7 Best Bosses in the Dragon Quest Universe
To date, Dragon Quest has spanned ten titles (excluding spin-offs), and over the course of these games, heroes have had to battle countless enemies. Seeing as this series has lasted for over three decades, there's naturally a lot of variety in the foes the protagonists combat.
And, as with most RPGs, the games are only as good as their stories -- and their stories are only as good as their antagonists.
There have been plenty of bosses, mini-bosses and ultimate Big Bads to defeat, but there will always be ones you remember more than others. Whether it's because their motives are a little different, their attacks are slightly kooky, or they're just generally downright weird, you can guarantee that some of them will stick with you long after you reach the end screen.
With that in mind, we've picked out the head honchos that stood out from the pack for various reasons. They may not be the most powerful, or even have the biggest impact on the plot, but they all offered something a little different.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR MULTIPLE DRAGON QUEST GAMES AHEAD!
Appearances: Dragon Quest IV
Aamon isn't actually the main antagonist of Dragon Quest IV (at least, in the original game), nor is he the most powerful boss you'll encounter. No, Aamon gets a place on this list by being a thoroughly cruel manipulator.
Throughout the game, Aamon stirs the pot, sowing seeds of discontent within Psaro the Manslayer -- his boss -- throughout the monster community, and plotting an uprising. By playing the Hero and Psaro off against each other, Aamon attempts to have both sides destroy each other, paving the way for his ascendancy to become the Ruler of Evil.
In a final act of wonderfully dark treachery, he arranges for Psaro's love, Rose, to be killed, and succeeds in turning the Manslayer into a raging beast which launches itself at the party.
Fortunately, Aamon doesn't get away with his evil. Both Psaro and Rose are revived and -- in the sixth chapter added to the Playstation and DS versions -- Psaro can actually join the party to help destroy the Machiavellian boss forever.
Appearances: Dragon Quest II, Dragon Quest IX
Considered by some to be the toughest boss in the entire canon of Dragon Quest, Malroth (Shidor in the original release) is an absolute nightmare. He is unleashed after the death of his top priest Hargon, who sacrifices himself to summon the monstrosity.
There are two things that make Malroth such a pain to fight. Firstly, he uses Full Heal like nobody's business, which turns the battle into a war of attrition. Secondly, your encounter with him comes off the back of four other consecutive boss fights in a castle -- Atlas, Bazuzu, Zarlox and Hargon. It's literally level after level of hell.
Unlike many bosses, Malroth isn't much of a talker. Instead, he prefers to smash the living crap out of you, and should be commended for his efficacy, if nothing else. He pops up again as an optional boss in Dragon Quest IX.
Appearances: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
Compared to other bosses, Marcello is a bit of a damp squib since he is dispatched fairly easily. His reason for inclusion here is due to his fantastic (and tragic) story arc, which stands as one of the best in the entire series.
Marcello is a resentful figure who hated the fact that, at a young age, he and his mother were thrown out of their house by his father, who sired Marcello's half-brother Angelo -- one of the party's playable characters.
While Marcello goes on to lead the Templars, the reappearance of Angelo in the Hero's party reignites old jealousy, and when the Abbot of Marcello's order is killed saving the King, Marcello blames the party.
His descent into evil continues as he murders the Lord High Priest and takes his place, but after being defeated by the party, he is ultimately possessed by Rhapthorne who uses him to destroy a shrine and release Rhapthorne's body.
Returning to his senses, Marcello is saved by Angelo after Rhapthorne departs, leaving him to come to terms with the fact that the person he hates the most is the one that saved his life. As tragic stories go, Marcello's takes some beating.
Appearances: Dragon Quest III, Dragon Quest IX
Zoma is the Big Bad in the third game, and appears around halfway through. After defeating Baramos -- whom you believe to be the main antagonist -- in a Whedonesque twist, Zoma makes an appearance as Baramos' master and the Hero's actual nemesis. You follow him through a portal into the Dark World in order to destroy him.
While his motivations are not really clear, Zoma loves death, decay and suffering. He isn't averse to letting his enemies live, just to prolong their agony. In short, he's your archetypal Evil Overlord. He also packs one hell of a punch, and if you haven't picked up the Orb of Light on your travels, you are likely to struggle to defeat him.
What's worse is that even after you beat Zoma, you end up trapped in the Dark World...so he may be the first boss to actually beat you, even after he loses.
Appearances: Dragon Quest VII
Orgodemir is your main adversary in Dragon Quest VII, and is one of those recurring irritants who keeps coming back for more throughout the game, even though you regularly hand him his butt.
After he defeats God (no, really), the Hero and his party send him back to wherever Demon Lords live. But, when the local populace attempt to revive God, they unwittingly resurrect Orgodemir disguised as God. It turns out that those rituals are a little haphazard at best.
For most of the game, Orgodemir spends his time pretending to be God, while bringing darkness to the world. Fortunately, you're able to see through this facade and ultimately face off against him -- although, like in many JRPGs -- he turns from a bipedal humanoid into a spiked, twisted abomination. Two legs is never enough for many bosses. Also, Orgodemir's final incarnation hits hard. Good luck with that.
6. Ultimate Dragon
Appearances: Dragon Quest VIII
Despite the series' title, dragons don't feature anywhere near as much as you might expect. The eighth game aimed to address that by offering you not one, but eight of the creatures to dispatch, in short succession.
Part of the Dragovian Trials, which are unlocked when you finish the main game, The Ultimate Dragon is -- as the name suggests -- pretty powerful. The worst thing about it isn't the boss itself, although its powers and HP are staggeringly impressive.
No, the problem you'll have is actually getting to face it. In order to reach that final encounter, you have to battle through all six of the dragons you defeated in the trials previously. Assuming you survive that, you will earn the dubious reward of taking on the toughest dragon you're likely to find on any of your quests.
Appearances: Dragon Quest VII
Yes. You can fight The Almighty in Dragon Quest. He turns up as an optional boss in a bonus dungeon in the seventh game, and if you manage to beat him in less than twenty turns, he'll give you a gift of your choice. His level of difficulty is variable -- sometimes you can wipe him out easily, and at other times he seems nigh on impossible to best.
Still, there's no denying that his inclusion as the bearded, floating immortal with long white hair is the exact embodiment of everything you're taught as a kid. The fact that God can be defeated (and therefore fallible) is a curiosity which is sadly never explored. The developers could even have riled the patriarchy and made God a woman.
Missed opportunities, ArtePiazza.
Who are your favorite Dragon Quest bosses? Did we miss some classics that you expected to see? Let us know in the comments!