Sunday, December 5, 2021

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen, Part 3 - A Swift Kick In The Balzack

With the legendary Hero "dead", suddenly parties of adventurers the world over are setting out to be the new Hero. It's sort of like when Superman died and all of those poser "Supermans" appeared. Little does anyone know, the Hero is fine and he's right here. Unfortunately, he's got no allies.

...until a minute later when you find Meena and Maya. This is why I emphasized building them up during their chapter, they're the first ones you get in Chapter 5.

"And if she misbehaves, be sure to give her a good, firm spanking!"

Our heroes walk past a tree that mysteriously has dead bodies strewn all around it. Next thing they know, it comes to life!

The tree has a homicidal tree friend. That's right: There are TWO stump chumps.

After beating off the stump chump invasion, our heroes fall into this weird dungeon where monsters impersonate the ladies. I don't know what's happening anymore.

This place is actually the first big challenge of Chapter 5, because as quickly as it gives you new party members, it yoinks them away and makes you fight some difficult battles solo. You pretty much have to level-grind the Hero outside before doing this.

Here's Hoffman, the Lorne of this game. He temporarily joins the party and does very little before leaving to start a town. He does, however, supply you with the wagon. This allows you to carry around more than four party members on the overworld and swap out at will. It's also a terrific place to make out.

I encounter my first metal slime here! This is always a great moment, and a good time for your yearly reminder that Epstein didn't kill himself

Taloon is the next party member to be acquired, and he immediately recognizes our heroes due to Maya's legendarily rock-hard nipples.

Who are you again?

Getting Taloon here is actually kind of upstaged by the fact that you already have a full party, so you can't even use him till you continue on a bit and get to the next cutscene. If I were the devs for this game, I would have probably left Hoffman out of the playable battle party entirely so that this moment of acquiring Taloon would have more oomph.

Next boss is a very Dragon Questy fight. A boss on some sort of altar definitely feels like something I've seen a lot of in this series.

I finally get Taloon into the party for real. Now we have a ton of testosterone to balance out the overpowering amount of female pheromone that pours off of Maya and Meena at all times.

Hoffman continuing to steal Taloon's "4th character" heat. Get outta here, Hoffman.

Our heroes battle man-o-wars at sea. I've heard stories about these punks stinging people at the beach. I hear there's one that can sting you from like 400 feet away. How is that even possible?

But I digress, it's time for Hoffman to GIIIIIT OUT. He starts a town next, and there's an entire sidequest that goes into building the town. Sorta like Lorne's town in the previous game, except way more involved. I basically ignored the sidequest until the postgame. Said sidequest can be a real pain because a lot of the events for it seem to have issues triggering even if you've met the requirements. However if you make it to the end, you can buy some of the best equipment in the game in the new town.

In the meantime, we've got some meager choices from equipment shops. The Cautery Sword is the best thing the Hero can get for a while.

We get THE FIFTH MAN (the actual one) and it's Borya the mage. So now we've got two black mages. It may seem redundant, but DQIV splits up the spells between Maya/Borya and Meena/Kiryl. In other words, it isn't like both characters will get all of the spells in their field. They share some spells, but others are exclusive. Borya has a few extremely useful buffs that Maya doesn't have. Kiryl is a better healer/buffer while Meena has the crucial Insulate. The casters balance each other out in this game.

What is this rogue's gallery of weirdoes? ...And why haven't they entered the Endor tournament yet?

The Princess: "My cup runneth over!"

Next, our heroes sail across the sea. Their mission now is to track down Alena, who is on an expedition to save a sick Kiryl.

But first, I stop by the Taj Mahal esque domain of the sexual dynamo known as...

...the Medal King. He will always be the Medal King to me. I turn in some medals, then it's off to...

...the Mythril Mine? I did hear the FFVII dungeon theme in my head as I walked in.

Alena and a crew of jobbers are running around in here, looking for something that can cure Kiryl of illness. Alena's jobber crew gets smaller and smaller as the dungeon goes on and you keep running into them. Wonder if this is a reference to DQIII and how your party was essentially composed of hired characters?

Hope you like arrow walkways, because this cave HAS THEM.

At the end, we get the fever-curing seed that Kiryl needs. This'll get us him and Alena, which just leaves Ragnar. Much like DQXI, the knight character is the last one to join.

To be exact, this seed grows the plants that cure fever. They also get you "high AF", according to Maya. How she knows this, no one is sure.

Emperor Claudius? A most auspicious occasion, indeed.

Alena joins the party. She is the happiest Russian person I've ever seen.

Alena remembers Psaro's disappearance at the tournament. Could the disappearance be connected to his decimation of the hero's town? Chances are they happened at close to the same time and that's why he disappeared. He thought the hero would show up at the tournament, then left when he got the intel on the hero's actual location.

We get word on the final party member. I kinda like that Ragnar is saved for last. He's probably the least-exciting party member in that he doesn't really have any abilities or combat characteristics that stand out, so him being last actually helps him quite a bit in terms of seeming more exciting. The best thing about him is that he can equip basically anything, so decking him out in armor is fun.

At this point we've got lots of characters to swap in and out. On the overworld, all of your characters get exp whether they're in the party or not. This means the overworld is a MUCH better place to level-grind than the majority of indoor areas. Stopping to grind around this point is a good idea to get the new additions somewhat caught up.

One of the game's few missteps is this completely obscure switch. It's the one time in the game where you need to examine a treasure chest twice to do something, and what's worse, you can't proceed with the game until you do. People without a guide must have wandered around this dungeon for an age and a half unless they accidentally happened to re-examine this one treasure chest.

A magical moment, as we get the next key. This is a step up from the thief key that Alena has from earlier. It'll be more magical when we get the tier-3 key.

Canalot is a distant castle town on a very weird land mass. The enemies here are much higher level than anywhere else on the main overworld, so it's a good place to grind.

Maya dispensing with some harsh words!

Our next stop is actually the Palais de Leon, where the sisters got trounced earlier. Things will go a bit different this time, especially with some levels from the Canalot area.

Ragnar is here, lurking in the Palais and trying to get to the bad guys. He wouldn't have had a chance alone, but now he can join us as the eighth and final* man.

Marquis de Leon is running the show here. He may have trounced Maya and Meena, but now he's up against the legendary hero and a full-on posse.

It takes the Marquis a moment to recognize the sisters, which doesn't happen until he notices Maya's unmistakable rock-hard nipples.

Leon is still a formidable opponent, and mostly unleashes high-damage physical attacks. However at this point single-target attacks are manageable. The meta goes into effect here and for the rest of the game: Sap defense, buff everyone, hammer away with physical attackers.

Daaaamn. Even with this stronger party, he still put up a significant fight. What was I saying about it being manageable? The lack of group heal is becoming an issue, and also the way bosses can take their turns after you one round and then before you the next round. I imagine it's like when an inconsistent job puts you on a late night shift one day and then the super-early shift the next day.

Here we have a Healie sighting. She (egad!) is well...and has become a human?

Fun Fact: If Blue Man Group were slimes in DQ, they would be Goo Man Goop.

So if Balzack wasn't at Palais de Leon, where is he? Why, occupying Alena's former home of Zalenagrad. Maybe this is why everyone disappeared at the end of her scenario.

"I'd recognize those nipples anywhere!" Balzack says. "Your comrades could poke an eye out on zhoze sings!"

Balzack has evolved using something called the "Secret of Evolution". Not only is he far more robust, he added another A.

So yeah, this is the second very tough boss more or less in a row here, and he's much tougher than Leon. The days of Leon upstaging Balzack are long over.

This fight is earlier in the game than I remember...and much easier. Originally I found this to be one of the hardest fights in the entire game, maybe the hardest. This time, I pretty much rolled it, though the hero did sustain a collapse. I guess grinding a few levels around Canalot makes a big difference, as well as micromanaging the party's equipment.

Seriously, I expected this fight to be a huge deal and an epic battle, but it wasn't really any harder than Leon. Come to think of it, Leon did more damage to the party overall. Maybe Balzack got nerfed?

Some creepy little imp shows up, having taken notes on the fight. Seems Balzack was some sort of guinea pig for the Secret of Evolution and this also has something to do with this Psaro guy.

That nets us the hero's ultimate helm (well, sort of, there's a better postgame helm) and the quest begins to find the other Zenithian items. This equipment is much like the Erdrick equipment in earlier games: A set of super-powerful gear that is scattered to the four winds.

Next up, the Zenithian Shield. The only problem is, it's currently held in...

...Femiscyra, the Town of Women, which is up in the mountains and heavily-guarded. It's going to take all of our resources to sneak into their compound. Chloe, do we have any aerial drone footage of the town?

::takes off sunglasses:: ...My God.

Other Dragon Quest Posts

The Dragon Quest Master Post


  1. Yeah, losing the ladies so early on is really rough. Definitely stopped my progress the first time I played it.

    Hoffman: "But I have more HP!"

  2. Of course she's happy, have you seen her hat?

    At those levels even the NES Balzack either have been so bad. Generally he's a bastard around 19-20.