The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 46: The End

Part 46 - The End?

So, this LP is pretty much done and I've put off this bit for over a year now, but there is just a little bit I want to add to finish this thing.

First off, one trick that I don't think I've mentioned before. First, we have to worship Irkalla and visit her realm.

We're not here to see her, however.

This is what we're here for. Just one step forward...

wait why did I do that

Oh right. That's why.

The "bonus" is 5 extra skill points. Considering that the bonus of a level-up in this game is just 2 skill points and no other gains, 5 points is a big deal. It's essentially gaining 2.5 free levels without having to fight a single battle. But that's not the big story.

You can do this once per playthrough. And if you know where to go, you can get here a few minutes after starting a new game. If you're re-starting with a character who already has Soften Stone, it takes about one minute.

(In short: start a new game, go straight west through walls until you see the Irkalla statue, go right and grab a Mage Fire scroll from the shop, go back to the Irkalla statue, sacrifice the scroll, then dive into the Apsu Waters, go to her realm and jump off the cliff.)

You can save, quit, start a new game, and do it all over again, and again, until, well, I'm sure you see where this is going:

There are other things we can do once per play-through, such as wrestling Enkidu to get Druid Magic:

And while scrolls are single-use, we can get a new copy each playthrough, so we can get multiple characters with the same spells, even rare ones:

So with enough time, we can create a near-invincible army of super-mages who act first every battle, have tons of MP to cast 45-point Infernos hitting all enemies, and completely trivialize the game's combat.

Also, it turns out Fistfighting is actually useful in this game! If you have 5 Fistfighting, you consistently deal about 20 damage per hit with your bare hands. This is better than most weapons in the game. Increasing it beyond 5 doesn't seem to do anything, nor does increasing Strength, so the best way to deal damage is still Sun Magic.

So, what can we do with this? Well, getting to the Depths of Nisir just requires Golden Boots and a quick trip through the Magan...

...and getting to Namtar just requires casting Soften Stone a few times.

Trouble? Nah. We could have stopped in Lansk for the Dragon Gem, but why do things the easy way when we can do them the Fun Way?

So what happens when we win the unwinnable fight?

I like that we get a little pat on the back for winning that ridiculous fight. If only the game realized how we're doing this with no weapons and almost no armor!

That leaves Namtar, but we've already kicked his ass. Beating him this way won't make the ending any different. Chrono Trigger was six years away at this point; most games in 1989 gave you two endings. One where you win, and another that says "Game Over."

And is killing Namtar even the point of this game? He's not on the title screen:

That's not a Namtar they're fighting, and the title of the game is not Namtar Wars.

This is DRAGON WARS! (kicks Namtar down a well)

All right then. First up, let's take a trip back in time for some context here. Once upon a time, we had to trudge through a place called Dragon Valley.

In Dragon Valley, we fought through seemingly endless encounters with groups of 20+ baby dragons at a time, until finally we met their mama.

Paragraph 134 posted:

In the very heart of the valley you find the sacred hive of the Dragon Queen. The Queen sits atop a mountain of eggs, some of which hatch young saurians even as you watch. The Dragon Queen is colossal - easily ten times the size of any beast you've confronted thus far. She fixes you with a fierce glare.

"You carve your way through my valley," she hisses, "destroying my creatures, and now enter the presence of the Mother Dragon. You will die for what you have done, but you will die food for my brood."

The Dragon Queen rears up and prepares to breathe a blast of poisonous fire.

And, well, this happened:

Yeah. The Dragon Queen isn't just tough - she is pretty much unstoppable.

rujasu posted:

You can really get yourself in trouble here, if you save right after reading paragraph 134, while the Queen is preparing to kill you. Even if you try to run from her, she will always go first and use her absurdly powerful breath attack. The good news is that it is possible to survive the battle with the Dragon Queen. I don't mean that we can "win" it, but it's possible for the damage roll to be a little lower, resulting in our being stun-wiped instead of getting an actual Game Over.

If you reload enough times, you can get out with all of your party members stunned. Then you get dumped back at the entrance, and all you have to do is slap a Band-Aid on those dragonfire burns. You can return to the northern part of the valley and the Dragon Queen will still be there, but she will not attack you again.

The best thing to do is to not get into a battle with the Queen at all. As you might have guessed, before her attack, we need to use the Dragon Gem.

Like the battle with Namtar's army, you're not supposed to win here. But in this case, you are REALLY not supposed to win:

She starts 150" away, she goes first every round no matter what (even after I cheated everyone up with a lot of Dexterity), and her breath attack hits everyone for around 12-22 damage every turn (which means it stuns for around 24-44). The only way to survive for more than a turn is to cheat everyone up to a ton of HP, but even that doesn't help all that much. Even after I did the cheat a bunch of times to prepare for the Namtarmy fight, all it meant for Dragon Queen is that I was able to last two turns instead of one.

Now, if you cheated everyone up to about 100 HP, you might be able to survive two shots of the breath. This would give you time to heal, but the problem is that the healing spells don't really keep up. The strongest healing spell in the game is Cure All, it heals 1d8 points of damage for everyone in the party, which is a lot less than a single hit of the breath does. So every round, we'd probably need about five party members casting Cure All just to keep up with the damage. But we also need to advance to get within magic range. We can advance 10" per round, and we can't do anything else that turn so she gets a free hit with the breath. Just getting close enough to hit her with a spell would be a chore, and eventually we'll run out of MP. Even if we have Dragon's Eyes, she'll fry us while we're using them.

Given enough time repeating the Irkalla trick, we could grind everyone up to 100 HP and 100 MP (except Kali because we're busy putting all of her skill points into Bandage), get everyone access to Druid Magic for Cure all, and maybe be able to advance far enough to get a shot in on the Queen. The Dragon Warriors will advance and get in our way, but we can take them out with one or two shots of Inferno, and if we can hold out long enough to advance eight times, we'll be at 70" and Valar can dump all of his MP into a big Rage of Mithras at her.

Is there a point to this? Probably not. But again, this is Dragon Wars, and I think we should properly fight the dragon!

After about a dozen turns of attrition, and spending 40+ MP on one big Inferno to wipe out the Dragon Warriors (something that would not even be remotely possible playing this game normally), we get to see that "Dragon Brood Queen" does not even fit on the top of the screen properly. It just says "Dragon Brood Que." In Spanish, the word "que" means "what." That seems appropriate here. The game is just going "What?" at this point. What are you trying to do, and why are you trying to do it?

You may also notice that we are still 130" out. Our longest-range spell hits from 70". But if it's possible to advance twice, well, it must be possible to advance six more times, right?


(an eternity of multiple turns healing followed by one turn advancing, rinse, repeat ensues)

All right. Go for it Valar! One shot for all of the marbles! The Dragon War ends here!

This is what happens when you dump 44 MP into a single Rage of Mithras. We hit the Dragon Brood Queen for an absurd 164 damage, completely off the charts for this game, and she just looks at us like it was nothing.

How much health does she even have? I can't imagine. Is it even a finite number? As you can see, Valar and Louie are out of MP. Kali is low as well. Most turns, half of the party is getting stunned, and I'm just hoping the faster characters live to heal the slower ones so everyone casts their heal spell. If we have a turn where only 2-3 heals go off, we're done for. And right now, we need Valar to use a Dragon's Eye (restores 30 MP) two turns in a row to fire off another 44-point Rage of Mithras. And that might not even put a dent in the Queen's health total.

It's not looking great.

But hey, we're putting up a fight. In a battle that is normally meant to be a single-turn wipe. And that's something.

Might this actually be... possible?

Holy shit.

Seeing this textbox makes it all worth it for me. We weren't supposed to see this. It might not even have been tested!

But more importantly, this game has finally lived up to its billing. We fought a Dragon War, and we won.

Yeah, I think I'll close the book here. If there's anything else in this game that could top that, I can't think of it.

Thanks everyone who bothered to read this mess. I had a lot of fun doing it. It took me five years and I'll probably never do another one, but I feel like it was worth writing and hope you all thought it was worth reading.