Saturday, July 24, 2021

Dragon Warrior III (GBC) - Part 2: Flight of the Valkyries

The quest for Mini-Medals continues! Starring Beedel-sama as the Small Medal King.

We left off on the DreamRuby cave, which is the best early-game level-up spot. I got to the high teens there, but it wasn't time-efficient anymore at that point.

With the DreamRuby in tow, we now get assistance from the Racist Elf Queen.

I skipped it in part one, but it turns out there's an entire village of elves and they're all super-racist against humans.

::The Final Fantasy IV menace theme plays for some reason::

::high-pitched screaming is heard from the people of Noaniels as pathogen spreads through the air::


Just kidding, the Wake Dust isn't actually the Bomb Package, and it doesn't do anything lethal. just causes everyone in the village to go sterile over the next several years. DAMN YOU, QUEEN! WHY!!

Alright, I made all of that up. The Wake Dust wakes up everyone in Noaniels with no side effects. It would have been so easy for the Elf Queen to just murder everyone with us as her unwitting accomplices, if she were really a double-agent.

....I've been watching too much 24.

Regardless, someone here tells our heroes that Ortega was spotted heading towards Ashalam. Since the world map of this game is based on the Earth, Ashalam is in the vicinity of the Middle-East.

There isn't much to do in Ashalam now, but it has interesting architecture. To the west is a desert (the Sahara equivalent) which is home to...

...Isis, the oasis city. This is basically Cairo, though it's located nowhere near Egypt on the map:

I need to get into the real-world implications of this game more often. Note how there's a continent between Australia and South America that doesn't exist in our world. Maybe that's their stand-in for Antarctica? Or maybe it's a lost continent, like the fables of Atlantis. I'm sure there's a story there and I'll find out more as I go.

The Queen of Isis is almost as terrible as the Elf Queen. She spends all of her time talking about how hard it is to be beautiful, and generally complaining about her lot in life while fanning herself with money.

Well, royalty in this game doesn't have a very good track record so far. There was that king who tried to just pass off his job to a 16 year old wanderer so he could go gamble in the could only go up from there.

Out in the desert, we encounter the Pyramid. I love pyramids in RPGs. However, they usually end up being difficult mazes. This place is home to the Magic Key...and something else.

The key (heh) here is to press four switches on the third floor, in a specific order. Since this is the first real major dungeon in the game, they really ramped up the difficulty for it. Enemies here don't mess around, and some floors block your spell-casting.

Pressing the switches in the right order and going north through a stone door gets you the Magic Key, which makes the Thief Key look old and obsolete. This key can open magic doors, which are found all over the place.

That isn't it for the Pyramid, though. The big challenge still awaits, the basement. The stairwell to the basement is hidden, so I can see a lot of players missing this part entirely back in the day unless they had Nintendo Power handy.

The big treasure of the basement is the Golden Claw, which is a potent weapon for Fighters. I don't have a Fighter yet, so I'm getting this pre-emptively.

It's cursed and causes enemies to attack every two steps, but only inside the Pyramid. What's worse, magic spells are disabled on the lower levels of the dungeon, meaning you have to fight your way out without spells to heal.

This has a very Indiana Jones vibe to it, doesn't it? You find the treasure of the ancient dungeon, then all hell breaks loose on the way out.

Bringing like 30 Herbs is paramount for getting out of here alive. Or you could just die, but considering that I'm lugging around like 30,000 Gold, that doesn't work for me.

I finally limp my way to the exit, dragging a casket around like Darby Allin.

By the time we reach the church, it's TWO caskets.

"Help" wheezes the hero as the priest shakes them down for cash. "600 G, soldier boy!"

With the Magic Key I'm able to open some doors from earlier and get new loots, like this staff upgrade from the first castle in the game. Half the fun of getting a new key in this series is running around opening doors you passed up earlier.

Our next stop is the Portugal equivalent, which requires the Magic Key to reach. We took a roundabout way to get there considering it's on the continent we started on.

In Portoga, the people are PEPPER-CRAZY. There's only one problem: They're out of pepper.

Our heroes trek back to Norud The Hobbit* with a letter from Portoga, and he blasts a way through the tunnel here so we can reach the eastern lands where pepper is abundant.

* - That's actually his name. The Tolkien Estate lawyers are licking their CHOPS.

Once we reach India, suddenly Metalys start appearing on the world map. It's pretty difficult to take out more than one of them per battle, even if a bunch show up. That said, it might just be me, but I think they run away less often here than in other versions of the game.

In a dimly-lit room, alone with his thoughts, we find this very emo man.


You can tell that this place is India because people are bathing in a sacred river, ala the Ganges. I like the way the Dragon Quest series does this kind of thing with locations. Dragon Quest XI does it a lot too.

Gupta here is looking for his love, Tania, who was kidnapped.

The perpetrators? Big, meaty lads. Sounds familiar, but I can't place it.

Hentai Emporium bouncers try to get our heroes to join their VIP club. We quickly dispatch them and...

...rescue Tania. Turns out Gupta got here before us and proceeded to also get captured. And they were kept in separate cells, so nothing fun even happened.

Wait a minute...Hentai Emporium? Big, meaty lads?

...My God. Botany Bay! WE HAVE TO GO NOW!

Oh no.

"My Hentai Emporium is now fully operational!" he belches.

He's even stronger than before, and is now Blue Kandar.

However, he has one less goon, and the party is higher level. This isn't the difficulty jump that the first fight was.

WIZ unleashes the equivalent of Hurtmore from the first game. Looks like all those extra levels I got in the Dream Ruby cave were a good idea.

A magical moment in Hero's life, as defeating Kandar gets him to level 20.

Kandar begs for mercy so that he can go back to running his Hentai Emporium in peace. This time I let him go...this time.

After rescuing Gupta and Tania, I can finally get some kilos of pepper. After testing it for purity, we head back to Portoga.

Moments after this shot was taken, the king dumped a pile of pepper on his desk and proceeded to snort as much of it as humanly possible.

Now that the people of Portoga are high out of their minds, we continue onward to further lands east. In the northern part of India (more in the Himalayas) we find the legendary Shrine of Dharma.

Been looking forward to this all game. It's the Bahamut of this game, the point where you can advance into new classes. The main difference is that you can revisit this multiple times. In this run I only plan on changing classes one time, though.

This place is full of people who are training to be something, like this guy who wants to be a mage.

Meanwhile, this guy wants to be a fighter! The grass is always greener.

"I'm gonna be somebody!" says this other guy.

Here's a gent who wants to be a dealer. I don't blame him after seeing those Portogans huffing pepper. It's definitely a lucrative market.

This guy wants to be a woman. Me too, dude. However, if we were women, we'd probably want to be men instead. Grass is always greener and all that.

Wait a minute, this guy just wants boobs so he can grope himself all day. Get outta here! THIS IS A SACRED SHRINE SIR!

Before anyone changes class, there's a tower to the north with a key item.

This tower contains the Zen Book (formerly Book of Satori) which is the key to making a Sage. It also has Metal Slimes so it's a good place to push the characters a bit more before they change classes.

Weren't these things bosses in Secret of Mana?

The tower is a bit of a maze, until you try walking off of one particular tightrope and find...

...the basement, home of the Zen Book. At that point you can just Outside right out, or...

...stay and hunt Metalys for a couple more extra levels before you class-change. Watch out for the dragons though, they hit HARD. Even with my levels being like 5 or 6 higher than average for this point in the game, if multiple dragons attack at once I stand a decent possibility of being wiped out. Losing still means resetting, since I'm lugging around so much gold from the level grind.

Taking down two Metalys is still about the best I can hope for, and huge exp. I can't wait for Metal Babbles to start showing up. It'll be tough to resist the urge to start one of my classes over at that point. The only one that I could see really being a possibility is having the THF/WAR become a third class. That'd probably be less productive than just going directly from THF to the new class, though.

I'm rambling, probably not gonna be doing a third class. I'm also less and less likely to go for the optional boss as time goes on here. If the optional boss only required bronze medals from all enemies, I'd definitely give it a try. Unfortunately, it requires silver medals from all enemies, and those take way too long to get. I've been going out of my way to farm medals from foes so far and have a bronze medal for every enemy type, and despite that extra effort I still only have silver medals for maybe like 20% at the most.

The optional boss also requires everyone be at like level 70+ and that's just a bit much. Maybe I'll try it in the new Switch version if it includes the optional stuff.

Time to get my class change on, starting with Mage->Sage. WIZ is level 22 for this, which is good enough. Sage just builds off of Mage's stats anyway, so no need to stress too much about gaining stats in the first class.

The big list. I believe this game was the first American release of the game that included the Thief class, which might explain why it had a lot of appeal with players. Jester is the former Goof-Off, useful mainly for getting a free Sage transformation at level 20.

A party with 3 Jesters->Sages is still a run I want to try at some point. Probably on the NES version, but I'm not sure. It'd be really difficult until you reach Dharma, not unlike a party of Black Belts in Final Fantasy or an Arcane-only / Gun-only run in Bloodborne. Most of the special challenge runs I do seem to be the most difficult early-on. Imagine how cathartic it'd be to finally get to Dharma and get 3x Sages all at once though.

So between that and the Switch remake, I still have two more runs of this game (unless I combine the two). It's easily my most-played game in the series already, I would say.

After changing class, you start back at level 1 with halved stats. As long as you get back to 20+, you're only gaining stats, though.

There's something inherently appealing about having characters at level 1 again and gaining levels from every fight. I usually class-change all 3 of my characters at once and it makes the game difficult for a little while. This time around I'm staggering them a bit.

WIZ gaining Sage abilities, which basically just means heals and Cleric powers. After reaching level 22, gaining Mage spells will start being a thing again.

THF reaches level 22 and that's enough speed-building for me. Now she's a tank. I'll prioritize her speed and give her a Sage's Stone later to have a healer-tank. Matter of fact, all four characters are going to have healing powers in this run, two of them with high speed. Baramos won't have a chance.

A few Metaly's later and CLR reaches level 24, which is enough for Vivify. That's the last really important Cleric spell for a bit, so it's class-change time. Vivify is only a 50% success revive spell, but it's still incredibly useful to have on a Fighter.

This is it, the final class change and the one I was most stoked for.

Now CLR can equip the Golden Claw, which is much better than the Iron Claw you can buy in stores. Unlike the NES version, it isn't cursed.

Their names make absolutely zero sense now, so I need to change what they mean. CLR is now an abbreviation of Claire. That's right, her name is Claire.

THF is an acronym of Tessa H. Fluffernuffer.

And WIZ...uh...WIZ is a nickname because she did well in school, her full name is "Veronica"

With class changes finally done, I can use all of the stat seeds I have piling up (since previously they would have been 50% wasted...unless I used them on the Hero). In other playthroughs I always made the Hero into my super-character by funneling seeds. This time I'm not doing that, I'm going to spread things around and make everyone powerful.

As far as I can tell, the max stat boost you can get from each seed is 3, so I made sure that everyone got +3 on every seed...or at least +2. Lots and lots of saving and loading was required.

In an effort to be a more ferocious practitioner of Kung-Fu, Claire reads the Tomboy Book.

"I don't give a damn about a bad reputation!" yells CLR before putting WIZ in an armbar.

Latest equipment update. Warrior is in full-on tank mode...and somehow almost caught up already. It takes very little time to get your new classes up to level 20 after changing.

Trying whips out with the Hero, again breaking from tradition (I usually stick to swords). Also, he is a lewd boy, as you can see.

Claire is Valiant. I thought she was Rowdy now? Regardless, Golden Claws are gonna dish out some damage, and she's also got the Goku Black cosplay.

Veronica is also catching up quickly. I missed a Meteorite Armband in Isis that I need to go back and get before the next episode, which will probably go to her since she has the weakest accessory and the worst speed of the four.

Also, female Sage is one of the most gorgeous characters Akira Toriyama created in the DQ series.

Though you can't exactly see it in the ingame visuals. That's it, classes are all fully-changed.

Now we can play the game.

1 comment:

  1. C55 shook out the Wake Dust? Who is C55?

    I think the Aliahan island continent is mostly there so you start somewhere unique and original,/then/ go on and see the entire rest of the world.

    Wow, I've never gotten level 20 from the Kandar fight before. Usually more like level 15.

    Serena getting the Sage gear in Dragon Quest XI was pretty great too.