Was released today, except in English. Google wasn't terribly helpful with bringing up the English translation, but the subtitle should read 'Sentinel of the Starry Skies'.
I'm not sure what it's about yet. I haven't opened my copy. I'm excited, though!
What is the Dragon Quest series?
It is a series of roleplaying games. The series is stupidly popular in Japan, but also relatively popular elsewhere in the world. In the US the games were released under the name 'Dragon Warrior' until 2004 thanks to copyright issues.
Why should I care?
Because they're really, really fun little games, and recently they've enjoyed a resurgence on the DS, with 4, 5 and hopefully 6 being released with updated graphics and, I believe, better translations. 9 is the latest in the series to be released, and it was made for the DS. Previous games in the series have been released for the MSX, Famicom/NES, Super Famicom/Super NES, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and Wii.
But I hate JRPGs and the artwork is horrible!
Believe me, this is what I thought, too. I'm certainly not one for grinding in games (which Japan apparently loves) and the character art style is ghastly. At least, it's ghastly on the covers/in the art books. It actually works rather well on a DS screen. Also, say what you may about the human characters, but the monsters in the games are really quite darn cute.
The Dragon Quest games, however, have managed to worm their way into my affections despite my dislike of most other things JRPG, including Final Fantasy. They're not too difficult, and although a little grinding is required, the battles are mercifully short and the text easily skipped through. The stories are classic rpg fare, but are well told, with a few interesting twists here and there, and a great sense of humour. The sense of humour, actually, is really what carries the games. They are simply fun
So where do I start?
Anywhere! The games are all stand-alone, although there are a few very tenuous links to the other games in the series.
I've actually only played 4 and 5, but I really, really loved 5 and would definitely recommend that as a good place to start. I understand many people consider it the best in the series.
Both 4 and 5 are readily available on the DS, and are extremely well-polished:
(Seriously, terrible artwork!)
Hand of the Heavenly Bride is pretty epic. You start off as a small boy and eventually marry, have a couple of children and defeat the threat to your world.
In Chapters of the Chosen you don't actually play as the hero until chapter 5. In the first four chapters you play as other members of your party, and eventually you all meet up and save the world together.
What else is there?
I can't make a Dragon Quest thread without mentioning one of the spin-offs: Dragon Quest: Rocket Slime.
The slimes are the most adorable thing about the Dragon Quest series, and are both monsters you fight and can recruit. Rocket Slime, who is blue, got his very own game, in which he rescues all the other slimes of Boingburg when they are slimenapped by a mysterious enemy.
Seriously, look how adorable he is:
He is just so happy
The game is very simple - you use two, maybe three buttons for the entire game - but again, great fun, and it has some fantastic boss battles.
Okay, so, in order to spread my love of all things Dragon Quest Moriveth & I decided we should hold a competition.
There are prizes!
The winner shall receive a copy of Dragon Quest 9 & Rocket Slime for the DS, and two runners-up will receive copies of Rocket Slime.
How do you enter?
This one is Moriveth's plan.
Since we both enjoyed Rocket Slime so much, we'd love to see what ideas people come up with for a Fake Dragon Quest Spin-Off
You don't have to have played the games to enter. Just google and you'll come up with dozens of the monsters, including slimes, used in the Dragon Quest games.
I don't care how you present your ideas; it can be original artwork, cut-and-paste, anything! Just take a Dragon Quest character and insert them into another game, original or existing, of your choosing. Humour is a bonus!
To prove my seriousness, behold a cellphone photo of the shrink-wrapped prizes, already bought: