Part 5: Going (Desert) BowlingWelcome back to Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. This time, Euchre will be heading off to Xeroph Isle in his search for darkonium.
Music: Appearance of the Town
Unfortunately there are two jetties here, and only one leads to Xeroph. Hmm.
It's up to you where you want to go... ...but if it were me, I'd go to Xeroph Isle. Infern Isle is very dangerous, especially for an amateur like yourself.
Euchre could go to Infern Isle, but there's very little for him there compared to the danger he would face. It would be better to go straight to Xeroph Isle. Which jetty is which, though?
'They say a terrible catastrophe once befell this island. Beware of zombies.'
It's not the one on the left, so it must be the one on the right!
'A bowl-shaped desert island inhabited by a variety of monsters.'
That's much more reasonable.
Welcome to Xeroph Isle! I'll leave the scoutpost receptionist to explain the main attractions.
This island is famous for its ancient battle arena and perilous pool of quicksand. Both are located in the crater valley in the centre of the island. We tell all our visitors that they should go and see them first.
The structure of Xeroph Isle is that of two arcs of land on either side of a valley, connected by bridges. The bridges are, unfortunately, up at the moment, so in order to get to the other side of the island where a jetty lies people must go through the valley.
Thankfully said valley is where everything important is. Euchre will be ignoring it to start with in favour of checking out the scoutpost and exploring the south arc of land.
I heard that one of the prizes will be a darkonium crystal. Can't wait to find out for sure!
Oh, a darkonium crystal! That would be an excellent start to Euchre's collection.
Is that Solitaire? Maybe she'll be nicer to Euchre this time.
I suppose it was too much to ask for.
Euchre, wasn't it!? Well, if you're here... ...I'm guessing that means you're competing in the challenge, right? But anyway, enough about you...
I didn't waste any time - I attacked and tried to scout it, but NOTHING worked. Tsk. I just don't understand it. It looks like a complete pushover...
You want to take it for yourself, don't you? In your DREAMS, kid! There's no WAY I'm telling YOU where it went!
A monster which can't be scouted? That's something new. You'd think that the Scout Ring could scout anything, but apparently it's not all it's cracked up to be.
It's like a hole in the desert - it almost sucked me right in. I reckon once you fall in there, you're not coming out!
A quicksand pit seems really dangerous and also exactly the sort of thing Euchre would jump into.
I'm SURE there must be a hidden passageway somewhere. ...I just haven't found it yet.
Apparently there's no way to the other side of the island, even through the valley. This might be a problem.
No sense worrying about it now, though. Adventure awaits!
As long as you consider shopping an adventure, that is. There's some new stuff here, most notably the Exodust. This allows Euchre to escape from a dungeon when used. It's pretty good and he should always be carrying at least one when going on dungeon trips. Everything else new is a weapon, and most of them are too expensive at the moment.
Actual, non-shopping adventure awaits!
Music: Monster Battle
It awaits in the form of a Healslime. Healslimes are probably one of the best monsters to scout right now. Get one immediately if you're playing along, unless you really like spamming Medicinal Herbs. The reason why is clear when you're fighting them: they can cast Heal, which heals around 30 HP to a single allied monster.
Of course Euchre gets one. Of note is that other Healslime in the fight. Whenever you scout a monster...
...everything else runs away. It's quite handy, but not often seen since it's generally best to get rid of anything that's stopping you setting up for the scout.
It gets put in the party immediately, replacing Mr. I.
After the very next battle, Healix hits level 5 and learns Heal from the Healer skill. I believe this is the best source of Heal in the early game, compared to Stump Chumps and regular Slimes who learn it later.
Another reason why Healslimes are so good early on is their trait: Health Professional. This increases the power of healing spells and reduces their MP cost. The result of this is that Heal now costs 1 MP instead of 2, allowing Healslimes to heal for double the length of time that any other early healer can, to say nothing of their great maximum MP.
Oh, and if you put them into AI control and give them the tactic "Focus on healing" they actively cheat and heal injuries on the same turn that they were inflicted.
In short, Healslimes are great. Get one immediately and don't look back, but watch out for their squishiness - they die really easily.
Now that that's over with, Euchre continues along the beach to find a brown treasure chest.
This one contains a Wizard's Penny, which increases one monster's resistance to magic temporarily. They're not too bad, and Euchre can't buy them yet, so it's nice to have one now.
Music: Monster Battle
Around the same area as the chest is the hiding place of Scorpions. These guys have a few tricks.
Firstly they can use Poisonous Poke to do damage and attempt to inflict Poison. Poison is an ailment that does a percentage of the afflicted monster's maximum HP. It's pretty bad when enemies use it, but in Euchre's hands it can be a boss-killer since they have such inflated HP values.
Next, they can just skip their turn. There's nothing special about this other than a free turn for Euchre.
Finally, they can paralyse with their normal attack. It's not particularly likely to land, but if it does it's a pain. Paralysis disables a monster entirely until it wears off.
Into storage with you!
Soon enough, Ducktor Cid hits level 8 and gets some more skill points. They all go into Naturalist, giving him Sandstorm, which inflicts Dazzle on the whole enemy party...
...as well as Dragon Slash, which does increased damage to Dragon monsters. This being Dragon Quest, expect plenty of those.
There's nothing left on this part of the island, so Euchre heads over to one of the pathways down to the valley. This is the western one, and they both have these pillars on either side.
This one has a slide down, so it's one-way. Euchre will have to come up the other way if he wants to go back to the scoutpost.
Sometimes other monster scouts can be seen wandering around. They appear randomly, but I think they have set spawn points. They also have random teams for Euchre to fight!
Music: Boss Battle
This incarnation of Team Wilhelm consists of two Orcs and a Demonrider. Note the names displayed on the screen - these are some of the default names that you can pick for your monsters. All monsters have multiple default names - usually themed around the first few letters of their species name - and these NPC scouts use those names for their monsters.
We'll be seeing both of these monsters later, and they act differently in tamer battles anyway, so I'm not going over their moves here. What is interesting, though, is the scout behind the monsters. They can use items, just like Euchre, and will even attempt to scout his monsters sometimes! I've never seen what happens if they succeed, but apparently they take your monster permanently. Thankfully you can take their monsters, too, and allegedly they're better than wild ones.
Eventually Euchre is victorious. These fights give out a ton of experience points and gold.
They also give out some incredibly nice items, like this Oomph powder. This is the spell Oomph in item form, increasing the target's attack temporarily. Oomph is probably the best stat increasing spell in the game, so this is very welcome.
Another result of the fight was Moley learning Slowing Slug. This ability does damage and attempts to lower speed. It's a pretty good debuff, but it costs 4 MP. Look at Moley's maximum MP and you'll see the problem with this.
Close to Wilhelm is this blue treasure chest. Opening it triggers a cutscene!
Five shards come out of thin air and float around Euchre.
They join together...
...forming a darkonium crystal!
He now possesses 1 crystal.
We're helpfully told how many darkonium crystals Euchre has after every one he collects. It's nice to be able to keep track when he gets a new one.
Music: Monster Battle
The most common monsters in the valley are Komodos, who aren't interesting in the slightest. I don't think they have any special abilities.
They are the first Dragon monsters, though, so it's worth picking up for the proficiency test back on Infant Isle. Euchre doesn't go back there yet, though.
Into the substitutes it goes.
One of the few attractions in the valley is this tent.
This guy is inside. He's got a few things to say.
Havin' this year's scout challenge start off with a wussy scavenger hunt... I dunno! The challenge is s'posed to be about guts 'n' glory an' fightin' stuff! This new rule's for wimps!
I just need to finish settin' up an' we'll be back in business. So hang on a tick, awright!?
We should be up an' runnin' by the time ya get back!
Yes, this is the site of that battle arena that Euchre heard about in the scoutpost. It being closed means that he can't get the darkonium crystal yet.
It's at this point that Euchre goes back to the scoutpost to heal and buy a weapon for his monsters. That scout that he beat gave a good chunk of cash, after all.
This'll do nicely. It goes on Moley.
Music: Monster Battle
Going back down to the pit gives Euchre the chance to find another monster: the Funghoul. These things pop up out of holes in the ground, like Mischievous Moles did on Infant Isle.
They have Sweet Breath, to send the entire party to sleep...
...and Poison Breath, to poison them all. Neither is all that dangerous.
This one joins up without much hassle.
It gets sent to storage, like most monsters that Euchre scouts.
This monster, the Dancing Flame, appears in the same places as the Komodos. They're a bit rarer, though.
This is a good opportunity to show off Ducktor Cid's new Dragon Slash. It's a pretty nice damage increase.
Sandstorm is also used, though the Dazzle isn't all that accurate. It's nice if Cid's got nothing better to do.
The Dancing Flames can use Fire Breath to do damage to the entire party. Interestingly enough, this is not the same element as Frizz despite both being fire. Breath attacks and spells are completely different elements. In both cases, though, the damage isn't mitigated by defence.
Their other ability is Flame Slash, which does Frizz-elemental physical damage. It's also slightly more powerful than a normal attack.
It's scouted and put in storage.
The final point of interest in the valley is this pool of quicksand. If Euchre runs into the centre...
Music: Seeking Treasure
...he'll fall down into this cave. There's no way but forwards.
Hey, it's that monster that Solitaire was looking for!
It's not particularly happy to see Euchre.
I can do...no more...
Really? You lost to an orc? Euchre's already beaten two of those.
The orc charges at Euchre!
This'll be easy.
Music: Boss Battle
Welcome to the first boss fight of the game, the Orc! Being the first boss, it's not particularly threatening for a well-organised team. Euchre's team composition here will be Ducktor Cid for disabling the Orc, Healix for undoing all of its damage and Moley for actually killing it.
The first thing to note is that the Orc does a lot of damage. That's more than 2/3 of Healix's maximum HP. Thankfully it can only attack once per turn, so it's unlikely to kill anyone. Just keep HP topped up.
There is an exception, though: randomised turn order. While Agility does indeed affect the order in which monsters act, there's always slight variance. It tends to get really annoying when an enemy moves last in one turn and then first in the next, two-shotting one of your team. That can happen here and it tends to ruin an attempt at the fight.
The only other thing that the Orc can do is cast Heal, but it only does that at low HP and is pretty much a free turn for Team Euchre.
The chances of the Orc actually hitting are much lower now, though. It's practically harmless now.
The final nail in the coffin is that it can be shocked by Heart Breaker. As I said when Ducktor Cid learned it, it's nice for fights where there's only one enemy like this one.
During all this, Moley has been psyching up to 100 tension.
To further supplement its attack, it's fed the Oomph Powder that Euchre got earlier.
That's one dead Orc. Its maximum HP was only 235.
As a reward for Euchre's victory, he receives a weapon that's ahead of the curve in terms of attack power.
Euchre takes the unconscious monster in his arms and carries it back to the scoutpost.
Music: Unknown (I couldn't find the actual name anywhere)
It's not a species I've seen before. I have no idea how to treat it.
...Commissioner Snap appears in the doorway! Why is he here?
How did he know about that? Has the monster really been at the scoutpost long enough for him to be called in? Did Solitaire alert the Monster Scout Organisation when she found it?
Now, let's have a look at the little fellow, shall we?
If he can't help the monster, no one can...
The screen fades to black, and healing sound effects play.
With that, Euchre is free to move around again. There's only really one place to go - the Scouts' den.
Unfortunately, Euchre seems to be interrupting a conversation between Dr Snap and the monster. It can't hurt to listen in, though, can it?
I heard the rumours about you, but now I see they were quite unfounded.
Hey, it's that legendary monster that Euchre's been told about!
I though perhaps that you might be the one. But the Incarnus is a more powerful beast - majestic and awe-inspiring.
Solitaire seemed to think that this monster was like that. Maybe it's the Incarnus, then!
It is a problem that has long obsessed monster scientists, myself included...
So my little fellow. Do you know where the mighty Incarnus might be?
Well, that's that I suppose... Oh, look, I do believe this is your master?
Euchre would be happy to take the definitely-not-Incarnus off Dr Snap's hands.
Duty calls. Mustn't leave HQ on its own for too long, what!
Well, it looks like Euchre will be the proud owner of one definitely-not-Incarnus. What does it think about this, though?
I was weak and defenceless. You could have captured me. Yet instead you brought me here to be healed.
I sense you are on a mission, one that you cannot reveal. Well, so am I.
It's not exactly a mission at the moment. Euchre hasn't received any instructions other than "participate in the Monster Scout Challenge", after all.
Listen to me, human. I want you to help me.
It leads to a shrine by the sea. I would like you to escort me there. Though it shames me to admit it, I have not the strength to reach it on my own.
Help me, human.
Euchre? Very well. As for me, you may call me what you will.
You know what this means? A new monster to name!
Now, what to call it...
Extra: The Monster Library
There are five monsters to go through today! Let's get started.
From now on assume that fused monsters don't receive their stat-boosting skill.
Healslimes' Skills are Healer and Agility Boost. They have the Trait Health Professional and are immune to Fizzle.
Healer is a very one-track skill. All the abilities that it teaches heal a single ally, except Buff which raises a single ally's defence. On top of the basic healing abilities Heal, Midheal and Fullheal, it also has Zing and Kazing, which are revival spells, Reheal, which gives an ally regenerating HP, and Meditation, which heals the user. If you're just going through the story, it's unquestionably useful. Where it falls down is in the lack of multi-target healing, but there are other skills for that.
Komodos have the Skills Defender and Attack Boost. They have no Traits and are immune to Dazzle.
Defender is a skill that focuses on buffs and debuffs, as well as a bit of healing. It teaches Buff and Kabuff, for single- and multi-target defence increases. Heal and Midheal are also present. There's also Dazzleflash, which inflicts multi-target Dazzle, Defending Champion, for lowering damage taken on the user, Weakening Wallop, for lowering enemy attack while doing damage, and Sap Guard, which reduces the chance of being inflicted with decreased defence. This can be a useful skill for tankier teams, who rely on lots of setup to do damage. Unfortunately there's no defence against magic or breath attacks, but against a purely physical enemy it's pretty good.
Scorpions get the Skills Hive Mind and Defence Boost. They have two Traits: Critical Massacre and Paralyser (which gives attacks a chance to paralyse). They're weak to Frizz-element attacks, and immune to Poison and Paralysis.
Hive Mind is a weird skill. It seems to focus on ailments, but it can't seem to decide whether to go with pure ailments or damage with ailments. There's Snooze, Kasnooze and Sleep Sock for Sleep, Heart Breaker for Shock, Paralysing Punch for Paralysis and Fuddle Dance for Confusion. The skill also grants access to Buff, Defending Champion and Hustle Dance, a multi-target healing skill. Overall it's probably not a great choice.
Dancing Flames get the skills Fire Fighter and Defence Boost. They have the Trait Frizzmeister, which increases the power and decreases the MP cost of Frizz-element spells. They're weak to Crack-elemental abilities, but are healed by Frizz- and Fire Breath-elemental abilities.
Fire Fighter teaches Frizz-element and physical attacks. Firstly there are Frizz and Frizzle, the tier 1 and 2 Frizz-element spells. There's also Flame Slash and Inferno Slash, which do Frizz-element physical damage. There's also Helm Splitter, which I've already extolled the virtues of, Body Slam, which does heavy physical damage with recoil, War Cry, which tries to inflict Shock on the entire enemy party, and Frizz Guard, which lowers damage from Frizz-elemental attacks. It's not a bad skill, though it's more suited to physical attackers than mages due to the lack of the best Frizz spells.
Finally, Funghouls have the Skills Graveheart and Attack Boost but don't have any Traits. They're weak to Frizz and immune to Poison.
Graveheart is exactly the same as it was on Ghosts back in Part 4.