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Dragon Quest IV (Import)

Classic RPG includes a bonus English translation. Thanks!

We haven't been very well served with Dragon Quest in this country, although that's something that Square Enix want to change.

The series is as popular as Final Fantasy in Japan - where they're a bit more keen on dungeon-crawling RPGs than we are - and we rarely seem to get translated versions.

However, this tasty remake of a 1990 NES title - one that did at least make it as far as America - has an English translation as a kind of 'work in progress' on the finished Japanese retail version.

You can access it via an Action Replay cheat cart, and while it isn't 100% complete, the only problem with it is the odd annoying line break halfway through a word.

Dragon Quest IV box shot

Plus there's Italian, Spanish, French and German, so perhaps 2008 will be the year that Dragon Quest finally goes global.

Grind out a result

We hope so, because it's a top-quality adventure. Although we're not particularly enamoured with some of the monster design, the pacing is quick enough to make battles much less of a chore.

They do crop up often but they're out of the way in no time, which makes for fast levelling up.

Characters look a bit odd as flat 2D sprites, constantly going through their walk animation, but the backgrounds more than make up for it.

Spanning both screens, they can be rotated in 3D using the shoulder buttons, and the towns are beautifully colourful.

Despite lengthy chat scenes and a lot of getting mugged by Slimes while tramping around the overworld, the speed makes it better suited to handheld play than many other RPGs.

The verdict

If you have an Action Replay cart, this is your sneak peek at the forthcoming English version. We reckon it should be well worth the wait

Nintendo DS
Square Enix