Back in September of 2008, I had the pleasure of playing my first proper Dragon Quest
game with Chapters of the Chosen
for the DS. I couldnít help wonder why I had never played a game in this series before. Iím always complaining about the gimmicks thrown into many modern games and how Iíd want nothing more than to just play a modern RPG that stripped away all the nonsense and took things back to basics.
Well, Dragon Ques
t has been sitting right under my nose since I was in daipers. Not content to stop at the fourth game in the series, Iíve set out to acquire and play through every localized Dragon Quest title right up until I replay the fourth entry ... on the NES. Iíve spent months lurking around eBay, and Iíve amassed a complete collection that now only needs me to experience it.
If youíve played any of the games Iíll be talking about, Iíd appreciate your comments as I donít know anyone locally who I can talk to about this wonderful series.
Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride
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.
So, ok, note to self: itís difficult for me to play a game to completion, and then go back and talk about all the events of it in chronological order. I started typing through the happenings in the game, and had already typed up about four pages before even covering the first third. Deciding it was just way to damn long, Iím instead just going to do what I did in the very first Dragon Questing post and briefly touch on some key events & characters within the game. These blogs are already too long as it is and I canít really expect anyone to read them if they get much longer. :) :)
Note: Every time I say the name "Ben," I'm referring to the hero. That's what I named him!
I really wish I could've seen more of Pankraz. Before I even played the game, I knew from just looking at the cover that the events within would take place over the hero's whole life, but I didn't know that Pankraz was going to die. I just figured that he'd grow old throughout the game as well. When we went on our little rescue mission for Prince Harry, I honestly thought that's all that it was going to be. I was shocked when he went down ... and so slowly! The monsters just chipped away at his health, little by little, until he finally collapsed. My eyes actually welled up with tears when it was all said and done, if only because I genuinely expected something to happen that prevented Pankraz from dying.
Everyone in the game who mentioned Pankraz really took a shine to him, and it's easy to understand why; he's was a really likable character. Everything he did was endearing--like when he would heal the hero after every single battle--and he was incredibly strong. My favorite moment with him was for some reason near the beginning when he called the hero a sleepyhead. I don't know why, but it really made him seem caring.
Despite the game's best efforts to make Bianca sound like an uneducated hick, I really liked her. There were plenty of charming moments between her and Ben when they were children, and the exchanges between them were even more endearing as adults. I didn't think twice about marrying her, but regardless, I really felt like she was who the game wanted you to marry. After all, my choices were between a sweet girl that Ben had never met (except for the short meeting on the boat, but whatever), a spoiled brat, and a girl that he'd basically known his whole life. It was no contest! I chose her, and she & Ben were promptly married at the church within the same town. My favorite part here was when the priest was marrying them and said:
"Do you, Ben, take Bianca, to be your wife? To love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for as long as you both shall be resurrected from death in the church?
Lolls!!! After they were married, I enjoyed all the funny things that she'd say when I used the chat function. She seemed happy to be out and about, often comparing it to being on a honeymoon. Awww!!!
Leo (what I named my sabrecat):
I really, really liked this cat, and I was sad to see him go at the close of the first third of the game. After the ten years in slavery, and Ben & Harry had escaped, I didn't know when I was going to see him again or under what circumstances. So, when I reached the village of Hay and was tasked with hunting down the monster that was destroying their crops, I really expected a monster! I knew it was him the second I saw him (and I was so happy to see him!) but I was also surprised that he didn't, in turn, recognize Ben and join up right away. Confused, I figured I had to beat him or something (like it was a boss, yeah?), but he would hardly attack, and when he did, it would only be for a miniscule amount of damage.
It wasn't until after three or four bouts that I started to suspect something about this battle was different. When I attempted to run, the light in my head went off when I was able to escape. Ah ha, something is
different about this battle! I thought for a minute about what to do before reinitiating the fight. When I did, I brought with me Biancaís ribbon that she tied around Leo when he was a cub. I was so happy when, upon using the ribbon as an item, the cat sniffed it and remembered both Ben and Prince Harry. From then on, there was never a point that I didn't have Leo in my party whenever possible. He wasn't even close to the strongest member I had, and he hardly had any useful skills, but I just enjoyed having him around.
It's funny that Leo had such an impact on me - he never had a single word of spoken dialogue. Maybe it was just cool to have a Sabrecat that wasn't lumped in with the rest of the monsters you caught.
Keeping in mind that this is the fourth Dragon Quest
game I've played, I really thought I knew what to expect when I met Prince Harry. Prince Charmles from Dragon Quest VIII
--who, for those of you that don't know, was a complete ass--immediately sprung to mind, and I therefore intensely disliked him from the moment he was introduced. He was your typical spoiled prince, with no respect for anyone and a floccinaucinihilipilification for his privilege of inheriting the throne. But really, all of that just made it all the more impactful when Pankraz finally slapped him across the face and convinced him to accept his responsibility. As I said before, I was really sad when Pankraz died, but it seemed to inflict such a change in Prince Harry that it was almost worth it. Ten years later, Harry had become a quiet, shy, and meek little man who followed orders without question. I was genuinely surprised by the very real transformation that had taken place within him.
Before I played this game, I figured that Sancho would be a bigger part of it. Much like Torneko Taloon from Dragon Quest IV
, I got the impression that he was a big fan-favorite. He's...an oddly sentimental fellow, and I really did enjoy all his quips that ended with him sobbing, but he didn't play a very big role in the game. Very late in the game, you can add him to your party if you want to, but he'll otherwise remain in Gotha and just be a funny man with kooky, yet nostalgic & endearing things to say.
About the Ten Years of Stone:
This was the only point in the game that made me flat-out shed tears. This incredibly sad and very long cutscene took place after Ben and Bianca were turned to stone and separated. To see them both--after such a long and adventurous journey--taken and sold at an auction was bad enough, but where Ben went and what he possibly even witnessed was far worse. I wonder: could he see in that state? Did he have thoughts?
The day after the twins were born, Ben was turned to stone and sold to a married couple who had just had their own baby boy. And for ten years, the statue stood there, witnessing so many major events of a baby's lifeóthe first word, first crawl, first step, boyhoodóall while missing the same, precious events from his own two children. When Ben was finally brought back to life, he lay surrounded by Sancho and his two now-adolescent kids. It was essentially the first time he met them, and he unfortunately missed out on every single major event of their growth, all while watching a boy grow that he didnít even know or have any reason to care about.
And about Ben's kids, man, who saw that coming?! I didn't even consider for a second that the main character wouldn't be the hero of the game.
The only thing I really want to say about this is that I didn't have to do any of it. Compared to all the other Dragon Quest
games that I played, this one would have to be the most balanced, since I never felt to weak to continue on without grinding. Throughout the whole game, I felt like I leveled up and a really great pace, so I was able to just pretty much sail through everything.
OK, admittedly, I moved on to Dragon Quest VII
, like, three days ago. I bought Fire Emblem
for the DS to start playing after this game, but it was so lame that I just couldn't help plunging into the next DQ. With each additional DQ game that I play, I fully expect that it will be the last; that the simplistic nature of the games will finally catch up with me and I'll get bored. But really, I love the series more and more with each subsequent game. If I had to rate V, I'd give it a ten, all the way.
As always, thanks for reading!
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)
For the past Dragon Questing blogs, click the links below:
Coming to America Sans Eddie Murphy: Dragon Questing, Part Nine
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