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Dragon Warrior II, known as Dragon Quest II Akuryo no Kamigami (ドラゴンクエストII 悪霊の神々, Doragon Kuesuto Tsū Akuryo no Kamigami?, lit. "Dragon Quest II: Pantheon of Evil Spirits") in Japan, is a console role-playing game developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix (now known as Square Enix) in 1987 for the MSX and Nintendo Entertainment System as a part of the Dragon Quest series (then known as the Dragon Warrior series in North America).
The game's story centers on the prince on Midenhall who is ordered to stop an evil wizard after he destroys Moonbrooke Castle. On his adventure, he is accompanied by his two cousins; the prince of Cannock and the princess of Moonbrooke. This game greatly expands on the series formula from the first game by having a larger party and more areas to explore.
This game allows the player to control more than one character, and it is the first one in the Dragon Quest series to do so. The player controls his or her characters as they move in the game world. They can search treasure chests, talk and trade with villagers, equip weapons and armor, and cast spells. While wandering the fields, towers, caves, seas, or dungeons, the player encounters battles that happen randomly. Battle mode introduces groups of monsters, which is an upgrade from the one-on-one battles of Dragon Warrior. In the battle mode, the player gives orders to the characters on how to fight the monsters. Once the player defeats all of the monsters, the characters gain experience points and gold. The experience points raise the characters' experience levels. This improves the characters' attributes, and they may also learn new spells.
To win, the player must fight many monsters to improve the characters' experience levels and get gold to buy better weapons and armor. Eventually, the player's characters become strong enough to make it to the next town or dungeon. This repeats until the player reaches the final boss and defeats him. However, the gameplay is not necessarily linear, especially after the player gets the boat. Exploration is a key component of the game.
The game offers a few spots to save the game. In most of the towns, talking to a king or minister saves the game. It also allows deletion and the moving of saved games. This was an upgrade from the Japanese version, which utilized a password system to restore progress.
Dragon Warrior II is noted for greatly expanding the game play from the previous game, Dragon Warrior. Dragon Warrior II is the first game in the series to feature multiple heroes and enemies in a battle, as well as a sailing ship. It was also the first to have weapons which cast spells when used in battles. In addition, Dragon Warrior II offers a wider array of spells and items and a much larger world.
Dragon Warrior II is set one hundred years after Dragon Warrior. A century of peace is suddenly ended when minions of the evil wizard Hargon attack Moonbrooke Castle. One lone guard, a wounded survivor of the battle, makes his way towards the kingdom of Midenhall. There with his dying breath he informs the king of their dire circumstances concerning an evil wizard known as Hargon (an enemy seen later in the Dragon Quest Monsters games). Hargon has just attacked Moonbrooke castle. The king commands his son, the Prince of Midenhall and a descendant of Erdrick, known as Loto in the Japanese versions and later re-localizations, to defeat Hargon. An early battle where the player controls the prince.The Prince begins his quest alone, but is later joined by two cousins: the Prince of Cannock and the Princess of Moonbrooke. After finding the Prince of Cannock, who leaves on a similar journey about the same time as the Prince of Midenhall, the two must rescue the Princess of Moonbrooke, who was in Moonbrooke Castle when it was attacked by Hargon's army. It is up to the Prince of Midenhall to find them, join forces, and together defeat Hargon. Along the way, the trio secure a ship, which allows them to travel across oceans to reach new continents, including Alefgard, where Dragon Quest took place. There they meet the grandson of Dragonlord, the villain from the previous game, who gives the party valuable information regarding the five crests. By collecting the five crests hidden around the world, the party can create the Charm of Rubiss, allowing them to fight against Hargon and his illusions.
The early part of the game takes place on land. From a few magical tiles or tunnels, the player can visit a few tiny islands in the beginning, but only upon reaching a major port and fulfilling a specific task does the player get a ship which allows the player to explore much more of the world by sea. Magical teleportation is the last means of transport that the player must use. Architecturally, some castles are presented as ruins.
The Prince of Midenhall (Lorasia) is the main character of the game. He is sent out by his father, the king, after a guard from Moonbrooke announces Hargon's attack. He is the classic warrior of the party. He can use almost any armor and weapon in the game. He has no natural magic ability (there are some weapons that can be used as items and have the same effects as spells), but his physical attack and defense are the greatest of the three. This is the character the player starts out with in the castle of Midenhall. The Prince of Samantoria (Cannock) is the second character to join the party and is a blend of the classic warrior and wizard archetypes, having a lot in common with the series' well-balanced "Hero" class. He cannot use as wide a variety of weapons and armor as the Prince of Lorasia, but he compensates for this with the ability to use magic. However, it should be noted that his magic is not as powerful as that wielded by the Princess of Moonbrooke. The Princess of Moonbrooke (Moonbrook) is the second and last character to join the party, entering the party with a curse that must be cured, and is the classic mage in the party. She too cannot use as wide a variety of weapons and armor as the Prince of Midenhall, but she compensates for this with the ability to use magic, being the most powerful caster of the party.
The game world of Dragon Warrior, Alefgard, is included on the world map in Dragon Warrior II (albeit in slightly reduced scale), although the Hero can win the game without ever setting foot there. The song that is played when wandering the fields of Dragon Warrior, "Unknown World", is also played when the Hero is in that area. Dragon Quest II was the first Dragon Quest game to include a game of chance (played with found Lottery Tickets), and was also the first Dragon Quest game to use multiple key types and to include travel doors (warp gates). In the original Famicom version, passwords were used for saving, but the NES version featured a save feature without passwords.
The storyline introduction in Moonbrooke is present exclusively in Dragon Warrior II. In Dragon Quest II, the game starts right with the injured soldier from Moonbrooke entering Midenhall castle, seeking help from its king. This potentially explains why the king of Moonbrooke in Dragon Warrior II looks different from the rest of the kings in the game. When the SFC remake Dragon Quest I & II was released in Japan in 1993, this additional Moonbrooke introduction was included in the game's opening sequence
The Famicom version of Dragon Warrior II was a financial success in Japan, having sold approximately 2.4 million copies as of March 31, 2003. In 2006, readers of Famitsu magazine voted the game the number 17th best video game of all time.
Dragon Quest II is generally known as a remedy to problems found in the first game, including allowing parties of three characters, having a larger world, better graphics, and the ability to carry more items. Other noted improvements were keys that can be used multiple times and new strategic elements introduced because of larger parties and larger groups of enemies. The game's music is often praised, despite its limited 8-bit capabilities. Considered a classic for the RPG genre, the game is regarded as praiseworthy, but cannot stand up to modern games in the genre because of its simplicity.
- Official Dragon Quest II site (Japanese)
- Dragon Warrior II guide at StrategyWiki
- Dragon Warrior II at MobyGames