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LONG BLOG

I Can Count to Nine: A Journey through Dragon Quest - Part 8/9

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If you're just coming across this, this is a repost of writeups I did when a friend and I played through the Dragon Quest games in 2010 and 2011. Here's my short treatment I did for the last two games in the series.

Week 30

EIGHT

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PS2)



Week 38

We didn't beat Dragon Quest IX this week, but we did get very close.

At this point, Ni is a Paladin and Ne a Priest, which seems to work well. Sometimes I use Whipping Boy to protect Ne. Ni does most of the damage with UFB + Falcon slash (before getting the ultimate key, I was wielding a fire blade) while Ne keeps us alive with multiheal. When not healing, Ne uses Egg On, which tends to increase damage more than attacking would.

The moves Magic Mirror and Helm Splitter are big elements of our boss strategies. Some of the bosses in this stretch could do well over a hundred damage with magic, so protection is key. And it may be obvious, but having an Yggdrasil leaf in Ni's inventory saved us several times.

We got the last couple of Fyggs from Larstastnaras and the Dreadmaster without much trouble. After the non-fight with Aquila, we got up to Upover before having trouble against the Gittish soldiers there - we beat them, but barely, as their ice breath nearly did us in. Therefore, we did some grinding in the Bowhole (Is it just us or does this sound nasty?) until Ne learned Insulatle before continuing.

When you go to get the Dragon Warrior gear from Greygnarl and see the cutscene, you're required to close the Rapportal and stop playing with friends. However, before long you get the chance to leave the Goretress and get them back. In fact, only one battle occurs while you're required to be alone, an easy fight against an Aggrosculpture. Interestingly, back at the Goretress a visiting player, unlike a main player, can't walk through the shield panels. Maybe this is just because Ne didn't have the Gittish seal!

Of the three Gittish Knights, Hogg was easy, Hootingham gave us some trouble, and Purrvis tore us up, forcing another grinding session until Ne got to level 50 (Ni was 46). After that, we managed to get past, and Godwyn was not a major problem. In the Realm of the Mighty, however, you have to refight the knights, and Purrvis again blew us away. That upward slash move that stops you from acting is so unfair (it even gets right past Back Atcha), and it ruined our strategy. We're going to make sure to each get the shield scroll before next time, since Purrvis's stupidly common criticals were the biggest reason we lost.

Battle Records:

Time: 26:51
Multiplayer: 21:34
Victories: 453
Times Alchemy Performed: 19
Accolades Earnt: 37
Quests Completed: 7
Defeated Monster List: 58%
Wardrobe: 10%
Item List: 39%
Alchenomicon: 3%

Week 39

We saw the credits roll (interestingly, you can actually get the ending sequence while on somebody else's game), but we're not done yet.

Between sessions, we did a lot of preparation. We both got the shield scroll, and I got the Warrior and Gladiator scrolls and went through the Warrior, Gladiator, Paladin and Armamentalist skill trees for their stat bonuses. We also got our main classes up to level 60. There's a huge jump in difficulty from the main game to the post game, and we didn't want to get caught off guard.

Returning to our old nemesis Purrvis, he was now a blink-and-you'll-miss-it joke, which was satisfying. As for Corvus, I'm not sure he even ought to qualify as a final boss - what a wimp!

Before you can properly start the postgame, you have to complete a little quest that involves fighting a stronger version of the whale boss, Lleviathan. He's arguably tougher than Corvus, but gave us absolutely no trouble.

We're hardly intending to shoot for 100% here. Our goals are to beat all 12 Grotto Bosses and to beat all 13 Legacy Bosses. The legacy bosses will be level 1 or close to it. To facilitate this, we transferred maps for each boss from my main cart to my secondary cart by tagging, removing from the guestbook, and retagging. In this way, you can get as many maps as you want from the same other cart.

The grotto bosses are supposed to each represent a part of the split-up Zenus - Equinox is the legs, Nemean the head, Sir Sanguinus the blood. If that's true, then what part does Greygnarl rep... ewwwww, no.

The first three grotto bosses were extremely easy, but the fourth (Trauminator) gave us our first hint that they weren't all going to be pushovers, and the difficulty ramped up steeply from there. The grottoes themselves also got tough, and took quite a while to push through. At first we'd split up to save time, but later we resolved to stick together, as getting caught in battle alone could lead to a quick death. On the bright side, once we encountered two Metal King Slimes and took them both down, causing both characters to jump from level 64 to level 66!

Against the grotto bosses, I tended to use a Fource to boost damage, followed by Falcon slash while Ne used Helm Splitter to reduce their defense and healed when necessary. This got us through the first eight grotto bosses okay, but we really hit a wall with Fowleye. Fowleye loves to use Disruptive wave, making effective attack or defense difficult. Particularly, it's tough to defend against his powerful attack magic. We tried to keep Magic Mirror up, but it was futile. What really did us in was his sleep attack that never misses. He used it twice in a row, and there was nothing we could do but watch as he killed us. Obviously, we're going to have to do even more preparation for next week. We did have a grinding session at the end, but bad luck kept us from getting much of anywhere, and we only made it to level 71.

Battle Records:

Time: 48:24
Multiplayer: 28:44
Victories: 751
Times Alchemy Performed: 40
Accolades Earnt: 94
Quests Completed: 25
Grottoes Completed: 9
Guests Canvassed: 24 (lol retagging. This doesn't count toward building the inn.)
Defeated Monster List: 73%
Wardrobe: 13%
Item List: 46%
Alchenomicon: 6%

My completion Accolade was "Socialite," for "saving the world in the constant company of friends and allies." So the game does recognize co-op runs, in a way.

Week 40

Our odyssey through the main Dragon Quest series is COMPLETE!

The normally hated Shimmering dress, which reflects back spells, came in handy on a few bosses, particularly Fowleye. I mean, it's not like Ni was casting spells on Ne.

In preparation for this session, I covered all the relevant skill trees and leveled up to 99, which went shockingly fast without party members.

Our strategy against the game's strongest bosses involved the following moves:

Ni:
Falcon Slash
Dragon Slash (Greygnarl, Dragonlord)
Fources
Feel the Burn (this was a major component!)

Ne:
Healing (Moreheal, Fullheal, Multiheal, Omniheal)
Helm Splitter
Egg On
Disrupting Wave
Wave of Relief
Buff

The hardest part of this stretch was getting through the high-level grottos. Vanish helped. After getting wiped out several times we realized we had to split up so when one of us inevitably died, the other could revive them. We also learned something obscure about multiplayer when I got to Greygnarl while Kux was disconnected. He connected and I called him to me, but all of the blue chests I'd opened were still empty for him. You have to be consistently connected for the blue chests to offer each player an item.

Fowleye, Excalipurr and Tyrannosaurus Wrecks were not a big deal, but Greygnarl was the hardest boss we faced. He's a real tough one with three powerful attacks and disruptive wave, and it took us two tries to win.

We went through the legacy bosses in the order they appeared in the series, reminiscing about those parts of our run. By putting Ni in front and using feel the burn, damage output got fierce and was over 4000 on a few occasions. Helm splitter also moved things along, though against the tougher bosses Ne had to stick to purely healing. We didn't lose to any boss, though Nokturnus gave us a seriously close call, killing Ne at one point with Ni at pretty low health. Mortamor was also a real pain, taking us an aggravating 23 turns to beat. The easiest boss was surprisingly Dhoulmagus, who went down in 3 utterly effortless turns.

Thanks to everybody who bothered to read these. I recommend playing DQ9 this way; it's great to share these games with a good friend.

Final Battle Records for Ni:
Time spent: 60:50
Multiplayer: 35:25
Victories: 854
Alchemy: 44
Accolades: 122
Quests Completed: 34
Grottoes Completed: 28
Defeated Monster List: 83%
Wardrobe: 21%
Item List: 51%
Alchenomicon: 7%

Final equipment for Ni:
Weapon: ´┐Żber falcon blade
Shield: Metal slime shield
Head: Metal slime helm
Torso: Pallium Regale
Arms: Ethereal Gloves
Legs: Dragon Warrior Trousers
Feet: Elevating Shoes
Accessory: Elfin charm

Final Battle Records for Ne:
Time spent: 80:52
Multiplayer: 35:26
Victories: 1549
Alchemy: 238
Accolades: 102
Quests Completed: 32
Grottoes Completed: 32
Defeated Monster List: 87%
Wardrobe: 30%
Item List: 53%
Alchenomicon: 20%

Final equipment for Ne:
Weapon: Bad Axe
Shield: Silver Shield
Head: Spellward Circlet
Torso: Xenlon Robe
Arms: Heavy Handwear
Legs: Transparent Tights
Feet: Pixie Boots
Accessory: Meteorite Bracer

Playing through the Dragon Quest games with a friend was an experience I'll never forget - all the laughs, excitement, and emotion. Sadly, extending this run will never be possible due to Squeenix betraying us with a "Dragon Quest X" that's actually an MMO.
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About tim333one of us since 5:53 PM on 12.11.2007

Regarding my 1001games project: There's only one deadline. I haven't hit it yet!

I'm a 90s gamer and Sega kid for life. I like platformers, adventure games and JRPGs. I'm not that into first-person shooters or sports games.

I spend more of my time playing older games than new ones. I do have a PS3 now, though, and I like buying games on PSN. I like the Wii and have a ton of games for it. I'm encouraged by some of the stuff out on Wiiware - to me, games like Bit.Trip Beat are more appealing than the "triple-A" titles coming out on the HD consoles.

Some of my all-time favorite games are Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Dragon Quest III, Heroes of Might and Magic III, The Curse of Monkey Island, and Dance Dance Revolution.