What the hell is Dragon Quest?

Despite the 1.5 million Japanese sales the trio tallied up with Dragon Quest I, the transition to America wasn’t so smooth.

A trademark conflict with the Dragon Quest board game left the series with the "meh" title of Dragon Warrior. On top of this was substantial censorship, with strict Nintendo of America guidelines coming into conflict with the racy dialogue and religious iconography running through the game. Coffins had to be replaced with ghosts, and crucifixes were somewhat contradictorily replaced with Satan-pleasing pentacles.

Not only dazzling the RPG crowds, Dragon Quest has had immense success outside of its original land-roaming/monster-bashing/shop-browsing formula, with over 34 related titles released in Japan to general critical success. Torneko, a greedy shopkeeper appearing in DQ IV, starred in Torneko no Daibouken: Fushigi no Dungeon. Exploring randomly generated dungeons, it helped launch the increasingly popular Mysterious Dungeon series, which has also starred Pokémon and Chocobo among others.

Meanwhile, another innovative development saw the release of Kenshin Dragon Quest: Yomigaerishi Densetsu no Ken - a plastic sword toy with inbuilt game that connects to the television and lets you swipe away villainy in the manner of the upcoming Dragon Quest Swords for the Wii. Dragon Quest Monsters was a popular Pokémon-y monster capture, train and fight franchise.

Finally there’s the upcoming instalment of Horii's "other" franchise, Itadaki Street DS – a monopoly-style game featuring rival gaming franchises, this time pitching Dragon Quest into a property-buying battle with the Super Mario franchise. An intriguing prospect, but one likely to be overshadowed by Dragon Quest IX' s rather controversial DS release. It's going to be an interesting year for Quest -ers, old and new.


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