Dragon Quest 8: The Inconsequential Weeping King

It’s a dumb thing to rant about, but that’s kind of what I do.

This morning I decided I wanted to play one of the games I haven’t finished, and I was in the mood for a turn-based RPG that I can play while watching a movie. This probably includes all of them, but the one I picked up was Dragon Quest 8.

There are so many things wrong with this game.

  • The button configuration is counter-intuitive and occasionally stupid (I’ve lost count of the bad purchases I’ve made because there are TWO confirm buttons, one of which is usually the cancel button in most every other game).
  • There is nothing likeable about almost any of the characters, who are each plucked from a different anime and inevitably have no chemistry at all.
  • The story makes no sense, and therefore a good deal of the quests come out of nowhere and have no impact.

That last one bugged me so much that it deterred me from why I wanted to write this post.

Apparently where I stopped off, my party was off to find a way to make the king stop whinging over the death of his queen–a death which took place two years previous. He is incapable of doing anything but crying, and keeps the kingdom in a constant state of mourning.

The main characters are on a quest to defeat an evil jester and lift a curse on a completely different king and his daughter. This crybaby has precisely zilch to do with the main quest. You basically offer to do something because you show up.

I stopped in the middle of this quest several months ago, because the location you need to reach in order to make the king shut up is incredibly hard to find if you don’t know how to get there.

His kingdom is also not on the list of places your Go There Immediately spell can take you too. It is also very far away from anywhere else.

When you finally get to this place you have to go (and honestly, that’s about all I remember, I don’t think they tell you why going there will help) you find that it’s a magic window that makes a door when the moon shines and makes the window’s shadow touch a wall.

That’s actually kind of cool until you go through the door.

Inside, you find this sparkly, physically impossible and completely pointless ROOM (I refuse to call it a world) where a femme-y man with a harp-flute is just waiting for you. Not only is he one of those annoying stock mystical characters who says meaningless things, but he is also the deus ex machina for resolving this quest.

A deus ex machina for resolving a quest that accomplishes nothing.

And it really does accomplish nothing. But I’ll get to that. First, you are confronted with the horror of an escort mission all the way back to the bloody castle–only to find that you teleport to the castle immediately. When you take Femme Elf Man to the king, he proceeds to haunt the poor ruler with multiple giggling, see-through images of his dead wife.

That goes on for several seconds. I just stared at my screen in horror. I mean… I didn’t care about this king and I thought his sidequest was a waste of time, but geezalou. That’s sick.

Of course, the point of this scene is to tell the king through memories of his wife that she would not want him to mourn her forever. But it plays out in the most revoltingly stupid fashion possible.

The memories are not interactive, so it’s not as much like calling up a torturous ghost as the first part was. But like all bad fantasy writers, the writers of this game clearly had no idea what kings actually do. The largest chunk of the scene aside from the bit that actually spelled out, “I’m dead but you need to flipping get over it”, was a dialogue between the monarchs about naming a puppy.

I wish so hard that I was joking.

Seriously though. The memory-queen tells the memory-king that The Innkeeper (yes, the one keeper of the one inn in the kingdom) wants her to name their new puppy. There follows a nauseating “I love you more/No, I love you more” style conversation about who would be better at naming the puppy.

It really goes on way too long. After the king finally gets the message (although I’m still sitting there horrified by the mindscrew they are putting this guy through), he pulls up all of the mourning paraphernalia throughout the kingdom (which is about the size of Bee Cave, TX) and throws a feast.

He thanks the party–although I can’t imagine why, since most everyone seems to think the whole thing was a dream–and then after the cutscene is finally over, if you walk your PC over to talk to the king, the first thing he says is that he knows nothing about your quest and cannot help you.

If I was the kind of person who threw controllers, that would have been when mine broke against the wall.

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