Dragon Quest IV
|Dragon Quest IV:
Chapters of the Chosen
Box art of the original North American NES release, titled Dragon Warrior IV
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen[a] is a role-playing video game and the fourth installment of the Dragon Quest video game series developed by Chunsoft and published by Enix (now Square Enix). It was originally released for the Famicom on 11 February 1990 in Japan. A North American version followed in October 1992, and would be the last Dragon Quest game localized and published by Enix's Enix America Corporation subsidiary prior to its closure in November 1995, as well as the last Dragon Quest game to be localized into English prior to the localization of Dragon Warrior Monsters in December 1999. The game was remade by Heartbeat for the PlayStation, which eventually was available as an Ultimate Hits title. This was followed with a second remake developed by ArtePiazza for the Nintendo DS, released in Japan on 22 November 2007. This remake was released in Australia on 11 September 2008, in Europe on 12 September 2008 and in North America on September 16, 2008. A version based on the Nintendo DS remake for Android and iOS was released in 2014.
Dragon Quest IV differs from the rest of the series by breaking up the game into five distinct chapters, each of which focuses on a different protagonist or protagonists. The first four are told from the perspective of the Hero's future companions and the fifth one, from the hero's perspective, brings all the characters together as they start their journey to save the world. The PlayStation remake adds a sixth chapter, which is retained in the DS remake.
Dragon Quest IV offered several new features over the first three titles, while carrying on many of those introduced in the previous games. Similar features included are the day and night cycles, the ability to travel via ship and a flying vehicle (this time, a hot air balloon), and the three levels of keys. They are Thief, Magic and Ultimate (originally localized as Final). There are also travel doors, which allow the party to move a great distance on the world map with little travel. Unlike the Hero in Dragon Warrior III, the Hero of Dragon Quest IV is not required to be in the party at all once the wagon becomes available. Despite this, the Hero is again the character that possesses the most powerful healing and attack spells. Many spells, weapons, armor, and shops (including the vault/bank) function the same as in past games.
In addition to the new chapter-based storylines, an artificial intelligence system called "Tactics" was implemented that allowed the player to provide strategies to the party members (who become NPCs in the final chapter), such as prioritizing damage, healing or MP conservation, while maintaining full control of the Hero. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation and the remakes of IV allow tactics to be set for characters individually rather than using one tactics mode for all characters, as well as including the "Follow Orders" Tactics mode, which allows other characters to be controlled manually. This "Tactics" system is seen as a precursor to Final Fantasy XII's "Gambits" system. The wagon, first introduced in this game, allows the player to choose which characters are used in battle. The wagon can also be seen in Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VI. The first casino appears in this installment as a place to play several mini-games (slot machine, poker, and the Monster Betting that was introduced in Dragon Warrior III) using tokens that could be traded for special items. Searching drawers and inside of jars was first introduced in this game as a means to find items. Small Medals, later Mini Medals, were introduced as a new item to search for and trade for special unique items from a secluded king.
Saving the game was made easier by allowing one to save a game in a House of Healing, rather than talking to a king. Also, the save ("Confession" in the DS remake) and EXP point to the next level-up ("Divination" in the DS remake) are now separate commands. Returning to the format of the original North American Dragon Warrior, programmers allowed users to open a door using a command appearing in the top level of the menu (rather than requiring users to search through various characters' inventories for the key as in some previous games). The only requirement was that at least one character in the party needed to have an appropriate key in his or her inventory. Since this command was added, an unlocked door was added in this game, as well as large Castle Doors. However, this command was eliminated in later games and the remake, in which doors can be opened by attempting to walk through them.
In the original version, the game is divided into five chapters. The first four provide back-story for the Hero’s party members, while the fifth follows the Hero himself as he meets up with the other characters. Chapter One begins when a knight from Burland rescues abducted children from monsters. He discovers a plot to kill the Legendary Hero and decides to set out on a quest to protect him.
Chapter Two follows tomboyish Princess Alena and her two friends as they try to prove their strength. Partway through her journey, Alena’s father loses his voice after speaking of a dream he had depicting the end of the world. After restoring his voice, she travels to the town of Endor to enter a tournament. She defeats all of the combatants except a warrior named Psaro the Manslayer (originally localized as Saro until he rescues Rosa from humans and changes his name to Necrosaro), who failed to appear. After the victory, she returns to find the castle empty, so she sets out to find out what happened to everyone.
Chapter Three follows a merchant named Torneko as he establishes a thriving business in Endor. Later, he hears about a set of legendary weapons, which he sets out to find.
Chapter Four follows Maya and Meena, two sisters seeking revenge for the murder of their father. They avenge their father’s murder, but are thrown in a dungeon by the murderer’s master. They escape from the dungeon and make their way to Endor.
Chapter Five follows the game's protagonist, known as the Hero. It begins with the Hero’s hometown being attacked by monsters, led by Psaro the Manslayer. The Hero manages to escape, and is joined by the main characters of the previous chapters, as well as Hoffman, who drives the cart. Together, they spy on Psaro and discover that Estark, the Ruler of Evil (originally localized as Esturk), has been awakened. Their quest then becomes to travel to Estark’s palace and defeat him.
In the town of Strathbaile (originally localized as Izmit), the heroes have a dream that explains Psaro’s plan. Developing a deep hatred of humanity after the death of his elven girlfriend, Rose (originally localized as Rosa), at the hands of humans, Psaro plans to become the next Ruler of Evil using the power of evolution he obtained from the "Armlet of Transmutation." The party then travels to the Zenithian Castle. There, they meet the Zenith Dragon, who takes them to Nadiria (originally localized as Evil World), where Psaro is. There, they defeat his generals before challenging Psaro. After fighting a continually evolving form of Psaro, he is vanquished.
The PlayStation and DS remakes include a sixth chapter. This chapter focuses on the heroes working with Psaro to avenge the death of Rose, and finally put the world back in order. Throughout this chapter, Rose is revived and the party is able to defeat her true killer, the Dark Priest Aamon (originally localized as Radimvice), one of Psaro the Manslayer's subordinates who intended to take the secrets of evolution for himself and usurp Psaro the Manslayer, setting all plans in motion that drove Psaro to his insanity.
These are the main characters of the story, and are controllable party members during their introduction chapters (Chapters 1-4). When they join the Hero in Chapter 5, the other party members become NPC characters that are only controlled by the Tactics command. In the re-releases, this setting can be changed to Follow Orders, which allows the player to choose their actions. Also, with the re-releases, many of the character's names were changed to be closer, or incorporate their Original Japanese names.
- Hero (Male Hero is named Solo, while the Female Hero is named Sofia)  The main character of the game, who's eighteen-years-old and does not appear until Chapter 5. The Hero can use the best equipment, and is the only character who can learn lightning spells and the most powerful healing spell in the game, Omniheal (originally localized as HealUsAll). In the DS remake, the Hero also learns Gigasword, the game's most powerful single-target attack spell. The player can choose the name and gender of the hero. The gender of the hero has little impact to the story, only affecting some dialogue, although a few optional weapons, pieces of armor, and accessories can only be equipped by female characters. In the remakes, the Hero first appears during a short prologue chapter before Chapter 1.
- Ragnar McRyan (ライアン? Ryan, originally localized as Ragnar). Captain of the Burland (a Scottish English speaking land) army, and Royal Knight. He investigates a case of children who are disappearing throughout the kingdom which is causing havoc and despair throughout the kingdom. He first appears in Chapter 1. He also cameos in Chapters 2 (Inn by Endor) and 3 (Endor Casino). He is the classic Warrior or Soldier, specializing in melee combat with no magical abilities, and he also has a very low base agility score, so he will often strike last out of all the party members. Ragnar is the last character to join the Hero in Chapter 5, having coincidentally set out to kill the Marquis de Leon (originally localized as Keeleon) at the same time the party arrives.
- Tsarevna Alena (アリーナ姫? Arîna Hime, Arlina, originally localized as Princess Alena). Tomboyish Princess of the Zamoksva (a Russian dialect English speaking land) (originally localized as Santeem) Kingdom. She is bored of the palace life and wishes to travel the world, much to the dismay of her father and his officials who urge her to act more like a woman instead of a tomboy. This could be due to the possibility that she had overheard her father discuss a dream he had with his chancellor and wishes to do something to ease his fears. She first appears in Chapter 2 but joins after the party cures Kiryl with a Feverfew Root (originally localized as "Padequia Root"). She is the classic Fighter or Martial Artist, preferring to use claws as a weapon though she can use other weapons as well.
- Borya (ブライ? Burai, originally localized as Brey). Alena's tutor. He's a magician who travels with Alena to look after her because he promised her late mother to do so. He learns Ice attack magic, and more buff and debuff spells than Maya, such as Oomph and Acceleratle; in the DS remake, he also learns Snoop (localized as MapMagic in other games in the series), a spell generally associated with the thief class which reveals the location of treasures. He first appears in Chapter 2, and he joins the party to search for a Feverfew Seed to cure Kiryl's sickness right away.
- Kiryl (クリフト? Kurifuto, Clift, originally localized as Cristo). A priest (originally localized as chancellor) that travels along with Alena and Borya, and has feelings for Alena (but she is oblivious to it) He can use healing and support magic, as well as instant death spells. He first appears in Chapter 2, but is recruited in Chapter 5 after the Hero finds a rare Feverfew Seed to grow into a Feverfew Root and to cure his sickness.
- Torneko Taloon (トルネコ? Toruneko, originally localized as Taloon). A weapons merchant from Lakanaba (an Irish English speaking town), who wishes to open his own store. He first appears in Chapter 3. He is much like the Merchant class in other Dragon Quest games, however he also learns abilities used by Jesters, Thieves and Dancers in other games in the series, when he joins the Hero in Chapter 5 he sometimes performs a random action in battle, such as summoning an army of merchants, throwing sand in the enemy's eyes, tripping and scoring a critical hit on an enemy or stealing an item from an enemy. In the DS remake, he learns four non-combat spells: padfoot, which reduces the encounter rate, eye for distance, which locates the nearest town, nose for treasure, which reveals the number of remaining treasures in the area, and whistle, which causes a random encounter.
- Maya (マーニャ? Mânya, originally localized as Mara). A dancer who works in Lassize Fayre (originally localized as Monbaraba) and is originally from Aubout du Monde (originally localized as Kievs) who can use magic, primarily fire and explosion attack spells. Her father, Mahabala (originally localized as Edgar), died under mysterious circumstances. It is later revealed that he was murdered by Balzack, her father's apprentice, who was driven mad by the Secret of Evolution. She and her sister seek revenge. They both first appear in Chapter 4, and are the first to join the Hero in Chapter 5, after Meena reads the Hero's fortune.
- Meena (ミネア? Minea, originally localized as Nara). Maya's younger sister. She is a fortune teller that can use healing spells and wind attack spells, as well as support spells. Unlike Kiryl or the hero, she cannot learn any multi-target healing spells other than the Kerplunk spell (which knocks her out to heal everyone else at once), but only she can use her Tarot weapon as a battle item to generate random effects, similar to the Chance (or Hocus Pocus) spell in other DQ games. Meena reads the Hero's fortune in Endor and joins because of the unique destiny she read.
- Psaro (ピサロ? originally localized as Saro and Necrosaro) A monster who is the main villain of Chapter 5. In Chapter 6 of the PlayStation and DS remakes, he is a recruitable party member, seeking revenge against Aamon. Like the Hero, Psaro is a fighter / spellcaster hybrid, with a mixture of attack, healing, buff and debuff magic, and the ability to wield powerful weapons and wear heavy armour. Furthermore, Psaro can learn various special attacks (originally introduced to the series in Dragon Quest VI), and can use cursed equipment without penalty.
These characters join the party temporarily. Unlike permanent party members, they cannot gain levels or experience points, cannot change their equipment, and their actions in battle cannot be controlled through the Tactics command (instead, they are always lockd into their default AI mode).
- Healie, a friendly Healslime who meets Ragnar during Chapter 1. He is an invaluable ally, providing free healing, saving Ragnar the trouble so he can concentrate on killing monsters. After Ragnar joins the party, Healie can be seen in a human form.
- Laurel & Hardie (originally localized as Laurent and Strom), two mercenaries who Taloon can meet in Endor during Chapter 3. Hardie, a soldier, requests 400 Gold and simply uses a powerful physical attack each turn. Laurel, a magician, requests 600 and has a small, versatile magical repertoire along with an average physical attack which can cause paralysis. While unconnected story-wise, their naming in the DS remake is a nod to the early-20th century comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy.
- Oojam (originally localized as Orin), he was a student of Maya and Meena's father that went into hiding after Balzack had killed his teacher. The girls seek him out during Chapter 4 to assist them in their quest for revenge. Oojam provides a powerful physical attack each turn, in addition to being able to pick locks. At the end of Chapter 4, Oojam appears to be mortally wounded fending off the guards of Palais de Léon (originally localized as Castle Keeleon) to allow Meena and Maya to escape, but it is revealed in Chapter 5 that a young woman who was fleeing the castle found him near-dead and managed to get him safely to the town of Vrenor so he can rest and recover.
- Hank Hoffman Junior (originally localized as Hector), a young man hanging out near Casabranca who is initially cold to people, having been betrayed by a friend. After the Hero finds the "Symbol of Faith" in a nearby cave, Hoffman offers to lend the party his services, and his wagon. He tags along for a short while until shortly after Torneko is recruited, then leaves his cart to the Hero so he can pursue his own endeavors in owning an inn. In the DS remake, he resurfaces later at the oasis where he opens up the "Immigrant Town" sidequest.
- Tom Foolery (originally localized as Panon), he is a performer who works at the same stage-house as Maya and Meena. While not particularly good at combat, Tom is necessary for one game mission which nets the Hero the Zenithian Helm.
- Orifiela (originally localized as Lucia), a Zenithian the party encounters at the Great World Tree, Yggdrasil. She needs the party to help her get back up to Zenithia, and provides the party with information regarding the Zenithian Sword.
- Sparkie (originally localized as Doran), a baby dragon found in Zenithia. Apparently, Zenithians have conducted research that suggests dragons mature faster than Zenithians do. He doesn't have great battle intelligence, but can occasionally mow down enemies or put them to sleep with a breath attack. In the remakes, he leaves the party once Rose is resurrected.
According to Yuji Horii, he wanted to have something the player went around collecting as the previous Dragon Quest games had crests and orbs respectively. However, he did not want to do the same thing over again by forcing the player to collect a certain number of items before they beat the game; mini medals instead have nothing to do with clearing the game. The promotional illustrations for the Japanese version was drawn by famed manga artist Akira Toriyama, whom provided the artwork for the previous games in the series and would continue to do so for every future installment.
Dragon Quest IV was remade for the PlayStation on November 22, 2001 in Japan. It was developed by Heartbeat and published by Enix. The remake was developed using Dragon Quest VII's 3D graphics engine, but was still Dragon Quest IV's story and world. The characters, towns, world maps, sound, battles and enemies all received updates. The character sprites were updated to match the original artwork for the characters in the original Dragon Quest IV Manual and artwork. With this remake came several new features. Among these features were a new chapter in which Psaro is available as a party member (as well as a prologue chapter), an intra-party talk command similar to Dragon Quest VII, and the ability to turn off the artificial intelligence for party members to allow for direct control of their attacks (except UC Party Members). The game sold over one million copies in Japan by the end of 2001.
Enix America originally planned to bring the remake to North America in 2002 and had even advertised this upcoming release on the back cover to the US instruction manual for Dragon Warrior VII, but it was later canceled due to Heartbeat closing its video game development operations before the localization and translation could be completed. It was later explained that the cost and time that a different company would need to invest to complete the translation prevented Enix from passing this to another developer, as Heartbeat was the most familiar with their own design.
Nintendo DS remake
Dragon Quest IV was later re-released for the Nintendo DS in Japan in November 2007. The game has been remade into a 2D/3D hybrid, similar to the PlayStation version. This release has kept many of the enhancements from the PlayStation, such as the slightly altered immigrant town, but has received enhanced upgrades to smooth the graphics further, and improved sound. This release also allows players to take manual control of all of their party members in the final two chapters.
Shortly after the Japanese release, several people editing the Japanese ROM file discovered a near complete English translation along with Spanish, French, German, and Italian translations already inside the Japanese game. On April 9, 2008, Square Enix applied for a trademark to the title "Chapters of the Chosen", and speculation began that this was the new subtitle to Dragon Quest IV for an American release.
On April 18, 2008, Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen was found to have a rating of E10+ by the ESRB, for Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Simulated Gambling, and Suggestive Themes. An official release date of September 16, 2008 was finally established on the official North American site. The game was released in Europe under the title Dragon Quest: Chapters of the Chosen, omitting the number IV in a similar fashion to the European version of Dragon Quest VIII.
This version of the game contains an entirely new translation of the script. It was claimed in Nintendo Power that the new translation has changed the names of many of the main characters, weapons and towns to be closer to, or include their original Japanese names, while adding several new localizations, yet an analysis of the location and character names indicates the original localization of Dragon Warrior IV was closer to the original Japanese. This version also uses the new spell naming convention first used in Dragon Quest VIII, such as the spell Beat from Dragon Warrior IV becoming Whack. The western translations have been slightly changed in places where the Japanese version included sexual components, and the Japanese version's party talk feature was completely excised from the western versions.
The Nintendo DS English translation includes 13 regional dialects for the various areas, including Burland now being Scottish, and Zamoksva being Russian. Simon Carless of Gamasutra feels that the use of dialects can help some people to understand different cultures, saying, "It has the potential to nurture cross-language and cross-cultural understanding in a very intelligent manner."
A version based on Nintendo DS remake was released in Japan on April 17, 2014 for Android and iOS. It was released internationally on August 7, 2014. The Android version of the game features cloud saving, autosaves, a quick save feature, and a pause feature for ease of use on the mobile platform. This version also reintroduces the party talk feature removed from the international Nintendo DS releases, being translated into the appropriate language.
A five volume manga called Dragon Quest: Princess Alena was released. It followed the story of Chapter 2, Alena's adventure, but begins to divert during the events in the Birdsong Tower. From this point forward, it introduces several new characters, including the evil Evil Leather Dominatrix Woman, and new locations, including an Arctic location and a haunted house. This story ends with Alena fighting Psaro and defeating him before he goes on with the Golden Bracelet to perfect the secret of evolution.
As with every Dragon Quest, Koichi Sugiyama composed the music and directed all the associated spinoffs. The song heard during gameplay depends on a number of factors. A specific track is always played for towns, another for caves or dungeons, another while the party is mounted on the hot air balloon, for instance. Lastly, while out in the world, each of the first four acts has its own theme song, as does the Hero—in act five, the theme song played depends on who is the first character in the formation.
The original Dragon Warrior IV was one of the few NES games to feature a crescendo during the battle music, a gradual increase in volume from soft to loud. This technique was rare for an NES game. However, the PlayStation and Nintendo DS versions do not feature the crescendo in the battle music. This level of detail can be found in the NES version's soundtrack, as well as the 2014 Android and iOS mobile releases.
Dragon Quest IV ~The People Are Shown the Way~ Symphonic Suite is a compilation of music from Dragon Quest IV. The first print of the album was in 1990, the London Philharmonic version came out a year later, and a reprint of the original was released in 2000.
|Dragon Quest IV ~The People Are Shown the Way~ Symphonic Suite|
|4.||"In a Town"||8:16|
|5.||"Homeland ~ Wagon Wheels' March"||5:58|
|6.||"Frightening Dungeons ~ Cursed Towers'"||5:19|
|7.||"Elegy ~ Mysterious Shrine"||5:03|
|10.||"The Unknown Castle"||4:37|
|11.||"Battle for the Glory"||7:51|
Reception and sales
Dragon Warrior IV was awarded "Best Game Grand Prize", "Best RPG Game" and the "Best-Seller Award" in Famitsu's 1990 awards, "Best Challenge" and 2nd place "Best Overall Game" in 1993 by Nintendo Power.
In August 2008, Nintendo Power ranked Dragon Warrior IV the 18th best Nintendo Entertainment System video game, describing it as the peak of the NES' Dragon Quest series and praising it for its innovative five-act story that made it one of their favourite old-school role-playing games. Readers of Famitsu voted the game as the 14th best game of all time in a 2006 poll. In particular, critics noticed with interest that the game's third chapter, Torneko's, departed largely from standard RPGs by making the only goal to collect money and by allowing players to have Torneko simply working in an in-game store.
In Japan, the original Famicom version sold 3.1 million units, it's the fourth best selling game of the system, below its predecessor, Dragon Quest III.
The PlayStation version of Dragon Quest IV was the 4th best-selling game in Japan in 2001 with over 1 million copies sold, and has sold nearly 1.2 million copies as of December 26, 2004.
As of August 8, 2008, the DS remake has sold 1.15 million units in Japan. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen was a nominee for Best RPG on the Nintendo DS in IGN's 2008 video game awards. The game has sold 1.46 million copies worldwide as of May 31, 2009. Critics pointed out that the game may feel outdated, especially to players not accustomed to Dragon Quest games, but that some of the characters, such as Ragnar, make the game stand out of the recent JRPGs. "Ragnar McRyan is in no way a character designed off the back of some intense Japanese schoolgirl demographic focus testing", wrote Eurogamer's Simon Parkin, pleased.
Dragon Quest IV is the first game in the series to spawn spin-offs. The merchant Torneko (also known as Taloon in the NES version) was popular enough to star his own series, in which he finds himself in quests in order to expand his store. These games are the Torneko no Daibouken sub-series (translated as Torneko's Great Adventure), roguelike and random dungeon games produced by Enix (and Square Enix) and developed by Chunsoft. The success of the games later inspired the creation of the Mystery Dungeon series.
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- Official Dragon Quest IV for Mobile Devices site
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- Dragon Warrior IV Arctic Adventure at MobyGames
- Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen at MobyGames