Lorasian Royalty

I follow a few Tumblr pages devoted to the Dragon Quest series, and it’s strange to realize that I was literally playing games from this series before some of the maintainers were born. There was a deal to get the first Dragon Warrior (as we called it back then, due to some weird copyright issues) with a subscription to Nintendo Power, and I distinctly remember playing it when I heard that President Bush (the first one) was invading Iraq. This was in 1991, and I’d actually already played the first Final Fantasy by this point, so DW1 came across as somewhat primitive in comparison. There were things I quite liked about it, though, like its faux-Elizabethan dialogue and sense of humor. The game came with advertising materials for DW2, which had just recently come out in the States, but I didn’t play until a few years later.

One of the main developments in DW2 was that you had multiple party members, which didn’t seem all that impressive in light of FF1 doing the same thing. In Japan, DW2 was released almost a year before FF1, but the American versions of both came out around the same time. In FF1, however, the characters are all ciphers, simply identified by class. It took 8-Bit Theater to give them personalities. {g} In DW2, there was at least some attempt to make the party members distinct characters. Not that much, admittedly, but at least we knew something about their back stories. There are advantages to both systems, in that the one employed by FF1 lets you define the characters however you want, but I personally like to have some sense of who the characters are. DQ2 has three playable characters, all descendants of the hero in DQ1 and Princess Gwaelin (Lora in the original Japanese and some of the remakes).

Mind you, you can finish the first DQ without rescuing the princess, but DQ2 doesn’t account for this possibility. Maybe we should just assume that, if the hero of that game didn’t save Gwaelin before defeating the Dragonlord, he did so afterwards. Since DQ2 takes place one hundred years later, I always figured the heroes were great-grandchildren of the DQ1 hero, but I don’t think it’s ever specifically stated. If this is the case, it would make them second cousins.

The character you control throughout the game is the Prince of Midenhall, a silent protagonist and the only DQ main hero who can’t use magic. He makes up for this by being able to use powerful weapons that his cousins can’t.

Apparently the Prince of Cannock is said to be somewhat of a laid-back party animal type in the original Japanese version, but this isn’t developed in English. Perhaps this has something to do with how English text is much bulkier, and the fact that there seems to have been somewhat of a stigma against mentioning alcoholic beverages in early Nintendo games could also have been a factor. He can use magic, but not that many weapons. It appears that they tried to make him a balanced character, but he’s actually rather annoyingly weak. Both princes are shown in official artwork to wear goggles, but it’s never explained why. I guess they must have picked up some fashion tips from the Captain N version of Simon Belmont.

The Princess of Moonbrooke, whom you first meet in the form of a dog due to Hargon’s curse, is a shy but self-willed girl, and according to someone in Lianport is the spitting image of her ancestor Gwaelin.

I assume he’s basing this on portraits, since this world doesn’t appear to have photography at this point in time. She is even worse at fighting than the Prince of Cannock, but has a large repertoire of magic spells (well, once you get to a high enough level, anyway). While there are many spells that only one character can use, they aren’t divided up by attack and healing magic, as you might expect. All three heroes are sixteen years old at the time the game beings (which presumably means the three kings of Torland/Lorasia all had children in the same year), and the names of all but the Prince of Midenhall are chosen randomly from a list of possible selections. I’ve gotten Lars and Orfeo for the Prince, and Gwen and Illyth for the Princess. The wiki on dragon-quest.org lists all the possible names for the Prince and Princess in different English versions of the game. Interesting that one of the Princess’ possible names is Varia, which is also the armor in Metroid. It apparently comes from the Latin for “various,” and can mean a collection of miscellanea. Maybe this implies that the Metroid item is one they couldn’t find a name for, so they just called it “miscellaneous.” In games in which these characters make cameos, the Prince of Cannock is called Princeton, and the Princess of Moonbrooke Princessa or Pudding. Talk about lazy names!

At the end of the game, the King of Midenhall abdicates in favor of his son, because a just reward for killing a demon lord is to be forced into a political role. I suppose the Princess takes her kingdom’s throne as well, since her father was killed during the prologue. Speaking of which, it’s weird how far Moonbrooke is from the other two kingdoms. The DQ1 hero obviously conquered a lot of territory.

Since DQ3 is a prequel and DQ4 starts an entirely new trilogy, we never learn what happens to the descendants of Erdrick/Loto/Roto after this game.

This entry was posted in Captain N: The Game Master, Cartoons, Dragon Quest, Etymology, Final Fantasy, Magic, Metroid, Television, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lorasian Royalty

  1. ozaline says:

    I played the early DQ games rented from the video store but since I was a small child at the time, and didn’t have the instruction manuals I got very confused on what to do… I never equipped any items and I tried to “use” swords and the like cause that made sense to me.

    As far as Metroid goes, Varia in that instance is a corruption of Barrier due to Japanaese not having a V sound and words always ending on vowels or n.

    • Nathan says:

      I did the Use command with weapons when I first played Final Fantasy, and kept wondering why none of my characters were attacking. I think I eventually decided to consult the instructions.

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