Thursday, February 3, 2022

Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (iOS/Android, 2015)


Jumping over the Super Famicom release (for the moment). This is the first U.S. release of Dragon Quest V, one of the finest 16-bit RPGs to never get an official port over. Originally this came out on the Nintendo DS in 2009 and I wasn't able to get into it. Got maybe a half hour into the game. Now I'm playing the HD phone version from 2015. With new, crisp graphics, will I get further than a half hour this time?

We begin with the hero's dad, Ortega Pankraz, pacing back and forth like he's waiting for the Okama Gamesphere.

His buddy Sancho brings him the news he's waiting for... He now has a BEAUTIFUL BEBE.

"Ey Yo! Beb-"


"Vintage Bebe!"


Pankraz congratulates his wife Mada on doing a good job giving birth. "GEE, THANKS" she says while panting and groaning in anguish.

The hero's name? Well, this was a tough one. He doesn't have a default name in the game itself. His canon name is Abel, which is a bit too Xeno-y for me. I'd just think of Xeno the whole time. So I stole the name of my Elder Scrolls series characters instead. If I'm taking years and years to get to Morrowind I might as well give Gazpacho some action.

Pankraz holds Baby Gaz aloft like a Zelda item.

Unfortunately, Mada doesn't make it. What was she going to say?

That's right, she expires after giving birth. That's the kind of rough game we're in for here. It's more story-driven than the previous DQ games, and much darker.

Fast-forward 10? years, and Gaz is now Teen Gaz(tm). ...that's a DBZ game joke.

Stat seeds are very common in this game, and that's a good thing. Especially at this early point. I make sure to save-scum my way to getting +3 from all of them, which seems to be the maximum possible amount.

We get a sweet lens flare as Gaz steps out onto the boat. They do this same lens flare at the beginning of the DS Dragon Quest VI remake. I wanted to play these games for a long time, but I can't say the DS graphics did anything for me. The phone HD remasters make this look seriously crisp, and it's a lot more enjoyable as a result. Yeah, it's good to finally play this game.

Spike is apparently the chef on board.

Got really excited to find this smorgasbord of chests...and they're all locked!

It's legitimately hilarious how the game describes books to you, then follows it up with letting you know that Gaz has no idea what he's looking at.

He means "rifle through the barrels and cabinets" which is good policy in this game. Tons of items to be found, including, like I mentioned, lots of stat seeds.

We arrive at our destination, where some wealthy guy introduces our heroes to his super-young daughters. He trying to pawn them off for marriage or something?

Gaz isn't impressed by said daughters (we'll see them again later) because unfortunately he hasn't yet hit puberty.

The wealthy guy shoos his two daughters off, and Pankraz shoos Gazpacho off to roam for a while.

One of the reasons I gave up on the DS version: In these early areas, Pankraz keeps sending you off to wander around, without much clue how to move the story forward. Usually that involves sleeping at the inn, or talking to the right person. It's a bit of a bland first half hour, but at least it isn't several hours until the first battle like the original version of Dragon Quest VII.

And speaking of which, the first battle! I tried to win this, but quickly got mopped up by the slime legion. To my surprise, the hero was immediately rescued by...

...Pankraz, who saves you and then joins you for the journey to the next town. He's a solid dad.

"Without Me" plays as our heroes return to their hometown.

The shopkeeper has an Australian accent, unlike most other shopkeepers.

SANCHO returns. His accent was always a wee bit offensive, but we'll let it go because he's such a downright lovable character.

"That Sancho, he's SO hot right now."

Here's Bianca, the hero's childhood friend who he doesn't remember. She's a real firecracker.

Pankraz tells me to wander around again and disappears. No idea where to go next.

I wander into this nearby cave and dodder about, finding questionable herbs. Basically normal teenager activities here.

"WOT ARE YA BOYIN" says the merchant.

I like how these games usually start with a high-priced Copper Sword in the first shop. You don't have to get it, and it takes a bunch of grinding, but it's there if you want to go through that. I've never done the incremental upgrade thing, so if there's a Copper Sword, I grind with the starting weapon until I have enough GP and then jump to it.

Score! Save-scumming for points from stat seeds. Strength is particularly important early, since the hero has so little of it. +3 actually makes a difference in how fights go at this point.

Now he can defeat slimes by himself, which means it's time to farm up that Copper Sword.

Large upgrade acquired. Get your weapons ready!

I'm still kind of lost, until I find someone who speaks of a shopkeeper who wandered into the cave and disappeared. He probably got into that reefer growing in there.

That Pankraz is a popular guy. But not as popular as SANCHO.

"Whew. SANCHO."

1 exp? That's what I like to hear!

Gaz finds the shopkeeper trapped by a rock, James Franco style. Anyone have a saw?

Looks like they're able to dislodge him. He gathers up his reefer and roams off, bumping into the walls.

There are friendly slimes in this world, like the famed Russian blob, Slalin.

Wait, seriously? That's good to know. It could have been brought to my attention four games ago.

Pankraz sets out on a mission and invites Gaz along, rather than just sending him off to wander aimlessly, which is a welcome change.

We get what looks like a full party on the overworld! It really isn't yet though. We're still in what is essentially the intro.

Bianca is Gaz's best bud.

Spoiler alert, Bianca and Gaz may or may not be getting married later. We'll see how the story goes. She's got stiff competition from that rich guy's two daughters.

Bianca's stats. I like how her class is "Girl from the Inn".

Kids: "So...go to Uptaten Towers?"

Wow, the people here won't shut up about Uptaten Towers.

Kids: "I guess we should probably go to Uptaten Towers"

But first! New equipment shops here means that lots of grinding awaits. That is, if you actually want to get the best equipment at this early stage. It's very much unnecessary. It'll ensure that the intro gives me no trouble, at least.

Here's a quick gander at the Super Famicom version of this part. Very different, yeah? I like the way the SFC version looks, a lot. It's got that "early-gen" SNES charm going on. It's also easier to negotiate the towns, since everything is a bit clearer in terms of finding where things are compared to the larger, more convoluted towns of the remake that I'm playing. All of that said, the remake visuals are mostly an upgrade.

We try to leave town and it's blocked by this guard, annoyingly. "Don't even try to get past me," he says, "Cause I'm quick, quick like the wind."

We find a couple of kids teasing a cat, and Bianca gets mad. Unfortunately they're gonna hold the cat hostage unless we go to Uptaten Towers and...defeat ghosts?

How about we just whoop these kids' asses instead? Well, whatever.

We were gonna go there anyway so...

The cat will be a formidable party member, and shreds foes with his sharp claws. He also frequently stops fighting to mark his territory, but you gotta take the bad with the good.

Our heroes make their escape in the middle of the night while Pankraz is dozing off.

The guard is now asleep, so we can sneak out. It's actually pretty cool that you have to sneak around like this due to being kids.

Pankraz has the plague. Every time you need to rest, it requires returning here and going through another day/night cycle.

Bianca gets a useful whip. In ten'll be even more useful.


Gaz has his own new weapon to buy from the "Whaddaya Boyin" guy. While the Thorn Whip hits every foe in a group, the Boomerang hits every foe onscreen. It's also slightly stronger than the Copper Sword, so... the Copper Sword was almost entirely unnecessary to farm in this game.

Yeah, that'd be like buying a bunch of games and never even playing them.

::looks around::

Well, I played a couple of them for a few hours...and Code Vein

Bianca gains power much faster than Gaz, probably because she's two years older. Which is a nice little detail if that's the reasoning they used.

"Bianca's pregnant"

Finally Gaz reaches level 10, which is probably over-leveled for this point but I want a fairly smooth path here.

It's taken me this long to mention the DS version's greatest addition to the DQV universe: Party Talk. You can trigger a quick back-and-forth between your party members at any time, and these dialogue bits do a LOT to flesh out these characters. It's also the only time you'll ever see the hero actually speak.

They arrive at the ghost tower and stand before it like Cloud standing before Shinra Tower. Well, it's not quite that dramatic.

I also (over)leveled to 9 with both characters and got them the best armors from the shop after lots of GP farming. Hopefully this equipment lasts a bit longer before the inevitable replacements come along. 

More on this later.

Other Dragon Quest Posts

The Dragon Quest Master Post


  1. Uh-oh, time for blood and wheatabix.

  2. Yeah, plus 3 to strength that early is a big deal.

    Pretty epic PS4 collection there.

    I ain't afraid of no ghost!