A MP gauge in Smash? Let's have a look at the secrets Dragon Quest's Hero is hiding in our trailer breakdown

Anyone familiar with Dragon Quest will recognize several references in the trailer, but some may have slipped under your radar

Posted by Nicholas 'MajinTenshinhan' Taylor • June 11, 2019 at 6:33 p.m. PDT

At the Nintendo Direct for E3 2019 today, Super Smash Bros. got a whopping two reveals for the downloadable content, with two heavily anticipated characters showing up. The Direct closed out with Banjo-Kazooie, a Rare-developed Nintendo classic currently owned by Microsoft, but the beginning of the Direct showed something much more aimed at Japanese audiences, namely the addition of the grandfather of all JRPGs as the Hero from the Dragon Quest series entered the fray.

That said, Dragon Quest isn't quite as big of a deal overseas. If you're curious about what exactly to expect from this JRPG originator, or if you're a Dragon Quest fan looking to see if there was anything in the trailer you might've missed, this is the piece for you. We'll take a look at all of the shots from the trailer, and see what kind of Dragon Quest content the Super Smash Bros. team has cooked up for us to enjoy later this summer.

The Heroes

First of all, let's have a look at the characters that show up in the trailer. We're first introduced to the most recent Dragon Quest Hero, namely the hero from Dragon Quest 11, also known as The Luminary. While he might be the freshest face in the public mind right now, he's obviously a very new addition to the series, since the games are generally fairly disconnected from one another.

While I was expecting we'd have maybe two different skins for the Dragon Quest Hero if he were to be included, and in my wildest dreams hoping that every protagonist would be represented within the same moveset (which is quite impossible since their abilities do tend to vary somewhat), I was taken off-guard with the approach they took, though it's genius when you think about it.

What we've been treated to here is Erdrick, the main protagonist of Dragon Quest 3, which is the final game in the original trilogy which are loosely connected. Next, we have the green-haired Hero from Dragon Quest 4, which is part of its own trilogy lasting until Dragon Quest 6, commonly referred to as the Zenithia trilogy, meaning that the first six games are essentially covered with just those two.

After Dragon Quest 6, though, the games are pretty much entirely separated, and not even loosely connected in trilogies anymore. The Dragon Quest 8 Hero is a great addition, here, though, because he's from the very first game in the series that went 3D, back on the PlayStation 2 in 2004. Incidentally, this was also the first Dragon Quest gamer produced after the Square and Enix merger.

As such, there's effectively a Dragon Quest hero for every era — one each for the first two trilogies, one for the leap to 3D, and one for the newest game in the series. Huge respect for series history, as is the norm when it comes to Super Smash Bros.

Stage and Music

We only get the briefest glimpse of the Dragon Quest stage, with the majority of the fighting in the trailer taking place in levels we're already quite familiar with, but here's an image showcasing what we can discern from it, which is mostly background.


Adventure awaits!

You can clearly see the World Tree Yggdrasil, which plays a role in Dragon Quest 11, suggesting that it's mainly based on the latest game in the series.

That said, though, the sprawling landscape behind is reminiscent of basically any Dragon Quest game, and imbues you with the adventurous spirit the games are known for.

As for the music, that's one of the big hurdles people have brought up in regards to Dragon Quest joining the Super Smash Bros. series to begin with, since it's notoriously difficult to get the license holders to allow usage of it, and we've already seen Square-Enix be quite conservative with the tunes for Final Fantasy in Smash, which is much more lax in its licensing and rights holders.

What we are able to hear in the trailer is the highly iconic main theme of the series, which has endured from the very first game and is recognizable to anyone who's touched any of the series' titles. There's one more track playing when the other heroes enter the scene, which confirms two songs. Given that Final Fantasy ended up only having two music pieces, there might not be more for Dragon Quest either, so for now all we can do is hold on to hope while we wait and see.

The mascot of the Dragon Quest series, the enemy Slime, shows up in the trailer as well. However, we mostly see it in the CG portion of the trailer and on the actual Dragon Quest level, suggesting that it's simply part of the background, much like Joker's allies from Persona 5 are on the Mementos stage, or perhaps even works as a hazard. There's a brief glimpse of a Slime on what appears to be the Palutena's Temple stage towards the end of the trailer as well, though it seems likely that one is simply part of one of the Hero's taunts.

The Moveset

Finally, the meat and potatoes of the character, and probably what everyone's the most interested in — what exactly is our new Hero capable of?

Well, our first introduction shows that he's a fairly standard sword user for his basic attacks. No surprise there, considering how heavily the Dragon Quest series is focused on western medieval times, with all the Hero characters that are now joining Smash wielding a sword and a shield.


Click image for animated version

Next, we can see him wielding fire spells of different intensity, with one clearly being stronger than the other, but taking longer to charge. It's possible that this is similar to how Fire Emblem's Robin uses magic in the game, though as of yet it's a bit unclear. Right now, this just seems like a buffed up version of the first fire magic move. In the Dragon Quest series, the basic Fire spell is called Frizz, while it has enhanced versions known as Frizzle and Kafrizz.

There are also glimpses at wind and thunder magic — known in their home franchise as Woosh and Zap, respectively.

After this is where it gets really interesting, though. As you can see in the animated gif below, the Hero takes on a thinking pose, and we can clearly see an MP meter above his portrait, with four spells to choose from. While the spell we see cast in the trailer is Snooze, which lulls the opponent to sleep, we can also see a few more Dragon Quest spells listed.


Decisions, decisions...

These are Sizzle (a fire spell which tends to affect groups of enemies rather than single targets), Psyche Up (a skill which boosts the Tension of the user, leading to them doing more damage on the next turn) and Oomph (a spell which doubles the recipient's attack for their next attack).

Afterwards, we see the various Hero characters unleash other magical attacks, such as Bounce which produces a barrier around the user to reflect spells (or in Smash Bros' case, projectiles) and Kacrackle Slash, a fearsome attack in which the user imbues their blade with ice powers, giving the next attack freezing properties and enhanced damage.

Next, we're treated to the classic spell Kaclang which metallizes the user, making them fully invulnerable but also causing them to be unable to act themselves, and then the highly useful Zoom, an out-of-combat spell that allows the user to return to any previous town visited by soaring up into the air, making it look like an extremely effective recovery move here in Super Smash Bros.


Click image for animated version

Finally, we see the move Kamikazee completely demolish the Hero's opponents, though as the name suggests, it comes at the cost of their own life, suggesting that this is an extremely risky counter move.

Just how many spells are available is currently unclear, though there have been theories that each special input (neutral b, up b, down b and side b) have their own menues of four spells each, which would mean that the Hero has access to 16 different special moves in battle. The trailer doesn't shed any particular light on this, but we do know for sure that there are more than just four.

How the MP gauge plays into this is also currently a mystery — the only thing we're able to tell from the trailer is that a maxed out MP gauge lies at 100, and that Snooze costs 16 MP, bringing the meter down to 84. We don't get to see the costs for any other spells, and there's no hints as to whether MP is regainable, either. My personal theory is that each stock grants you 100 MP which you can't get back until after you respawn again, though that's pure speculation at this point.

What is clear, though, is that the main gimmick for this character seems to be this very MP gauge — quite fitting for the trendsetter that started the whole JRPG craze in Japan over 30 years ago.

To close out the trailer, we get to see the Hero's Final Smash, which is a majestic team attack featuring the Hero characters from all of the Dragon Quest games that aren't playable joining up with the player character for a massive all-out combination attack. While not all heroes are playable, they've all received models for the game, which should make any Dragon Quest fan quite pleased in the end.


Legendary Hero Bargain Sale!

Considering this includes characters like the Dragon Quest 2 Hero who can't use magic and the Dragon Quest 5 Hero who uses a staff and no shield, it's a creative way of getting them all in there, while leaving the actual Smashing to the ones equipped with swords and shields and wantonly throwing magic around them, and can therefore use the same moveset without it seeming out of place.

There's not much else to gleam from the trailer, though we were promised that the Dragon Quest Hero would be out during summer, meaning they'll likely be arriving in our Smash Bros. parties fairly soon. It's possible we won't hear any more about their abilities until that time comes, so who knows what spells might show up once they join the roster.

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