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Dragon Slayer is commonly considered one of the progenitors of the action RPG genre. The premise is similar to Roguelikes: the player takes control of a knight who must fight his way through large overhead maze-like dungeons. Unlike roguelikes, the combat in the game is fully action-oriented: the player must approach the monster and "bump" into it in order to inflict damage, at the same time trying to avoid its blows. Combat takes place on the same screen as the exploration; monsters will also sometimes pursue the knight if he attempts to escape. Also contrary to roguelikes, none of the locations or items in the game is randomized.

The player can collect power stones and coins during the journey; the power stones increase the hero's strength, while the coins increase his hit points (health). Defeating enemies also yields experience points, which determine the amount of maximum HP the hero is able to receive. The knight is able to cast magic spells, though they are mostly used outside of combat, for example breaking walls, teleporting, or creating a map of the area.


Dragon Slayer MSX Starting the game
Dragon Slayer PC-88 Falcom boasting
Dragon Slayer PC-88 Monster and treasure
Dragon Slayer Game Boy Your home is your castle.

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Alternate Titles

  • "ドラゴンスレイヤーI" -- Japanese spelling

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Critic Reviews

Retro Archives PC-88 Jul 20, 2022 11 out of 20 55
Retro Archives MSX Jul 20, 2022 11 out of 20 55
Génération 4 Game Boy Feb, 1991 5 out of 10 50
Retro Archives Game Boy Jul 20, 2022 9.5 out of 20 48
Retro Archives Sharp X1 Jul 20, 2022 9 out of 20 45


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Parallel development

In order to hedge their bets, Falcom let Yoshio Kiya and Tadanobu Inoue each develop their own Dragon Slayer. Kiya's version was taken up by Falcom as their own product, while Inoue's version (for the Sharp X1 and NEC PC-8801 computers) was submitted to the programming olympic contest held by Login magazine.

Versions and revisions

The original PC88 version underwent several revisions, both to the game system and audiovisuals. The original version, called "Level 1.0", had a sparse title screen and trickier enemies, which were revised first in Level 1.1 and finally in Level 2.0, which also added more elaborate sound and a striking title screen for the floppy disk version.
Contributed to by Infernos (37981), Zovni (10623), Kabushi (257703), Terok Nor (32570) and Unicorn Lynx (181419)
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