(Game Boy)

Game Review

Dragon Warrior Monsters Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Does this monster-hunting spin off live up to the Dragon Quest name?

It's always a risky proposition when you create a spin-off of an already established and popular franchise, so when Enix decided to take the theme of their hugely popular Dragon Quest series and build a monster-hunting title around it, some RPG fans were more than a little skeptical. To make it even more of a challenge, they decided to develop this new title on Nintendo's Game Boy system. But when it was all said and done, Enix was somehow able to capture much of the charm and personality of their Dragon Quest series and inject it into one of the most addictive and engrossing monster-hunting titles ever crafted. Not only does the game offer an almost unlimited source of replay value, but it also offers up a very RPG-like quest in the process. The result is one of the most unique and captivating Game Boy titles available and a game that's still highly regarded among the RPG community, even all these years later.

While there are many traditional RPG game play elements strung throughout Dragon Warrior Monsters, at its core the game is still basically a monster-hunting title. It's your job as the monster master to travel through various areas, doing battle with the many monsters you come into contact with and trying to lure them into joining your team. The farther into the game you get, the stronger and more powerful the monsters you encounter become. Of course the more powerful the monsters, the more difficult they are to tame. You can even breed your collected monsters to form even more powerful monsters with unique skill sets.

As with most RPGs, your main goal is to complete the quest laid before you. In Dragon Warrior Monsters, your ultimate goal is to train an unbeatable team of monsters in order to win the Starry Night Tournament and get your captured sister back. As you acquire more powerful monsters, you'll be able to win battles that will open up special Traveler Gates that will allow you to warp to areas where you can capture and level up your monsters. And with over 200 monsters to breed and capture, you'll never be at a loss for things to do in the game.

The combat system is a fairly basic turn-based system that allows you to choose the actions you want your monsters to carry out. You yourself don't actually fight during battles, rather you let your monsters do the work for you. If you've trained them correctly, you should have no trouble doing battle. You can even use magical and curative items during battle to keep your monsters in top fighting condition. It's this simple, yet extremely playable game play system that makes the title such a joy to play. And with hundreds of breeding combinations, you'll find that part of the game even more engrossing than the actual quest. There's no feeling quite like the one you get when you breed one of the more powerful monsters in the game.

The visuals in Dragon Warrior Monsters are actually pretty basic, but they get the job done considering the type of game this actually is. The various areas you'll warp to are all randomly generated, so you'll never be at a loss for variety in your surroundings. This also makes it less redundant when you find yourself having to trek through the same Traveler Gate multiple times in order to level up your monsters properly. The monsters themselves are all quite impressively drawn out on the small Game Boy screen, but the lack of any type of animation can make them look a bit drab during battles. It's a small price to pay considering the huge number of monsters that are available in the game.

Great musical scores have long been a staple of the Dragon Quest series and Dragon Warrior Monsters is no exception. While there aren't a lot of tunes to choose from, those that are found in the game are very impressive, especially considering the Game Boy system's limited sound capabilities. You'll get to hear the handful of tunes played quite often during your trips through each Gate area, but the tunes are so catchy and melodic you certainly won't mind the slight repetition. The sound effect that pops up when your party is drawn into a battle is a bit grating at times, especially considering how often you'll be hearing it, but this is a small price to pay for what is an otherwise top shelf Game Boy musical presentation.

Conclusion

There are very few Game Boy titles that contain the mammoth amount of playability that Enix has been able to squeeze into Dragon Warrior Monsters. While the quest itself will easily keep you engrossed, it's the monster capturing and breeding that will keep you coming back to the title for countless hours, even after you've likely finished the quest itself. Whether you're a fan of the Dragon Quest series or not, you owe it to yourself to check this amazing title out. It's easily one of the most engrossing Game Boy titles ever created and a true testament to what could be done on the Game Boy system when developers took the time to get it right.

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User Comments (25)

Rum_Rapture

#3

Rum_Rapture said:

Ooh, I have this. But the only thing I really remember about it is the copious amount of sirloin I picked up when wandering about...

SmaMan

#5

SmaMan said:

I've just started playing this. How do you tame new monsters to your team? Is it automatic or anything?

CorbsAdmin

#6

Corbs said:

You toss meat at them. The better the meat, the better chance you have of taming them into your party.

Bahamut_ZERO

#7

Bahamut_ZERO said:

Great score for a great game. My only flaw is that capturing monsters is far to hard, and it becomes nigh impossible after you have caught one before. This is painfully annoying after a while. But still, great game, but it's more of an 8 for me.

Knux

#9

Knux said:

Great review Corbie! I have never played this game,but I might buy this in the future.

CorbsAdmin

#11

Corbs said:

_Now your average score should be a perfect 7 _

That's okay because I'm working on a 2 that should kill that average. :P

Oh and I actually found the monsters a bit too easy to capture.

Egg_miester

#13

Egg_miester said:

i liked this game more then first pokemon game, i even still have the guide for this game

SupermarketZombies

#14

SupermarketZombies said:

Battlerex! My favorite GB game. The recent DQM: Joker was a bit of a let down but the first two in the series are still classic.

CorbsAdmin

#16

Corbs said:

I enjoyed Joker, but nowhere nearly as much as the first two games.

Digiki

#17

Digiki said:

Corbie you spelled 10 wrong ;)

If you review the GBC version of Dragon Warrior 3 and you misspell 10 again, I shall fight you!

Joker was a lot of fun, 'course it didn't hold a candle to the original.

CanisWolfred

#19

CanisWolfred said:

Which reminds me, I should play this again. It's been a while, and it is my one of favorite turn-based RPGs(which doesn't say as much as it should) after all.

Ricardo91

#21

Ricardo91 said:

I don't know. I'm kinda interested in tracking this one down, but it still sounds too much like a cheap Pokemon ripoff, which is why I ignored it back in the day. Anything here to convince me otherwise?

EDIT: Well, is there!?!?

Invertedzero

#22

Invertedzero said:

There was something about these "8-bit" gameboy games that seemed quite deep, just the fact that even with the limited graphics, developers could make a fully fledged and entertaining game that you could play whilst on the move seemed more exciting than the fact you can have a portable ps2 with the psp nowdays. I have no idea why but the 8 bit games seemed more realistic ( not in terms of realism, but overall gameplay and game world).

In fact i think the word i am looking for is 'complete', its as though the whole of the universe within these gameboys games was 'real' or complete (not literally), mostly because of the limitations of the system. It's like because the sprites were discrete and pixelated, and used limited or no colour, it kindof made the denominator of the fraction which determined potential possibility lower. In newer games the static graphics have evolved, but the interactions and possibilities within each game hasn't, hence the games seeming less real/complete in a sense.

i'm really rambling on here hoping someone will get what i mean in a sense through my poor explanation.

You_from_the_Future

#23

You_from_the_Future said:

This game was, and is still is increadible and the game that got me obsessed with the Dragon Quest series. I got a bunch of my friends hooked and we would constantly battle and breed monsters. It has incredible replay value (although the second one even more so because of the random worlds that the game created. My only beef were wild points, which ultimately made you waste lots of money on meat to tame a monster that wasn't part of you usual team if you wanted to effectively use it,

Forsooth_and_Pi

#24

Forsooth_and_Pi said:

@Ricardo: A little late I suppose, but this game is certainly NOT a Pokemon ripoff.

I avoided this game at first for primarily that reason, when I saw it at the video rental store, but I eventually decided to give it a try and was completely hooked. I think I can easily say that this was my favorite GBC game, and quite possibly my favorite RPG game of all time (that claim is a little more dubious, after playing both Final Fantasy 9 and Persona 4 recently). Unlike Pokemon, the real emphasis in DWM isn't really catching monsters but rather breeding them, and the breeding system is so simple yet devious; you could literally breed ANY monster from the monsters you get in the first couple worlds. I would replay this game, seeing how many "legendaries" I could get as early as possible. Catching stronger monsters later on in the game helped mitigate the time necessary for breeding, but the game nonetheless places breeding at the forefront of team building strategy.

Geonjaha

#25

Geonjaha said:

If this game gets a 9/10 then then the sequel should be an easy 10/10. It's an amazing game that I was still playing when I got my DS.

@11, the problem with this game as opposed to the sequel is that the monsters are easier to catch, and you get most of the 'boss' monsters as soon as you beat them. This basicallly means that using any wild monsters soon becomes useless.

@Ricardo91 - The game builds on the monster catching that was present in Dragon Quest V, which was released before the first Pokémon game. Lesson to be learnt here - just because Pokémon is more well known doesn't mean it came first or that other games that are similar are 'cheap rip offs'.

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