Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

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François
Posts: 1321
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Thu May 31, 2018 4:06 am

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The sequel to Dragon Warrior hit North America in September 1990, to... let's say, limited success. The original Final Fantasy had been released to the same audience in May of the same year, and it turned out to be a deeper and in some ways prettier game than Dragon Warrior II. One might be tempted to be believe that Enix's follow-up was a step back, or at least the result of a development team oblivious to its own potential, sitting on its laurels, and taking its comfort for granted.

The Japanese release dates tell a different story, however. Dragon Quest II was released in January 1987, almost an entire year before Final Fantasy's December 1987 release. DQ2 wasn't a step back; it pushed the burgeoning JRPG genre forward and further set the course for all that would come after.

The Yuji Horii / Akira Toriyama / Koichi Sugiyama dream team put together a complete evolution over the original DQ's blueprint: a much deeper combat system with actual party members, a partially non-linear quest set in much bigger world, more detailed environment art, more colorful enemy designs, and a more elaborate and memorable soundtrack. The first game almost feels like a tech demo in comparison.

This is not to say that this is a flawless sequel. Certain aspects of the flow and balance have the awkwardness of a newborn deer finding its legs, and the endgame's open cruelty is almost legendary.

Plot-wise, we're looking at the continuing adventures of Erdrick's bloodline. You don't need to be familiar with the first game's story to follow along, but if you haven't been through my previous Let's Play, it's a short read of only ten parts, and people seemed to like it!

As the manual puts it...

Though the time of his deeds has long faded, still the name Erdrick commands respect among even the greatest of warriors. Stories of his lineage are legendary throughout the land and have been retold through the ages in the most remote villages and townships. Long ago a young man, who was a descendent of Erdrick saved the Kingdom of Alefgard by defeating the dreaded Dragonlord. The young man came to this land accompanied by Princess Gwaelin. Together they built TORLAND.

This legend has been handed down generation to generation from the ancient time. Princess Gwaelin brought forth three children. To the eldest prince was given the land of Midenhall. To the youngest prince the land of Cannock became his birthright. The youngest princess was given the land of Moonbrooke. The people of these kingdoms lived in peace for 100 years. One day, however, this peace suddenly came to an end.


Wait. Dude. Look at this. That can't be right.

Image: No, no, that's pretty much it.
Image: I can vouch for the accuracy of this introduction.

I thought we established that you two faked being in love so the princess could travel freely as her heart desired, and so our dragon-slaying hero could have his vengeance against notorious dick King Lorik. What's this about children, then?

Image: Well, we traveled together for a long time, and it turns out we actually liked each other a lot!
Image: Who would have thought it?

Ah. Okay then.

Image: Bringing Alefgard's royal line and hero line together also made it a great deal easier to find descendants of Erdrick when they might be needed.
Image: None of our kids will ever be brought in rags before a king, given a pocketful of change, and told to kill a giant dragon on their own.
Image: It didn't turn out so bad for you, did it?
Image: It sucked a lot for a long time. Heroics are great and all, but getting ganked by a Slime on your way to the inn is overrated.
Image: What's this about peace coming to an end, though? Is our family okay?

Oof. Yeah, about that. Let's find out, shall we?

Let's play Dragon Warrior II.

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François
Posts: 1321
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Thu May 31, 2018 4:11 am



Well hey, that's a bit of a graphical upgrade, isn't it? And of course the Overture returns in its splendor.

Music: Joyous song

Ah, we now have a dedicated start-up menu song. Well, Dragon Quest made a ton of money, might as well make sure the sequel is given the juice, right? And this track is no slouch, it clocks in at 1:26, and is rather long and elaborate for a NES piece.

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We're playing a descendant of Erdrick, but also a descendant of ZedPower, so there's no shame in harkening back to history, right?

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There's a lot more going on in battles this time, and it's all still described in text, so I can't imagine anything slower than "FAST" being tolerable.

Alright then, we immediately get into an opening cutscene.



Image: Oh no...
Image: As distressing as that was to watch, I have to say it's something of a relief to see that even the kings among our descendants aren't too dainty to put up a fight.

That is all new for the NA release; the Japanese version starts in Midenhall Castle's throne room, with the wounded soldier coming up the stairs.

Music: Royal palace

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Image: Well, I prefer being able to go out there and do something about this mess than stay cooped up in here. Take good care of my old man, alright?

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Image: By... air? Do you know something I don't?

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And with this, we follow our father downstairs. Speaking of stairs...

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There is no STAIRS menu option! Stepping on a staircase tile causes us to immediately climb them. Progress, sweet progress. DOOR and TAKE are also gone. As for the newcomer, EQUIP...

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Weapons and armor are now carried in our standard inventory, and this special menu goes through our equipment slots to let us decide what we want to wield in each. Unfortunately, you only get to see the difference in stats after you select the piece of equipment, so it's a little clunky. I think the number changes in real time as your cursor moves starting from DW3, but that's for another day.

Oh, and speaking of equipment, we're keeping our current sprite forever, it no longer changes depending on what we're carrying.

Image: At least you don't have to buy your own first suit of armor, kid.

The walls here have neat perspective thing going on, where they're not just composed of big stone squares anymore. And every character's sprite is displayed a couple pixels higher than the base of the tile they're standing on, just to give it that hint of a third dimension.

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Attack Power and Defense Power (well, "Defence", but I'm gonna keep messing it up if I try to to type it with the c) are still calculated the same: Strength plus weapon bonus, half of Agility plus total armor bonus. There are no new stats to speak of.

Unfortunately, we can see that Zed here missed out on whatever gene in Erdrick's DNA turns you into a powerful wizard; his max MP is forever zero and he will never learn any magic.

Anyway, enough of that, let's head down.

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Image: Now listen closely, Zed. Seek out worthy companions along thy road. In Cannock and Moonbrooke there are those who are also of Erdrick's line.
Image: Hopefully still in Moonbrooke, yeah...
Image: They will surely help thee to defeat Hargon's dark plot.

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We can finally open chests with SEARCH!

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So yeah, we start with an actual metal weapon this time! It's a bizarre Copper Sword that'll turn into a blunt instrument before long, but that's still a decent start, and we equip it right away for a rad 10 attack power.

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Image: Yeah, got it.

There aren't as many obvious tutorial NPCs as in the first game, but this is too important not to make sure new players understand the idea.

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Image: If it's any comfort, I won't be gone for long. You know, my ancestors have a reputation for getting their questing done before it feels like it has even started at all.

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Image: Not the most useful teleportation device, I gotta say. But it's good to be able to enjoy the sea breeze any time we like.

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Image: Gah, I hope they're still doing fine in Cannock at least.

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I doubt these people are meant to be in cells. The conceit here probably is that folk have standard keys for their own doors.

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This isn't actually a House of Healing though, it's just a dude in a place that looks like a House of Healing, telling us about Houses of Healing.

In a pretty typical instance of censorship for the time...

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In the Japanese version, Houses of Healing are outright churches, they have priests carrying crucifixes instead of then these old wise men types, and they mention God every chance they get.

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Image: I can't believe dad still doesn't trust me with the treasury keys.

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Image: Right, right. I was only born and raised here, man.

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We got a nice little item shop and inn combo here right outside the gates. Midenhall doesn't have a castle town like Tantegel did.

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Image: It's only 4 pieces of gold for the night. Dost thou want a room?
Image: ...you know who I am, right?
Image: I'm running a business here, you want a room or not?
Image: No!
Image: Farewell, stranger.
Image: ...

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Medical Herbs are a bit cheaper than they used to be, but they only recover 10-30 HP now. And of course, Antidote Herbs cure the poison status ailment. Yeah, that's a thing. Yay progress.

We pick up two Medical Herbs, and one Antidote Herb just in case.

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Image: ...eh? Thanks, I guess.

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So, not only do Herbs no longer stack, but our equipment also takes up inventory slots. That'll get tight before long.

And merchants now randomly give you Lottery Tickets when you buy stuff. They're not scratch-off, we need to take them somewhere specific before they do anything useful.

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Image: There's a good boy. You keep watch over my folk, alright? I'll be back before you know it.

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Music: A lonely youth

Leftwyne's to the west, eh? It's a lot further from Midenhall than Brecconary was from Tantegel, so let's explore our region a bit and get our adventuring legs before we head that way in earnest.

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Image: Wait, what?

That's right, you're not seeing double. That was two Slimes attacking us at once. Dragon Warrior 2, thy name is innovation. Slimes themselves are about the same as they used to be, and our Copper Sword makes quick work of them, so no worries on that end. They're only a danger if they gang up on you.

And there's another wrinkle to how enemies show up, too. Let's see if we can get into another fight around here that'll illustrate it.

...

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Ha, we gain our first level off a few groups of three Slimes while I try to trigger an appropriate fight to show off. 2 Strength, 1 Agility, and 9 HP. I'd be disappointed if this was the end of DW1, but right now it'll make a difference.

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Music: Demon attack

Still not what I was looking for, but we have a new enemy. Big Slugs are a hint stronger than Slimes across the board, but still within our league.

Ooooh wait, I can talk about something else right away. I'm sure you've noticed by now that battles no longer have background images. In fact, every fight in Dragon Warrior games from 2 to 4 have plain black backgrounds, and this has drawn certain criticism over the years. But there's an excellent reason for this.

The NES can only draw its graphics on two layers: a background layer, and a sprite layer on top, In DW1 battles, you had the background image on the background layer, and the monster image on the sprite layer.

Now let's display only one layer at a time. First the background, then the sprites.

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The menus, the Slime, and most of the Slug are on the background layer. But the Slug's green tongue is on the sprite layer!

Any given 8x8 block of pixels displayed by the NES on one layer can only have one four colors, one of which is an invisible transparency to let the background show through. But if you draw part of a monster on the background layer and other parts of the same monster on the sprite layer, you can combine the two sets of colors in a single image. Therefore, Dragon Warrior 2 and onwards eliminate the background landscape so its monster designs can be more detailed and colorful. Good grief that's brilliant.

Anyway, that's enough faffing about for now. Let's keep exploring, and if a fight occurs with the other feature I want to mention, I'll mention it then.

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Oh, actually there's a bridge to the south, and our HP is running low. We'll go rest up first. Which means we go to the inn. We don't have our own room in the castle, somehow.

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Image: Ugh, fine, you brigand.

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Drakees are a bit stronger than Big Slugs, and Wild Mice are a bit stronger than Drakees. Maybe the south isn't such a great place to explore right now after all.

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Music: All hope is lost

Image: *gasp*
Image: Eesh, a mouse. I guess I'm in no position to criticize.

Okay, so a couple things happened here that messed me up. I tried to use an Herb, but once you enter your command, turn order is determined completely at random, and the Mouse finished us off before our action came up. The other thing is that when you attack, you don't get to target specific enemies, you target a group of enemies. In this case, the Mouse was in its own group, and the two Drakees were together; in the first two turns, we randomly attacked the Drakees one time each instead of finishing one off. That gets a little tricky, you can imagine.

It's an interesting tactical element though, as sometimes you want to take out strong single enemies before you risk scattering your attacks among a group of weaker ones. And in a way, it reflects the chaos of the battlefield, the notion of charging in a tightly packed group of foes and opportunistically striking wherever you may. Overall I don't hate it, despite how it contributed to our first death.

Probably the biggest annoyance with that system though is shared with the first Final Fantasy. If the group you're targeting is completely gone by the time your turn comes around, you don't redirect your action to another group, and your turn is wasted.

Image: ...is it dinner time already?
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Image: Gee, thanks dad.
Image: Wow, and I thought King Lorik was harsh.

In financial terms, he's exactly as harsh as Lorik was: we've lost half our gold.

Anyway, now that we're back here, everyone in the throne room has something new to say.

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Image: Of experience points Zed needs 14 to reach the next level. Dost thou wish to save thy deeds in the Imperial Scrolls of Honor?
Image: Drop the sarcastic tone, will you? Just write it down.
Image: I have entered thy deeds in the Imperial Scrolls of Honor. Dost thou wish to continue thy quest?
Image: It may surprise you, but yes, I do.
Image: Then farewell and good luck! All of us await the day that Hargon is cast down.

Yup, we still gotta talk to the king to save.

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Image: I'll choose to believe you are peculiarly fond of oxen.

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Image: but my place is here beside the king.

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So, there are too many mice to the south. Let's go for Leftwyne this time instead, shall we?

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Oooh, level 3. 5 Strength, 2 Agility, 3 HP. Nice. Let's hit the inn again before we try to go any further.

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We get a sort of beige interface to signal low HP now, instead of a red one. Yeah, better rest for now. We survive the trip, and pick up where we left off.

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Iron Ants are a bit weaker than Drakees, but with fairly high defense.

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Ah, here's what I wanted to talk about before. You can absolutely run into multiple groups of the same enemy type. It simulates being approached from several directions, and from a gameplay point of view it especially comes into play with spells. Certain spells hit one group, while others hit all enemies regardless of grouping. So you have single enemies being more vulnerable to concentrated physical attacks, and grouped enemies more vulnerable to area-of-effect magic. I hear this doesn't make a lot of sense to some people, but I think it adds a much needed tactical consideration to the battle system.

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Ah, Leftwyne, finally. It's quite a hike, all things considered.

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I rather like how towns and castles aren't restricted to a single overworld tile anymore.

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Music: Busy city streets

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Let's hit that inn right away. This one's only 6 gold. And it's nice to see actual furniture in here. You kinda have to use your imagination for the bed, but that sure is a chair and a table right there!

Image: Boo!
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Image: No worries, citizen. The descendant of Erdrick has got your back!

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The Wing of the Wyvern makes a repeat appearance, only this time it takes you to where you last saved. For now we only pick up an extra Medical Herb.

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Poison drains your HP by 2 every step. And it definitely does not wear off by itself. Not a good scene.

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Image: It is by that route alone that thou shall reach Moonbrooke.

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This is a real House of Healing. The options are self-explanatory, though of course REVIVAL isn't very useful for us right now, since if we die we get shipped in pieces back to our father. I don't remember how much curing poison here costs, but I'm certain it's cheaper than using an Antidote Herb. Hopefully we won't have to find out too soon.

If we try to use these options while not afflicted by anything...

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Image: Thank you sir, I just thought I'd come in for my check-up.
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Image: I'd say I always am, but I died yesterday, so... thanks for the advice.

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Image: Yup, that's my job alright. I've been training my whole life for this.
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Image: No proof required? Wow, times have changed.

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We know for sure that Moonbrooke has been destroyed, so if we're going to investigate the place, we better find someone to come with us first. Northward it'll be, then.

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Image: Yyyeah. I do have it on good authority.
Image: Yes, I think so, too.

If we disagree with him instead...

Image: But I cannot think of anyone else with such power.

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The Prince of Midenhall can equip every weapon in the game, so as far as we're concerned, the Knife and Sickle are straight upgrades. We're still doing well with our Copper Sword though, so let's set our eye on the Leather Shield first, then the Chain Mail. We have 22 Attack Power and 9 Defense Power right now, so it'll be good to improve our protective gear.

Aaaand that's it for Leftwyne. Our next destination is Cannock in the north, but there's much of the Midenhall region we haven't seen yet, and we need some money besides, so how about I get my cartographer's hat on and get back to you, eh?

...

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Ahhhhh, that's the feeling. It's how I know I'm back in the saddle.

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TA
Posts: 1800
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:58 pm

Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby TA » Thu May 31, 2018 9:45 pm

I never beat Dragon Warrior II back on the NES. I, III, IV, repeatedly, but never II.

It'd be easy to blame this on the bullshit impossibility of Rhone, or the Crests, or any number of other horrible garbage problems with the game, but my problem was a lot more fundamental. My copy had a defective battery and would corrupt/erase all my saves on power-on pretty regularly.
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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:10 am

Did DW2 play the "you got cursed!" jingle on startup when you have corrupted saves? The earliest I know for sure that this happens is in DW3.

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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:47 am

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After exploring the region, we find ourselves with two more levels (for a total of 6 Strength, 5 Agility, and 12 HP), and enough money for a Leather Shield, giving us an extra 6 defense. I could grind for another upgrade, but Slimes are starting to run away from us and we can probably handle stronger foes by now.

Stat increases are completely fixed, just like DW1's. The variants on stat growth depending on the protagonist's name have been done away with.

The enemies so far don't have much to distinguish themselves from one another, but they're still all at noticeably different power levels, and it gives me a notion that the difficulty curve will likely be a lot smoother than the original game's. I guess time will tell.

And speaking of enemies...

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Ghost Mice are a fair bit stronger than the Wild Mice that kicked our ass in the south, but in this region at least they always show up alone, so they're not quite as dangerous. It does make me wonder if it'd be worth it to explore that southern area again. But we really should go to Cannock as soon as possible. Maybe we'll save the south for next time I need to grind... or if we're directed to go there for some reason.

There's also a narrow swampy passage between mountain ranges to the north of Midenhall, but we don't have much reason to waste HP going that way right now, and we know Cannock is north of Leftwyne besides. Let's head off.

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Ah, it wasn't very far away in the end.

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Music: Royal palace

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Oooh, Fairy Water already. We don't need it yet though, not that we could afford it if we did. Its mechanics are a bit different from the first game. Instead of comparing your strength to your enemies', it compares the current HP of your party member with the lowest HP to the HP of the strongest monster you're about to run into, and cancels the encounter before it starts if the former is higher than the latter.

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Image: Perhaps it was Moonbrooke Castle in flames.
Image: Oh, crap. That was Moonbrooke for sure. This is bad.

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Image: Our prince has studied the ways of magic, though with heavy armor or weapons he has no skill.
Image: Oof, yeah, that sounds like Glynn alright.
Image: Still, he seeks to fight evil.
Image: Well his heart's in the right place, anyway.

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Man these prices are a lot more sensible than they used to be.

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That's more than a little irritating. These prisoners move at random every three seconds or so and you can only speak with them if they're on the tile directly across the bars.

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Image: It better be worth my time, ruffian.
Image: There is a silver key that opens doors of silver.
Image: Not worth my time by any stretch of the imagination.

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Image: Good grief, you twits are in here for a reason.
Image: The world is doomed no matter what happens.
Image: Yeah, we'll see about that.

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Standard House of Healing up here, very convenient.

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That would be a golden door. Silver doors are the grey ones we've seen back in Midenhall.

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Image: It's good to see there's at least one person in our extended family that has their own bedroom.

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Image: Well, it's been a while, b-
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Image: Halla. It's me, Zed. Zed of Midenhall. We used to play hide-and-go-seek together when you came to visit with your parents.
Image: Then I'll give thee some advice. My brother has gone searching for the Spring of Bravery, but he travels slowly.
Image: Oh! Alright then, I ought to be able to catch up to him. Thanks. And take care of yourself, alright?

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Image: Yeah I figured that one.

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Image: Oh, that's more helpful, thanks.

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Image: Heyo, Your Highness. How's the back these days?
Image: Of experience points Zed needs 113 to reach the next level.
Image: Right, gotta attend the usual business, I get it.
Image: My son, Glynn, has already left on his journey. Please find him and take him as your companion.
Image: That's already the plan, no worries.
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Fortunately, our quest will span more than one kingdom, and our father isn't the only king with access to the Imperial Scrolls of Honor. We don't have to go back to Midenhall every session!

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Image: I'm counting on it!

So, back east, then. There's nothing left for us here, so we head out immediately.

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The Wild Mice are a minor worry by now, but the Babble... Oh man. It's a bit stronger than one Mouse, and its attacks have a chance to poison us. I should probably have picked up another Antidote Herb. Let's keep our fingers crossed for now.

Yeah, we can one-shot the Mice, but taking out the Babble is a much higher priority, so we have to let them beat on us for a bit. We avoid poison for now, though.

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We run into the same Mice/Babble formation again and come out of the fight with 13 HP left. This is actually pretty brutal, and we're a long way from Cannock. We pop an Herb and turn back.

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This is a new situation we're in, compared to the previous game. In DW1, if you could one-shot a monster, it was all but guaranteed that you could go several fights in a row without taking any damage. But here, you can one-shot every monster you see and still get pummeled pretty bad if your defense is low.

We can't really keep popping an Herb every two battles here. Let's explore the region close to Cannock for a bit and see if we can't scrape together Chain Mail-grade money.

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Oooh, levels are also welcome. 2 Strength, 6 Agility, 3 HP. That'll contribute to our staying power for sure.

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Ah, we've heard about this monolith in Leftwyne, it's easily reached by following the coast to the northwest. Let's check it out.

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Music: Prophecy

There's not much to this song, but it's been sticking with me for a long time. I really love it for a reason I can't quite put my finger on.

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Image: Nah. I've been in that direction but I haven't actually seen it.
Image: My brother must be there now. Will thou not go to him?
Image: I've got my own relatives to check on, but I promise I'll pay him a visit when I got a moment.

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These guards block our path as we approach.

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Image: Yeah... Probably. I'll find myself a companion somewhere. Thanks for your service.

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Image: Wow, he really wants me to find his son for him, huh?

So yeah, we can't go to Moonbrooke at all right now, but considering what we're likely up against, that's just as well. This is also a first for the series though; apart from the path to the Isle of Dragons, DW1 never actually blocked your way from a portion of the overworld to another like this. Well, it blocked your way with difficult monsters, but we could technically go anywhere on foot from the start.

It would be technically possible to brute force our way to Moonbrooke if these guards weren't here, but there is no doubt some beginners or players who don't talk to NPCs wouldn't really know to go after the Prince of Cannock, so in that sense, it's a good thing the game makes sure everyone has a companion before leaving the first continent.

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There are more Babbles and Wild Mice west of the monolith, so we'll direct our exploration a bit closer to Cannock again.

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Yeah, no.

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That's a lot of exploration done, and we still only have 221 gold to our name. I don't want to grind a whole Chain Mail right now if I can help it, and we one- or two-shot everything we meet so we don't need a weapon upgrade. I think we'll keep at it until next level up, and then go after the prince again.

Speaking of one-shotting things, it's important to note that the Prince of Midenhall's inability to use magic hardly makes him ineffective in battle. He is remarkably strong in hand-to-hand combat and will remain so for the duration of the game.

...

Okay, level 7: 9 Strength, 3 Agilty, 1 HP. Not the durability boost I was hoping for, but we're definitely one-shotting enemies we used to two-shot. And we have 331 gold. Hmm... Only 160 to go for that Chain Mail, I think we're getting it after all. Besides, we can sell our Leather Armor in advance at the item shop now, instead of only being able to sell it after we buy an upgrade. In fact, shops buy our items at three-quarters of the selling price now, and we can hock our armor for 113, so we're not that far from our goal! Let's do it.

...

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...if these two Chatty Cathys will get out of my way first.

Okay, we earned that 20 gold. Boy I hope the Prince of Cannock wouldn't need to inherit our Leather Armor.

...

...

......

I don't know for sure!

Aw dammit, never mind, I'm grinding up that 113 instead. It's not gonna go to waste either way.

...

Alright, the Chain Mail gives us an extra 6 defense. We ought to be able to reach the Spring by now. We'lll return to Cannock, rest, buy an extra Antidote Herb, and set out east again.

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Oh, right. Herbs don't stack anymore, and we have that Lottery Ticket and extra armor taking up space. Welp, we can one-shot Babbles. Let's try our luck.

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This time we take the path towards the nearby bridge south of the mountains, instead of following the northern coast. We're avoiding the deserts and hills, so there might be fewer encounters that way.

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With the Chain Mail, our defense is definitely high enough that foes do 0 or 1 damage per hit, so poison is going to be the big danger on this trip for sure.

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Oh! This is the bridge where we had to turn back on our last expedition. This way is definitely a lot easier.

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This must be the place. We're still in great shape; let's head inside.

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Music: Underground dungeon

And here's how the new dungeons look! No more torches, no more MP spent on RADIANT, and no more cramped one-tile hallways. Ain't it grand?

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There is something of a light mechanic though. We can enter that empty space to the left, we just won't see what's inside that area until we actually go there. It's basically the same vision system as buildings in towns, only there's darkness instead of roofing tile.

Interestingly, going from "room" to "room" like this comes with an increased encounter rate for the first tile you're stepping on, something like one in three or close to it.

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Big Cobras are stronger than Ghost Mice, and can poison us like Babbles. We're already strong enough to one-shot them though.

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Okay, that first room's a bust.

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Bit of a crossroads here. We'll try north.

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Well, that might just look like a spring.

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Image: Yeah, no, I haven't seen the guy in a long time, but that's definitely not Glynn.

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Image: Yes, actually. I presume you've already seen him.
Image: Only moments ago he was here. I think he is going to Midenhall Castle.
Image: Oh! Well, that makes a lot of sense. Cripes, I should have known we'd both have the same idea. As you were, then. Goodbye.

It was pretty easy to reach this far in, so let's check out the other branches on our way back.

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Still no room for this. We throw the Herb away.

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Image: Nnnnno? Didn't really occur to me to take a dip.
Image: That is not good. All who seek victory must first visit the Spring of Bravery.
Image: I guess I'll go have another look.

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Image: Art thou still seeking the...
Image: No, no, not this time. I was just wondering what's so special about this spring.
Image: I shall anoint thee with this water and wish thee well.

The screen flashes momentarily. Our HP is restored!

Image: Know that Token of Erdrick is kept by a brave hero.
Image: Uh... Okay? Sure.
Image Hmm! I wonder where my old gear ended up. I sure as heck didn't toss it all in a swamp, that stuff was primo.
Image: Don't look at me! I didn't throw it away!
Image I know, I know, don't worry. I've never stopped trusting you.

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Image: It was actually pretty nice.
Image: Then all is well.

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Another Medical Herb that we have to discard.

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Aaaand a bit of money. Eh, fine enough. Let's get outta here.

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Oof, note the PO in the level column in the status box. "Alas, Zed has been poisoned." We'll take 2 damage every step until it's cured, so we use our Antidote after the battle. Some games cause you to take poison damage every round in battle, but here it only has any effect out of combat, so don't worry about curing it while you're trying to fight.

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Aaaand we're out. Man that was way easier than I thought it would be; I guess we're overleveled a little. Anyway, Midenhall is directly south of here, so let's see if we can find the swampy pass I mentioned earlier.

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Ah, here it is. We're almost home.

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Image: Man, if he's left again...

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...oh come on!

Image: Dad, did Glynn just pass through here?
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Image: Good grief. If that's "traveling slow", then what have I been doing?
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This is certainly a mistake of some sort, we're already in Midenhall and we know the Prince is not here. But if he's retracing our steps, he must have gone to Leftwyne. We take this opportunity to save, replace our Antidote, then rest at the Inn and leave again on our wild chase.

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We reach level 8 on the way! One more Strength, 3 Agility, and 2 HP. Not great, but every point is welcome.

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Now, we're could he be...

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Oh-ho! The inn!

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TA
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby TA » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:36 am

François wrote:Did DW2 play the "you got cursed!" jingle on startup when you have corrupted saves? The earliest I know for sure that this happens is in DW3.


Pretty sure it did. I seem to remember hearing it a lot, anyway, and my DW3 and DW4 carts were pretty reliable.
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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:23 am

Hmm! Now I wonder if it happens in DW1. I bet that it does; apparently the "tradition" is still going even in DQ9, so it might have been that way from the start.

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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:25 am

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The Prince of Cannock joins us at a glorious level 1. He gains Agility faster than the Prince of Midenhall, but gains Strength at a moderately slower rate. Glynn isn't weak per se, it's just that Zed is crazy strong.

He also starts with 6 MP and the ability to cast Heal, which restores 10 to 30 HP for a cost of 3 MP. He's something of a hybrid fighter/mage, with a decent spread of restorative, defensive and offensive spells. That said, if you want him to do free damage, you need to put a decent weapon in his hands. Unfortunately, while he can equip a lot of the gear we'll find, the top shelf stuff is just too heavy for him.

Oh, and his name isn't always Glynn. The name of the Prince of Cannock is determined using a method similar to the way the first four letters of your name determined your stat growth in DW1. The other possible names are Bran, Talint, Numor, Lars, Orfeo, Artho, and Esgar.

Image: You sure were a thrill and a half to chase after.
Image: I was hoping to reach Midenhall before you left, but seeing as the Spring of Bravery was nearby, it seemed prudent to make a short detour.
Image: Well, we've joined forces, it's all good. Say, what kind of gear did your dad equip you with?
Image: Oh, I... Err, well...

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Image: A club? Wow, and I thought my old man was chintzy.
Image: In fact, my father gave me the Copper Sword he used in his youth. I... may have accidentally dropped it in the Spring of Bravery.
Image: Okay, that's not the best. But I'm actually still impressed you made it all the way here after that. To be honest, when I heard your butler tell me about you learning magic, I figured I'd find you in a robe and pointy hat.
Image: I do have some martial training, cousin.
Image: Hey, I believe you. But if we're gonna travel together, I won't be seen by your side while you're using this bonk stick. Come on, let's get you a real weapon.

Glynn being level 1, even the local critters will still be a threat to him for a while, so we actually give him Zed's Chain Mail, and sell his Leather Armor. This earns us enough to buy a Chain Sickle from Leftwyne's shop, which we also give him, since Zed's Copper Sword is still enough to one-shot everything here. By the time we're ready to leave, even with the gear difference, Zed has 40 Attack and 22 Defense, while Glynn has 19 Attack and 14 Defense.

Image: So, where to, cousin? Shall we investigate Moonbrooke?
Image: That's our next major objective, yeah. But this old man at the monolith northwest of here recommended we visit his brother somewhere south of Midenhall, and I'm thinking if that guy has info we can use, it might be worth going there before we get any closer to Hargon's handiwork.
Image: There's wisdom in that, I'm for it.
Image: Plus it'll give us a chance to learn to fight together, right?
Image: Couldn't say it better. Let's go!

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Glynn can already one-shot Big Slugs with his Chain Sickle, so even at level 1 he's definitely not dead weight.

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Our heroes have slightly different battle menus. Zed can never use SPELL, so he's got the only instance of RUN. I don't quite recall how Glynn can escape from battle if Zed carks it, but we'll probably find out sooner or later.

Oh, and I forgot to mention PARRY at all, haven't I? Parrying uses up your turn to cut all incoming physical damage in half. It's not worth using if you're alone, but it can help you survive if you're at critical health and need to wait until an ally heals you. You still take your turn in the standard random order, but the damage resistance actually kicks in before anything else can act, so it's never wasted even if your number comes up last.

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Glynn's first level up grants him 3 Agility, 3 HP, and 6 MP. That's two more Heal casts!

We stop by Midenhall to rest and buy a few Herbs before we head south. Glynn gets his own set of inventory slots, so that's definitely welcome breathing room.

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Aaaand level 3 for Glynn already. 2 Strength, 2 Agility, 1 HP, 4 MP, and a new spell!

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Firebal is a single-target fire spell, costing 2 MP and causing around 20 points of defense-ignoring damage. It's basically DW1's HURT. The fact that it's fire damage doesn't really matter though; all direct damage spells check the same enemy resistance stat to see if they land or not, regardless of element.

Spell accuracy works nearly the same way as in DW1, only instead of enemy resistance stats being from 1 to 15, they go from 0 to 7, with 0 meaning the spell in question will always hit, and 7 meaning that it never will.

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Image: There are silver keys and golden keys, and doors to match them each. Seek thee first the silver key, for this is what I teach. That key is in the Cave of the Lake, west of Cannock's walls.
Image: Hmm, I've read about this cave a while ago.
Image: Ah, so you know where it is?
Image: I've never been myself, but I'm sure I can find the way.
Image: But go only with a friend inside, or there thou shall surely fall.
Image: Do you think it's worth the trip?
Image: It shouldn't be very far, and it couldn't hurt to have that key with us.
Image: Yeah, probably. Alright then, thanks for the info, old man.

We're still in very good shape, so we finish exploring the eastern Midenhall coastline, north past the mountains. Glynn reaches level 4 fighting a trio of Babbles, earning 1 Strength, 2 Agility, 3 HP and 2 MP.

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Healers are comparable to Babbles in stats, but they come with the ability to (of course) cast Heal on themselves or allies. They're a mild inconvenience when encountered alone, but as we progress we'll definitely see them appear with friendly groups.

The design of Healers really shows that fighting multiple enemies at once opens the tactical space a lot wider than just the notion of having multiple targets. This monster's entire gimmick is cooperation.

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Oh hey, an enemy drop!

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Almost every enemy in the game now has a specific item they can randomly drop after combat. Most of them only have unremarkable consumables like Herbs, or low-grade equipment, but some carry valuable or unusual stuff and I'll make note of it as we go. The occasional chest also sometimes only contains extra gold instead of an item.

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Image: What's that structure on this island over there?
Image: That's hard to say from here.
Image: Maybe it's linked to a travel door from somewhere far away.
Image: Right, like in Midenhall. Curious artefact, that. Do you know what village it overlooks?
Image: Nah, not a clue. On a clear day you can catch someone's attention and get them to wave back, but it's too far across to be heard.
Image: Shame.

As we continue following the coast, Glynn reaches level 5, for 4 Agility, 2 HP, and 2 MP. Not a spectacular increase, but every level brings him closer to his next spell, so it's hard to complain about it.

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Ah, this is the Spring of Bravery area. We've mapped this entire region.

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We have enough money to buy Glynn a shield, so we head to Leftwyne to procure one, then rest in Cannock before leaving for the Cave of the Lake.

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Ooooh, right, 16 gold. There are two of us now, of course it's more expensive.

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Image: I sure di-
Image: Why dost thou tarry here when the world is in grave peril?
Image: Wh... Come on, it's not like we're taking it easy!
Image: I assure you, dear sister, we are making all due haste without taking unnecessary risks.

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Image: Good grief, I understand why you left.
Image: Halla's insistence was... only a minor impetus.
Image: Yeah, sure.

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Image: He's my number one guy!
Image: ...thank you for not mentioning the sword, Zed.
Image: I got your back, buddy.

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Ooof, they really want us to have to deal with poison. But we end this fight with only standard damage taken.

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Army Ants are a hint stronger than Ghost Mice, but have fairly low HP.

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They are also the first enemy type to call for reinforcements! It doesn't always work, but when it does, it immediately summons another Army Ant to the fray.

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Big Rats are a bit stronger and tougher, but they have no unusual special abilities. We're definitely reaching a point where Zed is no longer guaranteed to one-shot everything.

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Ah, this is the place. Let's head in.

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We've used Glynn's Heal a couple times on the way here, so additional supplies are very welcome. Right now, the scenario most likely to force us to turn back would be to get poisoned more than twice. Hopefully it won't come to that.

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...though it might be difficult.

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Oh dang! A free Antidote Herb, and a level for Glynn. 1 Strength, 4 Agility, 2 HP, 2 MP, and... the Antidote spell! It of course cures poison, for an affordable 3 MP. Suddenly the odds of having to turn back due to poison seem much lower. On top of that, the Detox function of the House of Healing is now completely useless.

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There's the first down staircase in our first multiple-level dungeon in this adventure. Maybe we'll check out the rest of first basement before we go any lower.

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Magic Ants are probably the least physically impressive critters in here, but they can cast Sleep. It's not guaranteed to land on us like it was in DW1, but it targets every member of our party and can definitely get us in some trouble.

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22 gold, meh.

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Ghost Mice are appearing in groups now, but they're not that scary at this point.

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Alright, back to that staircase.

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Yeah we got more than enough antitoxin options now.

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Centipods are a fair bit stronger than anything else we've fought so far, they also have a very high defense, and they can inflict poison. This is the first time I even consider using Glynn's Firebal.

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Image: That, my friend, is the stuff.
Image: Remind me not to piss you off, will you?
Image: No promises!

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Wings of the Wyvern, and 39 gold. Good to know we won't have to hoof it back to Cannock.

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Oooh, Magicians are back, with a knockoff superhero makeover. They're about as strong as Ghost Mice, but they come with a Firebal spell, which by now is the only thing that can hurt Zed for more than 4 points. But he can still one-shot them.

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This is the last room, so it better have a sweet key in it.

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And it does! You know, if this game was any more modern, there would be a boss here. But this is just a standard chest at the far end of a cave.

The Silver Key now takes up a permanent place in our limited inventory. Huzzah? Well, we've already seen a few doors we can open with it. Let's fight our way back out and unlock a few mysteries.

...oh hey, Glynn reaches level 7 on the way. He's 1000 experience behind Zed, but they're almost at the same level now. Let's see... 1 Strength, 2 Agility, and 5 MP.

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You know, while we're here, we can finish exploring this area. If things get too dangerous, we'll use those Wings we picked up.

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...okay, we're out of MP, it immediately gets too dangerous. Zed does get a level, but only earns 3 Strength. Yeah, let's zoom out of here.

The Wings take us to Cannock, but there are no silver doors there. We head for Leftwyne again afterwards.

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So, that's the Lottery right there. At least it freed up some inventory space, right? The Wizard Ring that the dealer mentioned is an item that restores your MP when used, but it has a chance to break every time. And carrying the Golden Card reduces all store prices everywhere by a certain percentage, which is great if you can get it.

While we're in town, we pick up a new Chain Mail for Zed with a portion of the money we made in the Cave of the Lake; it was rough going for a bit in there but it was worth it!

There were more silver doors in Midenhall, so let's go back one more time.

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Hmm, I'm not sure what this is about. I'll make a note to check back with her later.

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Image: It is said that it may keep one safe from the spell.

The Dragon's Bane is an accessory like the Dragon's Scale from DW1; it increases the wearer's resistance to Sleep and Stopspell. The odds of these spells taking effect go from 3 in 8 to 3 in 16. I think it's a lottery prize, but it also becomes available for purchase at some point.

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Whoops, we've stumbled into Midenhall Supermax.

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Image: Yyyyeah, I'm inclined to agree.

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Image: That is really none of your business.
Image: Be gone with thee!
Image: You won't have to tell me twice!

Our next step is to enter the monolith northwest of Leftwyne, since we are accompanied now. But I want to explore the rest of the Cave of the Lake region, and maybe get together enough money to buy a second Chain Sickle. Let's see how it goes.

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Yup, all according to plan. Glynn even got himself a level, for a tremendous 6 Strength, 2 HP, 5 MP, and a new spell: Stopspell! It works pretty much the same way it did in DW1, by rolling against the enemy's Stopspell resistance stat. It now costs 3 MP instead of 2, but that increase is justified in that it targets a group instead of an individual enemy.

It's worth noting that this one beginning continent, from its westernmost point to its easternmost point, is a fair bit wider than DW1's Alefgard's entire map. Tile for tile, DW2 already promises to be set in a much larger world.

Image: This is it, cousin. We're just about ready to leave our home. Wanna spend one last night in Cannock?
Image: I... It's not... Well, maybe the one night. Thank you.
Image: I have a feeling we might actually be gone for a long time. Better breathe the familiar air while we still can, yeah?

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Image: We'll avail ourselves of your hospitality one more time, Your Highness, if we may.

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Image: ...that's weird.
Image: I wonder how we came across that information. Propaganda, maybe.

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...or the RESET button, if your NES console is among the 100% of its peers that lack a REST button.

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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby TA » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:05 am

Of note: the Lottery is a total crapshoot unless you're abusing savestates, but Lottery Tickets themselves sell for a cool 53 gold each. Not a bad pile of early money when you get them.
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby Rico » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:58 pm

I meant to mention it in the 1 playthrough, but I really like the world map fog-of-war you put up after new locations. I'd imagine it's even neater for people who haven't played the game.

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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:31 am

TA wrote:Of note: the Lottery is a total crapshoot unless you're abusing savestates, but Lottery Tickets themselves sell for a cool 53 gold each. Not a bad pile of early money when you get them.


Huh, it didn't even occur to me to try selling them, but yeah, with the benefit we got from pulling the lever so far, the extra cash wouldn't have gone amiss.

Rico wrote:I meant to mention it in the 1 playthrough, but I really like the world map fog-of-war you put up after new locations. I'd imagine it's even neater for people who haven't played the game.


Ha, it's pretty fun to make this either way, but it's good to know it has the intended effect. You spend so much time in this series navigating the overworld, finding the dead-ends and shortcuts and just figuring out geography that I thought it'd be a shame to go through all this without giving people scale and context for all those travel screenshots. I also want to give a sense of how much larger DW2 is than its predecessor, and it's probably a lot more impactful to do it this way than, say, putting both world maps side by side and going "there it is, figure it out".

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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:11 am

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Image: We're headed for Moonbrooke so it might be a while, but I appreciate the thought.
Image: We'll make you proud, father.

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Image: Last chance to turn back!
Image: Ha! That's not happening.

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Image: Yes, actually. Your brother was very helpful!
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Image: Oooooh, right, the crime potential of this whole Silver Key business. Mum's the word, old man.

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Hmm, there's a golden door here. Better make note of it.

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We could see two potential exits for this tunnel. The one to the west leads to a small uninhabited island, but there might be something interesting along the way, so let's try to go in that direction first.

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It looks like the encounters around here are similar to those around the Cave of the Lake, so it's well within our ability. Even Glynn can one-shot Ghost Mice by now.

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Image: Well then.
Image: Nice view, at least.
Image: I wonder if we can see Moonbrooke from here.
Image: Not a chance, it's much further to the south. It's no wonder we didn't get to see Gwen very often.

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Image: You know, I can't actually remember ever meeting her at all.
Image: She visited Cannock with her parents a few times, but that was long ago and we were very young.
Image: You think you could pick her out of a crowd?
Image: That's... an excellent question. I like to think that I would, but I could not promise it.
Image: Well, whether we find her or not, let's at least hope that she escaped the castle.
Image: ...right.

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We get poisoned by a Big Cobra once, but that's no great problem at this point.

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Hmm, these bad customers are starting to show up in small groups. Their defense is still high enough that it's worth using Firebal again.

Along the way, Big Rats drop a pair of Wings, and Centipods drop a spare Leather Armor. That's still a decent chunk of change, so it's quite welcome.

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Image: Okay, that was some hike. This is definitely not Moonbrooke though, right?
Image: No... Even if it was in ruins, I would still expect it to look more... castle-like.
Image: Either way, I'm pooped. Let's get some rest.

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Already more expensive, but still affordable.

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Image: Well that's unexpectedly ominous.
Image: Talk to everyone, for appearances may not reflect the true person.
Image: We'll keep it in mind. Thank you for the warning.

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This doesn't make a lot of sense right now but we'll see what she's talking about before too long I'm sure.

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Image: If Hargon's forces haven't reached here by now...
Image: There's still hope.

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Image: A tower!? That's unnatural! You build downwards or not at all!
Image: Shush, dear. Times are changing!
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The item store here has nothing new, but the smith...

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Oooof, those prices have really gone up a level, haven't they? That said, it's not as awful as it first appears. Of course we'll want a Broad Sword, Full Plate and Steel Shield for Zed, but all of those are too heavy for the Prince of Cannock, and the only new piece of kit he can use from here is the affordable Iron Spear. We'll encounter wealthier monsters while we investigate Moonbrooke Castle and its environs, and given how easily we've handled the trip down here, they probably won't be too much for us to handle.

For now though, we have to content ourselves with window shopping.

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This lottery kiosk isn't locked away, but we have no tickets right now.

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Image: Not anymore, no.
Image: Some merchants give out Lottery Tickets for free.
Image: We found some in the hands of monsters. One has to wonder how they made their way there!

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Can't talk to this man without the Golden Key, it looks like.

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Image: Well, there's a good dog!
Image: And friendly, too!

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So friendly, in fact, that it starts following us around town like a party member! What a cute touch.

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This old man gives us our experience info, and offers to save our deeds in the Imperial Scrolls of Honor. So yeah, he's a king equivalent. It doesn't bode well for what might have happened to the King of Moonbrooke.

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And the last building in town is your typical House of Healing franchise.

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Image: Aw, that cute pup stopped following us.
Image: It's probably just as well. The wilderness is much too dangerous for such a small dog.
Image: Yeah, good point.

That was a nice enough pit stop, but we still have the second leg of our current journey to go. Fortunately, now that we've saved, Wings will take us back to Hamlin instead of all the way back to Cannock, so we don't have to worry too much about coming back on foot from wherever we end up exploring. We start by crossing the nearby bridge, then heading southwest.

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Baboons have high HP and the highest Strength we've seen so far, but low defense. It's a pretty rough fight all around; if there were more than one Magician in this encounter, it would definitely be worth using Stopspell (they have no resistance to it), but since it's alone, Zed can spare his first turn to take him out.

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There are a couple close calls and we need to spend two Heal casts, but we end up with a nice chunk of change for our trouble. In fact, we're getting so close to the price of an Iron Spear that I'm gonna call off on the exploration and just earn a little more money around Hamlin for now.

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Magidrakees are weak and fragile, but they can cast the new Defence spell, which reduces everyone's defense power by a fair bit. I probably don't need to emphasize how much you want to avoid this happening to you at the beginning of a long fight.

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Lizard Flies are fairly delicate, but have pretty high Strength and can cast Firebal at will; Glynn can two-shot them without much trouble by now. They're slightly resistant to Stopspell, but if more than one or two show up, it's definitely worth the expense.

We earn our Spear money just in time for Zed to level up, earning 3 Strength, 4 Agility, and 2 MP. Pretty average, but if it takes even one fewer turn to take out a Baboon, it'll be worth it.

Just before we reach Hamlin again...

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Image: Yikes. I didn't think twice about the spectral mice, but this is something else.
Image: Human undead are definitely the work of a foul sorcerer!

Zombies are a bit weaker and less agile than Baboons, but they come with a whopping 60 HP. Apart from their standard attack, they can spend a turn "standing guard" to reduce physical damage, and they can also cast the Surround spell. "Surround" is a status ailment that causes the afflicted creature to miss with their standard attacks most of the time. The battle dialog refers to this rather grandiosely as "being surrounded by the Phantom Force". It can more or less shut down Zed for a while. I think it wears off by itself after a few turns, and it definitely does not persist between fights.

Anyway, Iron Spear. It will eventually end up in Glynn's hands, but since he sometimes spends his turn casting a spell, it'll serve us much better with Zed wielding it until we can afford a Broad Sword. Selling the leftover Chain Sickle and the Leather Armor that dropped a while back leaves us with 449 gold. That's almost halfway to a Full Plate Armor, which would really help us fight off all those Baboons.

We rest up and resume our exploration of the southwest where we left it.

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Smokes are fairly wimpy and have low HP, but they boast very high defense and the ability to cast Stopspell. They're only slightly resistant to damage spells though, so if there were more than one I'd feel pretty good about sneaking in a Firebal or two.

It's not immediately obvious here, but Smokes are also a sort of critter whose threat only truly materializes once they start showing in groups with other monsters. If two or three appear, they're practically guaranteed to shut down all your magic on the first or second turn. I really appreciate this notion of getting us to familiarize ourselves with co-op monsters on their own before throwing them in with allies whose effectiveness they can multiply.

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That's about as far west as we could go, so that's probably too much. Let's go south a short ways, then back east.

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Oh-ho!

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Image: Cousin, we took the long way around, but it looks like we've arrived.
Image: That poison moat probably wasn't always here, was it?
Image: ...nnnno. I'm betting on no.
Image: Welp. Keep a stiff upper lip, my man.

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Music: Underground dungeon

Image: Oh, hell.
Image: From the state of things, we can at least say it's unlikely Hargon is still here. He would have kept the place fortified, not like... like this.
Image: Gah, what are the odds anyone even survived?
Image: I'd rather not venture a guess.
Image: Only one way to find out.

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Image: I have bad news for you.
Image: Zed, I don't think this is any use.
Image: ...

The flames here are tormented spirits, stuck experiencing the last moments of their lives. Man that's grim.

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That's a cunning use of the outdoors/indoors mechanic here; we can tell the throne room's roof has been destroyed.

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Image: Oh, no. Uncle...
Image: To make matters worse, my daughter has been cursed and transformed into a common mutt.
Image: !!!
Image: You don't think...?
Image: It was remarkably friendly, wasn't it? Wasn't... she?
Image: Oh crap.
Image: I am burning with shame.
Image: Yeah, with that kind of pun, I can imagine.
Image: ZedPower! This is probably our grandson!
Image: I... I know. Gah, this is too much, I'm sorry.
Image: We'll make this right, uncle. We promise.
Image: Somehow.

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Image: That sounds important but we have bigger fish to fry!

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Image: And I thought the Dragonlord was a piece of shit.
Image: ...

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Image: Looted already... Figures.

Soon afterwards, Glynn reaches level 9, for 7 Agility, 1 HP, and 2 MP. This improved durability is extremely welcome.

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Image: !!!

Metal Slimes are very similar to their DW1 predecessors, in that they are not very strong, but ludicrously hard to injure. They can cast Firebal and Sleep, and also of course run away at the drop of a hat. They're completely immune to all magic, instead of just mostly immune as they used to be.

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This one escapes us on its first turn. Defeating it would have earned us 90 gold and 135 experience, and the item it carries is an Iron Helmet that the Prince of Midenhall could wear. I presume the joke here is that we'd actually be wearing a dead Metal Slime on our head.

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We could leave through this crack in the northwest wall, but we haven't investigated the southwest portion of the castle yet.

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Hmm... we can't seem to reach the small courtyard we saw in the opening cutscene. I wonder if that crack in the northwest corner is strictly an exit...

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Image: Ah, that old trick.

That swamp is no joke though, and we're running out of healing juice. We have a few Herbs in reserve, but we can't stay here much longer.

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Here we go.

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Image: Holy crap!
Image: My good fellow! Are you alright?
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Image: Only the Mirror of Ra can break the spell, for in that glass one sees her true self.
Image: Okay, okay, I get it, it's alright. We know where it is. Don't worry.

We don't have an option to get that guard out of here. Eesh. At least we can get ourselves out alive; we exit the castle through the southwestern breach. And we're definitely not up to hoofing it back to Hamlin under our own power, so we use one of our Wings.

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I am perpetually ecstatic that this doesn't just return us to Midenhall.

We spend a night here, then we pawn Zed's Chain Mail and replace it with a suit of Full Plate Armor. It gives us an extra 13 defense! I was tempted to save up for the Broad Sword instead, but for the money this'll be a lot of extra staying power.

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Image: Hey, Gwen. I'm Zed, from Midenhall.
Image: And I'm Glynn of Cannock. But you knew that already, didn't you?
Image: We've figured it all out. Just sit tight, okay? We'll get you out of this soon.

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Image: What did that spirit say, again?
Image: A swamp southeast of Hamlin, where four bridges can be seen.
Image: Hmm. How many bridges can there be around here? This should be a cinch.

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Image: GLYNN! Aw hell, you bastards are paying for this.
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Yeah, the game reserves its red interface warning for when one of your party members is dead.

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So we're now followed by Glynn's ghost. If we try to make him use an item...

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If we try to make him cast a spell...

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Fortunately, we can still take said items from his pack. Which is good because we're in a bad way and he's got all our Herbs. It'd be suicidal to continue exploring without him, so we head back to Hamlin.

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Image: We've... Uh... I've heard from someone here in town that ghosts can be recalled. I presume you're the one to see for something like that?
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Image: My cousin Glynn of Cannock here. I don't know if you can see him but...
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Image: Oh! Sure, no problem.

Reviving a party member costs 20 gold per experience level. Right now it's not exactly a minor expense, but we have the means.



Image: ...oof.
Image: How... how are you doing?
Image: Awful. But better than I was a minute ago, let me tell you.

Revived allies come back with only 1 HP, so we hit the inn and buy a few herbs before we leave again.

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We only saw two bridges on this ill-fated expedition, and they were nowhere near each other. The swamp we're looking for must be further south.

Our first fight upon leaving the village sees Zed leveling up, for 5 Strength, 2 Agility, and 2 HP. Not too bad.

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Image: Lots of rivers down here. And... I think that's a second bridge over there!
Image: Fingers crossed.

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Image: Oh yeah, this is the spot. Like it or not, we got some digging to do.
Image: Joy.

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Image: This sure brings back memories.
Image: Never search a swamp without true love's light!
Image: At that specific moment it was still more like pretend love, wasn't it, sweetheart?
Image: Well... Not completely... It was still true love, only... small true love. You know?
Image: Ha, don't worry, I'm not putting you on the spot.

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Image: This... this is... genuinely unpleasant!
Image: Suck it up, buttercup, we're halfway done.

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Image: Zed! Zed, I got it! Look!
Image: You found the Mirror?
Image: No, I caught a catfish! Fancy a seafood dinner?
Image: One, this definitely not the sea. Two, this gunk is killing us, I'm not eating your toxic-ass fish.
Image: I can cure food poisoning easily enough.
Image: Hard pass. It's all yours.
Image: On second thought...
Image: Yyyyeah.

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Image: Holy crap, there it is!
Image: Smashing! Shall we use our Wings?
Image: Yikes, no, we got resurrection expenses to recoup, and Wings don't grow on trees. Come on, get the lead out.
Image: Bah, fie!

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nosimpleway
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby nosimpleway » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:07 am

Her "furry form"...

did y--

was she just trapped in her fursuit

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Rico
Posts: 517
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby Rico » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:52 pm

Not to derail too hard, here (sorry), but this has inspired me to run through DQ3 again. I went for the SFC translated version to compare to my old/your upcoming NES experience but... I've already found a MAJOR problem and might have to restart on NES:
Image

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TA
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby TA » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:45 pm

Yeah it loses a lot in the translation.

I enjoy how until you get to the very last town and its $25k Falcon Sword, that Iron Spear is the best weapon the Prince of Cannock can use.
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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:22 pm

nosimpleway wrote:Her "furry form"...

did y--

was she just trapped in her fursuit


Here's to not making a sticky zipper quip.

Whoops.

Rico wrote:Not to derail too hard, here (sorry), but this has inspired me to run through DQ3 again. I went for the SFC translated version to compare to my old/your upcoming NES experience but... I've already found a MAJOR problem and might have to restart on NES:
Image


You've stumbled on the secret reason I'm LPing the originals.

TA wrote:Yeah it loses a lot in the translation.

I enjoy how until you get to the very last town and its $25k Falcon Sword, that Iron Spear is the best weapon the Prince of Cannock can use.


Image

I will go to my grave wondering if that's a coincidence.

There's one more weapon it would have been flavorful to let him use... but it's still a ways off.

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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:57 am

Image: So what's your specialty, cousin?
Image: I am a powerful enchantress.
Image: Glorious!
Image: That's my girl!
Image: Good enough for me. Welcome aboard!

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Whereas the Prince of Midenhall is strictly a fighter type, and the Prince of Cannock is a fighter/caster hybrid, the Princess of Moonbrooke goes full wizard. Her HP and Strength growths are slow and she is very limited in terms of equippable gear, but she has good Agility and excellent max MP. Just like Glynn she'll pick up a good spread of various types of magic, but she tends to have better versions of many spells than he does. For example, her only spell at level 1 is Healmore, which recovers 30-50 HP for 5 MP.

Gwen's name also changes depending on the first four letters of your name, but the equation to determine it is slightly different from the one that determines the Prince of Cannock's name, so you don't always end up with the same pairs. She can also be named Varia, Elani, Ollisa, Roz, Kailin, Peta, or Illyth.

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Her starting gear is pretty crummy, but considering one moment she was at home, and the next she was a dog, it can hardly be blamed on her. Unfortunately, the only available upgrade for her right now is the Magic Knife sold in Leftwyne. It's only 200 gold though, and I'm not sure I want to put her up against the likes of Baboons and Lizard Flies right away, so we make a quick trip back up north to pick it up.

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Music: Travelling with friends

As an unexpected treat, we get a new overworld theme! We get to hear this new tune as long as all three of us are alive and well, but it reverts to the first one if anyone dies. Let's not let this happen too often, shall we?

Gwen's ludicrous starting Agility helps keep her alive despite her cruddy armor. It would have been easy for the designers to give her Lv1 Prince of Midenhall-grade single-digit stats, but it would make keeping her alive in this area something between an annoyance and a nightmare. That said, she needs a hundred experience just to reach level 2, so it's not like she's going to gain five levels in five fights and just get broken unbalanced stats either.

In fact, Glynn and Gwen started at level 1, but while Zed has a maximum level of 50, Glynn can only reach level 45, and Gwen caps out at level 35. That doesn't mean that the Prince of Midenhall has higher potential and will have 15 levels' worth of stats over the best Gwen can ever get; the whole progression is normalized to account for when you're expected to recruit your allies, and they typically end up roughly equivalent by endgame.

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Gwen levels up just before we reach Leftwyne; she gets herself 4 Agility, and learns the Sleep spell! It costs only 2 MP, and targets one enemy group. Zombies are immune to sleep, but Baboons and Lizard Flies have very low resistance, so this immediately allows her to pull her weight in combat.

The Magic Knife has 10 attack power over her Bamboo Stick. It doesn't turn her into a melee powerhouse, but before long she'll be able to contribute decent hits on low-defense enemies, and she can definitely help Glynn take them down while Zed deals with the heavyweights.

Anyway, the rest of the trip is uneventful, and we regroup back in Hamlin.

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Image: Gwen, I'm glad we managed to get you back, but to be honest, we didn't really think this quest through past investigating your castle.
Image: We hoped to find some lead there about Hargon, but... well, I'm sure I don't have to explain the state of the place. We have no idea where the knave went.
Image: So you've been there already. I'm afraid I know precious little of Hargon's plans myself. By the way, how did you know how to break the curse?
Image: Uh... Well your father told us-
Image: My father is alive?!
Image: Not... strictly speaking, no.
Image: It's complicated.
Image: Or, not that complicated, really. His spirit is bound to his throne room. Surely he wanders the ruin even now.
Image: Oh... I must see him. Let's go.
Image: Um...
Image: If you won't take me there, I'll go by myself.
Image: It's okay, we'll accompany you. Can't hurt, right?
Image: Right.

Gwen earns level 3 on the way, for 5 HP and 7 MP.

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Image: Woe is me, for I am the unhappy ghost of the King of Moonbrooke. To make matters worse, my daugher has been cursed and transformed into a common mutt. I am burning with shame.
Image
Image
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: That's my father alright.
Image: To his credit, he certainly sticks to his schtick.

Let's investigate the castle again in case someone else has something new to say.

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And that's it. The trail is cold. We leave.

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Image: Gwen, do you have any idea where Hargon attacked from?
Image: His minions teleported right in. I couldn't say.
Image: I wonder if he has some kind of base or camp nearby.
Image: Right! If he could invade any castle from anywhere in the world it seems to me that he would have done so already.
Image: Hmm. There's a vast lake to the south, and you came from the north, so we can rule these directions out. I know there's an abandoned tower in the east, though I've never been there myself, and there's an underground path to a great desert in the west.
Image: Well, either way, there's no use sitting here, and these leads are better than anything else we got. Let's get a move on.

We're down to exploring as much of the region as we can. Let's start with going west as far as our remaining MP will take us.

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Megapedes are upgraded Centipods, a bit weaker than Baboons but boasting a tremendous 110 defense; right now Zed only hits them for single digits. They are also the first monster that can roll defense-ignoring critical hits on their standard attacks, and we'll learn to hate that. Fortunately, they have very low spell resistances all around, so Sleep or Firebal will help put them down easily.

This fight earns Gwen level 4, for 1 Strength, 2 Agility, a spectacular 9 MP, and a new spell.

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Infernos is a wind/vacuum damage spell, targeting one enemy group for 20-30 defense-ignoring damage, at the cost of 4 MP. It's gonna be really good for a really long time.

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Image: Wow, they really put their advertisements in the strangest places.

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This is our first battle starting against five enemies. Gwen takes out the two Megapedes on the first turn; her not being able to use any but the lightest weapons doesn't sound like such a tragedy by now.

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Aaand of course this is our first fight against seven enemies. Seeing as Zed isn't one-shotting Baboons yet, these five Healers will make it last forever if we don't spend some serious juice. Healers are completely immune to Stopspell and almost immune to Sleep, but either disabling the Baboons while taking out the Healers or using Infernos on the Healers themselves will save a lot of grief.

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Or... at least a little grief.

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Oof.

Image

Image: Ehhh, we sure screwed that one up. Time to Wing back.

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The revivals cost us 260 total, then it's 80 more for a replacement Wing, and 36 for the Inn. That sets us back a fair deal vis-à-vis the Broad Sword for sure.

Image: Might I suggest we stay closer to Hamlin for a bit?
Image: That's... sensible.
Image: There were few enough traces of Hargon to the west anyway. Let's try to find that old tower instead.

Zed and Glynn both level up off the very next fight. Zed earns 3 Strength, 3 Agility, and 1 HP, while Glynn gets himself 1 Strength, 4 Agility, 2 HP, 4 MP, and his next spell.

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Just like in DW1, Return functions as a Wing of the Wyvern, but it only costs 6 MP this time. We still want to carry a Wing just in case though, because we're right stranded if he gets himself killed.

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Gwen earns herself level 5 for vaporizing a bunch of Magic Ants: 5 Agility, 1 HP, and 4 MP. Since her armor selection is so bad, any Agility increase is extremely welcome.

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Image

Image: Well, there's the tower. Can't quite get to it from here, though.
Image: Yeah, this whole region is a dead end. It looks like we could only reach it from the south.
Image: Not that this river would stop devils from teleporting across.
Image: Looks like we have to try our luck to the west again, then.
Image: Actually, there's a region to the northeast of Hamlin we haven't completely explored yet.
Image: That's... the opposite way, though.
Image: Yes, but, wait, hear me out.

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Image: If there's a mountain pass to this continent's eastern coastline, we might just be able to follow the sea all the way south, down to about the same latitude as this tower.
Image: Hmm. I'm not convinced. What if it's all mountains on that side?
Image: If it's impassable, we'll know soon enough.
Image: Besides, it's that, or the hordes of Healers back west.
Image: Okay, fine, it's worth a shot. Let's go for it.

Back in Hamlin, we get rid of Glynn's Chain Sickle (as well as a Club and Copper Sword we got from drops), we give him the Iron Spear Zed's been using, and buy a brand new Broad Sword. Zed's attack goes from 64 to 74! The next upgrade is going to be the 2000 gold Steel Shield.

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Image

Image

Image: I do think that is the shore!
Image: Alright man, good call.

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Image

Image: This is one of the four bridges. We're definitely getting close.

We're still running into Big Cobras and the occasional Babble as we make our way south. We're long past the time where their actual damage output is any kind of danger at all, but their poison definitely keeps them relevant, as each instance costs Glynn 3 MP to cure.

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Image: Well hey, did I call it or what?
Image: Credit where it's due!
Image: Let's keep our guard up. If Hargon really was here, who knows what horrors we'll find inside?

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Music: Tower dungeon

And here we have the series' first tower dungeon, and it even has its own music! We're greeted by large groups of Magicians, Zombies, and Big Rats. We're familiar with these creatures by now, but not in such numbers; that's a pretty smart way to ramp up the difficulty.

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We find up stairs real quick, but let's check out the entire floor first.

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Being above ground, towers sometimes have multiple exits, though you can only enter them from one direction.

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Gwen reaches level 6, earning 1 Strength, 7 Agility, 1 HP, and another spell.

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Our version of Surround targets one enemy group, and causes them to miss their standard attacks a significantly portion of the time. It only costs 2 MP!

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Despite their size, dungeons in DW2 are still pretty simple to map, as they're clearly constructed with four-tile square blocks. Red squares contain up staircases, blues squares (will) contain down staircases, green squares contain chests, and any yellow floor square that borders the edge of the map is open to the outside.

Let's try that first central staircase.

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Huh, I didn't expect to see a human guard in here.

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Hmm... A chest reached from the upper level...

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The stairs seem to match from floor to floor, so hopefully I won't have to label them later on. We could keep going up the center here, but first let's go back down and take the stairs in the northeast corner of the ground floor.

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There are corridors open to the outside on the upper floors as well, and the game will absolutely let you walk right off the edge. This isn't always as bad as you might think, though. It allows you to leave the dungeon entirely and deposits you on the side of the tower you jumped from, and you don't even lose any HP from the fall. In that sense, tower dungeons are a bit easier than underground dungeons since you don't always need to cast Outside to bail out.

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Ah, here are some stairs we couldn't see from the first portion of the second floor. We keep going.

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This can be an extraordinarily dangerous group to run into, since five Firebal spells will take down any of us. Stopspell is a cost-efficient way to mitigate their damage, but since Glynn's MP is running low and Lizard Flies have no resistance to attack magic, Gwen's Infernos will wipe them out handily.

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Eh, we'll take it. We can't access the rest of the third floor from here, but we keep going up.

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Glynn reaches level 11, for 1 Strength, 4 Agility, 3 HP, and 2 MP.

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This is a smaller floor already. Let's try the eastern stairs here.

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Either we made the one right choice, or the one wrong choice.

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Ah, it's looking good from here.

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Image: There's no trace of Hargon here after all, but we might not have come for nothing.

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Image: ...
Image: We're probably not the first ones to have the idea of coming here.
Image: This chest might be a red herring. We haven't even explored the entire tower yet. Come on, we still have a ways to go!

We return to the floor with two up staircases, and take the one in the center of the hallway instead.

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Continuing with the curious theme of spectral rodents, we encounter Ghost Rats. They're not very durable, but they hit as hard as Baboons and can call for help like Army Ants. They're moderately resistant to Surround, but almost completely vulnerable to any other magic.

That fight gets Zed to level 13, for 5 Strength, 4 Agility, and 1 HP.

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Ah, that's the chest we saw on the second floor! It was a long way to get here, maybe it'll have something interesting.

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Image: Oh, we heard of this in Hamlin!
Image: It's... nice, I suppose. But we're no closer to Hargon.
Image: Gah, I'm sorry I even mentioned this stupid tower!
Image: No, no, none of that. Better tool without need than need without tool. Here, you can have it.

Image

The Cloak of Wind has no statistical effect, and no use in combat either. In the meantime, we haven't cleared out this whole tower, but we're running low on juice. Glynn's MP is depleted, and Gwen doesn't have a great many Healmore casts left. We find the nearest open gallery and leap off.

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Image

Image: ...what the...
Image: Holy...!
Image: Wow!

Usually, jumping off a tower deposits you right next to its base. But while someone in our party is wearing the Cloak of Wind, we actually glide down and land a few tiles further instead!

Image: I take back what I said about the tower, this is awesome!

We use a Wing to return to Hamlin and rest up. With that, I'll take a moment off-camera to clear out the rest of the tower, and maybe even get Zed a Steel Shield. 'Till next time!

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Friday
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby Friday » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:48 pm

Yay DW2!

Man, that prologue is hardcore. I really love the "So, you are the lord of this miserable sandcastle... but I think not for long." line said by the monster. That's A++ villain speech.

DW2 has always felt like a proto-DW3 to me (and I mean, it actually is) in that it has a lot of new, innovative good ideas but really poor execution in a lot of places. It's a lot like Simon's Quest in that it paved the way for later great games (SotN) but failed as a good game on its own.

And just like Simon's Quest, DW2 feels like you could just change a some things (like giving more weapon options for Cannock) and smooth out the difficulty progression in the endgame to make a pretty solid game.

Anyway, looking forward to more. I haven't played DW2 as much as 1 and 3, so this LP is the most novel for me of the three. DW2 is by far the least liked DQ/DW game, but it still has a good amount of sentimental value.
ImageImageImage

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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:28 am

Yeah, pretty much agreed on all counts. I got a bunch of gameplay in the can right now and I'm surprised at how much fun I'm having. Maybe I appreciate it more because I've just done DW1, but it definitely has a decent amount of depth to its moment-to-moment gameplay, and despite being up to episode 12 on my end, I have nothing bad to say about its flow and balance yet. My backlog is growing faster than I can put it up without doing multiple updates a day, and that definitely means something.

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François
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Re: Let's play Dragon Warrior II: Warrior Hardier!

Postby François » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:19 am

Image

So that's all of the tower that used to contain the Cloak of the Wind. Going up the obvious central shaft is basically a mistake! In terms of size and complexity, I'd say it's a fair bit more involved than Garin's Grave in DW1. Considering that was that game's second-to-last dungeon, we're already stepping up.

Along the way, Gwen reached level 7 (1 Strength, 2 Agility, 1 HP, 2 MP), Glynn reached level 12 (2 Strength, 2 HP, 3 MP, and a new spell), and we did in fact make enough money to get Zed a Steel Shield, increasing his defense by 6 points.

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Outside teleports you out of a dungeon, just like in DW1, at the exact same expense of 6 MP.

Oh, and...



Getting two of the same symbol earns you a free try, and as we've seen, getting three hearts got us a Medical Herb. Welp, better than nothin'.

By this point, Zed has 79 attack and 53 defense, Glynn has 39 attack and 34 defense, and Gwen has 17 attack and 23 defense. Of course that's not the sum of their usefulness, but it gives you an idea of how they compare.

Image

Image: Ready to try the western tunnel again?
Image: You know it!
Image: I'll try to be more careful this time.
Image: Ah, don't worry about it too much. I could probably be a better bodyguard, to be honest.
Image: That doesn't mean we can't try to make your job a little easier.
Image: Our success is on all of us.
Image: Right! Let's go, then.

We run into an unusually high number of foes on our way to the tunnel, but manage to make it out at little expense. And as soon as we exit the other end...

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Carnivogs have fairly high HP and Strength, but low defense. Their claim to fame is to occasionally "blow their sweet scented breath", attempting to put our entire party to sleep. This is not magic, so Stopspell doesn't help, but they're only faintly resistant to Sleep themselves, and damage spells always work against them.

This particular fight levels Zed up, for 4 Strength and 1 HP.

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Retracing our steps from last time, but a little more to the north, we spot an island across the channel here, with a mysterious tower on it. Better remember it for later.

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Image: You ever spend much time in this desert, Gwen?
Image: I've never had cause to come this way myself. And now that I've actually seen it, I wish I didn't have to.
Image: Eh, same.
Image: We stand at the western boundary of Torland, you know. We are about to leave our ancestors' realms.
Image: I'm not surprised ZedPower and Gwaelin turned back from this sand pit.
Image: I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.
Image: It's also spectacularly unsuited to erecting stoneworks.
Image: Even if it wasn't, it's still sand.

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We find a neat little oasis near the western coast, but there's nothing more to it.

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A chain of mountains blocks any travel south, so we turn around and follow the sea to the north.

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And we come out the other side of the dune ocean. We met no new foes, only tons of Baboons, Megapedes, Magidrakees, Ghost Rats and Carnivogs.

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We lose Gwen to a Megapede ambush a bit further north. There wasn't much we could do about that one, unfortunately.

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Image: Hmm. I wonder if we could cross that river by gliding from this tower here.
Image: It's worth a try, but we're not climbing without Gwen. Can you take us back to Hamlin?
Image: Yes, of course.
Image: Man, I don't look forward to crossing that desert again. There's no use complaining, though.
Image: We do what we must. If we balk at a desert, we'll never measure up to Hargon.

Oh, hey, while we're at it, here's what the wise man at the House of Healing has to say if you decline to pay for his services.

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Image: No, of course I d-
Image
Image: Good grief, no need to tell us your life story, we get it.
Image: ...wait, who are you paying taxes to? Moonbrooke has fallen.
Image: Oh, uh, right. Just the family and the cow, then.

Gwen levels up on the way back, for 1 Strength, 5 Agility, 5 HP, 2 MP, and her next spell.

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Repel is still a Fairy Water equivalent, keeping weaker enemies away for a set distance traveled. It still only costs 2 MP. For around here though, I'd rather get into fights, I'm sure we'll need all the cash we can get soon.

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Oooh, there's a new enemy in the desert after all! Mummy Men are incredibly strong, but have a defense of exactly 2, and are immune to Sleep, mildly resistant to Surround, and vulnerable to damage spells. They have no other tricks, they only attack. Even Gwen's Magic Knife does well against them, so I don't see myself spending MP on solo ones.

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Image: Guys, I have an idea!
Image: Oof.
Image: We... had the same one. Before.
Image: Aw, you're no fun.

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Well this is straightforward.

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Image: I'm sure that I do.
Image: But I have not yet spoken.
Image: Still sure.
Image: I certainly don't know, kind sir. Please share your knowledge.
Image: These twin towers are known as the Dragon's Horn.
Image: Thank you. Was that so hard?
Image: What does it even matter? They could be called Twins' Toothpicks for all I care.

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That black area here is a new hazard of sorts. It's a pit, causing you to fall to the floor below. There isn't much to it here, but it does show that the tower is hollow.

We go through several identical floors, just going around the central hole, from staircase to staircase.

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Oh hey, eight enemies at once. I like that the width of the enemy sprites has a gameplay element to it; we're never going to run into eight Baboons because they wouldn't fit on the screen. It seems that Healers always prefer to heal non-Healers if they can, so we need to eliminate most of them before Zed has a chance to finish off the big guy.

A bit further along, Glynn levels up, earning 8 Strength, 7 Agility, 2 HP, and 2 MP. Dang, that'll work!

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Demighosts are comparable to Mummy Men, with a bit less attack and a fair amount more defense. However, not only can they sometimes roll critical hits, they'll randomly act twice in one turn! They're only slightly resistant to magic though, so I recommend Sleep or Surround when facing more than one. Right now we can chump one in a single turn if we all simply attack, but they're going to be tough in a crowd.

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Medusa Balls are not quite as strong as Demighosts, but they can also attack twice, and they know Sleep. They're highly vulnerable to all magic though, so it's best to disable them before they disable you.

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Our MP runs low enough that we start using Herbs to heal; it's best to save some juice for combat.

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Image: Whew! I lost count of how many floors that was.

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Image: ...this suddenly starts to feel like a stupid idea.
Image: Losing your nerve?
Image: No, I'm wondering if we can avoid just... falling into the river. I'm not swimming in this gear.
Image: Come now, cousin. Trust in the magic of the cloak.
Image: Yeah, that's the problem. Magic and I aren't much on speaking terms.
Image: Oh, will you quit your fussing already? Let's go, and hold on tight!

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Image: AAAAAAAUGH!

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Image: ...
Image: My poor ears!
Image: I will never get tired of this.
Image: Ah, well, hmm. Looks like it worked. Good job everyone!

The other tower is certainly the way back. There might be treasure of some sort inside, but we're in no shape to climb it at the moment. Let's see if we can find something of interest in the north for now.

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Image: All in favor of not cutting through the woods?
Image: Aye!
Image: Indeed!

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Image: Ah, an inn! My kingdom for an ale!
Image: If you trade Cannock for an ale, I will definitely tell your dad.

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20 gold per person, well within our means.

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Image: ...!
Image: ...!
Image: Oh, fascinating!
Image: Perhaps thou has seen ancient maps of my land, but it has changed much through the ages.

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This is a different type of attendant, but it's still a standard House of Healing.

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Image: Useful skill, that.
Image: Do you...?
Image: I'm not telling!

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Image: Err... Alright.
Image: Fine.
Image: Nothing?
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Image: Fair enough.

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Another lottery kiosk, but we're out of tickets.

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Image: Oh my goodness... That's a ship! They have a ship here!
Image: Well, the town is called Lianport.
Image: Come on, let's enquire about passage.
Image: Why would we even want to... Eh, never mind.
Image: Kind sir, would that ship over there be in any way avai-
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Image: But... But... It has three square-rigged masts, it's definitely a ship!
Image: Let's go, Glynn. I don't know if there is ever a time to debate nautical terminology with a harbormaster, but it is not now.

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Image: From there in ages past came a great warrior, "a descendant of Erdrick" who slew dragons, and there came also a princess named Gwaelin.
Image: Right, we're familiar with that tale. Quite literally, in fact.
Image: Wh... What? Really? A descendant of Erdrick? They remember his name but not mine? Do I have to forever live in his shadow?
Image: Don't worry, I'm sure someone out there remembers you as "Gwaelin's husband".
Image: That's... Okay, fine, that's a little better.

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Image: Wait, what the hell!? HEY!



I think we just had our first boss fight!

Gremlins are fairly tough foes with high stats, comparable to the harder creatures in the Dragon's Horn. They're mildly resistant to all magic, but especially to Stopspell, and come with a defense-ignoring fire breath attack that hits our entire party, as well as Sleep and Heal spells. It's likely that these are the same type of monster that Hargon sent to sack Moonbrooke.

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Image: That's why we're here, miss.
Image: Please follow me and meet my grandfather.

With that, she walks off to the east. Let's check out these shops first, though.

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Image: That certainly bodes ill. Is Hargon going after descendants of Erdrick?
Image: If we were all slain or cursed, there would be few left to oppose him.

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Ah, Dragon's Bane, we've heard of it before. It's a lot of money though, and I want to see the local equipment prices before committing.

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The Wizard's Wand can be equipped by anyone; it's 4 points weaker than a Magic Knife, but it can be used in combat to cast a slightly weaker version of Firebal at will. Clothes (of?) Hiding can also be equipped by anyone. Its defense value is 8 points higher than Chain Mail and only 5 points below Full Plate, but its true power lies in giving its wearer a 1 in 8 chance of evading physical attacks (though that's never described in-game).

I'd like to get a Wand for Gwen, but both her and Glynn are way overdue for an armor upgrade, so we pick up two Clothes Hiding for now. Gwen's defense goes from 25 to 43!

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Image: I shall gladly lend thee my swiftest ship.
Image: ...huh. Thanks?
Image: Well, that was remarkably convenient.
Image: Huzzah!

This whole sequence feels a little on the nose, but it's better than "hey, free ship, no reason".

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Image: Uh... does either of you know how to...
Image: Yes, yes! I've read all about it! Make way!
Image: Wow, okay then. I... I guess that's fine.
Image: If anything goes wrong, I'm sure we'll have time to use Wings.
Image: Right.

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Image: I'M SAILING!
Image: Well would you look at that, he's really doing it.
Image: Will wonders never cease.

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Image: Yes! Pirate stories! Treasure! This is the greatest adventure of all time!
Image: Glynn, my father is-
Image: Let him have this, will you?
Image: ...sure. Sorry.
Image: Bring me this treasure and I shall pay a handsome fee.
Image: Ha, only if we don't want to keep it because of how cool it is!

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Image: WOOOOOOO!

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Music: Riding the waves

Well hey everyone, it's the sea. And I thought this world was big before.

Dragon Warrior 2 has been quite linear so far. The only truly optional part has been getting the Silver Key, since nothing of progress-critical importance was locked behind any of the silver doors we've found. (It didn't occur to me to show it unfortunately, but you're not allowed to cross the tunnel to the desert without the Princess of Moonbrooke.) However, getting the ship opens up most of the world to exploration, with practically the only limiting factor being our ability to defeat the local fauna. We can land our ship on any terrain we can usually walk on, and if we use a Return effect, it will be teleported to a nearby body of water accessible from our destination.

That said, this freedom comes at a bit of a thematic cost: we have absolutely no idea where Hargon is. Investigating Moonbrooke Castle was a clear objective for the first portion of the game, but now, our goal is investigating the entire world, and as far as the main plot is concerned, that's not quite as driving in a we're-going-to-this-specific-place-for-this-specific-reason sense.

It's pretty ambitious design for the time, I'll give it that. Whatever thread might exist to lead us to the endgame, we'll have it discover it on our own. In a way, I even find it rather compelling. We're set loose in the world, and it's up to us not only to put the puzzle together, but also to even find the pieces.

Image: Glynn, settle down for a moment and come over here, will you?
Image: But-
Image: Cousin, we need a plan.
Image: You dig the sea. I get it. But I'm sure we'll get to do plenty of sailing in the fullness of time. I'll even call you captain if you like.
Image: Ah... Sure, fine.
Image: I'm not calling him captain.
Image: Suit yourself, cous. Anyway, alright, take a look at this.

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Image: We can be pretty sure Hargon's headquarters aren't anywhere we've been to yet. Unfortunately, no one alive can tell us where they might be. We have literally zero leads.
Image: Unless the disappearance of Alefgard's king is connected to him.
Image: It's also just across the strait here, so it would be a close starting point.
Image: Okay, that's one option. We could also visit the lake south of Moonbrooke, sailing right over the tunnel to the desert, and see if we can reach the lands south of the mountain range there. We were in fact looking for traces of our enemy in that region, so that should also be worth a look.
Image: I'm inclined to agree. That said, I'm also curious about that tower we saw on the island west of my castle.
Image: Right, I'll add it to the list. Anyth-
Image: We could search for the wreck of the Relentless!
Image: ...
Image: That's... technically true.
Image: Where would we even start to look, though?
Image: It sank in chill waters, right? This must mean the far north!
Image: That doesn't narrow it down by much.
Image: It could also be in the far south.
Image: ...right.
Image: Either way, it's an option, I'm putting it down. What else?
Image: There was that lone monolith northeast of Midenhall, remember?
Image: Hmm. True. I'm not sure what it has to do with anything, though.
Image: There are many great powers in this world, not all of them evil. It would be wise not to be so consumed by the pursuit of our foe that we neglect to search for allies.
Image: Hmm! That is an excellent point.
Image: Okay, the place did look important, it makes the list.
Image: Zed, do you have any idea where the village you can see from your castle's travel gate might be?
Image: I really don't. It's in the middle of the ocean somewhere. But we can keep an eye out for sure.
Image: Alright then. That seems to be about it.
Image: Indeed. Our travels are not at their end yet!
Image: How about this, then. We sail west between the Dragon's Horns to reach eastern Midenhall and investigate the monolith there; once that's done, we take our rest again in Lianport and set off for Alefgard.
Image: I can get behind that plan.
Image: Agreed! Let's-
Image: No, actually, wait a moment. We haven't investigated the northern Horn yet, and we've barely even seen any of the region we just left. I'd feel better if we mapped it out, too.
Image: Ugh, I get you, I can relate. Glynn, can you land us right over here again?
Image: What!? Really?
Image: You heard the lady, Cap'n. You don't want to be turned into a tadpole, do you?
Image: Oh boy. That is never going to get old, I can tell.

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