So, Mega Man 9 is out! That’s nice. Parish will tell you exactly how nice it is, in fact, if you give him half a chance. Sadly, I don’t have access to an online-capable console at the moment, so I can’t take part in this joyous event. Fortunately, I still have Dragon Quest IV to sustain me.
Believe it or not, this is the first proper Dragon Quest game I’ve played! The series’ reputation for willfully archaic design had always given me enough pause to pass it over before, but DQIV is the one installment I’ve never seen receive anything but adoration. So I took the plunge on the DS version, and sure enough, I wasn’t misled. The chapter-based structure is as gripping as promised, and the DS version in particular has smoothed out any stodgy interface issues that could have kept me from enjoying the original.
[[image:nn_080922_draque_01.png:They stare into your soul.:center:0]]
The reason I said this is my first “proper” DQ excursion is that I did indulge in one of the brand’s off-beat spin-offs, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, last year; a decision I will never, ever regret. And since I’ve done this all backwards, one thing I’m loving about DQIV is retroactively spotting all the sights, sounds, and creatures Rocket Slime lifted from the main series. Really, the fact that I found these little guys infinitely endearing even when I had no nostalgia for them — and, indeed, no prior exposure at all — only speaks to the strength of Toriyama’s talent as a designer. To that end, if none other, I can easily understand the series’ lasting popularity.