The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Warrior II

by ddegenha

Part 13: Updatus Mechanicum the First

Alright, now that we've got a bit of play time I think it's probably time to talk a bit about what makes the game actually tick.

First off, let's take a look at a stat screen. Here we've got our hero Caimalot, just out of the box. You can tell that this is an old school game by the lack of various stats; all we have are strength and agility. There's nothing really complicated here, with strength influencing things that you'd expect like how hard we can hit the enemy and agility affecting how likely we are to dodge attacks, hit, and how quickly the heroes move in battle. It's even called reaction speed when they level up. Caimalot is never going to have MP or magic, but he's got such monstrous stat growths that it really doesn't matter very much. The bit about crests will be important later.

Leveling up occurs after battles, and doesn't provide any benefits like restoring HP or anything like that. It appears as though stat gains are pre-determined for a given level, meaning that pretty much any time you play through the game your characters will develop the same way. Another interesting quirk is that the game doesn't bother to tell you what spell your character has learned when they level up, meaning that you have to go check their status after battle.

I mentioned before that the 3 main characters gain levels at different speeds. Luckily the various kings and priests who save the game for us also provide the free service of telling us how many experience points we need to gain a level.

Rather than doing anything so crass as saving your game, in Dragon Warrior 2 your deeds are recorded in the Imperial Scrolls of Honor and you are asked if you want to continue your quest. It's a bit odd, but you can actually choose to not save your game and quit playing. I find the little note about how Hargon doesn't sleep rather amusing, as well as the fact that the game warns you to press the REST (reset) button before turning the power off. These days people are relatively spoiled, having games with reliable batteries that aren't likely to shit themselves if you don't follow a shut down sequence. I'm sure I'm not alone in having replayed multiple portions of early RPGs because the cartridge decided to delete my save.

Revival of dead characters, removal of cursed objects, and even poison control is accomplished at the various churches throughout the game, on a sliding scale based on the level of the character that needs the surface. Detoxicate is highly situational, obviously, as an antidote herb will almost always be cheaper and located in the same place. I'm also amused by the parting message they send you away with.

Speaking of situational, you can't actually sell back weapons or armor at the shop where you'd buy them, you have to go find an item salesman who will buy them for 3/4 of what you paid for them. This will be necessary often because...

Like any old school RPG the inventory space is strictly limited. Characters can carry 8 items, and that includes all their equipment. Caimalot is almost at max carrying capacity here, and there will be plot related items to come.

Enemies can also drop random items when you defeat them, ranging from lottery tickets and medical herbs to powerful equipment depending on the enemy. Amusingly enough, many creatures that can cause the poison status also drop antidote herbs as a small mercy.

A few treasure chests, like the ones at the Spring of Bravery, will actually refresh themselves if you enter and exit. There's a certain disconnect in the logic there, since it makes it seem as though some conscientious person is coming along behind you refilling any treasure chests you empty. On the other hand, free medical herbs.

Should medical herbs be insufficient, death drops you back where you last saved the game to get a humorous speech comparing you to seafood. Compared to simply resetting you back to your last save, this is fairly kind.

The king is pretty harsh about the whole deal, giving you some shit about being stupid enough to get yourself killed. Only your first character is revived, meaning that you also have to shell out to revive the other two characters... on top of the fact that they take half your gold. If half of your gold isn't enough to revive both of your other characters it might just be time to go along with that don't save and quit option.