Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dragon Warrior II #2 - Harbingers

Here we go... it's time to rock Charlock. What awaits inside the ultimate dungeon of the first game? A secret uberboss? A new DragonLord? Mad loot? A beautiful, seductive woman who wants both Mal and Bran, and hopes that they think that's cool... say word?

The floor plan is the same as the first game, which helps me find my way around. Obviously the underground dungeon appearance is a vast improvement over said first game.

Here we are. The DragonLord's throne seems to be occupied by a new fiend. A new menace. A new evil.

...never mind. It's actually the DragonLord's very polite grandson. Mind BLOWN.

He gives our heroes some ProTips and sends them on their way. That had to have been the greatest moment in this entire game.

Course, the main reason to come here is this. Super-strong sword here, which is to be expected since it was top-of-the-line in the first game.

Of course he can't. Bran is USELESS. He isn't even DW1 Hero 2.0 like I thought. He's sub-that.

Can't get to these chests at this point, since a mere door keeps us bound hand and foot. I never bothered to go back, so I hope there's nothing important in there. Also, the floor here is a KILLER FLOOR~! ...still isn't as bad as puddles in Ultima III, though.

Next stop is the Lighthouse, a particularly difficult dungeon for this phase of the game.

The "boss" here is a group of Gremlins. They're vicious, rabid little bastards, and they aim for the balls.

Clearing this area gets you the Star Crest, the second-hardest to get of the crests. The only one that I'd say is more difficult is the final one. This is like fighting the Storm Dragon first in FFVI. It's the hardest of the eight dragons in that game, you see, but it's the one you'll likely encounter first.

One down, four to go...

Here's Zahan, the man-less land. Incredibly horny, scantily-clad women prance TO AND FRO!

::Illy pours Fairy Water all over herself in slow-mo::

Our hero does the best thing one can do when dealing with unhappy women... he spends a lot of time rummaging through the grass trying to find the Golden Key.

While he did find it, apparently he didn't do a very good job because the women are still all cranky.

These things are for sale in Tantegel. No idea what they do, but they're equipable in an invisible inventory slot. Can't see any stat changes. They're like the mystery equipment in the first game.

Continuing on, I use the Golden Key to get more Erdrick loot. This might be the best shield in the game for Mal. It has always been weird to me that the first game didn't have an Erdrick Shield.

I can get to the King of Tantegel now in his undisclosed location. Not only is he BAWK BAWK, he's also insanely depressed. I'd be too if I had to move from a castle to what is, apparently, a bathroom stall.

Meanwhile, this douche stops being difficult and gives us Erdrick's Condom in exchange for the Token. The first game didn't even have helmets.


So much for this being the best sword... this -shop- has a better sword available. Too bad, I JUST got Erdrick's Sword.

Behold. A Man Alone.

Here's the next key, the Jailor's Key. It's a blank, yet purchasable, item in a merchant shop.

This is an interesting game. It's a linear and "normal" game for a while, then you get the boat and it becomes a completely nonlinear item-finding quest. You sail around collecting things, and since most of the world has the same enemy sets, the game ceases to be challenging for a while as you outpace those foes. Downside is you gain few to no levels during this timespan. Then after the collect-a-thon concludes, you're thrown into the brutal final areas and spend the rest of the game leveling up to get through them.

This is effectively a laundry list of the important stuff I grabbed during my boat cruise.

Notice how Illy is lagging level-wise? That's by game design. She takes a lot more exp to level up than Mal and Bran do, so she'll never actually catch up to them no matter how much grinding you do. Solo-grinding with her (hee hee) doesn't really work either since it ends up wasting a lot of exp and still takes forever.

Our heroes fight a couple regular enemies in the arena to get the second Crest. This one was quite easy to get, to say the least.

Rhone ::thunder crashes:: is the worst place in this entire series. Just an incredibly treacherous dungeon. The plateau is also HUGE on the world map, taking up about 25% of it even though it's just endgame.

Roge Fastfinger - who is either a thief or a lady-pleasuring dynamo - has the latest in a long line of keys and gives it up without a fight. This key is, presumably, Richard Nixon's least-favorite.

Soon after, I find the latest crest. Three out of five...

One of the teleportation shrines holds a secret. Give up?

Randomly searching the corners nets you the fourth Crest. HOW WOULD ANYONE KNOW THIS?

One crest remains... and it's in Rhone. ::thunder crashes:: Get ready, for soon you too will know the horror that is one of the NES's most difficult dungeons.

In Tantegel's basement, I encounter a bastardly mini-boss...

...Violent J, of ICP fame. This fight has the potential to be very tough because he has Explodet (the strongest attack spell in the game, which can wipe out the party at these levels). I beat him before he had a chance to use it, luckily.

This is the Princess' best weapon, as far as I can remember, so he's well worth the fight.

The Dragon Horn Towers are an interesting early-game locale. You use a cape to fly from the south tower across the river. I never bothered investigating the north tower, thinking it only existed in case you needed to sail back across. Turns out, there IS a reason to go back there...

This. Not only is it hours of fun for cats, it's needed for the Princess' best armor.

This room is Ultima-style floormurder, and I don't have StepGuard yet in this game.

I barely make it across, and here's the other half of what's needed for the Princess' armor. I like how this is basically a little quest, as opposed to simply finding the armor somewhere.

The overworld in this game? Still painful to negotiate. Why did they have to make it this maze-like?

I take down my first Metal Babble at this point and get a disappointing 1050 exp. That's all? Packs of regular enemies in the endgame areas give more than that for less trouble. In later games, these little bastards would give up a cool 10,000 exp or more.


And on that note, giving the two items to the loom-smith results in the Princess' hot, hot new armor.

Here's Bran's best weapon, armor, and shield. Oddly the armor is by far the least expensive. I was going to build up money to get them...but that's laughable. Enemies give so little gold in this game that after expenses you're left with almost nothing. Instead, I farm Staves of Thunder and sell them for huge gold. It's an exploit, but the game pretty much forces your hand on it.

Next, our heroes use the Watergate Key to...

...FLOOD A TOWN. Someone call FEMA! You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie!

Meanwhile, the loom-weaver finishes his work.

The Princess' best armor... is a mere cloth.

She then proceeds to drink beer with a self-aware, talking penguin.

The tide rises and falls... as do the Princess' supple bosoms.

And with that...


  1. Neon Genesis Evangelion! You need the Golden Key to get into that door in Charlock. You didn't miss anything good, it's just some vendor trash. Good job, and thanks for writing about so many of these classics.

  2. Are there random battles in the ocean? If not it seems like a pleasant way to travel.

  3. If the enemies of Rhone don't kill the princess, hypothermia will.