DQ Diaries Vol. 2: My Quest to Become the Dragon Warrior
Since the last time I chronicled my journey with the king, I’ve made a bit more progress towards becoming a dragon warrior with the original Dragon Quest (DQ) on mobile. With the announcement of Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition – (what a mouthful) for the Nintendo Switch, I’m reminded that there’s an incredible old-school RPG on modern platforms waiting for me at the end of seemingly endless road of adventures. As someone who enjoys playing most, if not all of the entries to a franchise, it’s been taking every fiber of my being to not unseal my PlayStation 4 (PS4) copy of the game. What’s also stopping me is the fact that I’m still in the middle of a handful of other RPGs (Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Octopath Traveler, Ever Oasis, just to name a few). While I’ve been wanting to make time for DQV, DQVI, DQVII and DQVIII on the Nintendo DS and 3DS, respectively, I’ll most likely take a slight detour to checkout DQ Builders and the first DQ Heroes on my PS4 once I conquer the original game.
Keys to the Kingdom
Keys are really important. There’s nothing worse than misplacing your car keys when you’re in a hurry or getting locked-out from your house when you’ve had a miserable day at the office and you just want nothing more than to collapse on your couch. In the original Dragon Quest, “Magic Keys” are essential to making any sort of significant progress in the game. Not only are important items locked behind certain doors, but treasures and even shortcuts can be discovered if you have an abundance of these special keys. One may asketh where doth one become the master of unlocking? Well, some random non-playable character (NPC) in town might know! The first DQ was a relatively progressive game for its time and beyond its (quite literal) gated progression, a lot of the game can be accessed from the beginning of the quest.
As I mentioned in my last post, bridges connect each major continent in the game. Although there’s nothing stopping you from venturing across these rickety old walkways, the enemies on the other side will most likely take your life if you’re not prepared/properly leveled. Unlike the bridges, however, locked doors prevent you from accessing particular areas in the game. In one such cavern, the princess you’re tasked to pursue at the start of the game can be discovered behind one of these doors, which also happens to be guarded by a dragon. Upon defeating the dragon and rescuing the princess, the hero escorts the maiden back to the castle and is welcomed with open arms. Although some players may take minor details like this for granted today, the fact that the townspeople/castle-folk changed their dialogue in response to your actions was relatively groundbreaking for its time.
After rescuing the princess, one would think the quest is over, right? Wrong! There’s an evil overlord who needs to be vanquished and your next objective is to travel to each corner of the map in search of special relics in order to gain access to his secret lair. The NPCs in the various towns speak in riddles and provide vague clues regarding points of interest on the map. One person speaks of a flute that must be used on a golem in a village named Cantlin and another teases a hidden item that can be discovered underfoot at a specific location. Finally, wise old men in shrines provide the juicy details, such as a staff of rain needed to make a bridge appear and proof of a hero’s birthright to (presumably) become a true dragon warrior. Regardless, if you put the game down for a period of time and you’re not taking notes, prepare to be lost upon loading your save file. Fortunately, I wrote down most details when I could and I’m likely nearing the end of the journey.
I believe I’m a few steps away from reaching the final dungeon. I have a golem to beat in Cantlin (which I don’t think I’m properly leveled for) and a location or two I’ve yet to discover on the map before I reach what is presumably the overlord’s castle. Fortunately, I discovered the location of the fan-favorite Metal Slimes on my own, so let the grinding commence. I’ve been doing my best not to use a guide nor have I been abusing the save-state features available on the mobile version. If I fall in combat, I either deal with the loss of gold or load a prior save-point and make amends with the time lost. A part of me wants to experience the original home console version too, but for now, the convenience of playing the mobile port has given me a new perspective on an old classic.
Until next time!