Thursday, October 2, 2014
Video Game Maps: Dragon Warrior (NES)
Dragon Warrior was released in the US in 1989 for the Nintendo Entertainment System [NES]. It was my first real taste of RPG gaming, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, whiling away many hours in the world of Alefgard. While I completed the game more than once, many times I would play through only a portion of the game, walking the same areas, collecting the same item, defeating the dragon and rescuing the princess. Repeat. In my inaugural edition of the Video Game Maps segment, I'm actually going to focus on two games: Dragon Warrior and Dragon Warrior 2*
Here is a map of Alefgard, the world of Dragon Warrior:
Cool enough world, several continental shapes, complete with geographic obstacles, and town tiles dotting the landscape. This seminal RPG took plenty of time to fight through. Cleverly, the designers placed a key item at the furthest point counter clockwise from the start, only to send you back the other direction to get to the final battle. The difficulty of the enemies increases as you travel further from your starting point. Because you had limited supplies, it was necessary to return to towns periodically to resupply your healing items and magic points. This leads to retreading a lot of ground, and an intimate familiarity with the landscape. I can still, at a glance, pick out the little patch of woods where you harvest gold from the appropriately named Gold Man.
Dragon Warrior featured a few landscape details. Water, can't walk on that. Grass, standard walking speed. Hills, slow walking speed. Swamp, damage every step. Mountains were impassable. Desert and forest were just like grass, as I recall. However, in addition to appearance and walk-speed changes, different enemy encounters were often triggered by changes in landscape tiles. There is a really cool map with enemy overlay that you should definitely check out if it sounds interesting to you. That map and many other Dragon Warrior details can be found at The Almighty Guru.
While assembling this post, I have enjoyed reveling in all these delightful details and memories. Dragon Warrior is truly a game near and dear to my heart, and I must restrain my enthusiasm in order to stay on topic. In my next edition of Video Game Maps, I will feature one of the best sequels of all time: Dragon Warrior 2.
*please note: I will be using the name 'Dragon Warrior' as opposed to 'Dragon Quest' because the games that I played, way back in the 80s, were called 'Dragon Warrior.'