I’ve recently started playing Dragon Quest VI, which means I’ve played at least some of every title in the series except DQ8. Someday I’ll have to get a PlayStation and play that one as well. But for now, I’m talking about the DS version of DQ6. This is the last game in the Zenithian Trilogy, and like DQ3 it’s a prequel to the previous two. The main gimmick this time is that there are two worlds. By falling into certain holes and wells, the hero and his companions can travel to and from what people call the Phantom World.
After the initial defeat of the dread fiend Murdaw, the last significant plot point I’ve managed to reach, it’s revealed that the Phantom World is actually the real world, and the game started out in a dream world. Both worlds are similar, but certain things are different in each one. For instance, in Somnia Castle in the real world, King Somnus has been cursed by Murdaw. In the dream world, he’s a sleepless scholar who sends you out for the Mirror of Ra. This item, which shows things as they really are, has been a mainstay of the series. It first showed up in DQ2 to enable you to remove Hargon’s spell that turned the Princess of Moonbrooke into a dog. In DQ6, it’s an even more important part of the plot.
As for gameplay, there aren’t any real surprises. It’s the basic turn-based combat with a first-person view of the monsters, with the gathering of gold and experience being of paramount importance.
So far, none of the bosses have been too hard, although I did have to take a few tries against the monsters at Moonmirror Tower. In fact, the tower as a whole had me confused for a little while, but I eventually figured it out. I’ve gained four companions, and it looks like the next major thing I have to do is to defeat Murdaw in the real world. Aside from the parallel world thing, there’s nothing much new to this game so far, but that’s all right. With the DQ series, familiar is good.