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The first in the groundbreaking Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest I (called Dragon Warrior in the US when it was first brought over) is the story of the descendant of Loto (or Erdrick, in the original English rerelease), who has been summoned by the king of Alefgard to rescue his daughter and defeat the Dragonlord/Dracolord, who is threatening the kingdom.
Yeah, that's pretty much it. It barely rises above the level of Excuse Plot, but considering it was essentially the first to even try to on a console (it was originally made in 1986), it was incredibly groundbreaking at the time. Essentially the first console RPG. Especially as Nintendo gave away copies to people who made subscriptions to Nintendo Power. The console RPG craze began because Nintendo had so little faith in the genre's appeal to Western audiences that they were giving away cartridges to bolster magazine sales. And it worked - this was pretty much the first RPG Westerners ever played, and it seems a lot of people liked it.
This game is the Trope Namer for:
It also provides examples of:
- American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American box art depicts the same scene as the Japanese box- the blue-and-red hero, the Green Dragon, and a castle- but with realistically proportioned characters and a broader color palette.
- Artifact of Death: The Cursed/Death Necklace and the Cursed Belt. Oddly enough, if you don't equip them, shopkeepers pay good money for them. Considering how early you can acquire them, it's reasonable to repeatedly enter the (low-leveled) dungeon to acquire more belts to sell for lots of cash.
- Awesome Yet Practical: Hurtmore, which can take huge chunks of health out of anything that isn't immune to magic. Once you get it, grinding goes quite a bit faster.
- Boring Return Journey: The game does not conclude with the defeat of the Big Bad. You complete the game by returning to visit the king. You can go anywhere you like before doing this, including visiting towns to receive thanks from all the people you've saved. While getting to the Big Bad involves thousands of random battles, after his defeat, there are none to be found, even in the dungeons, since apparently defeating the boss results in the elimination of all his Mooks.
- But Thou Must!: The line itself comes from talking to the princess after you save her. She asks: "Dost thou love me?" The answer to saying no is: "But thou must," and her asking again until you pick yes.
- The Chosen One: You play as the descendant of your country's legendary hero.
- Depending on the Writer: The hero is either from a small village in Torland who washed up on the shores of Alefgard (Alfregard in the GBC version) or an Alefgard native who had been training for the day he might be able to fight. Either way, he was already aware of his lineage, despite not having any way to prove it until he found his ancestor's seal in a perilous poison swamp. You'd think they'd keep family trees. At least his descendants actually had his gear as family treasures.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: If you are carrying the princess with you to Charlock Castle and talk to the Dragonlord, he actually thanks you for saving him the trouble of having her transported there.
- Dub Name Change: Loto was renamed Erdrick, Lars was renamed Lorik, Dracolord was renamed as the Dragonlord, and Lora was renamed Gwaelin.
- Easter Egg: In the original NES version, there are many references to people looking for 'Nester', until you eventually find him and he asks if anyone has been searching for him. Nester was the name of a comic strip character in Nintendo Power magazine.
- You also can run into a character named Howard, who is named after Nester's partner in the comic.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Dragonlord.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The basic damage spell is called Hurt. The stronger version is called Hurtmore.
- You are on a quest to slay a dragon/a warrior who slays dragons.
- Fisher King: Defeat the Dragonlord, and not only do all of the other monsters disappear from the game, but the poisonous swamps will be replaced by fields of flowers.
- Flaming Sword: The second most powerful weapon you can wield. The best one is Erdrick's sword.
- Forced Level Grinding: If there wasn't any in this game, you'd likely be able to beat it in half an hour.
- In fact, people have run thousands of simulations on emulators, and determined that the Dragonlord is completely impossible to defeat at level 17 or below in the NES version, since you absolutely must have Healmore to stand a chance against the dragon.
- Though in a tool-assisted run (manipulating luck beyond reasonable means), the game can be completed at level 7.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the first town, you can meet up with an ardent female admirer who will "tag along." If you spend a night while she's with you, the dialog strongly suggests you and the admirer had a night of wild sex. This can also happen while you are escorting Princess Lora.
Innkeeper: Good morning. You were up late!
- In the GBC version, you can actually spend the night at the inn with both of them in tow and the above message will occur. Talk about Pimpin'.
- The (Green) Dragon
- Guide Dang It: Your name actually affects your base stats and stat growth.
- Heroic Mime: Averted, but only at the very end of the game, till then it’s played straight.
- Infinity-1 Sword: There's two of them in this one, but for different categories. The Flaming Sword is your sword version, with a +28 boost to your attack and has a special action when used as an item. The magic armor is your armor version, with a +24 boost to your armor and gives you a Healing Factor of one Hit Point regained every four steps. And what could be better than that?
- Infinity+1 Sword: Erdrick's Sword and Armor, that's what! They give you a +40 Attack bonus and a +28 bonus to armor, respectively. The armor quadruples the rate of your Healing Factor to one Hit Point healed every step, while the sword was just plain cool in addition to being powerful.
- Level Grinding: Sweet merciful God, so much in the NES version...
- Magic Knight: You, obviously. This game established all three traditions of making the player character a Magic Knight, tying when you learn spells to your level and learning Heal at level 3 as your first spell. The spells are...
- Healing Hands (Heal and Healmore, learned at levels 3 and 17, respectively)
- Playing with Fire (Hurt and Hurtmore (Firebal and Firebane in the GBC version), learned at levels 4 and 19, respectively)
- Standard Status Effects (Sleep, learned at level 7, and actually useful for once)
- Light'Em Up (Radiant, learned at level 9)
- Anti-Magic (Stopspell, learned at level 10)
- Teleportation (Outside and Return, learned at levels 12 and 13, respectively. Outside simply teleports you out of whatever cave you're in, while Return takes you all the way back to the town where you start the game.)
- There's also a spell called Repel which lowers the rate of Random Encounters learned at level 15.
- Market-Based Title: The original release and the Game Boy Color re-release were titled Dragon Warrior due to TSR holding the trademark to Dragon Quest. Since Square Enix has subsequently acquired the trademark from them, any future release would bear the DQ name.
- Mascot Mook: Slimes (though several others, including wyverns/chimerae and drakees/drackys give them a run for their money).
- Metal Slime: The Trope Namer, also the Goldman/Gold Golem.
- Money Spider: That the Goldman/Gold Golem gives a lot of wealth upon defeat makes sense. That it's all in coinage does not. Everything else also drops coins.
- Multiple Endings: There's one bad ending ( Try to join the Dragonlord.) and three good endings: save the princess and return her to the King before defeating the Dragonlord, return the princess after defeating the Dragonlord, or don't save the princess. The (minimalist) end game cut scene varies a bit for each ending. In the last one, the hero travels off to faroff lands alone.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: We learn in Dragon Quest III that the Golem was created by one of Cantlin's/Mercado's townspeople to protect the town. Oops.
- No Ontological Inertia: The second the final boss is defeated random encounters vanish and the poisonous swamps are replaced with pretty flowers.
- Nonstandard Game Over: If you accept the Dragonlord's offer to rule together in the NES version, you get a badly translated speech, the text turns your-HP-are-low red, and the game freezes. This was changed in the remakes.
- One-Winged Angel: "The Dragonlord hath revealed his true self!"
- Orcus on His Throne: The Dragonlord pretty much just sits in his castle all game and waits for you to come and kick his arse.
- Palette Swap: Only the Dragonlord gets an exclusive sprite in-battle.
- Recurring Riff: Many of the game's tunes (most prominently, the main theme and the level up theme) are used in all the subsequent installments, with the main theme gaining a new intro in IV and another new intro in IX. The game over theme has begun to make a comeback in more recent games as well after II and several installments after it used longer and more complex game over tracks.
- Remade for the Export: The US version of the game received a graphical facelift as well as a battery-backed save instead of a 20-character long password system used in the JP version (speakers of that language could only save their game this way on the MSX port).
- Scaled Up: See One-Winged Angel above.
- Useless Useful Spell: Averted! The good news: Yuji Horii was (and more than likely still is) a fan of Wizardry and Ultima, both of which had useful status spells. Mute/Stopspell and Sleep were two very handy spells taken from them. The bad news? Your enemies can also use them.
- Worst news: Guess who can surprise you, use sleep on the first turn, and continually wail on you before you can even act? That One Boss, that's who.
- With frequent abuse of save states and a generous amount of patience, the Sleep spell can make any battle a guaranteed victory. No enemy is completely immune to the Sleep spell, so if you cast it enough times, it will eventually stick. Moreover, unlike in most RPGs, a successful physical attack will not awaken the target. Whether or not they awaken is randomly determined each turn. So, you can Save Scumming your way to victory by saving state before selecting your command each turn, ensuring that you will (eventually) put the enemy to sleep and they will not ever wake up. Through this method, you can beat the game as soon as you get this spell.
- We Can Rule Together: The Dragonlord makes this offer to you when you confront him. Most players just select no and get on with the battle, but if you accept, you get a Nonstandard Game Over (except in the SNES version where he wakes up in a town near the Big Bad's castle, where the innkeeper says that he had a Bad Dream).
- The Dragonlord then says "I Can Rule Alone," though; the very next thing you see is red text.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Where's Loto's Shield (i.e. the Shield of Heroes)? The absence of his helmet was understandable, since it was just an iron mask, but the shield was a special magical talisman like the sword and armor.
- With This Herring
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Dropped in the Game Boy Color remake, though.