Play More Dragon Quest!

“Are you still planning to play through the Dragon Quest games?”

Yes, I fully intend to continue the playthrough and I apologize for not being more forthcoming with why I stopped posting.

If you were following along you probably gathered that all the grinding in DQII was really a drag. Coupled with the ridiculously tedious task of organizing each post, I was more than a bit burnt out. I had intended to spend the majority of my dog-sitting time playing some catch up, but I ended up being a lot busier at Dad’s than I expected.

The main reason the project’s been on hiatus, though, is because the Tech-pocalypse1 has struck yet again and this time it seems focused on various game consoles. This is not only a huge money sink for me, but really sad and frustrating. Every time I’d shift my focus on to a different game to bide my time until a console was fixed and/or replaced, I’d end up with another randomly broken console. Rinse, repeat. I literally spent an entire month where I didn’t play anything because it was just that depressing for me.

Anyway, barring any unforeseen financial woes, I expect to finish the console replacement by the end of this month. I’m honestly really looking forward to getting back into this project; I’ve been itching for some DQ fun times.

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

  1. The semi-annual thing where random electronics of mine all start inexplicably dying.

Playing Games

The master wizard, a talking cat named Jinx, seems wary of any novices with cat allergies

Funny, despite the fact that I am allergic to cats, in all my years playing mages in RPGs I’d never before thought about the two going hand-in-hand.

Despite the talking cat’s ascertain that I might not be wizard material, Fantasy Life is fast proving itself to be one of my new favorite games. Props to li’l brother for the excellent birthday gift because honestly I’m convinced Level 5 made this game specifically with me in mind. In fact, the only complaint I have with it is there is just too much to do and I can see myself easily getting burnt out on the game.

Luckily there is a rather decent multi-player feature in the game and I also have several other games to switch out with. Most of these are pretty amazing in their own right like Persona Q, Devil Survivor Overclocked, Bravely Default, and my newest acquisition Etrian Odyssey Untold . . . along with Pokémon X.

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Megami Tensei

My birthday happened and not surprisingly I got a bunch of new games. And a thing happened:

The "true demon" ending to SMT Nocturne

Now I’ve played both Persona 3 and 4 in a few different formats and they are easily among my favorite games. However, I hadn’t played any titles in the broader Megami Tensei1 series. Partly this was because there are so many games and I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, but mostly I was intimidated by the reputation that the other games are much harder. To be fair, Atlus is notorious for making hard games in general and the reputation of the SMT series is that they are rather difficult as a whole.

So, I find it quite an accomplishment that I not only beat Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (SMT3) but did so with the True Demon Ending (TDE), collecting all 25 magatama and completing the compendium. SMT3 is generally considered to be the most difficult of the MegaTen series.

So, why, you ask, why would I bother to get the most difficult ending and do all this other optional stuff? Because I can’t imagine ever playing this again and this way I won’t have any regrets about missing out on something I could have done.2 Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic game. It has a truly amazing story and it is incredibly fun. However, it also shows its age and because of this the game is arbitrarily more difficult than it would be if it were released more recently. Dungeons are long and almost entirely lack a means to heal your party, which only emphasizes the absolutely absurd random encounter rate. Save points are sprinkled quite liberally around, but using them is often incredibly inconvenient. And while there is a fast travel system, the specific locations almost always require a long journey to activate and even still are not entirely in the most opportune places.

That isn’t to say it’s not a legitimate challenge in its own right. The Press Turn Battle system was introduced in this game and has become somewhat of a hallmark of MegaTen games.3 It’s a rewarding system when you can make it work for yourself and incredibly punishing when the opposite occurs.

I didn’t find the game to be as difficult as I expected and I personally don’t think the reputation it has is quite fair given the arbitrary challenges it presents. More than anything I found it tedious. I had to grind a lot to complete things. Not only do you need to reach level 95 to fuse the highest level demon to fill out the compendium in its entirety, but it takes a lot of money to do so. Not to mention the ending I went for includes an additional five dungeons and eleven bosses to fight. The bosses are collectively difficult, though, only a few really present a challenge. The extra dungeons, however, utterly suck. Oh, and all that doesn’t take into account the optional bosses needed to get all the magatama, which is absolutely necessary in order to beat the ultimate boss fight to get TDE.

I feel very accomplished to have done all that, but overwhelmingly exhausted.

So, of course, right after this I started playing Digital Devil Saga. . . .

  1. Often (technically incorrectly) called Shin Megami Tensei because these games make up the “main” MegaTen series. Additionally, until recently most releases outside of Japan had the SMT title added regardless of which sub-series they belonged to.
  2. Like fighting Lucifer.
  3. Albeit with some tweaks, such as the One More! system in Persona games.

DQII #9: Crest Fetching, Part Two

Somehow I skipped over a few screenshots when writing my last post and I can’t believe what I ended up not sharing!

I won the lottery! I quite literally lucked out. I’ve never won the lottery before, which is probably not surprising to anyone since trying to time it out is difficult even without a visual impairment. And I most certainly didn’t expect to land on the grand prize!

Anyway, now that we’ve achieved keymaster status we continue backtracking to open the remaining locked doors. In Hamlin we learn from this old man that the crests we’re searching for are needed to call forth the spirit of Rubiss.

The path to the old man goes underground passed a cell holding two ozwargs. I remember this fight being a bit tough, but either my levels were in the perfect range or the remake has really toned things down. After defeating them, we search the cell and find the water crest! I honestly don’t know if there’s a clue about this crest, but the echoing flute reveals there is a hidden crest if played down here.

Obtaining the dew's yarn on the third floor of the northern tower of the Dragon's Horn

Back at Tantegel Castle we find the missing king hiding out above the weapon shop and also discover one of the components of the Water Flying Cloth can be found on the third floor of the Dragon’s Horn’s northern tower. Searching for it was basically a nightmare since it randomly appears on any tile1 and I think in the remake you need to be squarely on the tile to actually search it, which meant I walked over that tile at least once without finding the item. Eventually I went tile-by-tile and some twenty minutes of searching later I finally found the dew’s yarn.

To the west of Moonbrooke is a small island where the Lighthouse sits. Outside a man provides us with a cryptic hint that inside is a crest. Inside we find an old man who offers to guide us to the crest. It’s possible my console was being glitchy, but following him in the remake was very awkward. Each floor the game would freeze my movement during the old man’s walking animation and he’d disappear when he scrolled off screen. It actually made finding the route on a few floors a bit of trial-and-error since I couldn’t see which path he took.

Ultimately the old man brings us to a chest. However, it’s empty. Then to absolutely no one’s surprise the old man reveals he’s actually our enemy and a battle with four gremlins ensues. It’s no more difficult than anything else within the dungeon and is over in two rounds.

Clearing out the gremlins reveals the star crest. Only one more crest left!

Obtaining the magic loom

Now that Kain is 17, we can safely cross the large barrier in the Zahan temple to reach the magic loom on the left side. Additionally, in the remake the room on the right contains a wizard’s ring.

Battle with a metal babble

Now that we have both items needed to make the Water Flying Clothes, we make our way to Tuhn. This initial trip requires a lengthy walk through the mountains. The enemies here are pretty tough for us, but the encounter rate isn’t too bad. We did run into a metal babble, which is basically a stronger version of a metal slime and gives higher experience. As I expected, though, it ran off.

In Tuhn we learn that the moon fragment lies within the Tower of the Moon, which is just to the south of Tuhn.

We also find Don Mahone and hand over the dew’s yarn and magic loom for him to weave the Water Flying Cloth.

Using the watergate key to allow Tuhn's water to flow

Don Mahone says it will take a day to make the Water Flying Cloth, but what he really means is that I need to save and quit. Before doing that, though, I use the watergate key to open the flow of water back into the area as requested by a town resident. The remake has some very fancy animation added for this, but the real benefit is back on the overworld where a patch of impassable sand has now turned into a channel we can sail. This not only allows us to bypass the long walk through the mountains, but gives us access to the aforementioned Tower of the Moon.

Returning to Don Mahone the “next day” he has completed the Water Flying Cloth, which he hands over with a bit of flattery directed at Maria.

  1. In my experience it usually ends up being very close to the stairs.

DQII #8: Collect-a-thon

Continuing our search for crests, we visit Zahan. A man at the inn explains that all the men died when their ship was attacked, which is why there are only women here. Except, you know, for the man at the inn.

Not surprisingly the women mostly talk about the missing men, but a few pass along some information about the moon fragment. Seems it’s required to enter a cave that’s surrounded by coral.

The other big piece of information in Zahan is about this dog. He belongs to Tashisun, who is rumored to have the golden key,1 and he loves dogs. Another person will mention that the dog is acting strange, which of course is the cue to talk with the dog. He barks at us and leads us to a random spot where we discover the golden key!

A priestess at the temple warns the party about the incredibly large barrier within.

Another noteworthy thing in Zahan is this huge barrier. Unlike the Dragonlord’s castle, this one is a bit too large to just heal my way across so we’ll have to wait for Kain to get Safe Passage Stepguard at 17.

Sailing the incredibly short distance from Zahan to its monolith on an adjacent island

With yet another key in our limited inventory it’s time to backtrack a bit and open more locked doors. First, we sail west a distance so short we honestly should be capable of leaping it.

On this tiny island is a monolith and inside is a travel door which brings us back to Midenhall Castle.

The first golden door we unlock is to the treasury where a rather confused guard reprimands the party for attempting to steal. He then recognizes Prince Roto and allows us to loot the room. Literally, the only thing of value here is Erdrick’s Token. The rest of the chests are either empty or contain random low value junk.

Obtaining Erdrick's Sheild from a chest behind a golden key door in Cannock Castle

Behind a locked door in Cannock Castle, we find Erdrick’s Shield. It dawns on me that the room is surrounded by water and this old man has been locked in here. . . .

Obtaining the Armor of Gaia from a chest in the armor shop

In Ostefair Castle, we unlock the back entrance to the armor shop. Strangely, the merchant’s only concern is that we talk to him from across the counter to conduct business. Since he doesn’t seem to care, we help ourselves to the Armor of Gaia hidden in one of the chests back here.

Behind the locked door in Wellgarth we find the entire town has moved underground. We also discover from one of the residents that the jailor’s key is being sold here and right across from him is an item shop selling a mysteriously hidden something. Turns out it’s the jailor’s key!

As per usual the residents here have a lot of information to share. We learn the spirit mentioned back at the Fire Monolith is that of Rubiss. We also hear about the master weaver Don Mahone who can make the Water Flying Clothes, arguably the best armor for Maria.

Over on the east side of Wellgarth a prisoner tells us we’ll need the Eye of Malroth to open the path to Rhone, where Hargon is.

The cell across from him appears empty and the guard says the thief he locked inside seems to have escaped. He must not have searched very hard because we find Rogue Fastfinger hiding in a hole in the cell wall. For no specific reason he apologizes and gives us the watergate key.

Obtaining the Erdrick's Helmet from the Holy Monolith

Our collection quest continues back at the Holy Monolith. With Erdrick’s Token the man inside changes his tune and states he’s been waiting for us so he can pass on yet another piece of Erdrick’s equipment: his helmet.

Below Midenhall Castle are prisoners. If you talk to the one before obtaining the jailor’s key, he’ll promise to give you important information if you can release him. Since we have the key, he tells us the location of the life crest.

In the next cell, behind a barrier, we discover one of Hargon’s servants.

And a fight with the mace master ensues! As you can see by our HP the fight is not easy, but it’s definitely worth it because he drops the Staff of Thunder, which is a terrific weapon for Maria because it has decent attack power and casts Infernos.2 It’s actually worth a good chunk of gold, too. In the original there’s a glitch of sorts that allows you to respawn the battle by selling the staff and make limitless gold. I assume it’s still present in the remake, but I won’t be utilizing it.

  1. A fact that I’m aware of, but the party hasn’t learned because I don’t have any memory of the information chain about the various keys and I haven’t yet run into the random person who drops that specific clue.
  2. In the remake it’s actually an unnamed lightning-based spell.