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Dragon Questing V Part VI [GO]
July 21st, 2009 by Dan

There’s a rather interesting mechanic in play with Dragon Quest V and, while it wasn’t pioneered in Dragon Quest V, I think that it fits in well with the family theme of DQV. After Dan became an adult, he acquires a horse named Dusty and a wagon. This wagon holds the hero’s excess party when he doesn’t have them in the fighting party. The end result is that Dan has the fighting party and a backup party present in battles. He can swap fighters whenever he needs to within any battle that the wagon is present in. The wagon, logically, is only present in outdoor battles or battles in locations where a wagon would fit in the corridors with you.

Anyway, back to my point, the wagon emphasizes the broad themes present in the game. While the narrative has Dan literally creating a new family, this mechanic, combined with the monster recruitment, is also like creating a family with a fighting unit. It’s heavily reminiscent of the Oregon Trail to me. Dan, his real family, and his extended family all travel to their destination together and, at any point on the world map or in a town/dungeon/temple, Dan can hit a button to talk to the members of his party to get their input on current events.

Horii also has some fun with the wagon mechanic in the random battles. The Dragon Quest series’ iconic enemy is the slime. It’s usually the first enemy you encounter and the easiest one, at that. At around this point in the game I started seeing huge crowds of slimes at once, which was an odd occurrence considering what part of the world map I was on. It got interesting when all of the slimes started coming together to create…a King Slime! This new abomination was a much larger slime that could take some hits, unlike his constituent parts. The King Slime has an interesting attack whereupon he charges the wagon. The result is that the wagon goes flying away and the fighting party becomes your only pool of fighters to draw from.

Another neat little touch that Yuji Horii added to the game has to do with your choice of wife. Bianca, who, as I’ve discussed before, seems to be the canonical choice for a wife, is rather poor. Her father lives alone in a small town and her mother died in her youth. The Briscolettis, on the other hand, are rich and influential. So when Dan arrived in Helunaptra, I was surprised and quite pleased to see a representative from the Briscoletti family when he gave Dan a chest containing 2000 gold as a gift from his father-in-law.

Dan went to Helunaptra to retrieve the Zenithian Helmet and hears from the citizens that the Zenithian hero of legend will save Helunaptra and the world. Naturally, this will be Dan. Gotta get that helmet to finish off my quest. Just got to go talk to the queen of Helunaptra, Cleohatra. So this little kingdom Helunaptra (sounds kind of like helmet) is ruled by Cleohatra. Very clever localization team. Good stuff. Time to go see the helmet. Will it be stolen? Will it be fake? Will she make Dan do something before she gives it to him? Find out next time!

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2 Responses  
  • Eric Mesa writes:
    July 21st, 20097:46at

    What a tease that it’s mostly gameplay mechanics and less about the story. Can’t wait until next Tues!

    • Dan writes:
      July 21st, 200919:12at

      Remember that mechanics should be a huge part of the medium. The game designer that makes game mechanics work for his themes has truly crafted a cohesive experience.


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