“A slime draws near!” I fondly remember those words from 25 years ago, when I first played Dragon Warrior on my NES system. It was my first role-playing game (RPG) game, and I was completely hooked.
Since then the series has changed its name to Dragon Quest here in the States, and they’ve released nine titles—but a few never made its to the States. Square/Enix is slowly remedying that, and Dragon Quest VI, for the Nintendo DS is the last one to make it way to our shores.
As with so many others in the series—and so may RPGs in general—this centers around a young man who gathers a ragtag party of adventurers and sets out to save the world from evil.
Other RPG staples are here as well: castles, magic, knights, dungeons, and random monster encounters. Your characters gain experience and money by fighting monsters, which lets them increase levels and buy better weapons and armor. Continue that cycle for 30 or 40 hours and you’ve got yourself an old school Japanese RPG.
It’s a niche market that grows more niche every year. I love, love, love these games, but I understand why people would find them boring and monotonous. And I freely admit that I find the mechanism of random encounters to be frustrating beyond belief.
There’s a dream world and a regular one, and you’ll find yourself traveling between the two frequently. They’re quite similar—I found it hard to keep track of which world was which, and what the significance of each world was. In fact, I found the whole plot hard to follow.
There is a basic religion in the world, but it only shows up when you have to save your game—you go to churches in towns to save and heal members of your party. The game uses the word goddess just as we would the word God. “Confess to the goddess…” “May the goddess bless you…” and so on.
It’s a solid game—especially if you like old-school Japanese RPGs.
Scott Firestone IV is the associate editor of Group Magazine and the online editor for youthministry.com. He's been playing video games for over 30 years.