Dragon Quest (ドラゴンクエスト?), published as Dragon Warrior in North America until 2005,[Note 1] is a series—currently nine main series titles and numerous spinoff titles—of internationally best-selling console role-playing video game (RPVG) titles created by Yuji Horii and his studio, Armor Project, and published by Square Enix (formerly Enix). The first title was published in 1986. The series has significantly impacted the development of console RPGs, and introduced a number of features to the genre. Installments of the series have appeared on MSX computers, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES),Game Boy Color (GBC), Game Boy Advance (GBA), Nintendo DS,PlayStation (PS1), PlayStation 2 (PS2), Wii video game consoles, and several models of mobile phone. Nearly every game in the main series has been adapted to anime and manga. Each Dragon Quest video game soundtrack has been arranged into an orchestral piece; the series was the first to have a soundtrack performed by a live orchestra.
Earlier on in the series, Dragon Quest games were released under the titleDragon Warrior in North America to avoid trademark conflict with therole-playing game (RPG) DragonQuest, which was published bySimulations Publications in the 1980s until the company's 1982 bankruptcyand acquisition by TSR, Inc.. TSR continued publishing the line as an alternative to Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) until 1987, and in 2003, Square Enix registered the Dragon Quest trademark in the United States.
The basic premise of most Dragon Quest titles is to play a hero who, usually with a group of party members, is out to save the land from peril at the hands of a powerful evil enemy. Common elements persist throughout the series and its spinoff titles: turn-based combat; recurring monsters, including Slime, which has become the series' mascot; text-based menu systems until the English version ofDragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King;[Note 2] and, until Dragon Quest IX:Sentinels of the Starry Skies, random encounters in the main series. The series is known for being one of the few long-running video game series to have a stable key development team.
None of the Dragon Quest titles were published outside Japan or North America until the series made its European debut with Dragon Quest: Journey of the Cursed King. As of February 2010, the Dragon Quest series has sold over 53 million units worldwide. It is Square Enix's second most successful franchise after Final Fantasy and is often cited as the most popular video game franchise in Japan.
- 1 Games
- 2 Related media
- 3 Common elements
- 4 Development
- 5 Cultural impact
- 6 Legacy and reception
- 7 Notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
|1986 –||– Dragon Warrior|
|1987 –||– Dragon Warrior II|
|1988 –||– Dragon Warrior III|
|1990 –||– Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen|
|1992 –||– Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride|
|1995 –||– Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation|
|2000 –||– Dragon Warrior VII|
|2004 –||– Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King|
|2009 -||– Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies|
The first four Dragon Quest installments were released on NES in both Japan and North America. The first two installments were released in Japan on the MSX at the same time as their NES counterparts; all four games have been remade for newer systems. Dragon Quest was released in Japan in 1986 and in North America as Dragon Warrior in 1989. Dragon Quest II Akuryo no Kamigami was released in Japan in 1987 and in North America as Dragon Warrior II in 1990. Dragon Quest III Soshite Densetsu e... was released in Japan in 1989 and North America as Dragon Warrior III in 1992. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen was released in Japan in 1990 and in North American release in 1992 as Dragon Warrior IV.A PS1 remake of Dragon Warrior IV was scheduled for release in North America but was never released. The Nintendo DS remake of Dragon Quest IV was later released in North America and Europe under its original translated title without the number.
Two games were released for the SNES:Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride in 1992 and Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation in 1995; both have been re-released on newer systems. Dragon Quest V was originally scheduled for release in North America but was canceled amid rumors that Enix had given up on the American market. No official reason was ever given. The Nintendo DS remake was later released in North America and Europe, the latter without the numbering. One game was released for the PS1: Dragon Quest VII Eden no Senshi-tachi was released in 2000 and in North America in 2001 under the titleDragon Warrior VII. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was released for the PS2 in 2004 in Japan, 2005 in North America, and 2006 in Europe, the latter without the numbering. Dragon Quest VIII was the first Dragon Quest title to be released in North America under its Japanese title and the first European release of a main-series Dragon Quest game. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, the only game in the series initially released on the Nintendo DS, was released in 2009 and 2010 in Japan and North America respectively. Dragon Quest X was announced for theWii in 2009, and is still in development.
The franchise includes several spinoffs of the main titles, including Dragon Quest Monsters and arcade games such as the Japanese Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road. In addition, the Mystery Dungeon and Itadaki Street series use characters and other elements from Dragon Quest games; the Mystery Dungeon series has also gone on to spawn its own franchise.
In 1993, Chunsoft developed a Super Nintendo game that included Torneko (トルネコ?, a.k.a. "Torneko Taloon"), a character that first appeared in Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. The roguelike gameTorneko no Daibōken: Fushigi no Dungeon continues Torneko's story fromDragon Quest IV where he wishes to make his store famous by venturing into mysterious dungeons and retrieving items to stock in his store. The game was successful in Japan. In 2000, the direct sequel Torneko: The Last Hope was released in Japan and the United States. The gameplay is similar to the first game, although Torneko: The Last Hope is considered easier to play. The game sold enough copies in Japan to allow development of the second direct sequel on the PlayStation 2titled Fushigi no Dungeon 3 Torneko no Daibouken (不思議のダンジョン3 トルネコの大冒険?, lit. "Mystery Dungeon 3: Torenko's Adventure"). The second and third Torneko games have been ported to theGame Boy Advance. The success of Torneko spawned the Mystery Dungeon series. The series has grown to include franchies beyond Dragon Quest and other clones.
When Enix took over the Monopoly clone Itadaki Street starting with the second installment, Itadaki Street 2: Neon Sain wa Bara Iro ni (いただきストリート２ ネオンサインはバラ色に lit. Summit Street 2: Rose-Colored Neon Sign?), Dragon Quest became an integral part. The first Itadaki Street, released by ASCII did not contain elements from theDragon Quest franchise.Starting with the fourth game in the series, Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Special (ドラゴンクエスト＆ファイナルファンタジー in いただきストリート Special?), the Final Fantasy and later the Mariocharacters were added to the lineup.
Like the main series, Dragon Quest Monsters was originall released under theDragon Warrior titles. The second game, Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 is the only game to be split into two versions of the game, similar to Pokémon Goldand Silver, called Cobi's Journey (Ruka's Journey in Japan) andTara's Adventure (Iru's Adventure in Japan), named after the main characters the player controls. Each version features slight differences, such as monster appearances. The release of the fourth game, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, became the first new title to be released in English using the Dragon Quest name.
The card-based arcade game where players compete for physical cards with monster data, Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road and its sequels, have been released in Japan. It is the only spinoff series to have none of its titles released outside Japan.
Dragon Quest has also produced a number of smaller spinoff titles. In two spinoffs, the player uses the controller as a sword, swinging it to slash enemies and objects. Kenshin Dragon Quest: Yomigaerishi Densetsu no Ken is a stand-alone game in which the controller is shaped as a toy sword, and a toy shield contains the game's hardware. Dragon Quest Swords is aWiiexclusive; it uses the motion sensing Wii Remote as a sword. Another spinoff title,Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest is based on the game's popular slime monster as the protagonist. Its sequel,Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime has been translated into English. There has also been one downloadable game: a DSiWare turn-based strategy game, Dragon Quest Wars. Other titles have been released in Japan for cellphones.
The Dragon Quest soundtracks were composed and arranged by Koichi Sugiyama, who also composed the music for the video games. The first album, released in 1986, was based on music from the first game. It has since been followed by a "Symphonic Suite" album for each game in the main series. Other compilations of Dragon Questmusic have been released, including Dragon Quest Game Music Super Collection Vol. 1. The London Philharmonic performed many of the soundtracks, including a compilation entitled Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest Complete CD-Box. Some of the soundtracks include a second disc with the original game music, as with the original Dragon Quest VIsoundtrack. In 2003, SME Visual Works released Symphonic Suite Dragon Quest Complete CD-Box, featuring music from the first sevenDragon Quest games.
Dragon Quest is a cultural phenomenon in Japan. It is the first video game series to receive live-action ballet adaptations, and the first to have its music performed live by an orchestra. Musical concerts and audio CDs were produced based on the Dragon Quest universe.Since 1987, the series' music has been performed annually in concert halls throughout Japan.
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On December 23, 1989 the first print series began publication starting with a two volume light novel set for Dragon Quest III. After the success of these titles, Enix expanded the titles into a series and began publishing volumes starting from the first game in sequential order. Enix published titles from every main series game previously released and the Torenko's Mystery Dungeon series until March 23, 1995. These titles are written from the second-person where the reader determines the next course of action and have multiple endings.
Other print titles 1989 also saw the release of several additional titles including Doragon Kuesuto Monsutā Monogatari (ドラゴンクエスト モンスター物語 Dragon Quest Monster Story?), Doragon Kuesuto Aitemu Monogatari (ドラゴンクエストアイテム物語 Dragon Quest Item Story?) Dragon Quest Perfect Collectionseries starting with Dragon Quest Perfect Collection 1990 (ドラゴンクエストパーフェクトコレクション1990?) and the first two Dragon Questnovels Takayashiki Hideo. All of these works have had additional titles published for different games by different authors. Hideo published the first four volumes spanning the first three games; Kumi Saori published ten volumes comprising the next three games; and Hiroyuki Domon published three volumes for Dragon Quest VII. Starting with Shinsho Shousetsu Doragon Kuesuto I (新書 小説ドラゴンクエストI lit. New Light Novel Dragon Quest I?) in 2000, a new series by all three authors began publication. The authors wrote new stories for their respective series with three for Hideo, nine for Saori and three for Domon with the latter illustrations by Daisuke Torii. Several additional standalone titles and CD-book titles have also been released.
In 1989 the first Dragon Quest manga began publication in Shonen Jump. Based on the world from Dragon Quest, Riyu Sanjo's Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibōken, was also created as a two-chapter short story entitled Derupa! Iruiru!. Its subsequent success led to the three-chapter sequel Dai Bakuhatsu!!! and eventually serialization with a final volume count of 37. The series has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic asFly. Dai no bōken's success allowed it to make the transition into an anime by Toei Animation. It was from October 17, 1991 through September 24, 1992. Another anime supervised by Horii with a story loosely based on Dragon Quest III—some characters are similar, but the world smaller and landmasses are shaped differently—began airing in 1990. Due to funding issues, production was halted midway through and came back under a new related title. The first 13 episodes of the series is translated into English by Saban Entertainment under the title Dragon Warrior: Legend of the Hero Abel. However due to its early time slot and a lawsuit filed by Toriyama for not being credited for his work on character designs. It was never renewed.
Other manga have been published based on the games. The longest running of these,Emblem of Roto, Warriors of Eden and Maboroshi no Daichi respectively, were published in Monthly Gangan. Emblem of Roto by Chiaki Kawamata and Junji Koyanagi with art by Kamui Fujiwara consists of 21 volumes published between 1991 through 1997 and in 2004 Young GanGan ran a mini series called Emblem of Roto Returns. Emblem of Roto takes place between the timeframe of Dragon Quest III and Dragon Quest I. Warriors of Eden consists of 11 volumes with art by Fujiwara. The series is a retelling of Dragon Quest VII with some minor changes. Maboroshi no Daichi consists of 10 volumes. The series is a retelling of Dragon Quest VI with some minor changes.Other shorter manga series have also been released including several based on other games, some official 4koma strips and a manga about the making of the original Dragon Quest game.
The Road to Dragon Quest (ドラゴンクエストへの道 Dragon Quest e no Michi?) is a manga about the creators of Dragon Quest published by Enix. The single-volume manga, released in 1990, was produced by Ishimori Productions, a company known for creating manga about famous people and businesses. It focuses on the creation of the series, and stars Yujii Hori, Koichi Nakamura (main programmer), Koichi Sugiyama, Akira Toriyama, and Yukinobu Chida (producer).
In Dragon Quest, the player controls a party of characters that can walk into a town and buy weapons, armor, and items to defeat monsters. Outside of town, on the world map or in a dungeon, the party is vulnerable to random monster attacks. When the party encounters monsters, during either a random encounter or boss battle, the view switches from an overhead perspective to the first person, and players are presented with several options on a menu. The first-person menu-based battles have become a staple of the series. Players select weapons, magic, and items to attack and defeat the monsters, or can attempt to flee the fight; characters cannot flee during a boss battle. After the party defeats the monsters and wins the battle, each party member gains experience points (EXP) in order to reach new levels. When a character gains a new level, the stats of the character are upgraded. Winning battles rewards players with gold which can be used to purchase items.
The player must visit a church (also known as a House of Healing in early North American versions)and talk to a priest or nun to save the games' progress. In early versions of Dragon Quest, players had to talk to a king to save their progress, though the first two Dragon Quest titles for NES use a password save system. If the party dies in battle, the group will lose half of its gold and warp to the nearest save location, where the leader will be revived. Players must then pay a priest to revive their party members. In recent games of the series, banks in many towns allow players to store gold, preventing loss if the party dies.
In Dragon Quest III]], Dragon Quest VI, Dragon Quest VII, and Dragon Quest IX, several classes may be chosen for the party members. Each game has its particular set of classes, typically including theCleric, Fighter, Jester,Thief, Warrior, andMage classes.[Note 3] All the aforementioned games also include advanced classes such as the Sage. In addition, Dragon Quest VI and VII include monster classes.
The Dragon Quest series features several recurring monsters, including Slimes, Drackies, Shadows, Mummies, Trick Bags, and Dragons. Many monsters in the series were designed by Akira Toriyama. In Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride monsters can join the player's party and fight in battles.
The Slimes, designed by Toriyama for use in Dragon Quest, have become the official mascot of the Dragon Quest series. Series designer Yuji Horii cited the monster as an example of Toriyama's skills, claiming it took artistic "power to take something like a pool of slime and use his imagination to make it a great character." A Slime is a small blue blob shaped like a water droplet that has a face. It has appeared in every Dragon Quest game and it is usually one of the first monsters the player encounters.[Note 4] The Slime's popularity has netted it two spinoff games: Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest and Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. They are significantly featured in the Japanese manga and two-episode anime Dragon Half.
Erdrick[Note 5] is a legendary hero from the Dragon Quest series. The first three Dragon Quest games comprise the "Erdrick trilogy" and are all connected to the legend of Erdrick. He is known in the game as the hero who freed the Kingdom of Alefgard from darkness.[Note 6] The name Erdrick was first mentioned in the English localization, Dragon Warrior, in which the player is referred to as Erdrick's descendant. Erdrick's legend was completed with the 1991 release ofDragon Warrior III.
In Dragon Warrior, Erdrick was the ancestor of the Hero. The Hero follows in the footsteps of Erdrick to reach the Dragonlord's Castle and confront theDragonlord. In Dragon Warrior II, the heroes are descendants of Erdrick, and also the Hero from Dragon Warrior. They explore the expanded world of Torland, including the continent of Alefgard. At the end of Dragon Warrior III, the King of Alefgard bestows upon the Hero the "Order of Erdrick", the country's highest honor reserved for true heroes. In Dragon Warrior III, Erdrick's origins are revealed; the chronological order of the first three games is Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest I, and then Dragon Quest II. This chronology is further evidenced in the naming of the hero's weapon, armor, and shield. After the events of Dragon Warrior III, the hero's armaments are renamed as the Erdrick (or Loto) Sword and Armor in Dragon Warrior I and Dragon Warrior II. Writing "Erdrick" as a name for the player in Dragon Warrior III is impossible. After typing "Erdrick", a window that reads "INPUT YOUR NAME!" opens.
Zenithia, also called Zenith Castle or simply Zenith, is a "sky castle" location that first appears in Dragon Quest IV, and is also one of several elements the following two games: Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VI. Its appearance in all three games suggests they are linked as a trilogy. These games are often referred to as the Tenkū (Japanese for Heaven), or the Tenkū no Shiro (Castle in the Sky) trilogy. Horii explained that a trilogy was never the intention: "Each Dragon Quest title represents a fresh start and a new story, so I don't see too much of a connection between the games in the series. I guess it could be said that the imagination of players has brought the titles together in a certain fashion." In Dragon Quest IV, Zenithia can be accessed by climbing the tower near the Gottside region (called Azimuth in the DQ4DS release). It is above the entrance to the world of darkness. In Dragon Quest V, Zenithia has fallen into a lake south of Elheaven. This happened when the Golden Orb, half of a set of magical orbs that supported the castle in the sky, fell from its place. Once recovered and returned to Master Dragon, Zenithia will rise again. This time, the castle can move freely around in the sky. In Dragon Quest VI, Zenith Castle is sealed by Demon Lord Durran, and a large hole is left in its place in the Dream World. When the Dream World returns to its natural state, Zenith Castle is the only part that remains visible and floats above the real world. A castle in theDragon Quest III remakes for the Super Famicom and GBC is also called Zenith, although the layout differs from the castle in the Tenku series.
The series monsters, characters, and box art were designed by Toriyama. The music for the Dragon Quest series was composed by Sugiyama.Dragon Quest games have been developed by Chunsoft, Heartbeat, Artepiazza, and starting with Dragon Quest VIII,Level-5. Horii's company, Armor Project, is in charge of the Dragon Quest games that were published by Enix and Square Enix.
In 1982, Enix sponsored a video game programming contest in Japan which brought much of the Dragon Quest team together, including creator Yuji Horii. The prize was a trip to the United States and a visit to AppleFest '83 in San Francisco, where Horii discovered the Wizardry video game series. The contest winners, Koichi Nakamura and Yukinobu Chida, with Horii, released the Enix NES gameThe Portopia Serial Murder Case. Music composer Koichi Sugiyama, known for composing jingles and pop songs, was impressed with the group's work and sent a postcard to Enix praising the software. In response, Enix asked him to compose music for some of its games. The group then decided to make a RPVG that combines elements from the western RPVGsWizardry and Ultima.[Note 7] Horii wanted to introduce the concept of RPVGs to the wider Japanese video game audiance. He chose the Famicom because, unlike arcade games the player did not have to worry about spending money if they got a game over. In addition, the player continue playing from where they left off before. Horii used the full-screen map of Ultima, the battle and statistics-oriented Wizardry screen, to create the gameplay of Dragon Quest. Dragon Ball creator and manga artist Akira Toriyama, who knew of Horii through the manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump, was commissioned to illustrate the characters and monsters to separate the game from other RPGs of the time. The primary game designs were conceived by Horii before being handed to Toriyama to re-draw under Horii's supervision. When Horii first created Dragon Quest, most people doubted that a fantasy series with swords and dungeons instead of science fiction would become popular in Japan; however, the series has become very popular there. Horii has since been the games' scenario director.
The first six Dragon Quest stories are divided into two trilogies. The first three games of the series tell the story of the legendary hero known as Roto (known as Erdrick or Loto in some versions). Dragon Quest IV-VI are based around a castle in the sky called Zenithia that is referred to as the Tenku in Japan, meaning heaven. Games in the main series from Dragon Quest VII onwards are stand-alone games.
Dragon Quest has not been as successful outside Japan, having been eclipsed by another RPG series, Final Fantasy. Because of Enix's closure in the mid-1990s, Dragon Quest V andDragon Quest VI were not officially released in North America. In Europe, no games were released prior to the spinoffDragon Warrior Monsters. With the merger of Squaresoft and Enix in 2003,Dragon Quest games were released in numerous markets. In May 2008, Square Enix announced localizations of the Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI for North America and the PAL region that are known collectively as the Zenithia trilogy. With this announcement, all the main Dragon Quest games will be released outside of Japan. The ninth installment was released in Japan for Nintendo DS on July 11, 2009. The North American version was released on July 11, 2010, exactly a year after the Japan release, while the European version came out on July 23, 2010. The tenth installment of the main series is currently in development for the Wii.
Creation and design
When designing Dragon Quest, Horii play tests the games to make certain the controls feel right. This includes going into maticulous details such as how fast a page opens or the way a door opens. According to Horii, "...little things like here and there the controls not feeling right and such can really grate the players' nerves if the tempo isn't right." He believes the player should be able to control the game unconsciously, which is not easy to do. Ryutaro Ichimura, who has worked with Dragon Quest titles with Horii since Dragon Quest VIII, has implimented Horii's suggestions even if others cannot see his reasoning immediatly. "a lot of the time when he [Horii] points these things out, we cannot see them at first, but eventually you get it."
The typical Dragon Quest plot involves the player controlling a party of heroes to defeat an ultimate evil villain, who usually threatens the world in some way. The plotline often consists of smaller stories that involves encounters with other characters. This linear plotline is intentional to help ease the generally high learning curve RPGs have for those unaccustomed to them. While the storylines are linear, the gameplay is designed to allows the player to chose decide when and whether to pursue certain storyline paths. To ensure players continue to enjoy playing the game, no storyline path is made to be without some kind of reward. In addition, to help ease players who may be apprehensive about whether they are on the right path, the distance the character has to travel to get rewarded is less early in the game than later.
The games feature a number of religious overtones– saving the game (in later games) and reviving characters who have died is performed by clergy in churches. Bishops wander around the overworld of Dragon Quest Monsters and can heal wounded characters. The final enemy in some of the Dragon Quest games is called the Demon Lord. For instance, in Dragon Quest VII, the Demon Lord (known as Orgodemir in that particular game) is the final boss, and there is a sidequest to battle against God. The first four Dragon Quest titles were subjected to censorship in their North American localizations, largely in keeping with Nintendo of America's content guidelines at the time that placed severe restrictions on religious iconography and mature content. When these games were remade for the Game Boy Color, most censorship was removed. Since Dragon Quest VII, the translated versions of the games have largely followed the originals.
Starting in Dragon Quest III, Patty's Pub began to appear in Dragon Questgames. With the release of Dragon Quest IX, this fictional inn became a real-world place. Patty's Pub opened as a tourist destination in Akihabara after IX's release to have a known meetup locations where players' can exchange treasure maps, specifically one particular map where characters who once during normal gameplay appear. As of 2010[update], people would make Akihabara a tourist destination when visiting Tokyo just to get a valuable map.
According to both Ryutaro Ichimura and Yuji Horii, as of 2010[update]Dragon Quest has become popular enough that it is used as a common topic for Japanese to talk about. In addition, William Cassidy of GameSpyclaims that "the common wisdom is that if you ask someone from Japan to draw [a] 'Slime,' he'll draw the onion-like shape of the weak enemies from the game."
Legacy and reception
Dragon Quest is one of the most popular video game series in Japan. All games in the main series, and many spinoffs, have sold over a million copies, and some games have sold over four million copies. The remake of Dragon Quest VI sold 1.28 million copies in Japan in the first four days after its release, an exceptional sales figure for a remake. In 2006, readers of the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu voted on the hundred best video games of all time. Dragon Quest III was third, Dragon Quest VIIIfourth, Dragon Quest VII ninth, Dragon Quest V eleventh, Dragon Quest IV fourteenth, Dragon Quest II seventeenth, Dragon Quest thirtieth, andDragon Quest VI thirty-fourth.
According to Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, Dragon Quest's widespread appeal is that it is "made so that anyone can play it...and anyone can enjoy it depending on their different levels and interests." According to him,Dragon Quest is designed for anyone to pick up without even needing to read the manual in order to understand it. Ryutaro Ichimura, Producer of Square Enix, who has played the game since he was a child, says the Dragon Quest storylines allows the player to experience a moving sense of achievement where they take the role of a hero who saving the world. Yuji Horii believes the ability to appeal to larger audiances of casual gamers while not alienating the more hardcore gamers is due to being able to lower the initial hurdle without making it too easy. Iwata and Ichimura also believe it is because the games are created in a way that allows both groups to pursue their own goals. Casual gamers can enjoy the storyline and battles, but for those who want more, their is still content for them to pursue.
The original Dragon Quest game is often cited as the first console RPG, despite the fact that it borrows heavily from theWizardry, The Black Onyx, and Ultimaseries, and that many critics consider Final Fantasy "more important." GameSpot called the original Dragon Quest one of the fifteen most influential games of all time and the "most influential role-playing game of all time", and stated that nearly all Japanese RPGs today have roots in its gameplay. Dragon Quest V is cited as having monster recruiting and training mechanics similar to those seen later inPokémon. The Dragon Quest series was recognized byGuinness World Records with six world records in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition. These records include "Best Selling Role Playing Game on the Super Famicom", "Fastest Selling Game in Japan", and "First Video Game Series to Inspire a Ballet".
Although the series is extremely popular in Japan, as of 2002[update], the games have not been as successful in North America. Although the first four games to be released in America generally received good reviews, and as of February 2008 they were among the most sought after titles for NES, especiallyDragon Warrior III and IV, it was not until Dragon Warrior VII was released that Dragon Quest became critically acclaimed.
One of the main aspects of the series that critics point out, either positively or negatively, is that the series "never strays from its classic roots." Unlike other modern, complex RPVGs, Dragon Quest retains the simple gameplay from the first game that many critics find refreshing and nostalgic. Other points of contention are its battle system, comparatively simplistic storylines, lack of character development, simplistic, primitive-looking graphics (in earlier titles), and the overall difficulty of the game. These arguments are countered by noting its strength in episodic storytelling with the various non-player characters the party meets. The stories avoid melodrama and feature more simplistic characters than Final Fantasy's Squall Leonhart orTidus, who have been sources of contention. Battles are simple and finish quickly. As for the difficulty, Yuji Horii has been noted as a gambler. The lack of save points and the general difficulty of the battles were included with the intention of adding a sense of tension. Because of this added difficulty, the punishment for the party's death was toned down compared to other games by simply going back where you last saved with half of your gold on hand.
- Due to the inconsistant usage by sources since Square Enix obtained the naming rights to Dragon Quest in North America, Dragon Quest have been used to refer to games also released solely under the Dragon Warrior titles. So for this article, the title Dragon Quest will be used in preference to Dragon Warrior except when talking specifically about one of those North American releases.
- The Japanese release of Dragon Quest VIII retains the traditional text menus. However, the Japanese release of Dragon Quest IX uses the menus based on the English release of Dragon Quest VIII.
- Most of the basic classes have undergone name changes in their English translation. The Cleric class underwent several name changes. It was originally known as the Pilgrim in Dragon Warrior III and in Dragon Quest IX it changed to Priest; the Fighter class was changed in Dragon Quest IX to Martial Artist; the Jester class was originally known as Goof-off in Dragon Warrior III; the Warrior class was originally known as Soldier in Dragon Warrior III and the translation for the Mage has alternated between Mage and Wizard depending on the Dragon Questtitle.
- In every game except Dragon Quest VI the iconic blue slime is in the first overworld map area with monsters—in Dragon Quest VII the first overland area has no monster encounters—the player explores.
- Edrick is known as Loto in the North American remakes of the Game Boy Color of the first three games
- In Dragon Warrior Alefgard is referred to as a kingdom, but inDragon Warrior II it is shown to be a continent.
- While Wizardry and Ultima are under the broad category of role-playing video games, they are personal computer games, not video game console games.
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- Square Enix's officialDragon Quest website
- Official Dragon Quest website(Japanese)
- Dragon WarriorSeries at the Open Directory Project
- The Dragon Quest and Dragon Warrior Shrine - a fansite that has great amount of material that has been cited in gaming encyclopedias.
- Slimeshrine - A fansite that has an exhaustive list of English Dragon Quest merchandise, including relevant info such as ISBNnumbers.