Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Game 30: Dragon Warrior III (NES) - Here, There Be Dragons

Uhhh, what! That's a thing?
Oh that feeling of loading up a file and staring down memory corruption. Luckily I was playing on adventure log 1, but I've now made it a habit of ending the night with a safety copy to both log 2 and 3. I'm not sure what I would have done if it were my current saved game. Let's just not go there.
blah, blah, blah, GO SOUTH
A shrine south of Portoga had the man pictured above. He gave me a quest to find 6 orbs scattered throughout the world, and told me about the towns of Tedanki, Baharata (which I'd already found), and Jipang. I found them in that order as described around the coast of the continent. Finally with a little more direction I set out in search of the orbs. I arrived at Tedanki at night after exploring a small inlet. There I learned of the final key, which would allow me to open jail doors. The town of Lancel, south of Baharata was my next stop.
Looks pretty destroyed to me, but at least everyone survived... right?
I didn't quite get the "joke" until I spent a night at the inn. In the morning, the town of Tedanki was deserted. Not a single soul was left alive in this town. Baramos had come. He had destroyed. The local prison, which had a guard and prisoner at night, now had only a body with a message scrawled on the wall: 'I wanted to give someone the Orb'. The first orb was here, but first I needed that final key. I picked up a lamp of darkness for my trouble.
Is this the same volcanic crater where the battle took place between the dragon and Ortega?
I worked my way around the shore, and came across the volcanic crater mentioned in Tedanki. I have a feeling this is the same one from the intro. There wasn't anything I could do in this area though, so I moved on to Baharata and then south. Lancel sat on a small island with relatively weak enemies. There was also a cave in the middle surrounded by mountains, except for a one tile spot blocked by the town. The way the over world works when you exit a town or castle is it always places the party right on top of it, except in the case of this town. So, that cave is currently off-limits it seems (it really wasn't, but I'll get back to that in the next post).
Even an invisible party can't bypass the town
Inside Lancel I found some equipment upgrades, and a rumor about a vase that could lower the tides. Located in the castle of Eginbear, northeast of Portoga, I wonder why I was directed to Lancel. Well, it seems Eginbear are hoity-toity royals that don't allow country bumpkins like me to waltz right in. Lancel's tool shop offers invisibility herbs. Using them conceals the party for a short time. It can make navigating a bit difficult, but the guard never saw me coming.
Good thing they didn't have a one tile-wide hallway
The main attraction for Eginbear was the vase. Someone mentioned a shrine that sunk into the ocean, now marked by shoals. I supposed that's where I use the vase. The only problem was locating it. Actually, that wasn't much of a problem. In the basement were three boulders and a white tiled area... you can probably see where I'm going with this.
Now you can definitely see it
I managed to squeeze those boulders into the room; doing so opened a secret passage to the vase. The vase didn't do much when not used at the proper spot, and I hadn't really seen any shoals yet. So, I headed off to Soo, a town to the far west of Eginbear said to be home to Indians. I managed to miss it and sail completely around the continent. During my exploration I came across a shrine with more travel doors, all barred on the other side by jail doors. A tower--which I left alone while I continued my search--and a pirate hideout (strangely vacant) were the only other stops before arriving at Soo.
I did find some shoals... just not the right ones
Soo, a play on Sioux I believe, was located in the middle of a reproduction of North America. I've slowly come to the realization that the world map resembles Earth. From Soo, I learned of a new settlement on the east coast. Greenlad to the north (covered in ice) was home to a wizard. Someone else mentioned the Echoing Flute in a nearby tower, which now sounds with a repeating tune when orbs are present (crests are so last game).
A horse is a horse of course, of course
I stopped by the spot on the east coast where a town was supposed to be, but only found a single old man who mentioned that he wanted to build a town. He couldn't do it alone though, and asked the party for help in finding a merchant (any level would do). I noted it for later; I was still on a mission to get the final key. I took Ed's advice and headed west. I soon found some shoals in the middle of the ocean. The Vase of Drought raised a shrine from the ocean depths. The only thing beyond the key was a talking skeleton who told me of a great pit name Giaga in the mountains of Necrogond (an area spoken of in Tedanki where Baramos resides).
This somehow represents exactly how I feel about finding this key
Finally! With the final key I went back through the areas I visited that had a jail door to open. The first was the shrine north of Baharata, where I thought I would be able to change my class. I was wrong. That shrine is actually called the Promotory of Olivia. Long ago, Olivia despaired; her beloved was lost at sea. She threw herself into the seas, and now her spirit calls back all ships that sail into the area. Her beloved's name was Errol, and it's believed having an item of his would calm her soul.
A ghost ship? This game has everything
I found a few other random bits of lore while traveling, but nothing really stood out as exceptional. The king of Samanao was said to have banished a local hero named Simon. I happened to enter Portoga at night and found that the horse is actually the long lost love of Sabrina, Carlos. The prisoner back a the start mentioned a Dragon Queen's castle. I followed the travel doors, but they all led back to the same loop. One of my last stops was Tedanki to pick up the prisoner's orb. It was a green orb.
I'm glad someone knows what I'm supposed to do with these orbs
I then explored by land; further east of Baharata, following the coast north after a while, I came upon Dhama, the shrine of class change. I tried to see what classes were available, but Celdia and Dryz were only level 19. Level 20 seemed to be a requirement. I received a scolding when trying to change the hero's class. (Who would ever want to give up being a hero?) Darkwing had just reached level 20 though, and had access to the Sage class. Finally the Goof-off would be slightly less useless. With my new level 1 sage I grinded out a couple levels. Once changed, all stats were cut in half, including HP.
I'm not really sure it works that way... but I admire your dreams
While grinding some levels I retired Celdia and subbed in Everhate, my merchant. I took a trip over the unnamed town, and delivered a new merchant for the town. From the grateful founder, I learned that the well of Soo had an item hidden at its base. I don't remember what I received from there, but it was probably good. I do have a Staff of Thunder that I can't quite place where I gained it. I picked up Celdia again, and started searching once more for the orbs.
I forgot about this hint for a good long while
I visited the pirate hideout once more, this time at night. I almost immediately forgot about the orb hint, or at least didn't bother to follow up on it right away. There was some talk of the phantom ship wandering the waters. The pirates had used a Sailor's Thigh Bone to locate it, but they'd already given the bone to the old man of Greenlad. Strangely, the pirate boss was a woman who spoke of the island of Luzami to the south west. The lone town on that island didn't offer any kind of shops. Really the only benefit of visiting was to learn of the Sword of Gaia, once held by the hero Simon, which when thrown in the volcano will allow me to progress.
An astronomer who claimed the world was round... I guess a torus is round
I took a trip to the far north and reached the spot on Greenlad where the old man appeared to live. The old man asked for the Staff of Change. The same one currently in the possession of the king of Samanao. I hadn't found Samanao at the time, but there was still a good part of the world to piece together. To the southwest of Greenlad was the town of Muor. A remote village once visited by Ortega, although the people there called him Papagatero. Apparently the hero's appearance was very similar to Ortega, and nearly everyone pointed it out. I wonder if the female version of the hero gets confused for her father as well.
While squirting people in the face is fun and all, I don't see how this helps me
A short trip south of Muor was Jipang, the town living under the shadow of the dragon Orochi. Here everyone was afraid for their daughters as Orochi required a tribute. One person let slip that Himiko, the spiritual leader of the town, had a crystal ball that might be an orb. Himiko was the one who selected the next sacrifice to appease Orochi. Without the right person, it's said he would attack and devour the entire town. When I questioned Himiko, she merely told me I must leave.
The first time I found something in a jar and it's only a woman
I felt I was a bit too early to attempt Orochi, so I moved back to the tower above Dhama. The Tower of Garuna was said to hold the Book of Satori--a book that unlocks the sage class. I explored for a bit, but realized the Echo Flute would be a better goal at this point. The tower that held it was between Muor and Soo. It didn't have anything more of interest, but I did fight a couple more man-eater chests and had to revive Celdia again (seems the man-eaters have gotten a taste for pilgrims).
This is what it looks like when the flute doesn't find an orb... when it works it's less interesting visually
I confirmed there was an orb in Jipang, but moved on to find others. However, I didn't find a single one in the first ten locations of the game. I followed up on the shrine on Liamland, and sacrificed the green orb. With no other leads I could think of at the time, I dived into the cave of Orochi. There was lava in the cave, but unlike Dragon Warrior II, this lava was impassable. The cave itself only had two floors, and really short ones. I soon found myself face to face to face (to... you get the idea) with Orochi.
That didn't go well
Orochi was pretty tough, but I was able to beat him on the second attempt. (Someone mentioned in chat that Orochi actually keeps the same amount of HP, so he gets easier on subsequent attempts.) Before I went back though, I decided to search again for access to a shrine located in an enclosed mountain range I'd spied south of Soo. The shrine I needed was only accessible through the travel doors. Within the valley was the castle-town of Samanao. I arrived at the same time a funeral was in progress; apparently the king had turned tyrannical and killed someone who complained about the king killing everyone.
Baranao, I hardly knew you
After the funeral most of the town resumed its normal schedule, but the family of the man continued to mourn him. So, the king changed since he'd taken possession of the staff of change. An old man in town let me know the king sleeps alone on the second floor. The son of Simon the hero was in town as well, but he only pointed out that his father was in jail somewhere. On the king's orders, the front guards didn't let me pass. There was a service entrance, but I decided to check out the nearby cave instead. Inside was a maze of twisty passages that all looked the same. I failed many times to find the stairs down from the first level.
I entered at night and found the king asleep, alone as promised, but I wasn't able to draw silly things on his face
Since I was completely lost, I stopped by the Tower of Garuna again to pick up that special book. I found the book, and chose Celdia to become the second Sage for my group. Back in Samanao I entered the castle during the day. As I approached the king though, he captured the party and had them thrown in the dungeon. Strangely, he forgot to take all my items, and I used the final key to open up my cell door. A prisoner divulged that Simon rotted away in a jail to the northeast of Romaly. Another mentioned that the Mirror of Ra would show the true image of anyone, and it was located in the cave to the south. The same cave I scoured and missed the stairs at least thrice.
Oh yeah, and I met the real king
Apparently freeing the king wasn't enough. I'm not sure why showing two kings wouldn't alert anyone to some strange dealings. The mirror was what I needed to finally dispel the transformation of the false king. I took another trip through the cave, and once again came up empty handed.
I circled around by ship from Romaly to find the jailor's shrine said to be the final resting place of Simon. I found an area of land I hadn't explored, but there was hardly anything to find. A castle laid just out of reach, surrounded by mountains. A random shrine with a man who claimed to have traveled with Ortega also housed some cats.
Yep, just normal cats and... what?
When answering 'no' the cat screamed, "Meow!" Choosing 'yes' caused the cat to suggest exploring the point where four mountains would intersect. I found in the middle of the forest to the south four isolated mountain tiles. At the point where they would meet if lines continued towards each, I found the world tree and collected a leaf. Leaf of the World tree is the only item that revives fallen characters, but the party can only ever carry one. Continuing my way around the continent, I found my way to a small straight that led to a large lagoon; if only my ship wasn't strangely pulled back before entering. The spirit of Olivia I assumed.
How does a voice have the power to pull an entire ship? And why can't I swim?
Exhausting all other options, I decided to return to Jipang and vanquish Orochi. As I said before, I easily took him out that second time. He left behind the Sword of Orochi (strangely not cursed, unlike the Noh Mask I found in the same cave), and a portal back to the town. It deposited me right next to Himiko, who inexplicably had the same wounds as Orochi. Turns out they're one and the same, and unless I hid this secret Orochi would attack me. Once again I fell during my first attempt, but succeeded on the second. She left behind her purple orb, which I gladly claimed as my own.
Doesn't it make more sense for the night to break?
The townsfolk were thankful I rid their town of Orochi, and the young woman who was to be sacrificed didn't know how to thank me at all. With the purple orb in hand, I placed it back in Liamland and lit another fire. The priests there said a phoenix named Ramia was sealed in an egg, and placing the six orbs on the Throne of the Golden Crown would release it.
I can think of several ways, but free weapons would be a good start
I enjoy the Dragon Warrior series for many reasons, but mostly I enjoy the open world: how the quest branches out into different yet equally viable paths. Of course, they all converge again at some point. Now I was staring down a long road of fetch quests with no other options. I needed the Mirror of Ra from the cave near Samanao to reveal the false king and claim the Staff of Change. The staff I could then trade for a sailor's bone, which should lead me to the ship where Errol perished. There I would hope to find something to appease the spirit of Olivia so I could gain access to Simon's remains, and hopefully his Sword of Gaia. The sword would open access to the volcano or something, and I'd be on my way to Baramos.
But first I'd have to find the bloody stairs! They look just like these, but where could they be?
The cave really wasn't that hard, but the encounter rate was a bit high there and I kept losing my way. Access to the stairs was only possible from the middle of the map, so my perimeter search was doomed. On the floor below there were many chests, but at least half contained a mimic. I lost Celdia once again, but used a leaf of the world tree to revive her. She was, at the time, the only one that could cast Vivify, which has a chance of reviving a character (a nice addition to the spell list from the previous game). Darkwing had a helpful spell for this area: X-Ray. The chests glowed different colors depending on what was in them. Blue for good, red for a mimic or man-eater, and yellow for a chest that had an item yet still guarded by monsters. I don't know if I mentioned it, but the man-eater and mimics don't actually have items. It's just a kick in the nuts. I found two notable items, a Stone of Life (no clue what this does) and the Mirror of Ra.
This is what the king looked like when he didn't get his beauty sleep
Back in the castle, I slipped into the false king's chambers and used the mirror. Despite the terrible blows, I managed the fight without losing anyone. With the false king banished, the true king was released from prison and the day broke again. I picked up the staff of change, and despite the laundry list (who makes a list for their laundry?) of things to do, I stopped for the night. I'm enjoying the little quests, but what I really need is to find some orbs. I'd only managed two, and I had no clues for the others (until I started making the screenshots for this post and saw the one from the pirate hideout).
I'm pretty sure I always hold reset, even when a game doesn't have battery back-up
Elapsed Time: 10h26m (Total Time: 24h52m)


  1. I've never heard of a corrupted saved game before, but the possibility is evidently good enough that they programmed a specific message about it. I'm going to be copying my saved game to the other two log files as well when my games arrive back from Canada.

    If I ever lost my saved game I'd just move on to Dragon Warrior IV.

    1. Luckily this was the only time I saw that message. I probably would have moved to emulator like I did with Dragon Warrior II, but I'd be sad to lose that time. In any case, I really need to catch up on posts. I've already finished the game and have two more posts planned.

  2. I've had a couple bad saves in various battery-backed games on Nes, as well as a friend, and since we all lost save slot 1's contents, I superstitiously always saved afterwards in slot 3 on those games.

    1. I used to save in slot 3 as well, but mainly so anyone accidentally saving didn't overwrite my data.