Now that I have one, let’s talk a bit about party members. In DQI your stats were determined by your name. but in this game stat growth is fixed. However, your name choice does influence the names of your party members. There isn’t quite a class system, but everyone has their own set of abilities. For instance, Prince Kain has the Heal spell while Roto has no magic whatsoever. The differences become more pronounced as you level. In fact, even the experience to level up is different for each party member.
Anyway, it doesn’t take all that long to grind Kain up a few levels. At first I just have him Defend on his turn because he’s pretty squishy. Plus, until he gets Fireball his attack is so low it’s pointless to use.
Another new feature of DQII: enemies now drop items. Honestly, I was surprised it took this long to happen for the first time. Maybe it’s the remake.
Kain was level 6 by the time I had amassed enough gold to deck everyone out in the best available equipment. After that I headed over to the Lake Cave to snag the Silver Key.
While backtracking to open all the silver doors, I finally ran into an encounter that showcased groups. Up to this point all the groups I’d run into were made up entirely of the same enemy or groups of different enemies. However, while groups always will be the same enemy, said enemies aren’t always in groups like the drakees in the screenshot. This really only matters when it comes to spells, which have three ways of targeting: single, all, and group. How a spell only can hit a group is beyond me, but it’s a mechanic that’s still around in DQ games.
The NES version didn’t have an auto-target feature, so if you had selected to attack an enemy that was subsequently killed you would waste the attack.1 Unless it was within a group because when you target a group, you actually target a random enemy within the group. The remake has added the auto-target feature, which is very much welcomed.
Now that Kain is in my party the guards at the monolith move out of the way. To the south, as the guard notes, is the town of Hamlin. As usual the citizens drop lots of random clues.
Here I thought it was weird to dream of obtaining magic keys.
If you talk to it, the dog will follow you until you exit the town. Interesting.
I was about three tiles from Hamlin en route to Moonbrooke when I ran into this encounter. Even by NES standards, DQII is hard and much of it has to do with enemies like these baboons. Despite being within the level range of enemies the party should be fighting, the baboons hit very hard. And, unfortunately, running from battles isn’t very reliable. So, it’s pretty easy to get completely wiped out by these types of monsters.
In fact, they beat Roto to death2 and I had to go utilize the church to bring him back. It’s fairly cheap at this point, but the “donation” required is dependent on level. Like the newer DQ games, the remake uses coffins to denote dead party members, while the NES censored this and turned them into ghosts.
Moonbrooke Castle is in ruins after the massive attack and somehow is now surrounded by a poisonous swamp. Inside are various spirits of the former inhabitants, including the king, and a pretty huge encounter rate with enemies. Talking with the various Eyes of Sauron, the party learns the princess has been turned into a dog and the Mirror of Ra is needed to break the curse.
I’ll never understand why important items in DQ games are buried in swamps. At least this one is small and doesn’t require a whole other item to aid in searching it.
Back in Hamlin, Roto uses the Mirror of Ra on the dog who turns into Princess Maria.
Like Kain, Maria starts at level 1. Unfortunately, there’s no equipment currently available for her because she’s a mage and DQII is hard like that. Needless to say she will only ever Defend while grinding her up.