Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (in PAL regions, Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King) is the eighth installment in the Dragon Quest game series, and the first to be developed by Level-5 and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2 video game console.


PS2 version

For king and country!

3DS version

When an ancient sceptre is stolen, an epic adventure is born!


New features

  • The game uses an over-the-shoulder 3-D display on all maps, replacing the traditional bird's-eye view. It can optionally be switched to a first-person view. Only the lead character is displayed in the map view, however. The lead character may be swapped though.
  • There is an automap feature in dungeons, and complete maps of all towns.
  • Characters are shown holding their equipped weapons, in an appropriate posture. In a few cases, the character's displayed clothing will change to reflect their other equipment, although it usually stays the same.
  • The buildings in a town are visible even from the overworld view.
  • Chests and special encounters with tameable monsters can be found in the overworld.
  • The day-night cycle of games III, IV, and V is restored. Time now passes even in towns, and the party can use an inn to switch from day to night, as well as vice-versa. Thus, there is no longer a Darkness Lamp, or related spells.
  • Party conversations return from the previous installment, but it is now possible to either select which party member to talk to, or cycle through them in order.
  • The battle screens are shown as a 3-D view, with shifting camera angles to display the current combatant. The party appears in the battle screen, unlike previous installments. At the end of the battle, an animation of the surviving party members putting away their weapons is played.

Tension system

There is a new Dragon Ball-inspired tension system, allowing combatants to spend a turn "Psyching Up" which will build up "tension". Tension will increase the power level of their next attack or spell. Tension can be charged repeatedly (up to 4 levels), increasing attack power in each stage. There is a new party AI option to focus on using high-tension attacks, replacing the old "Leave it to me" option. Tension can be used to overcome a monster's resistance to physical or elemental attacks.

Attempting to reach the fourth, "super-high tension" state has a chance of failure, depending on the character's level. Also, some monsters are able to instantly reach the third stage of tension, and will then repeatedly attempt to reach the super-high level.

Skill system

Each character has five skill values that can increase during the course of the game; three are associated with the character's three favored weapon types, one with unarmed combat, and one with the character's special ability. Skill points awarded on level-up, or when using a skill seed, can be distributed among the five skills by the player. Increasing a skill beyond certain fixed levels grants additional powers and bonuses to statistics when the player is using an appropriate type of weapon.


At a certain point in the game, the party receives an Alchemy Pot. This device can be used to combine two items into a third (usually more powerful) item following various recipes. The combination takes a certain amount of time, depending on the power of the combined item and the level of the pot. This "time" only advances as the party moves. Later in the game, the pot is upgraded to hold three items, allowing additional, even more powerful recipes.

An invalid recipe will be rejected immediately without consuming the items, allowing the player to experiment to find new recipes. In the Bonus Dungeon, the player can choose to take a pot that can mix items instantly as a prize for defeating the Lord Of The Dragovians.

New recipes (or clues to new recipes) are revealed in various books and scraps of paper found throughout the game. All recipes the player has discovered are listed in a "recipe book" accessed through the alchemy menu; recipes which are only partially known (from a clue) will have some item names replaced with "????."


Vehicles are shown at their actual size, and the world map is scaled down appropriately when they are in use.

The ship has a bridge which it uses to dock with the land, and its altitude can be changed to match the shorter cliffs, if necessary.

The other available vehicles are a great sabrecat steed (summoned with a magic bell), which moves much faster than the hero, allowing the party to move further between random encounters (although they still occur at the same rate), and a Godbird's soulstone, which allows the party to turn into birds.

Although the party has a wagon throughout the game, it has no effect on gameplay, since the party is essentially fixed throughout the game. Also, it is not normally shown on the display.


Changes in the 3DS version

  • Two new playable characters, Red and Morrie, who were NPCs in the PS2 version.
  • No random encounters. Monsters are now seen via the world map and in dungeons.
  • Dungeons in the 3DS version will have gimmicks added that weren't in the PS2 version.
  • Like the mobile version, you'll be able to save skill points for later use.
  • Japanese voice acting is added in the Japanese version.
  • Soundtrack by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.
  • Players are able to take photos in the game.
  • A new type of quest called "Photo Quests" have been added, where the player is tasked to take pictures of rare monsters and hidden items.
  • New scenarios such as further back story for both the Hero and Dhoulmagus.
  • Alternative ending added.
  • New dungeons added.
  • New post-game story content added.
  • Jessica's revealing costumes were toned down.
  • The cutscene of Marcello was toned down by using Light Magic instead of getting stabbed with his knife on his own right arm to free himself from the sceptre's thorns.
  • The cutscene of David being forced to eat the dog food by Dominico is changed.



Playable Characters

  • Hero - The Hero is a royal guard of Trodain, who journeys with King Trode to hunt down Dhoulmagus and make him pay for his crimes. His pet mouse, Munchie, always rides in his right coat pocket.
  • Yangus - Yangus is a former bandit who journeys with the Hero and King Trode. Like the Hero, he is a party member from the start of the game. It is highly implied that he and Red had a romantic relationship prior to the events in the game.
  • Jessica - Jessica is a voluptuous, short-tempered, and tomboyish sorceress born to a wealthy family in the town of Alexandria, and the third party member. She seeks to avenge her brother Alistair, who is slain by Dhoulmagus. In the 3DS remake, Jessica may marry the Hero in the new alternate ending.
  • Angelo - Angelo is one of Maella Abbey's Templar knights and the fourth party member. Though unable to live with the strict moral code of the Templars, with his lust for gambling and women (especially Jessica), he is faithfully devoted to Abbot Francisco.
  • Red (3DS only) - Red is a tough and ruthless pirate captain of her private ship. She is playable in the 3DS version after the finishing the Pirate's Cove dungeon. It is highly implied that she and Yangus had a romantic relationship prior to the events of the game. She also has an associate in the black market who she bought Princess Medea in horse form from, Dodgy Dave.
  • Morrie (3DS only) - Morrie is the quirky and energetic owner of the Monster Arena who has an especially soft spot for the Hero. He is optionally playable in the 3DS version after defeating him in the tournament. He always has a posse of bunny girls at his side, albeit Marrie is his favorite, much to Merrie's chagrin.

Other Characters

  • King Trode - King Trode is the King of Trodain, and the titular character of Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King. He was transformed into a toad-like creature by the evil wizard Dhoulmagus, and is trying to find a way to lift the curse upon him. During parts of the game, if you press the Select button, King Trode will give you helpful advice. He is also playable during the party's time in Tyran Gully.
  • Princess Medea - Medea is the daughter of King Trode. She was turned into a horse when her father was cursed by Dhoulmagus. She travels with the heroes by pulling the cart with their supplies. She and the Hero are close childhood friends. In the end, though, it turns out she loves the Hero and they get married in both endings in different ways. During the game play, you find a spring where Medea turns human for a few moments and gives some evidence that she loves the Hero.
  • Marcello - Marcello is the captain of the Templar Knights who guard the Abbot with their lives. However, Marcello wants more power than was offered, and after he takes over following the Abbot's death, he becomes a partner to High Priest Rolo. With this opening, the resulting events that Marcello causes will set the stage for the fate of the world to be decided. Was the only wielder of Rhapthorne's sceptre that didn't become a mind slave (at least, until the hero weakened him).
  • Sir Leopold - He is the spoiled dog of the great magician Dominico. Leopold is let out of his cage by the mistake of a servant, and after the previous wielder of the Sceptre drops it, Leopold picks it up and is taken over by Rhapthorne. After he is beaten by the Hero, drops the sceptre and dies.
  • Dhoulmagus - Dhoulmagus is a jester who, in order to get revenge on those who insulted him, stole a magical sceptre from Trodain Castle. However, when he attempted to unleash its power, it overwhelmed him, and allowed Rhapthorne to take over his body.
  • Lord Rhapthorne - Lord Rhapthorne is the main antagonist who is heard, but not seen until the end of the game. His spirit was trapped in the Trodain sceptre that Dhoulmagus possessed in the beginning of the game. Lord Rhapthorne possesses Dhoulmagus through the sceptre, then Jessica, then a fearsome pet dog named Sir Leopold, then finally Marcello, who resists him partially; until he killed each heir of the seven sages to release his energy and assume a corporeal form.


Like the other games in the series, Dragon Quest VIII's designers include Yuji Horii as scenario director, Akira Toriyama as the art designer, and Koichi Sugiyama as the music composer.

Unlike the original Japanese version, the North American and European localisations of the game mark a departure from previous Dragon Quest titles, due to the inclusion of voice acting in certain parts of the adventure pertaining to the advancement of the storyline. The game nevertheless retains the series' tradition of allowing the player to name the lead character, reconciling the two by having the voice acting script skip all instances of the hero's name (e.g., the line, "Okay, [Hero], my boy..." appears onscreen, while the voice acting says, "Okay, my boy..."), and occasionally replacing the name with Yangus' nickname for the hero, "'guv" (as in "governor," pronounced with a Cockney accent) In addition, small changes, such as the removal of the traditional 8-bit sound effects that accompany attacks, and magic abilities, were made. Despite other games in the series being edited during localisation for North America, Dragon Quest VIII has no editing in it. The English translation is credited to Plus Alpha Translations and AltJapan.

Several characters from previous Dragon Quest games make a cameo appearance, among which are the Fighter and Warrior from Dragon Quest III; Ragnar, Healie, and Torneko (here called Torneko Taloon, a combination of the names by which he's known in Japan and America) from Dragon Quest IV; and the legendary bird Ramia from Dragon Quest III. There is even an allusion to the Dracolord (Dragonlord) from the original Dragon Quest present during the course of the game.


Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King was released in North America on November 15, 2005, and shipped with a playable Final Fantasy XII demo disc. Additions and changes to the North American version of Dragon Quest VIII include: voice acting, new animations, enhanced music and sound effects, additional spells and attacks, and a new menu interface. It was also the first game in the Dragon Quest series to bear the original, Japanese "Dragon Quest" name (rather than "Dragon Warrior") in North America. Dragon Quest's North American name was changed, due to a trademark conflict with the role-playing game DragonQuest, which was published by wargame publisher Simulations Publications in the 1980s until the company's bankruptcy in 1982 and purchase by TSR, Inc., which then published it as an alternate pen-and-paper RPG line to Dungeons & Dragons until 1987.

In 2003, Square Enix registered the Dragon Quest trademark in the US, making the "Dragon Warrior" name obsolete. Thus, this installment of the series was the first after 2003 to be released outside of Japan and to receive the word "Quest" in its title.

A demo disc for Dragon Quest VIII was released in America during the fall of 2005 through certain venues, including Shonen Jump magazine. Dragon Quest VIII is also the first flagship Dragon Quest game to be released in Europe. It was released in Europe on April 13, 2006, under the title Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King, dropping the sequel number. Unlike the North American version, the European version does not contain a Final Fantasy XII demo.

iPhone and Android re-release

Square Enix has released Dragon Quest VIII on the Apple Appstore, and on Google Play Store for iPhone and Android platforms.



Other languages

Other languages
French Unknown
German Dragon Quest: Die Reise des verwunschenen Königs
Spanish Unknown
Italian Dragon Quest VIII: L'odissea del re maledetto
Dutch Unknown
Swedish Unknown
Greek Unknown
Portuguese Unknown
Russian Unknown
Chinese Unknown
Korean Unknown


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