This list is based on the original NES version.
The original Dragon Warrior is an ancient game, having been released over 35 years ago. This one game is known for catapulting the JRPG genre into the hands of gamers all over the world. But that doesn’t mean the game holds up amazingly to today’s standards. Because of the Famicom’s limited storage, the game had to be pretty compact, with only about 45 tiles used throughout the entire game. But that’s enough rambling, let’s talk about the topic of this article. The original Dragon Warrior contains 10 spells for the hero to cast, and in this article we will be ranking each of these from worst to best.
#10 - HurtMore
HurtMore is the final spell you can learn in Dragon Warrior, being learned at level 19, and deals around 60 damage to the enemy. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, the thing is, by the time you can actually learn this spell, the strongest enemies will be immune to magic, which renders this spell completely useless against them. And against weaker enemies, you may as well just attack, since that will probably end up doing more damage if you have the Flame Sword or Erdrick’s Sword anyway. Because of this, HurtMore is a practically useless spell that you should not be wasting 5 MP on.
#9 - Hurt
I guess Enix just didn’t really understand how to make a good damaging spell back in 1986. Hurt is a good way of dealing with early encounters such as Drakees or Magicians, but after that, the spell becomes practically obsolete. Because of the game’s lack of a Magic stat, the spell will always do around 10 damage. But once you fight enemies with over 25 HP, the spell just becomes a waste because of new weapons available to you but no way to increase the spell’s damage.
#8 - Repel
Avoiding random encounters is always a great quality of life aspect of video games, but if you really think about it, this spell isn’t all that useful. Because of the equation used, the spell will only block enemies that are weaker than you. Most of the enemies blocked by Repel will probably be able to be defeated by the player in one hit anyway. So unless you have a work meeting to get to or you are very low on health, you won’t have much reason to use this spell during your adventure.
#7 - Heal
Heal is the first spell you learn, but unlike Hurt, it can prove helpful for a fair chunk of the game. Heal heals about 10-15 HP, which isn’t much at later levels, but with enough MP, you can heal back up to full health pretty easily. But if you constantly have to cast Heal 5 times in a row, then you’d have to return to the inn often to restore your MP. After obtaining Erdrick’s Armor, however, Heal becomes obsolete because you can heal more than 15 HP before even encountering an enemy just by walking around.
#6 - StopSpell
Everyone that’s played a JRPG before has heard of Silence, a spell/status effect that rids the victim of the ability to cast magic. But in most games, the spell rarely works against foes that pose a threat. Dragon Warrior, however, is an exception. StopSpell works on most enemies, albeit without a perfect success rate. If you are going up against a difficult foe, such as the Axe Knight, at a lower level, this spell may be the key to your victory. Not many enemies actually cast magic, however, so StopSpell isn’t one of the best spells in the game.
#5 - Sleep
Even being as old as it is, Dragon Warrior has the iconic Sleep spell that so many JRPGs today continue to use. The same reasons for casting StopSpell mostly apply to Sleep as well. Even with its lower success rate, the reason Sleep places higher on the list is because StopSpell is only effective against enemies with magical abilities, but Sleep can affect most monsters in the game. Against an enemy like the Green Dragon, with a bit of luck, Sleep can lead you to success.
#4 - HealMore
HealMore is the most costly spell in the game, costing 10 MP to cast each time. But by the time you learn HealMore, you will have around 100 MP at your disposal. HealMore heals a staggering 85-100 HP, which is a massive step up from the lowly Heal. Even at the max level, you will only need to use 2 casts of HealMore to go from 1 HP to almost max! Because of this, HealMore is a fantastic spell, but it might not even be needed very often if you have Erdrick's Armor.
#3 - Radiant
Radiant is a strange spell, having no use in battle and only useful in dark caves. So why does it place so high on the list? Let me explain. Using a Torch allows you to see in a 3x3 square around the player, Radiant takes that to a whole new level by increasing the radius to 7x7. Without light, you could get lost without a way to progress. If you have a map of the dungeon nearby, then it removes some of the spell’s usefulness, but back in the 80s, maps on the internet were nonexistent, earning Radiant a spot in the top 3.
#2 - Outside
Outside is a spell that warps you, as the name suggests, outside of the current dungeon you are in. This can save you a lot of backtracking out of difficult dungeons and is best used in combination with the next spell. Most players will learn Outside around Rimuldar, so you will be able to cast this spell to escape most caves you come across on your journey to stop the Dragonlord.
#1 - Return
This is it. The number one spot. Barely edging out over Outside, Return is the best spell in the game. You can cast Return at any time on the overworld to instantly be whisked away back to Tantegel. The reason this is so helpful is because the throne room in Tantegel Castle is the only location you can save at throughout the entire game. Without access to the Return spell, you could potentially be grinding for hours and get an unlucky encounter or have to leave somewhere, the Return spell can always get you straight back to Tantegel so you can save and be at peace that you didn’t lose your progress or half your gold.
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