''Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter'' is the fifth entry in the ''Franchise/BreathOfFire'' series, released for the Playstation 2 in 2003 to generally positive reviews. It's a considerable departure from the previous entries, which were much more traditional eastern [=RPGs=].

Sometime [[{{Cyberpunk}} in the future]], humanity lives deep BeneathTheEarth centuries after an apocalyptic disaster rendered the surface [[AfterTheEnd a barren and inhospitable wasteland]]. However, the world below is [[CrapsackWorld just as miserable]], with [[UrbanSegregation the poor toiling away in the polluted lower levels while the rich enjoy the relative cleanliness and luxury of the higher levels]]. Every citizen is [[YouAreNumberSix assigned a number]] called a "D-Ratio" at birth that determines one's lifelong place in society, with the highest (1/4) being the titular "[[TitleDrop Dragon Quarter]]".

Ryu is a lower-level citizen who happens across a [[CuteMute young mute girl]] named Nina with a pair of artificial wings grafted to her back. Discovering that the polluted air of the lower levels is slowly killing her, he resolves to rebel against the government and take her to the surface where there is hopefully clean air. But Ryu's quest takes an unexpected twist when he accidentally fuses with a mysterious dragon, gaining the power to transform into [[OneWingedAngel an obscenely-powerful draconic hybrid]] but at the [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique cost of his own lifespan]].

Joining Ryu and Nina is [[CoolBigSis Lin]], a member of LaResistance who wishes to topple the D-Ratio system and expose the secrets held by the [[TheOmniscientCouncilOfVagueness six shadowy rulers of the underground world]]. But chasing them down is Bosch, a high-ranked aristocrat and [[TheRival Ryu's former team-mate]], whose pursuit of the trio [[RivalTurnedEvil quickly becomes very personal]].

Dragon Quarter's most interesting gameplay mechanic is the SOL (Scenario Overlay) system. Among other things, this allows you to perform a "SOL Restart" whenever you get overwhelmed. This is a kind of NewGamePlus which doesn't require beating the game to take advantage of. This mechanic actually ''encourages'' you to start over; rather than starting from scratch, giving up and SOL Restarting allows you to retain all your equipment, combat skills, and any experience that hasn't already been allocated (the game features "Party XP" in addition to regular experience points, which you can allot as you like). The relatively short length of the game (about 10 hours, give or take, for a complete run) further facilitates this. Depending on how far you went on your last run, you'll see new cutscenes that reveal previously hidden details. Though the plot makes perfect sense without them, they are important for a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the story. In addition, beating the game increases your D-ratio for subsequent attempts, with the D-ratio rising each time you clear the game, though for story purposes, you are always considered a "low-D". This allows you to open previously inaccessible new areas, and even gain access to better equipment that might be found in them.

Making this more relevant is the D-Counter, a timer that starts when Ryu bonds with his dragon, and which is constantly counting down to his eventual death, speeding up dramatically if he uses any of his [[GameBreaker utterly broken draconic powers]]. While you are allowed to suspend your game through quicksaves, permanent save files could only be created [[FakeDifficulty through the use of rare save tokens]], giving the game an extra layer of NintendoHard difficulty. In addition, if Ryu dies due to his counter maxing out, there is no SOL Restart option offered; you must simply start the game over from scratch.

!! This series provides examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: The story takes place 1000 years AfterTheEnd, when humanity is driven underground by a HopelessWar that renders the surface uninhabitable.
* AlternateUniverse: From the rest of the series.
* AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent: While the other games in the series are more of a traditional EasternRPG, this is a game with Survival Horror Elements.
* BeneathTheEarth: Pretty much the entire plot and background of ''Dragon Quarter''.
* BilingualBonus: In addition to the [[YouAreNumberSix dragon names]], the entire game intro is recited in Russian. In a second variant of this, only in German and obscured via the use of [[CypherLanguage Cypher Font]] in the game's opening animation. [[labelnote:*]] Specifically, it appears to be a bad German translation of the Bible verse Matthew 19:30: "(Many of) the first shall be last, and the last shall be first". Quite appropriate, considering the extensive use of Judeo-Christian imagery in ''DQ'' and its theme that an AudienceSurrogate is who ultimately opens the path to the sky.[[/labelnote]]
* BloodFromTheMouth: Happens to Bosch when [[spoiler: he is defeated by Ryu for the last time (with both sides fighting as {{Half Human Hybrid}}s); Bosch asks Ryu to perform a MercyKill on him, and spews blood when Ryu runs him through with his own claw.]]
** Also happens to Ryu when [[spoiler: Bosch stabs him in the throat with his rapier, full with blanked eyes.]]
* BodyHorror: In ''Dragon Quarter'', Nina is not a princess, but some poor girl genetically engineered into an air purification device; her "wings" are in fact ''extensions of her lungs'', meaning that every moment she's underground she's filtering pollutants out of the air -- as one would expect, this will kill her within a few ''days'' -- which drives Ryu to guide her on a mad dash to the (supposedly) clean surface. Oh and she had her tongue cut out because machines don't need to talk.
** There is also a room full of the failed results of previous attempts (in various stages of development), kept preserved in formaldehyde-filled tubes. This is no doubt intended to make them easier to study by the scientists who are working on this project, and ''not at all'' to freak out anyone passing through.
** Also, the entire process of how Bosch got his own DeadlyUpgrade.
** In the NonStandardGameover, which you get from pushing the D-Counter to 100%, we see [[spoiler: a silhouette of Ryu twitching violently, before a dragon erupts from his body, rending it to shreds]]. You don't see much, but it's still scary as hell.
* BonusDungeon: Kokon Horay. In order to reach it, the fairy colony must be at maximum level.
* CrapsackWorld: ''Dragon Quarter's'' setting was all below ground, where humanity (and everyone else) was driven when a massive war ripped apart the surface. This leads to a series of abandoned tunnels and cramping issues which make Tokyo Underground look spacious, as well as severe pollution issues.
* CriticalStatusBuff: The "Soul" class of shields boost the wearer's Defense as their HP decreases.
* CooldownHug: Nina gives Ryu one when he's about to [[HulkOut go dragon on]] the scientist who [[spoiler: engineered Nina as a pollution-cleanup device.]]
* CurbStompBattle: It LOOKS like Bosch has just issued you a NonstandardGameOver -- and then [[DeadlyUpgrade D-Dive]] activates. Cue extremely justified OhCrap from Bosch.
* CypherLanguage: ''Dragon Quarter'' invented an entire pseudo-Cyrillic script. It turns out the writers hid many an Easter Egg and even some downright spoileriffic material in the artwork and even in-game, even though the script was never used in the game mechanics.
** At least one Japanese fan made an unofficial Truetype font based on the documented character set in the artbook. You can now find it [[http://www.mediafire.com/?rh727ribav4u04u here]] (The original source is since defunct).
* DarkerAndEdgier: The Franchise/BreathOfFire games tended to be, overall, lighthearted, even if they had occasional dark spots. This one, not so much.
* DeadlyUpgrade: The entire process of linking with D-Constructs.
* DynamicEntry: Chetyre.
-->'''''Can it hate?'''''
* EarnYourHappyEnding: [[spoiler: Ryu manages to deliver Lin and Nina to the gate of the sky, however he has a [[BeyondTheImpossible 200% dragon ratio.]] As the party separates, Odjn releases Ryu from his bond, preventing him from being consumed, and he rejoins the party in the surface with a clear blue sky.]]
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: In successive playthroughs of the game, it's possible to raise Ryu's D-ratio to 1/4, but in-story he's still treated as a low-D grunt.
* GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke: A major theme of the backstory of ''Dragon Quarter''. [[spoiler: Genetic Engineering is such an effective WeaponOfMassDestruction, in fact, that scientists in the past managed to create ''[[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]]'' as weapons which proceeded to cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. What's left of humanity is still living underground ''over a millennium later''.]]
* TheIlluminati: The Regents are essentially this.
* LaResistance: Trinity, led by Mebeth, a former Regent. [[spoiler: It is implied through SOL scenes that Mebeth still serves the Regents and Trinity is actually a false resistance, created to allow citizens of Sheldar to rebel without actually threatening Elyon's plans.]]
* MoneyForNothing: Once you have access to the money exchange room in the fairy side-game, you can make a killing off the currency that fluctuates more because it actually has a fairly predictable pattern.
* MyGreatestFailure:
** Elyon: [[spoiler: Refusing to open the door to the sky when he was a Chosen of Odjn. He feared that it wasn't his own decision, and this resulted in Odjn breaking his link with Elyon.]]
** Bosch: [[spoiler: Being defeated by Ryu. Much of this is because Bosch is a WellDoneSonGuy who was pressured to excel and he just can't handle being defeated by a low-D; this leads to a descent from being TheRival to a full-blown VillainousBreakdown.]]
* NewGamePlus: One of the few (if only) games that makes this an active part of the game mechanics. You're encouraged, or even forced, to constantly restart the game. The only things that are kept over though is currently equipped items, skills, anything in storage, and unused party experience points.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: In this game, dragons -- or rather, D-Constructs -- are powerful genetically-engineered weapons of mass destruction that can bond with a human and bestow them power, at the risk of said human being taken over by that power and transforming into the D-Construct they're linked to. Ryu is bonded to a D-Construct called Odjn, [[spoiler:and it is eventually revealed that Elyon was bonded to Odjn as well but severed their link and left Odjn as a rotting corpse pinned to a wall. Bosch bonds with and is ultimately taken over by a malicious D-Construct called Chetyre, who uses him to reconstitute her body.]]
* PowerLevels: D-Ratios in ''Dragon Quarter'' determine a person's potential in life and are therefore used as criteria for determining social status and prospects. 1/8192 means you're stuck as a grunt for life, 1/64 makes you a super-elite, while 1/4 more or less marks you as a PhysicalGod. [[spoiler: The more accurate description of the D-Ratios is the likelihood of a successful linkup with a D-Construct, but exactly what they base this on is never elaborated on, and while you can raise your Ratio up to 1/4 in a NewGamePlus by playing through the game quickly, opening as many treasure chests as possible, killing a lot of enemies and getting first strikes on the majority of them, finishing the BonusDungeon, saving as little as possible and having your characters leveled up as high as possible, it doesn't effect the storyline and only allows you to explore a few bonus areas and allows you to get a better version of the game's InfinityPlusOneSword.]]
** Note that [[spoiler: Ryu being rated as 1/8192 means that he has a 0.0001% chance of successfully linking with a D-Construct. The fact that he does, and with the most powerful one to boot, shows that the D-Ratio system is actually not terribly effective at determining someone's overall ability. Ryu is a grunt that has the ability to become essentially a god (and that kills a bunch of other gods in his quest). At least part of the reason he's opposed by the ruling council is because they simply refuse to believe that someone so pathetic could do what he did.]]
*** Somewhat averted. [[spoiler: D-ratio is a measure of probability. It's still technically possible for a low-D to merge with a D-Construct, just much less likely than a high-D. Conversely, someone could theoretically be a 1/4 and still ''fail'' to merge. The game simply doesn't address this issue because there is no need; like most good stories, [[MillionToOneChance matters of probability tend to work in favor of dramatic necessity.]]]]
* PuzzleBoss: Hortensia is one, she uses her ability to turn the floor colors, and one of her spells will either hurt or heal the person standing on it depending on the color (she floats, and is immune to either effect).
* SaveToken: That were extremely rare, to boot, although there was fortunately {{Suspend Save}}s available if you really needed to quit. The PAL versions lacks the quicksave feature but is much more plentiful with the Save Tokens.
* ShieldedCoreBoss: The final bosses and some end-game enemies have what is known as "Absolute Defense", where you have to deal a minimum amount of damage (in the form of a negative damage number) in a single turn before you actually hurt them.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: The CentralTheme, and probably why it didn't do so well when it was first released, but is now [[VindicatedByHistory considered by many to be a classic]], especially in TheNewTens; the ValuesResonance of subtle and not-so-subtle classism is ''[[https://medium.com/mammon-machine-zeal/dragon-quarter-the-powerless-fantasy-e69002dcf2d0 everywhere.]]''
-->The primary idea that Dragon Quarter engages through its play is, quite simply, being poor, and the stress that comes with being poor. Born poor, into a political system that ensures that you live poor, and without a miracle, die poor.
** It even shows the other side of the coin with Bosch's nightmarish childhood; to Ryu, Bosch is the snob who bosses him around and bullies him every time he misses a step, so it's hard for him to realize that the guy making him miserable was forced to [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHZNUG3BjSg kill a freaking minotaur]] at the age of nine - or die trying.
* SuspendSave: Except in the PAL version, for some reason. To compensate, you start the game with 9 Save Tokens, although whether that's a fair tradeoff is up for debate, especially considering the 50-floor BonusDungeon with no savepoints whatsoever.
* TheLastDance: Paired with a RaceAgainstTheClock; Nina will die within a few days unless she escapes the polluted environment of Sheldar, but Ryu's got a dragon parasitically bound to him which will kill him in roughly the same amount of time -- ''faster'' if he actually calls on the dragon's unstoppable power. The only question is whether or not he succeeds in getting Nina to the surface before the dragon rips its way out of his body... [[spoiler:though if he ''does'' succeed, the dragon acknowledges his achievement, and re-merges with him to give him a full life on the surface with Nina]].
* ThemeNaming: Mostly ties into YouAreNumberSix, but there are some additional examples; the Regents mostly have names that are theological references:
** Elyon is traditionally a Hebrew epithet for God. [[note]] And a bit of a shout-out to Fou-Lu, whom Elyon is an explicit {{Expy}} of.[[/note]]
** Jezuit is a reference to the Jesuit religious order.
** Deamoned is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
** Tantra is a reference to a specific estatic Buddhist religious school, and Cupid is the Greek god of love.
** The Regents and major characters not named after theological references, Russian numbers, or direct shout-outs to the earlier games in the series are named after Greco-Roman philosophers and orators. Zeno shares a name with a famous Greek philosopher who (per the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradoxes Other Wiki]]) wrote extensively about paradoxes and the nature of reality, and Hortensia shares a name with an orator who (again, per the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hortensia_%28orator%29 Other Wiki]]) led the Roman Senate to partially repeal taxes on female nobles.
* TookAShortcut: Jaju, Arma and Leo, better known as the storage, armory and item shop kids, do this shamelessly and have no trouble reminding you of the fact that there is no conceivable reason for why they could possibly show up where they do.
* TrailersAlwaysLie: One CM for the game, which uses a lot of beta footage, centers around climactic-looking footage of Ryu facing off with Dva in a large, well-lit room that looks something like the area Odjn is in. Needless to say, this is pretty inaccurate in various ways.
** There's also the intro movie to the game with lengthy segment where Ryu slowly walks forward in heavy rainfall while dragging his sword along the ground: While the last part does offer an explanation where the hell the rain is coming from, it doesn't really match up to his surroundings in the earlier parts.
* TraumaCongaLine: Bosch's early childhood Trauma (definitively Type B) is notable because it provides the fuel for Bosch's eventual VillainousBreakdown.
* WeaponOfMassDestruction: Why everyone is underground in the first place.
** Also, [[PersonOfMassDestruction Ryu]]. He lets absolutely nothing stand in his way. Not his manipulative friends, not his respected superiors, not the long-established order of the world, and certainly not something as meaningless as tradition.
* YouAreNumberSix: Everyone, save for people who are fugitives from justice (Lin and the rest of Trinity), the Regents, or those unfortunates so low on the totem pole as to be legally considered experimental animals (hello, Nina) have a D-ratio officially as part of their name.
** Elyon has a number-nickname of Origin, a mathematical term for 1.
** Every single dragon in the game has literal numbers (in Russian) as names, based on powers of two. Yes, even Odjn; technically 2 to the zeroth power is 1.