Saturday, July 29, 2017

Game 11 - Dragon Quest V Part 3

At the end of the last post, I had set off for the western continent to find the Heavenly Shield. A few things I forgot to mention: Papas says in his letter that Kurisu's mother is still alive but captured by demons. Also, the "hero equipment" that is the Heavenly Sword, Heavenly Shield, etc. was translation in Dragon Warrior IV as "Zenethian" equipment. DQ 4-6 form a loose trilogy with some connected themes; it's not like 1-3 where the stories actually connect, though.

After finding Bolongo the panther we set off for the Salabona, a large city on the continent. After a quick detour to learn the Rula spell (that lets us teleport to towns we've visited), we reach Salabona to find that the richest man in town is giving his daughter Flora to whoever can find the Fire and Water rings. There's a good chance that this man has the Heavenly Shield, so it's time to get a bride.
That other suitor's not going to get very far
The fire cave is a really hard dungeon. It's long, has a lot of damage floors that you have to go through, and the monsters are fairly difficult too. At this point you only have Kurisu plus two monsters -- I was using Pierre the Slime Knight because he has heal spells (I'm actually still using him), and Bolongo. Fortunately you get your wagon in the cave so you can have backup units in case they die. The worst enemies in this dungeon are the bombs, who use Megante. This spell kills the caster but then has a chance to kill all the opponents. It's not a spell you want to cast, but it can be devastating when the enemies use it. I never got a game over from them but I had 2 out of my 3 guys die.

Then we have the bosses.
Lava monsters
They can breathe fire for fairly high damage, which is rough if they all use it. If you can beat one of them and still have a decently healthy party it's smooth sailing from there, but it's easy to die before that can happen. It took a lot of trips in the cave, several game overs, and even a period where I explored around to see if there was anything else I can do other than this dungeon. Eventually I won, though, and got the fire ring.

Next Flora's father gives you his ship to find the water ring. A bridge blocks your way so you can only explore a lake on this continent. In order to reach the cave with the water ring, we first need the people of a small hot springs village to lower the gate. In that village, who do we find?
Adult Bianca
Bianca, your childhood friend, has been here for a while. She decides to come with you on your quest to marry Flora...awkward. Unfortunately Bianca has the same level and equipment as when you left her as a child -- what was she doing all this time? There's also a rumor here about a temple being built to usher in the Kingdom of Light, presumably the one slave Kurisu was working on.

Fortunately the water cave is much easier than the fire cave and has no boss, so it's easy to recover the ring and head back.
The different caves and dungeons are nicely differentiated

But now we have a choice -- who to marry?
Akira Toriyama's art of Bianca and Flora
I barely know anything about Flora at this point, so I went for Bianca. I guess the dilemma is supposed to be that if you marry Flora you'll get the Heavenly Shield? But of course the game's not going to leave you without a way to get the shield. This is all very sudden, but next thing you know, it's wedding time.
Would you like to save your g...I mean, do you take this woman...
The DQ tradition of choices at silly places continues, as you can pick "no" when the priest asks if you accept Bianca as your wife. After the wedding, you have your first night separate beds.
We'll have none of that hanky panky in my house!
But the adventure isn't over yet -- it's time to set out again to find the remaining pieces of Heavenly equipment. Flora's father gives us his ship and we hear about a castle in the desert to the south where the grave of the Hero is. Along the way, I finally make it to the Medal King's castle. Dragon Quest IV introduced items called "small medals" hidden around the world which you could then turn in for prizes. DQV continues this tradition; we're still trading them in rather than just getting rewards for reaching a certain number of medals.
Warrior Pajamas, Mysterious Bolero, Miracle Sword, Holy Armor, Falcon Sword, Metal King Shield
Of course I'm tempted to save up the 43 for the Metal King Shield; as of this post I'm at 26. Moving on to the desert castle, they are keeping the Heavenly Helmet, but unfortunately it doesn't fit Kurisu so we move on. But this detour isn't entirely useless -- we hear a rumor that King Papas left his kingdom in the East with his child. So daddy was a king? Well, obviously the next destination is his kingdom, where I guess Kurisu is now the true king given Papas' death.

Getting to Granvania Kingdom requires landing to the south of it and progressing through a huge dungeon that's divided into two parts. You climb to the top of a mountain and reach a small village, where you can see your goal in the distance. Bianca collapses from exhaustion, but after one night in the inn she's OK.
Granvania Castle
One side note: as you can see in the image above, only Kurisu and Bianca are there. The game often forcibly removes monsters from your party during story sequences, and if you forget to add them back in, you suddenly find yourself solo vs. the monsters. Fortunately you can sub them in during battle, though, unless you're already in a dungeon. 

The second half of the dungeon is confusing, with lots of pits, mimic chests (which do give small medals), staircases, etc. It took me several tries to get through it. There were "hagure metal" ("Metal Babbles" in the NES games) but I didn't manage to kill any of them. Finally we reach Granvania. Nobody believes that you're the king, of course, but in a small house to the side lives Sancho, who was a close friend of Papas and recognizes you. He brings you in to see the king, who is the brother of Papas. Unfortunately Bianca collapses again, but for a good reason: she's pregnant!
I guess the separate beds didn't prevent them from consummating the marriage
Now to become king, you have to go through a cave of trials and recover an item of proof. The current king doesn't seem too concerned by that but the Minister insists...very suspicious. The cave itself has a number of puzzles and confusing places, but it's not very long. We recover the proof only to be attacked by people sent by the Minister, who want to keep the current king. After an easy fight, it's back to the castle.

The timeline is a little confusing but it's time for Bianca to give birth. Players may remember at this point that this is the same room Kurisu was born in at the beginning of the game, just before Martha (his mother) got taken away by demons. Fortunately Bianca survives the pregnancy.
I named the twins Leto and Ghanima, and I expect big things out of them. Next up is the coronation.
Long live King Kurisu!
And thus ends Dragon Quest V!

No, of course not. After a night of drunken revelry, you make your way through a silent, BGM-less castle to find that Bianca and the children are gone. Fortunately the maid hid the children under the bed, but Bianca has been captured. The Minister is also gone. But entering his room we find some Flying Shoes, which take us to a new area to the north. A man tells us that monsters were taking a woman to a tower in the north.

The tower is another complex dungeon with a lot of tricks and traps, such as the following, where you have to put boulders in front of dragon heads to avoid being burned by their fire.
The damage floor to the south seems pointless
Finally at the top we reach Jami, who was one of the monsters that killed Papas. He's holding Bianca captive.
Revenge time
Other DQs I have played had very severe difficulty spikes at significant bosses (I remember 6 and 7 being particularly bad in this regard), but fortunately Jami's not that hard. At first he's nearly invincible, but Bianca somehow makes light come out and take down Jami's barrier, allowing us to defeat him. It seems that Bianca is a descendant of a past heavenly hero. But Jami has his revenge, turning both Bianca and Kurisu to stone before he dies.

The next sequence is very well done and one of the best things I've seen in an RPG of this era. As we were going through the tower, we met some people who were looking to loot treasures from it. They make it to the top and decide to take the statues of Bianca and Kurisu and auction them off.
Do I hear 1000? 1000!
Kurisu is sold to some rich guy, but the thieves decide to keep Bianca's statue for unknown purposes. Meanwhile back in Granvania, Papas' brother has to become king again because Kurisu has disappeared.
A new decoration
The rich guy brings Kurisu back to his house to serve as a decoration and guardian of their house. Now you see several scenes where his child George grows into a young man, but then is captured for slavery by monsters.
Another slave for the mines
This pisses off the rich man so much he knocks the statue over. And thus the seasons pass, with Kurisu lying in the front yard.

Fortunately statues can't feel cold
Finally 8 years have passed, and Sancho has brought Leto and Ghanima to the house. Who knows how they found it, but they are able to restore Kurisu to life.
Leto and Ghanima
Unfortunately Bianca's whereabouts are unknown. However, Leto can now equip the Heavenly Sword and Shield, so it seems we've found our hero.

This is a good place to stop for this post. This is definitely the most fun I've had with a game so far on this blog. I still haven't felt the need to use a speedup hotkey despite the rather high random encounter rate -- at least the battles move quickly.


  1. Oddly enough, I played DQ5 years ago and got as far as the reunion with Bolongo (the end of your last post) before being distracted by something else and never finishing the game. So everything in this post is new to me.

    Based on my experience with other DQ games, I would say the standout items in that Medal King's lineup are the Miracle Sword (drains enemy HP and gives it to you) and the Falcon Sword (lets you attack twice per turn!) but of course it depends to a great deal on what your favored party members can equip. In DQ4 the most expensive Small Medal trade-in was one of the Metal Babble armor pieces and it struck me as a bit of a ripoff--it seemed more beneficial to me to get Miracle Swords for everyone who could equip one (which was more than half of the playable characters)

    1. I had forgotten what those items did -- it might be worth getting at least a miracle sword for Kurisu. The rest of my party is so fluid that I don't know who is going to be around -- Pierre the Slime Knight is great but I feel like at some point I should come across a better monster than him. And in the end I may just have Kurisu and the two children.