Friday, January 23, 2015

Dragon Quest (Super Famicom, 1993)

Time for the original Dragon Quest. Wait, didn't I cover this game already? Yes, but I covered the English NES version, Dragon Warrior. This is the Super Famicom remake that came along later. It's awesome.

To be exact, they remade the first two games on one SFC cart. This paved the way for the SFC remake of Dragon Quest III, which I covered on here.

Oddly, I covered that version instead of the NES version back when I was covering the NES versions of Dragon Warrior 1 through 4. Does that mean I'll finally cover the original NES Dragon Warrior III after I cover these SFC remakes of the first two? Yeah, probably.

Weird. I'm usually better about putting things in logical order than that. Except for the time I covered Mega Man X5 before any of the other X series games. I need to do something about that. Soon, Freeza. Soon. Maybe.

The NES version of the game would abbreviate your name to four letters most of the time, meaning you'd generally want to keep your name to four letters or less. It actually gives you a fairly substantial amount of letters for your name, but only the first four letters display on the menu and in battles. As a result, "Cockburn" would be out of the question since it would transform into... yeah.

"It would transform into 'cock'!"

Yes, thank you Captain Hammer, we figured that out.

However, THIS version of the game... Aside from graphics and localization improvements, it actually DOES display your full character name, not just the first four letters.

Ancestor of ace pilot Lloyd Cockburn!

 And you as well, fair king!

In any case, the objective of the first half or so of this game is to rescue the princess. Because of course it is. Keep in mind that this game can be finished in like six hours, so the "first half" is the equivalent of the intro story arc in most RPGs.


Our hero sets out into the world and battles slimes. The simplicity of this game is nice, and it might well be the first console open world game. I like not being boxed in, free to run around and get objectives done at will without being blocked off because I didn't talk to the right cat-lady in the right house.

The first big objective? Get the Copper Sword. It's a significant upgrade over my previous weapon, which was a slap. A harsh slap, but a slap nonetheless.

The spell repertoire is limited in this game, but it's distilled down to the most useful spells. Hurt is now Firebal in the remake, and I'm curious to see what Hurtmore has become.

I pick a fight with a golem, and it doesn't go well. This game takes "a bridge too far" literally, as the enemy lineup changes every time you go over a bridge into a new area.

 He did what? That bastard! This should be a Lifetime Original Movie. They can call it "A Locked Heart".

I still don't know what exactly Puff Puff is. I think it changes from game to game. In this one the screen goes black and she makes "puff" noises about fifty times in a row. she blowing him? I'm dead serious here. I... I think she's giving our hero a blowie.

The Sleep spell is (I believe) the third spell you get, and it might well be the most useful for the majority of the game. It works on most enemies, and allows you to defeat enemies that are more powerful than you are... provided it holds for long enough.

Metal Slimes make their debut here (no Metal Babbles though). They should be harder to take out than ever since you only have one character, but surprisingly, they aren't. They don't flee very often in this one.

One of the several bosses in the game, the Axe Knight is probably the biggest challenge outside of the final boss. This guy attacks with a Sleep spell of his own, and winning is a matter of using StopSpell and hoping he wastes all of his turns trying to cast Sleep on you. Three hits from him are death at level 10, so it took a lot of luck.


It's really cool when I barely win a fight in a game.

Of course, he guards the best armor in the game. Not only does it have the highest defense, it also regenerates several health points with every step. Ideal for late-game grinding and general survival.


The next thing I take on is the Green Dragon cave to rescue the princess. The Green Dragon is significantly less of a threat than the Axe Knight, and it's pretty clear that this is intended to be your first "boss".

Sleep won't save you here, so you need to be strong enough to slug it out. That, of course, means lots of grinding if you haven't gimped your way to an early Armor of Erdrick.

In my post on the original NES version, I had a field day with this part of the game as I made the hero carry Gwaelin around for an age and a half while developing back injuries. This time, I'm going to cut right to the chase and bring her back to the castle.

In the immortal words of wrestling sensation New Jack: You was a ho then, and youse a ho now.

Ugh. I was hoping to get through this scene without contracting any incurable viruses.

I return the princess to the castle and quickly get ready to get out of dodge.

::record scratching:: ...Wait, what?

 Wow, I'm outta here.

Yeah, thanks, excuse me. I'll crash at the inn, thanks.

Now rested and freshly masturbated, our hero trudges onward to the next town.

Armor spikes in cost here. The only problem's a downgrade because I already have the best armor. HAW!

She's... late? My condolences, Rock. Kids are expensive.

After defeating the formidable Golem, I arrive in the town with the best shield and the second-best sword. Yeah, there's no Erdrick's Shield. Weird. Dragon Quest II has the shield, as well as Erdrick's Helmet, and if I remember right neither is in Alefgard here. So we can assume that Erdrick left them elsewhere. It's a perfect explanation for why they aren't in this game.

It's still odd from a design standpoint to not have the shield in this one. I suspect a lot of players searched high and low for an Erdrick's Shield in this game back in the day, only to be disappointed in the end.

Regardless, time for a grind-fest to get those two wildly expensive items. CUE GRINDING MUSIC!

A little less conversation! A little more action please!

All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me!

A little more bite and a little less bark!

A little less fight a little more spark!

This guy attacks a LOT on the overworld around the destroyed town, and drops a massive 650 G when defeated. God bless this big Jew!

::murmuring is heard in the back of the room::

Got the best shield. We're good for now... just need Erdrick's Sword and it's in the final area.

The last part of the game is just a big scavenger hunt as you run around collecting artifacts that are needed to reach the final area. I think you're supposed to get these as you go, but I usually wait and do everything towards the end.

Level 17 is huge, as it gets you the heal upgrade. This is all you need to beat the game level/spell-wise, but don't expect it to be anything less than SUPER-DIFFICULT.

The first dungeon has a tablet at the end that tells of your destiny. It's much nicer-looking in this version than in the NES version.

The longest dungeon, aside from the final castle, is the Silver Harp Cave. It's actually the only other lengthy dungeon in the game besides the aforementioned final castle. This game is fairly brief.

 After collecting everything I need to progress the story, my inventory is full. Surprised they didn't address this in the remake; it means I can't pick up anything new without dropping something, and none of these story items are droppable. Nor are the keys. I ended up having to throw away my Dragon's Scale just to loot stuff. Not sure what the scale even does... I hear it grants some innate fire protection. I went back and got another one from the store after I cleared out the inventory by handing in all the plot items.

...Gwaelin uses the Gwaelin's Love item to call you. There's no escape.

Hurtmore has indeed been renamed. Here's Firebane, which dishes out quite a bit of damage. Unfortunately, like the earlier attack spell in this game, it isn't too useful. By the time you get it, your regular attacks do almost as much damage without the MP cost anyway. Also, it can be resisted by strong enemies, which makes it even less of an option.

Time for the final battle. The Dragonlord's castle got quite a makeover, now appearing on top of a large hill.

 Stronger versions of earlier bosses show up here. For the most part, the game is pretty simple at this point. With Erdrick's Armor healing you between fights, you slug it out with enemies with regular attacks. No real need for Sleep at this point. Healmore is good for recovering between fights if damage taken outpaces the natural regeneration, but that's about the extent of spell usage.

This is especially true once you get the final weapon. This thing slices through everything in your path with ease. Usually in the NES version I'd leave after acquiring this, rest, and return for the rest of the dungeon. This time, I'm in a hurry and it doesn't feel necessary. I've barely had to use any MP due to armor regen.

After level 20, every level takes the same experience that 19 to 20 took. I decided to do something I've never done before and grind all the way to max level, 30. You don't really need to go higher than 20 to beat the game, and you don't get any spells for going beyond that. HP/MP and stats, yes.

It didn't take long at all to get those ten levels grinding in Dragonlord's room. Erdrick's Armor actually kept me healed.

Final stats. Being this level as opposed to 20 doesn't make the final battle as much of a cakewalk as expected, but it does reduce the number of times you'll need to heal to win.

The lack of Erdrick Shield is really off-putting if you're OCD at all.

Dragonlord himself tries to bargain his way out of fighting the maximum-leveled wall of manliness that is Cockburn. Half the world? He doesn't even own a tenth of it!

Say yes, and a chilling scene unfolds.

Dragonlord likes to blast you with Firebane, making better use of the spell than you can at this point. Especially considering he himself seems to be immune to Firebane (makes sense, he's a dragon).

Of course, the real fight is his second form. In the NES version he was blue, while in this version he's...strangely pink. Regardless, the fight is pretty much a back-and-forth slugfest, and even at max level I had to Healmore three times to win. At level 20 or so (what I usually fight him at) you have to heal every two or three turns and it's a drawn-out fight.

Our hero lives happily ever after with his blushing bride-to-be. Well, the good news is that he has regen armor to heal his back after he has to carry her to the store.

Final thoughts on this one? Pretty cool. It's a definite improvement over the NES version in the graphics and sound areas. I was hoping it would make more changes (for instance, to the inventory system), though. Seems like a fairly bare-bones port. It's also early-gen Super Famicom, so while they're an improvement the graphics aren't stellar or anything. Since it's included on the same cart, it's possible that this game mainly exists as a demo reel for the second game, and that's where I'll see more noticeable 16-bit improvements.

That does it for this one. Next, I cover the SFC remake of Dragon Quest II. Now with Super Power!

As for the later Game Boy Color remake of Dragon Quest I+II... I'm sure they're good versions too, but I'm portabled out for now.


  1. Ah, the classic princess carry. Much more icon than a fireman carry would have been.

    That's one hell of a question, princess. Actually that would be a pretty hot question if her dad wasn't sitting like three meters away.

    From my own experiences playing Dragon Warrior when it came out, I never wondered if there was an Erdrick's Shield. The inserts that came with the game might have had a full equipment list, or perhaps Nintendo Power itself made clear what the best equipment in the game was.

    This game DID address the inventory issue... by giving you 12 slots instead of 8. As you saw firsthand, that still wasn't enough, but 12 is still a huge improvement over 8, especially considering how much space your equipment takes up.

    DQI&II on Game Boy (Color) are excellent. They came way later so they actually have a few things the SNES version doesn't have, just like DQIII on the GBC. As I recall there's a cutscene at the start where the princess is kidnapped. In any case, while they are great, the SNES version is still better.

  2. This was a fun jaunt! Another post of yours I read months ago and am getting around to commenting on now. This is the ultimate game that makes you think "back in the old days games were simpler and..better?" but having played the NES version I know there are many time-saving improvements that had to be made on it. It is interesting RPGs got so linear for so long after this but I believe that was to make them easier to program and allow more and better plot cut scenes. With MMORPGs we've gotten back to the Dragon Quest 1 spirit. I love the bright colors of this remake. And the princess's thirst is a refreshing change from the usual princess trope to be honest.