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Dragon Quest IX

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Main series games
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
DQIXDS box art
North American box art
Developer(s) Level-5
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Designer(s) Yūji Horii
Akihiro Hino
Artist(s) Akira Toriyama
Composer(s) Kōichi Sugiyama
Series Dragon Quest
Platform(s) Nintendo DS
Release date(s) JP July 11, 2009
NA July 11, 2010
EU July 23, 2010
AUS August 19, 2010
Genre(s) Role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Rating(s) CERO: A
Media Nintendo DS Game Card

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies is the ninth installment of the main Dragon Quest series, and the first to be initially released on a handheld console. The game was released on July 11, 2009 in Japan.  It was released in July 2010 in both North America and Europe and August 2010 in Australia.

Gameplay

Dragon Quest IX continues the Dragon Quest tradition of turn-based combat, with a few modern twists. The game allows players to have a cooperative wireless multiplayer experience with up to four players.

Unlike the other games in the main series, Dragon Quest 9 is a 3rd person RPG in battles and there are no more random encounters. Instead the enemies are on a open world map and can chase you if they see you, very similar to Dragon Quest monster Joker.

The game includes a quest system. Quests serve as side-stories helping non-player characters around the game's world. Multiple quests can be performed simultaneously with some even interlocking and unlocking various stages in fellow quests. Early quests include gathering magical spring water, slaying monsters and stealing for a fellow thief. Unlike previous Dragon Quest installments, Dragon Quest IX contains many open ended mini-quests. Upon completion a quest, it is recorded in the "Quest List", serving as an in-game achievement list. Quests can unlock many things, such as vocations and rare equipment.

Unlike the other Dragon Quest games, the game includes only one save slot.

Game Features

  • Highly customizable characters, with many different faces, skin colors, weapons and armors.
  • Co-operative play with up to four players through local ad-hoc.
  • 3D graphics similar to those found in the previous installment, Dragon Quest VIII.
  • The touch screen is used for inputting commands during battle.
  • Real time map like Dragon Quest VIII.

Main Characters

  • Hero - The hero is a silent protagonist and Celestrian under the tutelage of Aquila, assigned to watch over the village of Angel Falls in his/her master's stead. Later fell from the Observatory after strange beams struck through the heavens during the Fyggbloom, losing wings and halo. Like a lot of RPG games, his/her speech is not shown on screen, but may be accompanied by the text:
  • Aquila: A fellow Celestrian and mentor of the Hero. A firm but fair master, he went missing after the hero and the fyggs fell from the Observatory.
  • Apus Major: The most senior of all the Celestrians, this all-knowing ancient rules the Observatory with a benevolent hand.
  • Erinn: A young woman living with her grandfather in Angel Falls; she finds the hero after he/she fell into the base of the waterfall. Her father was the "Inncredible Inntertainer," and Patty recruits her to help restore his old establishment, the Quester's Rest, in Stornway.
  • Patty: A feisty party girl and old acquaintance of Erinn's father. She recruits Erinn to help restore his old inn. Provides her Party Planning services for the hero at the Quester's Rest.
  • Stella: A flippant fairy keen on fashion but prone to malaproprism, Stella is the skipper of the Starflight Express and has been trying to find her missing boss who she calls 'old fatguts'. Manages the Battle Records for the hero and is always ready to give advice.
  • Pavo: A Celestrian with the power to open the Rapportal. Enables the player to use multiplayer mode.
  • Sellma: A representative of the Sinndicate of Pubs, Inns, and Taverns (S.P.I.T.), sent to Quester's Rest to manage the DQVC Shopping Service.
  • Serena: A forlorn ghost of a woman that wanders the Protectorate in search of Corvus.
  • Corvus: The Guardian Of Wormwood Creek, and once Aquila's teacher. He went missing long ago under mysterious circumstances.
  • Sterling: The Captain of the Starflight Express, who went missing after it was struck by a mysterious beam of light.
  • Greygnarl: An ancient dragon known as the "Hero of the Heavens," he still bears wounds from when he clashed with Barbarus and the Gittish Empire. He is attended by the residents of Upover, and gets first dibs on the local ale.
  • Barbarus: A dark dragon who was summoned by the Gittish Empire to do their bidding. Famously clashed with Greygnarl long ago.
  • King Godwyn: A cruel tyrant from ages past who sought to bring the world under the heel of his Gittish Empire. His death was shrouded in mystery, but he and his empire seems to have returned.
  • Zenus: The Grand Architect who created the world, known as simply the "Almighty" to the mortals and Celestrians. Had no intention of sparing the mortals lives
  • Celestria: The daughter of the Almighty One, she sacrificed herself and transformed herself into the World Tree Yggdrasil, until it was proven Mortals have goodness in their heart.
  • Jack of Alltrades: Arbiter of Vocations, after defeating him at the Tower of Trades, you may enter different vocations.
  • King Schott: King of Stornway
  • Princess Simona: Daughter of King Schott
  • Queen Voluptua: Queen of Gleeba
  • Drak: Queen Voluptua's pet lizard.
  • Ivor: Early Companion
  • Wight Knight: The game's second boss, searching for his true love, Princess Mona


Plot

Multiplayer

Dragon Quest IX features various forms of multiplayer using the Nintendo DS's built in wireless. There are 3 different modes.

Co-op Mode

Co-op mode consists of up to 4 DS systems linking together using local wireless (similar to Pictochat) to play together. The 3 guests join the host system's world and can go anywhere which the host has explored. Guests are not required to stay with the host, but rather can wander wherever they like. Battles can be fought as a group with the host having the ability to summon the other players into a battle using the 'Call to Arms ' command.

Guest players are given a special 'Watchers Wing' item which allows them to teleport back to their own world at any time except whilst in battle or cutscene. Players can leave multiplayer at any time by speaking to Pavo at Quester's Rest.

Wi-Fi Shop

Dragon Quest IX features an online Wi-Fi shop which can be accessed from the Quester's Rest. This shop sells items and treasure maps which the player can purchase. The contents of the shop vary daily from player to player, so 2 different players will likely have different items for sale each day. Nintendo and Square Enix have used the shop to distribute special bonuses such as bonus party members from past games (Hassan from Dragon Quest VI) and treasure maps which lead to caves featuring past bosses (Zoma, Dragonlord). The WiFi shop can be accessed by talking to Sellma at Quester's Rest.

The Wi-Fi shop is the only multiplayer mode that uses WAN internet rather than the DS-to-DS wireless.

The Wi-Fi Shop has closed as of May 20, 2014, due to Nintendo closing the Nintendo WiFi Connection. Despite this, using these action replay codes should give you all the extra items that required a Ninendo WiFi Connection. it is also possible to use this one for only the quests.

Tag Mode

Tag Mode is Dragon Quest IX's passive wireless mode which is active only when the DS is placed into sleep mode. Tag mode is activated by speaking to Erinn at Quester's Rest and selecting the 'Canvass for guests' option. While in tag mode, Dragon Quest IX looks for other Dragon Quest IX games and exchanges data with them.

When data is exchanged, a clone of the main character from each game is placed in the other player's Quester's Rest. This cloned character holds an item which can then be received by talking to him/her. The clone then continues to stay in the upper floors of Quester's Rest unless dimissed by the player. Using tag mode like this, players can exchange various items including equipment and treasure maps with other Dragon Quest IX players.

Tag mode is wildly popular in Japan, breaking several records for most players communicating wirelessly while playing a video game. Treasure maps in particular are highly sought after as some are extremely rare with special items/equipment, while others contain excellent enemies for building levels. Tag mode, however, is dependent on the number of other Dragon Quest IX players using tag mode in any local area.

Development

Dragon Quest IX was primarily designed around the idea of attracting a wider overseas market by "giving the game a more action-oriented premise than previous games in the series. In mid-2006, Dragon Quest series composer Koichi Sugiyama confirmed that Dragon Quest IX is in development. He is quoted by Japanese video game magazine Famitsu as saying, "I'm not sure when Dragon Quest IX will be released, but it seems that progress is continually being made. I'm personally excited." On December 12, 2006, during a press conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Dragon Quest franchise, Square Enix announced that Dragon Quest IX will be released exclusively for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console making it the first numbered Dragon Quest title to debut on a handheld.

The Japanese release of Dragon Quest IX was subsequently delayed from 2007 to 2008. The company cited the need for more time to make a better game as reason for the delay. At the 2008 Tokyo Game Show, a new trailer was shown at the Square Enix booth which showed a glimpse of the changes made to the gameplay and graphics. At the end of the video, a confirmation of the release date (set for March 2009) was unveiled. Square Enix released another new trailer for the game, showing various aspects of the storyline, boss battles, along with cutscenes; the end of the trailer showed a then-correct release date for March 28, 2009, along with a price point of ¥5,980, which still stands.

On February 12, 2009, after having delayed the release of its quarterly financials by a week, Square Enix announced the game would be delayed once again to a Japanese release on July 11 of the same year. The game's release delay worried Final Fantasy fans, who were told by Square Enix president Yoichi Wada that Dragon Quest IX's delay may affect Final Fantasy XIII's release, stating that he "[could] not say there [would not] be an effect."

Dragon Quest IX was designed to be the hardest Dragon Quest game yet. The rationale is that, according to Brian Ashcraft, Night Editor for Kotaku, the Dragon Quest IX developers say "people can always find out information on the internet — like that's part of the game experience." In addition the game has only one game slot. Ryutaro Ichimura, producer of Dragon Quest IX, clarified the reason explaining that there is not enough space on the system for two traditional save-slots given the amount of freedom the game allows. Instead the save area is used for a backup save-slot in case of battery failure.
Dragon quest chip

The Catridge for the DS

Release

Japan

Dragon Quest IX shipped with over 2 million pre-order sales. While the official release date for Dragon Quest IX was July 11, 2009, some retailers had already shipped orders; one such dealer asked its customers to not play the game until the official release date. In spite the large number of pre-orders and additional release shipments by Square-Enix, lines still formed for the release.

Within a two day period the title had sold 2,318,932 copies out of an estimated 3 million copies that had been shipped. Some analyst say that 3 million may be too conservative and expect 5 million copies sold in Japan alone with large overseas sales expectations that could break previous Dragon Quest sales records. The sale is the largest post 2000 debut week sale which was previously held by the former title, Dragon Quest VIII.

Reception

Japan

A malware version of the ROM was released early on 2chan. Instead of the actual game, it is an H anime slideshow that bricks the Nintendo DS.

Famitsu has scored the game with 40/40, the tenth game to achieve a perfect score. After its international release, it received positive reviews, including an 87% on Metacritic.com and a user score of 9.0.

External links

References

{{Wikipedia|Dragon Quest IX Hoshizora no Mamoribito}

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