Dragon Warrior Monsters (Game Boy Color) review
"If you take a look at the box and the instructions for Dragon Warrior Monsters (heretofore to be referred to as DWM), you may be apt to dismiss it as just another Pokémon clone. Well, if you were to do that, you would be wrong. So very wrong. Read on to find out why DWM is not just a mindless Pokémon clone and it in fact is a much better, deeper, and more enjoyable game. "
If you take a look at the box and the instructions for Dragon Warrior Monsters (heretofore to be referred to as DWM), you may be apt to dismiss it as just another Pokémon clone. Well, if you were to do that, you would be wrong. So very wrong. Read on to find out why DWM is not just a mindless Pokémon clone and it in fact is a much better, deeper, and more enjoyable game.
As it goes, while you (default name: Terry) and your sister Milayou are in your room one night an evil monster named Warabou comes out of a drawer and takes Milayou back with him. Then a new monster named Watabou pulls you into a different drawer to go after your sister. You are pulled into a kingdom known as GreatTree, where all the people, buildings, etc. are on one giant tree. The king asks you to win the Starry Night Tournament for him, and he says if you win the Tournament you get a wish, which you could then use to get your sister back. This story is very original and unique...but throughout most of the game, it’s not advanced at all. However, a plot twist at the VERY END of this game revives the story, and let me tell you that this plot twist is a HUGE shock when you first experience it.
DWM makes good use of the Game Boy Color’s palette of colors. All of the 215 (!) different monsters have their own unique look and feel to them. And thankfully, most of them don’t give off the “cute” feeling like many Pokémon do. These guys look TOUGH. The dungeons, however, look bland and uninteresting, which is a bad thing since that’s where you’ll be for the large majority of the game. Moreover, although the dungeons are random (more on that later), they all follow one of 4 or 5 patterns, lessening the variety even more. Within a battle, all the different skills have their own unique looks as well. For example, with FireAir, you see a flame go across the screen and damage your enemies, and when it upgrades to BlazeAir, it’s a bigger flame.
This was difficult to score. When you first hear the background music, it seems annoying and you may even be tempted to turn it off. Also, there seems to be under 10 different songs that loop while you’re in a dungeon. However, if you keep the music on, you’ll probably be humming it after the game is turned off, which is strange indeed. The basic attack sound in a battle is the same for all monsters, but the different skills all have their own sounds, making it possible to identify what skill is being used without even looking at the screen.
Another Pokémon clone? Hardly!! DWM’s gameplay breathes of innovation. The basic setup is that you have a party of 3 monsters and you face other parties of up to 3 monsters as well. This part of the game plays like a traditional RPG, in that you issue orders to your team and they perform them after all orders have been issued. Anyway, you start the game with only one monster: a Slime named Slib. After that, your only real option is to go into the first Traveler’s Gate. These Traveler’s Gates are portals to dungeons that have wild monsters up until you face a boss at the end. Each dungeon has a certain amount of floors, from 4 at the beginning of the game to more than 25 at the end of the game. You proceed from one floor to the next by finding and walking into a black hole. Along the way, you’ll battle monsters and gain experience like a normal RPG. You also find various items on the ground. Anyway, the special thing about these dungeons is that they’re randomly generated. Yup, you read that right, a dungeon will never be the same twice no matter how many times you go through it. And you WILL be going through the dungeons more than once, because leveling up your monsters is just as necessary as in any RPG. By now, you may be asking how to get more monsters since you start the game with only one. Well, for the first dungeon, you’ll have to get lucky, because the monsters you defeat during a battle may or may not join you in your quest. As you move along, you get access to different types of food, such as Beef Jerky and Pork Chops. You can feed these foods to the monsters to raise the likelihood of them joining your party. There’s an important thing to point out about capturing monsters here: the fact that only the last one defeated has a chance of joining your party. For example, if you’re battling a BeanMan and a FloraMan and you hope to catch the FloraMan but your monsters knock it out first, you’re out of luck. Which brings us to, in my opinion, the gameplay’s only flaw: If you choose Item for your battle selection (which is necessary to give the enemies treats), you can’t tell your monsters what to do. If this happens, the monsters will do whatever they damn well please. So if you’re battling a group of monsters that has one you already have and then another that you’re hoping to catch, you have to rely on luck, hoping that your monsters will knock out the one you already have first.
The other main aspect of the game, other than the dungeons, is the Arena Battles. These battles are necessary to advance in the game. For example, at the beginning of the game you only have access to the very first gate. If you want more gates, you’ll have to win Arena Battles. These Battles start at G Class and proceed down to A and then S Class, leading up to the Starry Night Tournament. These Arena Battles play out like normal battles with two major exceptions. One is that you can’t use items. The other is that you can’t give specific commands to your monsters. Your options are Charge, meaning your monsters should use their best attack, Mixed, meaning they should use their best support skills, Cautious, meaning they should defend themselves or heal, and No SP SK, meaning they shouldn’t use any of their skills. In each class, you must survive 3 battles to win.
Finally, we come to the most important aspect of the game: breeding. Once you get past enough Arena Battles, you’ll have access to the Shrine of the Starry Night, which is the location to breed your monsters. In here, you can breed any one of your monsters with any other of your monsters, providing that one is male, one is female, and they’re both at least level 10. The 215 monsters are divided into 10 families: Slime, Dragon, Beast, Bird, Plant, Bug, Devil, Zombie, Material, and Boss (consisting of bosses of the previous Dragon Warrior RPGs). You choose one of your monsters for the pedigree. This is important in that the new monster will be in the family of the pedigree (with only a few exceptions). I hope you don’t plan to just breed your monsters the instant they hit level 10 though. You see, any skills the parents had are passed down to the new monster, in addition to the skills that new monster would normally learn. So, you may want to wait until your parents have all the skills they can learn. Also, the new monster's stats are determined by adding the parents’ stats and dividing by 4. So the stronger the parents were, the stronger the new monster will be at level 1 (which is where all new monsters start). There are plenty of other important things to know about breeding, but I’ll leave you to figure them out for yourself. Oh, and by the way...don’t expect to collect all 215 monsters. This isn’t Pokémon. That isn’t the goal of the game. In fact, it’s not even POSSIBLE. You only get twenty spaces at the farm and twenty at the monster stable, for a total of 40 monsters you can have at one time. The difference between the farm and the stable is that monsters at the farm will earn a small percentage of the experience that the monsters in your party earn.
This is typical for any RPG. As long as you make wise breeding decisions and you take the time to level up, you can clear anything in the game with ease.
The basic game is good enough, but the breeding is just plain addicting. The FDA needs to put out a warning about this game, because you can be playing it, and then look up and realize you’ve been playing for 5 hours, you’re hungry, and you REALLY need to go to the bathroom. Once sucked into DWM’s little world, you won’t want to leave.
PROS: Graphics, breeding, sound, breeding, just plain addictive, breeding...have I mentioned breeding yet?
CONS: As with any RPG, leveling up can be boring.
This is a great game that easily tops the original Pokémon. Whether it is better than Gold and Silver is more debatable, but I wouldn’t bet against this great title. Enix has proved that not all great games for the Game Boy Color are published by Nintendo.
Community review by jaksiel (Date unavailable)
A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.
More Reviews by jaksiel [+]
If you enjoyed this Dragon Warrior Monsters review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!
User Help | Contact | Ethics | Sponsor Guide | Links