Review by Duke Gallison

"Dragon Quest IV deserved to be released in America, but sadly wasn't."

In recent time, I had the honorable opportunity to play this Dragon Quest remake by Enix for the original Playstation, and I must say, it was purely excellent. Sure, it was all in Japanese, but some of the names of places, items, and so forth were easy to figure out. Enix of America was to release this game in America, a deserving title this indeed was, but sadly, Heartbeat, the developer of the game, left them in the middle of translation so that its owner could join up with Nintendo and make RPGs for them, hence, the cancellation of its release here in the States. Still, it is extremely pitiful and regretful that this game will never see the light of day here in America, no alternate releaser or anything of the sort.

The game's chapter system is excellent, and I would greatly hope other RPGs try out this system some time or another (I'll most definitely try it out if I get a good enough Computer Science education to make games of these sorts). It give players the opportunity to thoroughly play with each character and explore their backgrounds before they finally join up with the main protagonist of the game (BTW, I actually attempted to enter my name in Katakana rather than enter all the same Japanese character, though I had to settle for ''Yuremi,'' due to the lack of the 'ji' character in name entering).

The game's graphics, despite the Dragon Quest series' hailing to its Famicom roots, are excellent, and seemingly better than those of Dragon Warrior VII for some reason, and the music is just beautiful and imitating of that of the original Dragon Warrior IV (also way better than DW7's music, which seemed strange for some reason). The battle system, too, is absolutely flawless despite its great simplicity aside from these days' RPGs. Furthermore, each character is distinctive in his or her own way, with distinguishing spells and abilities for each (aside from DW7's complex class system, which eventually led to mirror-imaging of all the characters).

As in most every decent video game remake, the game doesn't end when you beat it for the first time, what with the presence of a secret quest, a secret character, and a secret boss (I won't go into detail just for sake of avoiding spoilers). What was distinctive about the secret quest was that you didn't have to fight the main boss over again and that you could get a secret ending.

Overall, Dragon Quest IV is by far the greatest RPG I have played in my life, a far cry from the first I've ever played, surprisingly the first Dragon Warrior. I highly recommend this game to die-hard RPG fans and those that really don't consider themselves fans of role-playing games. Buy an import, buy from an auction, do anything to get your hands on this wonderful game, destined to be a classic, whose impact upon its failure to be released in America, I should say, will most definitely haunt Enix of America for years to come, even as the next generation Dragon Quest comes and goes (if it's released in the U.S., that is).

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/30/02, Updated 06/26/03

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