Dragon Quest discussion continued

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Pokun
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Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Sun Mar 29, 2020 9:29 am

Continuing the discussion from here which is getting off-topic.
Bregalad wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 6:36 am
Well, I won't deny that DQ series was founding the JRPG genre. But I think the NES/FC version aged very badly. Sure, most RPGs of the time were incredibly grindy, but DQ were the worst offenders. Doing noninteresting battles for 3 hours to afford buying a new sword is NOT fun. DQ4 is the last Famicom/NES game to have sprites without outlines when other companies abandonned this graphic style in 1987 at latest, it looks completely lame by 1990 standards. Overworld graphics are also horrible a "hiding the grid". There's no battle backgrounds whatsoever, and the only animation is monster blinking when they're hit by either physical or magical damage. No animations for magic, and you don't see your party in battle.

Basically the series was stuck in 1986 and only adding larger worlds, and more ennemies. While all other games series of the time actually evolved with new graphics, new concepts, etc... Even FF1 has better graphics than DQ4, with character outlines and detailed battle animation with visible weapons and spells (even though they're repetitive). The DW ports made them interesting with amazing intros, but that only makes the rest of the game further disappointing so much they're lacking in substance. Sure overworld maps are huge, but that alone doesn't make a game fun.

Sure having slugs licking your party members or having monsters confusing you by (unanimated) dancing is a fun joke but it's only fun once. Many NES DQ games are fun for the first 3 hours but get boring so I play the remakes instead - that's actually the only games where I prefer the remakes over the NES original !

In the end what makes most JRPGs of that era poorly aged is that magic/spells/techs are underpowered and expensive to use, and new equipment way too expensive. What makes a JRPG battle interesting is if you can try different weapons, spells and techniques. Always doing the same boring physical attack is boring, and even moreso if it doesn't matter what your weapon is. By 1990 most JRPGs developpers got this and evolved in a positive way... except Chunsoft who was stuck in 1986.
DQ1 is quite grindy, especially near the end, but it's also a very short game and already at lv 20 you are strong enough to beat anything. DQ2 is a bit longer and has some difficulty spikes that requires a bit too much grinding for my liking (for not mentioning probably the hardest dungeon in the series), but I wouldn't say that the DQ games are especially grindy. FF1 is larger than both DQ1 and DQ2, is at least as grindy and has much slower battles to boot making it a much slower game than any DQ game in existance. FF2 is ridiculously grindy if you play it like a normal RPG. If you know how to abuse the system and train your characters by fighting each other it's just quite grindy. FF3 is incredibly grindy if you want to master every class, but otherwise probably quite well balanced. DQ3 and DQ4 are about equally grindy and I'd say they are very well balanced. They are not too grindy but you can't just rush through them either without proper training and good party planning. Snotty kids born and raised with FF46 where you can beat the whole game without any kind of strategy or training would probably think they are incredibly grindy though.

You might remember an old game as more grindy, especially if you played it when you were young and lacking in experience of RPGs. A lack of strategy requires more grinding and steamrolling a game. With good strategy, much less grinding is required.

The lack of backgrounds and animations was just standard for RPGs on the system (understandable since enemies usually needs to be drawn with BG characters). Not seeing the party is also standard for RPGs, and something DQ introduced in battles only. Before DQ, dungeon crawling was usually in first persion perspective, and DQ took that and used it only in battles. Like I said it works well because you get a good focus on the text. For DQ I wouldn't have it any other way (I'm very disappointed with DQ11 that battles looks like 3D Final Fantasy games instead of preserving the first person perspective).
Otherwise I think something like Phantasy Star II is a good compromise, where you see the hero butts and animations. A grid system is also good because in that case positions and ranged weapons matters.

I agree that the lack of skills other than spells makes battles more repetitive. But this is also not any different from other RPGs on the system. You can generally only attack with the weapon or use spells and items in old RPGs. Different classes affects what type of equipment and spells you can use as well as stats. This gets better in newer RPGs and newer DQ games are no different in this regard.

I don't agree that spells and items are too expensive. You can generally buy everything in the game by the time you are strong enough to tackle the final dungeon, where you usually find even better items. Spells are sometimes unbalanced but seldom underpowered. They make magic users important classes (and non-magic users a bit duller since they can only attack).

I can understand why the lack of outlines bothers you. First time I played DQ and FF, I thought FF was generally cooler. FF1 had young cool heroes with red and blue hair while DQ4 had a middle-aged soldier in pink armor and mustache (it was before I knew that the real hero was actually a cool young guy or girl with green hair). The lack of outlines also probably didn't help. Now I think the simplistic look is part of the DQ charm though. And the characters aren't exactly badly drawn or anything.


FF is doing a bit too much experimenting for my liking (although sometimes it works very well) what with FF2's realistic character growth, though which I think is a good idea in theory, and FF3's ridiculous on-the-fly-changeable classes. FF is taking the JRPG genre too far from its pen-and-paper-RPG roots IMHO. Kind of ironic considering FF1 was made to be a DnD-based video game, and introduced proper element rules, something DQ didn't adopt until very recently.

DQ is the main series that still keeps ties to its RPG roots. It evolves without trying to be too crazy or doing unnecessary changes that would enrage the fans (like me). You don't play DQ because you want a flashy and totally illogical meteria system that allows any character to temporarily assume any kind of vulgar mix of traditional RPG classes.


If you think DQ is only about large maps and monsters I think you are missing the point of the series (and you might not have played them for a long time or played some of the more strangely localized versions of the games with Kerplunk and Kazap). It's more about the hearty world it takes place in. The cute little towns with funny characters that change their routines day and night, the simple yet intriguing story which is told mostly by talking to NPCs (DQ4 and DQ5 are exceptions where the story is more invovling) and the general and warm feeling of RPG adventuring. The world and story is much more down-to-earth fantasy than FF's airships and ancient robots (although those are cool on their own). The tone and style reminds me a lot of Dragon Ball, which makes me think Toriyama had a hand in other things besides character design (or Horii was involved in the Dragon Ball manga somehow since he was also working at Jump). I wholly believe that DQ is popular for much the same reasons Dragon Ball is, and I believe it would have been equally world famous if it wasn't for the fact that it is a video game RPG series released at a time when that genre was virtually unkown outside Japan and USA. Another reason could be the recent ridiculous localizations.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:37 am

Good idea to make a dedicated thread to talk 'bout DQ seroes
Snotty kids born and raised with FF46 where you can beat the whole game without any kind of strategy or training would probably think they are incredibly grindy though.
I'm even more "snotty" (whathever that means) because I was raised with FF7-9 but I can see your point. This also makes my view on DQ biased because I came from an FF-world and they told me, "y'know there's also THAT other game series you should play if you like JRPGs".

I agre DQ5 is the more story realted, and DQ5 ought to be my favourite so far, but DQ4 no so much. DQ5 is the earliest installement whom I finished the game in the orignal (SNES) format, not a remake, DQ4 I played through the (probably dumbed down) DS version, which is surprisingly good (considering normally these days retro game remakes made by TOSE on licence by Square-Enix for cheap cash tends to be of poor quality).

DQ5 has everything to be a good game [SPOILER WARNING - zoom to read] , nice story, you can get married, you can adopt a tiger, diffrent towns have different music, and it's grind factor is tolerable.

DQ4's chapter system was a great idea, it's great especially the gipsy chapter with a different battle music. Now it's a shame they didn't jump on the occasion to have other battle music for other chapters. Also they didn't want to push the NES hardware to it's limit with that last installment featuring an unusally large cartridge size. Instead they just did yet another similar game, this is quite a disapointment IMO. If you compare the improvement made between Mega Man and Mega Man VI, or between FF1 and FF3, or between Castlevania and Castlevania III - Dracula's Curse, or between SMB and SMB3, and so on and so forth, you will always see obious improvements. DQ4 is basically just DQ1 expanded with new data loaded in it.

My other favourite DQ game is the eitght installment for the PS2. This game, despite I didn't like the heavy grinding it required, is absolutely breath-taking and amazing in every way. It's probably because you feel like you're actually exploring areas, which is what DQ games are good at. Battles were retro, but still enjoyable because your characters had skills, and you could see the animations. Something that should have been made available since the late-NES days.

I still think the original trilogy lacks in substance. Since there's no elemental magic, the only offensive magic is a generic "HURT" spell (or whathever it's name), and it's basically a physical attack that costs you mana. Since you're investing mana in doing that, you'd expect the attack to be devastating, but no, it does sometimes even less than a physical attack of a well-equiped fighter of the same level. So why bother with magic at all ? You'd rather save your precious mana to heal. That's what all early DQ games suck at, and early FF games too.

Since magic characters are bad at physical attacks, and also takes more damage, you'd expect them to be more useful in another way. This is only possible if their spells are cheap enough in mana so that you can explore large overworld areas or big dungeons while regularly casting spells and not run out of mana. Usually in early RPGs it's impossible, if you do that you'll run out of mana very quickly and need to sleep to refill it. (at an expensive inn). And even so they're no stronger than physical attacks on other classes ! So since magic is useless I tend to not bother with magic other than healing anyway - and that makes the fights boring because it's basically attack attack attack heal attack etc...

Now if I'm playing an RPG and I can attack with fire spells, blizzard spells, and various weapons that works better or less good against different ennemies, forcing me to change my strategy depending on the enemy, THEN it becomes interesting to fight. In DQ games fights tends to be a hassle but still takes most of your playing time.

You mention that with good experience and a good strategy you need to level less. That might be so, but what strategy are you talking about ? The only strategy I could have is avoid non-healing magic at all costs as it's useless and buy as good equipment as possible - but you still need to grind to be able to afford this. During battle the only "strategy" would be to compute when you need to heal in a most efficient way, other than that there's not much to do. Also DQ2 and 3 it's only possible to target an enemy group, not a particular enemy, which is further limitating the strategy.

You say FF2 is horribly grindy, actually it's even worse than you say, it's impossible to progress sometimes this game is basically broken and unplayable without cheating. But FF3 is exactly what a good RPG should be, it forces you to use magic so that it's not too boring, and you only need to grind near the end.

Now I know back then FF was annecdotal and nobody knew the fanchise existed before the end of the SNES-era, while DQ was very well known, especially in Japan. That's probably why all other JRPG of the time, such as Fantasy Star, got more inspiration from DQ than from FF. But I'd have to say DQ is culpirt for letting rather low standards for JRPGs genre in general, something that FF will fix by introducing plot twists, elemental magic, detailed animations, emotionally attachable characters, etc... (or in DQ you're emotionally attached to the universe, it's different).

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:41 pm

I'm talking about the Gira/Hurt/Firebal spell family in my DQ1-DW1 comparison here.

I didn't mean FF4-6, I literary meant Final Fantasy fourtysix (which of course doesn't exist, yet). I just meant about any modern JRPG with low difficulty level, my most common complaint with many modern games. DQ11 is a good example, battles are so easy that they are almost pointless.

Yeah DQ5 is probably my favourite in the series, due to its setting and story, not due to its mechanics.

DQ4 is great because it builds upon DQ3, but instead of letting the player create all characters it only lets you create the hero while the rest are premade characters (DQ2 also kind of had premade characters though) that are based on all the classes of DQ3 (except the Sage is a fortune teller). It also polishes every little detail that made the previous games so great and expands on them. It's not just DQ1 with bigger maps, more characters, enemies and spells. The story aspect from earlier is greatly improved, classes are greatly improved and incorporated into the story (being a merchant actually lets you work in an item shop for example, although only in one chapter, the grappler fights in a tournament etc) among many other things. It's similar to DQ1 on the surface (and I wouldn't want it any other way), and similar to DQ3 since that is the game that set most of the standards of the series, while its content are improved in about every way.
If you only played the remake I could imagine that it is a bit disappointing since it's lacking many things that I would expect in a modern JRPG. For example all classes should have some kind of unique skill in battle. The dancer should be able to use music magic and the merchant should be able to throw money on the enemies or something. These are things you just have to look past considering it's not a modern JRPG at all.

I wouldn't say that DQ games lacks in substance. But the way you use the word substance I would say mechanics, and that's definitely something that the DQ series lacks in, and something Squaresoft tried to fix with Final Fantasy, and also succeeded with in many aspects. For example usually healing spells and items should damage undead monsters, but it never does in any DQ game (save for a certain final boss). And elements are limited to fire/magic and breath attacks in the earlier games. A proper element system didn't appear until the more modern instalments of the series (DQ7 or something I think? DQ9 definitely have elements, so does the Monster series). Magic all have fixed damage which is the main reason why a spell is limited to a certain part of the game. There is no intelligence and spirit stats, DQ3 do introduces intelligence but it's only for increasing MP (and does so in a strange way that nerfs magic users). Lately the series do have magic power and healing magic power stats though.

That said there are many other mechanic-related things that DQ do gets right. For example there are spells for floor damage and door unlocking, and status effects generally work both inside and outside of battle. Modern RPGs seldom has floor damage anymore and even poison often heals after battle making it pretty much harmless. Final Fantasy games (new and old) has almost no magic that works outside of battle at all except healing spells and the frog spell in classic FF games. In a DQ game you literary die when HP is 0 (just like in classic RPGs), it's disastrous and something you want to avoid at all cost. The only way to revive is to offer donations to a church with a capable priest (which is expensive but not impossibly expensive like in WRPGs), have a capable priest of your own in the party, or use the rare leaf of the world tree item. In modern JRPGs on the other hand, HP 0 just means you are incapable of participating in battle (something starting in 16-bit era FF games) and Phoenix Downs are cheap items you can buy in about any item store. Besides a night at an inn cures anything, including poison and KO. This is kind of unavoidable since many games has cutscenes where the characters may have a line of dialogue, and it would be weird if they were a ghost. Also the power of reviving the dead would have an effect on the story.
Then there is item micromanagement. Many games just copies FF's black hole item bag so you can have 99 Phoenix Downs if you want, which results in dull battles that consists of endless cycles of attacking and healing using near-unlimited resources. Not all DQ games does this perfectly though. Especially DQ2 is bad because every character has about 2 free slots for new items when they are fully equipped and has all the keys.

I understand that you would like mages to be able to use magic as their main weapon instead of being a trump card used in a pinch and on bosses. I don't mind that myself, and it do works well in Fire Emblem for example. But I also like when magic is a complex and exclusive thing that can not be used so easily and must be saved until the right situation, and that you must be prepared to protect the mage if you drag one along on your adventure. Only a very powerful wizard (Gandalf-style) with a large mana pool would be able to use magic regularly and don't need protection from regular monsters.

Mages in DQ games have varying usefulness. In DQ1 you only have the hero, and the hero class usually means a mix of a knight, a cleric and a mage, often with some unique (usually thunder) spells. But heroes are more knight than magic user so their magic is very limited.
DQ2 has three heroes that goes from raw fighting power to pure magic (they all inherited different heroic traits of their ancestor).
DQ3 is where mages and priests are properly separated and defined classes. Mages takes some time before they get useful and are then almost essential in the mid-game (especially against high-defence enemies) but gets less useful later in the game for various reasons. By that time you have time to do class changing though and probably have a sage that can learn all magic and still not suck in a fight.

Inns in DQ games are so cheap that they make about zero impact on the economy. Usually one battle is more than enough to stay a night. Sometimes I wonder why they even bother taking your gold at all. You are not mixing it up with Wizardy or something? Western RPGs were for some reason very cruel.

I agree that battles are dull in early RPGs, and the lack of choice limits strategy. But that doesn't mean there are no strategy. Less choice means the choices you make have a larger impact than you might think. An experienced player is doing a lot of less bad choices than a beginner does. This is why an experienced player can beat DQ1 at level 19 or so, while a beginner might need to go up to level 23 or something and steamroll the Dragonlord.
As anything that is based on chance you have to consider the probability of things to happen and try for moves that has the best chance to succeed. Sometimes it really pays off to gamble though, and doing something successfully that really had a low chance and a big reward is very satisfying to the player.
In DQ1 it could be about learning what monster is weak to what spell (every monster has difference resistance against different status effect spells) or simply being good at micromanaging one's resources and estimate when it is a good time to heal etc. In DQ3 everything gets much more complicated since you are able to create the whole party and there are more items and spells.

I don't think money is a big problem in DQ games since you grind for money when you grind for EXP. More grindy games like DQ1 requires more grinding but you can afford all equipment in the game long before you are strong enough to get Roto's armour and sword anyway. DQ3 has better balanced EXP grinding and gold grinding goes along the same lines.

Yeah FF2 was an interesting experiment but a failed attempt. If you know the mechanics though it is OK since you can battle near a town against easy monsters and then train against each other. You still need a lot of training though. Yeah DQ3, DQ4 and FF3 (unless you want to max everything) are all good examples of balanced RPGs for the system. Neither too easy nor too grindy.

DQ was the definer of the JRPG genre so it's not strange that FF and other RPGs derives from it. Maybe DQ could be said to be a culprit for setting low standards for the JRPG genre, but I'm not sure it could have been done in another way and still being as successful as it was. FF is definitely responsible for evolving the genre and also possibly a culprit of not evolving it further than just introducing a new (often illogical) system for battle, skill/spell learning and sometimes other crazy things, instead of trying to enhance the paper-and-pen RPG mechanics and perfect them. They did a good attempt in FF10 with a good orthodox battle system (instead of the cool-looking but mechanically broken ATB) but they just had to destroy the EXP system by dividing EXP into "AP" and "spheres" which are abstract items even found in treasure chests.

FF quickly took the second place after DQ in Japan, and in America it even passed DQ. Thanks to FF7 and the failure of introducing DQ in the west (outside America) FF got into everyone's hearts while DQ never got the recognition it deserved, and was then destroyed by new localizations that contains tons of bad puns, exaggerated translations of cues, Scottish soldiers, Russian Tsarevnas and a new set of names for the spells, items and towns in the series that often are not close to either the Japanese or the old localizations.
The localization of DQ8 did put DQ on the JRPG map in the west again though, so they should have some praise for that.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:54 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:41 pm
I didn't mean FF4-6, I literary meant Final Fantasy fourtysix (which of course doesn't exist, yet). I just meant about any modern JRPG with low difficulty level, my most common complaint with many modern games. DQ11 is a good example, battles are so easy that they are almost pointless.
Oh, but Final Fantasy games continues to be made but aren't even RPGs anymore, let alone JRPG... aside of the name, there's absolutely no continuity to what they used to be. You'd think that with the ridicully conservative mindset of DQ, keeping even the sound effects from DQ1 even though it makes no sense anymore, you'd think that they'd keep everything the same and if they don't improve at least continue to make decent games... but... but...
Yeah DQ5 is probably my favourite in the series, due to its setting and story, not due to its mechanics.
Yes, saving the world with your family and your pet is a nice break of doing it with your friends. They even released an anime based on the game apparently I'll have to... legally watch it. :D
DQ4 is great because it builds upon DQ3, but instead of letting the player create all characters it only lets you create the hero while the rest are premade characters [...]
I'm all for premade characters. They're what makes a game world, unniverse full of something interesting. If you want to create your own characters, you don't need a computer or game console, just a sheet of paper, some pencil and some immagination, and you'll create your own characters without being annoyed by a video game. More seriously, custom-made characters in games=no dialogue=no personality=no emotional attachment (or annoyance/lohate/etc...)=no storyline=you'll play only for battles, so if battles aren't really fun and challenging then the game is going to be average at best. (DQ9 I'm looking at you, but also applicable to DQ3)
[DQ4 is not just DQ1 with bigger maps, more characters, enemies and spells.
It almost is. I like the characters, but the story is basically they're gonna save the world. Also you don't even see them in battle, when you know you have to hot interesting looking gypsies in your pary, that's quite a shame.
If you only played the remake I could imagine that it is a bit disappointing since it's lacking many things that I would expect in a modern JRPG.
I didn't only play the remake, but I only finished the remake. I only did the 1st chapter with the NES version, and I was tired of having to do hours of grinding with Ryan.
For example usually healing spells and items should damage undead monsters, but it never does in any DQ game
Not necessarly. Healing spells hurting monsters is something that was introduced in FF3 and kept in the series since. I think it's a good idea, but definitely FF (even though it was probably copied from somewhere else, FF3 seems to be the game that brought the concept in the video game world, I could be wrong). DQ never had to copy what FF does good, but it could have stayed DQ, while having more developed characters, more dialogue, more interesting battles, and, 1st of all, better graphics for it's time with battle animations or backgrounds.
A proper element system didn't appear until the more modern instalments of the series
The concept of elemental magic seems to have been introduced in FF1 but was only fully effective in FF3. DQ doesn't have to have elemental magic to be good, but it have to have interesting battles. Elemental magic contributes to interesting battles, but isn't the only way to achieve that.
Modern RPGs seldom has floor damage anymore and even poison often heals after battle making it pretty much harmless.
It's not as consistent as you say. Floor damage might been gradually removed as it makes no sense in a 3d environment to step on a poisonous tile, since there's no tiles. I wouldn't be surprised if DQ9, a "modern RPG", still has poison floors, although I'm not 100% sure.
Final Fantasy games (new and old) has almost no magic that works outside of battle at all except healing spells and the frog spell in classic FF games.
I don't think there's any place where you have to be frog, but FF3 requires you to be mini in at least 2 places, which also requires you to use ONLY magic, which makes battle a lot more challenging and interesting than any DQ game, period.

In a DQ game you literary die when HP is 0 (just like in classic RPGs), it's disastrous and something you want to avoid at all cost.
When you party is defeated in any Final Fantasy game, you have to start over from the last save. This is particularly disastrous in the earlier game, FF1-3, who lack saves points before bosses. DQ on the other hand, only takes half of your money for loosing, that's pretty light IMO. The only compensation for having so much boring grinding to do, at least you keep all your precious-earned EXP, but still loose half of your precious-earned gold.
The only way to revive is to offer donations to a church with a capable priest (which is expensive but not impossibly expensive like in WRPGs), have a capable priest of your own in the party, or use the rare leaf of the world tree item.
Usually those items aren't that rare at the end of the game, also I'm fairly sure there is spells to "revive" characters, but fails half of the time, so it's just a raging f*** waste of mana when it doesn't work and certainly doesn't contribute to make DQ games fun to play. I don't know why japanese public likes gambling so much, personally I prefer hard strategies that don't rely on luck.
In modern JRPGs on the other hand, HP 0 just means you are incapable of participating in battle (something starting in 16-bit era FF games)
This started in FF2, only FF1 and FF3 have "death", but FF3 have Phoenix Downs. And it makes a lot more sense. In FF2, a lot of playabe characters dies during the adventure (so much it becomes ridiculous), and it didn't make sense if 0 HP was also death. So having HP 0 being "heavily wounded" makes a lot more sense, story-wise.
Besides a night at an inn cures anything, including poison and KO.
Depends on the game. FF5 who is retro has this, but FF9 who is more modern doesn't.
Then there is item micromanagement. Many games just copies FF's black hole item bag so you can have 99 Phoenix Downs if you want
This came gradually, FF2 has very tight and limited item space typically filled with story key-items, FF3-4 have limited inventory but you can use the big chocobo to store your extra items with unlimited space. FF5 introduced unlimited items and they didn't go back since. Wearing 99 shelters makes no sense but so does using magic etc... and this doesn't prevent the game to be fun, and some items are still expensive or sparse, the game engine allowing you to carry doesn't mean you will. Not being able to open treasure chest because your inventory is full sucks and discourage world exploration. At least latter games allows you to first open the chest, see what's inside, then decide what to do with your full inventory. This makes sense, unfortunately none of the NES DQ games allows you to do this, or I'm seriously mistaking.
I understand that you would like mages to be able to use magic as their main weapon instead of being a trump card used in a pinch and on bosses. I don't mind that myself, and it do works well in Fire Emblem for example.
Exactly, and I love FE for a reason ! Finally I can use magic all the time without worrying about wasting Mana, and when playing FE I use more magic than necessary just to compensate for all those games where I have to save it.
DQ2 has three heroes that goes from raw fighting power to pure magic (they all inherited different heroic traits of their ancestor).
That was a great idea, but alas magic is weak and useless. Now imagine how badass it would be if you would see actual flames on the screen when casting a spell, and if it was more powerfull than a physical attack by his distant cousin the hero. ESPECIALLY if you see flames in the intro added in DW2 and the DQ2 remakes, but you don't see anything in the real game. A great intro brings great expectations, and that's only to have further disappointment.
Inns in DQ games are so cheap that they make about zero impact on the economy.
Except at the very begining of the adventure, the part that all your players will play and where the most grinding is required.
As anything that is based on chance you have to consider the probability of things to happen and try for moves that has the best chance to succeed. Sometimes it really pays off to gamble though, and doing something successfully that really had a low chance and a big reward is very satisfying to the player.
As I already mentioned I dislike gambling but apparently Japanese people are very fond thereof.
I don't think money is a big problem in DQ games since you grind for money when you grind for EXP.
Exactly, you have to grind hours for either EXP or money (being able to buy better equipment for your party), and your only consolation is that you get the other "for free". In FF3 and later you can usually collect the weapons of the whole game, in DQ forget about it you'll definitely have to sell your weaker equipment or you won't be able to afford the new one.
You still need a lot of training though. Yeah DQ3, DQ4 and FF3 (unless you want to max everything) are all good examples of balanced RPGs for the system. Neither too easy nor too grindy.
Grindy is not the opposite of easy. For some reason on the internet it seems people have the false belief that grinding is "hard". it's not, it's just boring. A RPG that require you to spend horus grinding is not hard, it's tedious.

DQ was the definer of the JRPG genre so it's not strange that FF and other RPGs derives from it. Maybe DQ could be said to be a culprit for setting low standards for the JRPG genre, but I'm not sure it could have been done in another way and still being as successful as it was. FF is definitely responsible for evolving the genre and also possibly a culprit of not evolving it further than just introducing a new (often illogical) system for battle, skill/spell learning and sometimes other crazy things,
instead of trying to enhance the paper-and-pen RPG mechanics and perfect them.
I never played them so I can't tell. But people playing them look like weird people in general. (maybe they say the same about people playing DQ or FF on their home video game console...)
They did a good attempt in FF10 with a good orthodox battle system (instead of the cool-looking but mechanically broken ATB) but they just had to destroy the EXP system by dividing EXP into "AP" and "spheres" which are abstract items even found in treasure chests.
I really like the FF10 battle system, and I don't think they destroyed anything. Actually FF10 in general is pretty underrated in my opinion, sure the story is not as good as it was in FF7-9 and there's this weird looking laughing scene, and too much asses on screen. But come on it's still OK, the story and characters are not that bad and the fighting is actually nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately it was the last good game in the series before it went totally downhill. Such a combat system would have been technically feasible on NES, imagine DQ4 with sphere gird and turn-based battle instead of round-based, now that would be much more interesting to play.
FF quickly took the second place after DQ in Japan, and in America it even passed DQ. Thanks to FF7 and the failure of introducing DQ in the west (outside America) FF got into everyone's hearts
Well in Europe we got Final Fantasy Adventure as "Mystic Quest" and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest as "Mystic Quest Legend", the latter is also rare. FF7 is the first real FF which was released here.

For some reason there was some racism and japanese gamedevs thought westerners couldn't enjoy JRPGs, which was of course completely wrong.
while DQ never got the recognition it deserved, and was then destroyed by new localizations that contains tons of bad puns, exaggerated translations of cues, Scottish soldiers, Russian Tsarevnas and a new set of names for the spells, items and towns in the series that often are not close to either the Japanese or the old localizations.
I think you're targeting the DQ4 remake, well there's so few story anyway that they tried to make it funny. At least no localisation changes how fun the battle are, and that is "not very".
The localization of DQ8 did put DQ on the JRPG map in the west again though, so they should have some praise for that.
DQ8 was the 1st DQ of the main series released in Europe, I bought it new on the release day which was also my 17th birthday, amazing memories. But i had played the RPG since a long time already. Only DQM was released prior to that, but I'm not in monster breeding so I imported the DW3 remake for GBC instead.

Pokun
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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:59 am

Bregalad wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:54 pm
Pokun wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:41 pm
I didn't mean FF4-6, I literary meant Final Fantasy fourtysix (which of course doesn't exist, yet). I just meant about any modern JRPG with low difficulty level, my most common complaint with many modern games. DQ11 is a good example, battles are so easy that they are almost pointless.
Oh, but Final Fantasy games continues to be made but aren't even RPGs anymore, let alone JRPG... aside of the name, there's absolutely no continuity to what they used to be. You'd think that with the ridicully conservative mindset of DQ, keeping even the sound effects from DQ1 even though it makes no sense anymore, you'd think that they'd keep everything the same and if they don't improve at least continue to make decent games... but... but...
I haven't played anything newer than FF10 so I wouldn't know, but yeah it sounds like they pretty much destroyed the FF series. I'm really glad that the DQ series is ultra conservative or it would also suffer the same fate. They wanted to make battles action-based in DQ9 at first and I was dismayed when I heard these news. But thanks to fan-retribution (I wasn't alone) they abandoned that idea. You don't play DQ games because you want to play an RPG with new groundbreaking ideas and a storyline that fits into the modern society. You play DQ because you want to go on adventures with dragons, princesses, magic and swords. And you want the black windows and and sound effects to look and sound like they always did. DQ11 is doing all this so I don't have many complaints about it besides the ridiculously low difficulty and the lack of text-based battles. It also tries to incorporate new ideas into the series without destroying old ones and that fits into it. Like crafting for example, and it works very well.
My praise and complains about the game are summarized here.

Bregalad wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:54 pm
Yeah DQ5 is probably my favourite in the series, due to its setting and story, not due to its mechanics.
They even released an anime based on the game apparently I'll have to... legally watch it. :D
Yeah they really choose the right game to make a movie of. I heard DQ5 is the favourite of Yuji Horii as well.
Apparently they are not really using Toriyama's drawing style though which sounds like a very strange decision to me. Apparently because they want the movie to be popular in the west as well. So they apparently totally forgot that Dragon Ball is absolutely humongous all over the world...

I'm all for premade characters. They're what makes a game world, unniverse full of something interesting. If you want to create your own characters, you don't need a computer or game console, just a sheet of paper, some pencil and some immagination, and you'll create your own characters without being annoyed by a video game. More seriously, custom-made characters in games=no dialogue=no personality=no emotional attachment (or annoyance/lohate/etc...)=no storyline=you'll play only for battles, so if battles aren't really fun and challenging then the game is going to be average at best. (DQ9 I'm looking at you, but also applicable to DQ3)
Yeah knew you would, and I partly agree with you. FF1 and DQ3 both suffers from the lack of story involvement of the party members. Really only the hero in DQ3 plays a role in the story. The other party members has a few lines of dialogue in some very rare cases (notably in the puff-puff/fortune-telling scene), but their dialogue solely depends on their gender and are the same for everyone of the same gender.

Being able to create your own characters is a staple RPG thing and didn't change when the genre became a video game genre at first (I think Akalabeth the predecessor to Ultima was the first video game RPG). DQ, which took great inspiration from both Ultima and Wizardry, changed this a bit by making the story more involving (and saving with passwords also limits character creation). FF changed this even more and totally abandoned the concept after FF1. DQ games at least still have the hero that you choose a name for, and sometimes gender.

I'm a bit split on this matter. I love to being able to create the main character yourself, and let it be "mute" to let the player decide on its personality. You can not choose class in DQ games, but I wouldn't want to choose any other class than hero for the main character anyway. But creating the whole party in FF1 and DQ3 is like you say, not good for a story oriented game like JRPGs tends to be. It's fine if you have a general dungeon crawler or something where mechanics are more important and the main characters has no direct integration with the story. I think DQ4 is perfect because you create the hero while all the others are premade.

I'm actually thinking of making a character creation in an RPG where you can choose everything, including name, gender, class, race and appearance. For appearance that would be like choosing face, hairstyle and hair colour or possibly even letting the player draw it himself using a simple drawing tool (although if that is done I'm sure some players will draw a head shaped like male genitals).
With CHR-RAM this should be doable on NES I think.

It almost is. I like the characters, but the story is basically they're gonna save the world. Also you don't even see them in battle, when you know you have to hot interesting looking gypsies in your pary, that's quite a shame.
Of course any DQ game is very similar to DQ1. It is because they improve things that needs to be improved and don't change things that don't needs to be changed. That way the keep the identity of DQ.

I didn't only play the remake, but I only finished the remake. I only did the 1st chapter with the NES version, and I was tired of having to do hours of grinding with Ryan.
Sound like my first attempt to play DQ4 back long ago when I was entirely new to the RPG genre. A game with a middle-aged man in pink armour and a jellyfish-like friend was simply not very appealing to me, and the lack of animations didn't help either. But there was some things that touched me, like all the guards spread out in various dungeons looking for the lost kids, this made it feel like Ryan wasn't the only one looking for them. These memories turned into nostalgia when I replayed the whole series years later and fell head over heels of the series. After I had played through DW1, DW2, DW3 then DW4 I was totally amazed by the worlds they take place in. The lack of superficial things like animation didn't bother me anymore, since I was already in love with the text-based battles. It works a lot like reading a good book without pictures, and this derives from text adventures. WRPGs usually also have a log window that displays everything that happens, in and out of battle (or at least had, nowdays WRPGs looks like FPS games, I guess every modern western game is an FPS because it's the only genre western game developers can make). DQ started as a more visually appealing version of Ultima and Wizardry. This is because western game developers apparently lacks any aesthetic skills and only cares about game mechanics (another common complaints of mine about western game developers).

Although you don't see the characters in battle in DQ you see them on the map. In FF1-3 it's the other way around since it doesn't use the "caterpillar party formation". And if you play the game again now you will probably notice that there are no "hours of grinding with Ryan". It is just normal EXP training like in DQ3 and FF3, and it takes just a few minutes to be strong enough to proceed in the game. If the game didn't require any training at all it would be pretty pointless to have an EXP system at all.

Not necessarly. Healing spells hurting monsters is something that was introduced in FF3 and kept in the series since. I think it's a good idea, but definitely FF (even though it was probably copied from somewhere else, FF3 seems to be the game that brought the concept in the video game world, I could be wrong). DQ never had to copy what FF does good, but it could have stayed DQ, while having more developed characters, more dialogue, more interesting battles, and, 1st of all, better graphics for it's time with battle animations or backgrounds.
Yeah well the healing damage undead is one example of RPG things that I like but DQ doesn't do. It's not like every RPG does it. I like it because it gives a new interesting use of the heal spell and a weapon for clerics that are otherwise considered a very defensive class. Another thing I'm missing is that undead are usually weak against fire. Even Zelda does this in A Link to the Past where there is even an undead-themed dungeon full of enemies that are weak against fire magic. The weakness to certain elementals in general are missing in earlier DQ games. Also FF makes an interesting system where a character can not only be immune against a elemental but even absorb it if they have negative weakness to it. So a pure fire elemental enemy heals by pure fire spells. This is one of my favourite game mechanics in FF games.

I think healing damages undead comes from Dungeons & Dragons (supposedly the first pen-and-paper RPG and the main inspiration of all video game RPGs thanks to Wizardry, Ultima and FF) where the undead are powered by a kind of negative life energy and are therefore affected negatively by positive life energy that heals the living. There is also a negative heal spell that hurts the living and heals the undead. I think more recent DnD editions removed this system, so healing spells heals the undead too (like in DQ). I'm not a fan of that change though.
The cleric class (also introduced in DnD) was inspired by vampire hunters and such so it's a kind of warrior monk that specialize in hunting demons and undead and in exorcism. FF1 didn't have healing damage undead, but the white mage has the Dia/Harm spell as one of its only offensive spells, it only works against undead and is powerful to boot. It makes the class specialized against undead. DQ priests also has a few offensive spells: Bagi/Infernos which is a wind spell family (sometimes with crucifix-shaped vacuum cutters befitting of a priest) though it has no undead hunting properties or anything.


I don't think DQ needs more developed characters and story. DQ and FF each has their own style but I don't think either is better than the other, and I wouldn't like one of them turn into the other. Earlier DQ and FF games has a story that is solely told by the intro, ending and by dialogue with NPCs. This changed in DQ4 and FF2 which both has many cutscenes (DQ2 and DQ3 also has some happenings that could be considered cutscenes but they are few and far between) and premade characters with personalities.

The lack of elementals works OK in DQ1 and DQ2 which doesn't have as many spells, but from DQ3 there are lots of different spells that seemingly only varies in power, MP cost and range.

It's not as consistent as you say. Floor damage might been gradually removed as it makes no sense in a 3d environment to step on a poisonous tile, since there's no tiles. I wouldn't be surprised if DQ9, a "modern RPG", still has poison floors, although I'm not 100% sure.
Just because the game is no longer tile-based doesn't mean you have to scrap the whole concept of poisonous marches, damaging barriers and traps all together (which are staple RPG features). I don't see why the player can't be forced to cross harmful terrain even in 3D. DQ11 has no damage floors at all. I think this concept ended with DQ7 or something. FF games also abandoned it making dungeons much more boring ever since FF7 introduced 3D and pre-rendered backgrounds IMHO. DQ2 even has lava floors that doesn't do damage if you are protected against fire which the Water Hagoromo/Flying-Clothes does (oddly the Toramana/Stepguard spell doesn't work against it though), making for an interesting cross of battle and field concepts.

What I meant is that modern JRPGs has a clear distinction between field mode and battle mode. This distinction did exists in earlier JRPGs as well but was far less pronounced. In WRPGs (especially those based on pen-and-paper RPGs) this distinction hardly exists at all. A spell can be cast in or out of battle and the effect lasts equally long in both cases. Pokemon games is a series of JRPG that kept the classic way even in modern instalments. In these games even the sleep status is in effect after battle and I don't think they changed this in newer games either, although I think it should recover automatically like it does in battle (paralysis in DQ games works this way). For not mentioning all the monster moves that can be used outside battle.

I don't think there's any place where you have to be frog, but FF3 requires you to be mini in at least 2 places
Yeah some earlier FF games did have this concept. Seiken Densetsu games also does this with Korobokkuru and Moogle status effects, and there is a Korobokkuru village you must be small to enter. FF5 also has some skills that helps you against damage terrains and pitfalls, and one for spotting hidden passages, so the FF series definitely has skills effective in field mode, although less often than DQ. They are almost gone in newer JRPGs though.

When you party is defeated in any Final Fantasy game, you have to start over from the last save. This is particularly disastrous in the earlier game, FF1-3, who lack saves points before bosses. DQ on the other hand, only takes half of your money for loosing, that's pretty light IMO. The only compensation for having so much boring grinding to do, at least you keep all your precious-earned EXP, but still loose half of your precious-earned gold.
...
Usually those items aren't that rare at the end of the game, also I'm fairly sure there is spells to "revive" characters, but fails half of the time, so it's just a raging f*** waste of mana when it doesn't work and certainly doesn't contribute to make DQ games fun to play. I don't know why japanese public likes gambling so much, personally I prefer hard strategies that don't rely on luck.
Halving the money was necessary in DQ1 and early on in DQ2 where you only have one party member and dying is easy, and it does offer the player to avoid loosing a lot of time spent for the expense of loosing a lot of gold. But it also makes you invisible in the late game when you already bought everything money can buy. No the Leaf of the World Tree is an item that you can only have one of at a time (although you can get it for free directly from the World Tree itself). Normally I don't accept dying, so I save often (in DQ1 and DQ2 this means writing down a humongous password so I do it a bit less often in those two games) and reset if I die. In Pokemon games where you can save anywhere I simply never accept defeat.

Earlier FF games does this the right way, although revival items was a bit more common than in DQ games. It is the 16-bit FF games that introduced Phoenix-Down-vending-machines, and other games copies that.

It doesn't rely on luck at all. You just have to avoid dying as much as possible, and you must prepare a plan B when you do. The thing is that letting a character die (or swoon, get KO'd etc) isn't very punishing in newer games, and that combined with unlimited of cheap healing items makes battles dull. Especially boss battles are just long cycles of healing and dishing out damaging attacks. Since you have almost unlimited resources, the only thing you need to worry about is that you don't all get downed at once. It makes sense in FF games for the reasons I stated in my last post. In classic RPGs like DnD, Wizardry and DQ (and subsequentially also in Dragon Ball due to its connections to DQ), revival of the dead is just part of the worlds they takes place in, and are not always possible. FF games (other than FF1) just doesn't have that concept.

FF5 who is retro has this, but FF9 who is more modern doesn't.
I forgot that FF9 doesn't have this. But FF9 also has unlimited resources so poison, petrify and KO are not particularly dangerous situations unlike in FF1 where you always has to plan ahead for this.

Item micromanagement
This came gradually, FF2 has very tight and limited item space typically filled with story key-items, FF3-4 have limited inventory but you can use the big chocobo to store your extra items with unlimited space. FF5 introduced unlimited items and they didn't go back since. Wearing 99 shelters makes no sense but so does using magic etc... and this doesn't prevent the game to be fun, and some items are still expensive or sparse, the game engine allowing you to carry doesn't mean you will. Not being able to open treasure chest because your inventory is full sucks and discourage world exploration. At least latter games allows you to first open the chest, see what's inside, then decide what to do with your full inventory. This makes sense, unfortunately none of the NES DQ games allows you to do this, or I'm seriously mistaking.
Yes it's the FF5 system I'm criticizing for the reasons I mentioned above. It's not about making sense, it's a game mechanic thing. Not being able to open treasure chests just means you have to carry less medicine or other things. As I said, DQ games doesn't necessarily does this perfectly (especially not DQ2).
Mother 3 is another game that does this poorly by showering the player with items he can't carry, so he is forced to constantly eat healing items even when not needed. Then when you meet a boss and run out of PP you soon run out of healing items anyway.

Yes I think DQ6 introduces the bag which basically is a portable storage and allows you to hold unlimited with items. So yeah, DQ also abandoned this concept in the end (for the worse IMHO).


Magic is defenitily not useless. Each spell only has a use at a certain part of the game though because of the fixed damage. Also there are many monsters that are strong against magic. Strong against magic in DQ means the magic has a larger chance to fail and have no effect, there is no Magic Defence wich absorbs the damage. This is a DnD thing that made its way into DQ.
But for reasons I said before, magic indispensable, just not something you can use all the time, and most weaker spells generally becomes useless as you progress in the game. The exceptions are the buff spells which are very useful against bosses, including the last boss.

Inns in DQ games are so cheap that they make about zero impact on the economy.
Except at the very begining of the adventure, the part that all your players will play and where the most grinding is required.
Well I guess it works well early on in DQ1 in that it helps preventing the player from affording the strongest weapons right away. But most of the time it hardly has any effect on the game. In DQ3 you can even sleep in your home for free at the beginning.

As I already mentioned I dislike gambling but apparently Japanese people are very fond thereof.
Gambling are a large part of RPGs though. I guess you must love Fire Emblem for that reason as well. Basically the only things you need to gamble on are evasion and critical hits, but with good strategy you can usually keep the chance of loosing a unit to a minimum. RPGs works this way as well but there are usually many more things that can go wrong, so you need more backup plans.

Exactly, you have to grind hours for either EXP or money (being able to buy better equipment for your party), and your only consolation is that you get the other "for free". In FF3 and later you can usually collect the weapons of the whole game, in DQ forget about it you'll definitely have to sell your weaker equipment or you won't be able to afford the new one.
What are you talking about? If the game allows you to keep all the weapons from start it definitely has broken economy and is too easy. If money isn't worth anything it's a useless concept in the game. You can buy all weapons at the end of the game when you have more money than you will ever need, just as long as you keep all the unique items around.

I think we already established that the only games you need to grind in are DQ1, FF1 and FF2, and a bit in certain parts of DQ2. All the others have normal EXP training, not something I would call grinding. Generally you can gradually afford better weapons as you gain gold from EXP training and dungeon crawling (you get lots of gold in treasure chests in these games).

Yeah easy is not the opposite of grinding, but a game where even a beginner don't need to train his party members before proceeding is automatically easy. EXP and gold would have no meaning in such a game. An RPG with a balanced difficulty level whould require you to get some training in before you can proceed. That way a beginner player would need more training while an advanced player could proceed with less training to get a bigger challenge. The more training you need the harder the game is without training.

I really like the FF10 battle system, and I don't think they destroyed anything. Actually FF10 in general is pretty underrated in my opinion, sure the story is not as good as it was in FF7-9 and there's this weird looking laughing scene, and too much asses on screen. But come on it's still OK, the story and characters are not that bad and the fighting is actually nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately it was the last good game in the series before it went totally downhill. Such a combat system would have been technically feasible on NES, imagine DQ4 with sphere gird and turn-based battle instead of round-based, now that would be much more interesting to play.
Oh I love FF10, especially the battle system. I'm criticizing the EXP system here (the sphere grid system). I especially love that they finally introduced the "caravan system" of DQ4 and up. It allows you to have all party members with you at all times and you can even tag them in battle. I hated the FF6 system (although I love FF6 in general) where you have to pick your party members so they are levelling uneveningly and affects cut-scenes. You have to play the game a trillion times i you want to see all possible combinations of characters and cutscenes. I also like that the story is a bit simpler after FF7 and FF8 having almost overly complicated stories, but it still has that FF feeling. I also love Blitzball BTW.
The sphere grid is great fun and great pain. Why do I have to get these rare items (like luck spheres) to get stronger? It's not as bad as FF7's materia system but I still don't get the point. It just feels like an abstract rule to prevent the player from becoming stronger if he doesn't play the game in a specific way.

Well in Europe we got Final Fantasy Adventure as "Mystic Quest" and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest as "Mystic Quest Legend", the latter is also rare. FF7 is the first real FF which was released here.

For some reason there was some racism and japanese gamedevs thought westerners couldn't enjoy JRPGs, which was of course completely wrong.
Yeah you are right. I'm not sure we got Mystic Quest Legend in Sweden though. It was thanks to the hype of FF7 that the JRPG genre became mainstream in Europe.
I think European publishers wasn't interested in the RPG genre at all. They only wanted action games. Mystic Quest was also made to teach Americans of the RPG genre, which is quite ironic considering that it was the Americans that invented the genre and introduced the genre to Japan.

I think you're targeting the DQ4 remake, well there's so few story anyway that they tried to make it funny.
Yes DQ4 remake is one of the few games with the new localization that I've actually played. But I've also played a few English versions of Morimori Slime and Itadaki Street series and they all did the same thing. And it appears to me that localizations of other new DQ games does this as well. When DQ8 was released it was necessary to do something different since DW7 apparently didn't do well in America (not that strange considering the Americans were missing DQ5 and DQ6 and then suddenly recived a new instalment not too different from the NES games in an era when polygons were being worshipped). But I don't see why they still have to turn everything up to 11, why not just keep DQ as DQ. As I said before, I believe DQ is popular partly for the same reasons Dragon Ball is popular (they both create a similar beautiful world, same character design and have similar humour etc), and DB is extremely popular all over the world, so it's not a cultural thing. DQ has the potential to boom all over the world the same way.

The original Dragon Warrior localizations has a similar history. Toriyama was still not famous at this time so they switched out all his art for more western fantasy art, which isn't exactly bad, but was in the hindsight a very bad decision considering that Toriyama's art is part of the series identity and reason why it's so popular. Similar things can be said about the "olde English" language that the first two games used. DW3 and DW4 had fine translations though.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:20 am

Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:59 am
I haven't played anything newer than FF10 so I wouldn't know
You're missing nothing IMO.
You don't play DQ games because you want to play an RPG with new groundbreaking ideas and a storyline that fits into the modern society. You play DQ because you want to go on adventures with dragons, princesses, magic and swords.
Couldn't agree more ! But dragons, princesses, magic and swords setting doesn't mean there's necessairly a very straightforward storyline, no cutscenes, no plot twists, etc... They started having those only in DQ5, and even then, much less than contemporary FF.
Pokun wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:59 am
Yeah they really choose the right game to make a movie of. I heard DQ5 is the favourite of Yuji Horii as well.
It's a very bad sign for DQ6 and following if Yuji Horii himself doesn't consider them supperior to DQ5... I haven't played 6-7 though, but 5 is the first one to have real plost twists and cutscenes, and a great story line.

The movie is not that bad in the 1st half but holy fuck, the 2nd half suck so hard, they should be ashamed of releasing a movie that bad. The pixart art style is awful, but that's another story... it looks like female characters are wearing a ton of makeup, completely ruins their attractiveness. And aaargh those eyes, did they all smoke weed before the shoot? You're completely right it would have made sense to mimic Toriyama's style.
I think DQ4 is perfect because you create the hero while all the others are premade.
Yeah that works too, same for DQ9 if I'm not mistaken, but even if the hero is silent anyway he can still have character from what other people say to him or about him. If the hero is a generic thing, then it gives further away the possibility of an interesting storyline.
Of course any DQ game is very similar to DQ1. It is because they improve things that needs to be improved and don't change things that don't needs to be changed. That way the keep the identity of DQ.
Agreed, but once again, this doesn't prevent from introducing cutscenes, plot twists, more interesting battles.
After I had played through DW1, DW2, DW3 then DW4 I was totally amazed by the worlds they take place in.
Absolutely, but that's the only think those games excell at. They lack story, character, plot twists, good usage of NES hardware, etc...
Heck they'll even work fine in Nesticle with no graphical glitches at all... this says long as how much of the NES hardware they use.
The lack of superficial things like animation didn't bother me anymore, since I was already in love with the text-based battles
It's not so much the lack of animation but the lack of actual usage of NES hardware. In Battle, 1/4 of CHR-RAM is used, and only one nametable. They could've done so much more... but didn't.

I don't care if battles are text or graphics or both, but what I care is that they're interesting and are not just a long repeat of "fight, fight, fight, fight" orders. In DQ most battles are like that.
Although you don't see the characters in battle in DQ you see them on the map. In FF1-3 it's the other way around since it doesn't use the "caterpillar party formation".
That's not an excuse, and the NES hardware is more suited to do it the FF way, due to the 8-sprites per line limiation.
It doesn't rely on luck at all. You just have to avoid dying as much as possible, and you must prepare a plan B when you do. The thing is that letting a character die (or swoon, get KO'd etc) isn't very punishing in newer games, and that combined with unlimited of cheap healing items makes battles dull.
Might be, but my criteria is that battle are dull when there's not much else to do than fight and heal. That's what DQ suck hat. Having limited inventory doesn't make battles any funnier.
Magic is defenitily not useless. Each spell only has a use at a certain part of the game though because of the fixed damage. Also there are many monsters that are strong against magic. Strong against magic in DQ means the magic has a larger chance to fail and have no effect, there is no Magic Defence wich absorbs the damage. This is a DnD thing that made its way into DQ.
But for reasons I said before, magic indispensable, just not something you can use all the time, and most weaker spells generally becomes useless as you progress in the game. The exceptions are the buff spells which are very useful against bosses, including the last boss.
My point is that a "mage" party member will be a burden 99% of the time, he will be able to cast spell but only a dozen of times between resting a inns. If you're going for grinding on the overworld you'll be able to spam magic so that character will be useful, but when going for a long dungeon, you'll have to refrain from casting, so that person will fight like other but deal shitty damage. He'll also take more damage due to bad defensive states and equipment. So he's clearly an useless burden for the party. Once you reach the boss and are able to eventually use him, after all the healing you had to waste on him, you'd expect his spell to be very, very powerful to compensate for that. But no, they're just as, if not less, powerful than an equivalent attack from his warrior colleague !

That's what I hate in DQ. Magic is supposed to be super-powerful, especially if mages are a burden as fighters. At least in the DQ5 movie magic appears powerful.
Gambling are a large part of RPGs though. I guess you must love Fire Emblem for that reason as well. Basically the only things you need to gamble on are evasion and critical hits, but with good strategy you can usually keep the chance of loosing a unit to a minimum. RPGs works this way as well but there are usually many more things that can go wrong, so you need more backup plans.
I love FE, but it relies a lot on evasion, unlike more traditional RPGs where you can normally take damage at least 4 times between healing sessions, perhaps more outside of boss battle, Fire Emblem is like each enemy is a boss, and will take you down in 2 hits if you don't evade. And taking down means a real dead, de facto game over as you don't want to loose your party. Luck plays a too big role in FE, but I still love the game, because of art style, music, and so on.

Also moving units on a grid is always going to be more interesting than "fight, fight, fight, fight" ad nauseaum.
What are you talking about? If the game allows you to keep all the weapons from start it definitely has broken economy and is too easy.
Well not necessarily. At least not if you can do a little bit of grinding (not hours !) to afford that.
You can buy all weapons at the end of the game when you have more money than you will ever need, just as long as you keep all the unique items around.
It's hard to know which items are unique without resorting to a guide, and there's no point in buying old equipment at the end of the game, the point is to keep an history of all weapons (incl. armour, accessories) each character used through the adventure.
I think we already established that the only games you need to grind in are DQ1, FF1 and FF2, and a bit in certain parts of DQ2.
I find all DQ games grindy. Even DQ5 and DQ8 were very grindy despite the fact I liked the game. Even the soulless DQ9 on NDS is grindy.
Oh I love FF10, especially the battle system.
That's great, but on the internet it seems many people think FF10 is bad - ironically many pefer the FF12 I find sucks so much. Well to each their own.

Mystic Quest was also made to teach Americans of the RPG genre, which is quite ironic considering that it was the Americans that invented the genre and introduced the genre to Japan.
Ironic at least... And the very concept of "making a game to learn audiance X of genre Y" is slly IMO... But that's not entierely new, Portopia was ported to the FC with similar goals, before making DQ1. This time with the Japanese public as target learners.

Also when it comes to games for american audiance, American Squaresoft did a better job at developing Secret of Evermore, than Japanese Squaresoft did with FFMQ... (music aside).
I
The original Dragon Warrior localizations has a similar history. Toriyama was still not famous at this time so they switched out all his art for more western fantasy art, which isn't exactly bad, but was in the hindsight a very bad decision considering that Toriyama's art is part of the series identity and reason why it's so popular.
I never thought about that, but you're absolutely right. There seemed to have a cliche/preconception in the late 1980 of western public hating anime art style, which turned being completely false. Or maybe it was just the older generations who grew up with classic Walt Disneys ?

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:23 pm

It's a very bad sign for DQ6 and following if Yuji Horii himself doesn't consider them supperior to DQ5... I haven't played 6-7 though, but 5 is the first one to have real plost twists and cutscenes, and a great story line.
Horii was asked which DQ game was his personal favourite in an interview I think and he said it was DQ5. That game was incredible, so I don't think it's so strange that he haven't been able to top it yet.

I still insist that DQ4 is the first DQ game with a heavy focus on story. It has several cutscenes including flashbacks, characters with backgrounds and motives and chapters each with their own intro and theme. It's not as much as DQ5 which has timeskips and stuff though. It's not the incredibly complex type of story like the FF series has either, but like I said before I wouldn't want that. The simple yet striking story and the fantastic worlds of DQ is what makes the series shine.

Good use of NES hardware is always nice, but I don't think the technology makes a game. The DQ games are very well designed and don't have a lot of bugs or bad AI or so (I think DQ4 has much better AI than many SNES RPGs like Lufia).

I agree about having more interesting battles would do them good though. This goes for pretty much all early JRPGs.

Although you don't see the characters in battle in DQ you see them on the map. In FF1-3 it's the other way around since it doesn't use the "caterpillar party formation".
That's not an excuse, and the NES hardware is more suited to do it the FF way, due to the 8-sprites per line limiation.
I don't think so. I greatly prefer the caterpillar party over FF's solution. But the 8 sprite/scanline limit is a good point.
I generally do prefer when you can see your heroes' butts like in Phantasy Star 2 or Pokemon over a pure first-person perspective where you can't see enemies' animations. Pokemon is actually a great example of using both text and animation while also showing characters on both sides using the same animations.


Having limited inventory doesn't make battles any funnier.
Dull was maybe the wrong word. Having (nearly) unlimited inventory is convenient but does invalidate certain aspects in lengthy battles, like bosses. Such battles tend to be about healing with the right timing and avoiding all allies to fall at once. Your defence and HP doesn't matter as much when the boss can fell you in one hit and you can revive with full HP almost instantly and indefinitely due to unlimited resources. DQ bosses are also usually strong enough to kill most characters in a few hits, but you don't have unlimited resources and there is usually a much larger difference between a character with more HP and one with less HP.

I just remembered that the bag in later DQ games is not accessible during battle. So it has the convenience of an unlimited inventory while at the same time it's not an unlimited resource in battle. It makes dungeon exploring easier (for better or for worse but is at least time saving), since you don't have to go back to town as soon as your herbs are used up. Seiken Densetsu 3 also works exactly like this. I greatly prefer this type of system.

My point is that a "mage" party member will be a burden 99% of the time
That's partly true, but I wouldn't say 99% of the time. They are useful for many battles and when I use MP sparingly I find myself running out of MP with about the same pacing as the priest/herbs runs out, so I need to go back to heal anyway. And the spells are definitely stronger than the fighter's attacks or are hitting whole groups of enemies. Magic are also useful for other things like Rura/Return and Riremito/Outside, and that's another reason why mages are so indispensable in DQ2 and DQ3 (the hero learns those in DQ3 but he has too low MP for him to use them when you need them). But yes, classes are not equal and are not meant to be, they each have specific roles. The mage in DQ3 is one of the more limited classes due to the mentioned reasons, and the game tries to fix this a bit by giving it the poison needle that can instant-kill enemies. By the end-game the mage is one of the worse classes and should probably class change to something else before that. Even the sage is generally limited in the end-game. The mage is not as bad as the merchant though which is pretty much a pointless class to include in the party. Especially considering it doesn't have any skills you would expect from a merchant, like buying things cheaper or selling things for bigger profit.

I love FE, but it relies a lot on evasion, unlike more traditional RPGs where you can normally take damage at least 4 times between healing sessions, perhaps more outside of boss battle, Fire Emblem is like each enemy is a boss, and will take you down in 2 hits if you don't evade. And taking down means a real dead, de facto game over as you don't want to loose your party. Luck plays a too big role in FE, but I still love the game, because of art style, music, and so on.
Ah yes you are right. While FE doesn't have dispersion in the damage values (a unit with the same weapon attacking the same enemy always does the same damage if he hits), the game requires you to do exact calculations and use very carefully planned strategy at all times if you don't want to loose any units. This kind of planning wouldn't be possible in an RPG because there are too many random factors, but they are also not as needed as you generally don't die so easily.
I actually love FE because of this exactness, it's a common thing in Intelligent System games.
BTW I've also been a huge fan of the FE series since long before it was finally translated to English. I didn't understand Japanese back then though so the story was lost on me.

I also like when RPGs uses a grid so that position becomes a factor. This was pretty much the norm in WRPGs, before they all started favouring real-time action. Wizardry was one of those that didn't though, which DQ copied and thus defined as standard in JRPGs.

What are you talking about? If the game allows you to keep all the weapons from start it definitely has broken economy and is too easy.
Well not necessarily. At least not if you can do a little bit of grinding (not hours !) to afford that.
Yeah well if it requires grinding to do it's OK. That might not be possible in DQ games without a lot of grinding. And if you grind enough so you never need to sell anything in DQ games you probably become too strong and the game becomes too easy. Also DQ games usually have a very expensive item like the Mink Coat which probably require a lot of grinding if you want to collect it (in DQ2 at least). But what I think is worse than that are the incredibly rare items like the Mysterious Hat in DQ2, they do require grinding and/or luck. Of course other games like the FF series is no different. Neither are modern JRPGs, they are probably actually worse in this regard with tons of secrets and collecting stuff.

It's hard to know which items are unique without resorting to a guide, and there's no point in buying old equipment at the end of the game, the point is to keep an history of all weapons (incl. armour, accessories) each character used through the adventure.
I understand, I also do that in games when it's possible. But I'm not sure I would design a game that allows doing that. I want gold to be precious so that the player becomes happy when he finds a treasure or anything that can be sold. I like to include things in the game that the player needs to save up for, not just the next weapon, but something very expensive as well as very useful like a ship or house. It shouldn't require grinding, but the player must pinch every penny, and do quests that gives fast gold and such things.

I find all DQ games grindy.
Even though they are equally grindy as games you say are balanced, like FF3?

on the internet it seems many people think FF10 is bad - ironically many pefer the FF12 I find sucks so much. Well to each their own.
Really? I've seen FF10 topping lists of best games of all time (though which I don't agree with). I've played a little bit of FF12 in the intro just to test out the battle system and the like, and it seems they are using some variant of the FF11 battle system. The system doesn't seem bad but I'm not sure that I care for such change. Also since this game and later games no longer have Sakaguchi or Uematsu I'm not even sure I would call them Final Fantasy anymore. They moved FF to Ivalice and stuff. The Final Fantasy Tactics series is fun but they don't have anything that feels like Final Fantasy.

Portopia was ported to the FC with similar goals, before making DQ1. This time with the Japanese public as target learners.
Also when it comes to games for american audiance, American Squaresoft did a better job at developing Secret of Evermore, than Japanese Squaresoft did with FFMQ... (music aside).
Yeah it was a time when RPGs was very new and obscure in Japan, and several developers made games that had RPG components (like stats, EXP and first-person perspective mazes) but was not otherwise what you would call an RPG. Horii also wanted to make a straight RPG, but didn't get permision to, so he made an adventure game with a first-person perspective maze first (which is the most horrible part of the game BTW).
I could never get into Secret of Evermore. It just felt like an inferior version of Secret of Mana. Maybe I should give it another try though.


The translated version of the Japanese manuals for DQ1 and DQ2 can be found over at Dragon's Den.
I think the manual is part of the overall experience in a game, and thanks to Toriyama the DQ manuals are feasts to the eyes. Check out the spells for DQ3 for example (these are actually for the remakes I think, that explains why Gira/Firebal is a fire spell).
They kind of make up for the missing battle animations I think.

Yeah, at least localizers often wanted to hide the Japanese art style so badly that they didn't mind using much inferior art (DW actually had good art though).

The Japanese anime style was clearly inspired by Disney and other American animations (Osamu Tezuka was a big fan of Disney). Cute characters with large eyes and such things nowdays considered very Japanese, were common in early American animation. Old Japanese and American animation looked very similar for a while, but took different paths around the 80s or 90s I think. Now we have the horribly goofy Pixar-style with tons of quick shot scenes in everything western animation. I think the Japanese style also has become a bit worse in the 2000s and 2010s, but not as bad as the American/western style has become.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:37 am

I still insist that DQ4 is the first DQ game with a heavy focus on story.
Well it's possible but even though I finished the DS version I don't recall any interesting story part, except that discovering a new part of the world with a new character was interesting. Maybe I'd have found it better on the NES, the only reason I played DS instead is because I expected it to be less grindy, but it was still grindy so maybe I was mistaking on that part.
Your defence and HP doesn't matter as much when the boss can fell you in one hit and you can revive with full HP almost instantly and indefinitely due to unlimited resources.
The game system allowing unlimited resources is not the same as having unlimited resources. Normally you're still supposed to have a limited stock of healing items with you, because either you can't afford them or they're only found in treasure (not buyable). If there's an abundance of cheap items, it's another problem than the game allowing you to carry an unlimited inventory.

Anyway it's not the limited or unlimited inventory which makes a RPG game good or bad. It's the story, setting and battle system.

And if you wanted a realistic setting, you wouldn't care as much about the # of items, but their weight and size. Carry 5 herbs and 5 armors is not the same. Heck if you wanted to be realistic, you'd limit the character to 1 armor in the inventory and it shouldn't even be possible to move with it unequipped. Weapons you should be able to carry 2 of them at most. But carry 20 herbs or even 99 sounds realistic to me.
I've also been a huge fan of the FE series since long before it was finally translated to English. I didn't understand Japanese back then though so the story was lost on me.
Same here, expect I still don't understand japanese ^^
When the GBA game finally came out it was a major relief ! Probably the best game of the 2000-2010 decade.
Also since this game and later games no longer have Sakaguchi or Uematsu I'm not even sure I would call them Final Fantasy anymore
You're stating the obvious but I still quote you to say I couldn't agree more.
Even though they are equally grindy as games you say are balanced, like FF3?
In FF3 I didn't have to re-visit dungeons thrice to get enough EXP to proceed, at worst I had to wander a bit arround the world map, which is more interesting. In each DQ game I have to visit each single dungeon twice if not thrice to have any chance to proceed, this tends to be annoying. Of course I could replace that with endless world-map wandering, but it gets boring after a while.
Horii also wanted to make a straight RPG, but didn't get permision to, so he made an adventure game with a first-person perspective maze first (which is the most horrible part of the game BTW).
Ironically Portopia has a more interesting story with more twists than any DQ game, and especially DQ1 released just after by the same developers. Also considering it's NROM it's just incredible how they could fit that in a NROM cart. The 3D maze has badly aged indeed ! But those were fashionable in the 1980s for some reason. The first RPG I ever played in my life was a PC game whose name I forgot but had a lot of those. Since there was nothing else available I enjoyed it but today I'd find this game is shit I believe. It's also probably the only WRPG I ever played, so I can't say anything about the WRPGs you mention because I never played them and I don't know squat about them.

Even DQ1 is incredible for a CNROM game. It's a shame they didn't keep this spirit of maxing out what their cartridge has to offer at the end of the FC area. I feel like FF3 did a much better job as doing a bang with what the NES hardware could do than DQ4.
I could never get into Secret of Evermore. It just felt like an inferior version of Secret of Mana. Maybe I should give it another try though.
SoE is one of those game whose beginning has repulsed a lot of potential players, even though most of the game is better than it's beginning. A bit like Terranigma. The first dungeon and first boss are really hard ! (and not that interesting) This is a proof that westerners weren't the pussies that Japanese gamedevs thought they were. Once you beat the 1st boss, the game starts to get interesting, and then it only becomes better.

It's better as a gamedev to make all your efforts to make the start of the adventure appealing and addictive. But then players could be disappointed at the rest of the adventure. That's where DW2 and DW3 fails, they added an amazing opening (that wasn't here in DQ2-DQ3), but this only makes the actual adventure further disappointing, because there's none of those story scenes anymore.
Yeah, at least localizers often wanted to hide the Japanese art style so badly that they didn't mind using much inferior art (DW actually had good art though).
Mega Man 1-2, we're looking at you ^^
I think the manual is part of the overall experience in a game
You're right, I totally forgot about that part, because I stopped being used to it and because it's harder to have access to the old manuals. They tended to be a lot better than more recent ones.

PS : Also in your previous post you mentioned naming the main character as part of character creation in DQ. But every single FF games allows you to pick the name of the main character, and most also allows you to pick the name of other characters, either when they join or later. Only FF5, FF8 and FF10 have fixed names for secondary characters. And even then the game engine allows to change them but the story doesn't, you can change them with save editing or romhacking.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:09 am

Well it's possible but even though I finished the DS version I don't recall any interesting story part, except that discovering a new part of the world with a new character was interesting. Maybe I'd have found it better on the NES, the only reason I played DS instead is because I expected it to be less grindy, but it was still grindy so maybe I was mistaking on that part.
The DS remake added a bunch of stuff, including post-game quests. I don't know, I remember the NES version as having a lot of twists and cutscenes. There are the touching cutscene when your childhood friend uses herself as a diversion for Pisaro/Saro's forces and a sad flashback with Rozary/Rose being abused by bad men. It felt like a lot of cutscenes since that's not what you'd expect from a NES game (FF2 probably has at least as many cutscenes though).

it's not the limited or unlimited inventory which makes a RPG game good or bad.
It's not, it's just one bad thing with an unlimited inventory system that I complain about. The fact that Phoenix Downs are cheaply found anywhere in many JRPGs in combination with an unlimited inventory is causing the problems I was talking about. I guess it could be counteracted by forcing the player to use a lot of items, but games seldom do.

And if you wanted a realistic setting, you wouldn't care as much about the # of items, but their weight and size.
I've never said I wanted realism. WRPGs tends to take both weight and size into account, since they aim for more realism (and because that's how pen-and-paper RPGs often work). It's about having item micromanagement and limitation as a strategy and gameplay aspect.

Counting torches is another gameplay aspect that was common in earlier RPGs that I'm missing. Only DQ1 has torches and the Remiira/Radiant spell.


Fire Emblem
Yeah I was amazed when the first FE game finally came in English (thanks to Marth's inclusion in Super Smash Bros Melee), and found that the story and characters extremely well made. Before I only knew that the art, sound and game mechanics were fantastic. I've always felt that the series would do very well outside Japan, so I always thought it was very strange that they didn't try to translate them earlier.

In FF3 I didn't have to re-visit dungeons thrice to get enough EXP to proceed, at worst I had to wander a bit arround the world map, which is more interesting. In each DQ game I have to visit each single dungeon twice if not thrice to have any chance to proceed, this tends to be annoying. Of course I could replace that with endless world-map wandering, but it gets boring after a while.
Then you must be doing something wrong. I never need to go back to a dungeon to grind in DQ3 or DQ4. I go through the dungeons several times because I sometimes have to go back and heal/resupply but that's normal. I do explore every nook and corner and gains EXP and gold naturally that way. In DQ3 you need a good balanced party though, or else grinding is unavoidable. The best balance is probably: Hero, Soldier/Fighter, Priest and Mage. I say start with a Fighter because there are not much Soldier-unique equipment in the beginning of the game and Fighters can fight naked, saving you a lot of gold. Soldiers are better at the end-game when more heavy equipment are available and gold is plenty.

The 3D maze has badly aged indeed ! But those were fashionable in the 1980s for some reason. The first RPG I ever played in my life was a PC game whose name I forgot but had a lot of those. Since there was nothing else available I enjoyed it but today I'd find this game is shit I believe. It's also probably the only WRPG I ever played, so I can't say anything about the WRPGs you mention because I never played them and I don't know squat about them.

DQ1 is incredible for a CNROM game. It's a shame they didn't keep this spirit of maxing out what their cartridge has to offer at the end of the FC area. I feel like FF3 did a much better job as doing a bang with what the NES hardware could do than DQ4.
Yes WRPGs generally had 3D mazes (just check out the Gold Box series which all uses the same engine with 3D-mazes and grid-based combat). Even Akalabeth and Ultima both uses a first-person perspective in dungeons while it uses a bird-view perspective on the world map. There is no separate battle mode screen, battles takes place in both these modes. Wizardry 1 on the other hand is always in first-person perspective, but it's also a dungeon crawler. There is no world map AFAIK, only a town and dungeon, so it plays kind of like an adventure game like Portopia in town, but there are shops and stuff. Both games was very popular in Japan among nerds (the developers were nerds), so they created DQ by mixing features of both Ultima and Wizardry, and prettied it up to make it appealing to a larger audience. The first-person perspective in battles is mainly from Wizardry, while the bird-view is stolen from Ultima. Many things like poison marches and barrier tiles are also directly stolen from Ultima.

Well DQ4 and FF3 were both released in 1990, right before the SFC. Just Breed did go out with a bang, but it was also a very late game (1992) meaning it probably lost a lot attention to the SFC which had already been out for 2 years. I guess the American DW3 and DW4 suffered a similar fate since they where both also released in 1992 (same year as DQ5 was released), when the North American SNES already was out a year before.
I think trying to make the game more advanced wouldn't have worked in the games favour if it would have delayed the game.


SoE is one of those game whose beginning has repulsed a lot of potential players, even though most of the game is better than it's beginning. A bit like Terranigma. The first dungeon and first boss are really hard ! (and not that interesting) This is a proof that westerners weren't the pussies that Japanese gamedevs thought they were. Once you beat the 1st boss, the game starts to get interesting, and then it only becomes better.

It's better as a gamedev to make all your efforts to make the start of the adventure appealing and addictive. But then players could be disappointed at the rest of the adventure. That's where DW2 and DW3 fails, they added an amazing opening (that wasn't here in DQ2-DQ3), but this only makes the actual adventure further disappointing, because there's none of those story scenes anymore.
I never made it to a boss IIRCC. I remember I got a bazooka and a dog and then ended up at some village when I lost the interest. The characters and the dark graphics was what made me loose interest I think. I will put it on my games-to-play list though.
I did love Terranigma from the start.

Yeah I can imagine that you get disappointed if you play DQ2 and expect it to play more like a modern JRPG with tons of cutscenes and story.

I stopped being used to it and because it's harder to have access to the old manuals. They tended to be a lot better than more recent ones.
Yeah manuals for games in the 80s and 90s was fantastic. They included the story (often because the games were too small for an intro :lol:), maps, pictures of enemies and items with names, a few hints and lots of good art. Now they tend to be very boring and don't contain anything else than explanations of how the game works, which most players figures out on their own so you hardly ever needs to touch them. Nintendo even skipped the manuals altogether on Switch games so people don't learn to do the bullet-time bow trick or shield surfing move until they beaten more then half of Breath of the Wild.

PS : Also in your previous post you mentioned naming the main character as part of character creation in DQ. But every single FF games allows you to pick the name of the main character, and most also allows you to pick the name of other characters, either when they join or later. Only FF5, FF8 and FF10 have fixed names for secondary characters. And even then the game engine allows to change them but the story doesn't, you can change them with save editing or romhacking.
Yeah FF games almost always allows you to change the name of characters which I find funny since they are still really premade characters with dialogue, backgrounds and personalities, so I never really change the names when I play them. The hero in DQ games is also partly premade though, especially since DQ5 and up. The DQ3 and DQ4 heroes also do has some background story, but that is kind of unavoidable. The three DQ2 heroes also mostly feels like premade characters that you get to choose the names for.

In DQ1 the name decides which growth table to use, so it's a really simple character creation that affects more than the name and is still able to fit in a password. I think DQ2 uses fixed growth tables though, the name of the first prince is only used to decide the names of the other two from a premade list.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:35 am

The DS remake added a bunch of stuff, including post-game quests.
I didn't play them, as I hardly ever play them. Those are for people who have few games in their library ^^
I played and enjoy the post-game quest in DQ8, but god, that was hard (and grindy). Without Jessica being seen on screen during battle I probably would never have done through the hassle.
Yeah I was amazed when the first FE game finally came in English (thanks to Marth's inclusion in Super Smash Bros Melee),
No, I was not talking about the Shadow Dragon remake for the DS, but about the Fire Emblem on GBA (without subtitle in the west, but Rekka no Ken in Japan).

Maybe it was a bad idea to play DQ4 on DS after all, and I should've played on NES. After all the remakes are not necessarly less grindy than the originals, for example FF3 and FF4 for NDS seemds more grindy and harder than the S/NES originals, so I didn't play them past a few hours.

I'll retry DW4 for NES but first I'll have to go through DQ6 and DW7, which are the ones I didn't play. Oh and DQ2 also but since it seems so grindy and annoying I don't even want to play it.
Just Breed did go out with a bang, but it was also a very late game (1992) meaning it probably lost a lot attention to the SFC which had already been out for 2 years.
I don't know the situation in Japan nor the US, but in Europe when it came out, the SNES and its game wer incredibly expensive, so the latter NES games were just as successful.
In DQ1 the name decides which growth table to use, so it's a really simple character creation that affects more than the name and is still able to fit in a password.
I didn't know about that, I think it does it silently.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:50 am

Yes I was also talking about Rekka no Ken. I meant to say the first English game, not the first game in the series. Its translation was very well made (though not that I've played the Japanese version yet), and this continued with the Gamecube game which also is excellently written (but unfortunately has badly dubbed cutscenes).


DQ11 is actually my first 3D DQ game. I was unable to play DQ5 and 6 for a long time since they where not available in English. Although now they are in English (I've played the fan-translation of DQ5), since learning Japanese well enough I have got the crazy urge to play the whole series again from the beginning so it takes even longer before I can play DQ6 and up.
I already got the Japanese version of all the main series games (no remakes), except DQ10, all CIB (they are not exactly expensive or hard to find). But I need to be in an "RPG mood" whenever I'm going to play a game in the series.

I'll retry DW4 for NES but first I'll have to go through DQ6 and DW7, which are the ones I didn't play. Oh and DQ2 also but since it seems so grindy and annoying I don't even want to play it.
Well if you are prepared for it it's not that bad. When I played the Famicom version of DQ2 it wasn't as bad as I remembered at all. One reason to that was because I made sure to use Toherosu/Repel or Holy Water whenever I sailed, or else the game would slow down to death by random encounters as soon as you want to sail somewhere. I don't understand why I didn't use it as much when I played it the last time back long ago. That's basically how you travel around in DQ1 and DQ2 without having to face weak enemies that gives too little EXP and gold. It's also not really as grindy as DQ1, it's just that some parts of the game are grindy, but it's still quite a short game. I enjoyed it immensely.

I have a knack for playing old games in their proper context. Knowing the history of the game and wanting to know why it was as popular as it was, I put myself in a state of mind where I kind of almost imitate a kid playing the game for the first time when it was released and had never seen anything like it before. Well not exactly, but I seldom have trouble getting into old games that most people think have aged badly, as long as I'm prepared for it. Especially not NES games, since I grew up with the system and have never really stopped playing it (although it was thrown out without my permission years ago and I have since replaced it with a Famicom).

DQ 1 to 3 are fun to play in order because they are a trilogy, but I find it generally fun to play games of any series in order because you gradually see what things were introduced in what games and you appreciate the additions more. If you just jump into DQ3 after have just played Nier: Automata or whatever you might be in for a shock. That's another reason I want to play all the games again in Japanese. I did skip this rule a bit for DQ11, as I bought it as soon as DQ11 S was released on the Switch, and couldn't wait until I finished all the other games before I tried it.

I don't know the situation in Japan nor the US, but in Europe when it came out, the SNES and its game wer incredibly expensive, so the latter NES games were just as successful.
I don't know if it was expensive in Sweden or not. My dad bought the SNES almost as soon as it was released (probably because he was quite interested in it himself), but most of my classmates never got it and continued to play NES forever.
The NES was incredibly popular in Scandinavia, apparently more so than in the rest of Europe, so I think it did very well long into the 90s in Sweden as well, but I'm not so sure about America and Japan. Game sales always go down when a new system comes out though.
The New Famicom was still manufactured in Japan until the patents ran out in the early 2000s though, so it can't have been that bad.


DQ1 only saves the name and experience points you have, and figures out the level and stats from that information. It also saves equipment, items and 5 flags (2 equip flags for accessories, 2 quest flags for bosses and 1 chest flag for a unique item). Most quest progress things are figured out by checking if the player has a certain item or not. Chests are not saved so they respawn when exiting a dungeon.
I've tried to figure out the password system in DQ1 and DQ2 but I'm really bad at reverse engineering and math so I haven't really gotten anywhere. There are quite a few resources of it in Japanese, but I don't fully understand the technical parts of it. The MSX versions also uses the exact same password system, but the MSX version of DQ2 has a unique item (the series' first appearance of the Revealing Swimsuit gotten in an MSX-exclusive scene) which makes the password incompatible with the Famicom version as long as you have it in the inventory.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:19 pm

I was unable to play DQ5 and 6 for a long time since they where not available in English.
I'm pretty sure fan translations are available since a long time (there's even 2 concurrent translations of DQ5). But if you mean when they came out, yes indeed. Seen from today, the time period between when those games were released and when fan translations were made available in the early 2000s seems rather short.
I have a knack for playing old games in their proper context. Knowing the history of the game and wanting to know why it was as popular as it was, I put myself in a state of mind where I kind of almost imitate a kid playing the game for the first time when it was released and had never seen anything like it before.
That's amazing, alas easier said than done. Forgetting today's context and putting a 80's or 90's context in your mind is almost impossible. I remember when I was still a kid playing Castlevania 1 with a friend and pretending to be kids discovering the game back then, making dumb comments, this was fun :)
But regardless it's true this game's graphics were good for 1986 standards. Dragon Quest's graphics were okay for it's time but what I don't like is that they didn't advance enough like other games of the time, where the difference between early and later NES game is gigantic.
The NES was incredibly popular in Scandinavia, apparently more so than in the rest of Europe
I was a newborn so I can't tell. But here the NES sounds more obscure than the SNES and Gameboy, and it is those two who made Nintendo products really became popular here. Also people refer to the consoles as "Nintendo" and "Super Nintendo", I never heard the acronyms NES and SNES before the advent of internet. So if sombebody said "Nintendo" it would be ambiguous whether he's discussing the company or the NES.
I've tried to figure out the password system in DQ1 and DQ2 but I'm really bad at reverse engineering and math so I haven't really gotten anywhere.
Disassemble the code and reverse-engineering how the password functions is on my (long) to-do list for the covid-19 isolation period. Alas DQ1 uses code in RAM which should be disassembled from CHR-ROM, so this is hard to disassemble properly.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by strat » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:28 pm

I'm pretty sure fan translations are available since a long time (there's even 2 concurrent translations of DQ5). But if you mean when they came out, yes indeed. Seen from today, the time period between when those games were released and when fan translations were made available in the early 2000s seems rather short.
Around the time DQ6 came out a man in his late 60's wrote to Nintendo Power lamenting he'd never get to play DQ5 and 6 (at the time NP was running pieces about JRPGs getting passed over). I often wonder if he ever discovered the translation patch or the DS versions.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Pokun » Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:14 am

Yeah DQ5 was being translated when Enix shut down their USA office and had to cancel all translation work. They couldn't have had much worse timing than they did. Maybe there is a half-finished prototype of the official translation gathering dust in an atic somewhere.

Yes, I played the DQ5 fantranslation quite soon after it came out, I believe it was spSpiff and byuu's version in 2001 (it uses DQ terminology except for spells which follows DW terminology for practical reasons). I was younger so it felt like a very long time to me back then, and considering even the N64 was at the end of its line and SNES was already a retro system to me in 2001 (the N64 and PS1 on the other hand will probably always feel like modern systems to me though).
I was totally blown away by the beautiful world, sound, story and its likeness to DQ4 which it is a sequel to. I don't understand the critics it got for being "NES-like" (NES don't even have that many colours). It wasn't very different from other SNES RPGs from the same time like FF4 and FF5 either, rather I'd think it was more beautiful than the slightly washed out and simplistic FF4 (not strange since FF4 predates DQ5 and was originally developed for NES).

That's amazing, alas easier said than done. Forgetting today's context and putting a 80's or 90's context in your mind is almost impossible. I remember when I was still a kid playing Castlevania 1 with a friend and pretending to be kids discovering the game back then, making dumb comments, this was fun :)
But regardless it's true this game's graphics were good for 1986 standards. Dragon Quest's graphics were okay for it's time but what I don't like is that they didn't advance enough like other games of the time, where the difference between early and later NES game is gigantic.
I exaggerated a bit, but since I often play old games because I'm interested in them from a historical perspective I'm very well prepared for a game to not live up to modern standards (sometimes I'm taken by surprise by super unintuitive gameplay though). Also because I'm older, more experienced and especially more patient than I used to be, I'm not as easily put off by repetitive gameplay, if I can estimate the scope of it. My period of playing MMORPGs (I mainly played Nexus TK, the very first real MMORPG, and Ragnarök Online) also probably made me think that mindless grinding for a few hours is nothing. Not that DQ games requires hours of grinding though.

I'm not sure I agree, the difference between DQ1 and DQ4 is about the same as other NES games like say SMB1 and SMB3, or FF1 and FF3. It's far more different than for example NES Megaman games where each new game mainly comes with new levels, robot masters and weapons. The DQ series introduces new things in each game that became staple for the series and often also in JRPGs in general: multiple party members, multiple enemies, classes, more intuitive menus, 4-way facing character sprites, battery backup saving, NPCs that can join the party (controlled by very good AI), tactic settings (also AI) for party members, more involved story, vehicles, multiple worlds, side quests, elves and dwarves (strangely called hobbits in DQ3 although they are clearly dwarves), casinos and lots of humour, besides new worlds, spells, status effects, items and monsters. I'm not saying DQ was first with these, I'm saying that DQ developed a lot for every game up to at least DQ5.

I was a newborn so I can't tell. But here the NES sounds more obscure than the SNES and Gameboy, and it is those two who made Nintendo products really became popular here. Also people refer to the consoles as "Nintendo" and "Super Nintendo", I never heard the acronyms NES and SNES before the advent of internet. So if somebody said "Nintendo" it would be ambiguous whether he's discussing the company or the NES.
As you can see in IGN's video, Bergsala (the Scandinavian Nintendo distributor) greatly overperformed in sales of Game & Watch and NES compared to Germany for example (in percentile numbers, Sweden is still a small country so it isn't that much money for Nintendo compared to say USA sales). Almost every kid I knew had a NES at home so it was very easy to borrow and play new games. Yeah we also didn't say NES or SNES at first. It was just TV-spel (literary "TV-game"), especially since it was the only video game system a lot of people knew about. Otherwise it was "a Nintendo" in contrast to "a Sega" (for the Master System I believe) for example which was a far less common system. When the SNES came out the NES became "Nintendo 8-bit", which is still quite a widely known term. I read a lot of gaming magazines though and they used terms like NES and SNES, which we pronounced like they are spelled, unlike many Americans that seems to persist with saying the name of every letter like [es-en-i-es] instead of just saying the far quicker [snes] (though I think letter names in English are probably faster to say than in Swedish). Actually Nintendo's sales dropped a bit after the NES, and the SNES wasn't as dominating as Game & Watch and NES previously was, but still quite popular. Like in the rest of Europe Sega Mega Drive was quite popular, although I'm not sure if it outsold the SNES, like it did in Europe as a whole. Also a lot of people went over to play computer games (IBM PC) after some time, and sadly never returned to consoles. It was quite weird to me considering IBM PC games was generally of lower quality than console games at this time, and not really that suitable for games. It was easy to pirate games though which was popular among PC gamers.


Another thing I miss in JRPGs in general is ammunition. FF4 is pretty much the only FF game that has a system for arrows, and it works very well. FF8 has bullets but they are only used for limit breaks. I think ranged weapons is more interesting if they are limited with ammunition. But that also pretty much requires a grid or something (like the row system in FF games) or ranged weapons won't have an advantage. Maybe that's why bows as usable weapons, which are otherwise staple for RPGs and anything fantasy at all, are almost entirely absent in the DQ world.

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Re: Dragon Quest discussion continued

Post by Bregalad » Sat Apr 11, 2020 11:57 am

I was totally blown away by the beautiful world, sound, story and its likeness to DQ4 which it is a sequel to. I don't understand the critics it got for being "NES-like" (NES don't even have that many colours).
Well the most obvious NES-like feature is the sound effects. But unless I'm misremembering, the game also lacks many features which were introduced in other games series with the SNES, such as mode-7, mosaic effects, characters being animated in battle, parallax scroling, transparent water/fog or other transparent effects. This doesn't prevent DQ5 from being a great game, but I can see where those critics comes from, and they're similar to what I have to critic against DQ3-4 for sticking too strictly to looking like DQ2.

At least DQ5 re-introduced the battle backgrounds which were lost in DQ2-4 for some reason.
The DQ series introduces new things in each game that became staple for the series and often also in JRPGs in general: multiple party members, multiple enemies, classes, more intuitive menus, 4-way facing character sprites, battery backup saving, NPCs that can join the party (controlled by very good AI), tactic settings (also AI) for party members, more involved story, vehicles, multiple worlds, side quests, elves and dwarves (strangely called hobbits in DQ3 although they are clearly dwarves), casinos and lots of humour, besides new worlds, spells, status effects, items and monsters.
Nope, menus for all the NES DQ games are terrible and were only made intuitive in DQ5. That's probably because when you want to cancel they actually have to program the background, or another menu, re-appearing below the topmost opened menu, but since this is actually hard to program they just made the B button close the entiere menu whenever you want to cancel anything. This was an awful idea.

The other things you mentions doesn't even compensate the horrendousness of the graphics seen from a 1990 perspective, combined by the slow/unresponsive character motion, very high encounter rate, etc... All little details which makes the game look really dated.
Pokun wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:14 am
Another thing I miss in JRPGs in general is ammunition. FF4 is pretty much the only FF game that has a system for arrows, and it works very well.
I'm fairly sure FF3 has this, too.
Maybe that's why bows as usable weapons, which are otherwise staple for RPGs and anything fantasy at all, are almost entirely absent in the DQ world.
I never noticed it, but indeed this is a lacking aspect of a traditional fantasy element in the series. I guess they just didn't like bows. It also contributes to less interesting battles I suppose.
Pokun wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 2:14 am
(not strange since FF4 predates DQ5 and was originally developed for NES)
The FF4 that was originally develped for the NES isn't the FF4 we know for the SNES, but yet another game, the only thing we know is that it featured shops selling airships. Apparently that game was cancelled very early anyway, and some ideas probably made it to the actual FF4.

Both FF4 and DQ5 can look "NES-like" to a player of later-day SNES games, but this is just yet another proof that back then, it made a huge difference whether a game was released on the start or end of life of a system. DQ5 has incredibly bright colours, I don't think it looks very good. FF4 suffers more from its tiny sprites. We have to wait for DQ6 to have a DQ game with truly good graphics.

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