Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dragon Warrior II Finale - Praetorian Guard

The final installment of Dragon Warrior II! Will Mal learn a spell? Will Bran become a powerful character? Will the towel-wearing Illyria put on some real clothes? The answers are all No.

This thing grants access to the Sea Cave.

::"Sea Legs" by The Shins plays as our heroes row their boat to the Sea Cave::

This dungeon is ROUGH. It might as well be called Rhone Junior because it's a warm-up for the big final dungeons.

The big treasure at the end of this dungeon is one of the most crucial items in the game.

By the time I got it I was too battered to even gate out of the dungeon; luckily the enemies gave me a free gate via murder.

At this point I go Staff of Thunder 'sploit until I max out my gold at 65000. Building up via regular battles just wasn't cutting it.


Holy shit! Bran did double digit damage! What a BAD-ASS!

Old men in spike-filed caverns whisper of Rhone. And that's where we're going next.

This is the edge of the plateau that makes up the endgame of Dragon Warrior II. You go to this spot and use the Eye of Malroth to make the entrance appear.

THIS...IS...RHOOOONE! It's like one of those treacherous holes in the walls of Mordor.

The Thunder Sword is Mal's best weapon, and requires going waaaay out of your path to get. Luckily, this place isn't as awful as it could be with equipment up to par, maps handy, and luck with running. My levels are definitely lower than they could be for this part, though. It's too much of a grind to level-build before this, given the super-low rewards for most battles in the world.

This spell...doesn't help in here. It only seems to keep weak enemies away, Earthbound-style.

MY GOD! Not one Green Dragon, but TWO Green Dragons! This ain't your father's Dragon Warrior!

Our heroes sustain heavy damage as I traverse this brutal cave, and a semi-unconscious Mal has to snort ground-up Leaf of the World Tree off of Illy's supple rack.

If Mal bites the dust, he NEEDS to be revived post-haste because he's the only one who can really take enemy attacks effectively. Also, maps are a total requirement for this dungeon, given all of the momentum-shattering pit traps.

Ah, the fresh air of the plateau. It's all snowy here, and the rest of the game is a simple, relaxing grind-fest.

Enemies drop high-powered equipment here...

...but it's all cursed, so I throw it all away. There's a shrine here with infinite free healing, so I can restore the party after every battle. At this point, the levels FINALLY start moving, because the enemies here give vastly more exp than in the rest of the game up to this point.

With a few more levels, I head back into the cave to get the final Crest.

With all the Crests, you need to head waaaaay back into the original overworld to get Rubiss' Charm, which is the end result of getting the five Crests to begin with. Luckily, as long as you don't save anywhere or visit any cities, the Return spell will bring you all the way back to the Rhone shrine. Otherwise you'd need to go through the place again.

A quick shot of the Super Famicom remake of this game. I've never played it. If I ever play this game again, that'll be the version.

Annnnnd back to the NES version. The black backgrounds are suddenly more glaring than they were before. Expect to fight a LOOOOOT of cyclops in this final area. And of course, more baboons.

The only thing keeping me from taking on the final boss right now? These low levels. Commence more of the epic grind-fest...

Running back and forth in front of the shrine while [SONG OF CHOICE] plays is a damn good time. I choose "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. Time to grind out the last few levels I need and get the strongest spells in the game.

As our heroes limp to the healer...

mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

(muh muh muh mawww)

Fold 'em baby raise it baby blah blah blah!

Luck and intuition play the cards with spades to start!

(WHOA, the strongest attack spell in the game! Illyria gets this one)

And if it's not rough it isn't fun so

(Not to be completely outdone, Bran gets a doom spell. Not quite so useful, but it's there)

so OH, OHOH oh oh, OHOH oh oh!

Ah get him hot! Show him what I gotttttt!

OH, OHOH oh oh, OHOH oh oh!

Blah blah blah blah, blah blah blee blee blawwwg!


No he can't read-a my! POKE HER FAAAAACE!

Hargon: "Sheeee's got to love nobody."

Can't read my!

(Chance here is a random spell that I tended to avoid...weird that it's the last spell she gets)

Can't read my!

No he can't read-a my! POKE HER FAAAAACE!

"Sheee's got to love nobody."

Finally, we arrive at Hargon's Castle.

Pa pa pa poker face pa pa poke her face!

Wait a minute! This isn't Hargon's Castle, it's Midenhall. The starting town.

Muh muh muh mawwww.

Okay, song off.

The Charm of Rubiss dispels the illusion over the place, revealing its true nature.

Muh muh muh mawwww.

No! Bad song! Bad song!

The true nature in question? Hargon's evil palace of DOOM. The Eye of Malroth is also needed here, as it opens the path to the second floor.

Shields of Strength save a LOT of MP here, since they cast Healmore during battles.

The first and most difficult of the "mini" bosses in here is Atlas. He double-attacks for huge damage. This means he can one-shot Illyria and two-shot the others if he attacks them back-to-back.

Once Illy is defeated, healing becomes a lot more difficult. Mal finishes him off before things get too rough. Turns out Mal's attacks are the only particularly effective offense here; Bran and Illy are only useful for buffing during this fight.
The second boss? The strongest of all baboons. He's spell-oriented and not the PLOW MACHINE that Atlas is, so I quickly dispatch him without much fuss.

The third boss... is a combination of the two, strong on both spells and physicals. He doesn't have the damage output of Atlas, who I'd say is the toughest fight in the game outside of the final boss. It figures that the first boss in Hargon's Castle is the one that checks your party strength the hardest.

Hollywood Hulk Hargon. "Do you know who I am?" he says.

Hargon is... creepy and unpleasant to look at. He does some damage to the already-hurting party, but he doesn't have many HP. Two turns and this one is over.

With that, THE GAME IS OVER., not quite. You think Final Fantasy invented final bosses with multiple forms?

Hargon's true master... is a Sorcerer of the Shadowtime, whatever that is.

And here's our real final boss. This mean. This is definitely one of the hardest fights in the series.

I spend a while buffing/debuffing with Increase and Defense. Once Malroth's defense is fully sapped, Captain Mal hits for around 60-70 damage. That's 25% of Malroth's HP, but you have to get all four strikes in a row without Malroth using his worst ability...

...this. A FULL HEAL. Buffing Mal's attack to the max, then attacking and praying, is pretty much the only way to deal with this.

On the second try, I lucked out and won. It's a pretty short fight, all things considered. Without that healing rampage of his, it'd have been over in no time.

With that, the Erdrick Trilogy winds to its conclusion, and all is well.

Wait, what? Trilogy? Yes, this is the final game in a trilogy. Dragon Warrior III (or Dragon Quest III overseas) is a prequel to the original game. Chronologically, this is the end of the story.

Hargon's Castle is completely gone, replaced by the grandest litter box of them all.

Now we are free. ::the ending theme of Gladiator plays::

Our heroes return to Midenhall to a great welcome. ...a trumpet-less welcome, however. Where are the trumpets? I REQUIRE TRUMPETS.

Mal becomes king, while Illy becomes... a protector of Alefgard. Not the queen? Surprising, for a game of this nature. Meanwhile, Bran also becomes a protector... as well as a bit of a flake.

Our heroes pose for the cameras, and that's all she wrote.

Great game, even if it's one of the weaker entries in the series. A very challenging and lengthy experience. The hell was up with all the baboons, though?


  1. Illy doesn't become Queen because she's Mal's cousin. Though I suppose that hasn't stopped royal families in the past.

    Malroth's domain becoming a giant litter box is the best thing ever.

  2. You doubled your levels near the last dungeon! And snuck through the Cave of Rhone before getting the crest you needed there! THIS is how to play the game. Gratz.