Honestly, I think the Box Art says it all. This cover art represents everything I thought totally awesome when I was ten. Look at the heroes' sweet horns! You know those capes are imbued with properties of magical awesomeness causing them to always look cool and never get in the way. Let's go fight some monsters in an exciting and triumphant fashion like it's what we were born to do!
As I previously said: As a sequel, Dragon Warrior 2 delivered . Not only is it a true sequel, continuing the story of the previous game, but it has an expanded world and game mechanics. This is the kind of growth I had always wished for in games and DW2 heavily informed my expectations. The age at which I played Dragon Warrior 2 does a lot to color my memories. The game was so BIG. I remember dedicating hours and hours on weekend rentals getting my first party member, the prince of Middenhal. That obnoxious prince of Middenhal who always seemed close to death. I remember upgrading my weapon to the iron sickle, feeling pretty badass. I also remember having some coaching during this game as my other family members were still participating in video game time.
It's not that I needed the coaching (my pride would not allow it) but it is always nice to have someone along with you for the adventure. I think it qualifies as a Family Fun Time game, because I remember EMZ helping with and also commenting on the different creature designs. Gotta love the smiles on the slimes and on the drakees. There's something funny about that goofy smile on a creature whose only desire is to kill you.
I only ever rented Dragon Warrior 2. I didn't beat it then, though I tried and tried. I loved having a party to build, I loved raising levels and I loved that each character was different. I could usually pick up the sorceress by the end of one rental (at Placer TV Video). But then I'd have to return it, hoping and praying the save file would still be there next weekend when I aimed to rent it again.
In this way, Dragon Warrior 2 has always been a special title for me. I owned and beat the first game more than once, but the second was elusive and expanded. I never knew what the limits of that game were, and it leaves a nice feeling of possibility.
Here's the wikipedia article for some background.
Also, a gamasutra article about the history of dragon quest. For further reading.