Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (ドラゴンクエストIX 星空の守り人, Doragon Kuesuto Nain Hoshizora no Mamoribito) is a video game for the Nintendo DS released on July 11, 2009 in Japan. It is the ninth installment in the acclaimed Dragon Quest series by Yūji Horii, developed by Level-5 and published by Square Enix in Japan and Nintendo in North America. The game was primarily designed around multiplayer and to be able to sell well overseas, particularly the United States and Europe. The basic plot involves an ex-angel who has fallen to earth becoming a human.
Dragon Quest IX marks several firsts for the main series: it is the first to be initially launched for a handheld system; first to have no random encounters, instead the player can see the enemies on the map, (except when sailing); and the first to be designed primarily with the intent of being a multiplayer video game. In addition, it is the first Dragon Quest title to use a graphical menu system in the Japanese-language version. Dragon Quest IX was designed to be more difficult than any previous game in the series, including spinoff titles.
The sales of Dragon Quest IX set new records in Japan; these sales helped boost Nintendo's earnings and have impacted future plannings by the company. Dragon Quest IX set a Guiness World Record with its Chance Encounter mode surpassing 100 million people communicating anonymously as reported on May 20th, 2010.
Dragon Quest IX begins in a kingdom where angels, including the main protagonist, reside. The main character begins as a guardian angel who has just undertaken protection of a human village. These angels have been trying for some time to move into the God's Land. However, before they can leave, they require a fruit called the Goddess fruit. The fruit is very rare and the "World Tree" it grows on must be empowered with "Star Auras, which are obtained by helping people in the mortal world."
By helping and protecting his town and earning their thanks, the main character obtains enough Star Auras for the World Tree to produce the Goddess Fruit. Just as the celestial train that will take the angels to the kingdom of God arrives, the kingdom of angels is attacked from below by a mysterious and powerful force. The force scatters the assembled angels and knocks the Goddess Fruit, the celestial train, and the main character down to the mortal world.
The main character awakens without wings or a halo and finds he has been rescued from the base of the waterfall in the town he formerly protected. As he comes to he learns a little about his fall and the great earthquake that happened at the same time. Having lost most of his angel's powers, but not his memory or the ability to see deceased and magical spirits, he travels about trying to find a way back to the kingdom of angels. During an adventure to reconnect his village to the nearby castle after landslides caused by the great earthquake, the main character finds the broken down celestial train and its faerie driver, Sandy. Sandy promises to help the main character return to the kingdom of angels if he can prove he is one.
By helping humans, the main character gathers Star Auras though he can no longer see them. His ability to aid and protect the humans convinces Sandy who, restoring power to the celestial train with the Star Auras, helps the main character return to the kingdom of angels. Upon his return, the main character discovers that the Goddess Fruit has also fallen to the human world and that many angels have been dispatched to find them, though no one has yet returned. His prayers to become an angel again are unanswered but a vision is presented to the main character as he stands before the World Tree. Taking the vision as a sign, the main character is charged with returning to the human world to help collect the Goddess Fruit.
As the main character travels the human world in search of the Goddess Fruit he finds that the fruit have the ability to grant those who eat it any wish. Unfortunately, the wishes are not always fulfilled in the way they were expected and those who eat the fruit succumb to strange and demented ways. It is the hero's mission to travel from land to land, finding and battling those possessed by the Goddess Fruit's power. As he defeats their twisted form, the main character sets the possessed free and regains the Goddess Fruit one by one.