Dragon Quest Tactics
Wow, it has been a while, hasn't it? Sorry for not
writing in. I think I've dictated half a dozen letters
to myself while walking to or from work over the past few
months, but then they never made it to an actual
email. Story of my life, I'm afraid.
That's OK, the
best laid plans of mice and men and all that.
How's the year going for you? It's the end of the
school year over here, and I'm going through turnover
issues. Last week was the last class for one of my
high level kids, leaving only one other boy in the class and
thus no way for us to continue our weekly Dungeons &
Dragon Quest homebrew game. Luckily I was able
to whip up a nice final battle for that section of the
story, involving eight octopirates, their captain, a
squid-faced sorceror, and a kraken, but then we ran out of
time anyway because we spent too long arguing over whether
or not the team's magician could electrify the floor, how
much of it he could electrify, and in the end telling him
sorry, but there was no way he could do it without
electrocuting his own allies. So we got the Cliff's
notes version of the kraken battle. Victory!
It's been great,
though being a father obviously means I need to
try and focus on a smaller set of games or
nothing will ever be completed. It's been a
tough thing to get a handle on since I'm easily
distracted by new games. Of course at some point
I will be able to play multi-player friendly
stuff like Tales of Symphonia with my
son, which should be a blast. Overall great year
so far. Sounds like a lot of fun with your
class! I keep picturing the battle against the
giant octopus from some Shining Force game.
I'm kind of sorry we won't have a chance to continue,
though. I had a nice overall story worked out, and
those two had barely made it to the halfway point.
Another year, and we'd be seeing the REAL final boss battle
going down. At about 50 minutes of gaming once a week,
it takes a while. Still, we had a fun time while it
lasted. It started last April with the boys taking
their characters on a journey to the great temple of Dharma
so they could choose their path in the world. In order
to get there, some detours had to be made, and a monster
called the Were-Rat King had to be verminated, but they made
it. Once they had their jobs, they were hired by one
of the temple priests to serve as gofers and
problem-solvers, with their first assignment being to go to
a small village up in the mountains and see why they hadn't
been sending vegetables down to the Dharma markets.
Sounds like a lot
of fun! I can appreciate not being able to
finish a campaign. It reminds me of not being
able to finish the Shining Force 3 story
(yes I know I can finish it now, I'll get to it
and no I have no idea why I keep bringing up Shining
Force). Dharma keeps giving me Lost
Well, from there we had to beat back a
small horde of murderous veggie-monsters led by Tuberius,
the Potato Baron, then when we got back there was an
incident where a monster escaped from a traveling
circus. The monster itself was innocuous enough, a
cute little pink slime, but the Ringmaster was... well, not
himself. One of the boys ended up getting a pair of
oversized clown pants (Pocus's Pants of Plentiful Pockets)
as a trophy for that one. As it turned out, the little
pink slime was actually a princess from the Slime Paradise,
who'd been kidnapped and exiled by a treacherous Slime
I'm sorry I'm
still chuckling at the Potato Baron!
Our last adventure was an ocean voyage. We were
supposed to deliver the slime princess back to her home, but
a band of octopirates attacked, and my characters (a kung-fu
girl and the little metal slime) were separated from the
rest. After several sessions of fighting through the
jungles of a desert island, fending off sinister AmBushes
and accidentally awakening a sleeping Stoneman, the heroes
found the octopirates' hideout, and... well, we already
covered that part.
But I had so many ideas left to use! We never got to
prevent that coup d'etat in the Slime Paradise, or visit the
bustling trade town of Binbanbonq to learn the secrets of
making things blow up. There was the ancient desert
necropolis of Ishk-Bibil to explore, and a robot apocalypse
to survive in the clockwork kingdom of Kalakriya. And
then there was the final plotline. Each of the big
bosses had a weird stone on them. The Were-Rat King
had a brown one, while Tuberius had a green one. The
Ringmaster's was red, and the Kraken's was blue. The
Angel Slime Elder would've had a white one, and the one
belonging to Rala Croak, Doom Trader, would've been
black. Finally, the leader of the robot revolutionary
force, the clockwork ballerina Coppellitrix, would have been
powered by the violet one.
I have to say that
is an awesome collection of big bosses!
These stones were relics of the Mazeen, an ancient race
endowed by the great Creator with the power of calling forth
life. The intent was for the Mazeen to populate the
world with amazing new species, using their native
creativity to bring a complexity to the environment.
Instead, they used it to create monsters to fight each other
with. In the end, the Creator chose one Mazeen, dubbed
the Pacifix, to beat down the rest of the Mazeen and force
them to give up their powers. A handful of great
monsters survived the war, each powered by a Mazeen stone
crafted from the soul of the monster's creator. The
guardian of Ishk-Bibil, the Gryphinx, had a silver stone of
great antiquity within its forehead. The thing is, the
silver stone was weak after 5000 years of existence, while
the seven stones my kiddoes were finding were all new.
In the course of research into the origins of magic, some
magitechnological types had sort of reverse-engineered the
genetic code of the ancient Mazeen, and then (quite
unwisely) decided to see what sort of being it would
make. A few years later, and we have a teenaged
Mazeen, convinced by unscrupulous researchers that he's the
second coming of Satan (more or less), flexing his magic
might. The final battle was going to be epic.
Wow that sounds
like an incredible setup for a grand finale, one
that any DM would dream of crafting! A true
shame you didn't get to send them through it.
Still you've got all the ideas, perhaps another
group of young adventurers some day?
That's all in the past now, unfortunately, the past and the
never-to-be. You wouldn't happen to know anyone in
need of a good plot for an indie game, would you? All
my notes basically add up to Dragon Quest Tactics (1,
2, and potentially a 3).
I'm sure there's
some indie RPG maker out there in desperate need
of some sort of plot, keep an eye out (or fire
up RPG Maker)!
Bonk me on the head in chat if I go too long without writing
Your fellow columnist,
Will do, as I'm
long overdue to write into your column anyway!
Dragon Quest Times
Dragon Quest VII is a game that I have been playing
through recently. I think it fits into that category of
games that is chock full of ideas that have been fleshed out
better since. In that sense I don't think it holds up as
well as other rpgs from that same time frame. The sprites
are cute, the combat is paced well and the story is fun and
engaging. But every time I sit down to play I find myself
wanting to run through DQVIII instead. But I will
give credit where it is due. I love the job system that is
implemented and I genuinely like the plot and the overall
tone of the game. It feels fun and lighthearted, and it
nails that nostalgic feeling that playing like an old Zelda
game gives. I think my biggest complaint is that I miss
seeing my characters in battle. The first person view
probably is the main thing holding the game back from being
a really gripping retro rpg. In any case, it's stilla great
game that I'm having lots of fun with!
I think it's tough
to deny that the Dragon Quest series
probably stuck to first-person combat for far
too long. I know it was there for nostalgia, but
when you look at how late in the PS1 life Dragon
Quest VII came out, the battle graphics
just look bad. It's a shame too because the game
has some great sprite work that could have made
for a much more interesting battle system.
Though I much prefer Dragon Quest VII's
battle system as far as mechanics go, Dragon
Quest VIII is a lot of fun based on looks
alone. When you really look at it too, VIII
still maintains the nostalgic feel. Sometimes we
stick to an old look way too long (hello Disgaea).
All this is proof as to why we really need Dragon
Quest VII on 3DS in the West.
1. The answer?
Anyone does really. We see people dump that much
time into online shooters, a certain Nintendo
monster capturing franchise, and many other
games that don't necessarily include "100+
hours" of content. Tons of people put way more
time than that into MMOs all the time. It's just
a matter of pacing yourself. Wouldn't you want
that much content in one game?
2. + 3. Sounds about right. The internet is
great place at times that has given many great
people a voice. Sadly that also means it also
gets overfilled with venom. Sometimes for a game
like say, Final Fantasy XIII, it can be
quite difficult to weed through the nonsense
just to find someone else who liked the thing to
discuss it with. Everything has to be the worst
or best thing ever and I'm guessing everyone
in-between just doesn't have the energy to
interject. I can't blame them.
Here are some hot topics I've seen around
- Is the MMO Market getting too stale?
- RPGs from Japan don't seem to have much trouble
finding a decent audience in the West, so why are we
missing big titles?
- Oh where oh where are our CM Punk Ice Cream Bars?
See you next week!
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