Part 1: It's Good to be Prince
Our story begins in the middle of a conversation, with an elderly man who's presumably the king demanding an explanation. Without an explanation, you might think that it's the confused query of a senile old man.
a terrible uproar in the town.
Instead, he's demanding an explanation from our hero, Prince Theo. Our entire story and motivation right now is to answer the King's question.
As compared to its predecessor, Sword of Hope II actually explains why you don't get a game over when you're defeated in battle. This is a small mercy and, as we'll see, it's actually quite necessary.
With that, we're set loose and introduced to the screen where most of the game will be taking place. Let's take a look at these, one by one. To start, we don't actually have any magic to use right now.
Item eventually brings us to this screen, since we don't have any other items to use. DONTEQIP is a mangled command that removes our current equipment. I can't think of any reason why you would use this command.
Looking at a person usually results in starting a conversation with them. In this case, the King clarifies his direction with an extra side of "Why the hell aren't you moving yet?"
It also supplies a description of the person or thing you're looking at. The use of the term throne suddenly makes me wonder which King's Room we're actually in. I could see a senile monarch requiring people to attend him in the garderobe.
Using the Hit command does exactly what it says... usually. Other times you get a humorous message. I can think of a LOT of reasons why Theo might want to slug his father, including the entirety of Sword of Hope 1.
"Power" actually gives us our character's status information. Theo has REALLY come down a lot from his peak at the end of SoH. You pretty much have to assume that he's done nothing more strenuous than climbing the castle stairs in the last 5 years. On the plus side, at least he's got some clothes.
Heading southward moves us completely out of the castle rather than forcing us to explore the entire thing. Given that it was the final dungeon of the last game, that's probably a good thing.
Immediately afterward, we get another example of how the game has changed. Where the previous game indicated whether moving in a direction would result in a battle (most of the time) this one doesn't. Our first encounter is a Blop, a pathetically weak creature that would probably take 20 turns or so to actually kill us even at level 1.
Theo can no longer talk to the trees, but hitting them sometimes pays off. I'm pretty sure wheat doesn't grow on trees but... eh, I'm not a farmer. Note: My wife has informed me that wheat does not in fact grow on trees. I have no explanation for this.
In the last five years a gate has been installed to block off access to the desert. The desert... has also appeared in the last 5 years. One can only assume that with the castle being raised from underground and the massive deforestation that occurred when the people of Riccar were changed back from being trees has changed the landscape somewhat.
Our favorite foul-smelling hobo now has a face, and offers a couple of new services instead of charging usurious rates to heal us. This seems to suggest that status effects are going to come into play as we continue.
Another two blops gains us a level, resulting in learning the spell of Motion. No explanation is given as to what this spell does, but one can presume the spell cures some kind of status condition. Gaining a level also ends up with us encountering a moth in our next encounter, which tries and fails to poison us. As another small mercy the game restricts encounters so that you won't run into anything other than Blops until we gain a level.
Skeletons are also in the next tier of monsters we encounter, and we're forced to flee after a pair of attacks leave us with two HP. I can't help but think I'm missing something. Time to head in the other direction and see if there's not something we can do about this.
By tool, do you mean...
Huh. No, just regular healing items although we'll have to experiment with a few of these items to find out what they do. The Wooden Boomerang looks particularly interesting... although there's also a Copper version that's a good bit more expensive.
While we couldn't hit the King, we can certainly hit a random shopkeeper. This might be one of the better parts of being royalty.
Continuing east, this is a bit more like what we're looking for. Probably not a moment too soon.
We've got just about enough money to buy a really good sword or to buy a decent sword and an armor upgrade. Considering that our last near-miss was a result of getting the stuffing beaten out of us, the latter seems like a good plan.
Gramps here has some good advice, but this isn't my first rodeo. Our new equipment boosts our offense and defense to around 20.
Properly equipped we can continue across a river toward the temple. This might have been the underground river that used to run near the Castle or it might be part of that terrain reshuffling we observed earlier.
Heading north on the other side of the river leads us to a waterfall... my gut feeling says that there's certainly no way that a unique terrain feature like this will be important in the future.
The only path left to us leads us to the front of the temple, which was apparently not in the greatest possible shape even before some kind of magical red beam shot out of it. Next time: we investigate.