The title scene for Dragon Quest.

All maps created using GridMapper.

Welcome to the world of Dragon Quest! Originally released on the NES as Dragon Warrior - and released many times since then, on a variety of different systems - Dragon Quest is a fantasy RPG, distilled to the most basic of concepts. The Sphere of Light, sacred relic of the realm of Tantegel, has been stolen by the evil Dragonlord, and it's up to a lone youth to get it back. There are bumps in the way, of course, but your target is, and always will be, the elusive Dragonlord, who waits in a castle that is just out of reach of the mainland.

Before we get into the game it's wise to note that, while the game in general is the same between versions, you'll see some changes between the original NES version and the remakes of later years:

  • Most of the items, spells, and locations have different names. It's not too difficult to puzzle out which items are which if you're playing the NES version and using this walkthrough, but there will inevitably be some moments of confusion.
  • While the overworld and town layouts are the same, there are some differences in the dungeons. This is especially true of the final dungeon, which has a very different layout in its darkened sections. You'll need different maps for earlier versions of the game.
  • You receive more experience in the newer versions, and will require less grinding to get your character to a new level. (Though grinding is still a big part of Dragon Quest.)
  • In the earliest versions of Dragon Quest you needed to access the menu and use specific commands to speak to NPCs, open chests, and go up stairs. This is no longer the case in later versions.
A battle with a slime in Dragon Quest.

The Basics

Dragon Quest puts you in the shoes of a solitary adventurer. You begin at level 1 and will work your way up to around level 20 by the end of the game, depending on how much time you put into killing monsters. Combat in Dragon Quest is turn-based, like most RPGs of its day, and your adventurer will always face enemies one-at-a-time. Monsters are only encountered in dungeons or while exploring the overworld. Defeating enemies will earn you experience and gold, and receiving enough experience will allow you to level up, gaining higher stats and new spells in the process.

In short, it's an RPG. If you've playing an RPG before you'll know exactly what you're getting with Dragon Quest.

Unlike other RPGs, where you can typically save your game wherever you like, all saving in Dragon Quest is done via King Lorik, the lord of Tantegel Castle. If you are ever defeated in combat you'll immediately be sent back to Lorik's chambers, and your gold will be reduced to half its total amount. For these two reasons you can expect to use Tantegel Castle as a sort of hub area, proceeding outward from it whenever you embark on a new venture into the overworld and returning to it when you're done.

The other major departure from (most) other RPGs is your limited inventory. In Dragon Quest your character can only carry ten items at a time. The items you have equipped count as part of your inventory, further limiting your carrying capacity. This becomes less of an issue as you gain spells that replace items, but you will inevitably run into moments of item management. Fortunately, there are two places in the game where you can store items you no longer need, and you can pick them up any time you like.

The rest we will get into as it becomes pertinent. Speaking of which... shall we?

The hero sets out from Tantegel Castle in Dragon Quest.

Tantegel Castle

You'll start off Dragon Quest in the throne room. The king of Tantegel will explain the situation, then offer you the contents of three chests in the center of the room. They contain 120 gold, a Torch, and a Magic Key. You will need all three, so make sure you open these chests before you go downstairs, via the stairs in the south. (The key is needed to open the door to the south, unfortunately, but you'll get many more over the course of your adventure.) Make sure, also, to check your inventory, as you carry another item: A Bamboo Spear, your first weapon. Be sure to equip it before you leave the castle.

Downstairs you'll find the rest of Tantegel Castle. The people within will give you a sense of the world and the urgency of your mission, though the most important parts of the castle are all blocked off by doors that require Magic Keys. We'll come back and explore them later. The one item you can pick up now is a Medicinal Herb, hidden in a pot to the right of the sleeping guard in the southeast of the castle. Until you receive some healing magic you'll need Medicinal Herbs to keep you alive. 

The hero explores Tantegel Castle in Dragon Quest.

Just south of the sleeping guard you'll find a man behind a counter who will 'shine light' upon your character. This will fully restore your character's MP, which will be handy once you have a restorative spell, allowing you to avoid a rest at an Inn. He's the last notable thing here, so take your leave through the southern exit of Tantegel Castle.

The hero enters Tantegel Castle Town in Dragon Quest.

Tantegel Castle Town

When you leave Tantegel Castle you'll wind up on the world map. You can immediately begin exploring the world, if you like, though first you should pay Tantegel Castle Town a visit. It's a short walk east of Tantegel Castle, and you won't run into any monsters making the trip unless you wander around. There are things to see, do, and purchase here that will make the early stages of your journey a little easier.

  • North of the western entrance of Tantegel Castle Town is the Armory. Here you can purchase basic weapons and pieces of armor. You already have a Bamboo Spear, so you may want to buy some armor instead. Fighting monsters on the outskirts of town will give you the chance to upgrade to the best this area can offer: A Copper Sword, a Leather Suit, and a Leather Shield.
  • South of the western entrance is an Inn. Thanks to the old man in Tantegel Castle you may never need to use it, once you have healing magic. Also in here is a Bank, where you can store gold and items. You'll absolutely want to make use of the Bank as your inventory begins to overflow. A dresser in this building contains a Chimaera Wing, which you can use on the world map to instantly teleport back to Tantegel Castle.
The hero purchases items from a merchant in Dragon Quest.
  • In the south of the town is an Item Shop. You may want to buy a few Medicinal Herbs, assuming you have money left over from the Armory. Torches are useful for lighting up dungeons, which you'll do in a little while. The Dragon Scale is a defensive item that you can equip to slightly improve your Defense.
  • In the east of town is the home of an old man who claims that he can remove curses. Keep him in mind should you ever be afflicted by one. (This won't happen for a while, and if you're smart it won't happen at all.)
There are NPCs to speak to as you travel around Tantegel Castle Town, some of whom are helpful and some of whom are not. There are also a few locked doors, but you have no Magic Keys, so don't worry about them for now. We'll come back here once you can purchase Magic Keys. That's all for Tantegel Castle Town, so... would you care to step outside, and get into some trouble?

The hero sets out onto the world map from Tantegel, the starting point in Dragon Quest.

World Map - Tantegel Region

  • Slime (Recommended level 1+)
  • She-Slime (Recommended level 1+)
  • Dracky (Recommended level 2+)
  • Ghost (Recommended level 3+)

Step out onto the world map and you'll immediately put yourself at risk of running into battles. The monsters within the vicinity of the castle are a piece of cake, and you should make sure you stick close until you have better equipment and a few levels under your belt. Try to boost your character to at least level 3 before proceeding with the game, as you'll gain access to the Heal spell and can travel without relying completely on Medicinal Herbs. Battling Slimes and She-Slimes in the forests and mountains near Tantegel Castle will do nicely, and you can battle Drackies to the north once the Slimes become too easy.

Unlike a lot of modern RPGs you are not barred from exploring most of the world in Dragon Quest right from the start. As a result it is very easy to wander into areas populated by monsters that are far too strong for you to defeat. If you cherish your gold and your time, don't travel too far until you know you're ready for greater challenges. Avoiding bridges is a good guideline for this part of the game.

Head north of Tantegel Castle once you've reached level 3, acquired at least some rudimentary armor and an Oaken Club, and purchased a Torch or two. Near the coast you'll see a small cave surrounded by desert. This is your next destination.

The hero prepares to enter Erdrick's Cave, a dungeon in Dragon Quest.

Erdrick's Cave

Despite having the appearance of a dungeon, Erdrick's Cave is utterly devoid of monsters. You can walk straight through this place, into the basement, and find Erdrick's Tablet. The map below outlines the path to the Tablet so you can save your Torches. Follow the red line.

The map to Erdrick's Cave in Dragon Quest.

The Tablet is a stone structure that covers what you need to do to reach the Dragonlord's island, namely gather three artefacts. They're scattered throughout the land of Alegard, and finding them will encompass the rest of your journey. Once you've learned this you can make your way back out of Erdrick's Cave to the world map.

Head back to Tantegel Castle if you feel the need to rest up and save, then head north until you reach the coast again. If you travel west of here you'll find the town of Galenholm, where you can find some better gear for your character - if you have the money to afford it. To continue the game, however, you'll need Magic Keys. This requires a trip to the east, where you'll find two more towns. Consider getting to level 4 so you have the Sizz spell before you make the journey. 

The hero explores the region near Kol in Dragon Quest.

World Map - Kol Region

  • Ghost
  • Drackolyte (Recommended level 3+)
  • Prestidigitator (Recommended level 4+)
  • Scorpion (Recommended level 5+)
  • Skeleton (Recommended level 7+)
If you follow the coast to the southeast of the continent's northern periphery you'll find a bridge. Once you cross this bridge you'll enter into more dangerous territory, and the enemies will do substantially more damage with each hit. Fighting with weapons is risky business until you're at a higher level, so until you can reliably defeat any of these foes with one or two normal hits you should cast Sizz. This spell will generally defeat anything around this area in a single hit.

Veer southeast once you cross the first bridge and follow the grassy trail until you see a second bridge. Head north once you cross the bridge and do your best to avoid forests and deserts until you reach a much larger forest in the north. In the middle of this forest you'll find the village of Kol.

The hero explores Kol, a remote town in Dragon Quest.


Your second (possibly third) settlement to explore, Kol has less to see than Tantegel thanks to several locked doors. You still need to look around before you head anywhere else on the map.
  • The Armory is the first building you can enter, to the north of the entrance. If you don't have one already you should buy a Copper Sword, though you can also use the battles outside Kol to pretty quickly save up for an Iron Axe instead. The Iron and Full Plate Armor are likely still outside your price range.
  • North of the central well and to the left you'll see a yellow sparkle on the ground. Step onto it and check the ground to receive the Faerie Flute. You can use it to put enemies to sleep in battle, and will need it to enter a town later in the game. Handy, though you'll eventually gain the Snooze spell, so to free up inventory space you may want to put the Faerie Flute in the Bank in Tantegel Castle Town at your first opportunity.
  • In the northeast of Kol is the Inn. If you plan to use Kol for leveling - and you absolutely should - you'll use the Inn a lot to restore your HP and MP.
The hero discovers the Faerie's Flute, an important item in Dragon Quest.
  • West of the Inn are the public baths. You can, uh... get a puff-puff in here for 20 gold. Figure it out for yourselves. Inside the drawers in the baths you'll find Plain Clothes and a Seed of Strength. Use the Seed of Strength immediately to give your character a small, permanent Strength boost (and to free up space in your inventory). Do the same with any Seeds you find.
  • In the northwest of Kol, past the bath house, you'll see a small home surrounded in poisonous swamps. Stepping into them will inflict one point of damage on your character per step, and you'll be seeing plenty more of them going forward. Inside the house is a man who will tell you to seek out the sword of Erdrick, which is secreted somewhere in Alefgard.
  • South of the swampy house you'll find an entrance to the large building on the west side of Kol, bypassing one of the locked doors. In here you'll find an Item Shop, as well as a few useful tidbits of NPC info.
The main thing you needed from Kol was the Faerie Flute. That said, you should use this spot as a hub for upgrading your character until you reach somewhere between levels 8 and 10. This will also earn you plenty of cash to upgrade your gear. If you want a slightly higher challenge you can trek into the desert to the southeast of Kol, where you'll start running into stronger, more profitable Skeletons.

The hero emerges from Quagmire Cave, a short, underground passage in Dragon Quest.

Head south of Kol once you feel that you can comfortably annihilate everything around the town. At the south end of the continent you'll hit a poisonous swamp, within which is a cave.

A map to Quagmire Cave, a short passage in Dragon Quest.

Quagmire Cave
  • Ghost
  • Lunatick (Recommended level 6+)
To reach the southern half of Alefgard, your next destination on your journey, you'll need to go through the Quagmire Cave. It's a small, extremely straightforward dungeon that you can navigate by traveling directly south, taking a right, going south again, and then taking the second left. Going up the stairs at the end will take you back to the world map. This cave is also not a terrible place to train before going further south.

Along the way through Quagmire Cave you'll see the occasional eastbound tunnel. If you follow these south you will eventually come to a narrowing in the path, and if you continue south you'll run into a locked door. Behind this door is the game's first boss, and an important NPC. Keep this spot in mind for the future, as you can neither get through the door nor beat the boss just yet.

The hero approaches Rimuldar, a town in Dragon Quest.

World Map - Rimuldar Region
  • Skeleton
  • Legerdeman (Recommended level 8+)
  • Bewarewolf (Recommended level 9+)
  • Iron Scorpion (Recommended level 9+)
On the other side of Quagmire Cave you'll find yourself on the northern coast of a large island. There are several things to see:
  • If you travel almost directly west from the southern exit of Quagmire Cave you'll come to a small cape that almost touches another cape to the west. This path will eventually be bridged and give you access to the Dragonlord's castle. You're still a ways off from that, however.
  • If you travel south, hugging the east side of the island and going around two mountain ranges, you'll find a lake in the middle of the island. Here is the town of Rimuldar, which we'll be visiting next. If you're running through here under-leveled with the intention of getting Magic Keys, you'll want to rush to Rimuldar post-haste.
  • South of Rimuldar is a small island that will eventually be important to your journey, though for now entering the shrine on the island will just get you ejected. This island is populated by Gold Golems, and though they're a bit tough to beat at this stage in the game doing so will earn you 650 gold. If you want to buy good gear ahead of time, this is the place to pad your wallet. 
Rimuldar is your next destination, and you should head here first and foremost. The rest of this island can wait.

The hero speaks to an NPC in Rimuldar, an NPC in Dragon Quest.


Rimuldar is your typical hamlet, and if it weren't for one very important feature you would probably not come back here after the first visit. Time to look around.
  • Just north of the entrance is the Armory. The equipment available here is a step up from Kol, though you probably can't afford a Steel Broadsword yet, let alone any of the armor. The Iron Armour at least is a solid acquisition if you level up around Rimuldar and earn enough money.
  • Standing just north of the Armory is a merchant who serves as the Item Shop. He's useful for the purchase of Chimaera Wings, given that you'll be coming back to Rimuldar a few times.
  • There are two homes west of these shops. In the first is a dresser containing a Chimaera Wing.
  • The Inn is south of the entrance. There are two locked doors that we will get to momentarily.
The hero purchases Magic Keys from a secret shop in Rimuldar, a town in Dragon Quest.

There are two more buildings in Rimuldar. One is home to a bunch of NPCs with useful info, but no items, while the other, in the northwest, has no obvious entrance. If you walk to the eastern edge of Rimuldar where you came in you can travel north, along the edge of the town's outer edges, without actually leaving Rimuldar. Make your way to the northwest building and inside you'll find a man who will sell you Magic Keys for 16 gold coins. You can hold six Magic Keys at one time, and you should max out your inventory of them every time you visit Rimuldar. Also in this man's shop are two pots, one containing 121 gold and the other a Seed of Resilience.

Now that you have a store of Magic Keys you need to revisit a few places. Let's do some backtracking.

The hero uses a Magic Key to open a locked door in Tantegel Castle, the starting location in Dragon Quest.

Magic Keys

There are many locked doors throughout Dragon Quest, and you can use Magic Keys to open them. Beyond you'll find treasure, helpful NPCs, or important items needed to progress in your journey. We'll have a look around the visited world and see what we can find behind these doors. Note that locked doors will be locked again when you exit to the world map and return, so make sure you complete your business in each one or you'll need to expend more Magic Keys.

Magic Keys - Rimuldar

First up are the doors inside the Inn of Rimuldar. Beyond the two of them you'll find a chest containing a Seed of Life. Make sure you buy two replacement Magic Keys before you leave Rimuldar.

The hero prepares to claim the Sunstone, an important item in Dragon Quest. The Sunstone is located beneath Tantegel Castle.

Magic Keys - Tantegel Castle

On the west side of Tantegel Castle is a locked room with four chests inside, as well as a guard. The chests contain 337 coins, a Seed of Magic, a Seed of Agility, and a replacement Magic Key.

In the northeast of Tantegel Castle is a door leading to a number of NPCs. A merchant out here will sell you additional Magic Keys, though he'll charge 24 gold per Magic Key rather than 16 gold. South of him is a priest who will fully restore your HP for free, as well as a stretch of blue flooring that you should not try to cross right now. It will decimate your health for no good reason.

In addition to what you found above in Tantegel Castle you can find one of the game's key items with a Magic Key. Skirt along the edge of the castle walls south of the Magic Key vendor that you just met. You'll find stairs in the south. Below the castle is an old man guarding the Sunstone, which you'll need to reach the Dragonlord's castle. Inside the two dressers in this room are a Medicinal Herb and a Seed of Life

You won't need the Sunstone for a while, so you should drop it off in the Bank in Tantegel Castle Town to free up some space in your inventory.

Magic Keys - Tantegel Castle Town

There are two doors in Tantegel Castle Town, but only one of them is useful. If you use a Key to enter the top-right building in Tantegel Castle Town you'll find a nun who will sell you Holy Water. When used Holy Water will ward off random encounters with weak monsters. These make traveling to distant locations a little less annoying, though on the whole Holy Water isn't terribly useful since it wears off quickly.

Magic Keys - Kol

As with Tantegel Castle Town there are two locked doors in Kol, and, again, you should only be opening one of them. Use the side path in the northwest of Kol to enter the building in the southwest, then, if you wish, use a Key on the room with the old man. He'll tell you about the Faerie Flute - which you can also pick up in Kol - and direct you to Cantlin, a town to the south. You'll need the Flute to enter Cantlin. (So, yes, you don't really need to use up a Magic Key talking to him. The walkthrough will do.)

The hero faces down a Green Dragon in Quagmire Cave, a location in Dragon Quest. The Green Dragon guards the princess of Tantegel Castle.

In addition to everything listed above you can now technically head back to Quagmire Cave and try to fight the boss beyond the locked door. Unless you've done a lot of grinding, however, you likely can't beat the thing just yet. We'll tackle it after taking on two more dungeons, and those will take us to Galenholm, a town near Tantegel Castle.

The hero vitis Galenholm, a town in Dragon Quest.


Head back to Tantegel Castle and head north to the coast, then west. Before long you'll find Galenholm, a small settlement that you may well have already visited. Now that you have Magic Keys in your inventory - as well as a few more levels - you can make use of this town. There are a few things to find, if you didn't pick them up already.
  • Galenholm has the usual Inn, Armory, and Item Shop. The only new item that's worth getting, if you have the money, is the Iron Shield from the Armory (though you can also get one for free in the next dungeon, if you're willing to wait). A few Torches might not hurt, either, assuming you don't yet know the Glow spell at level 9.
  • In the north of Galenholm is a large, locked building. Inside you'll find a bunch of NPCs, as well as three chests containing a Copper Sword, a Torch, and 630 gold. If you want to be efficient you will not enter this place until after you've completed the next dungeon.
  • Also inside the locked northern building is an old woman inside a locked room. She'll give you another Magic Key. Thanks?
Check along the wall north of the woman in the locked room. There's a hidden path three spaces from the left that will take you to a path behind the building, leading to Galen's Grave, a multi-floor dungeon. We'll explore it after going through another, smaller dungeon that will beef up our character a bit more.

The hero approaches Craggy Cave, an optional location in Dragon Quest.

Head south from Galenholm. After crossing a bridge and reaching about the middle of the map you'll see a poisonous swamp to the east. Wander around it and you'll find a cave. This is Craggy Cave, an optional dungeon that you should nevertheless enter to get some experience and a few items.

A map to Craggy Cave, an optional dungeon in Dragon Quest.

Craggy Cave
  • Ghost
  • Lunatick
  • Prestidigitator
  • Skeleton
  • Drackyma
  • Legerdeman
  • Drohl Drone (Recommended level 7+)
  • Fightgeist (Recommended level 8+)
After the extremely-straightforward Quagmire Cave, Craggy Cave is a bit of a pain. This is the first place in Dragon Quest where you will probably want to use a Torch (or, if you've reached level 9, the Glow spell). Quagmire Cave is not that long, but it's easy to get lost in the darkened hallways. Follow the red line on the map above, starting with the stairs near the pool of water in the upper-left corner of the first map, to reach the end with a minimum of fuss. Or, if you want to do some sightseeing along the way:
  • Go left past the large pool of water on the first floor rather than heading south. You'll find a chest at a dead end containing 349 gold.
  • There are four chambers in the north of the second floor that you'll be passing by on the way to the end. The middle two contain 536 gold and a Torch.
  • The east-west and north-south hallways connected to the final chamber of Craggy Cave lead to chests. The hallway to the east of the final chamber contains an Iron Shield, while the southbound passage to the west of the final chamber leads to a Seed of Strength and a Seed of Magic. All three items are worth getting.
If you walk off the path laid out above you may run into a locked door. Don't waste a Magic Key on it, as you'll be taken into a corridor the walkthrough's path is connected to anyway.

The hero discovers the Warrior's Ring, an item inside Craggy Cave, an optional dungeon in Dragon Quest.

When you reach the end of the line you'll find a chest containing a Warrior's Ring. This is a handy accessory that will boost your character's combat power, giving you more oomph with your weapon strikes. Between that and the levels you'll gain fighting monsters down here, you'll be much better equipped for your journey - and, more specifically, to head to the next dungeon.

If you've reached level 12 - unlikely, but possible - you'll know the Evac spell. You can use this to instantly leap out of Craggy Cave and return to the world map. If not you'll need to backtrack the way you came to exit. Head back to Tantegel Castle to save.

The hero approaches the entrance to Galen's Grave, a dungeon on the Edge of Galenholm in Dragon Quest.

Your next destination is Galen's Grave, the dungeon beneath Galenholm. It's larger than Craggy Cave, and the enemies are a bit tougher. To get inside and through it you'll need a minimum of two Magic Keys. You may also want to head back west and spend the gold you've been accumulating on better weapons and armor. A Steel Broadsword from Rimuldar isn't a terrible idea, and if you have an abundance of cash getting the Full Plate Armour will make it very difficult for any upcoming enemies to badly injure you. 

Head back to Galenholm, head into the northern building, and check the upper wall on the left to find the secret passage to Galen's Grave. An old man standing outside it will offer a warning, then disappear. Ominous. Ready for another trek through the dark?

A map to Galen's Grave, a dungeon in Dragon Quest.

Galen's Grave
  • Legerdeman
  • Drohl Drone
  • Drackyma
  • Bewarewolf
  • Drohl Diabolist - Third floor (Recommended level 11+) - Use Fizzle
  • Spitegeist - Third floor (Recommended level 11+) - Use Fizzle
  • Skeleton Soldier - Third floor (Recommended level 12+) - Use Fizzle
Your trip through Galen's Grave is pretty similar to the trip through Craggy Cave, just longer. The Grave is four levels deep, and your objective is on the third. Follow the red line above, starting around the middle of the first floor, and make your way deeper and deeper. Once you reach the third level the difficulty level will jump, and the enemies you face will start using spells. The Skeleton Soldiers that can use Heal on themselves are the most dangerous of the bunch. Once you reach level 10 you can use the Fizzle, preventing enemies from using spells.

There are things to see along the way, if you're willing to make some side trips:
  • The main path takes you east of the entrance, then south. If you go north first you'll find passages leading to a treasure room. The chests inside contain a Seed of Life, 537 gold, and a Magic Key.
  • The trip through the second floor requires you to make a long walk west, then south. At the point where you need to turn south you'll find stairs. Go down them and follow the connecting passages west, past a small water pit, until you wind up on the western edge of the map. North of here you'll find a chest containing 337 gold.
The hero discovers the Lyre of Ire, an item located inside Galen's Grave, a dungeon in Dragon Quest.

At the end of Galen's Grave you'll come to a chest containing the Lyre of Ire. When used on the world map the Lyre of Ire will instantly summon a monster native to the area you're in, making it useful for leveling your character if you don't feel like walking around in circles. 

A shrine near Kol. Inside the shrine is the Staff of Rain, a vital item in Dragon Quest.

Make your way back out of Galen's Grave. If you don't need the Lyre you can trade it for an important item right away. Head to the town of Kol, northeast of Tantegel, then check along the coast west of Kol. You'll see a shrine on the opposite coast, reachable by following the water south until the land veers west, through a forest-filled mountain range. Inside the range is an old man, and he'll give you the Staff of Rain in exchange for the Lyre of Ire. You need this item to reach the Dragonlord's Castle, though for now you can stow it in the Bank in Tantagel Castle Town.

At this point in Dragon Quest you have a choice between two destinations, both of which you'll need to visit eventually. You'll save time by heading back east to start.

The hero battles a Green Dragon to rescue Princess Gwaelin, an important NPC in Dragon Quest.

Rescuing Princess Gwaelin

If you've been speaking to NPCs you'll have learned that Gwaelin, princess of Tantegel Castle, has gone missing. You've walked past her a few times, now, and not known it, as she's being held captive by a Green Dragon, the boss of Quagmire Cave. Assuming you have a Steel Broadsword, some good armor (Full Plate Mail is most likely), and a level around 12, you should be capable of defeating the Green Dragon. Don't forget to bring a Magic Key along to open the door into its lair. The Green Dragon will do upwards of 20 points of damage per turn, so you'll want to heal any time your health approaches the mid 20s.

With the Green Dragon out of the way you'll be able to rescue Princess Gwaelin. Carry her back to Tantegel Castle and present her to the king. She'll seat herself on the other throne in his throne room, and you'll receive the Princess's Pledge. When used the Princess's Pledge tells you how much experience you need to reach the next level, and using the Pledge in the field will tell you how many steps away you are from Tantegel Castle. You'll need it soon.

While you're in the east you might want to check out the south of Rimuldar, for money-harvesting purposes.

The hero battles a Gold Golem, a lucrative enemy in Dragon Quest.

Southern Rimuldar Region
  • Gold Golem (Recommended level 12+)
  • Skeleton Scrapper (Recommended level 12+)
  • Scarewolf (Recommended level 12+)
Head south of Rimuldar. The enemies down here are a bit stronger than near Rimuldar, but if you've been through Galen's Grave you shouldn't have any trouble. The Gold Golems here will allow you to quickly build up enough money to purchase Full Plate Armor from Rimuldar. You can also buy Magic Armor for more than double the price, which restores your health as you walk, though it won't be that long before you can get the best armor in the game for free. So. Only get either of these Armors if you're having trouble with the Green Dragon.

On the southeastern island you'll find a small shrine. You ultimately need to come here and present the old man within the Sunstone and the Staff of Rain. Until you have a third item, however, he won't even speak to you. You'll need to check the lands to the west first. Use either Rimuldar or Galen's Grave to boost your character to level 14 or above, then head back to the Bank in Tantegel Castle Town and retrieve both the Faerie Flute and the Princess's Pledge, if you stowed either of them.

The hero explores the area near Damdara, a ruined town in Dragon Quest.

World Map - Damdara Region
  • Chimaera (Recommended level 12+)
  • Dark Skeleton (Recommended level 15+)
  • Knight Errant (Recommended level 15+)
  • Metal Slime (Recommended level 16+)
Travel to the poison swamp near Craggy Cave, then keep going south, following the curve of the land. You'll see a mountain range nearby, and a bridge beside it. South of here is a desert with a town. This is Damdara, a settlement that has been overrun by monsters. The creatures inside are a bit stronger than on the world map, though still manageable. That said, there's a monster here called the Knight Aberrant that is guarding a very powerful piece of equipment, and unless you are extraordinarily lucky (or have overleveled yourself) you can't beat it right now. We'll come back to Damdara in the near future.

The hero battles a Metal Slime in Dragon Quest. Metal Slimes yield up a nice amount of experience when defeated.

As you explore south of Damdara you'll start to come across Metal Slimes. Though not a significant danger to you, Metal Slimes should be taken seriously, as they grant you more experience than any non-boss monster in Dragon Quest. They only have 3 HP, but each of your non-critical hits will only inflict one point of damage - and they're quick to run away. Spells don't work on them (outside the NES version, anyway) so all you can do is attack and hope for the best. Despite how annoying they can be, Metal Slimes are easily the best monster to kill for leveling purposes in Dragon Quest.

The hero explores the area near Cantlin, a town in Dragon Quest.

World Map - Cantlin Region
  • Tearwolf (Recommended level 14+)
  • Hocus Chimaera (Recommended level 14+) - Use Fizzle
  • Vis Mager (Recommended level 14+) - Use Fizzle
  • Cosmic Chimaera (Recommended level 15+)
  • Green Dragon (Recommended level 16+)
The final town we'll visit in Dragon Quest is Cantlin. Located far to the south of Tantegel Castle, Cantlin is easily the most difficult place to find if you don't know where you're going. There's an entire mountain path to the north of it that takes you on a much longer path than is necessary, and it's much more visible than the shorter path to the south.

Follow the continent south of Damdara until the desert ends. You'll see a bridge to the east. Ignore this bridge and continue south until you reach the coast. Beside a mountain range you'll find another bridge leading east. Travel northeast until you see another bridge. Ignore this bridge and keep going northeast until you see a fourth bridge, leading into a poisonous swamp. South of the swamp is Cantlin.

The hero battles a Golem, the defender of the town of Cantlin in Dragon Quest.

Cantlin appears to be just another town, but when you approach you'll run into a Golem. Use the Faerie Flute on the Golem to put it to sleep, then beat it down. Use the Faerie Flute again whenever it wakes up. You don't want to get into a normal fight with this thing, as it can do more than 40 points of damage with a single hit.

The hero explores Cantlin, a town in Dragon Quest.


One of the more significant towns in Dragon Quest, Cantlin has some of the best items to collect, and is well worth a visit. Time to have a look around:
  • There's an Armory right near the entrance of Cantlin, though it sells a bunch of low-tier items at this point. Another Armory in the southeast of town is a bit better, but is similarly behind the times. The Armory you want is in the locked house on the east side of Cantlin. The vendor sells the Fire Blade and the Silver Shield, both of which are quite powerful - and very expensive. The Silver Shield is the best in the game, while the Fire Blade is second only to a sword you won't get until you reach the final dungeon, so you'll ultimately want both. Also in this shop is a man who sells Magic Keys.
  • There are Item Shops on the east and west side of Cantlin, and they both sell the same items. Very useful.
  • The Inn is right by the entrance of Cantlin. Inside it is a chest of drawers containing a Seed of Resilience.
  • In the northwest corner of Cantlin is a Bank for storing your items. It's connected to the Bank in Tantegel Castle Town, so anything you stored there will be available in Cantlin, and vice versa. If you stored the Princess's Pledge earlier you should pick it up now. You can also put the Faerie Flute in here, if putting enemies to sleep is not typically part of your battle strategy.
The hero approaches the weapon shop in Cantlin, a town in Dragon Quest.
  • In the southwest of Cantlin is a house with two locked doors, though you only need one Key to get inside. A man in here will give you a hint about Damdara, the town you passed earlier. Check the dresser in his home for a replacement Magic Key.
  • In the southeast of Cantlin is the aforementioned subpar Armory, as well as a nun who will sell you Holy Water. By this point you probably know the Holy Protection spell (level 15), and won't need Holy Water clogging up your inventory. Attached to this building is a small room with a dresser containing a Seed of Magic.
  • In the south of Cantlin is a large, contained building that you can enter on the left side. It leads to a series of blue tiles that will inflict 14 points of damage every time you step on one. Ouch. Keep a close eye on your HP and use Heal whenever your health is low. The old man on the other side will give you a vital clue as to your next destination. (So, yeah, with the walkthrough in hand, you don't need to come through here.)
Spend some time in the areas around Cantlin leveling up your character and earning gold to buy, at minimum, the Fire Blade, if not also the Silver Shield. By the time you've collected enough gold and gotten both items you'll be more than strong enough to tackle the rest of the game.

The hero discovers the Mark of Erdrick, an important item in Dragon Quest.

Mark of Erdrick

You'll probably be wondering why you've come all the way out to Cantlin by this point, and the answer is the swamps to the south of Cantlin. Travel back across the bridge to the north of Cantlin, walk southwest, then cross the eastbound bridge that you ignored earlier. You'll wind up on the south side of the mountain range near Cantlin. The swamps are down here.

Travel through the first bog, across the single-tile connecting spar, and into the swamp to the east. Pull out the Princess's Pledge and check your current coordinates, using them to navigate yourself to the tile of the swamp that is 70 tiles south and 40 tiles east of Tantegel Castle. Check your feet on this exact tile to receive the Mark of Erdrick, a key item needed to progress through Dragon Quest.

You now have just about everything you need to proceed to the end of the game. Before you leave Cantlin, however, you may want to level your character to 17. This will give you access to Midheal, a better healing spell that will prove much more useful against the final group of enemies. It will also be very handy against the next enemy in line.

The hero battles the Knight Aberrant, a powerful enemy living in the ruined town of Damdara, a location in Dragon Quest.


Once you've reached level 16 - or 17, if you want the Midheal safeguard - you should make a return trip to Damdara. The enemies within the town limits should all be familiar by now, save for one. Check the southeast side of the ruins and you'll see a sparkle on the ground, across a patch of poison swamp. Try to cross the poison and you'll run into a new, powerful enemy: The Knight Aberrant. 

Capable of doing upwards of 30 points of damage per swing, depending on your level and armor, the Knight Aberrant will swiftly kill your character if you try to challenge him too early in the game. He can also put your character to sleep, giving the Knight space to hack you to death. Start the fight with Fizzle so the Knight Aberrant can't cast spells, then smack him around, healing whenever you approach 30 points of health. Midheal will make this fight much easier if you care to heal up that much, though you can make do with Heal. The Fire Blade and Silver Shield from Cantlin will make the fight much easier.

Defeat the Knight Aberrant and you can get at the sparkle, which turns out to be Erdrick's Armor. The best armor in the game, Erdrick's Armor provides the most protection, cuts down on breath and spell damage from enemies, protects you from the effects of damaging tiles, and restores a point of your health with every step. You absolutely want this legendary armor before you take on the Dragonlord's Castle.

The hero crosses the bridge to the Dragonlord's Castle, the final dungeon of Dragon Quest.

Reaching the Dragonlord's Castle

Now that you've reached level 17+, collected Erdrick's Armor, and have all of the important items in the game, it's time to create a bridge to the Dragonlord's Castle. Pay a visit to the Bank and collect the Staff of Rain, the Sunstone, and the Mark of Erdrick. Grab at least two Magic Keys, as well. (You may also want to stow the Princess's Pledge and the Faerie Flute. They won't be that useful going forward.) 

Take these three items east, traveling to Rimuldar, then to the island in the south. The shrine you (probably) saw earlier is still here, and with the Staff, the Sunstone, and the Mark in your inventory the old man within fashion the Rainbow Drop. Take the Rainbow Drop northwest of Rimuldar and use it beside the small gap between this continent and the next island over. It will create a bridge, allowing you to reach the island beyond. The Dragonlord's Castle awaits.

A map to the Dragonlord's Castle, the final dungeon in Dragon Quest.

Dragonlord's Castle
  • Vis Mager - Use Fizzle
  • Cosmic Chimaera
  • Green Dragon
  • Stone Golem
  • Blue Dragon
  • Knight Aberrant - Use Fizzle
  • Red Dragon (Fifth Basement) - Use Fizzle
  • Knight Abhorrent (Seventh Basement) - Use Fizzle
A big step up in terms of difficulty, the Dragonlord's Castle is eight levels of dungeon exploration. Without a map it's very, very easy to get lost in here, and most of the levels you'll explore are devoid of useful items. Unless you don't care about your gold count, it's wise to always make sure you always have at least 6 MP so you can use the Evac spell to escape. If you have Erdrick's Armor you can generally avoid healing and keep your MP nice and high, which is an absolute necessity for defeating the Dragonlord.

The map above will lead you through the Dragonlord's Castle, to the Dragonlord's throne. There are things to note along the way, as well, that you shouldn't miss:
  • The first floor is a standard castle layout. Make your way into the throne room in the north and you'll find a sparkle behind the throne. Checking it will reveal a staircase, and of the three on this floor this one is the one you want to use. You'll need to use the first Magic Key on the next floor.
  • When you reach the third basement you'll start out in the south, and the staircase will be wedged between two sections of wall. To proceed forward you need to go east. If you go west first you'll find a dead end with a pair of chests. They contain a Medicinal Herb and 500 gold.
The hero discovers Erdrick's Sword, the most powerful weapon available in Dragon Quest. Erdrick's Sword is located in the Dragonlord's Castle.
  • The fourth basement will start you off in the northwestern corner of the area, and you need to go southeast to proceed. Go south first and you'll see a set of stairs on the other side of the wall to your right. Go around the wall to get at it and the stairs will take you back upstairs. Keep following the straightforward passages beyond and they will eventually bring you to a chest containing Erdrick's Sword. This is the most powerful weapon in the game, and will make the battles to come much easier.
  • If you're headed in the right direction the fifth basement will be a straightforward walk to the next floor. If you're headed in the wrong direction, however, the path will continually loop back on itself. Go back up the stairs the way you came and backtrack to find the proper path.
  • Once you reach the final level the lights will come back on, and you'll need to follow a path north and along the edges of the castle to reach your destination. Before you swing left from the entrance you can head north to find a locked room filled with treasure chests. Use a Magic Key to get inside and retrieve the contents of the chests: A Wasteband (don't equip this thing, it is cursed), a Seed of Magic, a Medicinal Herb, a total of 924 gold, a Magic Key, and a Chimaera Wing. Two of the chests are empty.
The hero encounters the Dragonlord, chief enemy of humanity in Dragon Quest.

At the end of the path on the seventh floor of the Dragonlord's Castle you'll come across the man himself. Keen to avoid a fight, the Dragonlord will offer to divide Alefgard between the two of you, and if you accept his offer you'll be sent back to Tantegel Castle and need to make the trip again. Turn him down twice and the final fight begins.

The hero battles the Dragonlord, the final boss of Dragon Quest.

The Dragonlord

The most difficult enemy in Dragon Quest, the Dragonlord is split up over two phases. The first is his more humanoid phase, while the second is his true, draconic form. The blue-faced human Dragonlord is no big deal and will be defeated quickly, but at 361 HP and boasting higher defenses the true Dragonlord can take a little while to defeat. 

The hero battles the true form of the Dragonlord, the final boss of Dragon Quest.

Still, this fight is pretty straightforward. The Dragonlord's first form is only annoying if he decides to use the Snooze spell and it manages to stick. Fizzle doesn't work against this form, so just keep your health in at least the 80s so if Snooze does land you likely won't be killed by his attacks. Once the Dragonlord turns into a proper dragon his attacks will do between 30 and 50 health apiece even with the best equipment, so you'll need to use Midheal every few turns to stay alive. The fight takes a while, so hopefully you've preserved your MP while walking through the castle. You'll need a good chunk of it to survive.

Defeating the Dragonlord will earn you the Sphere of Light, and you'll be sent back out of the Dragonlord's Castle. All random battles will be disabled, allowing you free passage back to Tantegel Castle. You can also wander around the land and speak to the NPCs to see what they have to say now that the Dragonlord is defeated. Return to Tantegel Castle and the king will congratulate you, permitting you - and the princess, if you saved her - to head off on a new kind of adventure. You've completed Dragon Quest! Well done!