Dragon Quest Monsters

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A Dragon Quest Spin-Off series, where you control a youth who wanders the world, collecting, battling, and breeding monsters and eventually using them to save the world. Dragon Quest Monsters and both versions of Dragon Quest Monsters 2 were released in America and Europe as "Dragon Warrior Monsters".

To date, there have been six titles in the series:

Dragon Quest: Monster Battle Road Victory may be considered a bit of an odd man out -- it is a console port of a Monsters style card game that had a really innovative arcade system attached to it. The cards had a barcode on the back, you scanned 3 cards in the arcade console to determine your party in the arcade, and you fought various monsters in an arena hosted by the arena master from Dragon Quest VIII. When you first started the game, it spat out 3 random cards, and you could get more random cards by putting in more money.

The following tropes are common to many or all entries in the Dragon Quest Monsters franchise.
For tropes specific to individual installments, visit their respective work pages.
  • A God Am I - Dr. Snap wants to make a world for monsters by eliminating humans.
  • Animated Armor
  • Battle Aura - Psyching up in Joker and Joker 2.
  • Big Badass Wolf - The form the Incarnus spends most of the game in Joker and Joker 2's post game and it's ultimate form.
  • Bilingual Bonus - If you finish Joker 2 in an English mode, US DSi... the credits change to English. (Just in case the big US and EU flags during the part where the Japanese commercials talk about a worldwide tournament weren't a big enough clue.)
  • But Thou Must!
  • Cap - The first two games were pretty much cap-free, with 999 being the only stat limit, and all monsters had it. This changed in Joker -- individual monsters now have distinct caps. Oddly enough, the monster with the highest total caps? The humble Lump Wizard. (The second-highest was the See Butterfly.)
    • Terry's Wonderland had odd caps for agility (Maxed at 511), and Intel (255), but every other stat could be maxed to 999.
    • Lump Wizard being a reference to the Dragon Quest manga, Dai no Daibouken, where Dai's adoptive grandfather was a Lump Wizard, and really really powerful due to his age/training/being too stubborn to be weak/etc.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Monsters II, nobody believes you about the island sinking, especially not powerful Monster Masters. Not even your character's parents believe you.
  • Catch Phrase - The King in the first game. "Busy, busy, busy..."
  • Chest Monster - The mimic line -- Cannibox, Mimic, and Pandora's Box. They make good monsters if you capture one -- good spells, very good attack, the only drawback being low MP... which is fixable. There are pot and statue versions, as well.
  • Com Mons - Slime and the other Mascot Mooks et al. In Joker 2, they gave this a nod in the "X/XY" system. Every family (other than ???) has an "X" and "XY" monster, based on the common monster of that family -- Slime, Dragon, Conklave, etc, and breeding them with themselves results in a higher tier version of the same critter. This can be repeated again for a still higher tier version of the same Com Mons you ran into at the start of the game.
    • To elaborate: You can get a Rank C Slime X by breeding 2 level 20 Rank F Slimes, and you can get a Rank S Slime XY by breeding 2 level 50 Slime Xs. These variants look exactly the same as the original variants, but have much higher stat growth and caps, and in the case of the XY versions they have a bonus "Ultimate" skilltree thrown in, as well.
    • They try and fail to make the standard Slime a lethal joke monster by giving them Mega magic, but the effort to breed one actually able to get that move is far less effective than just getting a Rainhawk that would be a superior monster. However they succeed in Joker by making it part of the Disc 1 nuke.....
  • Continuing Is Painful - Being wiped out in the first game results in the loss of all your items.
  • Defeat Means Friendship - Happens sometimes in the pre-Joker games. Chances are improved by feeding the enemies meat in battle.
    • In Joker, a variation is used through scouting. You don't actually HURT the the target monster when scouting, but you "show them your strength". Depending on how strong your mons are, the target may join you in admiration or refuse to be dragged around with weaklings.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat - A rather interesting case of this being meta: The early online tournaments for Joker were, of course, teaming with cheaters. Naturally, this means that the tournament scene would be littered with nothing but Gold/Darkonium/King Metal Slimes, (thus making the whole ordeal incredibly painful) right? Nope, you run into teams with three different forms of Incarnus, which absolutely sucks compared to the metal slimes. One could argue that it's to get their name higher on the tournament list (which is, by the way, horribly skewed), but... come on.
    • In the original Japanese release, Incarnus was marked as "guest", meaning he wasn't usable in the online tournament at all -- and the Japanese tournament servers had better sanity checking code to prevent things like using 3 versions of him at once.
  • Disc One Nuke - Players with knowledge of how Slimes turn into King Slimes[1] allows for an early game, powerful monster in the first 2 games -- any Slime that is +5 or above, bred with another Slime, results in a King Slime with vastly improved stats and spells. In Joker, this was turned into a "Quad Fusion" -- any monster with 4 grandparents who are Slimes is a King Slime. King Slimes in Joker are Rank C, which means you can jump from Rank F to Rank C in one go, skipping the first 3rd of the game. In addition, King Slime is one of only 2 monsters (the other being a postgame exclusive dragon diety) that receives "Courage" (mistranslated as "Cleric" in the US version) as a skillset. Courage is based off the Dragon Quest III hero's skillset, and thus includes the best physical attack, lighting spell, and healing magic in the game, meaning that not only is the King Slime a huge stat increase, it has incredible abilities, to boot.
    • The King Slime combine was nerfed in Joker 2 due to this specific problem, but a pair of similar combines were added in it's place -- Great Sabercat (breed 4 Great Sabercat Cubs) and Great Dracky (4 Drackys), both monsters available in the first map. These two monsters have downsides (traits that make them sub-par) but can be bred away to make other rank C monsters that are equally powerful, and still allow you to skip ranks F, E, and D.
    • In both Joker and Joker 2, you can simply breed monsters to get a similar monster of the same rank. In Joker 2, doing this enough times in the same rank will move you up a rank, no matter what -- for example, breeding a Beast monster and continually choosing the Beast monster child will have you go through 1-3 "generic" beast monsters for that rank. Upon reaching the final generic monster of said rank, breeding again with almost anything will cause the resultant child to be a generic monster of the next highest rank, all the way up to Rank A (there are no generic rank S monsters). With enough time and effort, it's entirely possible to have an entire team of Rank A monsters the second you can breed monsters, trivializing the rest of the game.
  • Distaff Counterpart - The second game's One Game for the Price of Two versions came in "Boy Flavor" (Cobi's Journey) and "Girl Flavor" (Tara's Adventure).
  • Drop the Hammer - The Hammerman monster, to no one's surprise.
  • Dub Name Change - Pretty much a given. Most notable with Caravan Heart and the Joker games.
    • Outside of Japan, most of the boss monsters and their new names had an Early-Bird Cameo because of this (as their respective games had not come out yet overseas).
  • Evil Counterpart - Your rival in the second game. There was also the mysterious swordsman in the original game, which series vets recognized.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Expy - Warden Trump is totally not Gendo Ikari; he even does the Gendo Pose. Compounded by the NERV / CELL connection.
  • Evil Twin - Terry? in the first game, who looked like an older version of the protagonist wielding a sword. This may have been intentionally done for die-hard fans of the series; see Shout-Out below.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning - Played with here. Lightning and Darkness are used in some of the strongest spells and skills. Wind is a better fit for the "typical element trio" than either of those.
  • Five-Man Band - In Joker -
    • The Hero - Joker
    • The Lancer - Wulfspade
    • The Smart Guy - Diamagon
    • The Big Guy - Cluboon
    • The Chick - Hawkhart (YMMV? It's certainly the most feminine of the five!)
      • Perhaps there are four Incarni! And Wulfspade was repowering while you used the others! And that transformed him into Ace Mode!
  • Funetik Aksent
  • Fusion Dance - What "breeding" has been presented as since Joker. Potentially a Woolseyism, as it explains where the "parents" disappear to, averts Improbable Species Compatibility, and allows for the third "gender" used in the breeding system (neutral, as opposed to positive and negative). The lack of defined genders also can be a relief for some people who would otherwise go to the trouble of catching a monster again if it turned out to be a girl after planning to give it a boy's name.
  • Global Currency Exception - There's an NPC in both of the first two games who will trade you medals for rare monster eggs. Including the Big Bad, once you beat the game. ...Uh. In Caravan Heart, it's medals for rare monster hearts.
  • Gotta Catch Em All - You get bonuses for it. Although some people just pick one or two families until the post-game.
  • Guide Dang It - Breeding most of the boss-type monsters. (Some are based on Dragon Quest mythos, such as the boss of Dragon Quest II requiring his Dragon as one of it's parents.)
    • Try getting Dr. Snapped without a guide. I fucking dare you.
    • Dragon Quest Monsters 2 had the Dream Egg system, which would allow you to get any monster in the game, including 3 monsters that were specifically unavailable outside of Dream Eggs -- the divine dragon and giant bird goddess from Dragon Quest III, and a 3rd tree spirit (insinuated to be DeadTree's). The way to get those 3? Feed the egg 10 (and exactly 10, no more, mo less) of every consumable item in the game, then trade the egg between carts a few times, and even then, you only had a 10 percent chance of the resulting monster being one of the big three.
  • Improbable Species Compatibility - Even more so than Pokémon, as any two monsters can breed, no matter how terrifying that is.
  • Inevitable Tournament
  • Infinity-1 Sword - The higher rank monsters of the non-??? monster families in the various games, as well as any of the bosses that join you automatically. Most of the series' Dragons are included in the "higher rank monsters" list, and most of those are used in the creation of Infinity+1 Sword monsters.
    • DQM1 / DQM2: Any of the bosses that join you automatically (especially early game), any metal slime family monster.
    • Caravan Heart: Reincarnated human party members.
    • Joker: King Slime (VERY easily available, gets an overpowered skilltree based on the Dragon Quest III hero's spells and abilities)
    • Joker 2: Swarm, Conklave (Swarm gets 5-6 hits a turn and can equip anti-Metal Slime weapons, Conklave gets 4 hits per attack, attacks 1-2 times a turn, and can equip anti-Metal Slime weapons). Joker 2 also added specific Infinity-1 Sword monsters, in the form of X (Rank C) and XY (Rank S) versions of iconic Rank F monsters (Slime, Green Dragon, Conklave, etc). You get these by breeding 2 of the normal monsters together when they're level 20, or in the case of XY, by breeding 2 Xs at level 50.
    • Joker 2 Professional: Any monster can now do the X/XY system, meaning that with work, you can turn any monster in the game into a Rank S IMOS. (This also means there are over 800 monsters in the game. But hey, nobody argued with Battle Road Victory.)
  • Infinity+1 Sword - The ???? family of monsters in all games but Caravan Heart. They are all exclusively based on the Big Bads and Bonus Bosses of previous Dragon Quest games, all supremely powerful as a rule, and all fairly difficult to breed. DQM2 even had Mythology Gags in the form of "evolved" super-versions of the Dragon Quest bosses, such as a Berserk Dragonlord, or "Asura Zoma".
  • Just Add Water - Any pair of monsters will create viable offspring. A very large number of monsters are never seen in game outside of breeding.
  • Leaked Experience - Monsters on your farm who aren't sleeping will slowly gain experience, at the cost of becoming much more wild.
  • Level Grinding - It's a Dragon Quest game, 'nuff said.
    • Part of the Level Grinding will come naturally, as you attempt, for the Four Hundred Billionth Time, to get a certain monster you need for a combination to join you.
  • Lost Forever - Averted. Every monster can be bred later (with some very specific exceptions -- Watabou / Warubou, for example), and most of the games have randomization for items, meaning that the Sirloin you just wasted is replaceable. Even the spoilered monsters are available using the Dream Egg system in Dragon Quest Monsters 2, although, well good luck.
    • If you don't know anyone else who plays: Captain Crow wasn't quite this in Joker 1 (you just had to re-find and re-fight him after using him up), but in Joker 2 once he's used, he's gone. The workaround is to use the game's Tag Mode -- Tag Mode enables you to capture a friend's monsters, at the cost of the resulting monster being a "guest" and thus unusable in online play. Fortunately the "guest" tag can be removed after 5-20 generations of breeding.
      • Played straight in Joker, though - the servers went down on the last day of March! (The same day as the launch of Joker 2 Professional in Japan.)
  • Luke, I Am Your Father - The Rival in the original Dragon Quest Monsters turns out to be Milayou, the sister Terry thinks he has to rescue. Turns out she could take care of herself after all.
  • Magikarp Power - Through skilled breeding and training, any monster can have any skill, and completely maxed-out stats. Or at least, in the first two games.
    • An example is the humble Slime. The first monster you get in every game except Joker/Joker 2 (where it's the first monster you catch), Slimes can learn Madante (Magic burst), the most powerful magic spell in the game. Or at least, could, if they could ever hope to get their stats that high.
    • Metal Slime monsters tend to be this. At the start, they only have a decent defense and speed stat, and their unique immunity to magic -- but defense scales oddly, meaning their single digit hit points won't save them. They also level up slower than anything else in the game. However, give them a few levels, and perhaps a few healing or support abilities, and they become some of the most game breaking monsters you can use.
  • Mascot Mook - The iconic Slime is usually the first monster you get or capture, and in each game the Slimes make up an entire evolution tree on their own, with a few of them being designed specifically for the Mons games.
  • Metal Slime - And Liquid Metal Slime, and Metal King Slime, and Metal Kaiser Slime, and Gold Slime... Somewhat difficult to catch, but makes incredible monsters as when they are a part of your team, they retain the outrageous agility, defense, and immunity to negative status and all magic... But gain more than single digit hit points and actually get good spells.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Joker 2 Professional -- Liquid Metal King Slime, which is a giant flying Liquid Metal Slime. Why? Why not!?
  • Mons - Of course. Amusingly, the game isn't a (total) ripoff of Pokémon -- the monster system is much more in depth, and the main series has had monster catching all the way back in Dragon Quest V for the Super Nintendo, while Pokémon was still in development, and wouldn't be released for three years. (The timing is right that some fans suggest that elements of Pokémon were inspired by Dragon Quest V's monster catching.) Of course, much of Pokémon's game mechanics (along with every other JRPG) take a page from the book of Dragon Quest.
    • Not to mention the first Mega Ten, which had mons before either series, though utilized differently.
  • Missing Secret - Robbin' Hood in Joker. It can't be found in-game, synthesized, OR won online. The only way to get one in-game was to complete both the Monster and Skill libraries... Which would've required a Robbin' Hood in the first place. Leopold, Empyrea and Trode became these once the wi-fi tournaments for Joker stopped. Empyrea and Trode required ALL monsters (including them) and Leopold required a complete skill library (and had a unique skillset).
  • Monster Clown
  • Mythology Gag - Every single dungeon in the first Dragon Quest Monsters is based on an iconic boss fight from a previous Dragon Quest game. For example, the first 2 dungeons are from Dragon Quest I, and have you fighting the Golem and Dragon, who join you. A dummied out version of the Dragon Quest VI bonus dungeon was also included, but removed for time. Dragon Quest Monsters 2 has "evolved" versions of all the iconic bosses, such as Asura Zoma, Lord Dragon, et cetera, as well. You discover in Caravan Hearts most of the way through the game that you're in the world of Dragon Quest II, centuries after the events of the original series.
  • No Kill Like Overkill - Battle Road Victory''s Coup de Graces. Not in terms of damage, but in execution. Here's what some of them look like.
  • Olympus Mons - Most of the bosses from the main series, and all of the ones from the game itself, are recruitable, mostly through breeding, with Mythology Gag after Mythology Gag included in the process. For example, to get the true last boss of Dragon Quest II, you need to use his dragon. In most of the games, the last boss is available using Mini Medals after you finish the credits.
    • In the original 2 for the Gameboy Color, they added Olympus Mons Plus 1 -- upgraded and evolved versions of the other Olympus Mons, such as a Zoma with a huge scythe ("Asura Zoma"), or a berserk Dragonlord (Lord Draco).
  • One Game for the Price of Two - Dragon Quest Monsters 2 came in two versions, Cobi's Journey and Tara's Adventure. The main differences between the two lied not in the main quest (although they had different random encounter tables), but in the Playable Epilogue, where both versions featured completely different bonus worlds to explore. Each one had its own little plot. And, of course, following the trope to the letter, the best (non-randomly generated) bonus world required an item from both games to access.
    • The almost immediate re-release of Joker 2 as Joker 2 Professional may be seen as this as well. A persistent rumor is that they discovered a game breaking multiplayer glitch and had to patch it, and used the modifications to the game to justify forcing people to upgrade.
  • Palette Swap - A staple of the Dragon Quest series, this was actually mostly averted in most of the DQM games, with some exceptions -- for example, Slime / Metal Slime, or Phoenix / Blizzardy in the original. The fact that Joker 2 returned to the series's roots with a large number of them actually pleased the fanbase as these were all Mythology Gags. The fact that it made Joker 2 really really complex, especially when breeding, especially when breeding old DQ bosses, was also a factor.
  • Plot Hole - Terry and Milayou in Dragon Quest VI are a badass swordsman and a Distressed Damsel but in these games? Incredible monster tamers/breeders. Especially bad since as revered champions in the Kingdoms they fight for in the local tourneys you would think someone would go look for them especially since Milayou was last seen dating the prince of one of those kingdoms. Or that they would use a warpwing to get back or use a warp tile like in DQM 1 or doors in DQM 2. While it is possible for them to have lost all their keys and items that allowed interdimensional travel its never explained what happened to their monsters or why Terry is now a swordsman or you get the picture at this point.
  • Power Nullifier - Mute status effects for spellcasters, surround status effects for melee, "trip" and other "waste a turn" effects for everyone.
  • Prequel - Caravan Heart to Dragon Quest VII. While at the same time, a Sequel to Dragon Quest II. It's complex, and there's a Timey-Wimey Ball involved. Not to mention Alternate Universe.
  • Regional Bonus: The overseas release of Joker 2 fixed some bugs. As well, the formerly nigh-unscoutable meddle slime (which is an early game Metal Slime) could be scouted as a regular Metal Slime, which is a boon because, being a different enemy, the lowered scout rate from scouting an already scouted monster does not apply.
  • Samus Is a Girl - The "Mystery Trainer" in the original whom everyone speaks of in fearful terms. But not only is she a girl, she's your sister. You know, the one you THOUGHT you were "rescuing?"
  • Shout-Out - In the first game, the main character's default name is Terry, and his kidnapped sister's name is Milayou. In Dragon Quest VI, there are two characters that have those names SPECIFICALLY, and Terry is searching for Milayou in both games. Moreover, the boss of the last required gate makes you fight against a swordsman named "Terry?" who is implied to have sold his soul to become the strongest swordsman in the world, just like Terry of DQVI. "Terry?" even tells the main character to take care of his sister and not lose himself to the pursuit of power.
    • As an aside, Terry and Milayou in Dragon Quest VI are the ones who help you catch and add certain monsters to your party, making his starring role in Dragon Quest Monsters all that sweeter.
    • Every single dungeon in the original Dragon Quest Monsters ends with your character entering an iconic room from a different Dragon Quest game, and fighting a boss from said game. They even had plans to (but dummied out) add a 99 floor dungeon that ended in the Bonus Boss of Dragon Quest VI -- "Dark Dream" / Nokturnus, the local Satan analogue.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - Happens often from one game to the next. You should be able to easily figure out who is who though.
  • Spin-Off - The entire series to Dragon Quest, but more specifically, Caravan Hearts is a direct spinoff of Dragon Quest VII -- Keifer is sucked into the Dragon Quest II world (a few centuries after the events of the Loto/Erdrick trilogy) and has to fix things that have gone wrong in the years since a hero last visited.
    • Dragon Quest Monsters Battle Road is a spin off to this spin off.
  • Rank Inflation - Classes of monsters in Joker go from F to A, then S (for Japanese "shin", aka "perfect"), then X. In Joker 2, they renamed X as "SS".
  • The Rival - In the original, Terry is constantly compared to a "Mystery Trainer" from the kingdom of Great Log, who is allegedly not only really good, but one of the scariest damn people you'll ever met. You don't actually get to meet this rival of yours until the final tournament, though.
    • That's because Your sister that you were supposed to be "rescuing" is the "Mystery Trainer."
  • Randomly Generated Levels - DQM 1 had nothing but a City of Adventure and dungeons that were completely randomly generated, making it a very simplistic Roguelike. DQM 2 added some more static areas, but also random worlds (including random towns, random bosses, and 1-10 random dungeons each). Caravan Heart had a very static world map (it was the map from Dragon Quest II set centuries after the events of that game) but had very random dungeons. Joker and Joker 2 mostly removed this element of the series to make way for the 3D, although Joker 2's "Hell" has random elements to it.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something - In the second game, the king of the Desert World actually goes out to address the concerns of his people instead of just sitting on his throne like every other member of royalty in the series.
  • Tastes Like Friendship - In the first two games, you can woo monsters to your side by feeding them quality meat.
  • Theme Naming - Everyone in Joker is named after a Card Game term.
  • Treachery Cover-Up - In Joker, Snap's villainy is given this treatment in the post game, as the truth would probably cause a panic.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny - A very weird In-Universe version of this. Ever wanted to see if Zoma could take on Psaro? Well, now you can. The intro to the new Wii title dials this up to 11.
  • Updated Rerelease - DQM 1+2 PSX, a Playstation remake of Dragon Quest Monsters 1 and 2, with improved graphics and the ability to do various things cross generations (breed between a DQM and DQM2 save, for example). Currently being fan translated.
    • Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2 Professional, an Updated Rerelease... of a game that was out less than 6 months. 100 new monsters, new maps (possibly including the grotto system from Dragon Quest IX) and re-balancing tweaks.
    • Terry's Wonderland 3D, a remake of the first game. We don't know the details, but it's said its roster will include all the monsters from Joker 2 Professional.
  • Useless Useful Spell - Subverted. The status effect spells are actually pretty useful, especially against other Tamers. This is a common theme amongst the Mons series and Dragon Quest proper; the tendency for western gamers to ignore these spells is what gives Dragon Quest such a reputation for Level Grind.
  • Villain with Good Publicity - Snap in Joker.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist - In Joker, Snap thinks he's one, but he's much closer to a Card-Carrying Villain with a god complex.
    • Your dad and his "evil" orgainsation might actually be one, since they seek to wipe out all the monsters. You know the ones that constantly attack and kill humans, and those demons who keep trying to destroy the world.
  • Whip It Good
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human? - You can't kill Dr. Snap because he's human. Then he is transformed into a monster. Immediately afterwards you're told it's okay to kill him now.
    • Incarnus: Come, Player, attack! This... THING has ceased to be human... It no longer deserves our mercy!
      • The fact that he's an Eldritch Abomination may help things. Plus One Winged Angels generally pose more threat.
  • World Tree - Lots of kingdoms in the DQM world live inside of enormous trees.
  • X Meets Y - Battle Road Victory: Dragon Quest Monsters meets Pokémon Stadium meets Dragonball Z meets Magic: The Gathering.

Notes

  1. 8 Slimes jump together and fuse.