Note: This (series of) page(s) is a pile of shit and needs to be updated with more info.
Dragon Quest (A.K.A. Dragon Warrior in the old days) is a role-playing series that has been around for a while, and gained notice by many in one way or another. Regardless of its status in various circles, this page is meant to provide tips/tricks, info, and suggestions on various games of the series, most particularly when dealing with different versions, such as NES/SNES originals versus DS updates. Spinoffs and info on them are also allowed to be posted here (Such as Monsters, Slime, and Swords). Some games have their own pages as they have a lot to talk about. If you're entirely new to the series, consider the "Where to Begin?" section below.
Some aspects of this (series of) page(s) have opinions held by both majority and minority voices that you may or may not agree with. In general, I'll try to steer away from doing so, but I can't speak for anyone else who edits this page. Stevereeve (talk) 06:00, November 2, 2014 (UTC)
Also, this page is getting kinda cramped, so it is likely going to end up as simply talking about the "where to begin" with the other sections likely made into their own pages, like how 6, 7, and 9 are. Stevereeve (talk) 08:01, November 4, 2014 (UTC)
Where to Begin?
Spinoffs are pretty self-contained in terms of story, atmosphere, and gameplay. All spinoffs are easy to get into, so this section is about the main series only.
The most common starts amongst non-DQ players are DQ5 on DS/PS2, DQ8 on Playstation 2, and DQ9 on DS. Each of these are pretty nice as games and series entry points. Ironically, they're the least like the series as a whole, especially 9. Let's hit on them in a little more detail:
Some things in 5 are both subjective and dual-sided, so it's a bit harder for me to list aspects of it as flat out positives/negatives like 8 and 9. Still, I'll try to stay unbiased, yet critical when necessary.
! Heavy-focus on story and the main character Very enticing for those who prefer their RPGs to be this way. However, most of the game revolves around the story, and as such, optional exploration is minimal, as you are forced into most events, and can't do much to further explore new places until you finish those off. Some enjoy this, but if you find yourself craving more freedom, you might want to consider another as your first DQ.
! Conversations with Family Using the "Talk" command while not addressing an NPC lets you talk amongst your party. While non-human allies don't say much past a few repeated lines, the humans have much to say about many things. That said, for roughly 45% or so of the story (and not all at once either), you're stuck with your monsters and no or few humans. It's only in the third segment after the second time-skip that you really start being able to chat with humans.
! Monsters-as-allies Due to the popularity of franchises like Pokemon and Shin Megami Tensei, some fans enjoy 5 more than other DQ games as you can turn several (though not all) enemies into your companions. It doesn't work the same as either, and there's no fusion or breeding systems whatsoever; but, as there are several monsters to recruit, one person's experience can be different than another's. The Ludmeister's Monster Trainer Mod (a patch for the DS version) can be used to fix some imbalanced aspects, and even makes the human allies a bit better. It takes away from the vanilla experience, but you might as well play the PS2 version for that. If you prefer a deeper monster system out of your DQ, then consider the DQ Monsters spin-off series.
? "This is the only DQ I liked." This statement pops up sometimes. As for that manner of thinking, it's a bit understandable as DQ5 is different from most other DQ games in terms of monster allies, story, and structure. 5 shares atmosphere with aspects of 2 and 4 in terms of tragic events, but 5 is arguably the most tragic game in the series with a main character who goes through many trials over his life.
- The PS2 version is mostly the same as DS, but lacks a few DS-only extras and its visuals are kinda weak for a PS2 game. Still, it has symphonic music and its own unique fan-translation, which is easily the best because of its lack of unnecessary changes and respect to the original script. A good translation alone is a make or break issue for most people, so if you prioritize this, then the PS2 version is for you.
- The DS version barely builds upon the PS2 version, but still does it well. There's a new character with unique equipment and she also has her own party chats. There's also a new touch-screen mini-game that gives you bonus items but they're nothing you can't find or buy. Visually, it's not really much better than 5-PS2, but the sprites blend better with the scenes than the cheap PS2 models do. The music isn't symphonic, but still sounds pretty good. The localization is the weakest here. Most of it is generally in plain English, but there's some stupid changes made from the original script in terms of dialogue and naming. It's not quite ass-wreckingly bad like some of the more recent DQ localiations, but there's no good reason for many of the changes whatsoever. It's perfectly understandable for someone to prefer the PS2 translation over this one.
- The original DQ5 on SFC/SNES is outdated by both the PS2 and DS versions entirely and not worth playing over either revision. The PS2 and DS versions made many good changes to DQ5, aesthetically and gameplay-wise, especially regarding the monster recruitment, almost doubling the amount of monsters you can recruit. Save for your own curiosity, don't bother with 5-SFC.
Note: The DS version must be patched to emulate properly. The PS2 version is Japan-only regarding an official disc from a store, and the fact that it can't use the Ludmeister's patch. It's supposedly pretty easy to buy and/or emulate, however the DS version costs a bit much nowadays with pre-owned being $25 (or more) and new easily being $35-50 (or way more).
8 is easier to note aspects of. As noted before, some of the aspects here are opinions, though most of them tend to be generally held consistently amongst different types of players of DQ8.
+ Great aesthetics on PS2 Visuals, soundtrack, and atmosphere are quite well-done, particularly on the non-Japanese versions, which have symphonic music from DQ8's Symphonic Suite CD and menus that aren't black rectangles like the rest of the series (the latter note being a bit of a hit-and-miss between purists).
+ Not "too much" exploration It's fairly linear, but has a few side-curiosities, some of which are pretty helpful. Optional exploration isn't really on-par with the series entries that do it better though, save for the monster arena, which is pretty cool. However, you don't have to worry about getting lost and wondering what you were doing. Especially since you can talk with your party members to figure out what you should be doing (along with just talking to them about events in general). There are rewards for going off the trail, especially if you use an FAQ to exploit what odd things you find to their best potential.
+ Accessible in gameplay terms Although you might want to consider an FAQ or guide for aspects such as alchemy and skill point distribution, it's still very possible to overcome any obstacle and beat the game with any build, no matter how bad you screw up. It might take a while to do so, along with some experimentation and grinding, but it's still possible.
+ Surprisingly solid AI While full manual control is very much so possible, you don't need to do so 100% of the time. The AI acts relating to current situations, meaning it will do things you wouldn't be able to do yourself, such as heal/revive a character the turn right after they lose HP/die in-battle. It also can exploit weaknesses to certain magic elements and ailments that you might not be aware of or even hold off on using magic on something they know won't be hurt by it.
- It's pretty slow In terms of load times, walking about, talking with townspeople, cutscenes, and especially going through all the battle animations, DQ8 is arguably the slowest entry that isn't on an 8-bit system. Some enjoy this, calling it "comfy" or some shit like that, but it's just slow.
- Larger HP numbers and over-reliance on physical offense and tension As a term, "power creep" hits 8 hard compared to previous DQ games. Tension, alchemy, and the skill system fucked up some of the balance between magic and physical attacks. As such, don't be surprised if your MP is used more on stat-boosts and healing as physical damage is now king. Magic is still nice for damage, exploiting weaknesses, and other things, but compared to physical attacks and skills, lacks any real reliable means of "catching up" and similar such amplifications, save for Tension, which works on physical assaults anyways.
? You'll probably want to use an guide and/or FAQ You're free to not use one, but there's a few things that aren't 100% obvious at first, or in some cases, at all. If you're willing to experiment a lot and the type who saves/reloads to check alternatives, Others among you may or may not prefer to play like this though.
? A bit misleading Don't flat out think that all DQ games will be like DQ8 (or DQ9). They aren't. Some enjoy the game for what it is, especially as it is closer in presentation to other Level-5 games, and that's fine too.
Note: Do not buy the iOS/mobile port of DQ8. While it may not have the additional stuff of the western DQ8 port to slow it down, it's slow and laggy in itself, along with being buggy and not working well (or at all) on older devices, and even poorly on newer ones. Your best way to play this is a PS2 disc on a PS2, unless your computer can emulate it well.
An important note regarding DQ9 is that much of the content accessed through the net is now unobtainable without romhacking due to the wi-fi/online Nintendo support for DS and Wii games being shut down as of May 2014.
+ Nice for both RPG beginners and vets. One thing that is agreed upon for DQ9 is that it gives you quite a bit of leeway regarding what you feel like using in terms of customization. On top of that, the main story is pretty easy with your customized allies or other actual people playing in multiplayer, but trying to do it solo can be somewhat challenging. Furthermore, if you like randomized dungeons, the grotto system is pretty nice as well.
+ (for casuals) Eases in fairly softly and is very cute and colorful I know you lots like this types of stuff. While not only being in a cutesy chibi style, there's also lots of armor and clothes for you to play dungeon dress-up with. It's also pretty hard to fuck up, because you can literally max out every vocation and weapon's skill point requirements. On top of that, you keep every ability (but not spells) you've learned.
9 is nice if you want to do multiplayer, as each player can have their character be at their respective best. You can also separately explore dungeons and fight separate battles or help each other. Also, the overworld song in multiplayer is way better than the single player overworld song.
+ (for the more "hardcore" crowd) Extra Quests, Grottos, and Grotto/Legacy Bosses can be challenging to overcome If you want something tough to take on, DQ9 also has you covered. Extra quests unlocked in post-game have more bosses to challenge. Grottos are where the real meat of the game is. They are randomized dungeons with strong bosses at the end of them. In addition, you can challenge the "Legacy Bosses", who are plot-important and/or final bosses from the past DQ games serving as extra fights.
I don't think the more casual crowd will care to multiplayer with you if you focus on grottos and legacy bosses, so unless you know somebody with (at least) equal enthusiasm on grinding and venturing randomized dungeons, you'll probably be doing this sorta stuff by yourself with your allies from Patty's.
- Most of the negatives here apply primarily to a more "hardcore" crowd, particularly those who take on post-game, grottos, and legacy bosses. As I said before, the main story can be bested by pretty much anything with enough leveling and a little bit of smart pre-planning. If you only plan on beating the final boss and want to leave DQ9 for other games, you probably won't end up encountering or caring about the problems below. That isn't to say you won't get anything out of the main story itself, which still takes 35-40 hours or so, even if you beat it in multiplayer. So, if that's all you want to do, feel free to do so. Everyone else, continue below.
- Inability to swap (and use) unequipped equipment in combat In DQ9, you cannot hold any equipment to swap out between and/or use for their abilities in battles. You can still use the equipment you have currently equipped in battle for special abilities. But that's it. On top of that, you can't properly utilize the different attributes of certain weapons (ex: wanting to use a dragonslayer on one turn then a miracle sword on the next) and any skills that you've learned of multiple weapon types (ex: you can't switch to an axe from a wand to hit a demon-type enemy with a Helm Splitter after paralyzing it with Beelfreeze). You can technically unequip a weapon to use your "fisticuffs" and skills you have with them, but they suck much more ass here than they did in DQ8, which is an accomplishment in itself, I suppose.
- Levels, Stats, and Magic are tied to vocations Sadly, only weapon abilities, vocation abilities, and "learned" stat boosts (such as "Natural Max. HP +10) carry over between vocations. Magic, Levels, and stats are tied to vocations themselves. This is where most of the grind comes in, really, as the primary way to raise and keep stats above piss-poor numbers is to put skill points into vocational skill groups (i.e. Courage for the Warrior vocation). Do too much of this, however, and it leads to another problem.
- Over-crowding of abilities The magic/ability selection text boxes in DQ9 only allow for 4 items to be shown at a time, so once you get more than 16/20/24 or however many it takes for you to notice, it becomes pretty damn annoying to have to scroll through them all. What really sucks is that there's no way to sort them or hide the ones you aren't going to be using.
- Poor balancing of vocations, weapons, HP values, enemy numbers, and magics vs abilities This is 9's biggest weakness by far. Even worse than 8, you'll find most vocations and weapons to under-perform compared to others. As a result, you'll primarily be using them to get what you want out of them, along with leveling them for skill points, but never using them when it matters. The worst thing is that it filters out any sense of accomplishment and feeling of progression. Once you've got your vocations set, your few worthwhile weapons, and your abilities and few useful spells learned, all that's left is to get better equipment and grind your stats. It's not hard at all to get to the stage where that happens, either.
(note: There's way more weaknesses and issues with DQ9 left to cover, but I'll save that for another time.)
? Save for 10, which most people outside of Japan won't ever get to play, 9 is probably the most different out of all of the Dragon Quest games. Compared with DQ8 that came before it and set itself apart with visual changes, DQ9 stands out due to its numerous gameplay changes. If you expect any DQ, save for maybe DQ8, to be much like DQ9, you're in for a rude awakening.
Where to Begin? (part 2)
I find IV on NES/PS1/DS/iOS to be the best choice for DQ beginners who want to stay into the series. Those who don't will probably just end up playing 5, 8, and/or 9 and never touch another, then go on to say those are the only good games in the series or something retarded like that.
Keep in mind that while I address the mobile version as "iOS" for brevity, "iOS, Android, and whatever other mobile/tablet things support it" is what I mean. I don't have multiple mobile and tablet devices, so I can't really say which thing runs it best though.
+ (It can be) rather easy As mentioned, because DQ4 is all about understanding concepts, exploring, and paying attention to the world around you, players can easily take advantage of what they've learned to make their adventure go more smoothly.
+ Easy-to-navigate world The chapter system providing early roadblocks, along with recognizable terrain, structures, and landmarks, all help players easily grasp where they are, where they've been, and where to go next. Once you get the Treasure Map, things get even easier, though in the updated revamp, you start out with a world map anyways and always have it.
+ Allies who get stronger fairly quickly DQ4 isn't too long and using the AI means you won't have to deal with menus per each ally. As such, you'll find fights go pretty fast and your allies don't take too much effort to power up. Money tends to be nicely common as a result of this, but is often found in nice handfuls in chests, letting you purchase better equipment mostly easily. Exploration literally pays off in gold, but also experience points.
+ AI -can be- rather smart and helpful The biggest advantage of AI over manual control is that it works in situational manner. Example: If an ally gets badly hurt, another ally will almost always automatically decide to heal the injured. With proper AI tactics settings, you'll be surprised at what your allies can do and how smart they can be exploiting enemy weaknesses you might have not known of or even thought were possible.
While the Hero(ine) character is always manual-controlled by you, putting him/her in the wagon and letting all other characters run on AI is a nice and easy way to clear through random battles. Just rest at inns when their HP and MP get worn down.
- Lacks deeper elements in some later games While DQ4 gives you a fair bit of experimentation through finding the best party setups for various situations, it lacks systems found in later games, such as class-changing, skill points, monster taming, monster classes, physical skills (outside of chapter 6, that is), etc. DQ4's systems on a whole are fairly bare-bones, due to revolving around using all of your characters and wagon-shuffling.
All you can do to mix things up is give your characters special equipment and infinite-use MP-free spell effect items/equipment, along with saving your seeds to use them on whoever you prefer in Chapter 5 to change their stats up some. Still, one thing to keep in mind is that every character can use every item effect, even if they can't equip said item/equipment/weapon. This means that you can still have, for example: Torneko Taloon use the Icicle Dirk/Ice Blade for its Crackle/SnowStorm, Alena use a Power Shield/Shield of Strength to self-cast Midheal/Healmore, etc. This works even in the NES version. This doesn't mean the AI always will use these effects or even use them when you hope for them to, but it can (sometimes) help make battles easier, regardless.
- (It can be) rather harsh Part of the challenge in DQ4 is that you're stuck with what you have until you level up or find/buy new equipment. It's not a 100% lost cause, but you may find yourself staying in some areas with weaker monsters until you get strong enough or good enough spells to take on more powerful foes.
Keep in mind that damage spells and spamming "attack" alone are not always the best choices in DQ4. There are quite a good chunk of enemies with some hefty stats, dangerous spells, and other tricks of their own, especially in chapter 5. Status ailments and debuffs will be beneficial to taking them out, especially since they typically cost less MP than just spamming your strongest spells.
- Easy-to-get-killed areas While a big part of DQ4 is exploration, some areas on the map will kick you ass early on. Even if you use good strategies, some monsters are simply too strong and fast before you level up more and buy better gear. This is unfortunate, but not unconquerable. While several towns and castles are out of the way, simply entering them lets you warp back to them with Zoom/Return magic or the Chimaera Wing/Wing of Wyvern.
Warping back means you don't need to fight the beasties along the way and most of these places tend to sell really good equipment and have some worthwhile items to find. Building up cash to buy said equipment, then warping back is recommended.
- Allies can take a while to "get good" This is unfortunate, because there's no real counter to it. All you can really do is level up. Non-caster allies will get some pretty nice stat boosts as they level, but your casters may have to take a support-based role for a few levels between learning their better spells (they'll be catching up soon enough, though).
One thing to keep in mind is your collection of Mini/Tiny Medals, and, only for the DS/iOS version, the progress of your Boom Town (which also ties into the first point). These will both be key in powering up early on, especially the former, as all versions let you obtain very useful equipment just by exploring about and finding those little medals. Be careful how you manage your medals in the NES version though, as you only get a small few to trade in.
- AI -can be- rather stupid and foolish Sometimes, they just won't do what you hope for them to do, regardless of their current tactics are set at. In the DS/iOS version, you can counter this by setting them all to manual control (Follow Orders tactic), but it is annoying to babysit them when all you want to do is power through some battles. Still, it may be necessary to do so until they get some better stats and spells by leveling and you personally feel they can take care of themselves.
In the NES version, there are two ways to get an ally-exclusive spell guaranteed to be cast: The Transform spell, usable by a Level 30+ Hero(ine), or to use a Game Genie code to control your allies. The former turns you into an exact copy of any active ally character, thus able to use the original's spells. However, the Hero will be unable to utilize their own spells until un-transformed. The game genie code also has its perks and faults.
So when it comes down to it, which version is better: the DW4 NES version or the DQ4 revised version on PS1, DS, iOS? While I'll go over the main differences between them in the (eventual) DQ4 page, I can talk a bit about both and the specific versions of the revised DQ4 right now.
- The NES version is considered archaic regarding aesthetics, game speed, some gameplay factors, and being tile-based. It has the better localization between the two. If you prioritize script, think you can handle the AI in chapter 5 in both its ups and downs, and don't mind/even like your games a bit old-school, then pick this one.
- The DS version adds quite a few extra equipment options, but you won't really get to use them until chapter 5. It also changes the mini medal system and even gives you more than you can exchange, due to it being possible to permanently miss out on some (true in all versions, but only the DQ4 revision gives you extra to make up for it). This makes it less easy to get extras of things like Miracle Swords early on, but you also get other helpful new accessories and equipment that many allies can take advantage of and this makes some areas of the game easier than before. The Boom Town is also a new addition in chapter 5 (and 6). This also helps net you some nice bonuses throughout the game and has some nice extra equipment once completed in its final stage. Most of the gameplay has been streamlined regarding doors, menus, exploration, etc., but it's all for the better and you even get to keep excess items with you at all times in a separate "bag", instead of having to dump them in the bank. This lets you also keep lots of handy things at once, such as several herbs for healing, loot for selling, and so on, without ever needing to worry about inventory space limits. The game runs faster in general and the world and dungeons are much easier to explore.
How is the revision not the definitive version, then? Well, for one, the localization isn't nice and easy like the NES one is. On top of that, there's a few tricks that were altered from the NES version as well, and none of which have to do with emulators, hacking, or game genies. Some prefer factors of the NES DW4 for said tricks, as well as easier save-scumming, but also the previous mini-medal system and a few other factors as well.
- The iOS version is basically just an upscaled and touch-only version of the DS version running in a poorly-coded Unity emulator (I'm not shitting you, it really is just that). It's also uglier, clunkier, runs slower, changed the music to have some annoying intros, has horrible UI and irritating touch-menu decisions, a crummy touch-based "analog-stick" that doubles as an "action" button", and didn't fix anything with the DS version, not even the localization. Still, it has party-chat and it also has cloud-save. You'd probably only play this version is for party chat, regardless of the localization or shitty interface. Even then, this still exists http://sites.google.com/site/dq4opentrans/ so unless you don't own a DS and/or hate emulating, I can only guess you feel this is your only option. Even then, it's still a crock of shit compared to the DS version, and I'd go so far as to say the NES version as well, just because of how awful the interface is on top of its other bullshit for the 15 freedom-dollar price tag.
- The PS1 version comes last because it's only in Japanese as of now. Unless you know Japanese, you likely won't care for this. It's basically the same as the PS1 and iOS version, and save for a different resolution, and some slightly different timbres in the music due to using the PS1 sounds, there's nothing here that can't be found in the DS and iOS versions. If you know Japanese and feel like giving it a shot, you might as well.
- Fun fact: despite SE's marketing lies, there are no secret shops or extra forms in the DS version of the boom town, regardless of if you use NPCs or other players. Thanks for nothing and being full of bullshit, assholes!
Where to begin (part 3?)
III (3), VI (6), and VII (7) are probably best played after beating at least one other Dragon Quest. That way, you have a good understanding of mechanics and what not. You can play any of these first if you really want to, especially if you're familiar with RPGs in general, but if you're not, you might get overwhelmed and make some annoying fuck-ups. Of these three, I'd say DQ3 is by far the easiest to jump into, due to being the shortest of them, not too complicated, and the enhanced ports give you some nice bonuses throughout your journey to keep things fair.
+ Doesn't baby you around One thing that lots of people like about 3 is that it's fairly hands-off regarding story and objectives. There are a few things that you must do, but the game doesn't go out of it's way to lock you into a path and force you to do them right away. That's more or less how the entire game flows. If you know there's something going down, you can solve the problem whenever you want. That said, there still are a few instances where you must activate an event to proceed, but for most things, you can typically solve your problems through sheer curious exploration without waiting on anyone to tell you about this or that.
+ Class-Change system First accessed around the 20% point of the game (probably earlier if you got the magic key early). While you got to choose what allies you wanted in Aliahan's tavern, Dharma Temple lets you change all classes (except the Hero(ine) character) into a different class, as long as the person changing classes is at least at Level 20.
Doing this lets an ally become a different class and return to level 1, and gain different stats and learn other spells from their new class; however, they also retain all of the spells they knew before changing, and keep half of their natural stats (i.e. before equipment changes anything) from their previous class.
Due to these factors, one can create various sorts of "hybrid" characters which even go different ways depending on what class is turning into another. For example: going from Mage-to-Warrior versus Warrior-to-Mage. Both methods seem similar, but actually have different pros and cons.
? Doesn't baby you around III doesn't really ease you in at all, and can be somewhat easy to get lost in without a guide, FAQ, or prior knowledge of the game. This could be considered a negative, but it depends on the player liking this or not. Some do, some don't. Talking with NPCs is quite important, and will often be key to figuring out what to do next or what might exist in the world. It isn't necessary to talk with absolutely everyone, but you'd be surprised what some of them know. Even a talking horse gives you a bit of helpful advice.
I'd argue the hardest-to-reason parts in the game are remembering to check the Immigrant Town's progress and finding some of the important out-of-view places in certain towns, such as entrance to Gaia's Navel in Lancel. Past that, you should be able to figure most shit out on your own, even regarding the rest of the six Orbs and finding the special Hero equipment in Alefgard after defeating Baramos (oh no, spoilers!).
? You can screw up your allies (if you're stupid) Don't class-change at too often or at bad times like an idiot. If you're going into a new area to explore and it has tough enemies, or trying to fight some boss, that's not a good time to change classes. Don't class-change all ally characters at once, and after class-changing, try to ensure your next class change is at a higher level than the previous time (by maybe 3 or more levels).
Keep in mind of what you're going to class-change to and from as well. Classes don't all share the same equipment options, so keep in mind what equipment you own and what you might need to buy.
One tip I would keep in mind for classes that learn spells is to learn every possible spell that class can before changing them over. Their new level 1 stats will be better for it and you won't need to go back to that casting-class just to get something you missed. For example: you won't want to class-change from a Cleric to some class that's not a Sage right at level 20, because you won't have your better Cleric spells, such as Barrier, Healus, and Revive, without leveling as a Sage, or returning to Cleric and leveling.
- Some areas are quite harsh early on Much like DQ4 after it, wandering into some areas too early will get you shitwrecked, regardless of your classes, spells, special-equipment, etc. At best, you can keep running away and get to the safety of a town or castle nearby, and cast Return to check it out later. One thing that kinda sucks about DQ3 compared to most other DQ games is...
- Using certain equipment for spell-effects is class-restricted GODDAMN. There's no waltzing around it. This fucking sucks ass and is probably the sole complaint I have with 3. While on the flip side, it keeps certain classes valuable, such as Warrior (which uses cool stuff like the Thunder Sword and Thor Sword), the reversal is that there's quite a few good ones that just flat-out can't be used at your whim. "Oh man, I just got the Orochi Sword! I can't wait for my thief to use it and have MP-free debuffing!" NOPE. SORRY, FAGGOT. Can't be done.
Thankfully everyone can still use any item, such as the Sage's Stone (or Sage Rock in some translations). There are also several staffs that can be used by any class as well, such as the Bolt Staff and Sage Staff, both being very nice for random battles.
Note: The enhanced port of 3 on SNES/SFC and Game Boy Color is best, thanks to lots of extras, being much faster, and making several UI factors run smoother overall. Both versions have their perks, but for a GBC game, DQ3 is top-notch. NES isn't as good for quite a few reasons, but some like both the challenge it presents over the enhanced versions and being able to exploit glitches and bugs not found in later versions. The iOS/Mobile version adds tactics, but is, in short, an absolute bastardization of the SNES version, even lacking things the GBC version managed to maintain along with somethings even the NES version had. On top of that, the tactics AI is somehow worse DW4NES, tending to do many stupid things later on. Long story short, I will NEVER rec this, not even as a curiosity, and fuck you if you rec it.
Note: Although "class" is used as a shorthand, the DS version calls them "Vocations" instead.
+ Class-change system has been expanded on It takes longer to unlock than in 3, but is worth it, and is your primary source of new abilities, magic spells, and skills. In addition, there are hybrid/advanced classes. These new classes which learn higher-tier abilities that can't be learned by the initial classes.
Like in DQ3, you keep all spells and abilities you learned, no matter how many times you change classes. Even better in this case because there's quite a lot of new and helpful ones.
+ Classes have stat alterations and bonuses A character's level is independent from their class-mastery, so class-changing instead alters their natural stats by respective percentages. As noted, some (but not all) classes also have bonuses while following them. For example, Martial Artist has an extra % chance to deal critical hits and (after raising its mastery rank some) Sage requires less MP for spells. Advanced classes also get some stat bonuses at full mastery (however, these bonuses are tied to the class alone, not the character). As a result of this, you'll find that even though you'll want to learn new skills/spells from certain classes, you might end up going back to others for the sake of their stat-altering percentages and class bonuses. This is especially important for Thieves, as each ally in the Thief class has a chance to gain an extra item among your post-victory spoils.
+ Eases in fairly softly You might have a little bit of a bumpy time before your 2nd and 3rd allies join (which happens very soon enough) but after that, the game isn't that hard to progress though. It's only after you get to change classes at Alltrades/Dharma that you might need to step your game up. Some find that Murdaw/Mudo's final fight is quite tough, but it's not that hard to overcome (pro-tip: use the Fire Claw and Staff of Ghent as items, as both work unlimited times for two good MP-free spells). Enemies don't tend to get too strong or challenging until later on in the game and, before then, you won't be able to explore much anyways, as exploration is limited early on.
? Narrative-driven progression Like DQ5, and pre-chapter 5/6 DQ4, most of the game revolves around the story and the people you meet. On the flipside, there's less freedom to explore, and less to find on your own. There's still a few non-mandatory side-areas with some nice treasures, along with a slime arena ("Slimopolis" in DS) and more Fashion Show/Best Dresser prizes after the mandatory 3rd (Magic Carpet), on top of that, a few other curiosities such as hidden stores and services. It's not much, but it's something.
Consider these factors ahead of time before you decide on playing 6 or not.
? Class has no impact on character's equipment options, levels, and stat-inclinations This is also a factor that you'll like or dislike.
Regarding equipment: a character can use anything they can equip with any class they want, such as swinging a battle axe as a Mage, wearing heavy armor as Dancer, etc. On the flip-side, they're stuck with what they've got. Ashlynn/Barbara will never wield a war-hammer or wear mirror armor, no matter what class she is (unless you hack the game).
Regarding levels: Class Mastery ranks and character levels are both separate from each other. While natural stats get affected by a class (only while in the class, not permanently), you never have to restart from level 1 stats upon changing classes.
Regarding stat-inclinations: As a character levels up, their natural/class-less stats raise. You'll find some characters work better at some classes than others. For example, Carver/Hassan isn't so hot at maximum MP, but Ashlynn/Barbara is. However, Ash's Strength stat is kinda low while Carver's definitely isn't. Still, you'll be surprised by some characters, like Nevan/Chamoro doing nicely as a caster or a fighter due to his above-average MP and physical stats along with his decent equipment choices.
Don't be afraid to experiment a little, but do be sure to have a plan ahead of time. (Here's a fun tip: If you have Ashlynn take on the Armamentalist/Magic Knight class to obtain Kafrizzle/Blazemost, don't be afraid to use her elemental-strikes like Flame Slash, especially if she has a strong weapon equipped, such as the Wizardly Whip/Calvero Bute. You'd be surprised at how much damage this can cause, at 0 MP cost as well.)
? Advanced classes are needed to get better abilities Most of your best abilities can only be obtained by mastering the initial classes to get the advanced ones. Some are eager to do this, others would just prefer smaller class sets that focus learn more per class.
For example, the Priest class can't learn Kazing/Revive on its own and must master Mage and rank up as a Sage to obtain it. No problem if you had planned on learning Mage spells with a character anyways, but if you just wanted that character to focus on healing, then you have a bunch of spells you probably won't use, just because you wanted one spell that was out of your initial range.
There's no way around it either, and you can't erase spells or skills you've learned, organize them, or shuffle them about. This is one of the reasons why I suggest to have a plan before you start class-changing, so you don't take on too many things and overload yourself. If you don't like this factor, there's always DQ3.
? Ashlynn/Barbara becomes mandatory This is an oddity. While the MC/Hero character of every DQ tends to stay in the party understandably, this gal decides to cling onto her party slot, no matter what. I dunno why this is, but without hacking there's nothing to change it. On the one hand, she's a pretty solid ally, though kinda scrawny physical-wise, and her party chats tend to be pretty amusing. On the other, you can't have your party primarily the way you want it. If you wanted mostly monsters, that's one less spot you get to fill at your will. If you wanted to solo the game (save for certain plot points), you have to get her killed by monsters and dump her in the wagon (when possible). It don't really make much sense, but then again, this is a game where you can fly around on a bed, so, eh, fuck it.
- Class system takes a while to unlock Not too long, but you'll probably take maybe 8-10 hours or so, which isn't so bad considering the game is about 45-50 hours long. Characters will learn some inherent abilities before then, but not too many. Make sure to buy and use items carefully (herbs and the water from Amor(u) should be bought and used often to save MP from being spent on healing) and to utilize weapons, armor, and accessories with different attributes (such as whips, boomerangs, and equipment that can cast spells for free). The time you spend before class-changing isn't too long, and still a bit tough, but with thoughtful management and utilization of equipment and items, you can make the ride a lot less bumpy for your own sake.
- Class mastering can possibly be a hassle It takes time to level a class and your goals/progressions can be messed up if you're not careful, potentially wasting you some time and effort. That said, the rate of learning spells and skills is fairly decent, so while you won't get the best stuff early on, you will most likely have some that are good enough for the point of the story you are in. Fight and level at a decent pace, while you make sure to actualy explore and progress the story, and your class mastering should go smoothly enough.Again, it is very much so advised that you have a plan on what characters will serve what roles and what classes they should master to do so.
While this is a game that you can mess up your progress and not be punished for it, I still don't think it's too good to try to master everything with everyone either (unless you don't mind scrolling through pages of skills and spells).
The DS version is somewhat preferable to the SNES/SFC version, as it is easy to find and improved and expanded a bit more, especially with party chat. However, the SFC version is still a pretty decent alternative, despite its somewhat inferior execution. One thing that the SFC version has over the DS version is that its Beast Master class is able to recruit monsters into your party. However, DQ6 is not a monster-taming-heavy game though. In addition, outside of Omniheal/Healusall, there is nothing monsters learn that can't be learned by humans. DQ5 has 40 monsters to recruit, with its PS2/DS revamp having 70. There are only 20 monsters to recruit in the SFC version (with 2 of these are gotten from other non-BM related means, so really, only 18). 6 of these are obtainable in the DS version, with 3 more being added specifically into the DS version for a paltry total of 9. In the DS version, none of them require a Tamer to join your group. Monsters can also undergo class changing, and they will need it as they all start bare with no classes mastered and all learn very few skills and spells without classes and quite a few levels in-between each other. Regarding the SFC version, there is nothing to make said monsters easier to recruit either, and some of them can take many battles before they finally decide to join you. The balance of monsters in the DS version is mostly even with only 1 or 2 being shoddy. The SFC version has roughly half them being mediocre, and others taking quite some time to recruit and level up to reach their true potential. That said, the human characters in the SFC have hidden inherent resistances similar to monsters in the series. In the DS version, all humans are completely normal, with no special resistances of any kind. Monster allies however, still possess their resistances in the DS version. As such, monsters shine more in the DS version because of their unique additional (and still hidden) traits. Regrettably, both versions force the use of the MC and Ashlynn/Barbara.
VII is the hardest to get into. It has an expanded version of 6's class system, a huge world, some of the longest dungeons in the series, time travel, and the longest main story in the series. Only real motherfuckers need apply. That said, it's very rewarding to actually beat. The 3DS version isn't really much shorter, though it does change things up (see below) for arguably better and worse.
+ It's LONG You're really getting some major mileage here. The main quest can take on average, 88+ hours or so start to finish. That's not including post-game, either, which can potentially bring you up to 100 or more. It's all crammed full, too. There's many stories and plots within a myriad of towns. While it's not quite on par with the way Legend of Mana does its storytelling, it's interesting to see some events of different times and peoples influence others, even if some of them don't directly tie to the main plot. There's also the side-quests of building a park for tamed monsters to live in peace, and, more notably, making one's own town (which, as of 7's release, hadn't been seen since DQ3) and populating it with NPCs. This town building in DQ7 is unique as different NPC combinations give it one of FIVE different end-states, with different shop stocks and one state even having a bonus casino.
+ Expanded Class-Change System from 6 6 was a pretty curious change from DQ3's class system, but arguably worked pretty well within the game and how it was designed. 7 takes the concepts from 6 and refines, expands, and adds to them. Even more 1st, 2nd, and even 3rd tier classes were added, along with many more skills and magics. Uniquely to this game and its PS1 version, you could learn "Hybrid Skills", which let you use a new skill born from class-leveling two different classes. Cleric+Bard will net you HealSong, Thief+Warrior learns ThiefHit, etc. In both versions of DQ7, you can obtain "Monster Hearts". Basically, instead of taming a monster to fight in your team, you BECOME the monster. There's big advantages in this however, as monster "classes" let the user obtain inherent resistances and learn skills and spells in different orders than the normal "human" classes. For example, the DrakSlime class has inherent fire resistances and learns some breath-based attack skills. In addition, mastering certain monster classes will give you access to a new one, with no heart item necessary. For example, mastering Bombcrag and Berserker gives you free access to the Golem monster class. However, hearts wear out with one use, and combo-ing your masteries to get new monster classes is a per-person basis, just like getting a 2nd tier class for human class. Think ahead before you use these, but know that they tend to be worth it! Altogether, the various classes total up to 54! That's a big step up from 6's sum of 18.
- It's LONG Holy fuck, is it long. Some segments seem to drag on for way past their welcome (such as Dharma fucking Temple), and don't always have nice little shortcuts or conveniences. Saving often is advised, especially whenever you fuck up here and there and get flung back to town. Obviously, you shouldn't play during storms or when naughty kids are around either. There are a handful of dungeons that you'll do once and immediately think "I'm glad it's over." so having to redo them because of outside interferences is just twisting the knife. I'm not about to say that you should be scared of these, and never play DQ7 because of them. Some of them actually are pretty cool, just long. There's not any "quick-save" like later games either, so you'll pretty much want to beat some of them in one sitting if possible. Surprisingly, the final boss dungeon is actually pretty easy, though it has alternate segments to take (with some great treasures), so that's part of it.
Hilariously, DQ8 never gets any rap for length, and yet, save for 10 and the post-game of 9, it's the second longest DQ by several hours!
- Visuals are a bit odd This isn't a huge problem, but I can see how some can be annoyed by it. The few CG cutscenes are the worst case of this, but the map character sprites seem to have this weird squished-midget look to them, I'm guessing from compression. The Zenithian DS games amended this by having the characters in more natural proportions, especially having been built of an engine similar to 7. Here, it's just kinda off. The battle sprites look nice though, but like 6, they are oddly still frozen in place unless they're performing an action. Something that was again mended with the DS games.
This isn't an issue for the 3DS version, as most everything is animated well, even better than before in some cases, bodies are more properly proportioned, and the game generally looks pretty nice, though the camera is zoomed in pretty close for the sake of keeping things looking pretty, which prevents you from really getting a good look at the area around you.
? + Expanded Class-Change System from 6 While 7's class system is much bigger, some may argue whether it improved 6's system or not. While not a huge issue, some of the returning classes from 6 have been oddly rebalanced for the sake of the newer classes and new third tier. As a result, it feels like early on, you're not quite getting as many benefits as you probably should be, especially compared to 6. This is most evident in the magical classes, but even some of the physical-oriented classes get hit by this. Two cases being the Warrior only learning 4 skills in DQ7, but 6 in DQ6, and the Martial Artist/Fighter learning their useful Roundhous(e Kick) and WindBeast (aka Wind Sickles) way later than they did in DQ6 (16 vs 50 for the former and 32 vs 160(!) for the latter). Now, some of the new classes are cool and all, and by the time you get to a third-tier class like GodHand, you'll have gotten some really good skills anyways, but the balance really could have been better done. If anything, this gives you an excuse to mess with monster classes, but one issue I have with those, despite their neat inherent resistances and altered skill order, is that you're best off checking an FAQ when dealing with those. Some of them may have nice resistances, but their stat modifiers may be pretty shoddy. However, might they open up a far better monster class once you master it or might they not, and should you consider if its worth dealing with those lesser stats as a result? You can't really know the answer without having done a prior monster class mastery with an ally to know what you're getting into, or as I noted, using a guide or FAQ of some sort. I can understand how some different groups of players are and aren't fine with using online resources, but within the game itself, there should have been more available hints and info in the game itself about monster classes and the unlock-able monster classes before you get into them in general. Also, while the Hybrid skills are pretty useful, some of them being the only ways as a human-class to get some abilities like the Increase (aka Kabuff) spell or some things in general like the handy Mineuchi skill, is a bit too cheap, especially since they can take quite some time to obtain. That said, some of the new human classes and especially some of the monster classes really are kickass, along with some of the new spells and skills. As a result, I can't in full honesty give the cons of the class system a full-negative status, since the pay off actually is worth it in the end. It's just the beginning and parts of the middle that kinda suck, especially compared to 6 and even 3.
The 3DS version of Dragon Duest VII does some odd things differently, but most are surprisingly the same.
The events are almost 1-to-1 from what I can tell, the dungeons and towns -on a collective overall basis- seem to be roughly 70-80% similar with 20-30% being not too much different, though still changed slightly. Some puzzles were altered a bit and others made a bit easier and simpler, but most are fairly equivalent to their PS1 counterparts. Even Japanese players have noted this after comparing maps of the two versions.
Perhaps the most noteworthy change in the 3DS version is the Class System, where skills and spells have been shuffled around, Class mastery requirements have been raised and lowered for different classes, class-mastery level caps are lower per areas (meaning over-grinding in certain spots is not preferable), and retaining skills and spells relies on both human and monster classes. It's a very odd mix-up to be sure, but definitely gives more reason to experiment. A small few spells and skills have had their behaviors changed, and some have been added (like Helm Splitter) and also removed (like Slumber). There's some nice improvements on a technical sense such as special event items not being kept in the menu anymore, so you don't have to worry about losing them (looking at you, Maribel). It's a lot to cover, so just check below.
Basically, if you want to learn more about the 3DS versions, read the following pages:
http://dragon-quest7.game1wiki.com/ - one of the most in-depth pages about the 3DS version I've seen, and a source of much info on it
http://dq-gh.com/dq7/ - an auxillary page and not as in-depth as the first, but a bit easier to navigate, I think
http://dq73ds.ffsky.cn/ - a chinese page as an alternate source
Here are two different playthroughs on youtube as well, though they do speed through some regarding random battles and boss fights:
Also, if you find yourself confused by some of the terminology:
http://www.geocities.jp/dynamic_range2/dw/dw7.html - a page that matches up the Japanese DQ7 naming with the American DW7 naming
Regarding 1 and 2
There's nothing stopping you from starting with DQ1 and working your way up. Several DQ players did and its probably one of the best ways to appreciate how far the series has come, especially without being prone to that "didn't age well" whiplash some players get when playing a mechanically simpler game after playing its later entries first. They're no Ultima 3, but they're not too shabby either and are overall better-structured than quite a number of their knockoffs trying to capture the same success. Both go by pretty fast, though 2 takes longer.
Both 1 and 2 are arguably best played together back-to-back. The 1+2 combo remix/revamp/enhanced port is on Game Boy Color and SNES/SFC is your ideal way to play them. The NES versions of either aren't recommended as a first-time experience as they are both mechanically inferior compared to their later revisions. If you really, REALLY want to play them, do so after you beat the 1+2 revision combo, for your own sake. As for the MSX versions, those don't get recommended for being even more mechanically inferior to the NES versions, especially due to MSX's scrolling issues.
Now then, specifically talking about 1:
+ Quick to Finish Even if you don't use an FAQ or Walkthrough, you can easily beat DQ1 in one or two days, maybe three off-and-on. The NPCs overall tend to offer quite a decent amount of helpful hints and info, making it to where you can soon figure out where to go and what to find. The world isn't too big, and the main quest to find the Rainbow Bridge components doesn't take too long either.
There's a few side-quests to take on as well, but these are mostly for the sake of getting you stronger and/or prepping you for the showdown with Dragonlord. Even then, they don't take too long to finish, and a first-time player will probably want to be properly pumped up before facing Big D and also dealing with all the baddies in his castle.
+ Status ailments matter?! Ironically, this is one game where you'll want to abuse status ailment spells for the sake of saving your HP and MP, especially for casting the dungeon-escaping Outside spell. There's only two ailments: Sleep and Stopspell, but they can make a hell of a difference in fights. "Stopspell" is a big one, which prevents foes from casting spells, which is good because some can cast their own "Stopspell" on you! You don't want to get your shit kicked in and be unable to cast Healmore, trust me. However, if you pull it on an enemy, they can't use their healing either! On top of that, they'll sometimes waste turns trying to cast spells, giving you a free action! Stopspell can turn a slugfest where you try to outdamage an enemy's healing into a quick and easy win. "Sleep" may not be quite as notable, but it's still capable of making a hell of a difference. Basically, if someone is inflicted with sleep, they can't act at all. They're basically a punching bag until they wake up, which can potentially take well over a single turn. Being damaged won't assure a wake up either, which means the afflicted can easily be defeated by normal attacks. Sleep is a great help on your end, especially since it means you can spend time healing or dealing MP-free physical damage, but it's absolutely nasty in your enemies' hands. You'll want to make sure you Stopspell a foe who can cast this, or you might just be kissing half your gold goodbye.
- Mechanically-simple While it's not necessarily necessary for DQ1, it's a very simple game, even compared to DQ2. While status ailments can make or break a fight, and Fireball and Firebane are good against high Defense foes that your weapon has trouble scratching, your growth is pretty much linear. There's no reason to use the Iron Axe over the Flame Sword or the Half Plate over the Magic Armor. If something is more expensive than what you bought earlier, it's ALWAYS going to be better, no exception. The only equipment with an actual effect when used in battle is the Flame Sword, and by the time you buy it, you can physically out-damage its Fireball effect, even against foes with high defense, AND you'll probably have Firebane anyways! Just compare this with DQ2 where you have the bonus of saving your MP by spamming infernos and fireball for free with their respective weapons, and someone with the Power Shield can cast healmore on their self, also for free. The former case being good for normal enemies and the latter being great for Princess Moonbrooke, who can't even equip the damn thing, but can use it to heal herself while saving her MP for blasting foes. Prince Lorasia also takes advantage of these because he can't even cast spells, and without the Falcon Sword, he can only attack a single foe per turn. In addition to just having a single character versus a single foe at a time in DQ1, there's also no class system, no skills, no handy infinite-use items, etc. About the deepest mechanic in the game is your actual name, and without checking an FAQ first, you won't really know how it affects your character growth anyways.
To clarify, this isn't to say that DQ1 is a bad game, just a simple one. Even if one really likes it for what it is, there is still enough reason for it to be understandable as to why some feel like skipping it.
? Non-Linear Adventure This is DQ1's real bread and butter, and probably the biggest thing it has over arguably all other DQ games period. Once you get out of Tantagel/Radatome castle, you've pretty much got free-reign on how you're going to get the Rainbow Bridge components. Granted, some are easier to obtain than others, but the game doesn't stop you from trying. Even two of the side-quests can be attempted whenever you want, though you'll likely get your shit kicked in by attempting either too early on. Once again, a big factor to assist in this is quite a few NPCs being fairly helpful. You'll even get told to take note of one of the big visual hints, bridges, which serve as warnings that stronger monsters live across them. If you're the kind of player who just wants to get shit done and doesn't like talking to NPCs, exploring odds and ends for extra loot, getting lost on purpose, or winning by the skin of your teeth against odds that would be easier if you just grinded some more levels, you're probably going to have a bad time with this.
Specifically talking about 2:
+ Not too long, not too short While not as short as DQ1, it's probably the second shortest in the series. That said, there's quite a lot more content in it than DQ1, and unlike DQ1, you visit many more places, with almost all of them being necessary over the course of your adventure, save for Tantagel/Radatome and Dragonlord's old haunt, but even then, it's worth checking those places out for the sake of extra goodies and info, especially the latter for a nice weapon and the world map. That isn't to say that there's a completely set order of events either. This is noted more below regarding the mostly non-linear aspect of the game
+ The start some something great DQ2 really kicked shit up a notch. It took aspects of DQ1 and refined them, while adding several that would become DQ mainstays and (some) for good reason. Multiple classes, multiple characters, reviving characters, the Line-Up system, buffs, nerfs, using equipment as items to cast spells (DQ1 only has this in the revamp and only for the Flame Sword), accessories that are actually beneficial (fuck that worthless ring in DQ1), ship exploration, multiple enemies at once, being able to hit multiple enemies at once, multiple physical hits, puzzles, and characterization, among a few other elements all started here. As noted, like in DQ1, you'll run into quite a few instances where damage magic will be necessary to quickly put down tough-hided monsters versus smacking them with your blade, ailments are still very handy (and even work against some bosses!), and NPCs still provide some handy info, making several worth a chat. Some find that DQ2 is outdated, and while one can easily agree, especially compared to later DQ entries, its worth arguing that it's still got quite a good handful of aspects that make DQ so well-liked. I mean, hell, DQ8 is also simple as hell, but most people love that.
- Uneven difficulty Despite its perks, one issue that remains with DQ2 in all versions is a sense of uneven difficulty, even before you get your ship. The start with just Prince Lorasia isn't too bad when you're just bashing slimes, but past that, you've definitely got to prepare with a stock of herbs, antidotes, and warpwings as you likely won't reach ol' Prince Cannock without doing some hefty grinding. Poison is literally going to be your fucking bane before Cannuckles learns the Antidote spell. Early on, if you don't have any of those three items, you'll probably die if you're not a few odd steps away from a town or castle. Partly from the poison draining your HP, and partly from monsters finishing your weakened self off. Eventually, it's less of a threat, but it is your first real challenge. The second big bump is after getting Cancans, but before getting Princess Moonbrooke. Most of the enemies in the area will be vicious bastards, and because you won't technically have a way to hit more than one simultaneously before getting Moony (unless you grind Cannock's ass off to level 18 to get Firebane, but that will take a stoopid long amount of time at this point), you'll easily get flattened, especially by those damn baboons/gorillas/stalin's ape soldiers/whatever they're called with their high ass strength stats. After that, the game gets easier as you not only get to use sailor Moon's multi-foe hitting Infernos spell, but also Sleep, Surround, and soon enough Defense, the last of which lets your physical attacks smack around foes much harder. From then on, you've got to deal with some odd trial-and-error noted below, as your enemies can be strong or weak depending on where you go to first. The last big kick in the ass is Rhone Plateau and all in and after it, and holy shit is it tough, even for a final area. The pathway itself has tricks and traps, but on top of that, it's got some real tough bastards living in it. Once you get out the path and into Rhone proper, you need to haul ass to the final shrine and save, because there's even stronger foes that hang out in the plateau. Remember how it was noted how DQ2 kickstarted lots of neat DQ elements? Well, it also introduced many of its biggest assholes as well. The Arcdemon, Gigantes, Pazuzu, Dancing Flame, Gargoyle, Evil Clown, Berserker, and Killer Machine monster families all got their start in DQ2, and you'll learn to love to hate them. Oh, and guess how many of these families are in Rhone, if not the path to Rhone? ALL OF THEM. Also, special mention to the Mud Puppet family. Even though they don't hang out in Rhone, they'll make any battle where you find them dancing their strange jigs annoying as hell, as they'll suck up your party's MP, making some tough dungeons even tougher.
- "Where is what now?" The game does a fairly decent job of helping you find out about things. NPCs give you some hints about towns, treasures, and key items, with one in particular being a fortune-teller on a moonshaped island, who gives you nudges on where to go next. You can also obtain the Echo Flute, which, when played in an area where a plot-important crest is located, will give you a handy return echo to let you know you're on the right track. There are some cases in the game though, where you're just kinda on your own on figuring some things out. One case a few players noted was getting Fire Crest in the Flame Shrine. You get hints that you can find it -IN- the shrine, but you have no idea where exactly. Is it in a place where one of the portals end up? No. Is it hidden in one of the floor tiles in the shrine proper? Nuh-uh. Is it on the boundary OUTSIDE of the shrine in the grass tiles, but before you exit the shrine into the overworld map? Of course, naturally. On a personal note, I can't defend that shit. It really is pretty stupid. There's a few other instances that are similarly dumb or pains in the ass (such as Hargon's Cross, the Ra Mirror, and the Dew Yarn), but this is the worst of these cases by far, with no other coming nearly as close. If you feel like you have to use an FAQ or dungeon map eventually, don't feel bad about it.
? Semi-Linear Adventure Unlike DQ1, at the beginning of your adventure, you'll find there's only so many places you can go, and you'll soon learn of your first mandatory goal: to find your cousin, the Prince of Cannock/Sumaltria and have him join your quest. There's a few other roadblocks like this, up until you obtain a ship. As soon as you get the ship though, you'll find that you can visit the rest of world in pretty much any order of your choosing. Like DQ1, there are some places better visited later than sooner, but unlike DQ1 and early DQ2, there aren't the precautionary bridges or roadblocks to serve as warnings. If you end up in a fight against hardass monsters in what seemed like an innocent enough area to set anchor in, you either hope you run away successfully or you die. Without a guide of FAQ, there's a bit of trial-and-error involved in finding "safer" areas to explore. Some players like this, some don't. On the bright side though, some of the harder areas have some nice finds that can make those less-challenging areas even easier, which serves as good build-up to actually conquer those tough spots you may have stumbled in before. It's a risk vs reward situation, and fortune definitely favors the brave in this game.
Now that all that's said, which version is actually the best way to play DQ1+2? Some SFC players flat-out refuse to play the GBC version, while others prefer it over the SFC. There actually are a few differences between the two, and the GBC version isn't a totally straight port. It's mostly identical to the SFC and NES, but there are a small few curiosities here and there regarding some map designs. One case in particular in 2 is getting a stat-boost seed earlier in the island castle where you obtain the Moon Crest. In the SFC version, you have to wait until you get the Jail Key to nab it. In the GBC version, the jail cell proper is down some stairs, while the seed remains in the open. This is only one of few design changes, and the rest aren't nearly as big as this either. Aesthetically, the SFC version technically wins out over the GBC version, but the GBC version looks pretty good, considering its restrictions, definitely much better than the NES versions. Visually, the only objective advantages the SFC has over the GBC are battle backgrounds (though the GBC still has them in 1 and also a small few in 2) and resolution allowing more things onscreen at once, including menus. Regarding the latter case though, both 1 and 2 don't have much in their menus regardless of versions, so it's not that deep a cut. The better res helps some when exploring the world and dungeons, but the ~40% disadvantage you have on GBC isn't going to shitwreck you either. This isn't an action game where you have to worry about critters jumping out at you from off-screen. That said, if you find yourself easily disoriented (though why would you play games like this if that were the case?), you might understandably prefer the SFC version as a result. Battle-wise, the GBC version goes a little faster. Not by much, but notably, especially since enemies blink some more when they're hit in the SFC version versus the GBC version. The field log save is probably one advantage the GBC has over the SFC that has been nullified by emulators and save states, but in terms of purely physical, it can be quite helpful when you want to reach a stopping point, but aren't anywhere near a king or save sage. One minor factor that's arguable that the GBC has over the SFC version is that it lacks "half-steps". Basically, when you're trying to move a single tile, the SFC version only bumps you half a tile. This is a smidgen annoying at times, particularly when sailing and trying to land. Thankfully, the SFC version doesn't count damage tiles per each half-step, only a full-step. The GBC version only uses full-steps, which feels more natural for these two games. In the end, it mostly comes down to preference. Both have their pros and cons, though some are more more opinionated than others (on a personal note, the sprites in the SFC version look kinda crammed and odd to me, especially in DQ2, but I thought the GBC version sprites looked fine). If anything, just give both a try and stick with whichever of the two you like.
"Okay, but what about the mobile versions?" Oh, goddamnit. You really opened up a can of worms with this shit. Well, I'll humor you.
Regarding DQ1, not much was changed for the better at all. You start with a bamboo pole now, and... That's about it. Now, if we want to talk about all the stupid changes it made, that's another story. But first, let's get on to DQ2 and what it mixed up. DQ2 is another story entirely. I'm honestly torn between all of the more interesting changes it made and some of the stupid shit it does. I'll hit more on this within its page proper, but basically: when you level up changed (to much lower requirements), when you learn some spells changed (to some higher level requirements, but still lower experience-wise), how some spells behave changed (for good and bad), how you get some crests and items changed (specifically the Life Seal/Crest), and a final roadblock to rhone was added to make sure you had both key items necessary for taking on Hargon. There's more to it than that, but that's essentially the gist of it. Now, to talk specifically about both mobile versions:
First, they're not even original ports. They are actually touch-only Unity-based emulators running slightly modified versions of SFC ports that were released on early 2000s Japanese-only dumbphones and have their internal graphics horribly stretched-out. Let's break this shit down:
1) Not completely original versions
3) Unity-based emulator
4) Slightly modified SFC port
5) Early 2000s Japanese-only dumbphone
6) Ugly stretched-out graphics
That's six fucking strikes and we've only just got started.
In addition, both 1 and 2 aren't combined anymore, they're separate purchases. The total is 8 US dollars, which wouldn't be too bad if these were original enhanced ports on par with the DS Zenithian DQ games, but they're not. They're not even close to that level of quality. For 7 bucks, you could buy Wayward Souls, which is the level of quality most consumers expect for that price. Yes, I'm rec-ing a non DQ game in a DQ page. The quality of these ports are that bad. I'm not even joking.
Second, the localization. The localizations are fucking terrible. It makes the NES localizations seem like Groo the Wanderer. First consider that the Japanese original scripts follow a relative K.I.S.S. standard to where even a youngster can beat these games and still grasp what's going on. Then compare those with the localizations done for the NES, SFC, GBC. Now read the iOS scripts. As a result, you can fully understand why these new localizations are so damn repulsive. Not only are they overly verbose, without adding anything of substance, they drown out their message with old archaic British diction as well as slang, NO MATTER HOW INAPPROPRIATE IT IS FOR THE PERSON SPEAKING TO DO SO. Don't get me wrong. I can understand why a King or noble would have such retardedly-flowery language, but why the fuck would the town drunk or an 8-year old speak in the exact same way? It doesn't make a single lick of sense. Now, I know some of you might be thinking "Well, it's a medieval fantasy game" Exactly my point. A little thing called SOCIOECONOMIC CLASS DIVISION exists in the world and, even in DQ. Do you honestly believe a peasant or farmer is going to have the same tongue as royal, even in fantasy? On top of that, it's a fantasy game. Alefgard and Torland aren't the fucking UK. They don't even exist in real life. It's not a huge deal if the text has an extra "u" here and there, such as in armor, but why the hell would a FANTASY WORLD have the accents, dialect, expressions, and slang as the archaic state of a real-world country, especially one that doesn't even make any fucking sense to readers outside of its own borders? I talk about this pile of shit all day, but I've said (mostly) enough on this point and want to hit on the others.
Third, bugs and crashes. Some aren't too bad, but some are annoying as fuck and others being flat out bullshit. Some sound bugs are evident in these. Sometimes music doesn't play properly and sounds don't play. Minor, but annoying, though tends to be fixed by saving, closing the app, then restarting it. Crashes seem to just kind of happen. In 1 and 2, they tend to happen mostly around merchants based on others' experiences. In 1, they also can happen while messing with the settings menu, and while I had it happen to me, I don't know if this happened much to others. In 2, crashes tend to happen more often while walking on the overworld and while sailing. I only had this happen once, but others have reported this occuring multiple times. The exact nature that causes these crashes is unknown, but some players have reported better playthroughs with all other apps closed. However, crashes can still happen despite this. Others seem to find more frequent crashes depending on the medium they play it on, especially on Android, which several rather different devices support. Bugs on the other hand, seem to be more consistent among all players. There's some minor ones, such as incorrect stat changes displaying at a merchant when comparing current and the selected armor. However, a big one happens when using equipment as items in DQ2. Take the Wizard's Staff for example. Using it casts "Sizz"/Fireball on an enemy group. The effect will happen, but repeated uses of this and/or other such item-effects will cause an ever-increasing elongated pause between message boxes, animations, and moving onto the next enemy. The first few times, it's barely a few seconds, but when you use these effects about 10 or more times, the pause adds up fast. There were times where it would take well over a minute to completely cast and read the messages of a spell that normally only takes -AT ABSOLUTE MOST- 5 seconds. And it stays, regardless of what effect you use or change to, even with the Power Shield, which doesn't even have an animation. But that's not even bringing up the biggest bugs. The biggest ones? Those involve the final bosses of 1 and 2. For whatever reason, Dragonlord's behavior patterns and fire breath properties don't work properly in 1. Basically, The DLord's dragon form is an absolute dick in this port. He ALWAYS uses his fire breath, and it doesn't get its damage lowered until some arbitrary point, meaning he does anywhere from 60-70+ damage every single turn without restraint. I personally had to level up to 23 just to beat him without dying. For some reason, at level 23, he actually lowered his damage down to the mid 50s (and never even hit 60+ again), which leads me to believe that the proper modifier for reducing his damage is also bugged. The Erdrick Armor actually has a modifier to lower the fire breath damage taken which is why this is extra absurd than it should be. If he hits you after your action and then goes first the next turn, you're looking at 120+ total damage, which would normally only be about 85 total or so. Considering that players can beat him around 20 or so, it's just plain stupid to make the player grind for the sake of surviving what should normally be a decently-challenging, but not ridiculous fight. This is more so cemented in the fact that Big D should have at LEAST one other attack behavior as of the NES, letting the player have some leeway regarding healing and not scraping past the fight by the skin of their teeth. Some players have supposedly reported that they've had him do other actions, but I've never seen it and I don't know what makes him do so. You can see evidence of this happening to another player in the following video, but for comparison, I've also included other videos of other versions, so you can see how he is meant to behave and get his damage reduced: iOS fight vs the NES fight, SNES fight, GBC fight. Malroth isn't much better. While he dropped his (actually legit) Healall bullshit since the NES, he's probably just as bad as that in iOS due to his flame breath attack being seemingly bugged. It's definitely very strong in other versions, but you've got special armors to help reduce the damage your allies take from it. Here? It did at least 55 to 115 damage, maybe more. In general, around the 70s to 100s range on average. And that's for any character. I've seen it go way higher than it should with other enemies and bosses, but here is when its notably the most damaging. Nobody else even came close to 100, or (on average) 70+. If it isn't a bug, I don't know what it is, besides a very stupid decision. Even with the upgraded levels and stats, it's still way too high, especially with the armors (notably the Flowing Dress (aka Water Robe)) that are meant to reduce its damage dealt. While I don't have a video for the iOS version, you can compare those numbers with the following videos: GBC Fight SFC Fight NES Fight. Yeah, pretty fucked up.
Fourth, cut content. Yeah, you're not even getting all of the extra content that was in the SFC and GBC versions. A majority of content is present, but they took out some notable aspects like the animation intros at the start of DQ1 and DQ2, some songs, and the montage at the end of DQ2. Not a huge deal, technically, as the game proper is intact, but what's the fucking point when even the SFC and GBC versions had them in? Time? No. They've had all the time in the world to work on these, especially since they're not even done in-house. Money? Bullshit. DQ is one of the most successful franchises of all time. Copyrights? That's dumb. They own everything that was in the other versions. If they bothered to give the DQ1 Descendent a bamboo pole from the get go, and mix up all that they did in DQ2, then what was stopping them from remaking or keeping this content in? It's not even a case of "well, maybe they didn't have the resources" especially when they've had them for years. This is way worse in DQ3iOS which has a fuckton of cut content, but there's so much wrong with that port that I get disgusted just thinking about it.
Oh God, I don't even feel like going on with this shit.
So there you have it, and that's in a nutshell without even hitting on other annoying problems, particularly controls, cramped menus, and other such bullshit. I didn't even go as descriptive as I could have here and I don't think you'd want to read it either (though I wish SE would). Even though DQ1 didn't change much, DQ2 actually had some notable improvements, but its bogged down by the medium its on, got some nasty bugs, and has other non-gameplay problems with it. I'd rec it as the sole mobile DQ worth a fuck if I could, but goddamn, they fucked up so much and flat out have not fixed any issues with it. If I knew shit about romhacking, I'd gladly add all the good changes they made into the SFC and GBC versions, because there actually is something of a small twinkle of good, honest effort put into the better changes made.
DQ-Informing Websites of Interest
The following pages have more information on each game, to further help you consider which one you might start out with:
Dragon Quest Wikia intro - Barebones rundown of what the series is like in general. Also a pretty handy source of info.
dragon-quest.org intro - Alternate site with some pages and texts being altered and/or more (or sometimes less) detailed and/or informative.
Dragon's Den summaries - Short summaries of each game's concepts. Possibly the biggest single source of DQ info in English (though it doesn't contain every detail or piece of info, sadly).
Hardcore Gaming 101's articles - Kurt Kalata's extended rundown on the games from DQ1 to DQ8 and some minor info on the spinoffs
Dragon Quest I
-What's in a Name?-
FUCKING EVERYTHING, THAT'S WHAT. You want to name your character Hurr, DIKBUT, or something like that? Not so fast, chum, because your name will determine that stats you get at each and every level up. This may have you ending up more physically powerful, or with more HP and/or MP, and so forth. Curiously, it's said that "!" (Yes, just "!", sans the quotes, and with no spaces, additions, etc.) gives the most balanced stats you can get. Now granted, it's possible to finish the game with any name, this is solely for those curious enough to check it out. If you want to see just how this actually plays out with charts, check this out from the official guidebook:
-Handy Items to Find-
Dragon Scale: 20G in stores, Raises defense just a tiny bit. Great early on, and who'd turn down extra Defense?
War Ring: Found in a Dungeon. Has been up for debate a while. It's generally agreed it makes you a little stronger, but it has also been noted to ward off weaker enemies and also make Critical hits easier to pull off. Whether these last two are true or not needs verification, per version and in general.
Choker and Devil Belt: Found in Dungeons. These curse you, so don't equip them. Instead, sell them for 180 (choker) and 1200 (belt) gold respectively. May respawn in the chests they were found in from time to time.
-Search All You Can! (Remix only)-
If you've ever played an RPG, you should know that there are hidden goodies all over the place. Unlike the originals, in the Remixes of 1, 2, and 3, you're now allowed to search suspicious areas for these. Some are less useful such as clothes, which are only good for selling, but some are invaluable, such as the stat-boosting seeds. In the Originals and Remixes, this is the only way to find the Loto/Erdrick gear and the Pixie Flute. Now, it's pointless to search on the overworld for stuff (The sole exception being the Loto/Erdrick token, which should only "really" be done after getting the Lora's Love item (it's possible without it)), so only go out of your way in towns with dressers, pots, and suspiciously bare patches of grass.
Knowing is half the battle. The other is Metal Slimes and Gold Golems.
So, you beat DQ1, eh? How about seeing if you can beat it with a challenge? Choose or mix any of the below.
1) DON'T BUY ANYTHING FROM STORES. Except keys, otherwise, you couldn't win. Only use what you find!
2) NO SLEEPING AT INNS. There's no time to sleep on the job, that world needs rescuing! Saving your game and visiting the MP-refilling old man is allowed though.
3) FISTS ONLY. FINAL DESTINATION. Beat the game using your fists and no other weapon. Can you do it? Armor and magic is allowed (but the latter is not for damage).
-Websites of Interest-
Walkthrough and Extra Info - StrategyWiki's Dragon Warrior page.
Dragon Quest II
-Lottery Slot Bonanza-
There's 3 prizes specifically you'll want to get out of this.
The Best: Gold Card: Lowers costs of anything you buy with a 25% price cut. Very handy early on and even better later. Notes: It does not effect money you get from selling stuff. Having multiple cards does NOT layer discounts.
2nd Best: Wizard Ring: Heals some MP with each use, but breaks when used too many times. You'll find some along your quest for sure, but why not have some as back up? You'll want to get these last though.
3rd Best: Wizard Wand: When used as an item in battle, it casts Fireball on a targeted enemy and has unlimited uses. Perfect for the Moonbrooke early on as she isn't the best of attackers. +27 Attack in the Remix makes it even good enough to attack with. Try and win at least 1 at the first slot machine you find. 2 if you can. Additional ones you get should be sold, as each sells for 1875 gold. The Wizard Ring sells for more, but it's better to use those until they're more valuable to use.
-Gold Orc Hunting-
Gold Orcs leave the most cash per death, but they are pretty strong when you first meet them. Not only are they tough, but they can heal themselves and allies too. If you've mastered Firebane, fighting them should be relatively easy, which makes it all the sweeter to rake in the gold. More so if you know Explodet. Applesauce, bitch.
-Falcon Sword: Original vs Remix-
Original: If you're playing the original, Cannock's Prince has a limited weapon range. While the Iron Spear has more base power, consider that the Falcon sword has much higher attack in the long run, since you hit twice with it, which is better for 3 things: 1) Metal Slimes 2) Critical hits 3) Likely getting at least one hit in on evasive monsters. If you have the spare cash, especially if you have the Gold Card, then go for it. If not, stick with the Iron Spear.
In the Remix, the Light Sword is Cannock's best raw-damage weapon. However, don't quite count the Falcon Sword out. Due to the way hits are transferred to the next enemy, it's technically a second attack instead of the usual combo-strike. This can make Midenhall/Lorasia and Cannock both good clean-up hitters for Moonbrook, potentially making your journey easier after learning Explodet. However, unless you want to try using two Falcon Blades to the end, it's best for Lorasia to just use a purely strong weapon like the Light Sword or Thunder Sword.
-Bolt Staff: Original vs Remix-
Original: In the NES version, the Bolt Staff is notably weaker than its Remix counterpart. However, there are two advantages to it above the Remix: 1) If you defeat the Mad Clown who has it in Midenhall's prison, sell it for 19500 GOLD, save your game, quit, then restart your save, the clown will be respawned back in prison again and have another Bold Staff ready to drop. You can keep doing this as long as you repeat the steps for mad gold. 2) Apparently, its item effect to cast Infernos is a guaranteed hit, even against those that may normally be unaffected by it. Unverified, but it wouldn't be surprising if this were the case.
Remix: In the Remix, the Bolt Staff's physical damage has been boosted up. It still only casts Infernos when used as an item though. WARNING: The Mad Clown/Magus IS A ONE TIME FIGHT this time around, which means: 1) You can't abuse him for gold. 2) If you lose, HE'S GONE. The only other chance to get a Bolt Staff now is to wait until the end of the game at Rhone, fight Magus enemies and hope they drop one, since their drop rate is quite low. If you saved before fighting the one in Lorasia prison, he'll still be there when you reload your save, so be sure to do that if you aren't sure how tough he'll be for you.
-Water Robe Issues-
The best armor in the game to put on one of your two cousins is the Water Robe. As long as you've got the Gold, Silver, and Jail Keys, you can get it pretty early. There are a few issues to mention ahead of time though:
1) To play it safe, talk to Don Mahone, the robe's weaver, first. This should activate the Dew Yarn to show up if it hasn't already.
2) The Dew Yarn in the northern Dragon Horn/Drakhorn tower is indeed on the third floor. HOWEVER! It is in a random location each time. As long as you keep searching, You should be able to find it eventually.
3) When the weaver mentions to "come back another day" or something akin to that, he means to save at a King, go back to the title screen/turn the game off, resume your save file, and return to him. It will be done then. Note that the Field Log in the Remix does NOT count towards "another day" you must save at a King or at least someone with the adventure journal.
4) ORIGINAL ONLY: There is a glitch to obtain a second Water Cloak, however, you must follow the proper steps to do so.
-Cannock Only Run-
Are you bad enough Cannock to solo the adventure? Pretty much have Lorasia and Moonbrooke die after you need them (some soldiers won't let you access the town with the boat without Moonbrooke), and continue on with Cannock alone. That's it. It's quite challenging, to say the least, but can be oddly fun to do. It's definitely cheaper to only buy stuff for one person, if nothing more. Obviously, it's a lot easier to do in the remix, but "supposedly" it's possible to do in the original.
-Chance Spell Effects-
Chance is a spell that produces a random effect for a chunk of MP. Thankfully, there aren't that many possibilities. The list below applies solely for the NES effects, as I haven't found a list for the SNES or GBC version off-hand. I would hope they are the same across all versions, but they might not be.
1. Defeat Spell, but affects all enemies. 2. Heal Spell, but affects all allies. 3. Increase Spell, but stronger than usual. 4. Enemies become confused. 5. Sleep Spell, but affects all enemies. 6. Defense Spell, but stronger than usual. 7. Sorcerers Call, all party members faint & all enemies run away. No EXP or GP gained. (does not work against Hargon) 8. Revives a fallen party member with full HP restored.
Special thanks to http://www.realmofdarkness.net for this one.
-Websites of Interest-
Walkthrough, Info, and Pictures - Again, a link to StrategyWiki, but this one is more fleshed out and flashy than DQ1's.
Dragon Quest III
Well, there's no sense in just randomly picking out allies. Let's get acquainted with them in the following notes.
Unless you decide to attempt a solo run (NOT recommended for a first playthrough), you'll want to have some allies. In the original, your allies all start with preset stats, even when custom-made. In the remix, you can give your allies seeds to boost their starting stats. Obviously, you shouldn't give INTseeds to non-casters, but do consider giving seeds to cover some weaknesses amongst classes. For example, Soldiers are naturally strong and durable, but do not get very fast, so give them some AGLseeds. Another important factor in the remix is the Personality System, which affects your stats, some personalities more than others. You will find accessories to alter personalities while you wear them and books which permanently change the base personalities (but can still be altered by accessories).
In all honesty, it's best to just have three main allies to the Hero(ine) and build upon those 3. If you really want to, consider having 3 more as backup for alternate specialties, but only consider doing this after you can level them up rather easily. Before you decide on your party though, it's best to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each class:
- The Warrior is a physical powerhouse. Good strength and stamina, and can equip alot of powerful gear. It tends to stay alive longer than anyone else. However, it tends to be slow, often going last in a fight and typically is only able to hit one enemy at a time. In addition, it can be kind of hard to keep up with the expensives of keeping it well-armed, as their heavy-duty gear can cost alot.
- The Fighter is a more offense oriented Warrior. High strength and agility assures that they'll move first, get critical hits, and dodge more often than nearly anyone else. However, their equipment options are lacking, which can make it hard for low-level Fighters to survive magic attacks until they get some more HP and better gear later on. On the bright side, they don't take as much gold to keep supplied.
- The Mage is pretty much the typical caster. Physically pathetic in stats and gear options, but an ace at offensive magic, especially when many of its spells hit several enemies. On top of that, it learns some very handy buffs, such as TwinHits/Bikill, which doubles an ally's offense and Increase, which boosts the party's defense. Very handy for beginners, and never really very expensive either.
- The Cleric, unlike the Mage, is fair at combat, and being able to equip quite abit of gear helps, too. Its spell range is rather versatile as well, not only including healing and curing ailments, but also has some wind spells, buffs, and debuffs. Sadly, the Cleric becomes lessening handy at combat later on. It's still an invaluable ally though, early on, especially to avoid paying for herbs and antidotes.
- The Dealer is an oddjob. It's fairly good at combat, and can equip some decent gear. They also find extra gold in battles. Early on, this is extremely helpful to get better gear. Later, it's not as handy. In the Remix, at least consider class changing to or from a dealer, as they learn the very useful YellHelp at Level 17, which summons an Inn, Church, or Shop on the overworld. It really is as helpful as it sounds.
- The Jester is a joke. Pathetically weak, and has a limited gear selection. As it levels up, it will ignore fights more often and goof off. However, it does have a huge Luck stat, which is very helpful for finding dropped loot from foes. However, it is the sole class that doesn't need a special item to become a Sage. Not recommended for beginners, though, unless you know what you're getting into. Note: You can class change TO a Jester in the Remix Only.
- The Sage is perhaps the best all-around class. It learns the spells of Clerics and Mages, can equip some pretty good gear, and has above average stats and is the best at magic. Do note that you can only class change into a Sage and only with a special item unless using a Jester. There are ONLY TWO of said items (you can't even steal any), so make sure you do not waste them.
- The Thief is only in the Remix. It has fairly impressive stats all around, especially with an INT-centric Personality, which may boost their MP skyhigh. It can equip alot of handy gear and has some helpful treasure hunting skills, along with randomly stealing (sometimes great) stuff from enemies. Consider class changing from one early and to one later on, especially if changing different units to and from.
Spell Mastery and Class Changing:
- Depending on how you want to play, you may have very different plans in party formations than someone else.
- However, any ally (except the Hero(ine)) can class change at minimum of Level 20. Starting at Level 1 with half of their stats from before, and all of their spells and skills. If you do not want to use it, that's fine too. However, it might be best to change once you reach the second world if you have not done so ahead of then.
- In general, if a class learns any skills/spells learn all of them before changing, that way, you keep your stats fairly high and have a better variety of spells and skills versus doing so at Level 20, especially since you would have to start BACK AGAIN at Level 20 to learn the what you didn't get before changing.
- Learning is bound to a class. Example: A Cleric that became a Fighter won't keep learning Cleric spells. However, if a Warrior becomes a Cleric, it will of course learn Cleric spells. Also, Sages only learn spells they do not already know. If a Cleric became a Sage, it would learn Mage spells, but not the Cleric spells already known. It will learn the Cleric spells it did not know before though. All of these cases are with regards to the respective levels of spell/skill learning.
-Parties and Planning Ahead:-
With regards to a "Final Party", if you decide to class change, you may want to start with different classes than those you want to end with.
- For example, perhaps start with a Warrior or Fighter, then later class change them into a Mage or Cleric, that way, it is easier for said caster to survive in combat, while still having the benefits of spell learning.
- The Sage example aside, you can class change an infinite number of times, but remember to be aware of what your stats will look like from doing so, especially if you often class change at Level 20. Here are some general recommendations for changing to and from classes, along with some suggestions for specialty parties.
Class Change Paths:
One final note before listing some class suggestions: I DO NOT recommend trying to make some sort of "Super-Badass" catch-all class that can do everything of every class. It takes WAY too long to do, even at Level 20, unless you're really patient and really good at hunting Metababbles. Here's some class change recommendations, along with some nicknames, given their specialties:
- "Battle Master": Warrior -> Fighter (or vice versa); This is perhaps the simplest and most purely physically powerful options you can consider. Not only do you balance the weaknesses of one class with the strength of the other, the longer you wait to change, the better the effect it will have. Just be sure to make a final choice between the two eventually, if you change multiple times.
- "Combat Medic": Cleric -> Warrior or Fighter (or Thief); While the you may be lacking in MP and INT unless you class change much later on, as long as you learn HealUs and Revive, you can have a very handy healer on your hands. If you go Warrior, you won't usually end up dying before anyone else. If you go Fighter, you'll often go first and heal early, which is great after a harsh attack. In the Remix, Thief gets similar perks as a fighter, but also gains MP and INT at Level Ups, which is great.
- "Ninja": Mage -> Fighter (OR) Warrior -> Mage -> Fighter (Remix: Replace Fighter with Thief); While Mages lack physical power, their buffs and spells can go a long way in faster, stronger hands. While the end result will not be as magically-strong as a Mage or Sage, the versatility makes up for it. Especially if using a weapon or spell that strikes many foes. Buff up with Bikill, and you can see lots of fast hits and lots of crits.
- "Lucky Charm": Jester -> Dealer -> (Thief ->) Sage (NES: Just remove Thief); More of a Remix option. Not be an easy choice for beginners, but if you're confident enough, you can get a character with good Luck, have some excess cash mid-game (along with YellHelp, and some nice stuff from stealing (in the Remix)). Going beyond Dealer (or Thief), the best option might be going Sage, preferably with the Zen Scroll instead of re-Jestering. That way, you're lucky -AND- helpful.
- "Super Sage": Mage -> Cleric -> Sage; While trying to raise all of your stats to be high up is ridiculously time-eating, making a balanced Sage is far less so, but still takes a while. Essentially, learn all Mage spells before going Cleric, and Cleric spells before going Sage. The Mage adds a nice initial boost to MP and INT and the Cleric has fairly balanced physical stats, which gives the Sage an extra edge all-around.
- "Wouldbe Hero(ine)": Mage -> Cleric -> Warrior (or Thief); Like "Super Sage", but more balanced and less magical. If you're playing NES, go Warrior, if only for the great gear. If you're playing the Remix, by all means go Thief. You can still gain MP, be a great combatant, cover the magic bases better, AND steal some nice stuff. You won't have every skill/spell to use or be the best at anything, but you'll still be great at damn near anything.
Starting Party Recommendations:
When it comes to choosing parties, pairing up allies from some of the paths mentioned above is a fairly good idea. However, let's get a little more detailed than that. Assuming you don't double up any classes:
- Warrior+Mage+Cleric: The party you're "given" to start with. Pretty good, just don't use those allies, and instead seed up some custom ones instead (in the Remix, of course). A good beginner party, but can be a bit pricey at times. At the very least, you shouldn't end up getting wiped out too often.
- Fighter+Mage+Cleric: This is my personal recommendation for a beginner party. The Fighter is much more inexpensive than a Warrior, and generally better when it comes to speed and critical hits. The sole negative versus using a Warrior is that he might take damage more often and can't equip lots of gear, but you won't notice until roughly mid-game, and by that time, you'll have class changed anyway.
- Fighter+Thief+Cleric: This is what one could consider an "Intermediate" party. It's generally a little bit of everything. The weaknesses are obvious, especially without a Mage or defense-friendly ally. However, it's good enough to get through to Dharma temple if you are careful. Best used if you have a good feeling on what you'll be class changing into. Consider a Dealer or Jester for the NES.
- Dealer+Thief+Jester: BIG MONEY, BIG PRIZES, I LOVE IT. Or I would if this party wasn't so vulnerable. Not an easy party to start with, and NOT for beginners. Still, you might use this party to comb through some safer areas for easy money from selling often-dropped loot. Or just grind a bit until they can survive going from place to place. Definitely consider Class Changing later though. Obviously Remix Only.
Or your own choice, of course. Definitely have a plan though, assuming you class change, which, again, you really should after entering second world if you haven't done so already.
-Metal Babble Beatdown-
While Metal Slimes give some nice Experience Points, their Babble-based cousins give around TEN TIMES as much.
However, they are also a bit craftier and tend to run more often. They show up before the second world around the town of Sioux/Soo, but in limited quantities, and you'll need a boat to get to it. In the second world, they show up more abundantly, specifically around the Rimuldar town area.
By then, you should have learned the BeDragon spell. This is a real must-have when fighting these critters. Now, this won't always work (because they may run away before you use it), but if it does, you can take out a good chunk of them in a single breath blast if you're lucky. This makes it easy to rake up experience mighty fast. Utilize these areas (preferably the latter) and the Dharma temple to really boost up your party members.
Alternatively: Equip as many allies as you can with Falcon Swords or insta-kill weapons (such as the Poison Needle) and spam attack like no tomorrow.
There is a small chance Metal Babbles will drop these. However the effects are well worth it when equipping them as they grant the wearer EXP for just walking around.
Whoa, ho, ho. Slow down there, Captain Badass. Unless you've got Balls and/or Ovaries of Steel, you had best not do this. If you do, then here's a general heads up on the kind of stuff you should expect and know about:
- Pros: 4x experience from battles (hey, there's nobody else to share it with), much cheaper shopping and thus more gold on hand, get better skills much more quickly, feeling of badass-ness
- Cons: ABSOLUTE necessity to take advantage of the pros, instant death from Paralysis unless wearing protective/evasive gear against it, have to rely on items/weapons with special effects much more, Boomerangs become your best friend until you get Boom, Zap and Thordain, BALLS TO THE WALL HARD boss fights, you'll likely want to have a guide handy to find hidden treasures since you can't use Thief skills,
- Extra Advice: For the remix, loot those pachisi tracks early on and find as many mini medals as you can. Also, get a sexy personality if you play as a female for more well rounded stat growth (either through the personality tests or by equipping a Garter). For the original... start praying, because this is gonna suck. HARD.
This is pretty much the ultimate Hero's Challenge. Nothing will quite come close to being this badass other than self-inflicted challenges (Technically speaking, outside of the necessary Dealer later in the game, you never have to use Ruida's tavern.) No matter how hard it may seem, it is indeed possible to beat this game alone. If you're ready, then go forth. Into the Legend, motherfucker.
-Beware the Pachisi Glitch! (GBC only)-
Only available in the remix. A glitch exists while playing the Pachisi board mini-game. Occasionally, you'll find a character's level to glitch and drastically shoot up, sometimes to level 99. HOWEVER, their final stats will actually be much lower than if they got their by naturally leveling up. With any other character, it's no big deal, as they can just class change and start anew, however, if your Hero(ine) was playing, THERE IS NO WAY to return them to normal without external modifications (cheating devices, etc.). This is very bad end-game, so if you do decide to play Pachisi with a Hero(ine), save first, or you'll find out the hard way just how bad this glitch can be for him or her.
-Websites of Interest-
Official GBC Enix Page - HOLY SHIT. Who would have thought this was still around? Not much content, but nice for a blast from the past.
Dragon Quest IV
- Note: "Gear-Effect" used here is a short-hand way of saying "special effects of equipment when used from the item screen in battle", mostly since it takes up less space.
-Tactics: Making Your Allies do Stuff-
In the NES, once you get to Chapter 5, your allies are AI-controlled except for the Hero(ine) (because that's YOU, the player, and your allies are characters with their own choices, but willing to follow your general strategies).
NES Tactics and what they mean:
- Offensive - Physical Attackers go all out, ignoring their health and typically ignoring gear-effects, while your Magic Casters use their strongest spells unless someone is in dire need of healing.
- Defensive - Allies with lowered HP heal, may use gear-effects, or defend. Attackers will attack when healthy, Casters focus on casting stat-boosts until everyone's fully maxed, then they'll use offense spells.
- Normal - A mix between Offensive and Defensive. The choices made don't seem to depend on much of anything, making this the most balanced, but also second most risky as a result of you're not sure what they'll decide on.
- Use No MP - Pointless for Attackers. Casters will strike physically and won't cast spells of any kind, but may decide to use gear-effects occasionally.
- Save MP - Something of a mix between Normal and Use No MP. Pretty uncertain to say the least. Probably the riskiest tactic to use, since it equates to "do whatever".
- Try Out - Allies will concentrate on gear-effects. Pointless if they don't have any gear with special effects or the effects they do have are too weak to make a difference.
DS Tactics and what they mean:
For DS, you have the option of taking full manual control (Follow Orders) or setting tactics for everyone or individually amongst them. Thankfully, the AI has improved considerably since the NES. (US/European (maybe? I've seen two different versions...))
- Show No Mercy/Merciless - Essentially go all out, regardless of MP costs or their current HP.
- Fight Wisely/Act Wisely - Balance offensive and defensive actions. Like "Normal" of the NES game, but notably less random as it considers the situation of everyone first.
- Watch My Back/Cover Me - Concentrates stat boosts and healing on the Hero(ine).
- Don't Use Magic/No Magic - Normal attacks only and occaisonally items/gear-effects.
- Focus on Healing/HPs First - Heal as quickly as possible, no matter how minor the damage. If everyone is fine, this seems to act similar to "Act Wisely".
- Follow Orders- Complete control over ally's decisions. Unless you're feeling a bit lazy or nostalgic, this is definitely the way to go. A mandatory choice in boss battles, which have become rather difficult since the NES.
-Breakdown: Ally vs Ally (Original)-
So how do your allies stack up against each other then? Let's have a look:
Ragnar vs Alena: Both are great physical fighters. The trade-off of choosing one over the other is Ragnar's gear, gear-effects, and Defense versus Alena's Criticals, Power, and Agility.
- If Ragnar has any gear with special-effects, he tends to use them. This is handy if he can use healing or damaging spells, but not with those that don't (such as Expel and Sleepmore). The Sword of Miracles is easily his best weapon, as its HP-draining effect combined with his high DEF and HP means its rare to see him die.
- With Alena, her raw offensive and high critical chance is wasted using gear effects. She often goes first anyways, and can often end a battle versus a single foe in one attack. Stiletto Earrings can double hit and are better for pure damage because of this. Regardless, Fire Claw has its uses against random battles, as it can cast Firebane. In battles with bosses or tough foes, stick to the earrings so she isn't tempted to use her Fire Claw.
- A physically power-centric party will have both Ragnar and Alena in it, which is far from a bad choice indeed.
Brey vs Mara: Cool old dude versus Hot dancer gal. Normally, not a hard decision, but consider this: Brey gets the Ice family of spells, Sap, Defence, Bounce, Bikill, and Speed Up, while Mara has the Fire-, Blaze-, and Explosion families of spells, and BeDragon later on.
- The choice here arises from the number of the enemies you'll be fighting. If you're fighting lots of enemies, Mara can attack them all with her Fire spells and Explosions. Brey doesn't do as much damage with his ice spells, and only hits groups except for Icespears, which does less damage than explosions.
- If you're up against a boss, then its time to use Brey for his stat-boosting spells. Mara's later Blaze spells indeed do high damage, but the issue is that against strong enemies, she is easily taken down due to having THE lowest HP out of everyone. With Bikill, Brey can buff your physical fighters to do close to the amount of damage from Blaze-ing them.
- Just exchange them when needed and both will be useful. Mara's BeDragon is best used on Metal family of Slimes, since it can damage them directly.
Cristo vs Nara: Both are Priests, both being about as equally good at Combat Medic-ing if the need arises.
- However! Unless you have your tactics to "Defensive", then you'll witness Cristo's "legacy" as a death spell spammer soon enough. As you can guess, this is pointless against bosses. However, he is the only one to learn Upper and Increase, Healus, and Revive. Late-game, these are invaluable.
- Nara is generally better at being all-around. She can use Wind magic, and later gets Barrier and Farewell. As for the Silver Tarot Cards, some effects are great, such as Double Gold and EXP or Healusall. Others... well, be ready to risk a game over. She'll rarely use them unless Try Out is selected, though.
- Before Cristo learns his last two spells, you should definitely stick with Nara. After that, it becomes an issue of who else you are using at the time, be it weaker casters or stronger attackers. If you give Nara the Sage's Stone, she can heal all allies like Cristo, but only at end-game and you may be better off using it yourself.
Taloon vs Doran (End-game): A middle-aged merchant who likes to do random things or a powerful dragon who's lazy. Both sound pretty bad, but...
- Doran has the advantages of being a dragon, and has natural fire and ice damage resistance, deals decent damage physically, and deals direct damage with his breath blasts. This is great versus Metal Slime enemies. Of course, he may also just sit around and do nothing for a turn as well, which is bad.
- Taloon is fairly good physically at later levels. However, his real "strength" comes from the actions he may pull off: Trips (Assured critical hit on a random enemy), Lullaby (puts all foes to sleep), Strange Dance (lowers one enemy's MP), Throw Sand (0MP Surround on all foes), Yell Calm Down (0MP Expel on all foes), Sweep Legs (trip one foe for a turn), Finger Hypnosis (confuse one foe), Tell Joke/Shout (can make all foes skip a turn), Build Up (doubles his next attack's damage), OR stand in a daze and do nothing. Not quite as certain as breathing fire/ice, but these are pretty damn handy (except the daze).
These last four actions of Taloon's get special mention:
- Take damage for a random ally - Regardless of whether they need it or he can take it without dying. Still, not too shabby, especially if the ally protected actually DID need protection.
- Steal an Item - Rare to pop up, but if done against Metal Babbles, you get a Hat of Happiness (heals wearer's MP each step taken) and from Metal King Slimes, you get a Metal Babble Helm (strongest helmet)!
- Calls a Merchant Army - Tied with the 4 for being totally badass. Merchants deal 3 hits worth of Taloon's Attack against random enemies (or 3 on one). Have a Sword of Miracles equipped, and you drain HP from each strike!
- Cover an Enemy's Mouth - Essentially cancels an enemy's spell that was about to be cast. What makes this so great is it DOESN'T cost Taloon his turn unlike his other actions, meaning he can still get a hit in before/after this.
-Game Genie Power! Controlling Your Allies Manually in Chapter 5-
Yes! It's entirely possible to do so! Use that there Game Genie to grant you a wish by entering "YYEXVTGE" (sans quotes) and it disables auto-fight and lets you control your allies like you would normally enter commands. There are some things to note though:
- The Change Tactics option is gone. Auto-fight is impossible without disabling the Genie. Naturally, you can't change your party's tactics either.
- Your party is locked unless you change the order outside of battle. If you have the wagon with you, the next 4 non-active members will jump out once the current 4 die.
- Having the Heroine (or Hero) or anyone else who casts spells in the lead will replace their "Parry" option with "Run". Put a physical non-magic user in the lead instead, so they can choose between parrying or running.
- You can't control when Taloon uses his abilities and he'll still sometimes act on his own. If he listens though, he'll do exactly what you tell him.
- NPCs are still uncontrollable. Although you'll often not put them in your active party anyways.
-Breakdown: Ally vs Ally (Remake)-
Now that you have full control of your allies, you can take advantage of their strengths more fully versus their weaknesses. Most of the stronger points are the same as the NES, so let's just focus on what's new for this. Oh, and just for reference: NPC's are pretty much pointless to use unless you have to for story events. Reason being is that they are still AI-controlled.
Ragnar vs Alena:
- Now that you can manually make allies choose to use a gear-effect or not, the sole choice you'll have to make between these two is Defense versus Offense. Again, it's probably better to use both, as long as you don't mind holding onto extra stuff in battle and potentially having a second caster sit the battle out. End- and Post-game, you should consider having at least one of them in your active party at all times.
Borya vs Maya:
- Well, the differences between these two haven't changed much. Being able to control when Borya uses his stat boosting spells puts a lot in his favor, but Maya is still great for random battles and can be better protected in boss fights to spam her powerful Blaze spells. I have been able to verify that Puff!/BeDragon DOES NOT on Metal Slimes in the DS game like it did in the NES. So you'll have to use Poison Needles and/or Falcon Knife Earrings on Metal Slimes instead.
Kiryl vs Meena:
- Kiryl is pretty much your best friend now that he won't spam death spells unwisely. Kabuff will keep your party safe against physical assaults, Multiheal is cheaper and better than ever, and he's the only one to learn Kazing until post-game.
- Meena's Wind magic still pack a decent punch and ONLY she learns Insulatle. However, she doesn't get Multiheal or Kazing, so you may want to give her the Sage's Stone. Kerplunk isn't bad, but less useful than it used to be. The Silver Tarot Cards HAVE improved though, with many positive effects replacing the old negative ones. However! Beware of The Fool, which casts Thwack on your party, putting them at risk of death!
Torneko Taloon (in general):
- He tends to goof off a bit less often now. Tripping an enemy, when successful, now seems to give a better chance of critical hitting that enemy before they get up. In addition, when tripping a foe, there's a chance that he himself may trip and deal a critical hit or choose to steal afterwards (rare though).
- The Sand Toss, Calm Down, Merchant Army, Mouth Cover, and Taking Damage for an Ally actions are gone. However, he has a better chance of stealing because there's less to choose from!
- He also has some new non-battle skills: Padfoot (0MP Repel), Eye for Distance (locates where the closest town, building, or cave is), Nose for Treasure (how many chests are left unopened in the immediate area), and Whistle (instant random battle). Once again, he's pretty useful when he's not goofing off, but for a serious battle or going against a boss, you may consider using someone more certain. Do note that his random actions CAN work on bosses though.
- The Big Bad Boss, now at your command. There's not really much point to argue his position on a team.
- He gets nearly all of the strongest healing and damage spells, great physical skills that nobody else has, and can equip cursed gear without negative effects. He also has great stats, and he has a rather catchy theme song.
- No matter how you look at it, he's going to replace one of your mains. Despite being able to fill any role, you should stick him to one, and have your other two allies concentrate on things he probably won't do as often.
-Pioneer Town and Medal King (DS only)-
Pioneer Town Basic Info:
Like DQ3 and DQ7, you can help someone start their own town in DQ4DS. At a later point in Chapter 5, return to where the Desert Bazaar was, and you'll find Hank Hoffman Jr. attempting to build his own little city.
- Help him out along your quest, and you'll be able to gain access to lots of handy little treasures as the town grows (particularly Mini Medals!).
- Some shops also sell some great gear later on, and you'll eventually see the town start a second casino, with its own fabulous prizes!
- It's a bit hard to track down everything, so you may need to look up a guide for that, especially the hidden treasures in the town's different stages, as some can be lost forever if you don't.
Medal collector King Minikin:
- Similar to the original DQ4, there's a collector of Mini-Medals you'll find as you quest about.
- Unlike DQ4NES, you do not trade medals in for your choice of gear! Instead, you give him all of your medals, and get one special piece of gear at different intervals of trade-in.
- This may sound kind of lame, but the prizes are a lot better than they used to be, some of which are exclusive to the DS game.
-Websites of Interest-
Illustrated Walkthrough - An incomplete walkthrough of DQ IV DS. Mostly handy because of the pictures which point out things you may miss or overlook, particularly in the "Pioneer Town".
Text-Based Walkthrough - A text based walkthrough that's actually pretty competent and easy on the eyes. The use of wiki-type buttons lets you jump to sections much easier vs. scrolling about.
RoD's DW4 Shrine - Extra stuff and where I learned the Game Genie Trick
Dragon Quest V
-Monsters You'll Want and Why (+Where and When to Find Them Earliest)-
You are unable to recruit monsters as a child. So, let's skip ahead to when you can. The monsters listed below aren't the only ones you should recruit (filling up your wagon is the best way to survive, after all), but if you can get them, then you'll be definitely be playing with power.
Obtainable 2nd Generation:
- Slime Knight- Coburg area
Reason: One of the best all-around-ers that may ever be in your party. It's usefulness can even last long enough to fight the final boss!
- Healslime- Fortuna area
Reason: One of the earliest to know Multiheal, along with a variety of other helpful spells. Lags later, but great to keep your party healthy early on.
Obtainable 3rd Generation:
- Golem - Lofty Peak area
Reason: This thing is a TANK. Not only does it have huge HP and DEF, but its power and skills are great too. Use its Meditation when its at low HP and it's good to go!
- King Cureslime - Stairway to Zenithia
Reason: While Healslime can overpower him MUCH later on, the King has better stats and spells for when it counts: NOW.
- Great Dragon - Precaria area
Reason: Has excellent stats, resistances, and attacks. Unfortunately, it takes a while to level up. Be patient though, because it will pay you back with its raw power.
- Killing Machine - Precaria area
Reason: Has resistances out the ass. Damn near no spells will hurt him and his physical stats can be quite the cut above the rest. He can use some nice gear, too.
- Barbatos - Estark's Labyrinth
Reason: Has some of the most powerful spells, good stats, and can equip great gear. Be warned, it can take a LONG time to get one.
(These last two are only in the remix.)
- Starkers - Gotten after beating the Stark Raving Mad T 'n T board.
Reason: Gets some great skills and stats. Eventually one of the strongest monsters in the game, if not THE strongest.
- ReBjorn - Get Starkers and return to the Pothold to get him (you may need to talk to a turban'd NPC in Mostroferrato first).
Reason: Almost as good as Starkers, provided you can raise him with 8 HP...
Are you bad enough monster to take up the mantle of saving the world? It's not recommended to do this the first time around due to the great story and party chat, but if you decide to replay the game, consider trying this out. Here's some things to note:
- Your MC will always be with you. So, just put him in the wagon. If you want to be mean, unequip him of all his gear as well.
- No other humans! If you want things to be a bit easier, you can have the MC fight alongside you, but JUST HIM, DANG IT. Don't kill the point of this run.
- Monsters have natural resistances and weaknesses. If hit with a certain elemental skill or magic, they may naturally take more or less damage (sometimes none!).
- Monsters only have certain equipment sets. Some monsters can equip more stuff than others. However, others are strong enough that they don't need much to equip.
- Monsters can still use gear-effects. Even if they can't equip a weapon, they can still use it as an item for an effect. Great for those lacking spells or skills.
-For that Extra Challenge!-
- Designate a "Hero" monster. Make the first monster you get as your hero. Always use that monster, no matter how good or bad it is.
- Limit Your Party. Either only allow one new monster per area to join you, or only use the first monsters you get that fill the wagon. Tell all others to go away.
- Use Low Wisdom Monsters. Some monsters never gain wisdom and sometimes ignore you. Quite an extra slap in the face. Use Wisdom boosting seeds if you want.
- Use the Pip and/or Conk Families. These little fellas get great magic and skills, but have hilariously low MP. Can you handle these crazy guys?
-Play Those Boardgames! (Remix only)-
Traps and Treasures (or something like that) is the new name for the "Pachisi" boards from the older games. Added for the Remix, these seemingly silly little board games can hold some valuable treasures in them; And not only in the chests throughout the chest/jar/drawer panels or the victory trove at the end, but also in the shop panels. Some of these items are purely exclusive, and can't be found anywhere else (or for some, at least not without excessive effort). Don't bother putting them off until post-game or anything like that, as they can really give you a leg up on foes early on.
-Knick-Knacks to Track! (Remix only)-
Some Knick-Knacks are relatively useless... But! A number of them have special effects as items and/or can be equipped as gear for your party! Here's a list of those to pursue:
- Batten Binnacle: Use it as an item and it acts like Sancho's Storyteller skill, but for 0 MP. It never breaks and be used an unlimited number of times.
- Crown of Uptaten: Defense + 30; A decent helmet for the Hero or Son early on.
- Crude Image: Can be equipped by any ally as an accessory, increasing the wearer's Luck by 15.
- Maxi Medal: Defense + 40; This can be used as a shield for Sancho, Archdemon, Battle Pip, Brownie, Conkerer, Gigantes, Hoodlum, and Orc King.
- Slime Curio: Defense +50; This can be equipped as armor for all Slimes, and will restore the wearer's HP in battle a little bit on each of their turns.
- Yggdrasil Sapling: After using the Aspersorium on it, you can take a Yggdrasil Leaf from the sapling each day. As long as you wait/sleep each day, the supply is endless!
- Zizzwizz Pillow: Use it as an item in battle, and it can put enemies to sleep for 0 MP. It never breaks and be used an unlimited number of times.
-A Weapon for Deborah (DS version only)-
As you might have known by now, the fabulous Deborah is the new 3rd marriage candidate. She has exclusive gear of her own and is something of a Support-Fighter. She isn't up to say, Alena's power potential, but she can hold her own pretty well.
- If you choose her, you won't get any of her better gear for a while, so just stick with her normal Akillics until you get the Hela Hammer.
- The two generally-agreed-to-be-best weapons for her to equip are the Diamond Akillics, which let her hit twice for nice damage, and the Hela Hammer, which only hits half the time, but always critical hits. If you can afford an extra Falcon Sword, and nobody else can use it, switch her to that over the Akillics.
- Realistically speaking, you probably won't get the Gringham Whip anytime soon, due to its 250000 casino token price tag. But if you can, do so, as it hits every enemy. As for the Miracle Sword or Faerie Foil, she doesn't usually to have enough strength to take advantage of either, and they're better off in stronger hands.
-Websites of Interest-
DQ Translations - Translation page for the PS2 version DQ5 if you're interested in that. The PS2 DQ5 translation has nice attention paid to it, and uses the original name schemes if you're one of those crazy JP purists.
Dragon's Den's DQ5 page - Extra info and where I got most of mine.
Dragon Quest VI
This game has so much to talk about, it has its own pages. The DQ6 page covers aspects of both the DS version and the SNES version for the curious.
Dragon Quest VII
This game has so much to talk about, it has its own pages. The DQ7/DW7 page is for the original North American Playstation 1 version (notable in case any other variants come out).
Dragon Quest VIII
-Figure Out Your Skill Paths EARLY-
Skills are all sorts of cool, but unless you've got good luck at finding/stealing seeds of skill, they can take a long time to get. So let's analyze some of the easier and more advanced paths to take.
- Don't bother using Seeds of Skill on Hero. He gains all the points that he really needs soon enough.
Spells: (naturally learns) Heal, Squelch, Evac, Sizz, Midheal, Sizzle, Fullheal, Zing, Kasizzle
Priority: 100 in Courage. Why? All magic and skills gained are extremely useful (except Kamikazee), and the lowered MP costs for the hero's spells and skills is extremely beneficial!
Main Weapon: Choose either Swords (Best for beginners and players who like dealing heavy damage) or Spears (Best for advanced and/or patient players who prefer versatility)
Do NOT put points into: Boomerangs. The benefits aren't worth it and if you want equally spread damage, use the Hero's Sizz spell line.
Auxiliary: ONLY 11 Points in Fisticuffs for Defending Champion, a useful defense skill in a pinch.
Main Weapon Paths
By Level 40: Sword 78, Courage 100, Fisticuffs 11
(Post-Game) By Level 45+: Sword 100, Courage 100, Fisticuffs 11, Spears 11
- Put any points gained after Level 45 into Spears to get Mercurial Thrust then later other critical hit skills. Best pair it with Demon Spear or Hero Spear for insta-kill chances and cheap healing (assuming you don't have the Miracle Sword, or that you prefer to use Mercurial Thrust on the first turn).
By Level 40: Spear 78, Courage 100, Fisticuffs 11
(Post-Game) By Level 45+: Spear 100, Courage 100, Fisticuffs 11, Swords 11
- Put any points gained after Level 45 into Swords, since you don't need Boomerangs, and you could use the Miracle Sword for cheap healing (assuming you don't have the Hero Spear, or that you prefer to use Sword skills to exploit post-game weaknesses). Gigaslash is also nice for dealing damage to end-/post- game groups over Clean Sweep.
- After you have Fisticuffs at 11, go full swing into getting Courage at 100. When you finally get Lightning Storm, you can spam it VERY easily and drop foes like flies.
- Don't bother Using Seeds of Skill on Yangus. He gains all the points that he really needs soon enough.
Spells: None learned naturally.
Priority: 66 in Axes. Why? Hatchet Man/Executioner! This handy skill lets you crit with ease. Perfect for those damn Metal Slimes.
Secondary Weapon: Scythes, as they do nice damage, allow you to steal, and (potentially) insta-kill multiple foes.
Do NOT put points into: Clubs. They are very few in number, weaker than other weapons, and their skills just plain suck.
Auxiliary: ONLY 42 Points in Fisticuffs for Thin Air, an MP-cheap AND useful wind offense skill versus all foes. ONLY 4 points in Humanity for Whistle, which starts a random battle wherever possible for free.
Main Weapon Paths
By Level 40: Axe 66, Sickle 90, Fisticuffs 42, Humanity 4
By Level 45+ (Post-game): Axe 81, Sickle 100, Fisticuffs 42, Humanity 4
- After boosting Axe to 82, put any points gained after Level 45 into Humanity. Some of the spells are handy now that he has the MP to use on them.
- Note: If you want to put off Thin Air to boost Axes/Scythes faster, then go ahead. The Flail of Fury/Flail of Destruction makes a pretty good substitute for group attacks. Do still go for Padfoot though. Just note that without Thin Air, Yangus lacks a strike-all magic attack on this skill path until he learns Big Banga. (not really a major loss, but just something small to note if he's the only one alive in a fight)
- Give her 3 Seeds of skill to help get some her best skills faster.
Spells: (naturally learns) Frizz, Sap, Crack, Evac, Sizz, Snooze, Bang, Crackle, Oomph, Sizzle, Frizzle, Boom, Insulatle, Kaboom, Kafrizzle (Event at around Lv35: Kasizzle, Kacrackle)
Priority: 100 in Staff. Why? Jessica gains very beneficial support spells she won't learn otherwise, lots of bonus MP, PLUS Caduceus (an MP-free Midheal skill) and Kazing (100% revive chance at full HP spell)
Main Weapon: Choose either Whips (Best for beginners and those who like stun-striking groups) or Knives/Swords (Best for advanced players who want more single-target physical damage/insta-kills)
Do NOT put points into: Fisticuffs. Jessica gets the worst skills of the 4 versions, and Magic Burst is NOT worth it.
Auxiliary: Sex Appeal, which will be 66+ points or 16+ points, depending on your skill path chosen. The spells aren't helpful, and the only good skills are Puff-puff and Hustle Dance, but upon 16 points in, you get a small chance foe each target hit by each attack of Jessica's to be temporarily love-struck by her and lose a turn! (Puff-Puff is similar, but much more situational.)
Main Weapon Paths
By Level 40: 68 Whip, 100 Staff, 39 Sex Appeal
(Post-Game) By Level 45+: 68 Whip, 100 Staff, 66 Sex Appeal
- Raise Staff to 100 more quickly with 1-3 seeds of skill, then put any points you get after into Whip finishing right at 68. After that, aim for 78 Sex Appeal for an extra charm boost.
By Level 40: 91 Knife, 100 Staff, 16 Sex Appeal
(Post-Game) By Level 45+: 100 Knife, 10 Whip, 100 Staff, 25 Sex Appeal
- Raise Staff to 100 more quickly with 1-3 seeds of skill, then put any points you get after to get Knife to 100. After that, raise Whip to 10, and put any extra points into Sex Appeal afterwards.
- Note: Make sure to give her Strength Seeds/Accessories if you go Knife/Sword. This will help her do better physical damage, even if not successful at kills/poison.
- Consider: If you want the Hero to main Spears, you might want to have Jessica use Swords. That way, they won't go to waste. Even though she lacks Falcon Slash, Jessica's Poison and Insta-kill skills have pretty good chances of activating, considerably more so with Falcon Knife and Falcon Blade (For FKnife: buy it, don't alchemise it!)
- Give him 2-3 Seeds of skill to help get some his best skills faster.
- Angelo has THE worst skill point growth. If you don't find Fuddle or Sarcastic Snigger to be worth it, by all means, put those 10 points in your main weapon or Staff trees (not both). For beginners, just get Squelch for 3 Charisma skill points, and never look at or put any points in that Skill Tree ever again.
Spells: (naturally learns) Heal, Woosh, Buff, Zoom, Tingle, Kabuff, Midheal, Whack, Swoosh, Zing, Thwack, Fullheal, Multiheal, Kaswoosh, Kazing
Priority: 3 Charisma. Why? Angelo is a VERY situational character to raise. The division of his miniscule skill points depend heavily on your Weapon path choice. However, it's always nice to have a standby cure for poisoned allies.
Main Weapon(s): Choose either Bow (+Staff) (Best for beginners and those who prefer more magic) or Swords (+Bow+Staff) (Best for advanced players who want a concentration on damage)
Do NOT put points into: Fisticuffs. Like Jessica, Angelo sucks with this tree. It takes too long to raise and his actual WEAPON skills are far better.
Auxiliary: Up to 13 points ONLY in Charisma. Both Fuddle and Sarcasic Snigger are honestly very situational; BUT, both can still prolong/prevent your party from being wiped out if used right. Again, if you don't like 'em don't get them.
Main Weapon Paths
By Level 40: 75 Bow, 67 Staff, 3 Charisma
(Post-Game) By Level 45+: 84 Bow, 100 Staff, 3 Charisma
- Aim for 100 staff with 2-3 seeds of skill, then put any points you get after into Bow.
- After Staff is maxed, you might as well go for 100 Bow. I don't find Needle Shot that great, but hey, you might, especially for Metal Slime grinding and post-game swarms.
By Level 40: 100 Sword, 18 Bow, 14 Staff, 13 Charisma
(Post-Game) By Level 45+: 100 Sword, 18 Bow, 56 Staff, 13 Charisma
- Raise Sword to 100 more quickly with 1-3 seeds of skill, then put any points you get after into Staff.
- Note: If you only want Squelch, put those other 10 Charisma points into staff. The sooner you get Caduceus and Oomph in the post-game, the better.
- Consider: If the Hero's maining Spears and Jessica's maining Whips, Angelo might wanna use Swords. He can't use 'em all (he can use Falcon Blade+Falcon Slash, so never fear for damage), but there's a few cool swords ONLY he can use (like that lightsaber!). Plus, Cherub's Arrow keeps his MP ready to spam Lightning Storm like a mo-fo.
-Early Helpful Alchemy-
Use some of these recipes to gain an extra boost on the battlefield and possibly for your wallet!
Snakeskin Whip = Leather Whip + Scale Shield (Note: Keep this for later after you buy something better. You can fuse it with two Dragon scales for the Dragontail Whip, which can sell pretty well even if you don't need it.)
Hunter's Bow = Short Bow + Chain Whip (Note: Fuse the Hunter's Bow with a Garter Belt for the Eros' Bow, which is even better! Most of the ingredients are rather easy to find early on as well. Eros' Bow can later be used to make Cheiron's Bow. If you have a spare Eros' Bow, alchemise it with the Cheiron's Bow to make the best bow, Odin's Bow, which has a huge 125 attack!)
Reinforced Boomerang = Boomerang + Iron Nails (Note: Be sure to have the Thief's Key first! Iron nails aren't too common early on, but this is a good early 'rang for multiple enemy whomping if you find some more Iron nails. Sell it when you don't need it.)
Golden Axe = Iron Axe + Gold Nugget (Note: Fuse with a Slime Crown for the King Axe, which has a whopping 80 attack!)
Agility Ring = Prayer Ring + Seed Of Agility (Note 1: It can be hard to come by seeds in general so save them for alchemy!) (Note 2: 2 Agility Rings + Orichalcum make a Meteorite Bracer, great for a slow-going ally to wear, but you can't do this until later on as Orichalcum is very rare.)
Monster Teams to be reformatted here.
-Websites of Interest-
Dragon's Den - Among their other pages, this gets special notice for having extra content along with videos of spells and skills. Mondo cool.
Realm of Darkness - Not much of interest in this page, but it's kind of neat to see some pictures and learn a few neat things.
Dragon Quest IX
This game has so much to talk about, it has it's own pages... Here and its discussion page for various topics related to it that may not quite be in the game itself (tag events, etc.).
Dragon Quest Monsters series
-The Benefits of Item Hunting: Don't Buy What You Can Find! (For DQM 1+2 mainly)-
No point in buying herbs or love-waters when you can find them in open fields, right? Don't think that one item icon means it will always be one thing either. A "leaf" may be an herb, Laural, and so on, but most importantly it may be a WORLD LEAF. These special leaves can revive an ally with full HP and also sell for a good price. A "bottle" may be love-water, potion, and so on, but it might possibly be WORLD DEW, a magical drop that fully restores the HP of all allies -or- ELF WATER, which fully restores the MP of one ally. Both of these also sell quite nicely. However, your chances of getting the good stuff are only in harder areas. It still beats buying though, especially when certain shops have higher prices than normal. That said, some items are worth buying, like SageStone, which can be used multiple times in battle to cast a healus spell on all allies, or Sirloin, the best meat for throwing at monsters you want to recruit.
-Not Enough Golds?-
Gold comes in varying degrees in different games of the Monsters series, for absolute beginners, check below for a few tips to make your wallet heavier. For advanced players, well, you'll probably know these tips already.
Outside of certain battles, MONEY IS NOT DROPPED IN FIGHTS. However, unlike typical Dragon Quests, it CAN be found in different worlds you visit. The amounts really vary in terms of the little coin icons you find, so be sure to check above for some items that sell for healthy chunks of change.
Back to the monatary grindstone! Monsters once again drop gold, making GoldSlime a primary target. You can find some random items within the world of Caravan Heart, but not to the extent that you could in 1+2. However, thanks to "Random Events" that pop up in this game Oregon Trail style, getting and losing gold tends to be a real gambling factor. Getting great items from the Fountain Spirit is a nice way to get extra gold when selling said obtainted items. Try to get the Jester's poker event to pop up (happens from a random appearance, not your own jesters). Getting enough tokens and quitting makes him fork over a gold pass, which gives discounts on all buy-able items (but NOT when buying rations!). The Merchants and their penny-pinching skills are only helpful early and post game. Early on, you get a few gold pieces to help your currently low cash flow, but post-game, you can potentially have 4 merchants in a wagon or find an "ascended-class" merchant who has the same skills as 2 merchants or more combined (depending on the capabilities of the ascended class). Between those two points of the game, it's best to leave them at the caravan camp, where they'll run shops with handy items.
Like CH, monsters drop gold, but randomly-laying-about items are seemingly all but removed (and random OT-style stuff was solely for Caravan Heart). As a result, in addition to fighting Gold-heavy enemies, be sure to sell some of your old gear that you won't need anytime soon, keeping in mind that different monsters can equip some gear and can't equip others (obviously).
-The Miracle of Birth: Getting Newer, Stronger Monsters and Stronger Versions of your Favorite Monsters and Skills-
Has that old slime hit max level? Do you have another monster with a really good skill, but low stats? Well, it's time for them to get frisky and make a better badass. However, you may want either a new monster or keep your ol' faithful. The specifics change a tiny bit for each "era" of DQM games, but generally follow the same rules.
+The 3 essential things to keep in mind when breeding/synthesizing monsters for NEW ones hold true throughout all games+
1) Families- Breeding two monsters of DIFFERENT families (slime, tree, beast, etc.) usually yields a new monster until all combos are exploited, but...
2) Rank- Some new monsters can be gained by breeding different ranks of monster families. These ranks are unseen until Caravan Heart (stars) and Joker (letters), but if you get different results for breeding similar families of monsters, then you know you've got a different rank on your hands. (FAQs also help.)
3) Ancestry- That little "+#" you see after breeding can make a big difference. Sometimes, a combination that would breed one monster may breed a different one when that number is higher. However, these are often "X factors" which I'll touch on later.
+The 2 essential things to keep in mind when breeding/synthesizing monsters for OLD ones hold true throughout all games+
1) Family- Breeding monsters of the SAME family (slime+slime, etc.) usually yields the same monster as the base/pedigree monster, though rank and ancestry may give you a different one, so use a bit of caution.
2) Alternate Combos- Because rank can give you monsters you had before, you might use some strong monsters you aren't fond of and get back your old fave.
Even when you think you've figured everything out, there's still things you wouldn't know without an FAQ or Player's guide! Here's some of them to keep in mind:
1) Breeding- Sometimes, breeding certain combos of monsters gives you something else entirely! For instance, try breeding a Slime with a Metal Drak in DQM 1 or 2.
2) Skills (non-Joker only!)- Keeping certain skills may lead monsters to discover a new one! For instance, a skill may grow into a new one when reaching a certain level and stat, like Heal may become Healmore, then Fullheal! Or (in DQM1+2 only!) try to keep Fireslash, Iceslash, Boltslash, and Vacuslash on a monster and see what happens...
3) Skill Combos (DQM2 only!)- With compatible personalities and skills, monsters may combine their skills in battle! Try having two compatible monsters both use Gigaslash. The result can be quite a ripping sensation! They don't learn this new attack, but it's definitely something for you to remember when breeding.
-Caravan Allies; What they can do for you (Caravan Hearts only)-
As you journey, you'll be able to have various "set" allies who can join you in certain towns and cities before post-game, and have random allies pop up at random places post-game. Each of them have different classes and skills, some to use in battles, some passively supporting in battles. and some out of battles. When two or more allies of the same class are put together in a caravan, they combine their skills in a single turn for a much better effect. They'll also give passive skills if the combined rank is good enough. To clarify, you may also find allies who are of higher "ranks" than others. These are great because they have the effects of combined allies, while only being a single unit. Weight is definitely important. The lower, the better, as this lets you add in various types of support for different situations in one go without needing to visit your base camp to swap your pals out. If you can find a high rank ally of a low rate, then you're pretty much set. Eventually, your Caravan may get too big for all of your pals, and someone will need to get kicked out. If you're lucky, the ally leaving will leave behind a replica of their "heart", which you can use when fusing monsters to give them a starting stat boost. The better rank the ally who leaves, the better their heart, and the better the stat boost. You can also get some as Casino prizes if you have a "Player" in your Caravan, though you'll likely need a rank 2 or 3 player (either of which unlock the Poker Table game) to be get nearly enough coins to buy the best hearts. If you kick out allies, they may pop up in a house at "Slimeland", a post-game island, from time to time, so you can re-recruit them if you wish. If you have a rebirther in your caravan, sometimes after battles, an enemy monster may become a human of a random class and rank, and ask to join up.
- Note: If an class has new skills at Rank 2 (R2) or Rank 3 (R3), it can use all the skills of previous ranks. Example: The Dancer gets new dances at R2 and R3, but each can use the old dances as well.
|Class||Battle Active Skill(s)||Passive Skill(s)||Out-of-Battle Skill(s)||Heart|
|Warrior||Single hit on one foe, (R2)/(R3) damage increases with rank||(R3) raises damage dealt by your monsters in-battle||N/A||Boosts base Strength|
|Cleric||Heals guard monster slightly; (R2) heals guard monster more than normal; (R3) heals either all monsters slightly or the guard monster fully||(R3) raises damage dealt by your monsters in-battle||(R2) can call a very basic shop (good for emergency rations); (R3) can call a church (all functions except saving available)||Boosts base Wisdom|
|Mapper||Increase guard monster's speed, accuracy, and evasion slightly; (R2)/(R3) boost increases with rank||N/A||Opens a map; (R2) size and detail up to world map status; (R3) Map is in color||Boosts base Speed|
|Dancer||Chance to make enemies dance; (R2) Reduce all enemies' MP abit; (R3) Can heal all allies' HP slightly||N/A||(R3) can increase rate of random battle encounters when asked||Boosts base Speed (?)|
|Fencer||Two slashes on random enemies or the same enemy twice, (R2) Three strikes instead of 2 but acts the same, (R3) Four slashes instead of 3||(R3) Each guard monster can attack an enemy group twice, but ONLY in the first round. If the targeted group is defeated after the first strike there won't be a second one (thus the second bonus strike won't hit another group afterwards).||N/A||Boosts base Speed (?)|
|Mage||Uses a Small damage spell; (R2) Medium damage spell, may also use a group damaging spell (R3) High damage spell, may also use a group damaging spell||N/A||(R2) casts Stepguard when asked (prevents damage from harmful floors); (R3) casts Tiptoe when asked (lowers random battle encounter rate)||Boosts base Wisdom|
|Metal Hunter||Deals 5 direct damage to one enemy (R2) Deals 10 direct damage to one enemy; (R3) Deals 100 direct damage to one enemy||(R3) Encounter Metal Slime-type monsters in battles more often, and they even appear in areas where they normally wouldn't be found (!)||N/A||Boosts base ?|
|Knight||Raises all guard monsters defense slightly, (R2)/(R3) boost increases with rank||(R3) No surprise attacks when entering random battles||N/A||Boosts base Defense|
|Sage||Casts small damage or healing spell on enemy/guard monster (respectively), (R2) Casts Medium damage or healing spell like before, can also target enemy groups for damage; (R3) Casts High damage or healing spell like before; can also target ALL enemies for damage||N/A||(R2) Returns the Caravan to the Base Camp when asked; (R3) Teleports the Caravan to any previously visited town/city or the Base Camp when asked||Boosts base Wisdom|
|Medic||Removes poison and sleep from guard monster; (R2) now also removes confusion and curse of guard monster; (R3) now removes all negative status effects of guard monster||N/A||(R2) removes poison from any guard monster when asked; (R3) removes curses from all monsters when asked||Boosts base Wisdom|
|Cook||Heals guard monster's MP by 10; (R2)/(R3) this boosts to 20/40 MP per rank respectively||N/A||Caravan uses less rations when traveling (effect doesn't seem to boost with rank)||Boosts base HP|
-Caravan Hearts Post-Game-
I'm adding this simply because it can be rather confusing without any info. Anyways, that surprise after the ending wasn't ominous or anything, right? Go back to Alefgard and visit Magarula inorder to unlock Slimeland as a location that certain ships can go to. This is important for various reasons, but first: As a result of the Illusions being captured, various orbs are scattered across the land. Some are in red tent caravans, others are found in randomly generated dungeons in the world, and you may get some from the fountain spirit random event if you trade a high level item (World Dew, Elf Water, or World Leaf). They are literally all over the world. Once you get 4 (8 are generated, but you only need 4), you can open up a spirit door in the Slimeland Shrine, fight an elemental spirit, and gain an elemental orb. 8 new orbs have now been generated in new locations (any you didn't find are overwritten), so find 4 more, hopefully fight a new elemental spirit for a new elemental orb. The dungeon unlocked depends on the color-combination used, but having previous elemental orbs seem to improve your chances to get a new one for the first time around. Once you get all 4 elemental orbs, you can save the 4 illusion spirits in a special dungeon. After they're saved, revisit them (using their respective Wings or an R3 Sage's Teleport) to reobtain the Orbs of Loto. Revisit the Loto shrine, and you can take on the boss who's really been behind everything all along. After you beat him and see the second credits, you can take on the Dragon Lord for his monster heart and a get a new Guard Monster. After that, the only things left to do is fill up get every single monster entry, meet Watabou and Warubou in secret dungeons, and see if you can get better allies, since it is unlikely you'll be taking on anyone in real life at this game.
-Joker's Skill System-
Joker uses a skill system like Dragon Quest 8, but also based off of both the classic system of DQM 1+2 and Caravan Heart. Roughly speaking, your monsters get skill set with different names, such as Frizz & Bang, Cure-all, Slimer, etc. Based on the name and description, you should get a rough idea of the skills you can learn from that skill set. When breeding, if you have sets mastered (or for some, a minimum requirement of points in a set), some of them may give you the option to create stronger versions of old sets, or even new ones. This isn't as hard as it seems, as some a good number of skill sets don't have 100 maximum points (some only have 50 or 75), AND you get more skill points at certain level ups than you would in say Dragon Quest 8. Respectively, you get points at Levels: 5, 8, 11, 15, 17, 20, 21, 25, 26, 30, 35, 38, 39, 40, 43, 46, 47, 50, 54, 58, 62, 65, 69, 74, 79, 84, 86, 91, 95, 99
+Breeding and Skills+
When breeding, you can choose which skill sets to give to the child monster. When choosing an old skill set for your new monster, they will have half of the points the parent had in that set, giving your new critter that extra edge to survive. When choosing a new set, you won't have any skill points, because, well, it's a new set. It's pretty much as simple as that.
- Special Note: If you breed a King Slime, you may notice that it might have the "Cleric" skill set. This is a misnomer. It's actually the HERO skill set, and is quite powerful, having many powerful and helpful skills.
+Getting More Skill Points+
Of course, even after breeding and leveling up, one might want to get extra points to speed things up a bit. So here's a few tips on doing that:
1) Getting an extra skill tree: During each level up, monsters with 3 skill trees gain more skill points than those with 2. Giving your monster an extra tree from an item or breeding can be advantageous to them, even if they don't really use it.
2) Finding seeds of skill: ONLY at night, you may find glowing balls of light at some spots. These are Seeds of Skill, items you can use to add a few extra points to a monster's standby total. After that, you can go into the proper menu and add the points in, or just save them for later. These always respawn at the same place, so even if you don't have much to do in an area, you might check every now and then to see if a seed of skill respawned or not.
Dragon Quest Slime Morimori
The Slime MoriMori series (a.k.a. Rocket Slime) stars the simple Slime monster and its kin from DQ in an action-adventure series. It takes place in a parallel world where humans don't exist and monsters deal with their own lives and problems. Typically, you'll find your slime-ish little life being bowled over by some villain critters up to no good. In addition to this, most villains like to capture your fellow slimes and stuff them away into boxes. In addition to fighting menaces, you must save your fellow slime-folk. Not only is it a good deed to do, it also helps you progress in some manners, such as being able to repair your town and access new services.
What's nice is that each game takes place in different lands with a different cast entirely (although there do tend to be lookalikes from the past games), so there's no reason not to play all of them other than you prefer different focuses on vehicle battles vs adventure.
For reference sake, MoriMori is roughly translated to "with gusto and/or enthusiasm", "swelling", and a few other things. and is a pun on a quite a few levels.
And no, you don't need to have played past DQ games to enjoy these games. In fact, some people even started playing other DQs by playing them.
"But how does a slime save the day?" Well, this trailer sums it up pretty well, but in short, not much differently than most action-adventure games. Except, as a slime, you won't rely on weaponry, gadgets, and armor, but rather your small, stretchy, bouncy body to slingshot yourself into foes and objects alike and throw them about. You can also burrow in the ground, float a short distance, and balance things on your head to throw later on.
Both 2 and 3 have vehicular battles as well and these have a surprising bit of depth to them. There are also non-vehicle-based battles to take on as well, but these tend to occur more often in the first game as, well, there's no vehicle combat in that one.
While some aspects of DQ work similarly here (along with poked fun at), Slime games are mostly their own critters, and you get filled in on any info you actually need anyways. Some of these work like other action-adventure games, such as the Seed of Life raising your maximum life gauge (akin to the heart containers of the popular Zelda franchise).
(Info about most series aspects will go here.)
MoriMori (Game Boy Advance)
Japan-Only, and lacks a translation, but isn't too hard to figure out, despite that.
Info on the more adventure-ish game will go here.
MoriMori 2 / Rocket Slime (DS)
The only Slime MoriMori game localized in English.
Info on the more tank-battlan game will go here.
MoriMori 3 (3DS)
Japan-Only and region-locked.
Info on the more ship-battlan game will go here. Maybe one day.
Dragon Quest Kenshin and Swords
You go on an adventure and swing your tiny toy sword/wiimote like a derp at monsters in REAL-TIME. Oh, but that's not all, you can also cast magic and use super attacks! Maybe even save the world while you're at it.
- Note: These are not traditional RPGs or Dragon Quest games, so don't play them like one. Instead, they are more arcade styled, but with extended length and extras due to being on consoles. Just take it easy and have fun.
+Kenshin/Swordmaster (Standalone TV game)+
-"So, where can I find this?"-
GOOD FUCKING LUCK. This thing's been out of print and out of stock in most places for a while. If you are lucky enough to find one in an import store or site, let us know in the discussion page. However, given the rarity of the game, don't expect to spend any less than 50 bucks plus tax and/or shipping and handling. I would recommend Amazon.jp, but I don't know how if they have locations they don't ship to, which could suck for our non-USA pals.
-"What about DEMDOORS man?"-
There's two doors or so that have been giving people who actually have this trouble. Understandable since the game is only in Japanese and will likely not be translated into English EVER. Thanks to DQShrine and some random reviewer for the solutions to these:
Door 1: I'm stuck at a door that needs a combination and I can't read Japanese. What do I do? A: In this case, all you have to do is slash upwards three times.
Door 2: To proceed through the door with the puzzle element to it, after the long battle with the ape boss, you will need to do the following: Slash upwards on the first red circle, leaving the second circle as a miss hit, then slash upwards again for the third circle, leaving the fourth one as a miss, and lastly slashing upwards yet again for the fifth circle to solve the puzzle.
-Links of Interest-
Dragon Quest Fan Info Page - French review and direct-feed video of Stage 1
+Swords (for Wii)+
-"So I CAN find this, right?"-
Yeah, Swords is much easier to find. Thankfully, compared to its initial release price, it's actually a considerably more fair asking price of roughly $15-20. You might find it in a bargain bin or rental and/or pre-owned shop typically. You can always search for it on Amazon, where it goes for around the same price, or less if you're lucky.
-Which Element Sword to Use-
Only a few swords are non-elemental. So you'll typically be using one that is an element of some kind. For a large portion of the game, it doesn't really matter much which you use. At the end of the game, quite a few enemies are Fire elemental, so you may want to use the Ice family of swords if you are unsure. Other than that, it mostly depends on what type of master stroke setup you want to use (twirling vs. shaking, etc.)
-Which Ally to Bring-
Each one is pretty good in their own right, but it mostly depends on how you play. If you are unsure of your skill or like to leave AI on alot, use Fleurette, as she has the most healing based spells. If you are split between AI and manual commands, and want someone more well-rounded between attack and support, use Anlace. If you just prefer giving commands and want more offensive power, use your dad, Claymore. Of course, you can always go alone.
-Which Mini Medal Prizes to Get-
The last, Liquid Medal Armour, is definitely the one to really go after, but you likely won't see it for a long time if you aren't patient enough to replay the first level constantly to get 100 Mini Medals. If you think you can live without it (and you probably can), then the first you should get is the Boulderdasher. It permanently lets you break those pinkish-brown boulders that you normally can't break, and get you some minor extras from the hidden paths. After that, Gold Bars should be your next targets if you aren't quite good enough to S rank stage 7 repeatedly. They cost 30 Mini Medals each, so be sure to only get them when you need them. The additional weapons, the Kitten Claw, Astraea's Abacus, and Poison Needle aren't worth using. The first is too weak to be helpful (even when trying for the Renown bonus), the second's effect isn't helpful enough on your cash flow, and the third doesn't work on bosses, so fuck that shit. However, the Abacus sells for 3000 gold, so consider getting one if your wallet's in a pinch and you have 10 Mini Medals to spare. The Life Bracer is a helpful accessory if you aren't feeling too confident in your defending skills, but costs 50 Mini Medals, so don't expect to have it for a while.
-Shield vs SPOOOOOOOON-
You have two choices for defending yourself: A large shield that wears down vs a tiny ass teaspoon made of a magic material that never breaks. Most stick with the shield. Honestly, I think if you've got the skill to use it, the Orichalcum Teaspoon is mondo cool. Not only does it make you feel like a badass blocking assaults like they were nothing, but it also gives you a +1000 score point bonus when clearing stages. However, for the first time you're going through a stage, it is far better to use a shield, especially since some enemies must have their attacks blocked to leave them vulnerable to attacks. In this regard, the fact that the spoon can't be magnified makes it much harder for first time stage runs. Then again, it can't be reduced in size either (it's already tiny enough).
-Dem Gotdang Minigames-
First off, the Tombola is luck-based and cheap as fuck. Don't expect to get the grand prizes without save-scumming like a crazy bitch (i.e. reload constantly). For Slime Attack, the first 75 slimes have pre-set patterns. After that, you just have to trust your own wrist reflexes to finish the job. Rank S score for Crisis nets you a Gold Bracer, a pretty good defensive accessory. Rank X is just a fucking Yggdrasil Leaf, which is far easier to get in Aim High. Hit the Spot sucks. Don't bother as the best prize is one mini medal, which you can find easier elsewhere. Aim High isn't too bad, if you can get a hit in the tiny green circles, you get 200 points. 5 of these or more, in other words, 1000+ points nets you a Yggdrasil Leaf, which ain't too shabby if you don't want to blow your mini medals on them. Shooting Gallery should only be done on Normal, as getting 3500-4490 points gets a Yggdrasil Dew. all the other prizes aren't worth it.
Mystery Dungeon Spin-Offs
-Intro to the Series-
Like other Roguelike styled games, this is not your conventional RPG series. As such, you may love it or hate it. Though, it is conventionally like Dragon Quest, as everytime you leave a safe area (a church, your home, going to a lower floor, etc.), you're taking a gamble on whether you live or die. That's basically what this spin-off series is about, taking risks and hoping for pay off. Will you find huge riches, or be slaughtered in a monster lair? That's part of the reason why these sorts of games have attracted so many. The familiar characters, spells, and music-strengthened atmosphere from Dragon Quest are why this spin-off series in particular is loved. You can actually get into this without having played any other DQ game, though it is a bit more fun if you have some basic DQ knowledge ahead of time.
-"Torneko Taloon... Who the hell is he?"-
What, didn't you read the Dragon Quest IV section above? Oh well. He's basically a chubby merchant who was one of the eight heroes in DQIV. His chapter was very unconventional, as it required players to amass large sums of gold to progress certain plot points. It was up to the player how to exactly go about this. He wasn't very strong at the start of his chapter either, so you had to use roundabout ways to conquer foes, like using effects of magic weapons or hiring help from other people. Later, with hard work, he became much stronger. In addition, he would sometimes come across traveling merchants or monsters with better item/gear drops. These elements of unconventional fighting and curious randomization were expanded upon and enhanced in his spinoff games, which unlike the straight and narrow RPG aspects of Dragon Quest IV, became more action-styled, but still required a healthy amount of strategy as well. As his journey ended in DQIV, he took his lovely wife, Nene/Neta/Tessie, and loving son, Poporo/Popolo/Paulo/Tipper/(Nameless in NES original), and set off for new adventures, riches, and hopefully to start a chain of stores to truly become the best arms merchant in all the world.
-General Tips useful throughout the series-
+Chomp Down Excess Medical Herbs and Breads+
Hoyl shit, is this handy! Full HP and/or Belly? Can't pick up that kickass Explosion Scroll? Eat an herb or bread you don't see yourself needing soon. This not only makes room for extra findings, but raises your Maximum HP or Belly slightly! Great to use early on when every point counts, but be careful! You never know when you may need them! Best use them when a room is safe (i.e. only a few monsters, especially when they're far away). Granted, you can technically do this whenever you want, but it's up to you to make sure it's worth doing so. Once again, take a risk and it may pay off!
+Keep Your Distance!+
This should be fairly obvious, but: It's best to keep away from foes when you're not in a good position to fight them. Enemies typically tend to be "sleeping" or unaware of you, letting you sneak by. However, that doesn't mean you can't bash them from afar! If you're in a good position, fire away with arrows or attack wands to whittle them down, then clobber them up close! Throw an ailment-inflicted herb and cause all sorts of nasty effects on your foes, especially those that disorient them. Wand out of charges? Throw it for the same effect or damage it would cause (not like you need an empty wand). You can even hurl equipment you don't need for minor damage (every little bit counts, especially when you're on the run!). Another handy tip is to escape to narrow pathways when surrounded; as that way, you can lessen the number of attacks taken from adjacent enemies.
- Note: I'm not sure how consistent the general formula is in the series, but the damage caused by arrows you fire depends on your Level. So even if your Strength stat has been decreased, you can still shoot for some decent damage where your fists/weapons may normally falter.
+Desperate Times Call for...+
...Using your trump cards or getting the fuck out of there! Seriously. This isn't one of those games where you can save your precious elixirs for later. If you REALLY need a helpful item, don't be afraid to use it! Blaze herbs are best saved for one-on-one confrontations, as they do HIGH damage, but only to the square in front of you. As mentioned before, Explosion Scrolls are handy as they can clear out a number of nearby enemies. Numb Scrolls are good if you have an open getaway path, as they'll freeze adjacent enemies for a while. My personal favorite is the Repel Scroll. Drop it (don't throw or use it!), and as it falls below you, it will stick to the ground, but as long as you don't move from that spot, monsters have a harder time hitting you! Great if you're up for a bit of brawling, but don't want to risk losing loot. Speaking of which, two items in particular are for truly trying times: the Outside Scroll and the Return Herb. The former is for when situations look their most grim, as it lets you escape the dungeon with all of your gear and gold. No sense in losing your hard work, right? The Return Herb, is once again, a risk to take. It warps you to another randomly chosen area in the same dungeon floor. You may end up free from danger or into a worse situation! Throwing it or using an Expel Wand at a monster has the same effect, but on the monster instead.
+Running vs Walking+
If you're in a hurry to speed through a treasureless dungeon, you can run to zip in a straight line until you reach a turn. Be careful though! Dungeon floors can have all sorts of traps. If your HP is reeling, walk, don't run. Before you take a step in a direction, strike the air with your weapon. This will uncover a trap without activating it. That way you can move around it or avoid it altogether.
Surprisingly, poison doesn't drain your health. It only lowers your strength stat by one point each time you get poisoned. 1 or 2 points lost don't make too much difference, but past that, it's best to use an antidote ASAP, especially in areas with stronger monsters who fight up close.
-Extra Info on the Spinoff Series and Websites of Interest-
Due to its unconventional nature, this series hasn't had much spotlight outside of Japan. Still, if you're interested in them, you can read some basic info about them here and some links to other pages.
Torneko/Taloon 1- Only on the Super Famicom to my knowledge. Your merchant pal from DQIV decides to expand his market and takes his family to a new location. The gold you earn helps expand your house-shop from a humble shack to a huge store with lots of customers. Later on, you can get more additions like a storehouse to save some of the gear you bring back for future expeditions. A bit basic, but still pretty fun and challenging.
Translation - A translation patch for the ROM , mostly complete aside from some slight errors here and there.
TnD1 GameFAQs FAQ - A text file containing info FAQs on the game, data, and what not
Dragon's Den page - Has info divided onto different pages. Better and worse than the GameFAQs page in some cases.
Torneko: The Last Hope (2)- On the PS1 and GBA (Japan-Only). The only title to make it overseas. This time, the family moves elsewhere to a land with MULTIPLE mysterious dungeons! Much more overhauled than the first game. After you get past the preliminary game, you can change classes to a warrior, who learns skills, or mage, who learns spells. Don't think there's not much more to explore after you've done so either! The GBA game is more pixel-based, but, as far as I can tell, doesn't discard anything in the port process. I don't know if it added anything either though. As you might guess, it's only in Japanese and doesn't have any translation patches I know of.
RPG Shrine - A good amount of data and info to check out. This even has info on some cheats and glitch exploits.
Torneko 3- On PS2 and GBA. Six years after his last adventure, Torneko's still merchanting about. After he and his family take a sailing cruise for their son's 12th birthday, they get shipwrecked in a storm and land in a tropical island. Torneko's son is bedridden with a strange illness, and the village has been having monster problems due to a mysterious dungeon arising. Thus, Torneko sets out to help the island and find a way to heal his son, even journeying to other islands and dealing with their own mysterious dungeons to accomplish the latter. The PS2 version is 3D based and has only the main scenarios, while the GBA version is sprite-based with a few extra side-modes at the start menu, in addition to the main scenario, that can be accessed at any time you choose.
Curiously, a number of additions and revisions have been made:
- Best of all, outside of certain puzzle-based dungeons, your level won't decrease when you die nor do you lose any of your stuff! However, the game is seemingly saved right afterwards, so if some gear of yours got stolen or weakened by traps or monsters, well, consider it fucked until you fix or replace it.
- Eating excess herbs and food does not increse health. Because of the lowered difficulty, there's not much need. Taloon doesn't get as hungry as he used to either, so you don't need to hold onto as much food. Conventional Herbs have been replaced by "healing pots" with certain numbers of charges. Select to "tap" the pot and it will heal you (and ONLY you, so beware) back to full health. When it is empty, throw it away. Herbs with special effects still exist though, and there are also some with new effects as well.
- There is an overworld map of sorts now. It's small and divided into sections, but you can randomly find merchants, random dungeons, or "puzzle" dungeons. Puzzle dungeons are non-random dungeons set up to be solved in certain ways and temporarily drop you to level 1 with no items (most of the time). Random dungeons are just that. Short, random dungeons where you have extra stuff to find and monsters to fight. Essentially, they're best for getting gold or grinding Experience points. Merchants have a typical set of stock, from weapons to items, but can be good if there's not a town nearby.
- You can have a partner from the tropical village join your old pal, Torneko. Depending on how you answer questions from the chief Patriarch of the village, you will have his granddaughter, Ines (a fledgling sage who can cast magic) or her brawling brother Rosa (Yes, that's not a mistake) join you. However, if they die, you must start the dungeon over that you were attempting to beat.
- After you save him in the main scenario, Torneko's son, Poporo, has his own scenario, mode, and dungeons to explore. Like the heroes of Dragon Quest V, he is able to get monsters to help him out. How? Why, just beat the crap out of them and they may revive and join your side. He can have up to 8 with him at one time, and they act on their own accord, though surround him as guardians when no nearby danger arises to distract them. They can even get stronger by leveling up and also be stored with an old man found in certain towns. Very cool and very fun. It's easily the inspiration for and a sort of prototype for the PS2 game Young Yangus, another Mysterious Dungeon game, but one where the monster aspect is expanded, improved, and a part of the main story line.
Extra info about the 3 other characters:
- Ines: As mentioned earlier, Ines is a sage-type of character. She doesn't use items or weapon, but instead uses 3 spells: Heal/Hoimi (on both Torneko and herself), Bang/Io (damages all enemies nearby onscreen), and Squelch/Antidote/Kiarii (purges poison/recovers strength in Torneko and herself). The spells each run on a certain number of charges and once a spell runs out, it can't be used again until the next dungeon. She only uses them when you ask her to though. She can also kick for good damage. More than Torneko's unarmed attack, but a bit (and only a bit) less than his better weapons (like the broad sword or dragon killer). She gets a little stronger each time she levels up and seems to be able to cast spells a little bit more often at higher levels.
- Rosa: Doesn't use spells, but has a few items in his own grayed-out inventory. I've only played with him as my partner for a little while (1 hour), and I've never seen him use any though, so I'm not sure if he ever does or not at higher levels. I know that you likely can't equip him with any of it though. That said, he has higher HP than Ines and he is stronger than Torneko. This is great for stepping back and letting him take out enemies, especially when Torneko's HP is low. One warning though: NEVER FUCK WITH HIS STUFF. You can equip his things (no point since they don't do anything to my knowledge), but if you throw or use any of his possessions, he gets pissed and punches you to death. Dead serious. I don't know if he quits when you go to the next floor of a dungeon, since I've never made it to the next floor when he starts beating me down. Other than that, I'd recommend him as a challenge and Ines for beginners.
- Poporo: After he gets healed by an old sorceress in his pop's story, Poporo is awakened to a hidden talent from his illness-healing spell: He can talk to monsters! Not only that, but they are willing to join him on his own adventures. As a result, he tells his daddy-o to kick back and let him take up the mantle of helping the village. Poporo plays rather differently than his father. The only things he can use like his dad are bracelets, rocks, food, herbs, pots, and spell wands. Melee weapons and shields are too unwieldy for him to use, but he can throw them. He can't read the runes on scrolls, so those are a no go (though, like Torneko, he can throw them for minor damage). And he lacks the finesse and gear to use the long-range weapons like arrows and boomerangs. That said, he can trade mini-medals to the medal king for extra stuff and can equip different types of gloves/claws/gauntlets to help him fight.
Official Website - Pop it into Google or some other translator for some backstory info on the story and characters. Other than that, everything else I've mentioned covers pretty much everything technical you'll see there. English Links? - None in English that I'm aware of...
Young Yangus- On PS2. A mystery dungeon game staring that loveable bandit from DQ8, Yangus, back when he was a lad with a head full of hair. It plays much like the Torneko games do. Torneko guest-stars as his "wise old mentor" and salesman of sorts, while Yangus does the dungeon looting. Like DQ8, you can pass a turn by using Tension to boost your next deal of damage dealt out. There's a strange jar Yangus has that allows him to suck up monsters and pop them out. When popped out, monsters become friendly and tameable. Said friendly monsters can join your dungeon-exploring party as well! Even more curiously, these monsters can even be bred to give birth to stronger monster allies! I'm not sure exactly how these monster systems work, but I really wish someone would work on a translation so we could find out! In addition to the main quest, Yangus can take on bonus dungeons where bosses from other Dragon Quest games challenge him. How he never remembers or brings any this stuff up in DQ8 is beyond me.
A Japanese Cell Phone port exists, but seems to be different and scaled down compared to the PS2 version, since screenshots didn't show any monster pals...
Links? - Nothing I can think of. The official website for the PS2 game is flash-based, making it difficult to use online translators. Other than that, pop the cell phone port into an online translator and see what you can find out.
5th game (?!)- Yes, there actually is a 5th game! Only on Japanese cell phones... Sadly, it looks pretty damn cool too. In addition to having most of the aspects from previous games (from the looks of things, you can only go solo), it takes a page from Chocobo's Dungeon for Wii and Torneko: The Last Hope and allows you to change classes earlier, with many more to choose from than just mage and warrior. Will we ever see it overseas? ...Probably not.
I AIN'T EVEN MAD - Okay, I'm actually mad and sad as fuck. Looking at this cool official japanese website isn't helping.
-Other ChunSoft Mystery Dungeon Games-
Unrelated to Dragon Quest, technically, but the Mystery Dungeon spinoffs follows many of the same conventions as the Torneko games, except in different worlds. They also still have much of the same spirit that DQ and the Torneko series has. ChunSoft made Torneko and both of these, and Koichi Sugiyama does some of the music for the Shiren series, making it have much of the same atmospheric flair as Dragon Quest/Torneko between it and the second. Check them out if you want some more Mystery Dungeon action, but want to give ol' Torneko a break.
Shiren the Wanderer- On SFC and DS. Shiren's first adventure, where he seeks out the legendary Land of the Golden Condor. Most find the DS version to be superior. Closest to Torneko's series.
Shiren the Wanderer (3)- Shiren's 2nd translated journey. Travels with his badass Uncle to solve the mystery of a strange mansion. Keeps most classic conventions, but adds new ones as well.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series- Concentrates on learning and using skills and utilizing critter types of you and your enemy. Most different from Torneko.
Mystery Dungeon overview - Wikipedia page containing further titles, some of which are not developed by ChunSoft
Links for more info
Dragon's Den - Pretty much THE source for your Dragon Quest needs. Granted, they don't have everything, but they've got alot! The forums are filled with complainers and childhood obsessors, but the site itself is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to learn more about the series.
DQ Shrine - Filled with old official art and info on the games and spinoffs. Most of this is on the "visit the old site" link of course.
Dragon Quest Wikia - Fellow wikia that's recently started to pick up speed. Has a bit of info about most games, characters, places, and monsters.
Dragon Quest Dictionary-Encyclopedia - A wiki that has info about various topics of interest. Some are quite extensive, but interesting, such as a table that compares the Japanese spell names to localized names.
Realm of Darkness's DQ Portal - Neat info with both official and fan-made content
GameFAQs - Gotta give credit where it's due, and many of the guides and FAQs were a big help when writing this article.
RPG Classics - Has info, walkthroughs, and FAQs on the old Dragon Quest/Warrior games up to VII. Very nice.
The Official Japanese Dragon Quest Homepage - Provided you can navigate through the text, you can check out some pretty cool stuff.
 - Complete scans of the "Book of Adventure" that was printed during the 25th anniversary celebration. It's all in noodle-language, naturally, but it contains rare illustrations and covers every game in the series, even the slime-themed virtual pet.
No thanks to: Square-Enix of North America and Europe. UPDATE YOUR DRAGON QUEST WEBSITES!