that you've never owned a copy of Dragon Warrior IV. Released in the twilight
years of the NES (1992 to be exact) with a hefty price tag, this splendid
RPG was not produced in abundance. While many 8-Bit games can be had for
a pittance in this modern age, copies of DWIV still command a steep price.
What makes this forgotten classic so endearing? Well, of the four Dragon
Warrior games on the console, it has the most advanced graphics, the most
complex plot and the longest quest. A sophisticated interwoven narrative
brings several characters' tales together, and a realistic day/night cycle
greatly affects gameplay. DragonBall Z creator Akira Toriyama returns with
new spiky-haired characters and lovable monsters, and series veteran Koichi
Sugiyama provides an epic (by NES standards) musical score. Overall, it's
the most advanced RPG on the system, and it raised the bar for videogame
storylines in general. Dragon Warrior IV also has the distinction of being
the final game in the series to reach U.S. shores. In Japan, the series
(known as Dragon Quest) retained its popularity, and each successive game
outsold its predecessor. Two further sequels were released on the Super
Famicom (the Japanese Super Nintendo) and Dragon Quest VII recently became
the best-selling Japanese PlayStation game of all-time. Luckily, it's more
than likely that Enix will localize this latest chapter for the US market.
first chapter in Square's flagship series took three long years to reach
America, finally coming ashore in 1990. This lengthy voyage meant that
both Final Fantasy II and III would remain untranslated for the NES, as
Square had 16-Bit localizations to worry about. Final Fantasy still managed
to impress gamers with its quality graphics, classic soundtrack, and enjoyable
battle interface. What it lacks in character development it makes up for
with customizability. You can breeze through the game with a party of four
fighters, or if you're feeling lucky, struggle through with all mages.
Fans of this game should definitely check out Final
Fantasy IX on the PlayStation, as it includes a slew of references
to this game, including the return of pointy hat-wearing black mages!
classic RPG overlooked by American audiences, Dragon Warrior III is actually
a prequel to the first game in the series. The story is basically standard
fantasy fare, but the detailed character class system is the big draw here.
You customize your party members' classes, choosing from soldiers, pilgrims,
wizards and even goof-offs. This is also one of the first RPGs to include
the passage of time, and certain tasks can only be completed at night.
Overshadowed by its plot-heavy sequel, this game may seem minimalist when
compared to modern role-playing games, but it still retains a certain simplistic
charm and continues to be popular. A Super Famicom remake was immensely
well-received, and a Game Boy Color version due in late 2000 will undoubtedly
be a hit.