Platform: NES, DS
A rare and mostly forgotten game in the NES library, Dragon Quest IV should not be ignored by fans of classic RPGs. While, like its predecessors, it remains underwhelming in the graphics and music department (at least on the NES), it more than makes up for it with a tight, epic story. Thankfully, the DS version fixes some problems and makes the game much more palatable for today’s gamers.
The game is incredibly long, straining the memory capacity of the system. There are five separate chapters to the game. The first four, where we meet (and plays as) all of the ancillary characters, is close to the length of Final Fantasy. The fifth story is where the game really opens up, slowly merging all of the stories together while starting you on a rewarding journey. While there are more in-depth characters in future RPGs, this is easily the most impressive story line in an RPG for this system. There are also some rewarding side quests that don’t dominate the main story.
One significant change from Dragon Warrior III is that once the game merges, you only fight with one character. With your other party members, you must assign general tactics (e.g. aggressive, defensive, conserve magic) and the A.I. takes over the rest. At first, this annoyed me, but I came to enjoy this change immensely. The A.I. does what I would have done 90% of the time, and can actually respond quicker to healing needs than I can. It also negates the need for endless menu scrolling during battle, making them quicker, less tiring. And, unlike previous games, there is little need for endless level-building as long as you don’t run away from most enemies.
One aspect of the game I always loved (which was in the previous game as well) is the monster pit where you can wager on which monster will win in a face-to-face battle. Nothing like betting on the slime to beat two more powerful monster at 80:1 odds and somehow coming out victorious. This game also adds a casino where you can gamble your hard-earned gold as well. Unlike the last game, the purpose here is not to win more gold, but to win tickets in order to purchase some rare, exceptional items. They’re not necessary to win the game, but can be a fun diversion.
9 thoughts on “8. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen”
I was enjoying this one. I got somewhere past the monster pit/casino part and that’s when I bought a new computer. Thought I transferred the save state file. #*%#@! Guess not.
If you ever want to borrow the DS, let me know.
I love this game, I restarted it from the beginning early last year on my DS, was making great progress, then I got my iPad in July, and well, haven’t played it much since . . . I definitely have to go back to it again. The games on iPad are fun, but they’ll never compare to the nostalgia I have of replaying the earlier NES games on my DS (including Zelda and Final Fantasy).
Good God, look at that awful box art. Who’s gonna get drawn in by that? The ultra-vague “hook” is the biggest sin.
I wouldn’t have thought I’d have any memory of this, but when I read your writeup I realized I knew about it. Realistically I’ll probably never get to it, but hey, maybe.
I never owned the box since my parents bought it used from Funcoland. It certainly would not draw anybody in who didn’t already enjoy the brand.
Here’s the box art in Japan. http://www.export-manga.com/tienda/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/Dragon%20Quest%20IV%20libreto.jpg
There’s a fantastic game called Ico for the PS2 that, while it needs a better title and the developers recognized that and called attention to it after the fact, has a wonderful, understated piece of art on the cover:
…but nobody in North America played it, partially because the cover was this idiotic mess:
Ugh…more does not automatically equal better.
The game was re-released with Shadow of the Colossus (by the same developer) a couple of years ago with the original art. For both of those reasons, the game is now known as a gem over here, and not just by the critics.
I see I’m awaiting moderation, but html didn’t work as I planned. The first link is the good one and the second is the American cover.
Yeah, that first one is beautiful.
agreed. I love that first cover. That would definitely grab my attention