|Most useless feature goes to inns... better off gaining a level and saving up for a refresh to use on the boss|
|Any idea what a Zagnal is?|
So, here's how I (try to) reproduce it:
- Face an enemy and hold forward as if to move through them.
- Shift left and right while still holding forward resting for a moment facing the enemy.
- (Profit) Randomly clip through the enemy.
|I tried capturing the glitch in screenshots... here's how the wolf normally looks|
|The last frame we see the wolf as I pass through him and into his square|
Dungeon 4 - Current Best: 17:15
The longest of the early levels, this one is a pain to get a good time on. I'd thought this would be easy what with 3k gold in chests, but it's all hiding behind poison toads. They are terribly long to kill even with a long sword at level 8 or 9. Add on to that the fact that the boss is the most difficult of the level 1 dungeons (the dungeons are separated into 6 levels: 1-8, 9-14, 15-18, 19-20, 21, and 22). Even at level 12 I still had difficulty and needed 3 refreshes.
|About to die this time|
This level, so fast. This is probably the first level I'm really going to dive into and optimize. Introduced on this level are the invisible men. They're stupidly weak, easily defeated at level 1 with basic equipment, but give 16 experience and 20 gold. By far the best deal. I grind through the level, pick up a star jewel (sells for 200 gold) and purchase the best equipment plus a refresh. In no time I'm level 8, and raise to level 9 just outside the boss door. I may even try to get through this one at level 8. It's strange that the boss shares the same name and sprite as a normal sorcerer.
|Once again, thanks to nirexine for the original. Additions noted in red (Source: GameFAQs)|
This dungeon is where things really start to get interesting. No longer is there a good area for grinding. Instead the monsters are all mixed up. Imps and mummies standing next to slimes and skeletons. It's a bit touch and go initially. As soon as I grind to level 5 I can hit up the iron heads, buy the long sword, and clean up the tarantulas. Something a bit strange about this level, a couple of the iron heads actually respawn. Normally there are enemies which don't respawn at all, and in all previous levels (including a select few on this one) iron heads are one of those creatures. By level 11 I should have enough to purchase a refresh and take on the boss. I feel like I can tighten my path a lot on this level.
|So far bosses have very generic names|
There's a balance here, as in most dungeons, but here especially. I can potentially take on skeletons as early as level 4. I mean I can eventually defeat them. It's not until level 5 though that I tend to do so within a couple blows. Same with goblins and queen ants, both are encountered often in the early parts of the dungeons. Taking this further, the sylvan wolves and guarders here are potentially taken out at level 8 or 9, but to do so takes more time than I believe it's worth. I haven't tested, but if I can knock a full minute off the above time it'll tell me I should definitely put my focus on the quick kills rather than the larger payoffs. This is where routing optimization really comes into play. I have a general plan, which works, but is far from the best. It all comes down to timing each fight.
|Testing the waters in a new dungeon|
This is one of the riskiest levels. I dislike spending time grinding on lowly death spiders when sorcerers and king spiders (just as easily killed) offer much better rewards. I take my chances early on by taking out two goblins at level 4. I could potentially wait until level 5, have a much easier time (a guaranteed success), but this isn't about playing it safe; it's about grinding up as quickly as possible. Now does grinding to 5 get me through the goblins faster? That's a question I'll have to answer when I get back to this level. The time above includes one use of the glitch. The falcons on this level are a bit difficult, and have a high potential to hurt me even as I'm ready to face off with the boss. Knowing that, I've been taking my chances with a late glitch through one bird right before the boss door, and a couple attempts at the necromancer before hand (he doesn't hurt as much, but takes just as long to defeat).
|Each boss begins with a taunt|
Welcome to level 2 dungeons, we've increased the dungeon sizes threefold as well as boss strength. To give you an idea of the size (and also due to a couple corrections) here's the map for dungeon 9.
|Red X's mark where I removed a square, and white boxes are where I needed to add one (Source: GameFAQs)|
|The mighty Kraken... strangely when I looked back at the video my HP didn't decrease with this message (another glitch?)|
This dungeon is another where the glitch comes in very handy. There's a sylvan wolf that blocks the best store. It's the same one displayed in the screenshot where I try to capture the glitch in still screens. Normally it'd take all my HP at level 9 to bust through, but with 800 gold in hand I glitch through at level 8. At this level with the bastard sword and stone armor (really? stone?), I can easily take out the two in my path. Strangely the imps on this level respawn, unlike other levels, so I can grind quickly on the 100 exp encounters once I hit level 9 or 10. The boss is another tough one.A full 4 refreshes are needed at level 17. Also, don't let the map at GameFAQs fool you, the item marked as Berserker is just beef (a 20 HP healing item).
|Our first hint at a semi-coherent story|
Strange, but this boss is much easier than the previous two. I get to spend less time grinding due to five iron heads all in a row. Thanks to a 1k gold chest I glitch through a ghoul and mummy early to pick up the strong sword. This thing is a hot knife to the buttery goodness that are iron heads and hobgoblins. By the time I can get through the gremlins (level 13 minimum realistically, although 12 might work) I'm rushing for the key and then the boss... too bad they were put on opposite ends of the map. If only there were a glitch to move through the walls (I've tried, hasn't worked yet).
|Looks like only one face to me|
There are two useable items that increase attack (speed ring) and defense (defender). The difference in power is quite noticeable at low levels. Thankfully there is one of each early in the dungeon floor. One alone allows me to take out the goblins at level 4 instead of 5. I discovered a purchase of a long sword (instead of saving everything for the strong sword) allows me to break through early to the point past the death crows (marked in blue with white letters on the map).
|A small addition that matters little for the route. (Source: GameFAQs)|
|So, this is all happening in one kingdom? That is strange|
Oh my, the possibilities here. I believe getting an early long sword as soon as possible is necessary for the speed of the run. When I first looked at the map I picked up the 3k gold chest, bought the strong sword and silwer armor (sic), and headed off to grind for the boss. That may still be the best way, but this current time considers another route. I raced over to get the dragon armor, both the 2k and 3k gold chests, and grinded up another 1k by the time I reached the second shop. There I bought an earth shaker for 6k. There are useable attack items, and as far as I can tell, they all have unlimited uses. The earth shaker makes the boss and all other enemies ridiculously easy. I take out the boss as early as level 13 (I think the dragon armor protects me from most of the attacks).
|It's hard to judge attack strength when the game hides a few damage rolls like this|
The last of the level 2 dungeons seemed like a good place to stop for this post. This again has another use for the glitch. I use it to quickly get 300 gold from behind a gremlin. Due to the placement (not right next to the monster) I need to have success with the glitch twice. I may seek an alternative way, but getting through the shamans and death flies takes some time without it. Speaking of which, the latter guards a 5k gold chest that I use to buy a 4k Gradius (sic) and a full assortment of refreshes. The Bloody Armor is also nearby, which offers superior protection. Level 14 seems to be the minimum, but I may try to time level 13. Still, with the imps, the difference between the levels is very little. May even be faster to go to 15 before the boss.
|Maybe I should just throw all my gold at Durahan instead? I have enough of it|
At least the next set of dungeons don't triple in size again (not 'til dungeon 19 at least). I touched a bit on optimizing here, and I'll give a bit more focus on that and routing in my next post. I figure that and a won post will follow quickly. I'm looking forward to wrapping up the gaming year, so I've been going through a dungeons speedrun route only once before moving on. It'll probably take the rest of the year or longer to finally get a full speedrun of the game to an acceptable level. Once that happens I'll submit it to Speed Demos Archive, at which point anyone can come along and improve individual levels. Because it's a first submission, all levels need to be submitted at once this time. I hope I haven't bored anyone yet, but I probably have. Stick around though, this one is over soon.
Elapsed Time: 7h40m (Total Time: 10h15m)