Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ranking the Dragon Quest games

One of the first console role playing game series ever released was a little series called Dragon Quest.  Now, almost 25 years later, Dragon Quest has released nine games here in the US and ten games in Japan.

I have a great affinity for this series, so I will rank them

9.  Dragon Warrior- NES

First released here in the United States in the mid 80's; this game was for many fresh faced role players (including myself) their first foray into how awesome it could be to play games with a story. 
By today's standards Dragon Warrior is simplistic with only one character, a very basic game system, and a very very paper thin story, but in the mid 80's we were transported to a kingdom under siege from the evil Dragon Lord.  Only my little blue avatar (no not that one!) stood in the way!  But, as is so often the case when you start out you stand no chance of defeating the Dragon Lord so you must fight your way up by improving your stats and equipment until you can meet the Dragon Lord in single combat.  In order to get stronger you must explore dank caves, dark forests, and haunted towns, hunting down mythical equipment as you fend off fiendish monsters. 

Role playing games today are highly interactive novels these days with amazing graphics, fully voiced dialogue, and moving scores.  But the only reason games have gotten so amazing is because games like Dragon Warrior sparked the imagination of thousands. 

I rank Dragon Warrior in the lowest spot because each game is an improvement over it in the series.  Even Dragon Warrior 2 is leaps and bounds more complex than the original.  This still a transcendent game. 

Note:  Dragon Warrior is known as Dragon Quest everywhere else in the world.  I did not in fact go crazy by billing my ranking of the Dragon Quest series and then begin with a game called Dragon Warrior.  Apparently their was a show trademarked Dragon Quest here in the US in the 80's so Enix couldn't call the game by its Japanese title.  Today that trademark has expired and games are now released as Dragon Quest.  Sorry for the confusion. 

8.  Dragon Quest VII- Playstation

Dragon Quest VII is my least favorite Dragon Quest game.  I rank it higher than Dragon Warrior only because it improves greatly on the limitations of the original.  However, by 1997 when this game was released the series had not grown as much as it could and the series lagged behind its competitors in almost all respects. 

The game itself is fine.  The story is fine, the game play is fine, the characters are fine, the music was fine and the graphics were poor.  Enix had not grown the series like they should and in a few years they would merge with Square to the betterment of the company and the series.

Dragon Quest VII is not a bad game, but it failed to use the PlayStation's technology in any meaningful way and its average story was not enough to carry it.

Tune in next time for the next two games on my list.

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