Dragon Quest Part 3 (ドラゴンクエスト)

Asher Wolfstein Role-Playing, Famicom / NES Leave a Comment

  1. Dragon Quest Part 1 (ドラゴンクエスト)
  2. Dragon Quest Part 2 (ドラゴンクエスト)
  3. Dragon Quest Part 3 (ドラゴンクエスト)

Dragon Quest, otherwise known as Dragon Warrior in North America in earlier incarnations, is a popular Japanese RPG series. In fact, in Japan, as I understand it, Dragon Quest is more popular and overshadows Final Fantasy as the premier RPG series. You can learn more about Dragon Quest and its creator in Dragon Quest Part 1.

Note: I am aware that, in this series of posts, I often “over-kanji” the translations. That is, when replacing sections of kana with kanji, I often find and use kanji in places where it would normally be left as kana in the wild. This is intentional, as I hope to increase the reader’s awareness and knowledge of kanji. It is important, though, to be aware that many kanji here would be left as kana alone in common Japanese writing.

To Recap…

In the last post, we listened to the opening speech (せりふ、台詞せりふ) from the King who set the stage. Turns out, in this land, there is a legend of a brave hero Loto (ロト) who used a ball of light (ひかりのたま、ひかりたま) to secure against monsters (まものたち、魔物まものたち) that rove the land. Unfortunately, a dragon king (りゅうおう、龍王りゅうおう) somehow appeared and secreted the ball of light away in darkness. Now monsters roam the land once more, and a hero is needed to defeat the dragon king.

Let’s Play!

Here I have embedded a video showing what we cover today in this post (and more). It’s the same video as the previous post. This post covers the main user interface of Dragon Quest and its resulting messages. The next post (Part 4) will go into more detail on what the guards/soldiers in the throne room have to say for themselves.

In the last post, I gave a screenshot of the Ladatorm Castle Throne Room. In this post, I actually label the screen. The top of each bubble is how you might express the label using kanji, the next line is purely in kana, and the last line is the English translation. These labels serve to help map the rest of the post’s content.

In Dragon Quest, whenever the character stands still a status window (to be shown later) pops up. Pressing B on the controller causes additional user interface elements to appear that allow you to interact with the game world.

The コマンド Window

This window appears near the upper right when you press B anywhere in the game (outside of a battle). From here you can select various commands that give you the opportunity to interact with what’s around you. These commands are:

  • Speak (はなす、はな – This is the present indicative plain form of the verb to speak (or will speak), ( – Talk). This command opens another window (below) with which you can tell the game which direction you intend to speak. In the North American version (Dragon Warrior) the character on screen actually faces the four cardinal directions so this is unnecessary, but in the original Japanese this functionality hadn’t been programmed.
  • Strength (つよさ、つよ – This is a form of the adjective つよい(強い) ( – Strong). By placing さ after an adjective it becomes a noun (it becomes nominalized) with the additional aspect of being measurable. In English, you do something similar with the “-ness” ending. So here, “strong” becomes “strength”.
  • Stairs (かいだん、階段かいだん– This is the noun for stairs ( – Story, – Grade). There are elements of the map that indicate the character can travel somewhere else (like stairs). When walking on that square doesn’t automatically transport the character, this command will cause the transport to occur.
  • Door (とびら、とびら) – This is the noun for door ( – (Front) door). In my playthrough, I hardly, if ever, use this command, opting instead to use a key directly. Keys are the only thing that can open doors. I assume that if I have a key available, this command will use it to open a door near me.
  • Incantation (じゅもん、呪文じゅもん– This is the noun for incantation, or spell ( – Spell, charm, – Sentence). In the game, the main character is able to cast spells such as ホイミ (which heals the character’s HP). Since this is the beginning of the game, the protagonist has yet to learn any spells (see below).
  • Tools (どうぐ、道具どうぐ – This is the noun for tools ( – Way, – Tool). Throughout play the main character acquires various items, from torches (たいまつ、松明たいまつ) ( – Pine Tree, – Light) to medicinal herbs (やくそう、薬草やくそう) ( – Medicine, – Grass). This command pulls up a list of the items/tools being carried so that the protagonist can employ them in his travels.
  • Investigate (しらべる、調しらべる – This is the present indicative plain form of the verb to check/io investigate. There are a couple of times within the game where the protagonist must perform a search to discover a hidden item at that location. This is the command that will initiate that search.
  • Take (とる、 – This is the present indicative plain form of the verb to take/to steal. Standing over a treasure chest and issuing this command will cause the main character to open the treasure chest and take whatever is inside. Below you’ll see the hero obtain the items from three treasure chests in the throne room using this command.

The Stats Window

This window appears to the left of the screen when the player causes the protagonist to sit still. At the top it’s titled with the name entered in the first screen (here it is あしゃ, Asha). Below are the gauges for レベル (level), HP (Hit Points), MP (Magic Points), G (Gold), and E (Experience). As the player progresses through the game and battles increasingly difficult enemies, his experience gauge will go up. When the experience gauge achieves certain amounts the main hero’s level increases, and in doing so many of his other statistics (see below) increase as well.

Executing Strength (つよさ、強さ)

When we initiate the strength command 強さ another interface window pops up. This window outlines the various statistics that are tied to the main character. Every one of these is important in battle, as they determine how powerful the character is, how much damage is dealt to enemies, and how easily the protagonist can avoid being dealt damage.

  • Level (レベル) – This is written in katakana. This indicates the overall proficiency of the character. At each level increase, the other statistics also increase. To gain a level the player must gain experience points through battle, as we’ll see later.
  • Power (ちから、ちから – I wrote power here, but with this kun’yomi (訓読くんよ) pronunciation of 力 ( – Power), this indicates strength or physical power in particular. This statistic enables you to hit enemies with greater force. The higher power is, the more you can hit enemies with greater defense.
  • Agility (すばやさ、素早すばや – This is the nominalized form of the adjective 素早すばやい ( – Principle, – Fast) as described above for strength. The さ acts very much like the English suffix “-ness” Here, 素早すばや means fast, or agile, so adding the さ means agility. This statistic helps you avoid hits and damage from enemies.
  • Maximum HP (さいだい、最大さいだいHP) – Hit points (HP) are a measure of how much damage the character can take before they perish. At each level, the maximum (さいだい、最大さいだい) ( – Extreme, – Big) increases, enabling the hero to travel farther and engage in more and bigger battles before having to heal.
  • Maximum MP (さいだい、最大さいだいMP) – Magic points (MP) are a measure of how many spells the hero can cast before having to rest at an inn. Each spell costs a certain amount of magic points to cast. Like, hit points, the maximum (最大さいだい) increases each time the hero attains another level.
  • Attack Power (こうげきりょく、攻撃力こうげきりょく – Interestingly, this uses the kanji for power 力 so I read it here with the on’yomi (音読おんよ) reading. This is the noun for attack (こうげき、攻撃こうげき) ( – Attack, – Attack) which you might notice is the namesake of this blog. The kanji attached at the end means power or capability (it’s the same kanji as for ちから above, but here it is part of a 熟語じゅくご word and thus most likely uses the on’yomi reading). The higher this statistic, the greater ability the hero has to attack enemies.
  • Defensive Power (しゅびりょく、守備力しゅびりょく – This also uses the kanji for power 力, most likely for space reasons. Very much like attack power, this follows a similar pattern as a 熟語じゅくご, using the on’yomi reading. This is the noun for defense (しゅび、守備しゅび) ( – Protect, – Equip). The higher this statistic, the greater the hero is able to defend himself.
  • Weapon (ぶき、武器ぶき – This is the noun for weapon ( – Arms, – Implement), which indicates what weapon you’re currently wielding. Different weapons are of differing quality. More expensive weapons, such as an iron sword, are better at dealing with enemies than those of lesser quality, such as a bamboo pole or club.
  • Armor (よろい、よろい – This is the noun for armor ( – Put on armor), which indicates what armor you’re currently wearing. Different armors are of differing quality. More expensive armor, such as steel, are better at protecting from enemies than those of lesser quality, such as leather clothes (かわのふく、かわふく) ( – Leather, – Clothes)
  • Shield (たて、たて – This is the noun for shield ( – Shield) and, lastly, indicates what shield you’re currently carrying. Different shields are of differing quality. More expensive shields, such as an iron shield, are better at defending against enemies than those of lesser quality, such as a leather shield.

Executing Take (とる、取る)

ここでは なにも とれない。

ここでは なにも れない。

Here is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Take (とる、る) command without having anything “underneath” the character to take.

ここでは なにも とれない。

ここでは なにも れない。

The first line starts off with ここ, which I could have written 此処ここ – This, – Place) using kanji. Here I left is as kana which is usually how it is written in real-world usage. ここ is the pronoun for here, this place.

We then encounter the particle では. This particle is a combination, if I’m reading this correctly, of the particles で and は, and is often used in negative sentences (such as this will be). Here we are indicating with that something applies for the subject in this case (but maybe not others), and is telling us that something is happening in this location.

The next part is なにも(なに) ( – What) which is an expression which here means (not) anything. I put (not) in there because the next part of the sentence is a negative verb: とれない(れない). You’ll recognize the kanji 取 from the command window. ( – Take) means to take/to steal. Because this verb is conjugated with a れ I can see that this is the potential plain form in the negative. One might translate this as can’t take.

With all of that together we have < here as-for-use (not) anything can’t-take >, or in other words, I can’t take anything here.

Executing Door (とびら、扉)

ここには とびらがない!

ここには とびらい!

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Door (とびら、とびら) command without having a door around to actually open.

ここには とびらかない!

ここには とびらい!

The first line starts off with ここ, which I could have written 此処ここ – This, – Place) using kanji. Here I left is as kana which is usually how it is written in real-world usage. As above, ここ is the pronoun for here, this place.

We then encounter the particle には, which means to, for, on, in, at, and so on. The additional particle here emphasizes the word being marked by . Here, what follows is taking place at or in the location of here.

The next part is the subject as emphasized by the particle, which is とびら(とびら)( – Door) which is the noun for door. The が particle marks the other, and more prominent, subject of the clause, the door. This is what the next part will be talking about.

Finally, we arrive at, as I understand it, an i-adjective (形容詞けいようし) that means nonexistent, or not being (there). This is usually written in kana alone (without the 無) but here I included the kanji ( – Not). You might notice there is no verb ending the clause here. This can happen, and often, so beware. The です copula and such are considered implied in these kinds of sentences.

So we are presented with < here at-in door subject nonexistent > which we can express in other words as, there is no door here.

Executing Incantation (じゅもん、呪文)

あしゃ は まだ じゅもんを
つかえない。

あしゃ は だ 呪文じゅもん
使つかえない。

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Incantation (じゅもん、呪文じゅもん) command without having any spells to cast.

あしゃ は まだ じゅもんを

あしゃ は だ 呪文じゅもん

The first part of this sentence fragment is pretty straightforward, consisting of the subject particle and the subject, which is the name I entered in the first screen あしゃ (Asha). So, we’re talking about the hero.

The next part is まだ() ( – Not yet) which is usually written using kana alone, but here I’ve included the kanji for reference. This is an adverb (副詞ふくし) meaning (not) yet. I put the (not) there because this sentence is in the negative as we’ll soon see.

After that is a noun you’ll recognize from the command window じゅもん(呪文じゅもん) ( – Spell, – Sentence) which means, well, spell or incantation. Following this is what I call the object particle . This particle is used to indicate the object (target) of a verb or sentence.

つかえない。

使つかえない。

And here’s the verb for our object. This is the potential plain form of つかう(使つか) (使 – Use) in the negative. I can tell because the stem つか is followed by the え sound and the negative ない. 使う means to use or to operate. In the potential form (and negative) we could translate it as can’t use. What can’t we use? The object: spells.

Put together we have < Asha subject not-yet spells object can’t use > or, in other words, Asha can’t use spells yet.

Executing Stairs (かいだん、階段)

ここには かいだんが ない。

ここには 階段かいだんが い。

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Stairs (かいだん、階段かいだん) command without there actually being stairs “underneath” the character.

ここには かいだんが ない。

ここには 階段かいだんが い。

The first line starts off with ここ, which I could have written 此処ここ – This, – Place) using kanji. Here I left is as kana which is usually how it is written in real-world usage. As above, ここ is the pronoun for here, this place.

We then encounter the particle には, which means to, for, on, in, at, and so on. The additional particle here emphasizes the word being marked by . Here, what follows is taking place at or in the location of here.

Following that we have the noun for stairs かいだん(階段かいだん) ( – Story, – Grade) and after that the other subject particle which informs us what the following adjective will be speaking about. が here emphasizes this as the primary subject of the sentence as opposed to here.

Finally, we arrive at, as I understand it, an i-adjective (形容詞けいようし) that means nonexistent, or not being (there). This is usually written in kana alone (without the 無) but here I included the kanji ( – Not). You might notice there is no verb ending the clause here. This can happen, and often, so beware. The です copula and such are considered implied in these kinds of sentences.

If we put this together we end up with < here at-in stairs subject nonexistent > which can be interpreted as stating that there are no stairs here.

Executing Tools (どうぐ、道具)

つかえるものを まだ
もっていない。

使つかえるものを 
っていい。

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Tools (どうぐ、道具どうぐ) command while having nothing in your inventory to use.

つかえるものを まだ

使つかえるものを 

We’re first greeted by the potential plain form of the verb つかう(使つか) (使 – Use), meaning to use, which ends in an え sound, followed by the noun for thing もの(もの) ( – Thing). A potential plain form of to use can be translated as usable in this context, which would give us usable things. This is followed by the を particle, indicating that usable things is the object of the sentence.

Once again we encounter まだ() ( – Not yet) which is usually written using kana alone, but here I’ve included the kanji for reference. This is an adverb (副詞ふくし) meaning (not) yet. I put the (not) there because this sentence is in the negative as we’ll soon see.

もっていない。

っていい。

Here we have the verb of the sentence, a conjugation of もつ() ( – ) meaning here to hold or to have. This conjugation is the present progressive negative. It’s in the negative because it’s followed by (if not part of the conjugation) the auxiliary adjective ない() ( – Not). As I understand it, this is following a -te form of a verb to make it negative. I may be wrong, and ない could be part of the conjugation, please let me know in the comments.

The present progressive form of the verb indicates a state or action that is being carried out continuously, which in this case is the carrying or NOT carrying of something. The hero at this time is not carrying anything.

If we put these elements together we have < usable things object not-yet having >, which could be translated as I’m not carrying anything that can be used yet.

Executing Speak (はなす、話す)

This window appears when you select the Speak command. In the North American release of Dragon Quest, known as Dragon Warrior, the blue main character actually faces four different directions depending on what direction you make him walk. In the original Japanese release of the game the blue hero always faces the player. This means there is no indication of the direction of action. In order to know which potential person you want to talk to, you have to specify a cardinal direction: up (north), down (south), left (west), and right (east).

This window as well as the password system are the two largest differences (besides sprites) between the two versions of the game. In the North American release the cartridge contained a battery that would help retain the save state of three different games, while in the Japanese version, the King gives you a password you can use to restore your previous state.

そのほうこうには だれも いない。

方向ほうこうには だれも いない。

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Speak (はなす、はなす) command while having nothing in your inventory to use.

そのほうこうには だれも いない。

方向ほうこうには だれも いい。

Here we have the pre-noun adjectival (連体詞れんたいし) その, which I could have written as の. I have left it as pure kana as that is more often seen in the wild. その means that or the. Here it’s modifying the following noun ほうこう(方向ほうこう) ( – Direction, – Face) which means direction.

We then encounter the particle には, which means to, for, on, in, at, and so on. The additional particle here emphasizes the word being marked by . Here, what follows is taking place at or in the location of that direction.

Next is だれも(だれ) which is much like なにも from above. だれ is a way of expressing who and when coupled with も it becomes nobody/somebody. Because this sentence is negative, it means nobody in this context.

Finally, we hit the verb of the sentence, which is the present indicative of the verb いる() ( – Exist), which is a form of to be for living/animate things, in the negative due to the ない.

This leaves us with < that direction in-at nobody is-not > which I can safely assume means there is no one in that direction.

Executing Investigate (しらべる、調べる)

あしゃ は じぶんのあしもとを
しらべた。
しかし なにも みつからなかった。

あしゃ は 自分じぶん足元あしもと
調しらべた。
しかし なにも 見付みつからなかった。

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Investigate (しらべる、調しらべる) command while having nothing “underneath” the character to investigate.

あしゃ は じぶんのあしもとを

あしゃ は 自分じぶん足元あしもと

The first part of this sentence fragment is pretty straightforward, consisting of the subject particle and the subject, which is the name I entered in the first screen あしゃ (Asha). So, we’re talking about the hero.

Here we encounter two nouns put together by the genitive case particle, which I like to think of as the “of” particle. I call it that because I generally read it as “of” in English, though with broader usage than in English. The first noun in the clause is じぶん(自分じぶん) ( – Oneself, -Part) which essentially means myself or himself. With the の particle here, we’re talking about something about the hero’s self: his feet! あしもと(足元あしもと) ( – Foot, – Origin) means at one’s feet or underfoot in this context. (It can also mean gait or pace.) So we have at himself’s feet if you will. This will act as the object of the sentence since it is followed by the particle.

しらべた。

調しらべた。

This is easy enough, it is simply the past indicative form of the verb しらべる(調しらべる) (調 – Investigate) which means to check or to investigate. Putting this sentence together we have < Asha subject himself of underfoot object investigated > which I can say translates to Asha investigated around his feet.

However, we’re not yet done…

しかし なにも みつからなかった。

しかし なにも 見付みつからなかった。

A new construction faces us: しかし(然し) (然 – In that case). This is a conjunction meaning however or but. We know off the bat, then, that this is a negative sentence.

The next part is なにも(なに) ( – What) which is an expression which here means (not) anything. I put (not) in there because we already know it’s going to be a negative sentence due to the conjunction.

Finally, we arrive at the final verb of this window which is the past indicative form of みつかる(見付みつかる) ( – See, – Attach) in the negative (ない). 見付かる means to be found, so we can discern this as was not to be found.

With all those elements together we have < however-but nothing was-not-found >, excusing the double negative (when using this pseudo-translation process they tend to occur) we can surmise that, however, nothing was found.

If we put the two sentences together we achieve: Asha investigated around his feet. However, nothing was to be found.

120 Gold (120 ゴールド)

あしゃ は 120ゴールドを
てにいれた。

あしゃ は 120ゴールドを
はいれた。

Here is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Take (とる、る) command while standing over the 120 ゴールド treasure chest.

あしゃ は 120ゴールドを

あしゃ は 120ゴールドを

The first part of this sentence fragment is pretty straightforward, consisting of the subject particle and the subject, which is the name I entered in the first screen あしゃ (Asha). So, we’re talking about the hero.

The next part is simple enough. Gold in Japanese is a foreign word written in katakana, so ゴールド (goorudo) means gold. Using the ル kana for the English “L” sound is common. This is followed by the particle, so we know this is the object of the sentence.

てにいれた。

はいれた。

This is a combination of a preposition phrase and a verb. It literally means put in hand. The て() ( – Hand) part is the noun for hand. The particle following て indicates that we’re talking about something in our hand. Lastly, we have はいる(はい) (入 – ) which is the verb meaning, in this context, to obtain. This whole construction はい can be treated as a verb meaning to get hold of. The final verb is in the past tense (た).

Putting this all together we have < Asha subject 120 gold object hand in obtained) which means Asha put 120 gold in his hand.

Key (かぎ、鍵)

あしゃ は かぎを
みつけた。

あしゃ は かぎ
つけた。

Here is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Take (とる、る) command while standing over the key かぎ(かぎ) treasure chest.

あしゃ は かぎを

あしゃ は かぎ

The first part of this sentence fragment is pretty straightforward, consisting of the subject particle and the subject, which is the name I entered in the first screen あしゃ (Asha). So, we’re talking about the hero.

The next part is simple enough. The noun for key in Japanese is かぎ(かぎ) ( – Key). Here we have it right before the を particle, indicating that it is the direct object of the following verb.

みつけた。

つけた。

Here we have the past indicative form of みつける(見付みつける) ( – See, – Attach), this time in the affirmative (and past tense). This means that something was found, and in this case, it was the key.

Putting this all together we have < Asha subject key object found > which is Asha found a key.

Torch (たいまつ、松明)

あしゃ は たいまつを
みつけた。

あしゃ は 松明たいまつ
見付みつけた。

Here is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Take (とる、る) command while standing over the torch たいまつ(松明たいまつ) treasure chest.

あしゃ は たいまつを

あしゃ は 松明たいまつ

The first part of this sentence fragment is pretty straightforward, consisting of the subject particle and the subject, which is the name I entered in the first screen あしゃ (Asha). So, we’re talking about the hero.

The next part is simple enough. The noun for a (pine) torch in Japanese is たいまつ(松明たいまつ) ( – Pine tree, – Light). Here we have it right before the particle, indicating that it is the direct object of the following verb.

みつけた。

見付みつけた。

Here we have the past indicative form of みつける(見付みつける) ( – See, – Attach), this time in the affirmative (and past tense). This means that something was found, and in this case, it was the torch.

Putting this all together we have < Asha subject key object found > which is Asha found a torch.

Found A Treasure Box!

あしゃ は じぶんのあしもとを
しらべた。
たからのはこが ある!

あしゃ は 自分じぶん足元あしもと
調しらべた。
たからはこが る!

This is the dialogue box that is shown when you execute the Investigate (しらべる、調しらべる) command while standing over a treasure chest たからのはこ(たからはこ).

The first sentence of this dialogue box has been covered above when we first executed Investigate above. It reads, “Asha searched around his feet.”

たからのはこが ある!

たからはこが る!

Right off we have vocab that we just saw, a treasure chest: たからのはこ(たからはこ) ( – Treasure, – Box). This is followed by the が particle which indicates that the treasure chest is the object of the sentence.

Finally, the verb wraps it up with ある(有る) (有 – Exist) which is the verb to be for animate objects. This gives us < treasure chest subject exist > which simply states (alongside the above repeated sentence) Asha searched around his feet. There is a treasure chest!

Closing

Here are this post’s translations, with kana on the left (as it is presented in the game), kanji in the middle, and English on the right hand side.

ここでは なにも とれない。ここでは なにも い。I can’t take anything here.
ここには とびらかない!ここには とびらい!There is no door here.
あしゃ は まだ じゅもんを
つかえない。
あしゃ は だ 呪文じゅもん
使つかい。
Asha can’t use spells yet.
ここには かいだんが ない。ここには 階段かいだんが い。There are no stairs here.
つかえるものを まだ
もっていない。
使つかえるものを 
っていい。
I’m not carrying anything that can be used yet.
そのほうこうには だれも いない。方向ほうこうには だれも いい。There is no one in that direction.
あしゃ は じぶんのあしもとを
しらべた。
しかし なにも みつからなかった。
あしゃ は 自分じぶん足元あしもと
調しらべた。
しかし なにも 見付みつからなかった。
Asha investigated around his feet. However, nothing was found.
あしゃ は 120ゴールドを
てにいれた。
あしゃ は 120ゴールドを
れた。
Asha put 120 gold in his hand.
あしゃ は かぎを
みつけた。
あしゃ は かぎ
つけた。
Asha found a key.
あしゃ は たいまつを
みつけた。
あしゃ は 松明たいまつ
見付みつけた。
Asha found a torch.
あしゃ は じぶんのあしもとを
しらべた。
たからのはこが ある!
あしゃ は 自分じぶん足元あしもと
調しらべた。
たからはこが る!
Asha searched around his feet. There is a treasure chest!

A list of kanji featured in this post:

And a list of vocab featured in this post:

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