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Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
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Console: Sony PlayStation 2
Year: 2005
RFG ID #: U-072-S-08110-A
Part #: SLUS-21207
UPC: 662248905013
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Square Enix
T (ESRB): Alcohol Reference , Fantasy Violence , Simulated Gambling , Suggestive Themes , Mild Language

Genre: RPG
Players: 1
Controller: Standard Controller
Media Format: DVD x1
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Collection Stats:

  • 594 of 7251 collectors (8.1%) have this game in their collection
  • 21 of 7251 collectors (0.2%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 4 of 7251 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.


A vast and vibrant world is yours to explore in the latest installment of this legendary role-playing series.

A mysterious jester. A forbidden scepter. A fiendish curse. A once idyllic kingdom lies entangled in a web of enchanted vines, its king and princess hideously transformed, its castle and subjects frozen in time. Only one person has survived this horror unscathed: you!

Only you can save your king and country by lifting the shadow of the evil jester's curse... But it won't be easy. An epic tale of friendship, bravery, and adventure awaits you on the grassy fields, snow-capped mountains, and restless seas of Dragon Quest VIII!

  • Experience Dragon Quest VIII's finely balanced gameplay - easy to pick up, challenging to master.
  • Marvel as the distinctive character designs of Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball ®) are brought to life by an amazing cel-shading graphics engine!
  • Immerse yourself in a compelling storyline with rewarding side quests and a wealth of customization options.

(Overview from the game case)

Sirgin's review:

Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King (in the US: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King) is Level-5's third RPG for the PlayStation 2, and also the third game ever by the developer. After the good Dark Cloud (2000) and the great Dark Chronicle (2002), Level-5 decided to take on the massive task of making the next installment of the long lasting Dragon Quest franchise. Not only that, Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King (from now on called Dragon Quest 8 ) would become the first game of the series for the PlayStation 2, as well as being the first Dragon Quest game with 3D graphics. Not an easy task, but Level-5 fulfilled all expectations.

The game starts when the evil mage Dhoulmagus tries to steal a legendary sceptre, locked away in a local castle. To reach his goal, Dhoulmagus cursed the castle and petrified everyone inside into plant-like beings except for three individuals. The King, Throde, gets transformed into a Yoda-like toad, while his daughter, princess Medea, gets turned into a horse. The last survivor of the curse is you, the hero of this tale, and the only one not affected by the curse in any way.

Despite the shallowness and classic feel of the story, there are some interesting plot twists that'll keep you entertained until the end. Along the way you'll meet three more characters that'll join you on your adventure: Yangus, Jessica and Angelo. Yangus is rough fellow that got his life saved by the hero and calls him "guv" out of respect. Another recurring line of Yangus is "Cor' Blimey!" whenever King Throde appears out of nowhere. Jessica is a hard headed aristocratic girl that wants to avenge the death of her brother, Alister, who got killed by Dhoulmagus some time before his attack on the castle. Angelo is a Templar Knight, devoted to Abbot Francisco, but lacking the will to follow the Templars' strict moral code.

This lively bunch sets out to find Dhoulmagus, and while doing so encounter countless other characters that need assistance of some sort to advance the main plot. The game offers a lot of content and a whole world to discover. Rushing through the story without doing any sidequests will almost take up 50 hours. You can almost double that number when playing at a normal pace and getting involved in most of the sidequests.

Gameplay-wise, Dragon Quest 8 is an as classic RPG as it gets. Combat is turn-based and gets triggered by random encounters. Because there are only 4 playable characters, switching characters isn't an option, meaning all characters will level up at the same speed. When faced against a number of monsters, you'll have to assign tasks to all 4 of your characters first and then watch them get executed together with enemy attacks. Besides melee and ranged attacks, characters can cast offensive or healing spells, as well as use weapon-specific abilities. Lastly, players can opt to raise the tension of a character to build up energy that can be released in a single, devastating blow; especially useful when doing a boss fight.

Characters differ concerning the spells they can cast, as well as the attributes they can raise. When a characters levels up, you can assign points to any of 5 attributes of that character. 4 of those attributes are to increase damage done with specific weapons, 1 attribute is different for each character. Some tactics lie in the fact that not all characters can use all types of weapons. For example, Angelo is the only one that can wield bows. The maximum amount of points that can be assigned to an attribute is 100, which can be obtained at around level 40. This gives players some time to experiment with different weapon types first before having to stick to one type to get it as strong as possible. The different weapon types are swords, boomerangs, axes, clubs, knives, scythes, whips, staves, bows and fisticuffs (no weapon equipped).

Besides weapons, characters can also equip a piece of body armor, a helmet, a shield and an accessory. These aren't as many categories as in some other RPGs, but you'll still spend a great deal of time finding, buying or making better weapons and armour. That last option is available once acquiring an Alchemy Pot. You can throw in multiple items and see what new item pops out. This mini-game is similar to the "invention" system in Dark Chronicle or the weapon system in Rogue Galaxy. It's quite important to try out as much combinations as you can, because it's the best way to get a hold of some strong weapons/armour/items before being able to purchase them. That's needed, because the game can be pretty challenging, especially early on when it doesn't take much hits to get your party wiped out. After the game's ending you can load your saved game again to just before defeating the final boss and enter a complete new dungeon after which some of the hardest boss battles can be found. Sometimes you'll have to go through large stretches of land without really knowing what to look for. Although this might set off the less experienced RPGer, old-school gamers will love the classic approach to this RPG.

If I could say only one thing about Dragon Quest 8, it would be that it's a very polished, rich and complete games. A lot of thought went into the menu, which looks particularly nice. All your items can easily be sorted with an auto-sort option in the menu, where they are displayed with beautiful icons. Also nice is that, when pressing select, you get a "battle records" menu in which you can watch a full list of of monsters, collected items and Alchemy Pot recipes.

Coupled to the great gameplay are stunning visuals and sound. Graphics are some of the best on the PS2 and the best ever in the Dragon Quest series. The cel-shading suits the game perfectly, with characters and monsters looking like they've just escaped from an anime, yet staying faithful to the Dragon Quest franchise. Akira Toriyama did the character design of this game and is the man responsible for the Dragon Ball Z series.

Sound is just as nice with convincing voice acting (despite the sometimes over-the-top voice of King Throde), great sound effects and fantastic music. The songs are all classic orchestral tracks that really set the mood for the many areas that the game is rich. From the regal intro tune to the upbeat battle song or the creepy dungeon track; they all maintain the same high level and are never out of place.

I'll wrap it up by saying that Dragon Quest 8 is one of the best games in the series as well as one of the best RPGs on the PS2. If you're looking for a good RPG, a game that will last a long time or just a good game in general, this is a must-buy. 9.3/10

Extra Media:

Final Fantasy XII Demo Disk
Final Fantasy XII Demo Disk manual
Strategy Guide Back
Strategy Guide Front
Play Magazine Vol. 4 #11- Nov 2005

Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
Sony PlayStation 2 Spain S Dragon Quest - El periplo del Rey Maldito Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 Canada S Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King Square Enix 2005 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 J S Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi [Ultimate Hits] Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 J S Dragon Quest VIII: Sora to Umi to Daichi to Norowareshi Himegimi Square Enix 2004 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 Germany S Dragon Quest: Die Reise des verwunschenen Königs [Platinum] Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 Germany S Dragon Quest: Die Reise des verwunschenen Königs Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 Italy S Dragon Quest: L'odissea del Re maledetto Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 France S Dragon Quest: L'odyssée du roi maudit Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 United Kingdom S Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King [Platinum] Square Enix 2008 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 United Kingdom S Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King [Black PEGI] Square Enix 2009 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 United Kingdom S Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King Square Enix 2006 RPG
Sony PlayStation 2 A S Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King Square Enix 2006 RPG
Game Trivia:

  • This comes with a Final Fantasy XII demo disc.
Page Credits:

Michael Collins: Page design, HTML code.
Eddie Herrmann: Perl script.
Mike Swindell: Title addition, Misc, Part Number, Game Trivia.
Fuyukaze: Scans, Photos, misc.
VACRMH: Photos
Darth Sidious: variation tie-in
Sirgin: Review
Rajaat the Warbringer: Trivia Correction
Zagnorch: Photos
kaysow: Overview
Shadow Kisuragi: Misc

Last Updated: 2018-11-11 01:13:40
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