Dragon Quest
The Journey of the Cursed King

Format: PS2
Square Enix

5 060121 820012
Age Restrictions: 12+
07 April 2006

Poor King Trode has been turned into a troll, his daughter Princess Medea into a horse and his subjects into brambles. His kingdom, Trodain, is frozen in time. The story begins as you, the hero (one of the King's guards), and your eccentric band - King Trode, the Princess and a reformed bandit named Yangus - arrive at the town of Farebury in search of an evil jester named Dhoulmagus. He is the madman responsible for stealing a forbidden sceptre from King Trode's castle and cursing the whole kingdom. Now he roams the land killing innocent victims. United by a common goal, characters Jessica and Angelo join the party on a quest to bring the devilish Dhoulmagus to justice...

Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King is one of the slickest, well designed RPG offerings we've seen in a long time.

The game is based around characters and stories created by Akira Toriyama (who those in the know will instantly recognise as the creator of Dragon Ball Z). The animation of the graphics are smooth and well detailed, and I have to say some of the best I've seen in an RPG game. It's almost like starring in your own anime.

Even elements like saving your progress have been given careful consideration. You must seek out a monastery in order to save your game, and when you die or reload your game, you start off in the last monastery you saved in. Enter the monastery at night and it will be a different person who will be there to greet you and hear your confession than the priest that is there for the sinners who want to pop in during daylight hours.

There are some slight problems though. For starters, while the environment you can explore is vast, it would have been nice if there was a little more to do in the majority of the locations. Also, it can be annoying when you loose your life, as you have to trek a long way to get back to where you left off. Although, to be fair, this is not always the case, as you can quickly zip to important areas once you've been there once.

Another element worthy of note is Koichi Sugiyama soundtrack. At times this does seem a little out of place, but for the majority of the scenes it greatly enhances the playing experience. I particularly loved the little organ music jingle as you save your game - nice touch.

At the end of the day this is a fantastic game that will have you hooked for a very long time. If you are new to this genre, then this game will have you wanting to check out more of the same. And if you are a seasoned RPG fan, there are plenty of elements here to make you realise that you haven't seen it all before.

Pete Boomer

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