Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest is a series of games created by Enix, now Square Enix. It is in competition with the Final Fantasy game series. It has graced the MSX, NES, SNES, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, Playstation, Playstation 2, and cellular phone.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 How To Play?
3 Flagship Titles
4 Remake Titles
5 Spin-off Titles
6 Regional Record
7 External links

Overview

The series is very popular in Japan, to the point that queues of people wishing to buy the game could be seen at shops days before the release. As this included children, who skipped school so they could queue for the game, the Japanese Diet passed a bill outlawing the release of Dragon Quest games on days other than a Sunday or a holiday - the fourth, fifth, and sixth installments were released in Japan on holidays. The seventh installment is the first Dragon Quest game to be released in Japan on a Sunday.

During the mid-1980's, Dragon Quest was created by Enix employee, Yuji Horii. The series monster and character designs were by famed Dragon Ball manga artist, Akira Toriyama. Most of the music for the Dragon Quest series has been composed by Koichi Sugiyama.

Dragon Quest is called Dragon Warrior in North America, but is not nearly as successful there, having been eclipsed by the Final Fantasy series. None of the games, except Dragon Warrior Monsters, had a European release, and the Final Fantasy series also has a stronghold in Europe. There was an anime series based on Dragon Quest and broadcasted in Europe. Dragon Warrior VIII likely will be released in Europe. According to Square Enix USA's press release, the Dragon Quest series has sold over 31 million units worldwide.

Unlike Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest is to feature cartoonish ("cel shaded") graphics if it goes new school. Dragon Quest VIII would be the series's first new school installment. Dragon Quest's soundtracks rival those of Final Fantasy.

The unofficial mascot of the Dragon Quest series is a blue slime. The Dragon Quest's blue slime is shaped like a Hershey's Kisses chocolate candies or a piece of garlic. The blue slime has appeared in every Dragon Quest game and it is usually the first monster you have to defeat.

Dragon Quest's Japanese cultural phenomenon is not only in video game form. There are live-action ballets, musical concerts, and audio CDs based on the Dragon Quest universe. In fact, the world-famous London Philharmonic Orchestra has performed several Dragon Quest music albums.

Due to Dragon Quest's regional record, many non-Japanese Dragon Quest fans are potential students of the Japanese language, and they often import Dragon Quest games from Japan.

How To Play?

Basic Gameplaying

Dragon Quest borrows heavily from the Ultima and Wizardry video game series. The game player's party walks into a town and buys weapons/armors/items in order to defeat monsters easily. When the player's party is out of the town, the party is vulnerable to monster attacks. After the player encounters some monsters, he/she have several options to choose from. The player can either attack and defeat the monster(s) with weapons, magics, or items. The player can also run away from a battle, however the option is not open during a boss (video game) battle. After a player wins a battle by defeating all the monsters, the player's party members gain experience points (EXP) in order to gain a new level. When a certain character gains a new level, the stats of the character are upgraded.

To save a game's progress, most of the time the player has to go to a town's church and talk to a priest/nun. Also, sometimes the king can grant the player's save request in earlier Dragon Quest games.

Basic Items

These items appeared in most of the Dragon Quest games:

  • Medical Herb - Herb that heal wounds and restore HP (Health Point(s))
  • Antidote Herb - Cures poison-related ailments
  • Chimera Wing (Warp Wing or Wing of the Wyvern) - Throw it into the air to return to a town or castle that you previously have been to.
  • Holy Water (Repellent) - Sprinkle on yourself to temporarily block off weaker monsters.
  • MoonHerb - Herb that cures paralysis
  • DEFseed - Upgrades Guard stat
  • LifeAcorn - Upgrades Max HP
  • Mystic Nut - Upgrades Max MP (Magic Point(s))

Flagship Titles

Dragon Quest I

Dragon Quest I was originally developed for the MSX computer system and later ported to a less advanced system, the NES. It originally required passwords. The password feature was replaced by the save feature on the Dragon Warrior version. It was remade for the SNES alongside Dragon Quest II, combined into a two-in-one package. The SNES versions of Dragon Quest I and II were marketed exclusively in Japan, due to the absence of Enix of America. They were ported to GBC and then released in North America. The GBC version did not sell well in North America. However, the SNES versions have been unofficially translated into English and Spanish by an online translation firm called RPG-One. There are two versions of the Dragon Quest I and II SNES fan translation, the DQ version and DW version. The former is a straight Japanese-to-English translation. The latter is based on the Dragon Warrior NES translations of Dragon Quest I and II. RPGOne also translated the SNES and GBC versions into Spanish. Dragon Quest I takes place in Alefgard and puts the player in the shoes of a descendant of the legendary Erdrick (or Roto in Japanese releases), i.e. Dave or Eiyuu. Eiyuu was to save Alefgard from the clutches of Dragonlord (or DracoLord in U.S. GBC version) and his servants. Gwaelin (or Lora in U.S. GBC version), the princess of Tantegel (or Radatoma in Japanese releases), daughter of King Lorik (or Lars), was captured by servants of DracoLord. First Eiyuu rescues her, then he defeats Dragonlord. Many of Eiyuu's friends were killed by Dragonlord's servants. Mercado (or Cantlin), guarded by Golem, has a graveyard for people who were killed by Dragonlord's servants.

Dragon Quest II

Like Dragon Quest I, Dragon Quest II was originally developed for the MSX and later ported to the NES, and it originally required passwords. The password feature was replaced with a save feature on the U.S. version. Dragon Quest II comes with Dragon Quest I in remakes. The NES version sold well, but the GBC version did not sell very well in North America, and it did not sell as well as its predecessor did. Dragon Quest II is the first game in the series to have more than one enemy fought in one battle. It is also the first game in the series to have more than one playable character and to have more than one save point. Dragon Quest II happens 100 years after Dragon Quest I. The object was to save Alefgard and its surrounding lands from the evil clutches of Hargon. The introduction begins in Moonbrooke castle ("Moonbrook" in the GBC version). Hargon's servants invade the Moonbrooke Castle and destroy it. They killed the King of Moonbrooke, but the Princess of Moonbrooke hid underground and then fled to a town nearby. A Moonbrooke soldier left to inform Midenhall Castle (or Lorasia in GBC version) about the conflict. The Prince of Midenhall, hereafter, known as the Dragon Quest II Hero, begins the quest from Midenhall and travels to Leftwyne then to Cannock. The Prince of Cannock meets with the Hero, for the Hero cannot travel near Moonbrooke by himself. After the Princess of Moonbrooke joins along with them, the plot requires them to visit Alefgard, the land where Dragon Quest I takes place.

Dragon Quest III

Dragon Quest III was originally developed for the NES, released in Japan in 1988, and released in North America in 1991. This was the time Japanese Congress, the Diet passed a law restricting the release of Dragon Quest games to Sundays and holidays. The law went into effect after Dragon Quest III. It was remade for the SNES in 1996, but the SNES remake was marketed exclusively in Japan, and the NES was already out of production in North America. For this reason, Enix of America was closed at the time. However, it has unofficially translated into English by online translation groups called DeJap Translations and Illuminus. The GBC version is based on the SNES version, but it did not sell very well in North America. Many Dragon Quest fans chose to play the SNES version instead of the GBC version by imports or through emulation in the United States. Those who know the GBC version also know the SNES version that way. Dragon Quest III has a gender and class feature. The hero as well as companions can be male or female, but male is the actual gender of the hero. The classes are Hero, Warrior, Wizard, Cleric, Thief (SNES and GBC only), Fighter, Jester, and Sage. Jesters later become sages. Dragon Quest III also introduced the day and night feature, indicating the passing of time. Time passes when the hero walks in the world map. Some places are open only in the daytime, but some places are open only at night.

Dragon Quest III is the prequel to Dragon Quest I. It tells of the legend of Erdrick. It begins in the Kingdom of Aliahan. The first world of Dragon Quest III looks similar to the real world. Erdrick must save the world from the evil clutches of Zoma and Baramos. The hero is dubbed Erdrick at the end of the game on the American NES version and the SNES fan translation, and dubbed Loto on the American Gameboy Color version. He is dubbed Roto in the Japanese releases.

Dragon Quest IV

The original Famicom Dragon Quest IV game was release on February 11, 1990 in Japan. The North American equivalent, Dragon Warrior IV's release date was December 1992. Dragon Quest IV had an unique story telling for a video game. It was split into five chapters and each chapter was devoted to a main hero or heroine. The first chapter is The Royal Soldiers and the hero, Ragnar must find the Kingdom of Burland's missing children. On the second chapter, Princess Alena's Adventure stars a princess that wants to become independent from her father. The third chapter is Torneko the Arms Merchant which is about a weapons merchant named Torneko (Taloon in Dragon Warrior IV) that also wants to become independent by trying to buy a new store. After "Torneko," you will meet the The Sisters Of Monbaraba which is about two sisters named Nara and Mara. They want to find out how their world renowned alchemist father mysteriously died. The final chapter is The Chosen Ones and the main hero is you. All the previous characters that you met in the game will help you to defeat the ulimate evil, Necrosaro.

Dragon Quest IV not only featured a new chapter-based story telling. It is the first one to have a casino which is now a staple of the Dragon Quest video game series. This is the first Dragon Quest game to introduce the artificial intelligence options which allows the computer to control the other party members. The wagon is also introduced. The wagon holds all of the party's items and members that are not going to fight in a dungeon.

On November 22, 2001, Enix and Heartbeat made a PSOne remake of Dragon Quest IV. The remake added the Dragon Quest VII's 3D graphics engine with Dragon Quest IV's story and some new features. Some of the new Dragon Quest IV PSone Remake features were a new chapter, new character, inter-party talk command similar to Dragon Quest VII, and the ability to turn off the artificial intelligence party members. Enix America originally planned to bring the remake to North America on 2002 but it was later canceled due to Heartbeat closing its video game development operations. However, that closing is said to be temporary. Also, Ken Kutaraji has stated, during the development of Sony Playstation 3, that the PSone format itself will stay forever, meaning that its successors will be down-compatible with the PSone and that further PSone localizations are still possible. That is because the PSone is CD-based. Therefore, there would be an infinite hope for the PSone remake of Dragon Quest IV to be reconfirmed to be released in North America, unless it gets a second upgrade for PS2, PS3, or PS so on. Though Dragon Quest IV was remade for PSone, it still had outdated graphics, for Dragon Quest VII's graphics are outdated. A fan translation of the PSOne remake of Dragon Quest IV is underway by an online translation group called Partial Translations.

Dragon Quest V

Enix released their first Dragon Quest Super Famicom game on September 27, 1992 in Japan. There was no North American release due to Enix America's closing. The hero is the heir of Granbania. His mother died while giving birth to the hero. After the maternal death scene, the game goes forward 6 years and the hero is traveling with his father named Papas. Later on the journey, Papas was hired to take care of the Reinhart's Prince. When the prince gets kidnapped, the hero and his father tried to save him and succeeded. However, Papas later gets killed and with his last ounce of strength he tells his son that his mother is still alive. The hero and the prince gets captured by the thugs.

The hero and prince were held slaves for several years until they escaped. The hero is determined to find his mother. In order to go around the world, the hero will get a magic carpet. The hero's party members consist mostly of monsters that will join your party periodically. Later on, the hero has to choose between two girl to married which will alter the game's story.

In response to Japan-onlyness, Dragon Quest V was unofficially translated into English by online translations groups called DeJap Translations and Partial Translations. The fan translation is based on the Dragon Warrior style translations.

Square Enix is planning to release a Playstation 2 remake of Dragon Quest V in early 2004. The remake will be developed by former Dragon Quest VII art directors, Artepiazza. It will feature 3D graphics that are similar to Dragon Quest VII (PSOne) but it ulitizes the extra Playstation 2 graphics powers. The hero and his companions will have to fight more monsters in the Playstation 2 remake than they did in the Super Famicom original, but the character limit on the party has been increased from three to four.

Dragon Quest VI

The final non-remake Super Famicom Dragon Quest game was released on 1995 in Japan. It doesn't have a North American version due to Enix America being closed. Dragon Quest VI was develop by the video game development company, Heartbeat. The previous Dragon Quest games before that were developed by Chunsoft.

In the beginning of Dragon Quest VI, the hero and his friends are camping out in order to rest to destroy a monster called Maou Mudo later on. When they arrive to the lair, the Maou Mudo warped the hero and his friends to an unknown dream-like world. The hero was in a town called Lifecod and his friends are missing. The hero is determine to go back to his "original" world and find his friends.

Dragon Quest VI features a class / job system that the hero and his fellow party members can learn to gain new skills. Other new features, each character now has a personality that goes along with their stats. The monsters are now animated when they attack you. The Slime Arena and Best Dresser Contest were the new mini-games introduced. The human warriors can learn "techs" similar to their monster party members. There are bonus features like a extra dungeon and a character. Finally, Dragon Quest VI doesn't have a day and night phase.

Dragon Quest VI was unofficially translated into English by online translation groups called DeJap Translations and NoPrgress.

Dragon Quest VII

On August 2000, Dragon Quest VII: Eden No Senshi Tachi (Warriors of Eden) became the best selling Japanese Playstation game of all-time. However, it was plagued for years with delays by the game's developer, Heartbeat. It was originally planned to be release on 1997. It was released 2000 in Japan. Enix America release the North American version, Dragon Warrior VII on November 2001.

When it came out on 2000 in Japan, it had outdated graphics for a Playstation One game and still has most of the elements of past Dragon Quest games.

The Dragon Quest VII Cast of Characters: An unnamed hero is an ordinary boy living in a fishing village, Fishbel. He is friends with the Fishbel boat owner's daughter, Maribel and the Prince of Estard, Kiefer. Later on the game, you will meet a swordfighter named Aira, a mythical hero, and a boy named Gabo.

Dragon Quest VII's story started out in a tiny island called Estard Island. However, it is not just an ordinary island because it is the only landform in the world. Estard Island was surrounded only by water. That would start to end when the unnamed hero and Kiefer discover a portal that goes back in time... To go back in time and retrieved some landforms, you must find tablets scattered around the present and past.

In order to beat this game, you need to master several classes to gain skills to defeat the last boss, Orgo Demirra. There are 54 different job classes . Here are the ten basic classes: Warrior, Fighter, Mage, Cleric, Dancer, Thief, Bard, Mariner, Sheperd, and Jester. You can also build a new town from scratch. Dragon Quest VII is known to need 100+ hours to beat the main quest.

Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII is expected to be release in late 2004 for the Playstation 2 video game system and it is developed by Dark Cloud series creators, Level-5. Yuji Horii will still oversee the project. While, Akira Toriyama will continue designing the monsters and characters.

Dragon Quest VIII will sport a similar graphics technique as Dark Cloud 2 being it will have cel-shaded textures to the characters and scenery. Also, Dragon Quest VIII's battles will not will have a 1st person perspective view like its predecessors. Instead, it will be in 3rd person e.g., the recent 3D Final Fantasy games.

Remake Titles

Spin-off Titles

Regional Record

For American and Canadian gamers, Dragon Quest has been cursed with a controversial regional record. Of the Dragon Quest series, the Super Famicom releases were marketed exclusively in Japan. That is because Enix's subsidiary, Enix of America, closed its doors in 1993, during a Dragon Warrior V localization project, deciding it would be better to localize Dragon Quest VI. Since then Dragon Warrior lost its name in North America and ended up in the shadow of Final Fantasy for American and Canadian gamers. Dragon Quest VI also ended up Japan-only. No Dragon Quest games received a European release. As a result of the regional record, many non-Japanese Dragon Quest fans are potential students of the Japanese language. Dragon Quest's regional record also inspired fan translation projects. The Super Famicom Dragon Quest games except the spin-off title Torneko no Daibouken have been translated into English through emulation. A fan translation of the PSOne enhanced remake of Dragon Quest IV is in progress. Many non-Japanese Dragon Quest fans also have been purchasing regional converters to bypass regional lockout. Dragon Quest VIII has been viewed by many American and Canadian gamers as a promise for a North American release to get Dragon Warrior out of the shadow of Final Fantasy. The North American handheld releases of Dragon Quest I-III have been rejected by many Dragon Quest fans. Most video game players prefer television video game consoles over handhelds.

External links




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