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Video Game / Dragon Quest IV

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"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."

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosennote  is the fourth Dragon Quest game, originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990 in Japan and 1992 in the United States (under the title Dragon Warrior IV). It would later receive remakes for the PlayStation in 2001 (in Japan only) and the Nintendo DS in 2007 in Japan and 2008 in Western regions.

Chapters of the Chosen kicks off Dragon Quest's 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, whose investigation of missing children leads to something bigger.
  • Tsarevna Alena, the Tomboy Princess of Zamoksva (Santeem in the NES version) who escapes palace life to prove her strength out in the world.
    • Borya and Kiryl (Brey and Cristo in the NES verison), Alena's companions. Borya is an elderly wizard and her long-suffering retainer, while Kiryl is her childhood friend training to be a priest.
  • Torneko (Taloon in the NES versionnote ), a merchant who dreams of owning his own shop.
  • Meena and Maya (Nara and Mara in the NES version), sisters seeking to avenge their father's death. Meena is a Fortune Teller and Maya is a dancer.
  • Solo/Sofia, the green-haired Hero themself.

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.

Dragon Quest IV was notably the last game in the series 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 through,note  so English fans didn't see an update until the DS version was ported over.

Torneko would later star in his own Spin-Off series called Torneko no Daibouken: Fushigi no Dungeon between 1993 and 2002, the first in a long line of video games now known as the Mystery Dungeon series. Many of the party members are also playable in Dragon Quest Heroes and Dragon Quest Heroes II in 2015 and 2016. And over three decades after the game's original release, the villain Psaro would return as the star of Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince in 2023, retelling the story of DQIV from his perspective and showing his rise to power.

Dragon Quest IV contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: Mamon Mine. Poisonous puddles, grisly gasses, malevolent monsters... you name it! Oh, and one ancient archfiend hidden away while we're at it!
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The level cap is 99, but players are likely to beat the game before they hit level 40. The game implicitly recognizes this in the original release by having every character learn all of their spells and abilities by then. Come the remake, however, the hero now has a new spell at level 50, and a Secret Character can learn spells all the way up to level 60! Even with the Bonus Dungeon and new Final Boss, however, players are quite capable of beating everything with levels in the low-to-mid 40's.
  • Action Prologue: The remakes add a prologue chapter in which you play as the hero for a short while as you look around for Eliza.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Aamon is given more development in the remakes thanks to the extra chapter which firmly establishes his role in Rose's murder and Psaro's descent into madness. The Dark Prince later expands Psaro's backstory to a full game.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different:
    • As mentioned before, in the remakes, 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 their 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!
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Beginning with this game, if a character can learn spells and is at the appropriate level, it will display what spell they learned.
    • In Chapter 5 and 6, if the active party is killed and the wagon is around, any backup party members will arrive. This gives players another chance to fight on and revive any lost party members at the church.
    • The remake added the Bag from Dragon Quest VI, which means you don't have to worry about inventory management with other party members.
    • Characters now have their maximum inventory increased from eight items to twelve.
    • In the remake, Torneko's Appraise option is expanded to allow him to appraise other party members' items and any items in the Bag. He just needs to be alive or in the active party for it to work.
    • Torneko gains the Whistle ability in the remake, which cuts down walking around while grinding. He also gets Padfoot, which temporarily reduces the encounter rate.
    • Mini medals no longer take up a spot in a character's inventory in the remake. This means the player has to make a lot less trips to Minikin's Domain just to clear up an inventory slot.
    • In the remake, it's now possible to see an item's stats to see if something is an upgrade or not for any character.
  • Art Evolution:
    • In the PS1/DS, most characters keep the same design, but are more detailed from their original artwork. Psaro pretty much completely changed from a guy who resembles Weehawk from Wizards to a dude who's a Captain Ersatz of Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII.
    • In general, over the years Solo, Psaro and Kiryl have all become Progressively Prettier.
    • 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.
  • Artifact Name: The original localization on the NES dubbed the miniboss known as Psaro Knight as Sir Roseguardian, which worked just fine for his role in this game's story as Rose's sole bodyguard — as a proper name, however, it was ill-suited for later appearances in spin-offs where this monster appears as a Degraded Boss and generic enemy type. The DS version reworked the name to "Roseguardin", allowing it to stand as a "rose garden" pun.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Despite the infamous Artificial Stupidity, Maya, if she has the spell Puff!, will use it if you encounter a Metal Slime/Liquid Metal Slime/Metal King Slime, which will always hit them.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The NES version's AI in Chapter 5 is designed to systematically explore and learn about what each new enemy is weak to, which sounds impressive on paper, but this means that it starts in a position of complete ignorance and will pursue even obviously bad tactics until it learns not to do so. Because Dragon Quest loves itself some Contractual Boss Immunity, this results in a lot of wasted turns using Useless Useful Spells. Thankfully, this flaw is rectified in the remakes (as well as in all future installments of the Dragon Quest series).
    • Kiryl in particular got the short end of the stick—one of his go-to tactics is to use the Powerful, but Inaccurate One-Hit Kill spells Whack and Thwack, causing him to waste turns using it on each boss he fights. At its absolute worst, because each phase of the Sequential Marathon Final Boss counts as a new enemy for the AI's purposes, if Kiryl is in battle, he will spam these instant death spells over and over through the fight. This would become an Ascended Meme in spin offs like Dragon Quest Monster Battle Road and Dragon Quest Heroes, where Kiryl gets a Limit Break that features him pulling a Kathwack off successfully.
    • Meena is less infamous than Kiryl, but she abuses her Snooze spell to the same extent as Kiryl his Thwack.
    • Borya (Brey in the NES translation) is more likely to waste turns casting ice spells on monsters who are otherwise heavily resistant or immune to ice spells.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: You come across one early on in Chapter 3, along with some of his other vulpine cohorts who are keeping the King of Ballymoral's personal architect hostage.
  • 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, Stripperiffic midriff-baring and all. Maya's Iconic Outfit would persist into later installments as the "dancer's costume".
  • Bewitched Amphibians:
    • One appears in the prologue claiming to be a cursed princess, but it’s quickly subverted when the "frog" reveals herself to be Eliza, your childhood friend, using her Morph ability.
    • A legitimate bewitched frog later appears in the frontier town; at least in the DS version.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • The animals in the Zamovska and Palais de Léon regions use Russian and French onomatopoeia for animal sounds.
    • The dialogue in Ragnar's chapter is heavily influenced by Scots instead of merely being a Funetik Aksent based on Scottish English.
  • 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: Rose cried precious gems and humans constantly tormented her to get them. Made worse when you factor in tears she cried due to joy would crumble right away, but tears of sadness wouldn't. In the DS remake, Rose's tears always crumble when touched. It's implied that elves can make them break apart at will to keep people from collecting them without their approval. Any satisfaction one might feel at knowing the bastards never profited from their evil ways soon gets offset by the realization that this likely didn't stop them from trying. As seen when she's abducted and beaten to the point of death by thugs.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • As with other games, the NES version censored references to death, replaced dead party members with ghosts and changed any crosses with non-crosses to comply with Nintendo of America's censorship policy.
    • The puff-puff room is a fortune-telling room in the remakes. 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.
  • Breather Episode: Chapter 3 (Torneko's) is the only one with no boss fights. There are only two dungeons, both of which are not only fairly short and straightforward, but are actually completely optional. Instead of their normal drops, enemies will randomly drop high-end weapons and armor that can be sold for loads of cash.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In the remakes, 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 remakes add a sixth chapter in which Aamon comes Back from the Dead to get his revenge on the Hero and their 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 has a bit of a crush on Alena... and she doesn't seem to notice.
    • Also implied to be the case with Eliza and the hero, as well.
  • Chokepoint Geography: The Final Boss is in the Overworld behind the Final Dungeon, since you can only take your active party into a dungeon. This way, you can use a magical horn to summon the wagon with your inactive party members, who can then swap in and out during the big showdown. You remembered to give the horn to one of your active party members, right?
  • 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, with the exception of Alena - her critical hit rate is her level divided by 256 (in the NES version) or 75% of her level divided by 256 (in the DS and mobile versions), capping at 25% (NES) and 19% (DS) at level 64, or 25% at level 89 (mobile). Helpful to tip the odds in your favor while Metal Slime hunting.
  • Cursed Item: This entry introduces a staple of the series, the double-edged sword. It's actually quite good, but is technically cursed (gets the music and everything) that it inflicts a percentage of the damage it causes to monsters to its wielder. Despite this, people just equip it to a high HP meatshield and go to town.
  • Cute Bruiser: Alena is a petite, adorable girl who happens to be the chosen team's toughest hitter.
  • Dangerous 16th Birthday: The Hero is sixteen is when their journey starts. Averted in the remakes, which has the Hero's foster father mention that she/he is eighteen and almost an adult, and it has nothing to do with a birthday.
  • 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 performs a Heroic Sacrifice to help Maya and Meena escape. The game gives all indication that he is dead, with the standard "No response, seems to be a corpse" message. But later on, you find him wounded at the inn in Vrenor.
  • Doomed Hometown: The Hero has his/her humble hamlet destroyed simply because they are The Chosen One and the Big Bad's minions found out.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Burai to Brey (NES) to Borya (DS)
    • Clift to Cristo (NES) to Kiryl (DS)
    • Ryan to Ragnar (NES) to Ragnar McRyan (DS)
    • Manya to Mara (NES) to Maya (DS)
    • Minea to Nara (NES) to Meena (DS)
    • (Death) Pisaro to Necrosaro (NES) to Psaro the Manslayer (DS)
    • Torneko to Taloon (NES) to Torneko Taloon (DS)
  • Dug Too Deep: The mining town of Mamon, which is slowing dying out because of poison leaking from town's mine. Later in the game, the remaining miners show that they didn't have enough sense to get out of dodge, and dig even deeper... until they accidentally unseal the Ruler of Evil. In this case it's humans, not dwarves, who are at fault. It's implied that the humans were both operating under the Sunk Cost Fallacy ("Hey, we dug this deep and did all this damage, there must be something good down here!") and that they're not entirely in control of themselves.
  • Dying Town: Mamon, a mining town, goes from decline to virtual ghost town status over the course of the game. The apparent cause is a poison gas seeping from the nearby mines, caused by the fact that the demon king Estark was sealed underground beneath the town centuries ago - and the miners had been unwittingly unsealing his prison.
  • Easy Amnesia: A villager from Burland who goes off to search for the missing children in Chapter 1 winds up amnesiac and locked up in a local jail after encountering too many monsters. To restore his memory, you go back for his wife so that she can show him her wedding ring.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: In the remakes, Psaro will join the party in chapter 6 if you resurrect Rose.
  • Evolutionary Levels: The "Secret of Evolution", a mysterious power which Psaro and his minions are after so that they can build an all-powerful monster army to subjugate the world. This research also extends to giving animals the ability to talk.
  • Expy: The members of your party are this for the various job classes from the previous game.
    • The Hero (natch).
    • Ragnar is a Warrior, right down to the pink armor. A heavy-equipment class that uses brute force and no magic.
    • Alena is a Fighter/Martial Artist. Sacrificing equipment and durability for speed and a high critical-hit rate.
    • Borya and Maya are Mages. Physically weak but with powerful offensive spells.
    • Kiryl and Meena are Priests/Pilgrims. More durable than the Mages but with magic focused on healing and support.
    • Torneko is a combination of the Merchant, Thief, and Goof-Off/Gadabout. He can appraise items, steal from enemies, and will often do random actions in battle instead of what he's told to do.
  • Fairy Battle: During Torneko Taloon's chapter, he sometimes runs into fellow traveling merchants.
  • Fang Thpeak: The Minidemons talk this way in the DS and Mobile versions.
  • 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: In the remakes, the first five chapters play out as they did in the original version. The sixth chapter allows you to revive both the big bad and the elven lady he loved, whose death pushed him to become the ultimate evil. Redeemed by love, the big bad then joins your party and fights beside you to take down one of his flunkies, the one who ordered the elf's death and therefore manipulated him into becoming the ultimate monster.
  • Floating Continent: Zenithia, a floating castle inhabited by a god dragon and a race of winged humanoids.
  • For the Evulz: Averted. This may actually be one of the first video games ever where this is not the primary motivation of the Big Bad.
  • Fortune Teller: Meena reads people's fortunes and introduces herself by doing so before she joins in Chapter 5. One of her more useful weapons is a deck of Tarot Cards.
  • Funetik Aksent: The DS and Mobile translation uses different dialects for different regions of the world.
  • 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 departures!
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the remakes, a sixth chapter is added in which allows you to revive Rose, and use The Power of Love to convince Psaro the Manslayer to not only stop his plans for world domination/destruction, but also to join your team! His Evil Chancellor Aamon, then takes over the main villain position.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Name and gender, for Solo/Sofia.
  • Heroic Mime: The Hero, naturally fills this role.
  • 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. Oojam throws himself at them and apparently dies fighting them off, giving Maya and Meena time to escape.
  • Hero Secret Service: "The Hero" is the title given to the Chosen One prophesied to save the world against the Lord of the Underworld. Lucky them, they have people looking out for them:
    • The first four chapters of the game introduce you to the other Chosen, the Hero's seven future party members before you meet the Hero Him/Herself. Many of them are actively looking for the Hero in order to protect him/her.
    • Prior to the Chosen, there were the inhabitants of the hidden mountain village where the Hero was raised. They spent the first 18 years of the Hero's life training them in secret while pretending to be nothing more than simple villagers, but every one of them was aware of the Hero's true destiny and were willing to fight to the death to protect him/her when the Big Bad finally locates them.
  • 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 and animals at Rosehill either. At least some of the elves at Zenithia seem to change their minds about humans when the Big Bad is defeated, though.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: As is tradition for Dragon Quest games, the character sprites are always moving.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The first game in the series where you carry a Bag of Sharing with no limit of items you can carry. If the player party's inventory is full, additional items are placed into the bag. Items in your bag cannot be used during battle.
  • An Ice Person: Borya specializes in ice-based magic, like "Crack" and "Crackle".
  • Idiot Hair: Even though he is a Well-Intentioned Extremist and not at all an idiot, Psaro has a quite a long, curly lock near his forehead.
  • Impassable Desert: The desert near Casabranca is surrounded by a mountain range, leaving an inn as a choke point. You can't cross until you obtain a wagon, which is conveniently available at that same inn.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
  • 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 remakes, 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 appears in Alena's chapter, though it's actually a ruse by Psaro the Manslayer to get Alena away from her castle so he can reduce it to smithereens. It's not clear why he needed to lure her away, though; she's strong, but not THAT strong.
  • 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 Gadabouts of Dragon Quest III. Unlike the Gadabouts, 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.
  • King Mook: The King Slime monster line makes their debut in this game.
  • Lady Land: The Queendom of Femiscyra (Gardenbur in the NES version), filled to the brim with muscular women.
  • 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, 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 remakes, 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 remakes, 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 the Pharos Beacon and corrupted its beacon with an evil light that sinks ships. The Hero, Meena, and Maya have to clear the monsters out and restore the holy flames.
  • Love Redeems: In the remakes, beating the boss at the end of the Bonus Dungeon for the first time allows the player to obtain a Yggdrasill flower, which is used to resurrect Rose. Bringing her to where Psaro was will not only cause him to revert back to his normal self after a nice flashback, but he will join your party.
  • 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, A.I. Party: The NES game uses this as of Chapter 5, with the hero as the only directly controllable character. In the remakes, 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.
  • Mighty Glacier: Ragnar is one of the strongest characters in the game, and also the slowest.
  • Minigame Zone: The casinos. Maya even gets sidetracked by one during the fifth chapter.invoked
  • 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).
  • Nerf: Beginning in this game, BeDragon/Puff! only deals 1 damage to Metal family enemies.
  • Never Say "Die": Any references to death in the North American NES localization were removed and replaced with other words. Psaro/Saro's nickname Death Pizzaro/Psaro the Manslayer was originally translated as Necrosaro.
  • 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 Sir Roseguardian. Way to shatter that Morality Chain, team.
    • Another example would be Alena handing over the Armlet of Transmutation 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.
  • Nonindicative Name: From the NES version, at the end of Ragnar's chapter you can get the Sword of Malice. Based on prior games, where malevolent sounding names means CURSED, this would lead the player to believe it is a cursed item when it is actually a good weapon for Ragnar. Later games would change this to the Cautery Sword.
  • Poirot Speak: Where the aforementioned Russian and French generally comes into play.
  • Optional Boss: The DS remake adds an extra chapter after defeating Psaro. Explore a new dungeon, beat Foo Yung and Chow Mein, and you have the opportunity to revive Rosa, get Psaro to join your party, and kick the real Big Bad's butt.
  • Post-End Game Content: The remakes adds an extra chapter after defeating Psaro and beating the game, where the player can explore an extra dungeon and even recruit Psaro and fight the real Big Bad.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: In the NES version, the very first room in the Royal Crypt, before going downstairs. Not only are there Liquid Metal Slimes, experience gained from battles in the first room is given to the party members in the wagon as well.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: During Chapter 5, everyone who sleeps at the Strathbaile Inn gets visions of Rose and what's happening to her.
  • Pungeon Master: Healie can't speak a single sentence without inserting a slime-based pun or twelve. Even if he's in human form.
  • Punny Name:
    • Going up to the Birdsong Tower in Chapter 2 gives you an encounter with two clumsy elves who drop the Birdsong Nectar you're looking for. Their names? Oopsy and Daisy.
    • Other bad pun names include Archie O'Tect and Archie O'Logist, the prophetess Nun the Wiser, and Bewitched Amphibian Sultan Farog.
    • The postgame portion of the pioneer town sidequest has a Stealth Pun example, as you recruite a soldier who introduces himself as Partz, Private, First Class. "Private Partz".
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: For Solo/Sofia only. Although Sofia gets female-only gear, which can be very defense-friendly early on.
  • Rebellious Princess: Princess Alena. The keepers of her castle had to board up the walls in her bedroom specifically because she kept knocking it down to steal away and go on adventures behind the king's back. In fact, within the realm of video games, she's probably the ur-example — and definitely the ur-example for the series.
  • 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, as if Solo/Sofia never existed at all!
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Balzack gets turned into a bipedal, fat dragon after betraying his teacher and becoming Psaro's minion. Also, several of the monster species commanded by Psaro are reptilian, note  with 2 of his followers, Pruslas and Rashaverak, guard the barrier to Castle Nadiria.
  • Royal "We": The King of Canalot talks this way in the remakes, 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.
    • Alena also saves Princess Veronica (Mia in the NES version) from having to marry Psaro the Manslayer. Sort of, anyway; he bows out on his own. Of course he wasn't interested.
  • Sequence Breaking: while the chapter system limits opportunities from sequence breaking, once you get the ship, you can recruit Tom Foolery, get the Karstaway Stone, the Sands of Time, the Liquid Metal Sword, and the Zenithian Helm before recruiting Alena. After getting the Magic Key, you can get the Zenithian Armor before defeating the Marquis de Leon and recruiting Ragnar.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the DS/mobile versions, 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.
    • The two mercenaries from Torneko's chapter have been named "Laurel" and "Hardie" in the DS remake (named Laurent and Strom in the NES localization).
    • In the DS/mobile versions, there is a poet who is mentioned in Chapter 2 who is named Josef Starling. In both this chapter and the next, Alena and Torneko both help out a royal couple named Veronica aka "Ronnie" and Reagan.
    • When the hero talks to a character in a port town, the character tells them that Torneko was heading off for Pharos Beacon, although said character can't recall if his name was "Tall Buffoon" or "Gecko Tycoon" (the latter a possible reference to the gecko character of the Geico ads).
    • Frontier town residents include Rocky and Adrian, Prelvis Esley, Mr. Ned the talking horse, and a healslime named Mary Curey.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Meena is more level-headed and focused than her vibrant and outgoing sister Maya.
  • Sixth Ranger: Psaro the Manslayer, who joins the party in the epilogue chapter of the remakes.
  • Spin-Off: Torneko went on to star in the first of Chunsoft's "Mysterious Dungeon" series of Roguelike games which first appeared on the Super NES. Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince also features Psaro.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The PSX remake features two-dimensional characters in a three-dimensional environment with a camera that can be rotated 360 degrees; it inherited this style from Dragon Quest VII, which came out on the platform before it. The DS and Mobile re-releases retain this style.
  • Squishy Wizard: Borya is a strong mage with low defensive stats. Maya and Meena also qualify.
  • 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 remakes (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...").
  • Tempting Fate: Especially in the remakes, Elisa goes on and on about wanting to be with you in the village forever. The village doesn't even last a day after that.
  • Together in Death: Played straight with Psaro and Rose in the NES version. The remakes 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.
  • Tomboy Princess: Alena would rather participate in martial tournaments and beat up monsters than live life as a tsarevna, to her father's dismay.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
  • Tragic Keepsake: Elisa's feather cap, which Solo/Sofia finds in the spot where she died in a Heroic Sacrifice for him/her.
  • Trick Boss: Balzack in the fourth chapter. At first, he is immune to all attacks, and the party needs to use the Sphere of Silence to render him vulnerable. After Balzack is defeated, Marquis de Léon, the real boss of that chapter, storms in and immediately wipes the floor with your party. You get to fight Marquis de Léon again in Chapter 5, but this time he's beatable.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: An NPC complains at the unfairness of Torneko Taloon having such a ridiculously hot wife.
  • Underground Level: The Mamon Mine, where the demon Estark was sealed away in the past.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Aamon and, to a degree, Psaro in Chapter 6. And Elisa who just appears in a flash of light at the very end with no explanation at all.
  • The Unfair Sex: The Queen of Femiscyra refers to the hypothetical perpetrator as "him".
  • Uplifted Animal: Rosehill is full of sentient, talking animals, courtesy of Psaro's Secret of Evolution.
  • Useless Useful Spell: In the original game, Thwack (instant death) was largely useless due to your AI-controlled healer spamming it against enemies immune to it.
  • Video Game Stealing: Torneko can occasionally steal items from the enemy as "goofing off".
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: Psaro says this to the heroine Sofia in the remakes 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.
    • Reconstruction 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.
  • World Tree: The World Tree Yggdrasil, making its first appearance in the Dragon Quest series when you have to climb it in order to retrieve the Zenithian Sword.
  • "X" Marks the Spot: The Treasure Map puts one at the Yggdrasil Tree, the location of the Zenithian Sword.
  • 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.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Ragnar McRyan ends his own Chapter with the realization that a case of local missing children is actually a plot by the master of the Underworld and goes questing to stymie his further plans.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dragon Quest IV Chapters Of The Chosen


Kiryl Casts Thwack

Kiryl's infamous crippling artificial stupidity from the NES version of Dragon Quest IV where due to his poorly programmed AI he would continuously cast Whack and Thwack above all others, even when healing is necessary and the enemy is immune to them, which has become a recurring in-joke by both the fans and the creators of the Dragon Quest series is referenced in Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Trees Woe And The Blight Below by having his coups de grace involving him failing to cast Thwack over and over again until he gets so frustrated that he stomps the ''But it failed!'' text windows to dust and then casts Kathwack successfully. It is also lifted from Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road appearance another game that references the meme in question.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / AscendedMeme

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