Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Dragon Warrior Monsters

Platform: Game Boy Color

Rating: E for Everyone

Price: $12.00 - $35.00

There's a new 3DS coming out soon, and it's coming with a 3D re-render of the Game Boy Color classic "Dragon Warrior Monsters."  Since this is a classic game that inhabits so much of my childhood, I figure it's only fair to write a retro review about it.
I have many fond memories of Dragon Warrior Monsters.  This was the "big" game after my friends had all trounced Pokemon.   We were bored, and looking for something new to play.  One friend stumbled upon it, and the rest of us were hooked.

Dragon Warrior Monsters tells the tale of Terry, the monster tamer who jumps into his drawer and finds himself in the world of GreatTree.  In his quest to find his sister, he learns of the "Starry Night Tournament," where the winner gets one wish granted.  Seeing as this is as good an option as any, Terry decides to help the King of GreatTree and win the starry night tournament.

Simplistic graphics, yet highly addictive
Gameplay involves exploring uncharted "worlds" called Traveler's Gates.  Each gate has a certain number of levels before fighting a boss monster.  The levels, or "floors," are randomly generated using a basic template.  In retrospect, it's very similar to the system used by dungeon crawler games.

As you explore, you will fight monsters based on the Dragon Warrior or Dragon Quest series.  Players start with the lowly Slime and Dracky monsters, and eventually gain the assistance of the mighty BattleRex and Wyvern monsters.  In addition to this, there's also a "breeding" sub-theme that makes your monsters stronger.  Breeding unlocks new skills, monsters, and higher levels in your monsters.  This is also a great way to "tune" a particular monster to your specifications.  Say you don't have the "HealUs" spell on your Unicorn.  By breeding it with a Healer monster that has learned HealUs, the offspring (a Pillow Rat or SpotSlime, depending on which way you breed it) will be able to learn HealUs when it reaches a high enough level.

The breeding system is so deep that there are whole guides devoted to it on GameFAQs, amongst other places.  Gamers can devote hours on end, just trying to get that elusive "ultimate monster."  In addition, this gives the game a secondary objective for those that wish to accomplish it.

What's not to love about this blue drop?
On top of everything that makes Dragon Warrior Monsters so great, this game has insanely high replay value.  I've restarted my game from a 99:59 clock, just to see if I can do it again.  I've restarted this game on multiple occasions over the years, and it's still a game that I come back to on a regular basis.

All in all, Dragon Warrior Monsters is a true classic from the Game Boy Color era, and worth seeking out in this day and age.

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