Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation, Chapter 4 - Brawl Out


Huge episode of Dragon Quest VI today as we slay Maou Mudo (again) and unlock class changes. Lots of class-change discussion here and in the next episode. I think I might just stick with the remake and see it through from here on out, then go back to the SFC version and sweep that up.

Sidebar: Speaking of, wouldn't it have been awesome to get a SNES version of this game stateside in the 90's?

I was all ready to talk about how much money they were leaving on the table by not bringing over this or DQV. ...until I looked into the sales figures to see whether this was actually true / try and extrapolate how much they might have made.

Welp, turns out the first four games actually nosedived in sales in the USA market. The first one did fine distribution-wise because of Nintendo Power, but it looks like each one after that was down a massive percentage. Here's the breakdown, and it isn't even funny:

Dragon Warrior - 1,500,000 "sales" with an asterisk. Over a million were distributed with Nintendo Power. The actual sales total looks like somewhere around 450,000 units, likely due to Nintendo Power boosting the profile of the game so much.

Dragon Warrior II - 150,000 units sold. That's right, about two-thirds down from the first.

Dragon Warrior III - 95,000 units sold. Another steep drop-off of about a third. Safe to say it was only the really hardcore fans buying in at this point.

Dragon Warrior IV - 80,000 units sold. The NES may have been outdated at this point, but either way it wasn't getting buys. So extrapolating out from this, DQV and DQVI would have been bombs. The SNES had a smaller userbase than the NES. RPGs DID gain quite a bit of popularity circa 1995 or so thanks to FFVI and Chrono Trigger, so DQVI probably would have done a bit better by association. I'm going to guess about 110k for DQV and about 250k for DQVI with Nintendo Power promotion and people seeing it as another Chrono Trigger.

Dragon Warrior VII - 177,000 units sold. Even after the late 90's PS1 RPG boom brought on by Squaresoft, this game couldn't really gain traction.

Dragon Quest VIII - 430,000. This one finally scored a decent number and the series did fine after this.

So in closing, my ideas about DQV and DQVI being big deals if they were brought over and Square leaving money on the table... were misguided.

Anyway, back to discussing how how randy DQ women are or whatever I usually talk about.

Our heroes leave Ashlynn behind on the boat. No telling what she'll be doing over here all by herself all day, but it's worth noting on a completely unrelated note that the boat comes equipped with a detachable shower head with 3 pulse settings.

As we arrive on the Island of Maou Mudo, we make a shocking discovery: There's another boat here that is essentially identical to ours, just older and run aground. It's been here for a while.

Could it be...our alternate-universe selves were here? Ashlynn wasn't in the party at the beginning, and the detachable shower-head on the other boat looks like it's never even been used, I think we can mark this one solved.

Next up is a lava dungeon that leads us to Maou Mudo's citadel. Along the way we battle...

...Cannibox (who still won't square dance with me)

After the lava cave, here we are, the woods where the game began. ...except Nevan wasn't in the group in that scene, it was just a trio. So we're re-tracing the steps of the other-dimension versions of ourselves that lost to Maou Mudo, except we've got more backup.

The same thing happens as before, with our heroes riding dactyls wyverns to the Tyrano Lair Mudo Citadel.

And here it is, the fortress of evil. The looming fight with Maou Mudo would be slightly more intimidating if we hadn't just fought a fake version of him.

The castle is evil and spooky. It's also a little bigger than it was in the intro, with more rooms to go through and some loot to get. It's easy to miss said loot because the path to the boss is straightforward and direct, while the loot is all off to the side.

Carver finds his alternate-universe self, petrified, and upon making contact with it they combine to become a single super-Carver with the memories of both worlds. I don't think he actually gets any more powerful, though. Was hoping for some Namek-type enhancement here.

Wait, how does he know about my fight with the fake version in the other world? Unless he's talking about the dream from the beginning, meaning our other selves in the real world that he petrified. In which case why isn't he confused about how we're suddenly un-petrified? If I were him I'd be wondering what the deal is.

He immediately petrifies our heroes again, just like in the intro, while they just stand there.

So wait...we found the statue of Carver on the way in. What happened to the statues of Milly and the Hero? Are they out somewhere in the world, sold to the highest bidder?

After being petrified, our hero wakes up in a dream. We're right back at the beginning of the game. ...are we gonna play through the whole thing again? Is this like a Groundhog Day situation?

Ra's Mirror is here, and it tells us what we already know: Tania is unhappy. Probably because a married guy won't leave her alone. She'll be damned if she helps anyone get cheated-on. Also, this village has like zero water pressure.

But wait! They wake up from the dream and get un-petrified. ....okay. That's fine with Mudo, because he can defeat them the old fashioned way. Looks like this guy is for certain the real Mudo, so this is going to be a brawl.

Time for the second battle. This time he has summonable adds. They're pretty weak, but he can summon more of them. The boss is pretty weak too, and this fight flies by about as quick as the first one did. Focus on Mudo, ignore the adds, make sure I'm healed up.

But wait! Things continue to be weird as hell, as we immediately have another fight with him right after that fight ends.

In this third and final fight...

...he's WAY stronger, not just compared to the other two fights, but compared to virtually anything else in the game (outside of maybe the endgame).

Yep, he gives me my first and maybe only (we'll see) loss in this game, and it was a mugging. I'm over-leveled too (or at least the Hero is) and it DID NOT MATTER. It all comes down to luck, and if he does his big AOE with both of his turns in a round, you're probably taking casualties.

I take the time to explore a bit more this time, plus gain even MORE levels. How over-leveled do I need to be? In any case, the castle has this sweet weapon for Carver, and it procs a fairly high-damage fire attack.

"Adds", "AOEs", "procs" many terms that originated in Everquest, it's almost unreal. What an influential game. Unfortunately WoW gets credit for a lot of those phrases, but I've complained about that enough.

Talking to Nevan after arriving in the castle also sets the castle as a Return point so you don't need to re-do the lava cave if you lose to the boss(es). Weirdly enough, if you don't talk to Nevan, this location doesn't get added to the list. Also, you can't Evac out of here, so this is mainly backup in case you die. Since I'm lugging around 50,000 G, death means a reset for me.

Yeah, I could just use a bank, but I'll be damned if I support their systemic structures of debt slavery.

That and on the phone version, you can just reload an autosave after your last successful battle (since it autosaves every time you win a fight). That starts me at the end of the lava cave, meaning I don't have to re-do that area, and there's no reason to ever lose any gold in this version.

With additional levels, the Fire Claw, and a bit of planning, I manage to slay Maou Mudo once and for all. It was still a challenging battle even after all of that, but victory was never particularly in doubt.

Here's the full battle. As far as fights in this game go, this is as pitched of a battle as it gets. It's like Magus, or Balzack, or Atma Weapon, or Exdeath at the end of World 2. It denotes roughly the halfway mark of the game, as well. Best fight in the game, and the only one I recorded besides the final boss.

So wait, this Maou Mudo wasn't someone else transformed for some weird reason? Maybe this one turned the king in the other world into a clone of himself as a lark. Maybe he wanted body doubles like Saddam Hussein.

With that, the big foe of the game is defeated. Now what? Time for Zoma to appear?

This has gotta be where King Somnus turns heel and reveals that he was Maou Mudo's higher power. Or maybe the Chancellor shows up and blasts us with lightning before declaring himself Emperor?

Nope, nothing else happens. They talk more about how Spike is their son from another world where he didn't die, and then they just sort of sod off. You'd think they'd want him around.

As for Chancellor Keating, they banish him from the realm, mainly for his grossly unfair tax hikes. That's about it. He doesn't turn into a monster or anything. It's a blink-and-you-miss-it moment.

"She kept asking me if we could install a detachable shower head in the wagon too. Why does she need so many showers?"

Next up: Classes, finally. This is the part of DQVI where I start to really like the game.

Other Dragon Quest Posts

The Dragon Quest Master Post

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