These are the iOS ports of the original Dragon Quest game, so Dragon Quest I. The iOS icon is actually labelled “DQ1”. I’m also adding Dragon Quest II and III to this page, as the games are very similar in engine/graphics/play/features and form a three-game series.
The peace of fair Alefgard has been shattered by the appearance of the nefarious master of the night known as the Dragonlord, and the Sphere of Light which for so long kept the forces of darkness in check has been stolen!
It’s time for you, a young warrior through whose veins flows the blood of the legendary hero Erdrick, to set out on a quest to vanquish the Dragonlord, and save the land from darkness!
Dragon Quest I
Dragon Quest I was originally released in Japan in 1986 – pretty historic in the scheme of video games!
I played this after playing Dragon Quest 5, and unfortunately it suffers by comparison. The graphics are much poorer and it’s a thinner, less feature rich game. It’s still enjoyable for fans for JRPGs – particularly if you want to work your way through the entire series – but I found I really had to rely on walkthroughs as I constantly hadn’t the first clue what I was supposed to do next. Story-wise, this is the first in a trilogy (a second trilogy starts with Dragon Quest 4) so if you want to play DQ2 or DQ3, you’d probably better start with this one.
In Dragon Quest 1 you spend much of your time going back and forth to the King’s castle. This is annoying early on as you have to keep going through this cave with poisonous swamp either side of it. (Late game you get some armour that negates its effects). The game is a little bit grindy in terms of reaching the next level or next set of eq. Eq wasn’t very exciting and there wasn’t much choice.
There’s also a rather irritating Magic Key system. Essentially every single door is locked, but every single door opens with a magic key. You can carry six of these max at a time. What’s frustrating is that after you leave a town, doors relock. And some of the shops are behind locked doors.
Dragon Quest II
Dragon Quest II is set 100 years after Dragon Quest. There are some improvements from the first game, such as party-based fighting. The world is bigger but it’s also quite barren.
As with DQ1, you really need a game guide. It’s impossible to know where you’re supposed to go and what you’re supposed to do all the time, and monster encounter frequency is so high than it’s a frustrating experience trying to travel across the world if you’re simply trying to get somewhere.
Even with a guide and map though, one of the trickiest things is that all the names seem to get changes between different versions and ports. So you may need to note down what-town-is-what. Some maps and guides give multiple names, but it’s still very confusing.
Dragon Quest III
Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation, initially titled Dragon Warrior III, is the first game chronologically, as well as the third game that features the hero Erdrick. It forms a complete series with the first two games.
DQ3 introduces a class-based system and party combat – you’re no longer given characters, but create them at the tavern. Only four can be used at a time, but more can be stored at taverns. Characters can also multiclass once they reach Level 20.
DA3 is a larger game and is generally considered to be better than the first two.