The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker

by Epicmissingno

Part 4: The Challenge Begins

Last time, Euchre took the Scout's Pledge and headed back to Domus Isle to see the opening ceremony of the Monster Scout Challenge. This time he'll be continuing with that.

There's always time to talk to people, though! Let's see what they've got to say.

Music: Appearance of the Town

Oh crumbs! I clean forgot to go to Infant Isle and take the pledge! I was too busy lookin' tough!

It's not like you really need to take the pledge in order to enter the tournament. It's one hundred percent optional for anyone who isn't a protagonist.

I can't help feeling there's something different about this challenge... Something...dangerous. It's nothing I can put my finger on, but my intuition tells me that something bad might happen...

Whatever happens it's inevitably going to have something to do with CELL and Euchre will get caught up in it. He'll just have to deal with it when everything goes wrong.

Well, there's one here on Domus Isle, too. Why don't you visit it after the opening ceremony?

It's a little strange that this part of the island was completely closed off until the opening ceremony, actually. How was someone on the other side of Domus Isle supposed to take the Scout's Pledge when they couldn't go through the ceremony site?

Oh, but hang on, deary. Are you in the challenge? Shouldn't you be at the opening ceremony? I think it's about to start.

He's right, you know. Euchre's wasted enough time. He just needs one last check to see if he can really go to the ceremony now.

Well, he's not blocking Euchre's way any more. Might as well go up the stairs and see the ceremony.

Music: None

Ahem, yes. Well, rather. What a lot of people...haha...

The opening ceremony begins with this gentleman addressing the gathered crowd which conveniently can't be seen from this angle.

Right, jolly good... I hereby announce the, er, opening of the seventh Monster Scout Challenge!

Music: Colosseum (IV)

There's cheering and applause at this point, unsurprisingly. That's actually a pre-rendered image there, and it's obvious why - there are far too many models for the DS to render without horrible framerate drops at the very least.

My staff tell me that we have more scouts competing this year than ever before. As the Commissioner and as a challenge fan, I must say that is jolly exciting news!

This year, we will be awarding the legendary Scout's Mark to the lucky winner!

More cheering, more applause. Just like last time this image was used.

Just imaging how marvellous it would be...

Oh, yes, yes! It would be incredible...wonderful...truly MARVELLOUS... Ahaha!

I think Dr Snap's getting a little overexcited by this Scout's Mark thing. The fact that monsters can be equipped with it implies that it's some kind of weapon, though, and anything that would make Euchre's monsters stronger sounds worthwhile to me.

And don't forget - any one of you is capable of winning it!

You know the drill by now: cheering and applause. Funnily enough, some of the NPCs in the picture aren't in the final game - I don't believe I've seen the nun, the green or purple-haired women or the purple-shirted man anywhere.

That is all. ...Oh, er, and may the best scout win!

And so the opening ceremony ends. Registering at Monster Scout HQ is Euchre's priority now, and it's better to do it now rather than later.

Music: Appearance of the Town

People off the street are invited in without discrimination, by the looks of things. At least this person is helpful for once, unlike some others that Euchre's met on this island.

This lift is the only way up to the main building, which is held up by pillars underneath. It's a bit of a bizarre design choice on the architect's part, and this isn't even the worst of this place. For some reason it holds up fine, though, even with the weight of hundreds of people added to its presumably hefty mass.

Music: Contest Castle

You're here for the challenge, is that right? Let me just register you...
Okay, Euchre. I've registered you as a participant, so you're all set. Let me tell you about the Monster Scout Challenge. Your first objective is to collect ten darkonium crystals.

There are darkonium crystals scattered across the islands. Once you collect ten of them, you're allowed to proceed to the goal. The first five scouts who reach the goal advance to the next round of the challenge.

You can always come here later to remind yourself of the rules. Don't hesitate to ask if you're unsure about anything.

And with that, Euchre has been set free to do as he pleases within the Green Bays archipelago. The main objective of finding ten pieces of darkonium isn't actually that hard - there are in fact thirteen available in all. Remember that blue chest past the bridge on Infant Isle? That contains a piece of darkonium, as does every other blue chest. Darkonium is also obtainable from a couple of other things, and we'll get to those eventually.

The problem is that all Euchre's monsters are fresh off Infant Isle and are too weak to even think about fetching the darkonium pieces on the more dangerous islands. That means that some training is in order! But first, talking. Lots of talking.

It's rare stuff. This is the only place in the world where you can find it. (shrug) It's not worth anything, though. No one would care but for the challenge.

Why do contestants need to collect it if it's worthless? Perhaps it's just because it's rare and makes for a good scavenger hunt item.

Moving on towards the rest of the building, Euchre comes across...

...a cutscene! These two men are arguing about something.

No one at all? Since when was that the rule?

Since I was given my orders. Please step back, sir.

Nobody's allowed to see Dr. Snap, eh? There's probably a very good reason for that that we'll find out eventually.

Incidentally, those two people never show up again to my knowledge. At least, nobody with those names - there are a couple of nameless NPCs that fit the bill.

Real pros take it slow, sniff around, gather info. We only moe when we're ready. If you wanna make it to the finals, you can't just run around like a headless gryphon.

I'm not sure that strategy will work out for you. After all, this is a race - only the fastest five get to the final. Of course it works perfectly fine for Euchre, since the plot can't go on without him.

He has just about every monster there is, but he's always looking for new breeds. 'Course, when the challenge is on, he's far to busy to pursue his hobbies.

It's a shame that nobody can get in to talk to Dr. Snap. That collection might be quite interesting to see.

He's an accomplished scout and doctor, and a brilliant scientist to boot! I bet he just plays at being absent-minded to catch his enemies off guard! Of course, I'm only joking! The Commissioner doesn't have any enemies. How could he?

Yeah, Snap seems like a pretty chill guy. Still, he probably has some enemies, at least. You can't get into a position of power without making a few.

Did you know that it was Dr Snap who invented the scout ring? With that one invention, he revolutionised scouting.

Yeah, before that scouts had to feed monsters meat and hope that they became friends after beating them up. It was a strange time.

...there are countless smaller uncharted islands. You might come across some of them when you travel on the sea scooter.

He's not wrong! Euchre will randomly find islands every so often when travelling between islands. There are actually a couple of monsters which are exclusive to these islands, and there are often very good items there, so it's definitely worth looking for them.

Music: Appearance of the Town

That's where the challenge finals are held. Hundreds of chimaeras are harnessed beneath, flapping day and night to keep it afloat... ...At least, that's one theory. But no one REALLY knows how it stays up there.

It's a bit difficult to get a good view, because of the limited camera movement that the game provides, but here's the best angle that I could get:

It's that bowl-shaped part of the building with the spike underneath.

It also happens to be the goal of the challenge qualifiers. Only the scouts who've collected ten darkonium crystals are able to enter.

Sure enough, if Euchre tries to get in...

Better collect that darkonium, and fast!

...he's not allowed in yet.

That's about it for inside MSO headquarters. How about the rest of Domus Isle?

Hey, did you hear what happened yesterday!? HQ was attacked by monsters! Can you believe that? Except, there was only one of them. And it was just a little fellow. Some of us scouts got together to, y'know, shoo it away and everything. It soon turned tail.

A monster breaking in is very concerning indeed. Remember that Domus Isle doesn't have any native monsters? If something that small can do it, then maybe something more dangerous will make an attempt.

The seventh Monster Scout Challenge is finally underway! Make sure you check it out!

Canasta here will have various pieces of news throughout the game, mostly related to the challenge. She seems a little bit crazy, what with shouting out her news for all to hear instead of working for a news channel or something. Do they have those in this setting? I would assume so, since computers exist.

I wonder when it will be open again.

Euchre can't go into the department store right now, but it'll be opened eventually. It'll probably conveniently coincide with a point where he has to come back to Domus Isle.

The scoutpost next door is open, though, so why not pay it a visit?

Music: Scoutpost

I know it's up to the Commissioner to decide the rules... ...but I don't like it none too much. It was better in the old days.

The old days of, what, seven years ago? Presumably this is an annual event, and this is only the seventh.

The shop here has different items to the one on Infant Isle. The Moonwort Bulb is a paralysis cure, while the Exodust can be used to escape from a dungeon. We've already seen the others on Infant Isle, just not in the shop.

Through the door that was locked last time Euchre was in a scoutpost is the Scout's Den. It's got a noticeboard with various information on it. The main one to watch out for is this:

These are the current standings for the collection of darkonium. As far as I can remember Joker will only meet two of the five listed here, but I could be wrong. There are some other messages on the notice board right now, but they're not too important - something about piracy, some scouting tips and an ad for the department store.

Music: Appearance of the Town

But if that's too tough for you, warm up on Infant Isle first.

Excellent, a lead on where to go next! Of course we'll be taking this guy's advice and ignoring Xeroph Isle for now. Some more things opened up on Infant Isle after the opening ceremony.

There's a single house on the island that Euchre can enter, and this fellow is in one of the rooms.

I am vorking on a great invention zat vill make ze scout ring look like a baby's toy. Ven ze public sees my creation, ze vorld vill never be ze same again! My name is Igor Folds...but YOU can call me Igor!

He's enthusiastic, I'll give him that. Somehow I doubt that Dr. Snap will be too concerned by Igor here.

He's convinced himself that he's Dr Snap's great rival, but he's the only one who thinks so. He hasn't invented a single thing in his life.

Especially since nobody seems to take him seriously.

Hmph. You challenge scouts think you own the place!

You're the one who left your door unlocked. Maybe you shouldn't do that if you don't want scouts coming into your house.

Legends say that a monster known as the Incarnus saved our world centuries ago. The Scout's Stone on Infant Isle was placed there in its honour. The Incarnus is believed to have first appeared there, you see, on top of the mountain.

Back at the Infant Isle jetty, Euchre learns a little bit about the history of the Monster Scout Challenge. By the sounds of it, maybe going back up the mountain could give Joker a chance to find out more about this Incarnus. Perhaps he'll even scout it at some point!

...but someone's left all these sea scooters lying aroud, completely blocking the way! When I find the person responsible, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind! And maybe a punch.

I don't think CELL are very good at this "keeping a low profile" thing. Presumably the jetskis left here are mostly from sending agents like Euchre.

In any case, that's pretty much it for Domus Isle. Euchre might as well head back to Infant Isle.

Music: Scoutpost

In the Scouts' Den at the back of the scoutpost, Euchre finds this fellow.

Slimon's my name. Nice to, I mean 'make', your acquaintance. If you're competing in the challenge, you should, I mean 'drop', in every now and then.

If you see people loitering near the wall, like I am, try talking to them. Scouts looking to meet other scouts gather near this table. It's the same in all the scouts' dens. Once you get to know someone, you'll be able to swap monsters with them.

Next time you visit a scoutpost,, I mean 'pop', into the scouts' den and see if I'm around!

Euchre has made friends with the gloopy gladiator, Slimon!

And with that, Slimon disappears from the Scouts' Den. He'll be in here every so often, looking for trades, and as his name and manner of speaking suggest he tends to specialise in Slimes. Interestingly he was also on the challenge rankings back on Domus Isle, so he's probably collected some darkonium already.

It's time to head out and see what's new on Infant Isle, but first Euchre has to rest. You see, back when he was trying to reach the Scout's Stone, he couldn't rest at the scoutpost and the island was locked in perpetual day-time. Now that there's no restriction on resting, it's time to see what monsters come out at night.

Music: Ambiance of the Night

The first thing to notice is that there are no more Slimes on the beach. They've been replaced by Drackies, but Euchre already has one of those so it would be pointless to try for more.

Moving on a bit, though, Euchre comes across a new monster!

Music: Monster Battle

Ghosts, like Lips, can use Tongue Lashing to lower someone's defence. They tend to be in the same spots as the Platypunks were during the day.

Euchre scouts one, because he hasn't got one yet.

Into storage it goes!

This turned out to be my undoing, since I should have kept it for the third question of the Monster Scout Proficiency Test. This one costs 25 gold coins to attempt.

Instead Euchre goes for a Winky to fulfil the request. These things actually have more than one ability that they can use! The first is Frizz, which we've already seen, but the second is new.

Ping here is a stat-increasing spell. In this case... increases wisdom. Now the Winky's Frizz spells do slightly more damage. Single-target stat-increasing spells have more of an effect that multi-target ones, which is why wisdom increases greatly in this situation.

It gets scouted regardless of its wisdom.

Music: Ambiance of the Night

This one goes into the party, since it can't be found during the day.

As a result of bringing a Winky, Euchre gets his reward. This item restores 30 MP to a single monster, and so it's incredibly useful.

The next part of the test is to bring a dragon, and costs 50 gold coins. Unfortunately there aren't any around here, so Euchre will have to come back once he scouts one elsewhere.

There's only one more monster available on Infant Isle at night, and that's this thing.

Music: Monster Battle

I don't think they have any abilities to speak of, just the standard attack that every monster has.

Regardless of its usefulness in battle, it gets scouted.

Music: Ambiance of the Night

Like the Ghost, it gets put into storage.

There's only one place left to check, and that's the top of the mountain. The monsters in the cave haven't changed, so let's ignore those.

Surprisingly there's nothing on the summit. Nothing's changed up here. If Euchre comes back during the day, though...

Music: Island

...a King Slime has a chance to appear!

Music: Monster Battle

The King Slime comes backed by two normal Slimes. They're distinctly non-threatening.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said of their monarch. It's slightly too strong for the team right now, much like the Gigantes, but in this case it's a Rank C monster instead of Rank A. Also like the Gigantes scouting it isn't going to happen any time soon.

And that's all there is on Infant Isle for now! Next time, Euchre will be heading off to Xeroph Isle to find some darkonium.

Extra: The Monster Library

This time we'll be looking at the monsters that appear at night on Infant Isle.


Winkies start with the skills Seal and Wisdom Boost when scouted, and drop the Wisdom Boost when fused. They have the trait Desperado, which increases critical hit rate when on low HP, and are immune to Whack and Dazzle.

Seal gives a lot of abilities which stop enemies from doing certain things. It gets Fizzle and Kafizzle to stop spells, and Drain Magic to get rid of MP. It's also got Breathtaking Bash and Gobstopper to stop breath attacks, and Break-Dance Beat and Ban Dance to stop dances. Finally there's Critical Miss to prevent critical hits and Magic Frailty which lowers enemy resistance to magic. The latter doesn't really fit in with the rest of the set, but it's fine - the skill is already really good at stopping monsters from doing what they want. The only thing that isn't covered is physical skills, which is unfortunate since they tend to be the best way of doing damage. It's good for locking down support, though.


Ghosts have the skills Graveheart and Attack Boost, losing Attack Boost when fused, and the trait Artful Dodger. Since they're already dead, they're immune to Whack.

Graveheart gives a few helpful debilitating abilities. First off there's Poisonous Poke and Venomous Volley, which inflict Poison. Then there's Sleep Sock and Sweet Breath to inflict Sleep. Finally there's Helm Splitter, which lowers defence, and Slowing Slug, which lowers agility. On top of these debilitating abilities there's also Whack Guard and Kamikazee, the latter of which kills the user in order to deal either instant death or massive damage to the entire enemy party. It's an okay skill overall, but others do its job better with more varied effects.

Stump Chump

Stump Chumps have the skills Green Finger and Attack Boost, and like everything else drops its stat-boosting skill when fused. It doesn't have any traits, and is immune to Fizzle. However, it is weak to Frizz.

Green Finger is primarily a healing skill, but it can also take MP from enemies and share it with the rest of the party. For straight-up healing, Green Finger teaches Heal and Midheal, meaning that it drops off in usefulness eventually without another healer available. It can be used to cure poison and paralysis with Squelch and Tingle respectively, and can revive multiple monsters at once with Song of Salvation (though it does take two turns to cast). As for its MP-related abilities, the skill teaches Weird Dance and Tap Dance to steal MP from the enemy, then Share Magic can be used to hand it around the party. The final ability in the set, Blinding Blow, can mitigate enemy damage by inflicting Dazzle, but it doesn't fit with the rest of the set very well. Again, it's generally outclassed by other healing skills.