Battle Systems

In NES games, Dragon Quest games and Final Fantasy games had two different styles of battle systems.  Mostly, other games were clones in one way or another of these styles.  That doesn’t mean, of course, that the games weren’t interesting on their own merits.  It simply means that they share similar battle systems.

Dragon Quest games tended to not show the heros and had the monsters in the center of the screen.  The screen below is from Dragon Quest II.  It’s not until Dragon Quest VIII that you see changes in the general layout of the screen.

The heros face some sea monsters.

This battle screen is a typical Dragon Quest battle system.

Final Fantasy tends to have the monsters on one side, and the characters on the other side.  Usually, the monsters are larger than the characters.  Later ones also have the concept of rows and the inability to hit things in the “back” as easily.

Four horsemen versus the heroes.

While this is the second game, this is common in many Final Fantasy games.

Now for a Dragon Quest clone, let’s look at Satomi Hakkenden (SNK 1989.)  This game is a basic ‘gather the seven guardians of the princess in ancient Japan’ style story.  At the top left, there’s the attack commands, and in the right there’s the monster name and number of monsters.  At the bottom, there’s the characters and their stats.

Satomi Hakkenden uses a Dragon Quest like battle system.

As for a mix, let’s look at Chaos World (Natsume 1991.)  As I’ve stated in another post, this game showcases an unusual automated battle system.  Still, you can see the Final Fantasy like arrangement of enemies, and the slightly more Dragon Quest like menus at the top.

A late game battle screen.

The two soldiers on the left are in the 'front row' of the heroes.

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