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 but 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 Quest
has been sitting right under my nose since I was in diapers. 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 VII: Warriors of Eden
I've really grown to love the way in which Dragon Quest VII tells its stories. Almost as if it were episodic content, DQ VII's story is broken up into many small segments, each with their own climax and conclusion. I hope that, at some point, Square-Enix decide to make another Dragon Quest in this format, because it would be a perfect vehicle for endless amounts of DLC.
I'll spare you as many small details as possible, but basically, you start out on a tiny little island, called Estard Island, that happens to be the only body of land in the entire world. The hero leads a simple life, and his two best friends are the daughter from a semi-rich family, named Maribel, and Keifer, the prince of Estard. You can tell the people here don't have a lot of excitement in their lives because the biggest festival of the year has to do with fishing.
Anyway, through some bizarre turn of events, the three friends discover some ancient ruins, go back in time through a portal, find themselves in a foreign place that needs saving, and they save it. When they go back through the portal to the present, everyone in Estard is all in a tizzy because, while on a fishing trip, someone just discovered a new island! And when you get there, it turns out to be the same place you saved from certain destruction in the past.
And, well, that's the gist of the game: Some absolutely terrible thing happened in the past that destroyed every single body of land except the one you start out on. The goal of the game is to visit each island/continent in the past and set things right so that it isn't destroyed. By the end of the game, you'll have an entire world map. It's a simple premise, for sure, but it opens up the game for smaller, more concentrated stories within each area you save from doom.
Also, the gist of the story--from what I've gathered so far--is that God and the Demon Lord fought over the course of many years for control of the planet. God eventually won, but died from sheer exhaustion by the end of it. During the epic battles, the Demon Lord dispersed his demons throughout the planet to destroy it little by little. When I warp back in time to an island, it always happens to be right in the midst of the disaster brought on by the Demon lord's minions.
In the time I've played, I've saved a little over half-a-dozen areas at this point, but here are several that really stood out to me:
:::::::::: The White Wolf of Orph:
In this bizarre chapter, my party and I happened upon a village with a very unique curse: the majority its inhabitants had changed into animals! And those that remained human were basically brain-dead; they couldn't manage to say a word. Oddly enough, however, I was still able to use the Inn and buy from the shops, despite the fact that they were operated by chickens.
Unable to progress any farther within the town of Orph, I eventually found out that I had to go back to the present day and bring back with me an old man who claimed he could talk to animals. He was shocked at the sight of the village, all overrun with dogs, cats, and chickens, but went right to work trying to talk with them. He was embarrassed, but he was unable to communicate with a single one of the animals. He sounded like a middle-aged man in bed when he started swearing to me that this had never happened before and that he's usually able to perform. He couldn't talk to them because they weren't animals; they were humans changed into animals
. It all of a sudden hit me like a ton of bricks that the remaining humans weren't brain-dead, they were just animals! Rather, animals that had been changed into humans. The old man had no problem talking with these creepy abominations and quickly discovered that it was a nearby demon who cursed the village with an affliction that turned humans into animals and vice-versa.
One of the seemingly "brain-dead" humans was Gabo, a white wolf that had been chained up inside a garden shed just before the curse hit. When we took his chains off, he immediately darted out the door, towards the demonís hideout. We followed him and, easily enough, defeated the demon. But before we were able to seal him away in his tomb and negate his curse, he permanently cursed Gabo, meaning heíd hold the form of a human for the rest of his life. Sucks for Gabo, but with the rest of the town saved, we returned to the present day and revisited the current Orph. You wonít believe what we foundÖ
Just like in the past, the entire town consisted of animals! What the Hell!!! We looked around for clues as to what happened this time
, but instead, we eventually found out that it was just a bunch of people dressed up in animal costumes. Turns out, the ordeal with Orphís citizens turning into animals went down in the village history. So, every year, they celebrate withÖ a furry convention?!
Anyway, we also revisited the current-day demonís hideout, and we found him! Still alive! But his dark powers had long since waned away and he now just had the appearance of a normal man. He actually apologized for his behavior hundreds of years ago and offered to turn Gabo back into his wolf form. Unfortunately, his magic powers were rusty and he instead gave Gabo the ability to speak.
And, frankly, I found this part kinda weird. Gabo was a wolf, right? Well, after he was given the ability to speak, he completely left his wolf persona behind. Heís now just a human, and only says human things. If you had walked in on me playing the game now, youíd never know that he wasnít always a human. Not really a big deal, just not what I was expecting. I was expecting that kid from Jungle 2 Jungle or something. :)
:::::::::: Poor, Lonely Zebbot:
Technology in Dragon Quest has always been somewhat of a vague concept. For the most part, there is
no technology... whatsoever
. But the second you enter a casino, you can go ahead and throw that rule right out the window; neon lights, slot machines, and LCD displays litter the black & white checkered floor. Other than that, the only other bizarre exception are the robot enemies. I say bizarre because these enemies show up in random encounters in most Dragon Quest games and their existence is never explained. Well, likewise, when I made my way to Falrish, I found myself in a town plagued by... robots?! Yes, it was a robot plague.
Long story short, the town of Falrish had been under attack by robots for some time and, understandably, they graciously accepted my help to rid them of their infestation. Turns out, it was one of the Demon Lord's many minions behind the robot attacks (though I have no idea how he came to possess the technology to build them). But what was really interesting was how we finally sabotaged the robot stronghold and got in to take them down: using a captured robot, a skilled scientist from Falrish, named Zebbot, reprogrammed the mechsoldier to give off a frequency that would scramble the other robots' processors. While the 'bots furiously ran around willy-nilly, my party and I were able to sneak inside and take them all out by defeating the boss.
In case you were wondering, yes, you read that right: we took one of their robots, reprogrammed it to give off a specific frequency, and used it to scramble the other robots' brains so we could sneak into their base. Basically, it was the exact same f*cking plot
from this year's Terminator: Salvation
. Did you think we wouldn't find out, David C. Wilson, Michael Ferris, and John D. Brancato?! You're all busted!
Anyway, the aforementioned scientist, Zebbot, kinda... became somewhat infatuated with his reprogrammed robot in a weird way. He named it after his recently deceased wife, and took it home with him after the war was over. No, no, nothing weird happened. But I think he was just really lonely. The robot mostly just did household chores, like cooking and cleaning.
This was sad enough, but later, when I went back to the present day and revisited the scientist's house, that's when I found a really tragic sight: the scientist, having died long ago, was reduced to a pile of bleached-white bones. And the robot, in a state of perpetual confusion, was eternally cooking bowls of soup for the corpse in the hopes that he'd get batter and wake up.
I wasn't crying or anything, but I have to admit that this scene did kinda tug at me a bit. It was sad, but even moreso it was just pathetic. This old scientist died all alone (to be fair, it was by choice; he was a bit of a shut-in), with only a machine for company that couldn't possibly ever understand a concept like death.
:::::::::: Love Lost... and Found Again?:
I thought I knew what I was in for When I first arrived in the village of Verdham; all of its citizens had been turned to stone, but I knew what to do because I had just dealt with the same issue about two quests prior in a town called Dialac. All I had to do to cure the people of their rocky affliction was climb to the highest point in the village and pour an Angel's Tear onto the ground.
I did so and, sure enough, everyone came back to life. I really thought I was finished at this point, but it turns out that the salvation of Verdham was just the setup for the real story here: a love triangle... or, rather, a love square.
I'll spare you most of the details, but here's a rundown on the characters in this unfortunate relationship:
- The first character is Pepe. Pepe tends to a fantastic herb garden owned by the richest man in town.
- The second is Linda, who is a young lady within the village. She is engaged to...
- ... the third character, named Iwan. Iwan is the son
of the richest man in town.
- The fourth and final character in this mess is Iwan's maid.
Here's the shiz: Pepe loves Linda; Linda loves Pepe but is reluctantly engaged to Iwan; Iwan loves Linda but Iwan is kind of a douche; Iwan's maid loves Iwan and works as hard as she can to convince Pepe to run away with Linda so she can have Iwan all to herself.
Well, Pepe cannot run away and elope with Linda because it could mean bad things for his
family, who works for Iwan's
family. So, after a fair amount of drama, Pepe ultimately decides to leave Linda and the rest of Verdham behind and start a new herb garden somewhere else. Everyone seems pretty shaken up about Pepe's decision--Linda was reeling from the fact that she'd actually have to marry Iwan--but the world keeps on spinning.
Fast forward to the future, though, and you'll see why I wanted to tell you about this story in the first place. Present day Verdham had fallen to ruin; a few bricks and pieces of concrete remained around an absolutely glorious herb garden. Turns out Pepe was a damn-good gardener, huh? Well, east of Verdham was a new village--one founded by the very same Pepe that left Verdham all those years ago. And at the rear of the settlement were two practically ancient headstones.
The one on the left read: "Here lies Pepe"
On the right: "Here lies Linda"
:::::::::: The Deja Tribe:
Damn you, Keifer! Damn you!!!
I should have seen this coming... I mean, the fact that Keifer never got any new skills or spells, the fact that he never got any MP, his intense flirting with Layla... I should have put the pieces together... From the start, Keifer was a temporary
party member! Man... I never would have guessed, but 25 hours in, Keifer tells you he's staying put and shoves you back into the portal with all his stuff in a bag and a goodbye letter.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself; let me take it from the beginning. I had just replaced the SE pedestal in the wind shard room and once again gone back in time to a new continent. This particular land was home to the Deja tribe; a nomadic group of people tasked with--get this--resurrecting God
. Pretty heavy stuff, right?! Well, I showed up just as they were on their way to the temple to fulfill their destiny. You see, to complete their task and resurrect God, the Dejas had to perform a ceremony using two very important members of their tribe: Layla, the tribe's official dancer; and Jann, the tribe's official lutu (a stringed instrument similar to a lute) player. When the two did their part simultaneously at the top of the temple, the idea was that God would rise again! Also of note is the fact that Layla bears the mark of the Terra Spirit on her chest. She was born with it, and this is what qualifies her to be the tribe's official dancer.
All the while, Keifer is intensely
flirting with Layla, despite the fact that she's engaged to Jann! Oh snap!
Well, after a series of events and a failed attempt at reviving God, Jann drops quite a bomb on the whole tribe: he, too, bears the mark of the Terra Spirit on his chest. Why is this a big deal? Because, according to tribal law, two people who share the mark of the Terra Spirit cannot be wed. Jann's hope was that they would hurry up and revive God so that he could fulfill his destiny and marry Layla. But, growing impatient by the tribe's failed attempts, and feeling deeply ashamed for deceiving his entire tribe, Jann decides the best course of action is to exile himself from the tribe forever.
Almost everyone seems pretty somber, but not Keifer. No, this little bastard's gears start spinning, and he soon realizes that this is his chance to make a move on Layla! I didn't think anything of it, but I was in for a rude awakening the next morning when Keifer told Maribel, Gabo, and I that he had found his calling; he decided to take Jann's place as a guardian for the Deja Tribe.
And that's it! What kills me is that there's no conclusion to this story yet; when I go to the Deja tribe settlement in the present day, I can't find a single shred of evidence anywhere that points to Keifer's existence. It's as if the Deja tribe was wiped off the face of the earth.
Ok, that's all I've got for now. The next post will be almost entirely dedicated to the Dharma Temple. I swear, I've spent about ten hours there...
As always, thanks for reading!
Total elapsed time across entire Dragon Quest series: ~195 hours -
IV DS - ~30 hours
VIII - ~70 hours
I NES - ~20 hours
DQM:J - ~20 hours
V DS - ~30 hours
VII - ~25 hours
For the past Dragon Questing blogs, click the links below:
:::::::::: From Dragon Quest VII:
Meet the Warriors of Eden: Dragon Questing, Part Eleven
:::::::::: From Dragon Quest V:
No Wonder Everyone Loves This Game: Dragon Questing, Part Ten
Coming to America Sans Eddie Murphy: Dragon Questing, Part Nine
:::::::::: From Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker:
I Guess They Can't All Be Gold: Dragon Questing, Part Eight
:::::::::: From Dragon Quest I:
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
:::::::::: From Dragon Quest VIII:
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 read