Video Game: Dragon Quest IV
"There's an old, old legend of an angel swooping down from the sky to the northern mountains. She fell in love with a young woodcutter, and a beautiful baby was born to them.... What happened to the baby? I have absolutely no idea. I'm sure it's just a faerie story, anyway."
The fourth Dragon Quest
game, Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen
(DS title) kicks off the Zenithian trilogy with a distinctive twist on the usual Chosen Heroes
plot... by having the player step into the shoes of each
of the Chosen Ones
in turn, rather than dumping you into the role of Hello, Insert Name Here
and sending you off at the start. Our heroic roster:
- Ragnar McRyan, Royal Knight of Burland.
- Tsarevna Alena, the Tomboy Tsarevna of Zamoksva (Santeem in the NES version).
- Borya (Brey in the NES verison), elderly wizard and Alena's long-suffering retainer.
- Kiryl (Cristo in the NES version), Priest-in-Training and Alena's childhood friend.
- Torneko Taloon, a merchant who dreams of owning his own shop.
- Maya (Mara in the NES version), a traveling dancer and talented spellcaster.
- Meena (Nara in the NES version), a Fortune Teller and Maya's sister.
- Solo/Sofia, the green-haired Hero him/herself.
The game thrives on And Now for Someone Completely Different
, introducing you to each of the chosen in turn and adventuring with them, learning what drives them and seeing how their story goes before
the call catches up with them.
Originally for the NES, Dragon Quest IV
was notably the last
game to see an official English release until Dragon Quest VII
hit the PlayStation
. An Updated Re-release
also hit the Playstation — and was advertised on the back of DQVII's manual — but the plan to bring it over fell throughnote
, so English fans didn't see an update until the DS version was ported over.
Dragon Quest IV contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Tsarevna Alena, Maya, Meena, and, should you choose to make the main character female, the heroine Sofia.
- Action Prologue: The DS and PS1 versions add a prologue chapter in which you play as the hero for a short while as you look around for Eliza. This moves onto the next trope known as...
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: As mentioned before, in the DS and PS1 versions, you play as the hero in the prologue chapter for a short while, and then, as in the NES version, you play as each of his/her companions in the next four chapters before you regain control of the hero again in the fifth chapter.
- Torneko's chapter lets you step into the shoes of one of the NPC dudes behind the counter at the weapon shop!
- Art Evolution: In the PS1/DS, most characters keep the same design, but are more detailed from their original artworks. Psaro pretty much completely changed from a guy who resembles Weehawk from Wizards to a dude who's a Captain Ersatz and Take That of Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII.note .
- In general, over the years Solo, Psaro and Kiryl have all become progressively more Bishōnen
- And an architectural example comes from minor additions and removals from the PS1 to DS versions to make areas more detailed and/or easier to navigate.
- Artificial Stupidity: The AI in Chapter 5 of the NES version, no matter what mode you set it to, is deeply stupid. In fact, Clift/Cristo/Kiryl's AI is so famously stupid (constantly casting Beat/Whack and Defeat/Thwack over and over) that it was referenced in future DQ games. And there's no option to turn it off and control your party members manually; only The Hero can be given specific instructions each turn. Thankfully, this flaw is rectified in the remakes (as well as in all future installments of the Dragon Quest series).
- Could be averted (in the NES game) with a specific Game Genie code that gives you manual control over the other party members.
- This was actually referenced in Dragon Quest IX; after you dress yourself up as Kiryl, Stella will comment on the idiot AI in the NES version.
- Also referenced in Kiryl's Coup de Grace in Battle Road Victory, as mentioned below in Took a Level in Badass.
- Badass Princess: Tsarevna Alena.
- Bag of Sharing: One that can't be accessed during combat, but still. You can even rename it!
- Bag of Spilling: Downplayed; the game at least retains everyone's equipment and items between chapters, including those in the shared inventory. Money, on the other hand, is not retained. As a result, savvy players will, when a chapter is about to end, spend as much money as possible to fill inventory slots with expensive items. For Chapters 2 and 3, where the Casino is accessible, buying up lots of tokens is highly recommended. Naturally, though, in Chapter 3 (where it's possible to accumulate fairly outlandish sums of money through Torneko's shop, on account of his wife's uncanny ability to sell any item for significantly more than it's actually worth), the price for casino tokens is dramatically higher than normal.
- Belly Dancer: Maya/Mara, Stripperiffic midriff-baring and all.
- Bilingual Bonus: The animals in the Zamovska and Palais de Léon regions use Russian and French onomatopoeia for animal sounds.
- Big "NO!": More fitting in the DS version: as Psaro breaks down in grief at Rose's death from her terrible injuries, his last shred of sanity has vanished completely as he turns into Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. And this is all a part of Aamon's doing.
- Body to Jewel: The crystal tears of Rose.
- Bonus Boss: Foo Yung and Chow Mein.
- Bowdlerise: The puff-puff room is a fortune-telling room in the DS version. This doesn't really make sense, as the guy in the next room reacts appropriately. You still need to go in alone to do it, and girls can not receive it. The player also has no idea what is going on, even though he has received a fortune before.
- Brought Down to Normal: In the DS version, the Marquis de Leon, upon being defeated by the team, reverts to being King Leon... and with a normal accent.
- But Thou Must: Irritating example in Alena's Chapter: You have to save the con artists by paying the ransom.
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Or at least, they find out at the start of Chapter Five...
- Came Back Strong: The DS and PS1 versions add a sixth chapter in which Aamon comes Back from the Dead to get his revenge on the Hero and his/her entire party, while Psaro revives after being apparently killed by the Hero and the entire party has to help him get his revenge on Aamon if they can resurrect Psaro's dead lover Rose.
- Childhood Friend Romance: It's heavily implied from the start that Kiryl/Cristo has a bit of a crush on Alena... and she doesn't seem to notice.
- Clear My Name: Late in the game, a thief sets you up to take the blame for his latest heist.
- Combination Attack: The spell Kazapple, which takes 10 MP from every character in the party to fuel a bolt of super-powerful lightning that obliterates a single enemy.
- This was much more useful in the original, since it made the Artificial Stupidity of your teammates a moot point for that round. In the remakes, you could generally get better results with individual moves, especially since the Combination Attack would fail if one party member was killed/disabled. The problem is that the game doesn't tell you it's a Combination Attack. And if you're in the habit of bringing Ragnar and/or Alena with you, it won't work because they have no MP to contribute to the spell.
- Critical Hit Class: The odds for a critical are 1 in 64; that is, unless you're Alena, who has a 1 in 4 shot, making her perfect for Metal Slime hunting.
- Cute Bruiser: Alena.
- Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Guess how old your hero is when their journey starts!
- However, the DS remake has the Hero's foster father mention that she/he is eighteen and almost an adult, so...
- Disc One Nuke: The Cautery sword in Torneko's Chapter. Money may not carry over between chapters, but equipment does. With a little patience and several trips between his store and hometown, it's possible to stockpile all the extra equipment you might ever need to sell for cash.
- The Endor Casino is full of these: The Meteorite Bracer doubles agility. The Spangled Dress has highest defense of the non-ability/elemental armours. Oh, and the Falcon Blade (the top prize in the Endor Casino) is the strongest non-unique item for the 'Hero' in the game. The double hit doesn't carry over if the enemy dies from the first one, but the Meteorite Bracer is great for healing before the enemy kills an injured ally: these items will outclass everything else available for the next handful of gameplay hours (and the bracers' variable bonus means it winds up being used well beyond that.
- Disney Death: Oojam/Orin in Chapter 4. However, visiting a certain inn during the next chapter will reveal that he survived.
- Doomed Hometown
- Dug Too Deep: Mamon Mine.
- Dummied Out: The Party Talk feature, which is still in the game code, but was cut so the game could be released quicker. Fan outcry since then forced Square Enix to not make that mistake with the sequels.
- The iOS version finally adds it in, with a dedicated button specifically for talking to your party. And they are chatty.
- Dying Town: Mamon, both in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: That's Tsarevna Alena to you!
- Evolutionary Levels
- Fairy Battle: During Torneko Taloon's chapter, he sometimes runs into fellow traveling merchants.
- Fang Thpeak: The Minidemonth talk thith way in the D-Eth version.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The Female Hero's outfit has only one glove, sleeve, and pant leg (though the Male Hero has no such asymmetry), Nara/Meena wears a dress covering only one shoulder and arm, Psaro's outfit is also asymmetrical, and Ragnar has only one shoulder armor pauldron.
- Fix Fic: This is the point of Chapter 6.
- Floating Continent: Zenithia.
- Foreshadowing: The Prelude chapter in the remakes is practically made of this.
- For the Evulz: Averted. This may actually be the first one of the first video games ever where this is not the primary motivation of the Big Bad.
- Fortune Teller: Meena/Nara. One of her more useful weapons is a deck of Tarot Cards.
- Funetik Aksent: The DS translation uses different dialects for different regions of the world.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Between the Stripperiffic female outfits (which Torneko threatens to wear), the heavily implied sex between Torneko and his wife, the female hot spring bather who comments on the size of your breasts if you're female (they're small), and a, umm... certain quote you may get if you have Kiryl look in a mirror. There's a girl in a bar (that's only open at night) in Lassiez Fayre, and if you talk to her in a group she'll say "Oh là là! Ze entourage? I'm not zat kind of girl, monsieur! You most come alone." There's also a priest in Femiscyra (Which is an all-female castle) who will say "I'm the only man who lives in this entire castle, you know. Well, the only real man, that is. Huh huh huh. Jealous, are you? So you're one of those 'modern' women, eh?" It's positively amazing that the DS translation managed to get an E10+.
- God Is Flawed: The Big Good of the game, the Zenith Dragon, is responsible for a remarkable amount of suffering thanks to a particularly cruel enforcement of Zenithian law. The Hero is the love child of a forbidden union between a Zenithian woman and a human woodcutter. After he or she is born, the Zenith Dragon smites the father with lightning and forces the mother to return to Zenithia and abandon her child. The woodcutter's father ends up a broken and bitter old man, and he doesn't recognize The Hero. You meet a Zenithian woman later who is heavily implied to be the Hero's mother, but she never explicitly identifies herself. While the story gives you all the pieces to put this together, no one calls him out on it.
- God Is Inept: The Dragon God also turns out to be almost completely powerless to do anything to stop the villain except to provide a weak NPC to tag along and to give the hero a convenient (but unnecessary) lift once he's defeated the main villain.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: The DS remake sees a fair amount of Russian and French sprinkled into the dialogue. The French translation (which can be accessed using the North American version and changing the system's language to French) replaces the French with English.
- Guest Star Party Member: Aside from the chosen, a few others pass through their lives here and there. Some can even be met after their respective leaves!
- Heel-Face Turn: The final boss! But only in the DS/PS1 version's new 6th chapter.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: Name and gender, for Solo/Sofia.
- Heroic Mime: The Hero, naturally.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Eliza (Celia in the NES version) uses her magic to take her best friend's form and die in their stead, tricking the enemy into believing they just killed The Chosen One.
- In Chapter 4, after Marquis de Leon strikes down the girls, they're forced to break out of jail, at which point Balzack sends the guards after them. Orin throws himself at them and dies fighting them off, giving Maya and Meena time to escape.
- Hero Secret Service: The entire point of the game is to create one.
- His Name Is...: After defeating the Marquis de Leon, when you talk to Nun the Wiser in a shrine near Havre Leon, she almost reveals Estark's name before she suddenly chokes up and dies.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Marquis de Leon in Chapter 4. You get your rematch in Chapter 5.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The villain's motive revolves around this, thanks to human greed. Also, humans apparently mostly wiped out the elves near Strathbaile and aren't on good terms with the dwarves either.
- Hyperactive Sprite
- Hyperspace Arsenal: The Bag of Sharing.
- An Ice Person: Borya/Brey specializes in ice-based magic, like "Crack" and "Crackle".
- Idiot Hair: Take a wild guess and look at his official artwork.
- Impassable Desert: The desert near Casabranca\Branka.
- Improbable Weapon User: The Astraea's Abacus, one of Torneko's weapon choices.
- Indy Escape: In Chapter 3, Torneko gets chased by a rolling boulder in his search for the Steel Strongbox/Iron Safe. Fortunately, he has to make the boulder fall into a pit, forming a bridge so he can move on. In the NES version, the boulder moves very slow, which can be easier for Torneko to run faster; the DS version, however, has the boulder move pretty fast, and almost at the same speed as Torneko. It won't run you over though, you just can't get past it.
- Inevitable Tournament: One of Alena's goals.
- Intentional Engrish for Funny: Part of the Russian accents in the second chapter.
- Joke Character: Torneko. Once you have the full party, he becomes more useful for what he can do outside your party (appraisal and treasure finding) rather than in combat. In Chapter 5, he begins doing random goofing-off much like the Jesters of Dragon Quest III. Unlike the Jesters, however, Torneko's goofing-off nearly always results in something beneficial. However, he may occasionally stare off into space or scare off metal slime types.
- Just a Stupid Accent: The Gratuitous Foreign Language use and Poirot Speak are about all you're going to get that isn't from the language you're playing the game in.
- Lady Land: The Queendom of Femiscyra (Gardenbur in the NES version), filled to the brim with Amazonian Beauties.
- Lazy Backup: Thankfully averted here. If your current party is wiped out, and you have your wagon with you, the reserve party members will all leap out to carry on the fight. You can even then switch out some of them for the dead bodies and revive them. Especially notable because the treasure at the end of a sidequest dungeon is the Baron's Bugle/Horn, which lets you summon your wagon to an outdoor area where you couldn't normally take it. Like the cliff where you fight the last boss!
- Leitmotif: In the remake, each chapter has its own unique adventuring music, specific to the characters and their quest. Once you've assembled all eight of the chosen, changing the party leader will change whose adventuring music you hear.
- Lethal Joke Character: Some of Torneko's "goofing-off" actions include stealing items from the enemy (being the only way in the game to do so), performing a leg sweep to nullify some of the enemy's turns, calling in an army of fellow merchants he's befriended in his travels (who proceed to beat up on the enemy for a few rounds), covering an enemy's mouth to prevent spellcasting, and tripping. (Yes, tripping. His weapon somehow lands a critical hit on the enemy in the process.) The only thing keeping this power in check is that, again, these goof-offs are completely random.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: Meena's Silver Tarot Cards were lethal to enemies and allies in the original. In the DS game, they favor your party much more. (Use them three times in the same battle, however, and they will always yield the Fool, casting Whack on your whole party).
- Lighthouse Point: About halfway through the game. Monsters have taken over a special lighthouse and corrupted its beacon with an evil light that sinks ships. The hero and his party have to clear the monsters out and restore the holy flames.
- Love Redeems: Psaro the Manslayer in Chapter 6.
- The Man Behind the Man: Wandering around the Diabolic Hall before the conference that launches the attack on Mamon Mine will reveal a secret conversation about Aamon (or Radimvice for NES players) loyalists whispering about a potential coup; near the end of the game, Aamon himself will claim to have arranged for Rose's kidnap, and by implication her murder. The original doesn't particularly delve into his intentions, but the implication is that monster-kind isn't particularly thrilled with Psaro's broken heart and simply want a master who will run roughshod over humanity; the remake goes into much more detail.
- Manual Leader, AI Party: The game uses this as of Chapter 5, with the hero as the only directly controllable character. In the remake, you can assign tactics or manual control as you see fit.
- Marathon Boss: Psaro the Manslayer, the last boss of the original NES game / Chapter 5. While originally having Estark's appearance, Psaro doesn't go down nearly as easily; he mutates throughout the battle and assumes a total of a whopping seven forms before being defeated.
- Minigame Zone: The casinos. Maya/Mara even gets sidetracked by one during the fifth chapter.
- Mythology Gag: Ragnar's last name is a McVersion of his original Japanese name, Ryan. Similarly, Torneko's surname was the name given to him in the NES translation.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: 'Psaro the Manslayer' (or 'Necrosaro' in the NES version).
- Nice Hat: Alena's headgear may be simplistic compared to other examples, but it's still a darn big hat.
- Kiryl's hat is even more awesome.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's implied that the thugs who kidnap and murder Rose only got into her tower because you figured out the defenses and defeated her guardian. Way to shatter that Morality Chain, team.
- Another example would be Alena handing over the Armlet of Transmutation/Golden Bracelet to those thugs.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!: Since the villains know The Chosen One is currently growing up somewhere in the world, they specifically target children. When Ragnar investigates the disappearing children in Strathbaile (Izmit in the NES version), he learns about this plot and sets out to find the Chosen One, eventually discovering that he's one of their destined companions.
- Nintendo Hard: Psaro the Manslayer / Necrosaro has seven forms if you count each HP milestone. There's his initial body, after losing one arm, after losing both arms, after losing his head where he'll then turn his body into a head, then he grows both arms back, then the legs get stronger, and then another head on top of his first head.
- And by that stretch, Aamon in the PS1/DS version is actually worse than Psaro in terms of difficulty. At least he only gets 4 forms instead of 7. The last form is actually the worst: powerful breath attacks, and he uses an attack that debuts in Dragon Quest VI: Magic Burst / MegaMagic, and coupled with debuffs... yeah... Good luck, you'll need it.
- Poirot Speak: Where the aforementioned Russian and French generally comes into play.
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone: During Chapter 5, everyone who sleeps at the Strathbaile/Izmit Inn gets these.
- Pungeon Master: Healie can't speak a single sentence without inserting a slime-based pun or twelve. Even if he's in human form.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: For Solo/Sofia only.
- Although Sofia gets female-only gear, which can be very defense-friendly early on.
- Rebellious Princess: Alena is a perfect example of this — in fact, she's the Ur-Example for Dragon Quest!
- Real Men Wear Pink: Ragnar's rocking that pink armor.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: When Solo/Sofia first visits the town of Casabranca/Branca (and Endor), many people s/he talks to keep acting as if s/he were killed by foes rather than Eliza/Celia, as if Solo/Sofia never existed at all!
- Royal "We": The King of Canalot talks this way in the DS version, using capitalization of the first person plural, of course.
- Save the Princess: In Alena's chapter, the 'princess' you have to save is a fake. Pretending to be Alena herself, in fact.
- Shout-Out/Named After Somebody Famous: In the DS version, the imposter "princess" is named Anya, after the "imposter" princess of the 1997 film Anastasia, which is kind of odd, given that the film was based on the events of the imposter named "Anna Anderson", whose DNA testing revealed that she was not the actual Russian grand-duchess Anastasia Nicholaevna Romanov.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Meena/Nara is more level-headed and focused than her vibrant and outgoing sister Maya/Mara.
- Sixth Ranger: Psaro the Manslayer in the DS remake.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix
- Squishy Wizard: Borya/Brey. Maya/Mara and Meena/Nara also qualify, in more ways than one.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Alena's dad seems to have this attitude at the start of her chapter. Of course, Alena's the strongest physical fighter in the game, so...
- Talking in Your Sleep: Some people in towns do this at night, which is made even funnier in the DS version (Examples: The king of Parthenia mumbles, "Ah-few... ah-fever-few...", the soldier mumbles, "Cry some rubiezzz...", and one boy in Dunplunderin mumbles, "Arr-phew... arr-phew...").
- Those Two Bad Guys: Foo Yung and Chow Mein can be seen as this when they aren't arguing.
- Together in Death: Played straight with Necrosaro/Psaro and Rosa/Rose in the NES version. The DS and PS1 versions completely subvert this in Chapter 6, however, when Psaro comes back strong and the Hero's party brings Rose Back from the Dead.
- Tomboy: The game explicitly calls Alena this. However, she's actually more of a straight up Action Girl.
- Tomboy Princess: Alena.
- Took a Level in Badass: Everyone in the Monster Battle Road series, but most prevalent in Kiryl's super-attack. After unsuccessfully spamming Wack and Thwack, he stomps the dialog boxes to the floor and uses DefeatMax (Kathwack in the DS remake), a wave of darkness that would make Cecil's jaw drop.
- This is a Mythology Gag dating back to the NES game's legendary Artificial Stupidity. You couldn't turn off the party AI in the original NES version (well, you could, but only by using a Game Genie code that was discovered 15 years after it was released) — and Kiryl was completely useless in battle, as he'd spam instant Death spells that would never work, ever.
- Aamon gets one in the Updated Re-release; it's revealed during his boss fight in both versions that he's the one that had Rose killed; in the DS bonus chapter, Aamon admits that it was a plan to become the new King of the Nadiria, which has since succeeded; now Aamon takes Psaro's place as a boss, except much harder.
- Tragic Keepsake: Elisa's/Celia's feather cap, in the spot where she died in a Heroic Sacrifice for Solo/Sofia.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: An NPC complains at the unfairness of Torneko Taloon having such a ridiculously hot wife.
- Unexplained Recovery: Aamon and, to a degree, Psaro in Chapter 6.
- The Unfair Sex: The Queen of Femiscyra/Gardenbur refers to the hypothetical perpetrator as "him".
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Psaro the Manslayer.
- What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: Psaro says this to the heroine Sofia in the DS version if she speaks to him at the beginning of Chapter 5.
- With This Herring:
- Justified at the start of Alena's chapter, where her father specifically forbids her from fighting and tries to keep her locked up in the castle against her will, so that when she inevitably escapes she has little more than the clothes on her back. Later on, the trope becomes less enforced, as Alena's father is basically forced to accept her, but by that point Alena is so close to her goal she probably figures she can prove she doesn't need it.
- Reconstructed in Torneko's chapter. Having a wife and son to support alongside a low paying job at a shop, his journey starts with very little in the way of adventuring gear. But you can still work as a shopkeeper after you've started playing, receiving a daily stipend for your work. There's nothing actually preventing you from grinding away until you have enough money to buy the best gear your little podunk town has to offer... except for the fact that doing so is incredibly boring.
- As for the other heroes... Ragnar is one of the Royal Knights of Burland, but starts with little money and pathetic weapons; this is justified by NPC comments about how times are hard and the King is keeping taxes low so the citizens don't suffer. Maya and Meena are both popular attractions at a traveling show; however, Maya is shown to be very bad at managing their money.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: In the DS version, Orifiela and many others at The Azimuth and Zenithia talk in this way, which is a nod to the first two NES Dragon Quest games.
- You Go Girl: Alena's entire motivation for her chapter is to prove she can kick seven different kinds of ass.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Your hero has green hair; Maya and Meena have violet hair; Ragnar and Torneko have blue hair...