Sunday, October 6, 2013

Game 20: Dragon Warrior II (NES) - Free to Explore the World

I'm so glad you noticed. Mind telling me where to go next?
Rushing through the first part of the game, collecting all party members, I reached a point where the game stopped holding my hand. Well, more like it led me to the top of a tower and pushed me off. At least it did so after giving me a cloak to float down with.
At least it's been good for my levels, even if each one is a meager improvement
Retracing my steps led me to find an old man residing at the monolith to the south of Midenhall. He helpfully informed me that doors are opened with keys. The silver key he directed me towards opened up a few doors, but I can't say much was gained from the areas beyond.
My last lead led me to this tower
The last bit of advice from the townsfolk led me to a tower that held the Cloak of Wind. I'm not sure what use it was going to be, but at least it was something. Climbing the tower was fairly simple: there were only three staircases up and two dead-ended early on. I found the cloak and returned to town. None of the NPCs ever said anything different. With all leads exhausted it was time to do some of my own exploration.

Do you not remember the conversation we just had where I first answered 'no'?
Lucky for me there aren't a lot of options. Scouring Moonbrooke Castle with the princess led to slightly relieved text from the guard in the first screenshot and the ghost of the king. Southwest of the castle was a monolith that held passage to other side of a ravine. Across the next barren landscape was yet another impassable waterway; this time two towers stood on either side. Memories flooded in to remind me I needed to equip the Cloak of Wind, jump off the tower, and float to the other side.
*Turns map* no... I don't really see it
Lianport lay on the other side of the towers. A ship behind a cranky old man looked welcoming, but the old man was less so. He obviously didn't recognize the heirs to the royal family. Coincidentally his daughter or granddaughter was being assaulted by gremlins, minions of Hargon. After I saved her, he quickly changed his tune.
The problem with emulator is I forget to take screenshots at appropriate times
Now that I have a ship, I can explore the world. The whole wide open world... where do I go? No seriously, I have no direction. My memory is failing me for what to do next. I have some hints on what to do, but nothing is very clear.
Sounds promising... where is it? North... somewhere
How many console RPGs really just drop you in the world and let you figure out what to do next? I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet--the freedom is paralyzing. I set sail with the boat around the world. I quickly found Tantegel Castle (the first castle from the first Dragon Warrior); however, the king was missing. It looks like he's hiding out behind a gold door. The rest of Alefgard has shrunk, and many of the towns no longer exist.
This place was found through a serious of transporting pools; he's talking about Hargon's castle
I wasn't sure which online map to use, I believe one came with the game originally yet my copy is long gone, so I decided to just make my own. It's not to scale, but it's getting the job done. The major problem I've come across is that even with mapping out the majority of coastline, I still have no clue where to go.
Huh... this looks... important?
I've collected hints, clues, and items, but I have no idea how any of them fit together yet. Here's just a small list of all the items or locations I could possible seek out:
  • Somewhere is a Gold Key. This would allow me access to currently up to 10 doors.
  • A master weaver lives in Tuhn. He can make the fabled Water Flying Cloth... I remember it being important to have.
  • Someone name Roge Fastfinger has the Watergate Key. He may be in the Midenhall jail.
  • South of Tuhn is the Tower of the Moon, which holds a piece of the moon. I'm definitely not ready for the monsters in that area.
  • There was a town  in the ocean near the monolith on the other side of the teleportation pool from Midenhall, which I haven't found while exploring the sea.
What kind of random information are you giving me game?
  • Once I retrieve the Moon Fragment, I should seek the island cave where the Eye of Malroth is kept. I'm to use the eye in the swamp of the hidden valley to reveal the way to Rhone.
  • Dragon's Bane is a magic charm that protects me from "the spell."
  • Tuhn had some expensive equipment I can save up for including a Falcon Sword and Shield of Strength.
  • Some items have abilities in battle. So far nothing all that useful.
This did 5 damage -- I'm starting to regret getting rid of the Magic Knife
  • There's a tower south of Alefgard that looks interesting, but the enemies are much too powerful.
  • There's an island south of Midenhall that has a castle, but the enemies are much too powerful.
  • There's an island to the southwest of the main content with a town and a monolith, but I'm fairly certain the enemies are much too powerful.
  • I haven't fully explored the seas to the north and east of Midenhall because the enemies are much too powerful.

So, what now?
There are still plenty of dungeons I could explore, like the tunnels on Alefgard and the old Dragonlord's castle. There are also a number of landing points and inlets on the main continent that I have yet to explore. I just have so many questions and very little answers. Couple that with exploring the wrong area may lead to instant death, and I'm wary of going anywhere new. I do have the manual, but it hasn't been much help. I can see why the average time for this game is 30 hours. I'll probably break that going in blind. We'll get there eventually.

Session Time: 4h57m (Total Time: 7h00m)


  1. :) Have fun exploring!

    1. I'm trying. I think one of the biggest things holding the party back is that while the main hero is flooded with equipment, the other two have nearly no upgrades since Hamlin.

  2. Go to the Dragonlord's castle, it's fun and (as far as I remember) totally safe!

    1. Oh yeah? Okay, I'll just... what are these friendly mummies doing here? I've made some progress that might not make them so bad.

  3. Dragon's Bane protects you from numerous status effect spells (possibly even death-based ones) cast by the monsters. Gotta have it equipped as well. Each character will need one. It does not protect from breath or jig's though. And it's not an auto-immune either, but it does help.

    As far as what to do next - I aint telling ya :).

    1. I figured it was something like that, but each character? Really? That seems excessive, and I'm already running out of room in my inventory.

    2. Also, thanks for the map, it helped a lot to know where Zahan was exactly. I thought I was going to have to scour the torus.

    3. Yeah, each character.

      Annnnd yeah you'll have some troubles with inventory - but it'll mostly be "oh, i can't carry a bunch of herbs" - you should be able to have room for everything you're actively using plus a few blank spots for new things to swap or quest on. Do know that there are some things I think the game will NOT let you drop, but ANYTHING that can be had from a chest can be re-had from a chest after a save and power cycle. So if ya drop something you think might be critical, you *can* re-get it.

      And the map / Zahan - while the map isn't necessary to beat the game ... but did COME with the game, I figured it was fair. Much like DW3 came with a useful map too. I figured it'd be a good thing to show ya - especially since Zahan is in the corner of the map and has required items & info to beat the game. Being the original map that came with the game that wasn't marked up by other folks to show more areas was nice gravy to avoid spoilers :).

      As far as what to do next - in my play through after acquiring the boat I did the door key(s) stuff like you've been doing and then had to grind a bit before progressing (as you noted in your epilogue above - you feel under leveled for most things). You've been making note of what people say, so you have a bunch of targets / goals to go after, you'll just need to figure out which one "feels" like the "current" one.

    4. I haven't been able to carry herbs for quite some time. I was just thinking, I wonder how much the Staff of Thunder sells for. ;)

      The map also pointed out the sea cave and the lone monolith. I think I've wandered around so much that I haven't really needed to grind. Although, the treks into the tower south of Alefgard are hard fought. I wonder if I shouldn't try the Moon Tower first though since I really hadn't received a clue for the other tower.

  4. "How many console RPGs really just drop you in the world and let you figure out what to do next?"

    Phantasy Star, and... um...

    ...I'll have to think about it. If you go up to the modern age, the Elder Scrolls games kinda do this. The Fable games too, sort of.

    MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft definitely do this, but most of them aren't "console" games. Final Fantasy XI and XIV might count, so might the Dragon Quest MMORPG (which is only in Japan).

    1. I don't know how to explain it, but Phantasy Star felt like it had a clearer path compared to this game. Still, I agree the world in Phantasy Star isn't completely linear.