uses a series of smaller scenarios to increase the hero's strength in order to achieve the objective. The game begins in King Lorik's chamber in Tantegel Castle, where the hero receives information about the Dragonlord, whom he must defeat, and the stolen Balls of Light, which he must retrieve. After receiving some items and gold, the hero sets out on his quest. Much of Dragon Warrior is spent talking to townspeople and gathering information from them that leads to additional places, events, and secrets. Players are advised to take notes of these hints for future reference. Towns contain shops that sell improved weapons and armor; general stores where the player may buy other goods; inns that allow the hero to recover his health and magic, and shops that offer keys for purchase. Players may sell items at half price to shops that provide weapons, armor, or general goods. The hero's status window is shown whenever he stops moving, displaying his current experience level (LV) and the amount of hit points (HP), magic points (MP), gold (G), and experience points (E).
To safely progress to the next areas in the game, players need to accumulate experience points and gold by defeating enemies outside of towns – in the overworld and in dungeons. Apart from the Dragonlord's castle, there are no physical restrictions on where players can roam. Instead, monsters increase in difficulty as players venture further from Tantegel castle. As the hero's level increases, players can explore further afield with less risk. Enemies appear in random encounters and the hero fights one opponent at a time. The encounter rate is lowest on fields and increases in forests and hills. Battles are turn-based and fought from a first-person perspective while the hero remains off-screen. In combat, players must defeat the enemy by reducing its HP to zero. During combat, players have four commands: 'fight', 'run', 'spell', and 'item'. The 'fight' command causes the hero to attack the enemy with a weapon, or with his bare fists if no weapon is available, in an attempt to inflict damage. With the 'run' command, the hero attempts to escape from a battle, which is recommended if his HP is low. The 'spell' command casts magic that can, for example, heal the hero or damage the enemy. The 'item' command uses herbs that replenish the hero's HP.
During combat, the hero loses HP when he takes damage, and the display turns red when his HP is low. If his HP falls to zero, he dies and is taken back to King Lorik to be resurrected, and loses half his gold as punishment. If the hero succeeds in defeating an enemy, he gains experience points and gold; if he gains enough experience points, his experience level increases, giving him greater strength, agility, speed, and the ability to use magic spells. Every time a spell is used, the hero's MP decreases, with different spells costing different amounts of MP. Both HP and MP can be restored by resting at an inn. Additionally, a non-player character can replenish the hero's MP in Tantegel Castle. As the hero earns more gold, he can purchase better weapons, armor, and items. However, players have limited inventory space to hold items, so they must manage their item collection conservatively. The caves which the hero explores are dark and require the use of a torch to display a field of vision around the character. In the English version, players can return to King Lorik at any point to save the quest. Because the Japanese version does not have a battery backup, players receive a password to return to a quest at a later time.
The control pad may be used to move the hero in any direction and to move the flashing cursor in menu displays. Additional buttons confirm and cancel commands. In the English version, players use menu commands to talk to people, check their status, search beneath their feet, use items, take treasure chests, open doors, and go up or down stairs. However, in some of the game's later remakes, certain commands were assigned to buttons, navigating stairs became automatic, and the hero's speed was increased. In the Japanese version, characters always face forward, so players must choose a command and then a direction in which to perform that action. In the North American version, the hero turns to face the direction he is moving, making direction selection unnecessary.
More details about this game can be found on