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Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen (ドラゴンクエストIV 導かれし者たち, Doragon Kuesuto Fō Michibikareshi Monotachi?, lit. "Dragon Quest IV: The Guided Ones"), known as Dragon Quest: The Chapters of the Chosen in Europe and originally published as Dragon Warrior IV for the North American NES version, is a console role-playing 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 February 11, 1990 in Japan. A North American version followed in October 1992, and would be the last Dragon Quest game to ever be released in North America until Dragon Quest VII. The game was remade by Heartbeat for the PlayStation, which eventually was available as a Square Enix Ultimate Hits title. This was followed with a second remake developed by ArtePiazza for the Nintendo DS, released in Japan on November 22, 2007. This remake was released in Australia on September 11, 2008, in Europe on September 12, 2008 and in North America on September 16, 2008.

Dragon Quest IV differs from the rest of the series by breaking up the game into five distinct chapters. 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 begin their journey to save the world.[1] The PlayStation remake adds a sixth chapter, which is retained in the DS remake.

Story

Dragon Warrior IV 1

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 learns of Rosa's death 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, has been awakened. Their quest then becomes to travel to Estark’s palace and defeat him.

In the town of Strathbaile, the heroes have a dream that explains Psaro’s plan. Developing a deep hatred of humanity after the death of his elven girlfriend, Rose, 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 Nardiria, 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 focused on the heroes working with Psaro to avenge the death of Rose, and finally put the world back in order. Throughout this chapter, Rose was revived and the party was able to defeat her true killer, the Dark Priest Aamon, 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.Gameplay

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) while maintaining full control of the Hero. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Reverie 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. 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 appears in this instalment 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.

A minor change was made to the town maps. Castles and some buildings were large structures that appeared in the town, instead of as a Castle Map Icon (as in Dragon Warrior III). 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 and EXP point to the next level-up ("Divination") 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.

Gameplay

Dragon Quest IV offered several new features over the first three titles, while carrying on many of those introduced in the previous games.[1] 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.[2] This "Tactics" system is seen as a precursor to Final Fantasy XII's "Gambits" system.[3] 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.[2] 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.

Reception and sales

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 80% (DS)[4]
Metacritic 80 of 100 (DS)[5]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B+ (DS)[6]
Allgame 3 of 5 (NES)[7]
4 of 5 (DS)[8]
Computer and Video Games 8.1 of 10 (DS)[9]
Eurogamer 8 of 10 (DS)[10]
Famitsu 37 of 40 (NES)[11]
32 of 40 (PS1)[12]
34 of 40 (DS)[11]
Game Informer 7 of 10 (DS)[13]
GamePro 4 of 5 (DS)[14]
GameSpot 8 of 10 (DS)[15]
GameSpy 4 of 5 (DS)[16]
GamesRadar 4.5 of 5 (DS)[17]
GameZone 8.3 of 10 (DS)[18]
IGN 8 of 10 (DS)[19]
Nintendo Power 7.5 of 10 (DS)[20]
Nintendo World Report 8 of 10 (DS)[21]
Official Nintendo Magazine 78% (DS)[22]
Awards
Entity Award
Famicom Tsūshin Best Game Grand Prize[23]

Sales

The original Famicom version sold 3.1 million units in Japan and 80,000 units in the United States.[24] The PlayStation version of Dragon Quest IV was the 4th best-selling game in Japan in 2001, and has sold 1.2 million copies in Japan as of December 26, 2004.[25][26][27]

As of August 8, 2008, the DS remake has sold 1.15 million units in Japan.[28] The game has sold 1.46 million copies worldwide as of May 31, 2009.[29]

Critical reception

Famicom Tsūshin (now Famitsu) gave it a score of 37 out of 40, based on a panel of four reviewers giving it ratings of 9, 10, 10 and 8 out of 10. This made it one of their two highest-rated games of 1990, along with F-Zero, which also scored 37 out of 40. It was also one of the magazine's four highest-rated games up until 1990, along with Dragon Quest II and Dragon Quest III, which both scored 38 out of 40.[30] Famicom Tsūshin awarded Dragon Quest IV the 1990 Best Game Grand Prize for Game of the Year. The award was determined by a reader poll, which it topped with 42,799 points, ahead of Final Fantasy III as the runner-up.[23] Dragon Warrior IV was awarded "Best Challenge" and 2nd place "Best Overall Game" in 1993 by Nintendo Power, runner-up "Best Role Playing Game of 1992" by GamePro, "Best Role Playing Game of 1992" by Game Informer, and "Best NES Adventure/RPG of 1992" by Game Players.[citation needed]

Readers of Famitsu voted the game as the 14th best game of all time in a 2006 poll.[31] 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 trilogy and praising it for its innovative five-act story that made it one of their favourite old-school role-playing games.[32] 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.[2]

Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen was a nominee for Best RPG on the Nintendo DS in IGN's 2008 video game awards.[33] 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.[10]

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Staff (March 1993). "Dragon Warrior IV". Nintendo Power (Nintendo of America) (46): 82–87. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Kalata, Kurt (2008-02-04). The History of Dragon Quest. Gamasutra. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2015-01-09.
  3. Reeves, Ben (February 14, 2011). A Warrior’s Quest: A Retrospective of Square-Enix’s Classic RPG Series. Game Informer. Retrieved on 28 December 2011.
  4. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for DS. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2010-12-08.
  5. Metacritic staff. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen for DS Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  6. Parish, Jeremy (September 12, 2008). Dragon Quest IV. 1UP.com. Archived from the original on 2014-03-16 Retrieved on 2014-11-15.
  7. Knight, Kyle. Dragon Warrior IV - Review. AllGame. Archived from the original on 2014-11-15 Retrieved on 2014-11-15.
  8. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen - Overview. AllGame. Archived from the original on 2014-11-15 Retrieved on 2014-11-15.
  9. Castle, Matthew (September 12, 2008). DS Review: Dragon Quest IV Review. Computer and Video Games (NGamer). Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Parkin, Simon (September 15, 2008). Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Famitsu (2005). Famitsu Scores Archive. Famitsu. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22 Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  12. "プレイステーション - ドラゴンクエストIV 導かれし者たち". Famitsu 915: 18. June 30, 2006. 
  13. Juba, Joe. Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. Game Informer. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20 Retrieved on 2011-10-26.
  14. Noble, McKinley (September 15, 2008). Dragon Quest IV. GamePro. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18 Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  15. Stella, Shiva (September 15, 2008). Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  16. Vasconcellos, Eduardo (September 15, 2008). Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  17. Gilbert, Henry (September 12, 2008). Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  18. DRAGON QUEST IV: Chapters of the Chosen - NDS - Review. GameZone (October 1, 2008). Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  19. Bozon, Mark (September 17, 2008). Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2012-01-31.
  20. Nintendo Power. October 2008, p. 86. Dragon Quest IV review. Future Inc. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  21. Metts, Jonathan (October 5, 2008). Dragon Quest IV Review. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 2013-10-27.
  22. DS Review: Dragon Quest: Chapters Of The Chosen. Official Nintendo Magazine (September 11, 2008). Archived from the original on 2014-02-27 Retrieved on 2014-11-15.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Best Games of 1990", Famicom Tsūshin, 1990, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.video/OccmuafYtzc, retrieved 2015-01-09 
  24. Dragon Quest History. Planet Nintendo (2002). Archived from the original on October 21, 2007 Retrieved on August 15, 2007.
  25. 2001 Top 100 Japanese Console Game Chart. The-MagicBox.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
  26. Japan Platinum Game Chart. The-MagicBox.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
  27. Sony PS1 Japanese Ranking. Japan-GameCharts.com. Archived from the original on 2008-12-30 Retrieved on 2009-01-01.
  28. Annual Report 2008. Square-Enix.com (August 8, 2008). Archived from the original on 2008-12-06 Retrieved on 2008-12-20.
  29. Results Briefing: Fiscal Year ended May 31, 2009. Square-Enix.com (May 19, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-07-21.
  30. Famitsu Hall of Fame. Geimin. Retrieved on 7 February 2012.
  31. Edge Staff (March 6, 2006). Japan Votes on All Time Top 100. Edge. Retrieved on 2014-11-15.
  32. Nintendo Power Staff (August 2008). "Best of the Best". Nintendo Power (Future USA, Inc) (231): 71. 
  33. IGN DS: Best RPG 2008. IGN.com (2008-12-15). Retrieved on 2008-12-19.

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