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YMMV / Dragon Quest VIII

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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Morrie has to know what he's doing when he says a few of his lines.
      Morrie: "You know what they say: You never know the depths of your own passion until you play with yourself."
      Morrie: "You give my monstrous pit a good licking."
      Morrie: "You keep it up, and you will go far in my monstrous pit!"
    • Apparently, Kalderasha has asked Valentina repeatedly not to touch his crystal balls.
    • Captain Crow demands Red get her hands off his jewels.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Marcello. Manipulative, self serving Jerkass? Well-Intentioned Extremist? A little bit of both?
    • Just how much influence the Scepter has over its wielders isn't explicitly established, leading to some speculation on how much of the original personality remains intact.
  • Awesome Music: Quite a bit of the soundtrack.
    • Particularly, the song when you first gain the ability to fly. Especially as you recall that the embodiment of your flight is Empyrea's dead son, whose spirit is shown just before you start flying.
    • Remembrances, a particularly sad piece.
    • Apparently, the original versions of the game got synthesized music, whereas localizations got an orchestral soundtrack, and the theme that plays while fighting the final boss is probably the most awe inspiring orchestral you will ever listen to.
  • Breather Boss:
    • Gemon comes right after Empyrea, and almost feels designed to give the player a breather after her nightmare of a fight. Unlike Empyrea, he can't cancel your buffs or tension, so you're free to set up and go to town on him.
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    • The Ruin you fight at the end of the escape sequence from the Dark Citadel. It's massive and intimidating, and has the same more intense boss theme that played for Dhoulmagus' second form and Rhapthorne, but compared to Rapthorne's first form you just fought and the post-Dhoulmagus bosses, Ruin is a joke. It has a really high attack stat, but doing normal attacks is all it can do. It doesn't possess the Ice Wave move, and with it having no skills, you can buff up and psyche up to your heart's content, and easily heal away the damage it deals out, which won't even be that much after some Kabuffs unless it gets lucky with crits. It doesn't even make two moves on every turn, an ability that has been standard for bosses at this point.
  • Complete Monster: Rhapthorne, while the characters aren't initially aware of it, is present from the beginning to the end, actively causing all the calamities in the game. His most heinous acts include turning the residents of the castle Trodian into immobile plant people; killing the kind old woman in cold blood, after forcing her to come out by holding her son hostage; and ordering the murder of an unborn child of the Godbird Empryea. He also did most of his work by performing Grand Theft Me, which trapped the victims of that into mental torture.
  • Demonic Spiders: Dead Ringers, who given enough time to summon backup can use an attack that wipes out the whole party.
    • The Rockbombs. On the outside, they look just like little rocks with a nice smile. Until you realize they can cast Kamikaze which will literally take everyone in your party down to 1-5 health.
    • Belials. As threatening as every enemy is in the Dragovian Path and Heavenly Dais, they still manage to be a level beyond them and any other regular enemy in the game. They can take a hell of a beating with over 700 HP and adequate defense, they possess plenty of resistances and immunities (including being immune to bang damage), they have among the highest attack of all enemies while also being able to cast Kaboom to hit your entire party really hard, and can move twice a turn while being able to psyche up. No other monster is so hard to kill while also being such a huge offensive threat. And they're pretty common too in the areas they appear, while being able to show up in large groups of themselves and with other enemies. Fortunately the 3DS version makes it easy to avoid running into them most of the time, but no such luck in the PS2 version with its random encounters.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Marcello, due to being Tall, Dark, and Snarky.
  • Ending Fatigue: A rather famous video game example of it. A lot of the second half of the game is running from place to place while the overarching plot is halted. The general consensus is that it could have ended 15-20 hours before it did without too much being lost: and that would still leave it with over fifty hours of gameplay! That said, there is one bright spot amongst all of that. Marcello's rise to power, and subsequent fall from it, and then being saved by his despised half-brother Angelo, is almost universally said to be awesome.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Yangus, who was popular enough to earn his own spin-off. Marcello qualifies, given his fangirls.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Angelo/Hero, by sheer volume of fanart. Since they are the only two young males in the game that interact on a frequent basis: that alone is enough for yaoi fans to latch onto. Angelo/Jessica has the second most amount of fanart and is the most popular heterosexual pairing with every Dragon Quest spin-off game featuring some sort of Ship Tease between the two.
  • Fridge Brilliance: During Marcello's ascension to the Lord High Priest, he gives a speech talking about the unfairness of birthrights, the useless nobility who trod upon others, etc... then he gets to speaking about "a Goddess who does nothing", and the player realises that the death of Abbot Francisco, after he'd expressed confidence that the Goddess would save him, just may have hit him harder than it appears. May also count as Hidden Depths.
    • The Hero's immunity to curses, at least once you start to realise how it affects gameplay.
    • The guards of the prison island, in a world where almost everyone has a British accent, have Australian accents.
    • The subtitle. Trode might be a cursed king, but he's not the only one.
    • Memory Lane's difficulty works from a story and gameplay perspective. It makes sense that all of them are hard to defeat because it's how the party remembers them. In addtion, the dungeon serves to challenge the player further since they're good enough to easily take down the Dragovian Lord's various forms.
    • Sir Leopold in Memoriam's weakness to poison makes sense once you remember that Dominico accused David of poisoning Sir Leopold earlier in the game.
  • Fridge Horror: Prince Charmles is the Hero's cousin! They are actually related by blood!!! AAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!
  • Fridge Logic: Red and Morrie's absence from Purgatory island is given a Hand Wave by Yangus explaining that they managed to escape. However, technically there should be a bounty on their heads.
  • Game-Breaker: The roulette wheel in the casino is hilariously broken. Betting the maximum amount of tokens on every possible space you can bet on leads to you earning more tokens than you spent, no matter where the ball lands. Doing this for just a few minutes will earn enough tokens to buy the Disc-One Nuke weapons and armour from the casino's store with ease.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In contrast to the general Cult Classic status of the series outside Japan. When it comes to entries that the western fanbase has at least heard about, this is the Dragon Quest equivalent to Final Fantasy VII. This is why the game's hero is among the playable Dragon Quest heroes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Goddamned Boss: None of the bosses are very hard (in the sense of needing clever strategy) but some of them can be a long slog to beat. The Final Boss can take up to half an hour of hit the boss, hit by the boss, heal party, over and over again. With no health bar.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Many people in places Dhoulmagus attacks end up repeating his Catchphrase, "Such a pity". It turns out this is something much more sinister than just Got Me Doing It...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In the US version, when reaching max tension with the hero, the form he would take appeared to be a pink haired Super Saiyan. Flash foward 12-13 years later, and Super Saiyan Rose debuts.
  • Ho Yay: In the Japanese setting, if you talk to Yangus in a rest cottage shortly before you recruit Angelo, he'll say his dream is to one day live with you in a cottage just like the one you're in, with both of you sitting by the fireplace.
  • Idiot Plot: The Purgatory Island chapter, which only happens because the party let some rank-and-file Templars manhandle them off a floating island, into a boat, and into a pit of a prison cell. They're quite literally the strongest characters in the entire room, and have zero reason to go along with it. The party has no business there, except to witness Rolo's redemption arc.
  • Junk Rare:
    • The Platinum Sword is a rare weapon that, outside of a rare drop from a Hell Gladiator, has only one of that you find on the unmarked island, an island that isn't on the map and is far out of the way. However its 40 attack power will very likely already be obsoleted by swords you already have by the time you get it, it has no special effects, and it can't be used to make anything in the Alchemy Pot.
    • The Golden Axe can only be gotten through Alchemy, but requires a rare Gold Nugget (of which in the PS2 version, there are only three of in the game outside of a rare drop from a postgame monster), and using an Iron Axe. However with a measly attack power of 27, it's weaker than the Iron Axe you need to use to make it. The book that tells you the recipe even warns you that it'll make a junk weapon. Now the Golden Axe can be used in Alchemy to make the much stronger Moon Axe and King Axe. But with the former being found in the Argonia vault and being weaker than the more easily obtained Bandit Axe, while the latter requires another rare ingredient in the Slime Crown and can just be bought later on in Ortusk, players deem the Golden Axe to still be a junk weapon not worth the expenditure of rare Alchemy ingredients.
  • Les Yay:
    • Jessica's Puff-Puff move, which can be used on female monsters.
    • Also as a Funny Moment: "Jessica laughs triumphantly, having won the battle of the bulges." What's even funnier is that not only is Jessica immune to this move, but that the monster who tried it loses their next turn out of shame.
    • Also in the Puff-Puff Club, if you have Jessica or Red (in the 3DS version) as the first character. The puff-puff girl has no problem whatsoever to give a nice "Puff Puff" to them and even call her "cherié" and "mademoiselle". Still, Jessica doesn't look amused. Yet if you talk to her after getting a puff puff, she says she'd love to have a "pair" like that. Keep in mind that Jessica is the one saying this! Red meanwhile nervously sweatdrops.
    • Though extremely rare, it's possible (In the Monster Arena fights) to have recruitable Witch Hazel perform a Puff Puff on another Witch or Siren (Rank D and C battles) and actually succeed!
  • Magnificent Bastard: Marcello, for a while. Despite acting mostly for petty reasons, you almost have to respect him for becoming Lord High Priest in a matter of weeks, effectively playing politics with the entire Church and winning. Not to mention resisting Rhapthorne's possession, because he's just that focused. Not even one of your party members could do that.
  • Memetic Badass: King Trode is a ninja, as shown in the normal ending.
  • Mis-blamed: When footage surfaced of the 3DS version showing that Jessica's outfits had been altered, as well as a few scenes being altered, some people immediately blamed Nintendo of America for the changes. However the changes are present in all regions, including Japan, and the real reason for the change is due to the CERO ratings board in Japan not wanting to give the game an A rating with the old costumes and some scenes intact.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • While Francisco, Marta, and the other sages' deaths were needed for his plans to be fulfilled and his ultimate goal to be achieved, there was one instance where Rhapthorne topped himself in terms of sheer cruelty. Before he killed Marta, he tried to kill her son (whose death wasn't needed) in front of her after implying he'd simply trade his life for hers.
    • Dominico himself in the Playstation2 version. The 3DS saved him by removing a particular scene in which he seems to take glee in being such an asshole to David.
    • Gemon destroying Empyrea's unborn son with himself, which Rhapthorne is implied to have ordered if Gemon was ever defeated.
    • Marcello just starts kicking dogs left and right once you encounter him in the Lord's High Priest residence. He consigns the party to Purgatory Island, a little slice of Hell on Earth, for what can only be spite. While they're trapped, he's heavily implied to have personally murdered the Lord High Priest, and of his own free will. Rhapthorne takes no credit for that killing, and he has no reason to lie.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Dominico, for all his faults (and, oh, they are many) delivers incantations with so much ham that they could double as war cries.
    • The sound used for status buffs such as Oomph or Accelerate feels nice to listen to.
  • Narm:
    • Can be invoked by putting Jessica in an extremely Stripperific outfit and then watching the more serious moments with her present. For example, the Magic Bikini becomes available right before heading into the frigid region of Orkutsk.
    • After defeating Dhoulmagus for the first time, the camera shot after he turns One-Winged Angel makes it look like he has giant bird feet rather than something imposing and demonic.
    • Get Jessica to max tension. Use Hustle Dance. Laugh as she does the dance with a Death Glare plastered on her face.
  • Polished Port: The 3DS remake received some flak for some minor censorship and not having the original games orchestrated music, but is mostly loved for adding in two more party members, fixing several balance issues in character stats and equipment, fixing some of the plot holes in original story, adding in two new dungeons, adding a ton of quality of life fixes to address the many annoying aspects of the original, and even putting in a whole new ending.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • King Trode is snobby and demanding, and comes across as a whiny, useless plot device early in the game. However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that he is not a total buffoon, but a compassionate (if fairly egotistical) monarch who wants to preserve what little dignity he has left. He also builds (and later upgrades) the Alchemy Pot for you, which is absolutely essential for getting higher level items. And of course, there's his showing of ninja skills during one of the endings.
    • Dominico in the 3DS version. Even the characters in-universe think he's an absolute Jerkass. But despite all of this, David (his scapegoat) still puts his life on the line to save him. The 3DS version removed a particular scene in which Dominico forces David to eat dog food for no apparent reason - thus it makes Dominico's My God, What Have I Done? moment stronger, because it doesn't show Dominico as TOO despicable.
    • From a gameplay perspective, Clubs and Knives became this in the 3DS version. In the PS2 version they were both scrappy weapons - clubs because the axe skills are just that much better and Knives because they later give-way to swords and the only person who could use them (Jessica) really shouldn't be. The 3DS version gives both Morrie and Red who can use clubs and knives respectively. Not only are they much more equipped to use them, but Morrie in particular has his own unique abilities with clubs that make them behave more like axes and, on top of it, they added more weapons so that they are available late-game.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Between Hero/Medea (which is the Official Couple of the original game and default in the 3DS remake) and Hero/Jessica (which is optional ending in the 3DS remake). Quite a number of flame wars on gaming forums both argue over which heroine the Hero is better suited for. Angelo/Jessica shippers also do not get along with Hero/Jessica shippers.
  • That One Attack: The "wave of ice/Disruptive wave" boss ability. It's on over half of the bosses after Dhoulmagus, and it clears every buff on your party, meaning that if you just spent the last several turns buffing up your party, raising tension, etc, those turns were just completely wasted. It doesn't deal damage, so it's not particularly dangerous, but it certainly is incredibly annoying.
    • Granted, this is a pretty typical for Dragon Quest bosses: most players actually prefer when a boss does this, because if they use one of their rounds removing buffs on you, then they're not attacking.
    • Dhoulmagus in Memoriam's thorn attack can be a downright Total Party Kill if he and his copies use it on you.
    • Evil Jessica in Memoriam's charm attack will always work on your male party members, effectively forcing you to switch to using Red and Jessica for most of the battle.
  • That One Boss:
    • Disc-One Final Boss Dhoulmagus. He has two forms — his first, where he splits into three copies of himself, and the second, where he assumes a demon form that is somehow even stronger than the combined might of the three from the previous fight. The only consolation is if you die against the second form, you don't have to fight the first form again.
    • Captain Crow the ghost pirate, who vastly prefers attacking when he has maximum tension. And like every other boss at this stage of the game, he can take two actions per turn and remove your buffs.
    • Empyrea the God Bird is just plain unfair. Fighting a boss with stupidly high defence, an immunity to the defence lowering spells that also hits like a truck, gets to move twice and likes to remove your buffs every other turn is bad enough, but it gets worse. She can also confuse and dazzle you as well. Success in this battle generally depends on how often the boss confuses you and who gets confused. In the PS2 version, she could not confuse you, but she could heal herself at will which, given her high defense, gets annoying fast.
  • That One Level: The Dark Ruins, due to being full of Demonic Spiders and Goddamned Bats who take a bit of abuse before going down even if you are overleveled and you outgear the enemies. Several of which have defence so high they take very little damage from physical attacks, can take a good chunk out of your characters health or harass you with hit-all attacks, and in the 3DS version, enjoy going into narrow hallways to make you fight them.
    • In the Monster Arena, the B rank, where the luck required to win in the arena becomes especially apparent. It's a massive stepup in difficulty from C rank, with the first battle being especially rough; it's against a team of Dragurn, Tyrantosaurus, and Snapdragon, all with really high stats, while the Dragurn can breathe Inferno to hit your entire party up to 80 damage, the Tyrantosaurus also has Inferno and can critical hit, and the Snapdragon can attack twice while also being able to immobilize one of your monsters for a turn and cast Kafrizzle. Then the subsequent two rounds aren't really any easier. Additionally, the player has a lack of good options for team composition at the point they can take on B rank without being at a really high level; Talos is more than strong enough for the rank regardless of the hero's level, and Hackzilla will be strong enough if the player is at a decent level while also possessing a valuable fire resistance for that first round, but the player won't be able to get a good option for a third teammate, with the available options being underpowered until the hero's level approaches the 40s and the monsters with valuable support skills being heavily prone to the Idiot Ball. Clearing B rank however is highly rewarding, with it giving players the ability to have a second team, thus giving the ability to call out two monster teams a battle, which helps tremendously against bosses (something you're going to really want before the Dhoulmagus Difficulty Spike). Clearing B rank also makes some really good special monsters appear, which is why some players think the A rank and even the S rank is easier than B rank when they'll have better options available. The B rank's rewards incentives players to beat it as soon as possible, adding to the frustration in trying to beat it.
    • Rank A, despite the better monsters available for it, isn't much better. The first round is against three monsters with huge amounts of HP, two of which can critical hit. The second round against two Jumping Jackals and a Great Sabercat is annoying due to the enemies' speed and evasion. The round's unlikely to outright kill you, but it will weaken you. The last fight is against a Zombie Gladiator, a Treevil and Bomboulder. The Zombie Gladiator is the only threat, but it has a ton of HP and gets to move twice per turn, and has Kasap to drop your defence. The really annoying thing about this fight is the Treevil's ability to use an Yggdrasil Leaf to revive fallen teammates. Your monsters are often too stupid to Shoot the Medic First, and will repeatedly go for the Bomboulder due to it being the weakest enemy present, only for the Treevil to revive it instantly. And by the time you reach the third round, you're team isn't likely to have much HP left.
  • That One Sidequest: In the 3DS version, photoquests 138-142 in Cameron's Codex. The ingame descriptions doesn't even tell you really what you need to take a picture of, just colored "twinkles", much less on how and where to find them, leaving it a huge Guide Dang It!. Then if you look up what you need to actually do, it doesn't ease the frustration at all. To explain; once these photoquests become available, Stella from Dragon Quest IX can spawn in one of five locations in the overworld in one of five colored dresses, each corresponding to one of the colored "twinkles", and talking to her will have her give you a reward each day you encounter her, while you need to take a picture of her in each of her colors. Now for where the frustration sets in; these five locations are pretty much random markless spots in the vast overworld, and there's only a small chance she will spawn each time the player enters the overworld. Then she can spawn only once a day, and what color she will spawn in is completely random, while there's nothing preventing it from being a color you already gotten. The lone reprieve is that once she spawns, she will remain for the rest of the day, so a player can brute force her to spawn by entering and exiting a town over and over for an extended period, then go to each of her spawn locations to check if she is there, and then reset if she's in a color they already gotten. But if they happened to save after she spawned, which the player will have no indication has happened unless they check each of her locations, they're stuck with her color until the next day, adding yet another day they need to spend doing this. So in conclusion, once you know what to actually do, it's a very time-consuming process that can't be done through normal gameplay, and will take a minimum of five realworld days to get them all, while these photoquests won't become available until near the end of the main game, overall being a very glaring Last Lousy Point and being nigh-impossible to get them all without looking it up.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Just about everyone has at least one useless or underperforming skill besides Fisticuffs (which are, ironically, only really good on Yangus).
    • For Eight, it’s boomerangs that disappoint. Following usual Dragon Quest tradition, boomerangs are fantastic early game due to serving as crowd control when your options for that otherwise don’t exist, but drop off later. While some skills rectify this, boomerangs run into a different problem: they’re only good for crowd control, lacking the utility and multi-hit moves both swords and spears do.
    • Yangus deserves special mention due to the fact that Axes are essentially his only good skill tree due to the abilities being good and Axes being the most available weapons for him. Sure, he gets a rather hilarious attack if he maxes out Humanity, but to a lot, his low MP really doesn't justify investing so much, especially when he can learn some very useful axe abilities instead.
    • Jessica has knives, which on top of being bad, mesh horribly with her. Knives give the following buffs: some ailment Useless Useful Spells (rather than any of the myriad good ones the series has), attack output up, and the ability to use swords. Even staves are better, as they give her legitimately useful status spells like Kasap and Bounce.
    • Angelo himself has staves, though for the opposite reason as Jessica: they give him offensive spells when he could put his MP to better use healing the party. On top of that, they have to compare to his other options of swords and bows, which have utility and MP sustain, respectively, on top of both having power.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: While Dominico may come off as this regardless, he especially comes off as this way in the PS2 version. We see someone who is an absolute Jerkass to his servant (David), but when said servant still protects him despite the horrible treatment, suffers a My God, What Have I Done? and Heel Realization and tries to mend his ways to honour David's memory. Unfortunately, one scene that was in the PS2 version showed Dominico making David eat dog food - and the scene did no real purpose since Dominico's jerkassery was already established, so it was just a pointless Kick the Dog scene that bordered on Moral Event Horizon. The 3DS removed this particular scene, so Dominico's redemption has more of an impact by showing him as not too bad.
  • Values Dissonance: The 3DS changes: the censorship of Jessica's outfits were actually because what the game could get away with in 2004 versus 2015 has changed, though her bunny outfit was amusingly made even more provocative. Nintendo of America also made things more risque in Club Puff Puff...
  • Win Back the Crowd: After the resounding failure of Dragon Quest VII (in the west), Dragon Quest VIII was released to massive sales and critical acclaim and successfully renewed interest in the franchise in the west.


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