Happier and Healthier

Uschi lying in the snow, her nose heavily covered with snow and ice crystals

Despite her itchiness, Uschi’s been enjoying all the snow that has been dumped upon us. I think it’s especially awesome for her since I’ve spent the better part of the last three months ridiculously sick. First I had an issue with my eye, then I had the flu, and I’ve only just recently gotten over the pneumonia that plagued me since Christmas.

Anyway, I’ve kind of fallen out of habit of taking photos of the shepherd girl since her eyes were just such a, well, eyesore. And so I haven’t had the chance to get photos of her gallivanting around out back yet, so you’ll just have to do with this oldie from a few years ago. But I promise to get some new ones to share soon enough!

The State of the Shepherd

Uschi’s on Prednisone for a bit to help with the allergy inflammation and it is truly bizarre. She has a lot of the normal side effects, like increased drinking and urination. But for the most part, she’s just been sleepy. My running theory on this is that perhaps she hasn’t been sleeping well because of the itchiness and now she has some relief. Honestly, though, I have no idea.

In any case, she definitely seems to be doing better. The inflammation isn’t gone, but does seem to be steadily clearing up as far as I can tell. Her new vet will be stopping by later this month to check in and reassess so we’ll know more then.

For now, I’m happy to finally have some concrete improvement with these allergies. I’m sure Uschi feels the same.

DQII #2: Prince of Cannock

It only took me a few minutes to grind my way to level 3. By then I had the necessary gold to purchase a leather shield. And with that slight boost in defense, I made my way west to Leftwyne.

In town some helpful NPCs give me vague directions to Cannock Castle and a monolith nearby.

Another man tells me about poison, which is a new status effect in this game. He doesn’t mention the nearby church, but the priest there can remove poison. He also performs resurrections.

Roto allegedly causes a man in Leftwyne pees on his own foot

Oops.

I stop at the monolith on my way to Cannock only to discover I can’t get through without the prince anyway.

At Cannock, I find out the prince has gone to the Spring of Bravery. Off to the first dungeon!

Entering the Spring of Bravery in the NES version it’s immediately obvious that dungeons have changed a bit from the last game. The layout is much larger rather than the single-tile-wide pathways from DQI and you don’t need a light source to see. Instead there are screen transitions to reveal new areas of the dungeon. They’re actually kind of annoying because they have a ridiculous encounter rate.1

At the Spring is an old man who heals my HP to full. In the NES version you have to answer “no” to get the heal, but in the remake he heals you at the start of his dialogue. He tells me the Prince of Cannock just left for Midenhall. Before heading back, I take advantage of the free healing and grind my way to level 6 in the nearby hallway.

So, in the NES version there’s a mistake here and the king basically repeats what the old man at the Spring of Bravery says. This version is almost as nonsensical, though. Apparently, no one has told the prince it’s easier to be found if you stay in one place!

Luckily, I know where to find the prince even if my character probably doesn’t.

It might seem random to find the prince at the inn, but if you talk to his sister she will mention that he’s an easy-going kind of guy and takes lots of breaks. Of course, if that’s the case you’d think I’d have caught up with him sooner.

Nevertheless, I finally have another party member! In the NES version, he was honestly pretty weak and virtually useless; I’ve been told he’s more balanced in the remake, but it’s impossible to tell at this point since he’s only level 1 and has some seriously outdated equipment. So it’s back to the grind.

  1. That’s not superstition; it’s coded into the game.

DQII #1: A Whole New World

I made a page here for Project DQ, which makes it all official or some such a thing.

Dragon Quest II title screen

Dragon Quest II starts off with a title screen that’s only just barely more interesting than DQI’s because, um, the title is animated a bit. Okay, again there’s not much fanfare here in the remake. I have no explanation. Even the NES version had an additional bit of animation added to the title screen from the Japanese original.

The introduction reads: Ages ago, a young descendant of the legendary warrior Erdrick defeated the Dragonlord, and returned light to the world. The introduction continues: The young man, together with his bride, left on a journey to build several new countries.
The introduction continues: These countries were ruled by the children of that young couple, and were handed down to the following generation. The introduction concludes: 100 years have passed since then...

The game starts with this introduction, which summarizes the entire first game in a single sentence. (To be fair, it is a short game.) Since DQI, the hero and Gwaelin got married, journeyed around, established a bunch of new countries, and then handed them down to their kids. A hundred years later these countries are now ruled by their descendants.

This introductory blurb was an addition made from the Japanese original. The remake has slightly enhanced this from the NES version by adding a background.

Another addition from the Japanese original was the opening cutscene showing Hargon’s attack on Moonbrooke Castle. The remake has given this quite a facelift. It’s quite nice even if the fan translation is a bit melodramatic.

A lone soldier manages to survive the Moonbrooke attack. Though badly wounded he makes it to Midenhall Castle where the guards carry him to the king. In the NES version “carry” is portrayed by the three walking Very Slowly; in this version the animation looks to me more like they drag him.

Upstairs in the king’s chamber, the soldier tells the King of Midenhall of the attack before succumbing to his wounds. This is where the Japanese original began.

The king’s action in this case is to delegate the adventuring to his son, i.e., my character Roto. Yes, I’ve used the Japanese legendary hero’s name again, though, to guarantee I’ll constantly mess it up avoid confusion I’m using the alternate spelling.

The king orders the soldier’s burial . . . and then the soldier actually dies. So, he was just there on the floor gasping his few last breaths as the king monologued?

Downstairs, the king gives me the contents of the nearby chest. It’s a better start than King Lorik’s contribution to the hero in DQI, but only just barely. Between the king and another random NPC I learn that the Prince of Cannock and Princess of Moonbrooke are also descendants of Erdrick. So, I should track them down and join together. Yay, a party!

Leftwyne lies to the west

The town of Leftwyne is aptly to the left. Clever, game.

An encounter with two slimes An encounter with two slimes

Finally, it’s time to really start this adventure by heading outside and smacking experience out of stuff. Prince Roto’s first encounter is the typical slime battle. Except, of course, in a big change from the first game: battles can now have multiple enemies!

As you might expect, things around Midenhall are pretty tame, but the difficulty ramps up quickly. Unlike DQI, battles in this game will require far more strategy than merely outlasting your opponent. I’ll get more into the battle differences later, but for now the other noteworthy change I’ll point out is the addition of the Defend (or Parry in the NES version) command. Using that will reduce the damage you receive by half. I assure you, it’ll be used a lot.

Return of the PS3

Yay, it’s fixed! I am the most happy.1

That is all.

  1. In no small part because I finally got to finish Tales of Xillia!