Almost 10 years have passed since we here in the US got our first taste of a console RPG. That RPG was Dragon Warrior. Horribly primitive by today's standards, DW was a classic for the NES.
The overworld graphics for the time were very well done and in fact were better than Final Fantasy, which came a bit later. They are colorful and varied. The character graphics are simplistic, but adequate considering the time frame. In battle graphics are very good, with detailed monsters and backgrounds. Unfortunately there is very little animation at all through the game with almost every character having two frames of animation. In addition, there is no animation during battles.
Dragon Warrior was the first game that we'd ever played that required the endless hours of level building and gold collecting that became so prevalent in later games. By my estimation literally almost 90%+ of the game is spent killing things to raise levels or to get new equipment (so you can raise levels better, natch). While this was pretty damned cool at the time, nowadays it would be incredibly tedious. DW also had one of the most irritating features ever found in any game. To go up and down stairs you have to open the menu and select the "Stairs" option. You have to do this EVERY time you want to use the stairs. It doesn't sound like much, but trust me it's aggravating.
Another problem is that your character moves very, very slowly. It wasn't a problem at the time, but playing it now is almost painful because of that lack of speed.
The Music is nothing to write home about. Compositions were average and sound quality was poor. SFX were well done, however, with neat sound effects when casting spells or attacking monsters.
You are a descendant of Erdrick who defeated the Dragon Lord a long time ago. The Dragon Lord is back and it's your turn to fight him. Oh yeah, and along the way you need to rescue Princess Gwaelin. Oh damn! I just told you the entire story! Really though Dragon Warrior is not really story heavy. It's very cliche and unoriginal, but at the time we didn't have anything better.
By today's standards Dragon Warrior would be tedious, unoriginal, and boring. When it came out, however, it was a great game that provided hours of entertainment. As much as I liked the game, though, I found it really hard to play through to do this review. It's a classic, but one that even long time fans are going to have a hard time going back to play again.