End Boss Month #17: Dragon Warrior

Show of hands. Who here subscribed to Nintendo Power back in the day when the magazine offered a free copy of Dragon Warrior with each subscription? Well, like some of you (assuming any of you reading this actually did accept that offer), I too received a subscription through this promotion thanks to my mom. Technically, the subscription and the game were shared between me and my brother. But regardless of where the game came from, Dragon Warrior was my first taste of the RPG genre.

And man, what a taste. It’s simple and kind of a slog to play now, but without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. But for me and my brother, the Dragonlord will forever remain our white whale.

Moby-Dick.
Moby-Dick.

I’ll get to why in a moment. But first, it’s important to know who this Dragonlord guy is. Well, he’s a princess-kidnapping bag of dicks. I know that a bag of greasy Dick’s is a delight (seriously, if you're ever in the Seattle area, try them out). But not this guy. He kidnaps Princess Gwaelin and uses his power to threaten Alefgard. The only way to stop him is to rebuild the rainbow bridge to his castle, march on over there, and take him on.

This is a process that can take an exceedingly long time. Particularly if you’re nine years old and have never played an RPG before in your life. The learning curve is steep, the number of steps that require getting to the end is long. But once you’re ready, it’s time to face that evil sorcerer and beat him down.

Only wait! He’s actually a dragon. And the battle suddenly becomes a lot more difficult. I hope you’ve found Erdrick’s Sword, because you’re going to need it.

Unfortunately, neither my brother nor I ever beat the game. My brother actually got to the end first. He could get to the Dragonlord’s dragon form, but then he’d die. So he just needed to level up some more. I figured I’d catch up to him on my own save file.

It was around this time that some family friends came to visit. They have a son that’s about our age, and we let him try the game. All was cool. And then, after he left, my brother went to resume his own game. But…oh.

Oh.

Said family friend had saved over my brother’s file.

That, folks, is more soul-shattering than any number of beatdowns courtesy of the Dragonlord himself. The loss of save data after countless hours of questing, level grinding and slime slaying. My brother never did beat the game, and well, neither did I. I mean, it wasn’t my save data, but it was a punch in the dick all the same. Regardless, my brother never touched another console RPG after that. I think the last game in the genre of any sort that he played was Diablo II, and that’s a considerably different game altogether.

But this I swear; one day, I will hunt the Dragonlord down and kill him for the honor of my brother. From hell’s heart I stab at thee.

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