Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Game 20: Dragon Warrior II (NES) - Search For Keys and Crests

With the help of Unfy, who pointed me towards a copy of the map inserted with the original game, I've cracked the world wide open. Really I was only missing the location of the island city viewed from the monolith on the other side of the water teleporter in Midenhall. But, before I get there let's review just how lost I was without it.
I'll just explore this land and... oh god, why?
First of all I found the Moon Tower south of Tuhn, but it was surrounded by water not connected to the sea (and there aren't any towers to jump off of so I can float to the other side). I discovered the town of Beran on the large island to the southwest. Not much to speak of there.
Some rude fellow accosted me because I forgot to wind my sundial
I did find the sunken treasure, and returned it to the merchant in Lianport. For my trouble I got an Echo Flute. I played it, but it didn't echo. I later learned there is only an echo if there is a crest nearby. What's a crest you ask? I have no clue.
What great prizes! What do they do?
I even spent some time playing the lottery, which may factor into the game, but at the moment it seems to only offer bonus items. I have yet to win anything other than additional lottery tickets, much like the real lottery. I gave Charlock a spin, but the enemies were much too difficult at this point.
I even explored the Alefgard cavern, and it's now just a long tunnel
Finally, when I reached the island city of Zahan the world became my oyster due to one item: the Gold Key. There were no less than 10 doors to open with it, although about half took me in circles and some I noted were two sides of the same door. The most notable are pictured below:
She has monopoly on Dew's Yarn, but instead of selling it she just tells me to get it myself
The King of Tatengel Castle hiding away lends me no help; maybe I need to find his hope
We will only give you Erdrick's Shield once you find the key, we've misplaced it and locked our sage inside
Erdrick's Token was equally secure behind a gold door. Poor guard was locked in as well
Osterfair Castle also became easily accessible through the teleporter in the monolith south of Midenhall. In this castle I found Gaia Armor hiding in a weapon shop. It wasn't exactly on the 'for sale' list, but I figured I'd help myself since I'm out saving the world. This kind of stuff wouldn't fly in Ultima though. When I spoke to the king here, he challenged me to face a fearsome beast. My reward for besting it was the Moon Crest.
A second crest is basically handed to the party when an NPC says it's at the fire monolith
Two out of five crests collected and I still have no idea what they're good for. According to the manual, there are five: Sun, Star, Moon, Water, and Life. Life is supposedly on the path to Rhone, so I guess I'm searching for Water and Star at the moment. What I really need though is some kind of direction...
Yeah, I supposes that will do
From this point, things just started falling into place. Another door opened up the town of Wellgarth. I was able to purchase the Jailer Key from a shady merchant.
Please buy my unspecified inconspicuous nonexistent wares
The Jailer Key was the last key I needed to gain access to all doors. I was still missing the Watergate Key, but that was last seen in the hands of Roge Fastfinger. The jailer in town mentioned he had him locked up, but that was no longer the case. Remembering the jail in Midenhall, I returned there and confronted a minion of Hargon. My reward was a Staff of Thunder, which casts Inferno (damages a group of enemies) when invoked.
I returned to Tuhn to learn the master weaver is missing his Magic Loom
I was stumped for a tiny bit on the location of the loom before I remembered the town of Zahan was a fishing town. Braving the damaging floor of the local wizard, I discovered the loom hiding locked up in a side room. Providing the loom and yarn, and waiting the standard 6 - 8 week shipping period, I received my very own Water Flying Cloth. I was told specifically that the princess should wear it, so she is.
I even learned that I was cursed, but the free clinic couldn't help me
Feeling a little more up to the task, I headed to Charlock Castle. I had picked up a Dragon Killer sword for the main hero, and Magic armor for Lars. I also exchanged Erdrick's Token for his helm. Maybe I should have waited on that sword though, as the first treasure I discovered had Erdrick's Sword (what was it doing back here). Also waiting for me was the grandson of the Dragonlord.
He was a little more amiable compared to his grandfather
Well, now I knew what to do when I found all the crests. Where to look for them? I figured that tower to the south of Alefgard was a good place to start. This was confirmed when I played the Echoing Flute (which played a nice melody as it echoed back). The enemies here still are cause for concern, as a lucky blow from one of the Saber Tooths took out Lars in a single blow from max HP.
And... I still am slow on the trigger to capture these shots
At the end of the night, I was winding down from having little luck in the tower (I'm not even sure of the name). Then I recalled I still hadn't found Roge Fastfinger, and memory flashed that I would find the Watergate Key back in Wellgarth. I returned to Roge's empty jail cell and search the walls.
Door's wide open, just give me the key
With the Watergate Key, I returned to Tuhn to try to give it back. Once again I was struck with the odd occurrence that none of the NPCs changed their stories, "Roge stole our key and we want it back" is all I heard. As I wondered the town, I discovered a dog on the wrong side of a building. I hadn't thought to explore above the northern border of town.
But, it was her father's name!
In the same area, I found the water gate. It seemed to be holding back some flood waters. Releasing the gate caused a land bridge to flood and grant access to the Moon Tower. Great, another tower to explore.
Is this the prequel to Waterworld?
Even with the difficult encounters, the directionless narrative, and goals that seem just out of reach, I'm enjoying the game. That could potentially all come crashing to a halt once I gain access to Rhone, but for now I'm still in good spirits despite my slow progress.

Session Time: 4h56m (Total Time: 11h56m)


  1. "That could potentially all come crashing to a halt once I gain access to Rhone..."

    Oh it will. Dragon Warrior II is like a Stephen King novel: Good beginning and middle parts, terrible end.

    1. Please do keep hyping it up so it won't seem so bad when I get to that point.

    2. Eh, it's not so bad really. The enemies in Rhone are fully capable of killing your entire party before you get a chance to do anything (curse you Gold Baboons!), but Hargon's Castle is actually easier than Rhone, making getting there more difficult than being there. By the time I had sharpened my party against the Rhone wilderness I had unknowingly surpassed the endgame bosses and winning the game was a breeze.

    3. That seems like a strange balance.

    4. Sounds like Golden Sun, where the optional boss and enemies are far, far harder then the final tower and boss.

    5. Except the optional bosses in Golden Sun probably don't appear randomly on the way to the final boss. Harder optional bosses seems like trend that I remember starting with Final Fantasy VII and the special Weapon battles.

  2. I would say that the path to Rhone was a welcome change after the extreme open endedness after the ship. Sure, the difficulty ramps insanely yet again, but it's still a welcomed change IMHO heh.

    Given your RNG luck in Destiny of an Emperor (which I *still* don't believe btw), Rhone will either go easily or be impossible heh.

    You're doing fine in progressing. The fact that the game doesn't hold your hand and do a bunch of fanfare when you get an important quest item doesn't mean you're trudging along slowly. You have clues as to where quest items are, you have clues as to where the shrine of Rubis is, the cave you need something to enter it first, etc. You're making steady progress.

    Especially since you haven't put a hammer through your TV because of the ship music :(

    1. I'm not so sure... I have a good idea that one crest is in the tower south of Alefgard. The Moon Fragment is in the Moon Tower, which is either used to cross the shallow water surrounding the cave in the middle of the sea, or used at the bottom of a sole monolith standing on a single tile in the middle of the sea. I'm guessing that leads to another crest, but then I'm one crest short from getting to see Rubis.

      I guess I haven't fully explored the road to Rhone where the Life crest is supposed to be, so maybe that's easy to get. I have a vague memory that it's hiding in the jail cell of Beran with the two gremlin sprites, but I could be wrong. Should be pretty easy to track down in any case; I just need to play the flute everywhere I go. If that's all that's left, then is there really going to be 10 hours of grinding at the end game? Actually, that's about on par with the first Dragon Warrior.

      By slow progress I meant my playtime / days passed. I'm below my goal of 10 hours a week, and was expecting to be done by now back in September. I'm fairly immune to bad/repetitive music and sound effects, so my hammer is safely in my closet.

    2. I definitely grinded more than ten hours at the Rhone Monolith, I probably spent more like 25 to 30 hours leveling, but that wound up being overkill. The saving grace of Rhone is that dying doesn't matter any more, since you have nothing left to buy and you resurrect at the Rhone Monolith.

      If you wound up being sent back to a King when you died I'd have never finished the game at all.

    3. About the only thing I lacked buying was the Mink Coat. That alone seems like it'd take 10 hours of grinding. I think I'm just about to break through the cave and enter Rhone tonight. We'll see just how (much) hard(er) things get.