Thursday, June 7, 2012

Game 10: Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord (SMS) - Gathering the Party

Back at it, Guy and Qycx fight through monsters trying to earn enough Guilders for the ship. It didn't take long actually (10 minutes at most), much shorter than when I needed to grind levels.
No one told me it was an invisible ship!
It's unfortunate there's no graphic for the ship. I can see it in my inventory, but there's nothing on the over-world to indicate I'm doing anything other than walking on water. The ship opened up another third of the world map.

Most of the time spent was mapping out the new land, exploring a new monument/cave, and grinding to an acceptable level to overcome some mini-bosses. I really enjoyed map making, but I wish there were a way to make it go a bit faster. I've yet to try Canageek's latest suggestion, as I don't have Chrome installed. I'll have to try that out this weekend. In the meantime, I'm using MS Paint as a quick way to distinguish tiles.
One of the best backgrounds for fights is the one on the open sea
There are two new villages of interest that sell me magic items: a stone and a staff. The stone silences enemy spells for the remainder of the fight, but have a chance to fail. Luckily these items don't actually use a turn (the enemy doesn't react when using an item). The staff hurts the enemy, and all party members gain some experience.
Yes! I mean no! I mean... what are asking?
I'm limited in the amount I can carry (much like herbs), but here I can only have 4 staffs and 6 stones. Not that I'm able to purchase an unlimited supply as one staff is 10,000 Guilders (stones are only 50 fangs though). It's definitely worth it to get the free hit in on some of the guardian creatures I've had to face off with. I haven't found a limit to feathers, but then again, I haven't tried to find one.
It's nice that he describes the use of a feather... not so nice he does it every time I buy one
To get Guy I needed the Axe, which was just given to me by a king. For the next companion, Medi, I needed some ancient armor guarded by a "good" creature. I lost 500 fame for killing it, but it's the only option I had. In fact, there are three such creatures protecting armor for my now party of three.
I see you're not using that armor, can I just have it?
Medi was posing as a dancer in a port town. The brilliant shine of my new armor awoke her inner warrior (or something), and she joined up suggesting that the fourth companion was a pirate turned into a beast. With Medi, I could now enter all of the caves that were previously locked. In most of them were more guardian beasts. Some were the ones guarding armor, but three others proved much more difficult.

These other three beasts are guarding shields (at least one was, so I'm guessing the others are as well); a fact I learned after I explored every other area. The one cave that wasn't locked held a shield for Qycx. Before I could defeat the beast though, I needed to grind a couple of levels (one for Guy and one for Medi). This took nearly 2 hours. 2 hours! For 2 levels. It's so slow because only one character earns experience at a time. There wasn't anything more for me to explore or do to distract from the constant grinding either.

Grinding and fighting enemies in general is straightforward except in the cases when the enemy has magic. I've encountered two types of spellcasters, those with fireballs and those with sleep + fireballs. Sleep is very effective, and more than once I've been sleep locked into an early defeat having come into the fight with full health. I somehow avoided this during my grinding, and it still took a while.
All done grinding, time to save
After finally getting the two levels (I had considered spending another hour to get Qycx a level), I headed off to the beast that had trounced on my earlier effort. Even with the new levels, I barely defeated it (with many lucky dodges) using up all four staffs. It's unfortunate the game forces these "evil" decisions on me with no opportunity to follow a more righteous path. I lose 1,000 fame for my trouble.

Recruiting the fourth companion, Treo, was as simple as going up to him in his cave and shining the Ulysses' Shield in his face to break the evil curse. Apparently an evil monk changed his form (couldn't kill him, that'd be too easy). With him finally around, we formed pieces of a scroll that would lead us to the seal.
Guess we're a bunch of fools going to the gates of hell. To destiny!
Before I even start on that quest I need to find Treo's lost equipment. He mentioned a north cave, but there's no marker on the map. I'll be searching for this next time. I could always go collect what I think are the other two shields, but it's probably better to get Treo decked out first.

I've already found a village that will give me a new ship to sail through deeper waters (where a storm rages on), but first I needed Treo, as only someone with pirate blood could sail such a ship. There's a lot of emphasis on blood and lineage in this game as a reason for having certain skills. Qycx I learned from the manual is actually a direct descendent of Iason (the man who originally sealed the dark lord).

Ancestor worship is prominent in Japan, so it makes sense to see this theme in many games. Sometimes we'll see the contrast, where descendents break from their "predetermined destiny," which was usually to destroy the world in some way.

Session Time: 3h50m (Total Time: 9h50m)


  1. I still can't get over the "only one PC can attack per turn and only that PC gets any XP" mechanic; I wonder if this is a unique case or if other computer JRPGs of the era did the same. Though if it's the latter, maybe it's a result of programming restrictions on the PC-88 and related systems.

    1. It seems that feature is unique to this game. Doing some quick looking around, an earlier PC-88 game called The Black Onyx had party based combat and experience earned for everyone at the end of combat.

    2. Wasteland only gave XP to the person that killed the monster, though everyone could attack each turn.

    3. Wasteland had a similar system, where only the person killing the monster got any XP. So everyone could try to kill it, but if you had a skill-based character with weak attacks they would always lag behind the rest of the party.

    4. Is combat the only way to get experience in Wasteland? I thought it had skill use and quest based rewards as well. Maybe combat is just the best source.