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BenHaskett avatar 10:15 PM on 03.06.2009
Dragon Questing Part Nine: Coming to America Sans Eddie Murphy



Since this game is more or less completely new for just about everyone in America, I should note that there will probably be a ton of spoilers.

Man, oh man, where does the time go?! It was only ten days ago that I finally got my hands on the DS version of Dragon Quest V, and I can't believe it, but, I finished it last night! That's right, done. Fin. It's over. From the second I first booted it up, I just found Dragon Quest V so compelling that I was completely under its spell until the credits rolled. I brought it everywhere I went; on the train, at work, at school, at home, in bed, at a few meetings with my wedding planner, and even on the john were all places that I frequented with the DS in tow. The game's certainly not light on content though, so instead of posting all of the events in the game in this single post (it would go on forever), I'm going to split it up into three; one today and the other two over the next two days.

Part Nine:

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride


Getting the Game:

Simple, I ordered it from Amazon.com! I wish I didn't though, since the shipping took so long. Cost came out to $41.50.

I “Hearte” Arte Piazza:

I really, really like the engine that Arte Piazza has developed for these DS remakes (as well as Dragon Quest VII on the PlayStation). The game moves at such a fast pace already, and the engine speeds it up even more so. The characters move fast, the battles move fast, and the menus are really efficiently laid out for easy item management. I felt like I was constantly sprinting. And the game doesn’t look half bad either! Some dungeons in the game had some amazing special effects, the animations for the monsters looked awesome, and even some of the character sprites--like your wife and you mother when they faint--pulled off surprisingly detailed animations. The most visually stunning part of the game was the battle with Bjorn, which started off with a fantastic introduction in full 3D before leading into his massive animated body during the battle.

I'll be talking about the events of the game in the next two posts, but before that, here are some random bullet points of things I liked/disliked:

::: There's something oddly satisfying about spinning the camera around aimlessly. Whenever I'm in an area that permits camera movement, my fingers are constantly manipulating it left and right. Sometimes, in towns, the architecture is so big that you can spin the camera around to completely obscure your characters, as well as everything else on the screen. Awesome.

::: I love pretty much all of the puns in the game, especially the enemy names. One enemy was a hippo in a suit of armor with a shield in each hand. It was called a "Hippoblockomus." I laughed at that for about fifteen straight minutes.

::: I love the ticker on the bottom screen during battles. For the most part, it simply transcribes the actions that happen on screen ("Ben uses healing herb. > Ben recovers HP. > Parry attacks Stenchurian. > The Stenchurian dies!"), and it's fairly basic, but can sometimes display some incredibly funny information. One example would be...

::: ...this one time where I used a spell called Hocus Pocus (a risky spell that always has completely random results). It ended up sending both my party and the enemies into a state of confusion. So, because I couldn't input any commands for anybody, the ticker went on, and on, and on, for about five whole minutes with dictations like:

> Ben has no idea what to do.
> He goes to cast a spell!
> ...But he can't remember the words!
> Parry charges the enemy head on!
> He runs forward!
> Oh no! Parry trips and falls flat on his face!
> Leo feels uncomfortable and lonely...
> Leo embraces Ben.
> "Ugh!" Ben pushes Leo away.
> Leo straitens up and focuses
> Gooemon goes to attack the enemy!
> Gooemon gets dirstracted by a butterfly!
> Gooemon can't remember what he was going to do...
> etc., etc.

And it just went on like that, with the text moving at a mile-a-minute; so fast I could barely read most of it, which made trying to interpret the funny lines so quickly all the more hilarious.

::: For the most part, I really liked the translation. There were only three characters that I didn't really care for, and it was only because of their crazy accents, which felt awkward and out of place. The first was Bianca, who, on both the Super Famicom and DS covers, looks strong, loving, smart, and determined. But in the game, she has this really awful hick accent that makes her sound uneducated and even a little ditsy. It's a shame, because underneath that, she's a very endearing character with a lot of personality. In fact, she was one of my favorites.



::: The second weird accent was Nera's Dad--I can't remember his name--who was cast as an Italian man, but had an accent that was beyond parody. I can honestly say I've never met an Italian that constantly exclaimed "Tutti-frutti!" when something pleased him/her.

::: The last was the human form of the Zenith Dragon, who was for some reason written as a carbon copy of The Simpsons’ Ned Flanders. Every "ding-dang-doodely" sentence he spit out was littered with Flanders' trademark ramblings. I just don't understand why he was written like that, but I can only assume that the translators were just having too much fun with all the accents and threw it in there for shits and giggles. It was just really out of place, since the Zenith Dragon usually seems to command such a large amount of reverence in both IV and V.

::: The way the game transcribed Grandmaster Nizmo's speech was unique, I guess, but mostly just really hokey.

::: The one and only thing that I just plain did not like was that every time you entered a town, your party would be restructured so that you only had humans trailing behind you. I had my party set up with the hero, his son Parry, the sabrecat Leo, and a Slime Knight that I named Gooemon (pronounced Goo-a-mawn, like Ganbare Goemon but a little gooier). These were the members with the most raw, physical attack power, so it was the party I went with. But every time I entered a civilized area, my non-human characters were ejected from my party and replaced with the hero's wife and daughter. BUT, they wouldn't reconfigure your party when you left, so I often wouldn't even notice until I was in a dungeon and in battle. It was just a little irritating.

Ok, that's all the gushing/bitching I’ve got. Tomorrow, I'll actually go over the first half of the game, and then wrap it up on Sunday.

As always, thanks for reading!

Ben

-----

Total elapsed time across entire Dragon Quest series: ~170 hours -

IV DS - ~30 hours
VIII - ~70 hours
I NES - ~20 hours
DQM:J - ~20 hours
V DS - ~30 hours

Total amount of money spent on Dragon Quest Series: $220.00 (IV, VIII twice, slime controller, I, I&II GBA, Joker, V DS, V SFAM)

Right, for the record, I also bought V on the Super Famicom. I can't get very far into it ( a bit of a language barrier), but I enjoy being able to own it for some reason. Nice instruction booklet!



For the past Dragon Questing blogs, click the links below:

I Guess They Can't All Be Gold: Dragon Questing, Part Eight

Returning the Ball of Light: Dragon Questing, Part Seven

Getting a Grip on a Classic: Dragon Questing, Part Six

Going Back in Time: Dragon Questing, Part Five

The conclusion of an Epic: Dragon Questing, Part Four

Discovering the Monster Arena: Dragon Questing, Part Three

How to Give a Boy a Heart: Dragon Questing, Part Two

Meeting the Cursed King: Dragon Questing, Part One

 
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