Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dragon Warrior III #2 - Andhra Pradesh

The queen tosses her handkerchief in the air and laments the harsh life that is being beautiful and well-liked by everyone. Loto nods.

Today in Dragon Warrior III, I traverse the desert portion of the game and do some class-changing. And a whole lot more!

This is probably my favorite part of the game: The desert area. It has atmosphere, which isn't easy on the NES.

The Meteorite Armband is a crucial item. It doubles the agility of one character; if they're already fast, this pretty much guarantees that they'll go first in battle. This is pretty nice given that normally you don't know when a heal is going to land half the time. 

After finding the armband in Isis, I head for the Pyramid. This dungeon is probably the most memorable in this entire game. It's full of hieroglyphics and mummies. Tons and tons of mummies.

Since the dungeon goes in a big circle, it's confusing if you don't know about these invisible buttons.

There are a number of very valuable treasures in the pyramid, but I didn't go for them. I got the Magic Key and booked it out of there.

What in the hell are these things?



...The fuck?

That'd be the legendary Shrine of Dharma, and I'm headed there soon. No relation to the Dharma Initiative from Lost. OR IS THERE?

The way forward is through a blocked tunnel, and only this dwarf can blow it up. Didn't this same exact thing happen in the original Final Fantasy? In any case, this guy is a dick, so...

 ...I steal all his loot. HAW! TAKE THAT, NORUD!

Next up, our heroes have to save some folks to get Pepper for a king. It's a long story, and suffice to say this better be some pretty damn good pepper.

Hentai magnate Kandar makes his hotly-anticipated return here, with goons in tow. GIVE IT UP, KANDAR! YOUR EMPIRE IS THROUGH!

Another boss fight follows. He's stronger than he was last time, but it's nothing insurmountable. Defeat the adds, then focus on him. I wish more bosses had a goon squad with them. I liked Chrono Trigger often flanking bosses with smaller foes that you had to deal with as well.


...and a boat

Unfortunately, enemies attack en masse on the boat. The good news is that they give up oodles of experience points.

One of the cooler spells in this game: Ironize. It makes the party invincible for three turns, during which they can't do anything. What's the point, you ask? It lets you see what the enemies are capable of before you deal with it head-on, which could be useful on boss fights. If any bosses in this game had a super-move that they counted down to, Ironize would completely trivialize them. Alas, no such opportunities arise.

Tedanki is a distant village that comes alive at night. ...literally. During the day it's a bombed-out shell of a village, with corpses everywhere. What an eerie place.

It is here that you find the Lamp of Darkness, which lets you turn day to night at will. Not vice-versa, but sleeping in an inn already does that. This lamp is quite useful as a result...if you like stalking around at night.

I head back to the Pyramid to get something I missed earlier. The Golden Claw is the ultimate Fighter weapon in the Super Famicom version, but here it's a cursed monstrosity. It does more damage than any other Fighter weapon, but it doubles the enemy encounter rate. Also, merely possessing it has this effect, don't even need to equip it. So you can't leave it bagged and get it out for boss fights, even. Too bad, the curse totally ruins it as a weapon. In the SFC version the curse is lifted if you bring it outside the Pyramid, but no such luck here.

However, it sells for a massive sum, and I got another level or two out of the expedition, so why not?

Another optional area in the Pyramid is the exterior pinnacle. Nothing up here, but it's pretty cool to look at. I still say the Pyramid is the best dungeon the game has to offer, overall. Definitely the most memorable.

Moving on from Egypt, we arrive in the England/Scotland part of the world map. This small island is home to Eginbear Castle, land of knights.

The basement contains a puzzle. You can push the boulders, but not pull them. The objective is to get all three into that row of squares at the top. It's a bit of a brain-teaser.

Next up is the creation of that new town (in the New York City ((or maybe Washington DC)) position on the world map). This requires leaving a merchant there, so I return to the first town and add a merchant to my group. That merchant...

...is Bud Fox, of Wall Street fame.

"I'LL ALWAYS BE BUD FOX!" he says while meeting our heroes in a rainy Central Park. Loto then punches him in the face.

Moving on (and with my party reformed) I get one of the best weapons in the game with WAY too little effort. It was just laying on the ground, eh? This thing rocks when wielded by a Sage - it casts the formidable Firebane with no MP cost.

I've largely glossed over all of the keys in this game, for one reason: They all get obsoleted the moment you find the aptly-named Final Key. It replaces all of the other keys and works in every door. It's not unlike Final Doom.

From here, the game becomes an orb-gathering crusade, as you set out to find six different-colored orbs. They're sorta like the Crests in the previous game in the series; you can find them in any order you want. I really enjoy how open this game is. It gives you objectives and then it just steps back and lets you play.

I've mentioned how the world map is very similar to our own. In the India part of the map lurks the Shrine of Dharma (I believe Dhama is a mistranslation). This legendary locale is where you change classes. It's a pretty big deal, to say the least. I won't be changing classes just yet as I want to build up some more stats on my characters (they retain half of their stats when class-changing). However, let's interview some of the Random NPCs that have made the pilgrimage to this land of enlightenment.

This woman has a good goal in mind. She's going to become a formidable spellcaster and wreak havoc on the house of her ex-boyfriend and his new beau. "We'll see how much he appreciates me when HIS ROOF IS BURNING DOWN!"

Meanwhile, this old man... er... I'm going to need you to take a seat, sir.

North of the shrine is the Tower of Garuna, which I suspect is a mistranslation of Garuda. Perhaps. This tower is home to the Book of Satori, which lets one character turn into a Sage. Of course, Sage is the ubermage class, something Final Fantasy III for the Famicom would blatantly rip off.

Fall off of a tightrope high on the tower, and...

...you're rewarded with the book. I'm impressed that everyone survived the fall. Question is, who should become a Sage? I decided on my Pilgrim, though in retrospect I might have wanted to go with the Fighter and have a faster Sage. Pilgrim to Sage doesn't really have a whole lot of upside as far as stat bonuses go.

Before changing my Pilgrim into a Sage, I wanted her to learn Vivify. That spell is at level 24 and imminently useful. Now that she has reached that point, time to go do some class-changing.

Back at the Shrine, I go Soldier->Fighter, Fighter->Pilgrim, and Pilgrim->Sage. I want two healers - one of whom is fast with Fighter agility - but like I said it may have been better to go Fighter->Sage and leave the Pilgrim alone.

It's really appealing having everyone at level 1 again (aside from the hero). I'm glad it forces you to keep a ringer on your team, because I could see people changing all four characters if they could (and then having a slower catch-up process).

I go out into the world and level grind with my tougher-than-normal Fighter, faster-than-normal Pilgrim, and...uh...Sage with Vivify and a fair amount of MP. They level VERY fast, and this is, quite frankly, a blast of fun. My new Pilgrim also hits quite hard, so it's almost like I still have three melee classes. For now.

Arriving in Jipang (which is Japan), our heroes hear about how the villainous Orochi is demanding young virginal sacrifices. For what... we dare not speculate.

Jipang is most definitely Japan. Is that Korea on the left?

I need to level grind quite a bit more to have a chance against Orochi. Which means fighting lots of Stephen Colbert's sworn enemies.

Here's a more appropriate monster for this part of the world. DRAGON DRAGON! ROCK THE DRAGON!

Metal Slimes now start to be a thing, as well. They pop up a lot around Dharma, which is great for catching everyone up on levels. No way you want to take on Orochi with an underleveled party. I'd go so far as to say it might be better to fight Orochi BEFORE the class change, since the fight is so rocky in the NES version.

Jipang has some interesting architecture, very different from the rest of the game. It shows how much more advanced this game is from the first two visually (even if it doesn't seem like it).

The chief here is the nefarious Himiko, who hates OUTLANDAS.

"You are one with all things Outlanda!"

The lair of Orochi is a nearby cave, wherein we find this peculiar mask. Why is it peculiar, you ask? It maxes out the defense of the wearer...while confusing them permanently. That causes you to lose control of that character, and makes them a threat to the party. ...And themselves, so it isn't even something you could use for a solo game.

File this away with the Golden Claw in terms of things that could be great but have some huge negative side effect. Personally, I kinda dig this. It's certainly different from your typical item lineup.

In the depths of the cave lurks the four-headed menace, Orochi. This is the first real "big boss" of the game, and there's a good chance I'm fighting him too early.

He obliterates my party the first time I try, necessitating more level-grinding. They just don't have the HP to survive his AOE attacks right now.

Note: I've just learned that after a class change, you get severely-reduced stat gains at level up for the first ten levels. This makes sense to keep people from just grinding level 1-20 over and over again to create super-characters. With 1-10 barely giving anything, you'd end up not breaking even if you did that a couple times. Makes sense to class change once, though. Only issue is that your party will be pretty underpowered for a while after a class change, since they're half of what they were and not really gaining strength until 10+, aside from all the spells/stats they carried over (when applicable).
I level grind a bit, which doesn't take long at this point, and return beefed-up. Orochi is very beatable now. The hero's level is a good indicator of where the rest of the party would be had I never class-changed. The others are stronger now than they were at around five levels higher before the change.

Winning gets me the Orochi Sword, which is...a bit underwhelming. It's two points short of the hero's Zombie Slasher in attack power, but I equip it anyway because it likely has some intangible effects. Maybe. At the very least, it looks cool in the inventory list. "Orochi Sword". Yeahhh

We warp back to Jipang, only to discover that the nefarious Himiko was actually Orochi the whole time. IT WAS ME AUSTIN!

Another fight with Orochi follows, and it's just like the first.

Now that the people know the threat of Orochi is over, peace can return to Jipang.

An added plus is that we now have the third of the six orbs. However, Jipang has new concerns, as a black man has taken up residence here:


Since this game is totally open world, you can take on various quests and challenges in any order once you have the boat. I waited a while to do this one, as you need to send the hero into a dangerous dungeon by himself.

The point of that dungeon? Another orb. Loto is nearing the end of the journey!

Whoa. I didn't know Dram felt that way about Loto. Or felt.

Now that the solo-character nightmare is over, I check in on New Town. Budville is where New York City is on the overworld map, which is pretty cool. Immigrants are flooding into the town and it grows a bit every time you return to it. What a cool idea.

I do some level grinding now to get the crucial spell of Bikill. This oddly-named spell doubles the attack power of one character for that battle. Yeah, it's awesome. Hugely beneficial against bosses. What's up with the name, though? I get that it means "double" in some roundabout way, but it looks like a mispelled "bikini" and sounds like someone wants to go around murdering bisexual people. HOW DARE THEY SWING BOTH WAYS!

Speaking of swinging, here's what happens when Donkey Kong flies into a 'roid rage.

Stuff happens, as I infiltrate a cave to get this mirror that shows the true self of changelings. This would have been useful for exposing Orochi, huh? Well, I guess it'll still be useful in case a T-1000 or Odo from Deep Space Nine show up.

Actually, it seems that this nearby king has been murdering people who speak out against him. What is this, Russia?

...I think it is, actually. Huh. Remember, this game has our world as an overworld map.

In any case, the king isn't REALLY a human, because humans can't be evil! Everyone knows that! There's only one thing to do: Hold up the Mirror of Ra. But first, we must find him. The quest begins.

I use the mirror to expose the king as a MONSTER. What is with all of these monsters posing as town leaders?

Time for another boss fight. This guy is a wrecking machine, but he's easier than Orochi. Less AOEs to deal with.

Victory over the illegitimate son of Triple H and Big Show results in me finding the artifact that he used to transform. With this, our heroes can transform into all kinds of cool stuff. I'm going to have fun with this one... on the next exciting episode of Dragon Warrior III!


  1. The Pyramid is epic. Multiple major treasures that will almost certainly require multiple trips, and SO MANY MUMMIES.

    Kandar's goons looking like castle guards in the tiny sprites always took me out of the game.

    If you can believe it, the SNES version of the game added weapons for the Fighter even better than the Golden Claw. That class is very much improved.

    I always did enjoy the 1 to 20 grind the second time around. Especially if you hit up a metal babble.

    The Orochi sword is neat because it casts Defence in battle. Sap would have been better but this is free and anyone can use it.

    "Or felt." LOL


  2. This queen is reminding me of one of the most famous poems in Hyakunin Isshu, an ancient Japanese poetry collection. It said basically the same thing.
    Pepper for a boat...fairly fair trade in medieval times.
    I did this English Puzzle in my own head after reading.
    Bud Fox is a perfect name for this merchant.
    I never get tired of seeing this old man quoted in DQ3 mail series.
    "Satori" means "Wisdom" in Japanese!
    Yes that's Korea to the left of your boat.
    If only the only Japanese who didn't want foreigners in their country were the ones who are faking it and are actually dragons.
    Naming a mask with this function the Noh Mask is pretty interesting. More games should have This World But Different as the setting.
    What I'm listening to while writing these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=mTz8e7ZEs64#t=2531