Monday, July 7, 2014

Dragon Warrior IV RAW IS WAR, Episode 1

IT'S MY LIFE IN A BOX, AND IT'S HARD TO BEAT!

TAKING CHALK IN MY ARMS, IT'S THE SOUL OF ME!

YOU WANT FIRE, ASHES SEE ME LAYING FACE DOWN!

WHY AM I THE THORN! IN YOUR EYE!



J.R.: "TODAY ON RAW IS DRAGON WARRIOR IV... RAGNAR FACES AN OLD MAN IN A SLOBBERKNOCKER! IT'S GONNA BE A BARN-BURNER, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!"

 I covered the Super Famicom remake of the third game in the Dragon Quest series, but I'm going back to the American Dragon Warrior roots for the fourth. This is on the shortlist for "best NES game of all time", and definitely belongs in the top five. 

 This game transpires in five chapters. Each chapter introduces a character (or two, or three) and everyone unites in the final chapter. It's like Live-a-Live. The first chapter follows Ragnar, the warrior class tank of the game.

Here's the Metroid-like Healie, a creepy flying jellyfish who, get this, heals. He ends up being Ragnar's sidekick, making this chapter super-easy. As it should be, it's the first one.

Our heroes visit Father Booker T, who spends his time listening to the many sins of hot young women.

 The Sword of Malice is a fairly overpowered early-game sword. It's super-important to find.

Step aside kid, it's time for Stone Cold Ragnar to whoop somebody's ass.

 If you wanna see Stone Cold Ragnar whoop some ass, gimme a hell yeah!

First boss fight is a TAG TEAM MATCH.

 Soon, it's down to Ragnar and the old man, as they slug it out mid-ring.

J.R.: "RAGNAR IS DOWN! THE MAN'S BEEN BROKEN IN HALF!"

Audience: "RAGGY! RAGGY! RAGGY!"

J.R.: "Wait! It's not over yet! He's getting back to a vertical base!"

RAGNAR WITH A STUNNER! IT'S OVER! WHAT A STUNNING COMEBACK!

 "STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD!"

 Ragnar saves the children and walks out triumphantly with Healie. He then proceeds to drink four beers at once while they splash all over the kids and Healie laps it up off the floor.

 All in a day's work for Stone Cold Ragnar. ::glass shatters::

Ragnar sets out to find the legendary hero, and that concludes the first chapter.

 The next one is probably my favorite chapter in this game.

Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" plays as we're introduced to Alena, the Women's Champion.

Here's Brey, her teacher. While Alena is a Fighter-class character, Brey is a black mage. Both have a fair amount of damage output.

Alena has a bad temper, and apparently kicked out the wall in one of the upstairs rooms. It's probably the PMS.

Alena poses as a townsperson to wander around outside the castle and hear what people really think about her.

The third and final character in this scenario is Cristo, a priest. He's pretty much the best healer in the game. This is the best party in any of the first four chapters, by FAR. It's very well-balanced.

Alena proceeds to kick through the wall again to escape. No more of this princess nonsense, time to go out into the world and fight monsters.

I love the overworld in these old NES RPGs. Brey and Cristo join Alena rather than letting her go alone, and we're off. While Brey is her tutor, Cristo is more of a love interest. Or something.

Outside (warp outside of dungeons) is acquired very quickly in most of these Dragon Warrior games. I'd KILL for this spell in Elder Scrolls Arena.

 Alena goes to Father Booker T to confess her sins.

Alena: "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned."
Father Booker: "What is your sin, my child?"
Alena: "I committed adultery... with Cristo's best friend."
Cardinal Booker: "What?"
Alena: "His brother,"
Bishop Booker: "What?"
Alena: "His teacher,"
Reverend Booker: "What?"
Alena: "His arch-enemy,"
Minister Booker: "What?"
Alena: "And his girlfriend,"
Archbishop Booker: "What?"
Alena: "All at the same time. And I videotaped it."
Pope Booker: "Well, my child. All you must do is say 17 Hail Marys... then send the videotape to this address and you will be saved."
Alena: "Wow, thank you Father!"

Meanwhile, we get a redux of the Orochi storyline in the previous game. Some creepy pedo-hydra is threatening to decimate the town if he doesn't get sated with young girls.

Alena poses as an innocent waif to be sacrificed so that we can draw out the nefarious fiend...

 ...and it's another old man boss! The hell is with all the old men as bosses in this game?

 After an INCREDIBLY CLOSE FIGHT, our heroes emerge victorious.

Since there are three of us, we will now be...

"Alena! Brey! Cristo! Shield."

Brey Wyatt is the only one in any real shape to continue as I struggle to get out of this dungeon.

I finally get outside, but some townsperson wants Alena's bod. Get out of here!

 There's a town called Endor. Surprised George Lucas didn't sue.

 Brey Wyatt learns my first area-effect spell. Snowstorm decimates jobbers like nobody's business! 

 At this point I visit a casino and - with heavy usage of save states - sploit my way to vast riches.

It isn't too difficult... just keep betting to double your winnings, and reload if you don't win.

Pretty soon, my earnings reach ridiculous proportions. I use these coins to buy...

 ...three Meteorite Armbands (doubles Agility), one for each character. Also, Metal Babble Shields (the best shield in the game) for Cristo and Brey. Unfortunately, being a Fighter, Alena can't equip shields. The party is now officially invincible. Hell, they'd be in really good shape even if this were the final chapter.

A Suikoden V style tournament will decide who gets to marry this princess. For a moment, Alena gets excited...

 ...only to get some BAD NEWS. Alena is bi a lot of things, and lingual isn't one of them.

 The crowd ROARS as the first annual King of the Ring tournament is underway!

This mysterious Necrosaro guy is the favorite to win King of the Ring. He's incredibly powerful, and no one seems to know where he came from. Also, with a name like Necrosaro, it's time to sound the Villain Alert. Which probably sounds like Scott Steiner's theme.

 Alena enters the tournament, and must fight alone. Her first round opponent is Tenshinhan With Hair. He's no match for Alena.

 Seriously, that's Tien... seen here taking time out of Getting Obliterated to pose.

The second fight is with this dainty elf-lad. Luckily, the game lets you use herbs between fights to heal.

Third is Vivian. The fight doesn't go as planned, as Alena and Vivian engage in HLA to the delight of Eric Bischoff. Then Alena wins with a surprise rollup out of nowhere while Cristo cries in the audience.

Sampson is the fourth opponent, and he's REALLY TOUGH. I only won because I got a lucky critical hit. It's unfortunate that I couldn't get a Metal Babble Shield or equivalent uber-item for Alena before this.

The final battle of Alena's scenario is with this awful cretin. Only one of the four images actually takes damage; the rest are illusions. Once you find the correct one, they switch it around. It might even switch around regardless, hard to say. It sucks.

Necrosaro Vs. Alena is supposed to be the final round, but Necrosaro is a no-show. Thus concludes the super-sized first episode of Dragon Warrior IV. ...but wait!

Good for you. Alena's disappointment won't cure itself.

 Alena tries to warp back to her homeland of Santeem, but...what's this?

 Seems we have to walk back...and Santeem Castle is empty. What happened here?

Thus, Alena's chapter concludes. Tune in next Monday for the next episode of WWF DW4 IS WAR.


3 comments:

  1. If I remember right, you're not allowed to warp back to Santeem because a soldier has to run up to you and tell you something went down there before dying.

    Alena vs Necrosaro is like a Nitro main event that starts right as the show ends at 11.

    Father Booker is truly the greatest of us all.

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  2. That Raw theme is genius, just unalloyed metal.
    Your talk of Ragnar drinking four beers just made me really want a beer, too. It's so hot here right now.
    Alena kicking through the wall is classic NES-era girl power. And just awesome in general. I like how you're portraying her here.
    I played the Playstation version when I lived in Japan and got up to the fight against the young-girl-snatcher.
    Alena v Necrosaro this early in the game would be something all right. Would be an interesting New Game + option.

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    Replies
    1. Alena v Necrosaro at this point would be like Level 4 MC v Gades in Lufia!

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