DQI #3: “Alefgard has no (unlocked) doors. Alefgard needs no doors.”

Okay, perhaps it’s not the most original joke, but don’t act like you weren’t expecting an LOTR reference before now. It’s me, after all.

Outside the northern entrance to the Swamp Cave

Back in Kol someone mentioned a monster-infested cave to the south where the princess might be. Yeah, this is it. The enemies in the Swamp Cave are way too tough for me at this point, but thankfully the path to the other wide is basically a straight line. I don’t even bother with using a torch.

Outside Rimulder

From the cave exit, Rimulder is just a bit south around some mountains. RNG was on my side and I only had three encounters. All warlocks and all gave me the first strike.

There are a bunch of people in Rimulder who have very important clues to share. A lot of it doesn’t quite make sense, but one person mentions the Stones of Sunlight are at Tantegel Castle.

Outside the magic key shop in Rimulder Buying magic keys in Rimulder

The big thing about Rimulder is this little shop in the far northwest corner, which you get to by walking around the perimeter of the town. Here is the first place you can get magic keys. No longer shall a locked door bar my way! I can only hold six at a time, but luckily there’s a more convenient key seller. It’s just that, um, he’s behind a locked door.

Tip about finding fairy flute in Kol

In the southwest corner of town Rock is waiting for his girlfriend. Nana is up in the northeast corner, annoyed that he’s late. If you go back to the boyfriend, he’ll be so grateful that you helped him figure out he’s in the wrong place that he tells you about the fairy flute. Except, of course, I found it already.

Rimulder woman throwing Loto out of her house for barging in while she was getting dressed

Oops! Sorry about that ma’am, but really you might think of investing in an actual door. Of course, since all the doors in Alefgard are opened with magic keys, I would probably still have barged in at some point. (In the NES original, she just yells at you to leave before she calls her friends.

Tip to find the fighter's ring Fighter's ring equipped, NPC asks if Loto is embarrassed

This guy tells you about the fighter’s ring, which I also have already found. He doesn’t acknowledge it as such when you wear it, though. I believe in the NES original he mistakes it for a wedding ring. Also, fan translator misspelled “embarrassed.”

Kol husband stranded in Rimulder Kol husband stranded in Rimulder
Kol husband stranded in Rimulder

Honestly, I think Cleo might be better off without him.

Outside the Northern Shrine

Before heading back from whence the journey began, I take a small detour over to the shrine west of Kol. I don’t believe it has an official name, but I usually call it the Northern Shrine.

Great. Another item to collect. Don’t these people realize I’m working with very limited inventory space? Fortunately, way back in Brecconary there was a passing mention of Garin being buried with his Silver Harp. It just so happens there are locked doors back there that are just begging to be opened, too.

Tantegel Castle treasure room

Starting back at the beginning with Tantegel Castle, despite this guard’s warning, I loot the room of all its goodies. He doesn’t say anything, so I guess I’m still a hero.

Dragon Quest screenshot of magic key seller in Tantegel Castle

Over at the eastern edge of the castle, behind a locked door, is this key seller. He’s a bit more expensive than Rimulder, but his proximity to the save point makes him far more convenient.

Dragon Quest screenshot of Loto by the secret stairs in Tantegel Castle

DQ loves to hide things where you would expect to fall out of the area.

Below the castle is an old man and a chest containing the Stones of Sunlight. It would seem he’s been waiting for me for quite a long time; after he hands over the item, he slowly crosses back to his bed to “rest.”

Dragon Quest screenshot; text reads: "It is great that you have made it here..." Dragon Quest screenshot; text reads: "If you're a hero, then you can defeat the monsters that you encounter inside the Grave of Garin."
Dragon Quest screenshot; text reads: "Go to the town of Garinham, and push against a wall of darkness." Dragon Quest screenshot; text reads: "By doing that, a path may open in the grave."

Hmm, grave robbing tips from a dude stuck behind a barrier. Nothing bad could possibly come from this.

DQI #2: “How would you like a puff puff?”

After a bit of training, I reach level 3 and can start venturing a bit farther from Tantegel Castle.

Overworld view outside of Erdrick's Cave

Just northwest of the castle is a desert with a cave. One of the chests back in King Lorik’s chamber contained a torch, so might as well put it to use and explore.

The remake utilizes a wider layout for the cave akin to later entries in the series. It doesn’t quite translate to a wider torch light beam, but I do like how the light fades a bit at the edges. Unlike every other dungeon/cave in Alefgard this one is devoid of enemy encounters. Actually, the only thing of note here is Erdrick’s Tablet or in the case of this remake his Tombstone, which is little more than instructions on how to progress in the game. It seems an odd place for Erdrick to leave his descendant a message; anyone could just stumble upon it.

On the overworld outside of Garinham

As far northwest as one can go from Tantegel Castle sits the small town of Garinham. The townspeople mostly talk about Garin, the minstrel who founded the town.

A minstrel plays Loto a song A minstrel plays Loto a song
A minstrel plays Loto a song

I’m pretty sure that the chord of music this minstrel plays is the same one heard if you equip a cursed item. I wonder if he’s in the same program of study as that bloke back in Brecconary?

A man tells Loto Princess Gwaelin is being held to the east A man tells Loto Princess Gwaelin is being held to the east
A man tells Loto Princess Gwaelin is being held to the east A man tells Loto Princess Gwaelin is being held to the east

The missing princess was apparently taken by a flying monster somewhere to the east. That doesn’t narrow things down much since everything is east of Garinham, but it’s a start at least. By the way, if you select “no” he just bemoans the poor princess.

A man tells Loto about Erdrick's Cave Dragon Quest screenshot of Loto learning about Erdrick's Cave

I suppose it’s intended that you speak with this guy before visiting Erdrick’s Cave. I’m not sure “worship” is the best translation here. As revered as Erdrick may be, a cave seems an odd place for such things.

Overworld view outside of Kol

After grinding a bit in the desert around Erdrick’s Cave to reach level 7, I head east and find the town of Kol. The residents here are practically bursting with information for me. In short: head south.

Across a poisonous patch of land in Kol, an old man tells Loto about the sword Erdrick used to defeat the Dragonlord Across a poisonous patch of land in Kol, an old man tells Loto about the sword Erdrick used to defeat the Dragonlord

Isn’t it lucky that Erdrick left behind exactly the weapon I’ll need to defeat the Dragonlord? Finding said weapon is a whole other story.

A woman in Kol tells Loto about Cleo being deserted by her husband A woman in Kol tells Loto about Cleo being deserted by her husband
Cleo tells Loto she didn't want to keep her husband from his dreams

Wait, his dream was to buy magic keys?

A woman at the open bath in Kol asks Loto if he wants a 'puff puff'

Um, what now?

Finding the fairy flute

Kol is also where the fairy flute is found, which I actually didn’t mean to find since the game hasn’t told Loto about it yet. I was trying to talk to the nearby NPC and missed. I’m not sure if it’s the game or my old controller, but I find moving around is not entirely responsive. Anyway, a man in Kol mentions the golem’s weakness is flute music.

Outside the Mountain Cave on the overworld

Since I’d already found one major item before I was technically supposed to, I figured I might as well nab another and headed to the Mountain Cave west of Tantegel Castle. This is an entirely optional dungeon and, aside from the fighter’s ring within, is never mentioned. The fighter’s ring is bugged, though, and doesn’t actually do anything aside from altering a bit of dialogue. From what I can tell this hasn’t been changed in the remake. The rest of the chests just contain some low value items and bits of gold, but the remake has three added chests with some rather nice loot.

Unfortunately, I discovered after entering the cave, that the remake also has an altered layout. Considering level 8 is rather low to go through this dungeon it was a harrying experience wandering around lost, which is why I didn’t bother getting any screenshots. Though, to be fair, all the dungeons look basically the same. Somehow, I managed to find all the goodies and escape without dying.

Reaching level 10

After that close call, I trained up to level 10 for Fizzle StopSpell before journeying further. At this point grinding had also netted enough gold to pick up the full plate armor. I noticed during this purchase that the remake did away with the automatic selling of old equipment upon purchasing an upgrade that was present in the NES original. It seems a pointless change to me given there is only the one character who has very limited inventory space, but it’s only a few extra button presses to sell the obsolete stuff.

Your Questions Answered

Awhile back I mentioned that Brooke had sort of given me an idea for a blog. Or at least I thought it would be better as an entire blog all its own, but after being urged several times not to do that realizing that was pointless I’m finally getting about utilizing said idea here.

It’s simple.1 You have a question. Ask me. And I’ll answer it.

And so without further ado, here’s the first2 question: “What irrational fear(s) do you have?”

Considering how much of a neurotic worrier I am you might think I have a long list of fears, but the truth is quite the opposite. I’d go on about those fears,3 but this question specifically asked about irrational fears and I do in fact have one.

I am scared of anthropomorphic food.

I know, it even sounds irrational!

First, let me explain it’s not that I’m not morbidly afraid of food moving of its own accord; I don’t run in terror at Charlie Chaplin’s table ballet or have a panic attack around JELL-O. However, the concept does freak me out enough that I am distinctly uncomfortable watching things like the ending of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Actually, that example is especially traumatic for me because some of that food was alive and it really disturbs me seeing cooked poultry running around. And yes, if you’re wondering, it does make me lose my appetite. Not really from being grossed out, though that is sometimes part of it. It’s more that it just, well, bothers me. I know my food isn’t going to randomly hop off my plate or attempt world domination, but even so I just can’t make myself ingest anything.

I can actually pinpoint the origin of my phobia: the “Night of the Living Spud” episode of Darkwing Duck. The fact that my entire fear stems from a bunch of cartoon potatoes fighting a duck is exactly why this fear is irrational. There’s really no reason it should have bothered me then and certainly not some 20+ years later. But it did and it does. I don’t know exactly what, though. I don’t think I ever watched that episode a subsequent time and I honestly have no desire to do so.

Of course, if the world is ever invaded by killer fried chicken or its ilk, don’t say I didn’t warn you all about how scary anthropomorphic food is!

Do you have a question for me? Comment below, email me, or utilize any of the social links to the right.

  1. So simple it’s a wonder it took two months to actually post.
  2. Technically, this is the second question. The first I found too difficult to answer because it was based on a hypothetical that was incredibly specific. Sorry, Brooke!
  3. Feel free to ask me about fears in general if you want to know.

Project DQ

Metal slime: a grinning, silvery-colored teardrop shaped enemy from the Dragon Quest seriesOkay, wow, I’m honestly surprised at the interest in my Dragon Quest playthrough project, hereafter to most likely be referred to as Project DQ (PDQ). A number of people have contacted me about this playthrough, so let me acknowledge a few of those messages:

  • Yes, I know the hero’s name arguably should be Roto. It’s a romanization of the Japanese liquid consonant, which means technically both are correct.
  • On that note, I am aware of the importance of the hero’s name, but I didn’t utilize the information when I chose my name or how to spell it.
  • No, this is not a blind playthrough. (See the section below for further details on this project.)
  • However, this is the first time I’ve played the SFC remake. And it’s been a very long time since I played Dragon Warrior on the NES. Still, I’ll likely compare the two a lot.
  • Thanks for the tip about searching pots, dressers, etc. I know to search them in later games and I had noticed their presence in the remake; I just hadn’t realized they were more than graphical background additions.
  • Also, thank you for the suggestions on which versions to play with regard to future entries, but I’ll get into that below.

I suppose I should also announce the ground rules I have:

  1. This project is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Square Enix who own and hold the copyright for Dragon Quest and all of its related material. All usage of such material here is dune under fair use as defined by United States law. Further, all opinions stated are my own.
  2. These will not 100% playthroughs. I intend to thoroughly explore each game and do side content, but my only goal is to complete the main story.
  3. These will be entirely legitimate runs. No cheats. No hacking. No fast forwarding. No save states.
  4. I will not be using guides or walkthroughs. They aren’t necessary anyway since I’ve played through all of the games before except for V and VI. However, I will be utilizing references for things like item stats, alchemy recipes, etc.1
  5. I have no time frame for this project. RPGs are generally long and most of the DQ games are perfect examples of this. That means I have no idea how long it will take me to get through all nine games. I also want to avoid burning out, so I don’t want to rush through the games and I expect I’ll be playing other things on the side.2

Without actually recording myself while I’m playing, which I don’t have the capabilities to do anyway, I can’t exactly prove I’m adhering to the above statements. So, you’ll just have to take me at my word. In any case, I will note any changes to the above if the need arises.

There has been a lot of debate online as to the best versions of each DQ entry and I’ve given the topic a great deal of thought. In the end, I’ve more or less decided on the SFC remakes for I-III (patched with fan translations), the North American DS releases of IV-VI, and the official NA releases for the remaining three games. Yes, I am well aware of the shortcomings of the DS versions and quite honestly my main reason for choosing them over other, arguably better, versions is that I own them and haven’t yet played them. However, I think I’ll leave talk of all that until I actually get to said games.

Finally, even though of late posting here has been, at best, rather sparse, I don’t want this one project to completely take over the site, so after giving this some thought I decided that I’ll be keeping the PDQ posts to roughly once or twice a week. By doing this I can play the games at a leisurely pace and have the time to organize the ridiculous number of screenshots I’ll take. If you’re jonesing for more than that I will be posting snippets under the “Project DQ” tag on my Tumblr, too.

  1. There’s no way I could keep all that straight in my head even if I didn’t have the memory of a gnat.
  2. I just started Radiant Historia, which is proving to be a fantastic experience.

Project Dragon Quest

I haven’t been online much since I’ve spent the last several weeks with possibly the closest thing to an pneumonia that you can get without a doctor actually diagnosing it as such. Needless to say aside from taking care of the most basic of human and canine needs I’ve spent most of my time doing a lot of sleeping. And when I’m not sleeping, I’ve been nestled under warm blankets playing video games. I am feeling a lot better, thankfully, but I’m still suffering from a ridiculously nasty cough.

Anyway, I forget if I bothered mentioning my intermittent PS3 issues here, but a little over a year ago I finally sent it in to be serviced because it was overheating. It’s a pretty common issue with consoles, but in any case I had it fully worked on to hopefully prolong its out-of-warranty life as long as possible and also retrieve the game disc that sadly got stuck in it during one of is overheating bouts. I was happy to have it back and working properly again, but was still prepared to face the dreaded Yellow Light of Death that so many PS3 systems experience.1 And sadly, yesterday right at the end of Tales of Xillia my PS3 went YLOD.

I’m super bummed, but I do have quite a backlog of other games I could play that don’t utilize the PS3, including that random whim I had awhile back to play through the entire Dragon Quest series.

Dragon Quest I and II selection screen

And so I popped in the Super Famicon remake of I and II. . . .

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  1. The specific model PS3 I have is the most noted for this error, though I think that’s mostly because it’s the last fully backwards compatible one made and thus the most common culprit due to use and age.