DQII #3: Princess of Moonbrooke

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.

Obtaining the silver key from the Lake Cave

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.

Battle with three drakees in two different groups

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.

The guards no longer block the way

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.

Obtaining the Mirror of Ra

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.

  1. Final Fantasy had a similar issue.
  2. First death of Project DQ.

PDQ Update

I’ve been queuing posts as I organize my screenshots and it’s honestly becoming incredibly cluttered in my drafts. So, I think I’m going to post Project DQ over the weekend from now on.

Though, I have to admit I’ve been a bit distracted by the newly fixed PS3. Finishing up Tales of Xillia1 is far more interesting than the grinding rut I’m currently in with DQII. But I’ll be house- and dog-sitting for my dad in a few weeks while he’s in Florida, so I’ll have ample opportunity to grind away.

  1. Yes, I beat it already. But while I’m not really a trophy hunter, I managed to nab a fair amount just blindly playing so I’ve been working on getting the last bit for my very first ever platinum.

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 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!