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Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (ドラゴンクエストIX 星空の守り人 lit. "Dragon Quest IX: Protectors of the Sky" in Japanese) is the ninth installment of the main Dragon Quest game series, and the first to be initially released on a handheld console. The game was first released on July 11, 2009 in Japan. It was released in North America on July 11, 2010, in Europe on July 23, 2010 and in Australia on August 19, 2010.

Blurb

This quest is made for you!

Character creation and customisation

Team up with your friends

A rich expansive world to explore

Gameplay

Dragon Quest IX continues the series tradition of turn-based combat, with a few modern twists. The game allows players to have a cooperative wireless multiplayer experience with up to four players.

It is the first to give the player the ability to customise and create the characters in their party, including the Hero/Heroine, the protagonist, character. The customisation options encompass both appearances and apparel.

Enemies physically spawn in regions instead of using the series' traditional random encounters. When the protagonist is within the field of view of an enemy, the enemy may pursue or flee from the party depending on the party's collective statistics.

There is a new quest system that involves side-quests that contribute both to the main story and side-stories, given by non-player characters. Multiple quests can be accepted at once, although not all quests are available to start right away. Quests may include fetching materials, defeating monsters and running errands for characters. There are also open-ended mini quests, unlike in other games in the series. Progress of quests can be viewed in the Quest Log.

Battle

Battles utilise both a 1st-person perspective when deciding the party's moves for a turn and a 3rd-person perspective that follows the movement of both the party and the enemies in action.

There is also a combo system that both the party and enemies can use when attacking the same target with identical moves. The combo counter is a multiplier that stacks after each move and multiplies the damage of consecutive attacks.

Experience points gained from battles is split amongst the party depending on the levels of each member. Higher level characters receive more experience points, while lower level characters receive less experience points. If a character falls during battle, they also receive experience points depending on how many turns they were alive for.

A Coup de Grâce system is available in battle, where each character randomly gets the chance to utilise the system in battle. When a character gets access to use Coup de Grâce, it allows them to perform a special ability based on their vocation that pertains to a variety of effects and perks. If all characters have access to Coup de Grâce at once, they can all perform a Co-op de Grâce. Access to Coup de Grâce does not crossover between battles and is lost after use.

Features

New to the Series

  • Customisable characters with a variety of face types, skin colours, hair colours, hairstyles, body types and eye colours
  • All equipment, such as weapons and armour, are all cosmetic except for accessories
  • Cooperative play with up to four players through local wireless play (ad-hoc)
  • An online store, the DQVC Shopping Service, that allows the player to purchase from a list of items that gets refreshed every day
  • Coup de Grâce abilities
  • A combo system that multiplies the damage of consecutive attacks
  • A different vocation system and various new vocations are available
  • Treasure Maps that grant the ability to enter Grottoes
  • A quest system that involves side-quests that contribute both to the main story and side-stories
  • The touch screen is used for inputting commands during battle
  • Unlike the other Dragon Quest games, the game includes only one save slot
  • Pre-rendered video cutscenes that are shown throughout the game
  • Emotes that can be assigned and performed

Returning Features

  • Turn-based combat used in battles
  • A levelling system that involves gaining experience points
  • A map that gets updated in real-time is visible during gameplay
  • 3D graphics used consistently for gameplay
  • The ability to choose tactics such as Show No Mercy and Focus on Healing to automate a party member's turn, or Follow Orders when wanting to manually decide actions, introduced in Dragon Quest IV
  • Enemies that physically spawn and can pursue the party when they are in an enemy's field of view, introduced in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker
  • The tension system introduced in Dragon Quest VIII is available in battle
  • Vocations that can be assigned to each party member, introduced in Dragon Quest III
  • Krak Pot that allows for alchemy and can be used to create new equipment and items using recipes and materials; introduced in Dragon Quest VIII

Story

Dragon Quest IX begins in Angel Falls, where the Hero is introduced as the new Guardian of Angel Falls after having just undertaken protection of the village with Aquila.
A spoiler draws near! Click 'show' to display, otherwise run away!
Dragon Quest IX begins in the Observatory, the floating kingdom of the Celestrians, including the main protagonist. The Celestrians have been trying for some time to reach the Realm of the Almighty. However, before they can leave, they require a fruit called the fygg. The fruit is very rare and Yggdrasil, the tree it grows on (also known as the World Tree), must be empowered with benevolessence, which are obtained by helping people in the mortal world, known as the Protectorate.

By helping and protecting his/her town and earning their thanks, the main character obtains enough benevolessence for the World Tree to produce the fyggs. Just as the Starflight Express that will take the Celestrians to the Realm of the Almighty arrives, the Protectorate is attacked from below by a mysterious and powerful force. The force scatters the assembled angels and knocks the fyggs, the Starflight Express, and the main character down to the Protectorate.

The main character awakens without wings or a halo and finds they have been rescued from the base of the waterfall in Angel Falls. As they come to, they learn a little about their fall and the great earthquake that happened at the same time. Having lost most of their Celestrian powers, but not their memory or the ability to see deceased and magical spirits, they travel about trying to find a way back to the Observatory. During an adventure to reconnect their village to the nearby castle after landslides caused by the great earthquake, the main character finds the broken down celestial train and its faerie driver, Stella. Stella promises to help the main character return to the kingdom of angels if they can prove they really are a Celestrian.

By helping humans, the main character gathers benevolessence, though they can no longer see it. Their ability to aid and protect the humans convinces Stella who, restoring power to the Starflight Express with the benevolessence, helps the main character return to the Observatory. Upon their return, the main character discovers that the fyggs have also fallen to the human world and that many Celestrians have been dispatched to find them, though no one has yet returned. Their prayers to become a Celestrian again are unanswered, but a vision is presented to the main character as they stand before the World Tree. Taking the vision as a sign, the main character is charged with returning to the human world to help collect the fyggs.

As the main character travels the Protectorate in search of the fyggs, they find that the fruit has the ability to grant those who eat it any wish. Unfortunately, the wishes are not always fulfilled in the way they were expected and those who eat the fruit succumb to strange and demented ways. It is the hero's mission to travel from land to land, finding and battling those possessed by the fyggs' power. As they defeat these individuals in their twisted forms, the main character sets the possessed free and regains the fyggs one by one. After the hero collects all the fyggs, they return to the Starflight Express with Stella and head for the observatory.

During the ride, Aquila enters the Starflight Express, and ask the hero for the fyggs. They refuse to give him the fyggs, and engage in battle with Aquila. The main character finds themselves unable to attack Aquila (or even move), because Celestrians can't attack their superior, and thus he nearly kills them. The train is then attacked by a large black dragon, and strange man whom Aquilla refers to as "Lieutenant Hootingham-Gore". The main character soon falls out of the starflight express and awakes in Wormwood Creek. They them enter Wormwood Forest and meet Serena, who wants the main character to find a serene necklace she hid under the Guardian Statue. The main character finds the necklace and, after retrieving it, returns to Serena, who agrees to break the seal blocking the entrance to the Bowhole. The hero defeats the beast Gadrongo, and gets the Wyrmlight Bow, which they then use to open a path to Upover. The hero climbs the Magmaroo, a volcano where the light dragon Greygnarl resides. After battling him and receiving the dragon warrior armor, he and the hero battle Barbarus, the dark dragon. During the fight, Greygnarl sacrifices himself, and the hero falls to the Gortress. Teaming up with Sterling, a fellow jailmate, the hero escapes the Gortress and returns to the Observatory. Yggdrasil turns into the goddess Celestria, who guides the hero to Gittingham Palace. The hero defeats King Godwyn's ultimate form and gains access to the Oubliette, where they find Corvus. He rides Barbarus to the Realm of the Almighty, and corrupts it into the Realm of the Mighty. Ascending the hellish domain, the hero battles Corvus. At first it is impossible to attack (as Corvus is a Celestrian and cannot be attacked by lesser Celestrians), but with the one remaining fygg, the hero is turned into a mortal, and is able to defeat Corvus.

Thou hast defeated the spoiler.

Characters

Main

  • Hero/Heroine: A silent protagonist and Celestrian under the mentorship of Aquila, Guardianship of Angel Falls
  • Stella: A flippant fairy, keen on fashion but prone to malaproprism, Stella is the skipper of the Starflight Express and has been trying to find her missing boss who she calls 'old fatguts'. Manages the Battle Records for the protagonist and is always ready to give them tips

Supporting

  • Aquila: A fellow Celestrian and mentor of the Hero
  • Apus Major: The most senior of all the Celestrians, this all-knowing ancient acts as the Observatory's harbinger
  • Erinn: A young female innkeeper living with her grandfather in Angel Falls
  • Patty: A feisty party girl and old acquaintance of Erinn's father
  • Serena: A forlorn ghost of a woman that wanders the Protectorate in search of someone
A spoiler draws near! Click 'show' to display, otherwise run away!
  • Barbarus: A dark dragon who is controlled by the Gittish Empire to do their bidding. Famously clashed with Greygnarl long ago
  • Celestria: The daughter of The Almighty who transformed into Yggdrasil, the World Tree
  • Corvus: Former Guardian of Wormwood Creek and Aquila's former mentor. He is the main antagonist in the game
  • Greygnarl: An ancient dragon known as the "Hero of the Heavens," he still bears wounds from when he clashed with Barbarus and the Gittish Empire. He is attended by the residents of Upover, and gets first dibs on the local ale
  • King Godwyn: A cruel tyrant from ages past who sought to bring the world under the heel of his Gittish Empire. His death was shrouded in mystery, but he and his empire seems to have returned
  • Sterling: The Captain of the Starflight Express, who went missing after it was struck by a mysterious beam of light
  • Zenus: The God of the world, The Almighty
Thou hast defeated the spoiler.

Side

  • Ivor: Acquaintance from Angel Falls
  • Jack of Alltrades: Arbiter of Vocations in Alltrades Abbey
  • King Schott: King of Stornway
  • Pavo: A Celestrian with the power to open the Rapportal
  • Princess Simona: Daughter of King Schott
  • Queen Voluptua: Queen of Gleeba
  • Sellma: A representative of the Sinndicate of Pubs, Inns, and Taverns (S.P.I.T.), sent to Quester's Rest to manage the DQVC Shopping Service

Multiplayer

Dragon Quest IX features various forms of multiplayer using the Nintendo DS's built in local wireless feature (ad-hoc).

Rapportal (Co-op Mode)

The Rapportal is a co-op feature in Dragon Quest IX and is accessed by talking to Pavo in the Quester's Rest Inn found in Stornway. Co-op allows for up to 4 DS systems running Dragon Quest IX to connect via the local wireless feature. Three guest players can join a host player's world and can go to anywhere the host has already visited. Guests can freely explore the world and battles can be fought together as a group. The host also has the ability to summon the other players into a battle using the Call to Arms ability.

Guest players are given a Watchers Wing item that allows them to teleport back to their own world. Players can also leave multiplayer at any time by speaking to Pavo again.

Tag Mode

Tag Mode is a passive wireless mode which is active only when the DS is placed into sleep mode. Tag mode is activated by speaking to Erinn at Quester's Rest and selecting the 'Canvass for guests' option. While in tag mode, Dragon Quest IX looks for other Dragon Quest IX games and exchanges data with them.

When data is exchanged, a clone of the main character from each game is placed in the other player's Quester's Rest. This cloned character holds an item which can then be received by talking to him/her. The clone then continues to stay in the upper floors of Quester's Rest unless dismissed by the player. Using tag mode like this, players can exchange various items including equipment and treasure maps with other Dragon Quest IX players.

Tag mode is wildly popular in Japan, breaking several records for most players communicating wirelessly while playing a video game. Treasure maps in particular are highly sought after as some are extremely rare with special items/equipment, while others contain excellent enemies for building levels. Tag mode, however, is dependent on the number of other Dragon Quest IX players using tag mode in any local area.

DQVC

The online DQVC Wi-Fi shop can be accessed from the Quester's Rest through talking to Sellma. This shop sells equipment, items and treasure maps. The contents of the shop are refreshed daily and are different per player.

The DQVC store has closed as of May 20, 2014, due to Nintendo closing the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Development

Dragon Quest IX was primarily designed around the idea of attracting a wider overseas market by "giving the game a more action-oriented premise than previous games in the series. In mid-2006, Dragon Quest series composer Koichi Sugiyama confirmed that Dragon Quest IX was in development. He is quoted by Japanese video game magazine Famitsu as saying, "I'm not sure when Dragon Quest IX will be released, but it seems that progress is continually being made. I'm personally excited." On December 12, 2006, during a press conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Dragon Quest franchise, Square Enix announced that Dragon Quest IX would be released exclusively for the Nintendo DS handheld video game console, making it the first numbered Dragon Quest title to debut on a handheld.

The Japanese release of Dragon Quest IX was subsequently delayed from 2007 to 2008. The company cited the need for more time to make a better game as reason for the delay. At the 2008 Tokyo Game Show, a new trailer was shown at the Square Enix booth which showed a glimpse of the changes made to the gameplay and graphics. At the end of the video, a confirmation of the release date (set for March 2009) was unveiled. Square Enix released another new trailer for the game, showing various aspects of the storyline, boss battles, along with cutscenes; the end of the trailer showed a then-correct release date for March 28, 2009, along with a price point of ¥5,980.

On February 12, 2009, after having delayed the release of its quarterly financials by a week, Square Enix announced the game would be delayed once again to a Japanese release on July 11 of the same year. The game's release delay worried Final Fantasy fans, who were told by Square Enix president Yoichi Wada that the delay may affect the release of Final Fantasy XIII, stating that he "[could] not say there [would not] be an effect."

Dragon quest chip

The cartridge for the DS

Dragon Quest IX was designed to be the hardest Dragon Quest game of its time. The rationale was that, according to Brian Ashcraft, Night Editor for Kotaku, the Dragon Quest IX developers said, "people can always find out information on the internet — like that's part of the game experience." In addition, the game has only one save slot. Ryutaro Ichimura, producer of Dragon Quest IX, clarified the reason explaining that there was not enough space on the cartridge for two traditional save-slots given the amount of freedom the game allows. Instead the save area is used for a backup save-slot in case of battery failure.

Release

Japan

Dragon Quest IX shipped with over 2 million pre-order sales. While the game's official release date was July 11, 2009, some retailers had already shipped orders; one such dealer asked its customers to not play it until the official release date. In spite of the large number of pre-orders and additional release shipments by Square-Enix, lines still formed for the release.

Within a two-day period the title had sold 2,318,932 copies out of an estimated 3 million copies that had been shipped. Some analysts said that 3 million may have been too conservative and expected 5 million copies sold in Japan alone with large overseas sales expectations that could break previous Dragon Quest sales records. Ultimately, Dragon Quest IX set the record for the highest premiere-week sales post-2000, which was previously held by its predecessor, Dragon Quest VIII.

Reception

International

Famitsu has scored the game with 40/40, the first Dragon Quest game to achieve a perfect score and the tenth game to be awarded a perfect score. After its international release, it received positive reviews, including an 87% on Metacritic.com and a user score of 9.0.

Japan

Akihibara became a hotspot for players of the game shortly after its release, increasing the social aspect of the Multiplayer and Treasure Map functions. Patty's Pub (Luida's Bar), based on The Questor's Rest in the game, was soon given a real-world equivalent in the aforementioned location, largely due to the rarity of a single treasure map featuring characters of whom appear only once during normal gameplay.

Trivia

  • Prior to its release, the game was known as Dragon Quest IX: Defenders of the Starry Skies
    • A malware version of the ROM was released early on 2chan. Instead of the actual game however, it was an H-anime slideshow which bricked the Nintendo DS.
  • Dragon Quest IX was the first entry in the series to launch on a handheld.
  • Dragon Quest IX was the last entry in the series to be developed by Level-5, with Square Enix taking over for the following mainline entries.
  • Dragon Quest IX is the only entry in the mainline series that is purely exclusive to one system, with no remakes or ports available for the game.

Unused Content

In Dragon Quest IX, there is an unused debug mode where you can access models and animations of any monster and NPC. There is also an option in the debug mode called 'Debug', that creates the default character and puts them in a black void area, playing the Stornway Inn music.

IX - Unused - 60c

A close up of the unused monster.

In the debug mode, each monster is given a number, followed by a letter. E.g.: Slime is 1a, She Slime is 1b, Sacksquach is 60a. There is an unused monster under 60c, without a name. It is a pure white Sacksquach without anything coming out of its mouth.

Other languages

Other languages
French Dragon Quest IX: Les Sentinelles du Firmament
German Dragon Quest IX: Hüter des Himmels
Spanish Dragon Quest IX: Centinelas del Firmamento
Italian Dragon Quest IX: Le Sentinelle del Cielo
Dutch Dragon Quest IX: Wachters van de Starry Skies
Swedish Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
Greek Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies
Portuguese Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels dos céus estrelados
Russian Dragon Quest IX: Часовые из звездного неба
Chinese 勇者斗恶龙IX - 星空的守护者
Korean 드래곤 퀘스트 IX 별하늘의 수호자

Gallery

Box Art

Promotional Artwork

Videos

See also

Dragon Quest IX (beta)

External links

References

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