#118 Dragon Quest

Posted: 9th July 2018 by Jeroen in Uncategorized
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707th played so far

Genre: Role-Playing
Platform: NES
Year of Release: 1986
Developer: Chunsoft
Publisher: Enix/Nintendo

The Dragon Quest series (known as Dragon Warrior in its early English installments, but we’ll go by the proper name here) has three entries on the list – none of which I have played so far. In fact, I never really jumped on a game in the series yet, despite its creative premises in later games and how it seems it rivals Final Fantasy in ambition and contents. In fact, I believe that for the longest time, this was the bigger RPG series in Japan, even if here it niever made quite as much of an impact.

We start with the first game in the series, so I’m expecting the staples – slimes and such – although perhaps not yet playing as a few generations of shopkeepers.

Our Thoughts

The blue slimes that are the earliest and weakest in almost all games in the series feel weirdly familiar to see here. It’s played straight – the game doesn’t have a trope to play off of here – but there are some places where I really saw the groundwork being laid. We’re limited to a single person, no party, which changing the power dynamic of the JRPG by giving you less of a backup, but I get a decent sense of progression throughout.

The game looks simple – even the Android port feels like it’s not moved much beyond the NES version, which works quite well, and the interface is clunky in places. Some actions, especially in town, take a bit too long, but it’s quite nice that there is some more interactivity than just shops, people to talk to and inns – a bunch of items are hidden behind locked doors, which you can buy keys for, but it’s a quest of its own. Similarly, the lighting system in the dungeons is probably the weirder system. Every time you enter one, you need to use a torch to be able to see anything in there. It’s a new one each time – and just feels a bit unnecessary.

Final Thoughts

Dragon Quest is a far simpler game than the JRPGs we are now used to. It’s got its awkwardness. But the game is also incredibly accessible because of it and a lot of fun to play. It’s the grind, but the grind is addictive.