Nathan (vovat) wrote in classic_rpgs,
Nathan
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Chapters of the Chosen Revisited

Having played through the first four chapters of Dragon Quest IV for the DS, I've decided to post some of my thoughts on them. I've played all the way through the game on the NES, but there are a few changes for the DS version. I'm going to mention both the changes and my thoughts on the chapters in general. Each chapter brings in at least one new main character, explains how they came to be involved in the central quest, and reveals a little bit more of the world and the overarching plot. They vary in length, but none of the four is very long. The DS version starts out with a brief scene of the main hero, unlike the original, which had you name the hero and then basically forget about it until the fifth chapter.


Chapter 1 - Ragnar McRyan and the Case of the Missing Children

This is a fairly short and straightforward chapter. Ragnar, a soldier of Burland, has to rescue some kidnapped children from a tower. Psaro's Pawn is capturing them in an attempt to destroy the legendary hero. The graphics, while not changed all that much, are improved over the NES version in some ways, including detail of the main characters. I'm not sure that's a good thing for Ragnar, though, as he has weird pink armor and a large blue mustache. Oh, well. I do like the monster animations, and the dialogue has been spruced up by adding in dialect. Everyone in Burland talks with a Scottish brogue. Ragnar is a strong fighter, and can recruit the help of a Healslime, the game's first NPC who can join you. You have no control over Healie's actions, but he's usually pretty smart, healing when you need it.

Chapter 2 - Alena and the Journey to the Tourney

The main character this time is Tsarevna Alena of Zamoksva, a faux-Russian country located about where Alfegard is in Dragon Quest II. I've always kind of wondered whether this is supposed to be the same world as in the first three games, since there ARE some obvious similarities in the general shape of the world. Anyway, Alena is a tomboy princess who sneaks out of her father's castle to go adventuring, and is joined in her travels by Borya (a wizard who serves as Alena's tutor) and Kiryl (a castle priest who has a secret crush on the Tsarevna). These two are controllable, and show up again as party members in the final chapter, but I have to say I never used them very much. Kiryl has a bad habit of trying to use instant death spells on boss monsters, and Borya is your typical wizard who has command of the elements but can be killed by a slap on the back. The ultimate goal is to win the tournament in Endor, the main city in this world. See, King Norman has promised that his daughter would marry the winner of the tournament, and it looks like this will end up being the nasty Psaro the Manslayer. The characters you had to fight in the tournament were known as Hun, Roric, Vivian, Sampson, and Linguar in the NES version. Here, they have the jokier names of Atilla the Hunk, Quick Draw McGore (who now has a bow instead of a boomerang, for some reason), Prima Donna, Samson Knight, and the Abominable Showman. If the winner is female, the bit about marrying the Princess becomes null and void (I guess the Endorians voted against gay marriage, too), but I have to wonder what would happen if the yeti won. {g}

Chapter 3 - Torneko Taloon and the Extravagant Excavation

Torneko is a merchant from the sorta-Irish land of Ballymoral, who dreams of owning his own shop, but he has to both raise enough money and fulfill a few mini-quests before being able to do so. This chapter was fairly innovative for its time, as it lets a playable character work in a shop. I have to suspect it would be done more smoothly nowadays, but it's still fun. This is probably the easiest of the chapters, as Torneko finds money and items more quickly than other characters, most of the enemies aren't that hard, and there's a safe you can get in order to keep all your gold after you die. It involves quite a bit of wandering around and gathering stuff, though, which can get a little tedious. The toughest monsters are the ones in the cave where you find the Silver Goddess Statue, but you can recruit the poet and magic-user Laurel and the soldier Hardie (get it?) to help you out. Laurel can be a little too liberal in his magic use at times, but they're both quite useful for the few days for which they join you. Somebody must have really liked Torneko, as he has a few of his own spin-off games in Japan.

Chapter 4 - Meena and Maya and the Mahabala Mystery

This game's token hot chicks, the fortune-teller Meena and the dancer Maya, are the daughters of an alchemist who was murdered by his student Balzack (I'll give the immature among you a few seconds to snicker at his name). The sisters seek revenge, and recruit their father's other apprentice Oojam to help out. He's a pretty strong fighter, and can pick locks. This chapter has different battle music than all the others, and I really like the altered battle theme (officially called "Gypsy's Dance"). Several of the characters in this kingdom talk with French accents (including one guard who makes a Monty Python reference), but the dialect isn't as pervasive in this chapter as in the previous three. Unless I'm forgetting something about the NES version, this one gives a better idea as to who the Marquis de Leon (known as "Keeleon" in the earlier version) actually is.
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