Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Dragon Quest III: Seeds of Salvation, Finale - Best DQ3 Port?


The six orbs are placed, and it's time to plow the rest of this. I gave my thoughts on the Phone Port in the previous post, but I'll re-iterate it here: I think this is the best version of Dragon Quest III. I'm surprised too. It's a great update of a game that originally came out during a generation whose primary hobbies were tank barrel cleaning and fighting the USSR.

Ramia looks more magnificent than ever in this version, but it's worth noting that it's a little bit more difficult to pilot than earlier versions. There's a "swooping" motion to landing that makes it difficult to do precise lands. This is only a problem in two places: Landing on Baramos' island and landing on the cave island east of that. When it comes down to it, you really only make use of Ramia for a short portion of this game, unfortunately.

The first thing I do after getting Ramia is fly to the Dragon Queen's palace and get the Light Orb. Can now confirm: You can get this the minute you get Ramia. Don't even have to defeat Baramos, much less reach Zoma's Castle. This saves me some backtracking time.

Baramos' Castle. Look at that massive field of view.

These levels seem kind of low for this fight. In the GBC version I had everyone in the low-30's at this point. This plays very differently from my previous run since I'm relying on spells and only have one meleer, compared to the GBC where I had 3 meleers. So it's possible this fight will be harder than it was on the GBC either way, much less with lower levels.

...and yep. Not only do I suffer my first character death since the class change, I also suffer my one full-on wipe of the post-Sage era. Baramos absolutely destroyed us, and now level-grinding is in order. With these levels, the best I could hope for in this fight was all of the calorie-burning that happened from Baramos feasting on our remains.

With this field of view, we can get a much better view of the shape of South America while in flight.

I gain 2 levels and try again, and that gets me a win. Well, a "win". Sarah is down, Elly got warped to limbo, and my remaining characters basically ended up just burning the boss down in hopes of winning at the last second. It worked, but now my perfect record of Sage leveling is completely broken-up.

Alefgard's red slimes are strangely comforting.

I give Goopi-Training a shot, but it quickly proves just as tedious as any other form of leveling at this point. I think I'll just wait until Zoma's Castle and fight regular battles there until I get to where I need to be to beat Zoma. If I could barely scratch my way past Baramos, I've got zero chance against Zoma.

Another advantage of the long field of view is that you can see some interesting backgrounds above different areas, like this forest.

I like how it makes sure to let us know that the swimsuit is "scandalous". As opposed to a non-scandalous swimsuit?

Either way we've got a scandal-riffic group here. Unfortunately for me, Sarah doesn't want a defense downgrade, Emily prefers one-pieces, and Elly only swims at the YMCA where they have a strict "no boners" code. Also I don't have 78k. Let's just go.

A flowing dress, on the other hand, is A-Okay for this crew. Emily is down, as long as it's green and hugs the hips.

I do something I didn't do in the GBC version and actually check on poor Lorne. After being released from jail, he decides to leave New Town to new management and head back to Aliahan.

I didn't even realize it was possible to get him back as a party member. I wonder if he's stronger than normal Merchants, or has any distinct advantages as a party member. I doubt this is the case, but it'd be cool if he were a specialized merchant-type character, like Taloon. Or Sylvando, the magnificent human peacock.

It's also worth noting that New Town now sells powerful Merchant-only weapons and armor, which means Lorne is well set-up to be a contributing party member. If you're going to run with a Merchant in your group, this is the time to do it. However, I'm sticking to this all Goof/Sage run and seeing it through to the end. Also, picking up a level 1 character with no class changes behind him at this point in the game seems counterproductive regardless, as fun as the idea may seem.

Best sword acquired. This time I made sure to make this one of the first things I did in Alefgard.

The southern tunnel (where the Princess was held by the Green Dragon) is still under construction in this era. The mark of greatness is when a people build a tunnel that they will not in their lifetime get to walk through.

Dragon Quest III HAS to be the record-setting RPG for "number of racist NPCs"

I love how the cursed armor in this port is called "Hate Mail". You can tell this was developed by the same Enix as Dragon Quest XI. Not only do NPCs have accents, there are plenty of item puns.

Also, the sheer humor of Metal Babbles running away screaming is great. I actually managed to get a few of them.

Next up: The southern shrine, home of the Rainbow Drop. I want to know more about this "Most High" fellow. How high we talking?

Ya know, I've been wondering about that box for several games now. Well, it turns out it's empty. I'm glad they finally cleared that up. Now let's see if we can get some answers on the Baramos clones in Zoma's Castle.

The rainbow bridge animation is, surprisingly, very dull in this version. Nothing really happens, the screen just shifts colors momentarily and a bridge appears. I figured this one would have the greatest rainbow bridge animation yet, but nope.

Time for level-grinding...lots of level-grinding. This is the biggest grind-fest since the early-game when I was trying to class-change. Luckily, it's a lot less tedious this time, with a powerful group. Here, we sustain some losses, with the end result of Mal getting the former HealUsAll spell. It's a mega-heal that uses a ton of MP, to be used mainly in emergencies. However, with 3 Sages, it's pretty unnecessary.

A super-important component of the all-Sage group is to get 3x Sage's Staff from one of the shops here. These cast Healmore when used as an item, which basically gives the Sages unlimited healing power to a point. If they were to all go OOM at once, they'd still be able to cast psuedo-HealUs by all spamming these. Grinding out enough GP to get these and the best armors for the Sages occupies quite a bit of time at this point, but I need the levels anyway. Aiming for 45/41/41/41, which is so far off that I don't know if I'll make it.

Ortega versus the King Hydra is basically identical to the GBC and SFC versions.

It's kind of nuts that I've now done posts on four different versions of this game.

I notice that the King Hydra is doing more damage than the GBC version. Poor Ortega expires and the party just wanders off, again.

Picking up the key loot before I gate out of the castle. Sage's Stone is the main thing here, but we also get this tremendous dress that out-does the best buyable dress by a lot. The only question is who to equip it on. TRULY AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE.

I end up going with the one most likely to actually wear a shimmering dress.

And now, it's time to deal with a major problem that I didn't notice until this point in the game, unfortunately. Emily's stats are WONKY. She has a bit more HP and defense than the other Sages...and less than half of the MP. Closer to a THIRD of the MP, even. She runs out of MP almost immediately during boss fights. I figured this would correct itself at some point and was just bad luck with stats, but it didn't correct itself.

Then I realized, those personality traits that I usually ignore? Yeah, Emily's is "Gourmand" while the other two are "Princesses". The guy at Alltrades Abbey tried to warn me about Gourmand and Sage not being a good combination, but I didn't think it made THAT much of a difference what personality traits characters are rocking. Turns out it makes a huge, MASSIVE difference. The best personality for female Sages is "Vamp" (Sexy in earlier versions) and it's what I should have gotten on all of them from the get-go. They'd have much better stats at this point if I had.

So basically I royally botched this run. I'll still make it to the end, it's just more difficult than it needed to be. And it's too late to recruit an exclusively Vamp group. However, there IS one item I can get that'll make one character Sexy, and hopefully with that Emily can make up some of the stat difference in the 4-6 levels she has left to gain before the final battle.

Emily slowly rolls it up while Mal doesn't watch where he's going and falls off of the boat.

That's it, boom, she's Vamp now. The stat gains from Vamp are significantly better than Princess, which is significantly better than Gourmand. So this will slightly balance things out, though it would have been better if I'd done it many levels ago. In theory, if one were so inclined, they could class change the Sexy character into a Wizard or something and RE-level with the new stat bonuses. That's more work than I want to do, when I've already spent too much time grinding.

Kaboom is the new name of Explodet. Took me some time to get to know the new spell names in this version. One of the things I prefer the FF series over the DQ series on is that the spell names in the FF series are basic and make a lot of sense. The DQ series spell names, on the other hand, sound like a Doctor Seuss dictionary.

Puff! is the former BeDragon, a really cool spell in theory that I never really use. On the NES I did make some use of it because it can result in some monster DPS. However, the character is out of your control while this is going on. Morph is another interesting spell that allows the character to transform into another character. Not sure how many turns this lasts, but I believe it eats up all your MP when it wears off. So in theory, I could have a party with four Hero characters right now, which is crazy to think about.

Kazing, which sounds like the name of an evil buzzard in a Seuss novel, is this game's version of Revive. This and Explodet are learned at the same level for Sages, which makes that the biggest level in their progression. They aren't the final spells, just the final crucial spells.

Explodet doesn't look that good in this port. It's a pixel-filled explosion.

I was aiming for 45/41/41/41 but I can't take any more grinding, so I'm going to challenge this guy at 42/38/38/38. It should be doable, but difficult.

FINALLY we get some clarification on this mysterious boss. It's Baramos' soul. And to go along with that...

...Baramos' exhumed body. Glad we cleared that up, but I liked the idea that the first one was Zombie Baramos and the second one was Skeleton Baramos after you blasted off what remained of his decaying exterior. Admittedly, that was pretty dark.

Zoma fight. Drop the Light Orb on him immediately, buff up, etc.

That's a great line. This game has a lot of great lines...whoever did the dialogue for this port did a masterful job.

Zoma absolutely SPAMS dispel during this fight. Way more often than I remember in other versions of the game. Some rounds, he'll use both of his turns to dispel the party. Stop, they're already dispelled!

Even after four Vamp level-ups, Emily still has a massive MP deficit, so she's the easy choice to put on Sage's Stone spam responsibilities. The Sage's Staff is also helpful for patch healing without burning through MP. I mainly need my MP for CONSTANTLY REBUFFING.

After a very drawn-out fight where the Hero did 100% of the damage and the others repeatedly used Acceleratle/Oomph/Sap/Kabuff/Insulate, I finally eke out a win. It's worth noting that I discovered something here that I didn't know during the GBC run: His AOE dispel also dispels HIM, which means Sap is removed. Not only do you have to rebuff the party, you have to get Sap on Zoma again. I didn't realize this in the GBC version, which means he lacked Sap for the entire fight and my meleers were doing less damage than they could have been doing. Was still easier there than it was here.

So ProTips for an all-Sage group: Go with female characters (for the look) and make sure they're Vamps. Get the spiked whips from Portoga as soon as possible to make the early game bearable (both Goof-Offs and Sages can use them so they're never a waste even as you get close to class-changing). And lastly, keep Sap on Zoma after dispels.

Zoma gives his speech, and that's it for this game. Great port, had a fun time here. It flew right by, too.

Returning to Tantegel (since we're trapped in Alefgard forever), you can see that Zoma's Castle is no more. That's now some prime real-estate for any villains who want to keep an eye on Tantegel.

Wow, more tremendous dialogue.

We get the title, and it's Erdrick this time.

Trumpet-festival, only this time without Zoma appearing. I already went over my thoughts on this port, and suffice to say, it's a good one. Bring on the next DQIII remake, whenever that's upon us. In the meantime I've got more phone ports to check out. If they're as good as this one, this'll be fun.

Other Dragon Quest Posts

1 comment:

  1. Whoa, that's a great shot of South America.

    That forest looks almost FF6-esque.

    That really is a mark of greatness.

    Man, Zoma bringing it with the promo.

    That Vamp personality has the best stat gains in the entire game, too. Good work!