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I Can Count to Nine: A Journey through Dragon Quest - Part 5


Dragon Quest V (SFC)

Stop me if you've heard this one: many generations after the last installment, a descendant of the previous Hero will become the new Hero of Legend when the Ruler of Evil awakes again. Our story opens on the birth of a boy - a prince, naturally. But here's the twist - this boy is not of Ivy's line. He's not the Hero - not the Legendary Hero, anyway.

Don't worry. He'll marry into it.

In a series as consistently great as Dragon Quest, it's hard to single one out as the best. At a Nintendo-sponsored DQIX event this year, I discussed the series with some other fans and heard 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 as favorites. There's really no bad choice (OK, there's one - don't think I don't see you over there, II). My personal favorite is 3 - it's a blast to assemble a freeform party and rock through two well-realized worlds. 5, however, is probably the one that comes up the most often, and for good reason. I'll not mince words - DQV is a storytelling masterpiece that stands as a testament to the video game medium's potential in that area.

This game follows the life of the hero from when he is a small child as he grows up, gets married and has children of his own (one of whom turns out to be the Legendary Hero, incidentally). DQV understands that story, in a video game, doesn't have to be something that happens in between gameplay. A true role-playing game, it uses the unique strengths of interactive storytelling to immerse you in the main character's life and evoke genuine emotion toward the supporting cast. Let me break it down like this: This game knows exactly how to poke a gamer to tug at their heartstrings.

V is the first game in the series not to make it outside of Japan - not until 2009's DS release, that is. Hence, say goodbye to that "Warrior" moniker, but not too fond a goodbye - we haven't quite seen the last of it. Fortunately, in 2002 DeJap translations came out with an English patch that really stands among the greatest achievements of fan translation. It's well-written, imaginative and professional, leagues above the still-serviceable patches we used for II and III. There are some typos, but I'm betting that's our fault for not using the latest patch version.

It's cool to see the series move into the fourth console generation, but this one still has a foot planted in the NES. The bag, an inventory convenience we're used to from later games and remakes, STILL hasn't shown up yet. Monsters still aren't animated, either. However, the action button (R) is finally introduced, and this game has another stellar soundtrack. V also makes the bizarre move of scaling the active party back to 3 members, which is never done again including in the remake. Again I strongly recommend the DS version, which improves on this classic in nearly every way.

Nobody Reads This Productions presents:

Dragon Quest V: The Many Trials of Quint the Fated

~A saga in three generations~

Generation One: Travels with Papas

Introducing Quint, Age 6:


Good lord is he fat. He makes I's Dragonlord look like a supermodel. Watching his transformation is pretty awful - he has to pass that spiky-ass tail and it doesn't look pleasant. He's so fat, even his wings have rolls. This guy is so pudgy that he ain't raising those arms to look menacing - that's all the lower he can get them through the enormous cushion of flab. He's so heavy his gut just gave up trying to even be a gut and went ahead and was a crotch too. His ass is so titanic that if he could somehow manage to get airborne, he'd end the whole fight in one plop. In Nadiria, Yo Mama so Fat jokes all begin with "Yo Momma so fat that she and Mildrath..." and all end with an apology. That's no moon, that's Mildrath!

And talk about impractical. How the hell is he supposed to wear a hat? His body odor is probably so foul it qualifies as an attack, and having four armpits that close to his face can't help. That color scheme is really nice - for one of your grandma's cushions. And he needs braces worse than Lisa.
*Princess Prinny spent a lot of time in our wagon due to the three-party-member limit and our Slime Gambit. In that time, she got to know all our monsters very well and became inspired. After the world was saved, Prinny started the Adopt-a-monster foundation, to show the world that monsters are people too.

Her first objective was to find a home for Danny the cactus ball - all he needs, she asserted, is a hug.

Her second goal was to steadfastly ignore the entreaties of Great Mamoo to join her program.

"Everyone should have a Great Mamoo. Hoo hoo hoo!"

"Um... not even a little. No thanks."

Quint's happiness was tinged by a sliver of doubt. He'd spent his whole life running - it was all he'd ever known. How would he adjust to the matters of day-to-day life, let alone being a King?

But then he looked at his loving wife, and saw his children laughing and playing with their Uncle Sancho...

...No, this was a challenge he looked forward to. Life was an adventure, after all.


But something was left unfinished...

...Young Pent couldn't shake the nagging feeling that something was. Defeating the Demon Lord Mildrath didn't destroy the root of evil. After all, he wasn't the first Legendary Hero, yet evil had returned. Besides, he'd felt something even more powerful in the Underworld.

Something deeper...

Despite our adventure with the III remake's bonus dungeon (which was made up of parts of the main game), V is the first installment to have postgame content in its initial release. Beneath Evil Mountain, after defeating Mildrath there is a completely new dungeon, containing the totally sweet War Drum (casts Bikill, doubling attack power, on the whole party) and at the bottom waits Esturk.

Yeah, the same Esturk from IV. When you approach him, he wakes up saying he remembers nothing, and asks if you've come to destroy him. If you say no, he just goes back to sleep. Beating him earns you no extra ending, no bonus content, no special item. He grants no wishes like the Dragon God. He just sits there being ridiculously powerful and daring you to put him down.

Our first attempt, we were annihlated. Esturk is fierce with two attacks per turn, frequent use of a move that dispells your buffs, and attacks that hit the whole party for over a hundred damage. To take him on, we ground up ten more levels, reaching 50 for Quint, and replaced Slalin (he did his job) with Orcus the Orc King, who in the course of our grinding hit his max level, and had a lot going for him including 500 hit points and plenty of MP to cast Revive. The battle was a drawn-out affair that consisted mostly of healing and putting our buffs back up, but eventually we worked Esturk's 9000 (what? 9000?) hit points down.

V also starts the tradition of the bonus boss telling you how many turns it took to beat him. It took us 41, which isn't good, but it's good enough.
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About tim333one of us since 5:53 PM on 12.11.2007

Regarding my 1001games project: There's only one deadline. I haven't hit it yet!

I'm a 90s gamer and Sega kid for life. I like platformers, adventure games and JRPGs. I'm not that into first-person shooters or sports games.

I spend more of my time playing older games than new ones. I do have a PS3 now, though, and I like buying games on PSN. I like the Wii and have a ton of games for it. I'm encouraged by some of the stuff out on Wiiware - to me, games like Bit.Trip Beat are more appealing than the "triple-A" titles coming out on the HD consoles.

Some of my all-time favorite games are Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Dragon Quest III, Heroes of Might and Magic III, The Curse of Monkey Island, and Dance Dance Revolution.