Salutations. RPGTrek continues with the well loved entry, Dragon Warrior IV. Each week, I plan to detail my heroes journey through mysterious lands and deadly dungeons for your entertainment. If you play along, feel free to compare your experiences and leave comments about the similarities and contrasts. Please be aware that my journals contain some spoilry spoilers. If that works for you, click on the jump button and step into the shoes of this Utahan polygameist!
Journey of a Utahan Polygameist
Dragon Warrior IV: Chapters of the Chosen – Part 1
Introduction: Released in North America in October 1992, I received the game as a birthday or Christmas gift sometime the following year. I popped it in and my first impression left me me wanting. Compared to computer RPGs I had played for years, Dragon Warrior felt simple and one dimensional. However, the following summer, I had nothing left to play on the PC, so I gave the game another crack. I eventually conquered it, without the aid of a strategy guide! Nearly a quarter of a century later, I have great memories about this game… but is it still fun today?
Broken up into five chapters, the first four chapters of the game represent less than a quart of the time spent in the game, as they introduce the supporting cast in this epic tale. The fifth chapter introduces you, as the hero (or heroine) who will not only unite the others, but lead them to save the world from some slumbering evil that will soon awake. With that said, let’s dive into this!
Note: Because the first four chapters only represent a small part of the overall game play, I will review them only briefly to prevent this entry from becoming super long. Rest assured, if you play though them yourself, you can expect to find a lot more story in these first dozen hours.
Chapter One: The Royal Soldiers – The adventure starts in Burland, where children have gone missing. The king commands his soldiers to address the issue. Of course, we all know they are the red shirts of the story, so to speak, so thankfully, the king also involves Ragnar, the solider, whom I play. I quickly go to work grinding up a few levels, buying new weapons and armor, and heading to that very suspicious looking cave just a few clicks to the west. Eventually, I make my way to a town where more clues leads me to a hiding place in the forest where the children play. There, I find a new friend, Healie, and boots to get me into a secluded tower. Lo and behold, a bad guy captured them, trying to find a legendary hero among them. I quickly put an end to his evil ways and returned the children home. The king, elated, granted me my one request, freedom to roam around and find the true hero foretold in prophecy.
Chapter Two: Princess Alena’s Adventure – Princess of a large, yet seemingly secluded country, Princess Alena longs to travel the world and find adventure. Despite her father’s best efforts, she eventually escapes the castle. Two friends join her on her trek, Kiryl, a cleric and the wizard, Broya. We move onto a small village where a nasty monster demands the regular sacrifice of young ladies. As a princess representing the virtues of feminism, I simply cannot allow that, so I jump into the carriage (used to hold and transport the “sacrifice” and surprise this monster with fists of justice! Later, in another town, we would help some importers out of trouble. Everyone wants to be a princess! Eventually, our own father required help from our intrepid band of adventurers, eventually granting us his blessing to travel the world and seek out the looming dangers which threatens all.
Chapter Three: Tarneko the Arms Merchant – I recall this guy’s name as “Taloon” from the NES version…but, whateveh! This chapter of the game introduces us to a merchant who faces monsters, traps and some hard bargaining to get what he wants. The chapters starts with me actually running a weapon shop, which I enjoyed. As soon as I had enough money saved from commissions to afford one, I bought a better weapon. After earning money from monsters (and the expensive items they drop) , I pushed further into the world eventually saving two kingdoms from a bloody war. One of the best parts I enjoyed, I would buy armor from one town, and sell to another with need, at a profit. Before I knew it, I had well over 70,000 gold. Too bad it disappears at the end of the chapter! So, I used my new found wealth to buy my own shop (which my wife took over) and build a tunnel to connect two distant lands.
Chapter Four: The Sisters of Monbaraba – Returning to a more standard plot, this chapter tells us the story of two sisters, Meena and Maya, and their quest for revenge for the death of their father. A gypsy and a fortune-teller, these two essentially function as wizard and cleric. Thankfully, Oojam joins us, eventually, to fill the role of meat-shield. Towards the end of story, things get hairy, and our heroes cannot hold their own against the overwhelming force of evil responsible for daddy’s trip to the afterlife. Eventually, the duo are forced to retreat, take a ship to a foreign land, to search for a prophesied hero who might, in turn, help them to attain what they so desperately wish.
Chapter Five: The Chosen Ones – This chapter introduces us to Phil, our aptly named hero of the game 🙂 His village destroyed by monsters (and let us not forget the sacrifice of his friends), Phil heads out into the world to fulfill his fate: the utter destruction of the slumbering evil threatening to plunge the world into utter darkness! To assist on such an epic endeavor, our hero travels to various towns and finds others with similar aspirations (namely, the heroes we met in the earlier chapters). Managing eight heroes might be a difficult task, since mysterious forces limit any adventuring party to four. Thankfully, we find a wagon which allows us to do just that. In many areas, we can even switch out party members in the middle of combat, adding an additional layer of strategy to the typical combat formula.
Coming Soon: The epic journey continues!