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Dragon Quest, the first game in the Dragon Quest series, hence also known as Dragon Quest I, was developed by Enix (now Square Enix) and released in 1986 in Japan for the MSX and the Nintendo Family Computer ("Famicom"). The game was localized for North American release in 1989, but the title was changed to Dragon Warrior to avoid infringing on the trademark of the pen and paper game DragonQuest. The North American version of the game was greatly improved graphically over the Japanese original, and it added a battery backed-up save feature, whereas the Japanese version used passwords. Nintendo was impressed with the Japanese sales of the title and massively overproduced the cartridge; the end result was that Nintendo gave away copies of Dragon Warrior as an incentive for subscribing to Nintendo Power. It was re-released along with Dragon Quest II in a compilation known as Dragon Quest I & II. Dragon Quest I has recently been released on cellular phones.
Dragon Quest takes place in a country called Alefgard. A villain by the name of Dragonlord has kidnapped the princess of Tantegel and an artifact called the Orb of Light (also known as Ball of Light). Eventually the hero who is a descendant of the legendary Erdrick has emerged and has vowed to rescue the princess and defeat the Dragonlord.
Dragon Quest was wildly popular in Japan and became the first in a series that now includes eight games, with several spin-offs, including Dragon Quest Monsters. Dragon Quest is regarded as the first console RPG or role playing game, a popular genre that also includes the Final Fantasy series. Seemingly primitive by today's standards, Dragon Quest features one-on-one combat, a limited array of items and spells, and only five towns and five dungeons. Nevertheless, it was successful financially and well received by many fans.
In Japan many characters, locations, and spells had different names. In Japan Erdrick was originally called Roto (or Loto), King Lorik was called King Lars, Princess Gwaelin was known as Laura, and the Dragonlord was known as King Dragon. Tantegel castle was called Ladutorm Castle, Brecconary was called Ladutorm town, Garinham was called Galai, Kol was called Maira, and Cantlin was called Mercado. Charlock Castle was not named in the Japanese version. Spells generally had nonsense names, but the term for the heal spell, Hoimi, became the official term for heal in Japan. The Game Boy Color release of Dragon Warrior in the USA had a more accurate translation of many character and town names.
In the Game Boy Color remake Dragonlord's name was changed to Draco Lord, and Erdrick is now known as Loto. Several conveniences were added, such as a vault for storing gold and items, and a streamlined menu system. Monsters yield more experience and gold after being defeated to reduce the amount of time needed to raise levels and save up for purchases.
The Super Famicom remake was marketed exclusively in Japan due to the absence of Enix America Corporation, but it was unofficially translated into English and Spanish through emulation by online fan translation group RPG-One in 2002. The Game Boy Color version is based on the Super Famicom version.
Loto's Sword is used during an optional boss fight in Final Fantasy XII and is also the prize for winning said battle. This also marks the first time the mix of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest has happened in the light of both Square and Enix merging to be noticed in the western world, (Technically speaking, the crossover has happened a few time previous in a set of board game video games which were only available in Japan.
WARNING: Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot, storyline, character, etc., details.
- Erdrick's Cave - After leveling up and equipping oneself in the nearby town of Brecconary, travel a short distance northwest of Tantegel Castle to the tomb of Erdrick. This dungeon is devoid of enemies, and the Tablet can be found in the B2F. Although this will reveal a good deal of the story, it is not strictly necessary.
- Garinham - Further northwest of the Tomb at the edge of the continent is the town of Garinham. While it cannot be fully explored at this point, the weapons and armor available are superior to those in Brecconary.
- Kol - Returning east, past Tantegel Castle, cross two bridges (each bringing increasingly difficult monsters) and reach the mountain village Kol at the other northest edge of the world map. This town has even stronger equipment for purchase as well as the Fairy Flute buried just south of a spring.
- Swamp Cave - This underground passage south of Kol connects to the next continent. While there is a straightforward path through the cave, a green dragon resides deeper inside. He guards Princess Gwaelin, but cannot be killed at this stage yet.
- Rimuldar - This area opens up a great deal of venues, since a merchant along the edge of town sells magic keys to open locked doors all over Alefgard. A wider selection of armor and weapons are also available.
- Stones of Sunlight - With a magic key, the basement of Tantegel castle is now accessible, found around the back of the castle. This is the first of three items required to reach the Dragonlord's Keep.
- Mountain Cave - Due west of Tantegel, a bridge provides access to the third continent. Just south of this crossing is a dungeon in the mountainside. It requires a magic key to reach the deepest area, but the reward is a Fighter's Ring, which permanently increases strength.
- Grave of Garinham - A magic key now provides access to this large dungeon. At the very bottom the silver harp can be found, which is an essential item.
- Staff of Rain - Northwest of Kol, another bridge leads to an isolated peninsula with a shrine. The old man there will trade the staff for the silver harp.
- Rescuing Princess Gwaelin - The green dragon in the Swamp Cave can be defeated at this point so the princess can be returned home. She provides Gwaelin's Love, a tool for finding the location of Erdrick's Token later.
- Hauskness - South of the Mountain Cave, this town has been taken over by monsters. An Axe Knight inside the weapon shop guards Erdrick's Armor, but is extremely powerful.
- Erdrick's Token - South and east of Hauskness, across a bridge into a vast swamp lies the token.
- Cantlin - North of the swamp, a modern city surrounded by massive walls. It is guarded by a Golem which must be defeated to gain entry. The Silver Shield is available in one of three equipment shops, although a magic key is needed.
- Rainbow Drop - Southeast of Rimuldar, another old man will create the Rainbow Drop out of the Staff of Rain and Stones of Sunlight upon seeing Erdrick's Token.
- Charlock Castle - The Rainbow Drop will create a bridge northwest of Rimuldar to the island on which the Dragonlord's lair awaits. This final dungeon contains the most powerful weapon -- Erdrick's Sword. At the climax of the game, you are offered a chance to join him and rule half the world, which ends the game.
- The Ball of Light and Endgame - If his offer is denied and the Dragonlord defeated, and thus, peace returns to Alefgard. Monsters disappear from all areas and townspeople have words of thanks. All shops and inns cease business, but the real goal is to return to Tantegel Castle. There, Princess Gawelin proposes and the King offers the throne. You decline, however, opting to seek out and form your own kingdom.
As with every Dragon Quest, Koichi Sugiyama composed the music and directed all the associated spinoffs. Dragon Quest I's symphonic suite was bundled with Dragon Quest II's symphonic suite and a disc of original compositions as Dragon Quest in Concert. Here is the track listing for the Dragon Quest I portion of that release:
- Overture March (3:59)
- Château Ladutorm (3:25)
- People (3:36)
- Unknown World (2:07)
- Fight (2:12)
- Dungeons (3:40)
- King Dragon (3:08)
- Finale (2:40)