Saturday, August 14, 2021

Dragon Quest III: Seeds of Salvation (iOS/Android, 2014)


This will be much quicker than my look at the GBC version, focused mainly on pointing out differences and improvements. This version of the game is actually pretty rad on the QOL front and manages to out-do the already-great GBC version in most respects. I'm also going to seize this opportunity to try the 3 Goof-Off Challenge I alluded to in the earlier posts. Will this party be as huge of a PITA as I think it is? Yes. It's fantastic once they all metamorphosis into Sages, however.

I don't mind playing DQIII multiple times back-to-back. The only thing this game doesn't have is chocobos. Which reminds me. Legend has it that if you bring the right greens and a little luck, occasionally a chocobo chick will pop out of Kenny Omega's hair.

But first: The Complete Un-Controversial Dragon Quest Tier List. Going by their original versions (so not remakes) we've got...

S - DQ5, DQ8, DQ11

A - DQ3, DQ4

B - DQ6, DQ9

C - DQ1

D - DQ2

E - DQ7

Now it's worth noting that in a tier list like this, being at the bottom doesn't necessarily make you bad. DQVII has some cool elements and I might give it a shot again someday for posts. Obviously I've played DQII a bunch of times now. It's like being the least-good Pokemon generation, or the least-spicy habanero, or the worst of my past lovers. When none of something are actually bad, it isn't saying much if I like one of them the least, or 3 of them the most. <---this joke wasn't set up in advance, BTW, because:

The Goof-Off run BEGINS. Captain Mal leads the way, like in the old days. Accompanying him are a trio of ridiculously cute women with no-doubt completely random names. Unfortunately, they're Goof-Offs, and anyone who played this on the NES knows what that means.

The grind BEGINS. I really wanted to do this class group, for some reason. In retrospect, I don't know why. It seemed fun on paper to roll Goof-Off Palooza. WELL IT ISN'T. At least we're getting a look at the mobile port out of it. I wasn't originally planning to play this port. The plan was to go right from DQIII GBC to DQV mobile.

The Goof-Offs probably spend around 1/3rd of turns, well, goofing off. And the rest of the time they don't do much damage, even if well-equipped. You think four Thieves in FF1 is a challenging party? At least they can run away from things easily, do a bit of DPS, and become Ninjas as soon as they reach Bahamut regardless of level. This Goof-Off party HAS to reach level 20 before they can class-change, and making any progress in the game is very difficult until they do.

This would never happen.

Elly tries to juggle...and injures her toe! This injury calls for a stay at...

...the inn. The innkeeper lets our hero stay for free because, and I quote, "Bruh"

Four hours later...

...My God. They broke him.

Is this like Cosmo? Emily and Sarah wouldn't be caught dead reading that.

There are two large challenges in this run (besides the final boss, of course) and they're both Kandar. At least the first fight can be avoided, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Notice how Mal is the last party member in line. The Goof-Offs can, at the very least, shield some damage while the Hero tries to get the fight done. The first Kandar fight is tough, but not too bad at level 12+ with a well-equipped Hero.

This healing spring room is something I'm super familiar with from the GBC version. However, I'm not doing that kind of grind again, especially not with the slower speed of the phone version.

...or at least, that's what I said at first. If you want to get 3 Goof-Offs to level 20, you better LIKE GRINDING, and this is the best place to do it.

This...WOULD happen.


As Shadow-Men wreak havoc, Elly makes sure she looks good. It doesn't take much effort.

She has like 2 and a half feet of hair, so this would take a while.

The big mega-challenge of this run (aside from maybe the final boss) is really Kandar 2.0. This fight is SO BAD with this party. Unlike the first Kandar fight, you can't skip this one. And with this party, even if you're overleveled you might still run into a wall.

For some reason I didn't get a shot of Kandar 2.0 himself. Rest assured, he's still blue. If I had to do this over again, my recommendation would be to go ahead and get to the high teens at that healing spring before doing this fight, and get the best equipment from Portoga after all that grinding. I mean you have to go completely all out to beat this guy.

Emily has become famed chef Pepper Bae.

Which means... After a bunch of tries (no joke) I eke out a win, and can finally reach the Shrine of Dharma. Now called Alltrades Abbey, this is what I've been working towards.

Unfortunately, everyone is only level 14-15 on arrival, and they all need to be 20.

...that's right, more grinding, and the game is going to keep being tough for a while longer. I get Iron Spears for everyone and get to poking away.

This is a good question. Or tries something once, fails, and immediately gives up at it forever. Don't do that. 4-time world wrestling wrestler Christian Cage was let go from his first gig as a wrestler and he didn't give up. Sammy Guevara and CM Punk were fired from half of their jobs as young'uns, probably because they're assholes like me, and they didn't give up.

Lots of wrestling references in this issue. And there are gonna be a lot more this month I assure you

It took lots of work to get Elly that 16th level-up, and it was here where I started to feel like I couldn't really do much more of this.

Then, I made a miraculous discovery that I somehow missed: Goof-Offs can use whips. To say that this is an improvement on the Iron Spears I had everyone using would be an understatement. These also would have helped a lot with Kandar 2.0, if I'd grinded enough to afford them.

Thanks to the power of whips (and chains, and handcuffs) Emily has a record-breaking 19th level-up before I completely give up from exhaustion. Now that the incredibly tedious part of this run is over, it's time to see what kind of havoc 3x Sages can do.

::puts on sunglasses::

...All of them.

Guy: O_O

That's right, I made it here with 3 Goof-Offs. This should definitely be up there with the FF1 class challenges. Imagine going through the ENTIRE GAME with 3 Goof-Offs.

..........maaaybe, we're not doing that. I don't even think it's possible, unless you spent dozens of hours leveling to like 60-70. And leveling the slow way, because I'm not sure a Goof-Off party could defeat any Metal Babbles.

I should have taken note that something was up when he said this, but I didn't realize any of this until later: Turns out that a character with "Gourmand" as their personality trait has terrible stat gains as a Sage. Elly and Sarah are both Princesses, which has decent stat gains, while Emily for whatever reason ended up as a Gourmand which means less than half of the MP growth of the other two. She DID have a lot more HP/attack during the Goof-Off phase, at least, which is why she was in the lead.

The thing to do here would have been to go straight for the Garter to change Emily's personality to "Vamp", which has the best stat gains and the most intense level-ups. However I didn't realize this until much later, unfortunately, which means I had one Sage with gimped stats. This didn't become obvious until later, and the reason for the problem didn't become obvious until even later than that.

Moral of the story is, you do not want Gourmand on any of your Sages. You want Vamp, Vamp all the way. ("Sexy" in earlier versions of the game). I wonder how much easier the game would have been if I had 3x Vamp personality characters.

New party. They're even cuter now, and I get to level them all up again. It's like a time-warp!

Now that the Goof-Off nightmare is over, I head straight for Jipang. On the larger, zoomed-out phone screen, you can see the entire island inside of one shot unlike the GBC version. That's one huge benefit of this version: You can really see a large area at a time, which helps a lot with overworld exploration and mazes.

Orochi Cave looks better than ever. This is where I grinded out the last couple levels on the Goof-Offs, and it's a good place for Sage catch-up as well.

When Metal foes run away in this game, they don't just run away. They run away screaming.

Eventually I luck out and get two of them.

Then I luck out and get 3 of them!

Then...okay, hold on, there's no way I ever got this many Metal enemies in one fight in the GBC version. I was lucky to get one, and on rare occasion two, Metal enemies down in any given fight. I think they toned-down their fleeing rate for this port.

After all of that leveling in the fire dungeon, a sweaty Emily learns the most important spell in the game, outside of maybe Revive. Now she can pump up Mal's attack power, while putting a pep in his step.

There's an altar room in Orochi cave with lots of human bones. This is a good bit of lore-building for the game to show you, the place where the people of Jipang conducted their sacrifices. I wonder if people from the outside world ever wander in here. "Weird, what are all these dead bodies doing he-EEEYAGGH"

Orochi is to the side instead of above like in the GBC version. She's still hot as hell, and you can't teach that.

"Suck it, Tiamat!" she squeaks.

Midheal is your only heal for a looooooong time, so there's a lot of this: Everyone casting Midheal. It's like a HealUs that everyone has to combine their powers to cast.

The second Orochi fight, as you see me dishing out the buffs/debuffs. Gotta say, the backgrounds in this look great. While it's based on the SFC version, it's much sharper in resolution, and again, the long screen helps.

Case in point, check out the long walk to the Jipang shrine.

We're at the open part of the game, which makes things a bit easier as it gives this party lots of time to catch up on levels. First thing I do is recruit Lorne and drop him off, since I did this late in the GBC version and had to wait around a bit for New Town to reach its final form.

You got it, pal.

The journey to Soo is MUCH easier in this version since the river maze isn't much of a maze when you can see this much of it.

Fading Jenny is what invis herbs are called now. I don't get it either. Anyway, the party gets to vigorous rubbin'. The rubdown transpires right in front of the Edinburgh gate guard and he doesn't even flinch.

Speaking of Edinburgh's guards, they don't just call you Bunpkins in this, it's much worse:

"Bumpkins go home!"

It's only fitting that Lorne build a music club.

The Staff of Change is now called the mod rod, as we see Mal trading his rod for a bone. Yanno, the only real problem I have with this port is that so many of the names are changed that it's often confusing. I'll frequently look for an item in the inventory and it'll take me longer to find it because it's called something odd now.

What is this guy planning to do with the Staff of Change, anyway? Judging from his dialogue, it's something seedy. Is "old men transforming into young women" a thing in Japan?

FINALLY, Lorne is in prison. ABOUT TIME! Now gimme the Yellow Orb, bitch!

That's actually it for the Orb Hunt. I'm glossing over a lot because I just covered this story in the GBC version. This is more about pointing out the differences. So which port do I prefer, GBC or phone? Both are kinda enhanced versions of the SFC port.

GBC has more postgame content, but unfortunately it's locked behind the wall of needing silver medals for all enemies. Meanwhile the phone version has sharper visuals, a much larger field of view, and most importantly, redone dialogue that reflects the different regions of the world. So people actually have accents that reflect their region now, and it adds SO MUCH to this port.

What's that? Switch port? I'm not even gonna talk about the Switch port, except to say that it's this game turned sideways and they changed the character/monster sprites into these really cartoony phone-game monstrosities that, I think, may also lack animations. Yep, the console port has "phone-game" sprites and the phone port doesn't, I don't get it either. I'm glad a port exists on Switch regardless, because the more people play this, the better. However, I can't wait for that one to be obsoleted by the 2D-HD remake, which I WILL definitely be playing.

Before I go, check out the synergy I managed to maintain. Haven't had a single character death since the Sage class transformation, which means...

...everyone is the exact same level, and...

...they're all leveling up at the exact same time, like a sorority attracting the attention of local bears once a month. This kind of character synchronicity is pretty cool though. How long can I keep this even-ness going before someone takes a death?

I think we should place Elly reverently on the pedestal. More later.

1 comment:

  1. It is kind of wild how you can skip the entire first Kandar segment., I kinda want to do this challenge myself.

    Hmmm, I wonder what was up with the GBC version putting Orochi on the top of the screen.

    Switch version lacks animations alright. At least you can play it with a controller.