The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

by Epicmissingno

Part 1: The Adventure Begins (Sort Of)

Music: Title Screen

Welcome to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. Shall we begin?

Our protagonist will be called Joker, since it's the closest thing we have to a canon name for the character. I'm sure there will be no jokes about a certain other JRPG with a similarly named protagonist. None whatsoever.

Music: None

We start the game with a hooded man walking along a corridor. Who could this strange person be?

As it turns out the guy's name is Black Jacques. In proud Dragon Quest tradition, almost every character has an awful pun for a name. In this game, the theme is card games and their terminology.


Joker remains silent, which is understandable. He never says anything, after all.

I was under ze impression zat Warden Trump would detain you for much longer. 'Owever, it would seem zat 'e as 'ad an alteration of ze 'eart on ze matter.

Come on, it's like the game's trying to make me talk about Persona 5! Well, it's not happening.

But I digest - er, digress... As members of CELL, ze word of ze Warden is absolute.

It looks like Joker's dad is pretty high up in this CELL organisation. It's a shame that we don't know anything about it. Anyway, off to see the Warden...

Music: CELL Headquarters

Ten days since you attempted to run away and join that 'contest'. You demonstrated an earnest, albeit crude, interest in the event.

Trump clearly isn't the best father to Joker. He's probably too busy with CELL work.

And so I have made a decision! I will allow you to participate in the Monster Scout Challenge.

Maybe he's finally warming up to Joker, though! We might get some father-son bonding done yet.

I will relay further orders to you when the time is right. Keep in mind that your role as a participant is merely a guise. I have no interest in whether you win or lose.

...Oh. Never mind, then.

However, you will follow my instructions - all of them. Now take this - you will need it.

Joker receives a scout ring.
As I'm sure you're already aware...

This will be Joker's main tool in attracting allies to our cause, whatever our cause happens to be. We don't actually know what CELL wants him to do yet, do we?

As I recall, the opening ceremony of the challenge is today. Make your preparations, then head for Domus Isle.
Indolence is not a virtue. Make haste, boy!

Warden Trump further cements his position as worst father ever, and we finally get control of Joker.

The game's controls are pretty standard. The D-pad is used to move, the L and R buttons rotate the camera and the A button checks things in front of Joker. The X button opens the menu, but we don't have any options of interest at the moment. The lower screen has a map, with Joker's position given by the blue arrow.

Joker's first order of business is to have a chat to the Black Jacques-looking guy next to him.

The Monster Scout Challenge will soon be held on Domus Isle.

At least Joker knows how to get to his destination now. Of course now is an excellent time to go chat to NPCs and learn more about Joker's situation, so this will be ignored entirely.

When I formed CELL, I had a specific plan. Unfortunately, I cannot make you privy to further information on that issue. All I can tell you is that the lives of everyone living on these islands are at stake.

Trump's not helping much with this information-gathering thing. It's probably to be expected, though, what with his attitude towards Joker so far.

What's that? He's sending you to infiltrate the Monster Scout Challenge!? Things are looking up for you after all! Especially as you were trying to slip out of here to join the contest when you were caught!

Sometimes exposition is written flawlessly into dialogue. This is not one of those times. Anyway, Joker walks a little way along the corridor and sees something suspicious on the lower floor.

The monster there is called a Hacksaurus. Joker probably won't be getting one of them for a while.

Very good. Ze more samples we 'ave, ze more fun we 'ave, n'est pas?
I wonder if our work is really gonna make a difference though. All we ever do is catch one monster after another, over and over again.
So you tell me you no longer trust CELL? Or ze Warden? Listen 'ere, my scout friend. From where you stand, you cannot see ze big picture. But everything we do is part of ze Warden's plan. We are like ze cogs in a machine, n'est pas? Ze time for us to move is close at 'and. We must trust in ze Warden!
Um, yeah, okay...

You know, Jacques, you're not really helping your case. It sounds awfully cult-ish from where I'm standing. I'm not sure working for CELL is such a good idea.

In any case, more NPCs!

That'd be the tourney to decide the roughest and toughest scout around, eh? What!? You was told that it didn't matter if you won or lost? But it's a contest, right? Winning's what it's all about... ain't it?

As a JRPG protagonist there's no way Joker will settle for anything short of first place, I can assure you. Losing isn't in his nature.

The door next to the thug leads outside, to a view of another island. Talking to people in the area reveals that it's called Fert Isle.

I've just finished up training and arrived here at headquarters, SIR! And now I'm ready to capture monsters for CELL's glorious research, SIR!

This guy's certainly enthusiastic, I'll give him that. That monster behind him is called a Jargon, by the way. We'll also be seeing those later, but probably sooner than the Hacksaurus.

Sorry to be impertinent, sir, but is it REALLY true that all we do here is research?

But I'm guessing a rookie like me can't ask the Warden about it. Right, SIR!?

It seems that more than one person has doubts about CELL's motives. This doesn't bode well for Joker's future, but there's not really anything he can do about it for the moment.

There's no place for you down in the laboratory any more. You must now focus on the mission Warden Trump assigned to you.

Every time Joker tries to go downstairs he's stopped by this guy. For now we can't do anything about him, so let's go back to harassing the people around here.

That is why it is necessary to gather as many specimens as possible. I just hope we can come up with some results before we run out of space...

Do monsters have a particularly different biology to humans? Surely here can't be enough difference to warrant this amount of testing.

Anyway, it looks like Joker's out of people to talk to. Down to the jetty! Joker has to take a lift to get down there, since the only stairs down are blocked.

To the left here is our destination, but to the right is a familiar-looking corridor.

It's because you told the Warden that you wanted to participate in the challenge. As soon as you said that, he ordered us to keep a close eye on you.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea for Joker to tell Trump about his ambitions, though it seems to have worked out in the end.

In any case, this is the place where Joker was imprisoned. There's no more reason to stay here, so let's get this show on the road and go off to Domus Isle. Talking to the thug on the jetty gives us this exchange:

Your mission is to infiltrate the Monster Scout Challenge, right? You can board a sea scooter for Domus Isle here, but...

So, what'll it be? Are you leaving?

Joker's got to get going eventually. He's delayed enough as it is.

Oh! Just a minute! I forgot something.

We have a choice of three monsters to start off with, all at level 1. The first, Dracky, is the fastest of the three starters and also the most magically oriented. It learns dark skills and some support through Dark Knight, and can be made even faster through Agility Boost. It's also got the trait Artful Dodger, letting it avoid more attacks, and is immune to Fizzle, the series' Silence equivalent.

Next we have a Platypunk. This is the most defensive of the choices and it can increase that stat even higher with Defence Boost. Naturalist, meanwhile, gives a very eclectic list of abilities including one of my personal favourites, Hatchet Man. Platypunks don't have any special traits like Drackies do, but they are still immune to Fizzle.

Finally we have a Mischievous Mole. This is the physical powerhouse of the starters, with Attack Boost increasing its damage further if it's invested in. Guerrilla, meanwhile, gives access to lots of skills that do damage and inflict status effects. Mischievous Moles also have the trait Psycho, which lets them "psych up" to do more damage. It's incredibly useful for obtaining new monsters and also dealing big damage outside of those situations. Finally they're immune to Dazzle, which is the Blind equivalent.

Anyway, Joker will be choosing Mischievous Mole, naming it Moley.

A mischievous mole, huh? Just as I expected... Now get going to Domus Isle! There's no time to waste. And good luck with the Monster Scout Challenge!

I'm sure Joker won't need luck to win. After all, he has pure skill.

Music: None

And so Joker sets off on his jetski to Domus Isle. Or rather he would, but getting some training done with Moley is the priority. Off to fight monsters!

Music: Island

Ah, Slimes! These are almost always the weakest enemies that you can fight, with the only exception that I can think of being Dragon Quest 6, where they're replaced by Mottle Slimes. Here they can only attack you normally, doing pitiful damage, or do a Desperate Attack, doing slightly less pitiful damage. They're not a threat at all.

Or rather they wouldn't be a threat if Joker wasn't the worst Monster Scout ever. Come on, you have to try to lose to these things!