Game Series: Dragon Warrior (NES) Episode 6
The first game in the Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest) series came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System (otherwise known as the Family Computer or Famicom in Japan) in 1986, and got a North America port in 1989. It was a stellar success in Japan, but was received a little less favorably in the western markets. However, it’s still regarded as the great-grandfather of the console RPG genre. I have written a review of the game, but decided that I’d do a Let’s Play Classics play through of the game. This is episode 6, featuring the the sixth approximate hour of game play. Below is the video:
We start out this episode in the throne room of Tantegel Castle talking to the king. We have a very important mission today, if we choose to accept it, and that is to rescue the Princess! Yes, I know where she is, but I think I’m a high enough level now so we’re going in. Now the Princess is located in the now appropriately named Marsh Cave, that is the cave embedded in the marsh that links the northern eastern continent with the lower continent (the one with Rimuldar). If you remember, previously we went through the cave sticking to the right and not really exploring it. This is because the only other thing in the cave is basically Princess Gwaelin and her “protector,” a minion of the Dragonlord himself.
So we venture north and go over the bridge, essentially beelining our way to the Marsh Cave. Now that we’re going to explore it further I have made a little map of it from my travels. I tried a slightly different filter on this map than I did the previous map. It turned out okay, but I’m happier I think with the previous look I had, so my maps from now on will be more like the ones previous, and not as garish as this one. Without further ado, here is the Marsh Cave containing Princess Gwaelin:
- 1. Green Dragon
2. Princess Gwaelin
However, as you’ll see in the video, I didn’t exactly make it the first time I attempted to rescue the Princess from the Dragonlor’d chosen minion, a green dragon. In fact, you can see my utter defeat below:
So as noted, to get to Princess Gwaelin you have to defeat a Green Dragon. At level 13 this isn’t necessarily a guaranteed defeat, in fact as you can see above I died the first time. Well, I tried again, it’s not impossible to beat him at level 13 or 14. While we’ve got the Green Dragon pulled up here, let’s do a quick bestiary entry:
Bestiary Part 5
Avg GOLD: 160
Special Attacks: Breathes Fire
Area: Before Rescuing the Princess, Charlock Castle, and Hauksness
Description: The Green Dragon is most likely, though not always, encountered first when you go to rescue Princess Gwaelin, whether or not you realize that’s what you’re doing. He also appear later as an ordinary opponent when you’re much stronger and can hold your own in the game, such as when you’ll be leveling up in the destroyed town of Hauksness. The trick here with the Green Dragon, as a boss battle, is to get him to sleep using your spells and then hack on him. Make sure you have herbs, because you won’t be able to heal yourself enough with your weaker Heal spell. Hack and slash, and you’ll win.
Once I do successfully defeat the green dragon I discover Princess Gwaelin locked up behind a magic door (oh yeah, remember to bring magic keys). Inside she has some encouraging words to say…
…and asks us if we’ll take her back to the castle. Of course, we oblige, which makes her super happy. (And we also get a little musical fanfare to go with it.)
But how do we take her to the castle? Well, by carrying her everywhere of course:
So we take the Princess back to the castle (the hard way, I’m not sure why I didn’t use Outside and Return spells), and of course, everyone is overjoyed (except one guy, as we’ll see later on.) In fact the king has this to say:
Forever shall I be grateful for the gift of my daughter returned to her home, Asher. Accept my thanks.
Now, Gwaelin, come to my side.
Gwaelin then whispers:
Wait a moment, please. I would give a present to Asher. Please accept my love, Asher.
Even when we two are parted by great distances, I shall be with thee.
Then I quit the game for that day, but only seconds later in the video, I’m back into play! Check out Gwaelin next to the King. Pretty cool, and when we talk to her, she has this to say:
I love thee, Asher.
Nice. The other nice thing about Gwaelin’s Love is that it’s an actual item. You can use it anywhere in the game to check one or two things, depending on where you are. If you use it on the world map it’ll tell you how many squares away you are from Tantegel Castle, which becomes important later in the game at one point. The other thing she’ll tell you no matter where you are, and I’m guessing this is like a magical link because she talks to you, is how many experience points you need to get to the next level. This last particular detail I find to be the most useful, and you’ll see me use it in videos from now on while I’m leveling up to see how far I have to go.
A quick talk to the guards in the throne room reveal a bit of new dialogue: “A word of advice. Save thy money for more expensive armor.” Good, already doing that. And, “Listen to what people say. It can be of great help.” Indeed! “Oh brave Asher.” Ooookay. Now it’s time for us to venture further into the Town of Garinham since we have access to magic keys now. However, first, we want to get stocked up on some more magical keys, and luckily we can do that in Tantegel Castle, as long as we have a key to get to the further keys. Unfortunately, they’re more expensive here than they are in Rimuldar, but hey, it works.
On the way we talk to a few more people, including the blue lady near the, what looks like, a fountain. She says, “Thank you for saving the Princess.” Aw, gee, thanks. I decide to talk to a bunch more people, but really, they have nothing new to say, except for the one guard tucked away. He tells us, “Oh, my dearest Gwaelin!. I hate thee, Asher.” Geez, try to do a good deed and this is the jealousy you get?
So we go through the appropriate magic door in the north east part of the castle. We haven’t been here before, so there’s some new people to talk to. The lady outside near the key shop tells us, “When the sun and rain meet, a Rainbow Bridge shall appear. It’s a legend.” Despite this sounding crazy, it’s actually a very important clue, so remember it. Finally, we do purchase a McBoatload of keys at the shop for 85 gold a pop. Like I said, more expensive than Rimuldar, but ah well, much more convenient.
I discover a strange room to the south of the key shop. Those diagonal lines means that the floor there will harm me greatly as compared to normal marsh. The guard in front of the room warns us, “If thy Hit Points are high enough, by all means, enter.” Well, this red guard has probably got something important to say, so I brave the floor to get this little clue: “In Garinham, look for the grave of grain. Thou must push on a wall of darkness there.” This is a very important clue for when we do go to Garinham and use the keys, as you’ll see later in the video.
So we heal up and cross back over to talk to the other red guard at the end of the stalls who says, “I am looking for the castle cellar. I heard it is not easily found.” There’s a cellar? Good to know! The old man exclaims, “Let us wish the warrior well! May the light be thy strength.” Okay, but a clue would’ve been nice. Ah well.
I finally use a key to open that door with all the chests. The man inside tells me, “Never does a brave person steal.” Well, okay, but… ah, what the hell, I take it all! Mwahahahaha. Only, it’s not much, so, I guess I have regrets? Um… let’s go to Garinham!
I stop off and heal, and then it’s up to Garinham to unlock that door and take a look around. Once inside Garinham, I go straight to the door and open it. Inside I find a bit of a well type thing (there’s water?) and some new people. I speak to the first person I see, the old man, and he says, “They say that Erdrick’s armor was hidden long ago.” Ooooh, Erdrick had armor? I need to get my hands on it!
The man by the well tells us, “Once there was a town called Hauksness far to the south, but I do not know if it still exists.” It probably doesn’t, seeing how far the Dragonlord’s reach as become. I talk to the woman, but she’s kind of a crank and antisocial, saying, “I hate people! Go! Leave me!” Why is she here? The green man we usually see as a shopkeeper says, “I suggest making a map if thy path leads into the darkness.” That’s exactly what I’m doing! Yay! I take the treasure chests, but all that are in the chests are a torch, 15 gold, and an herb. The herb is really the most useful item. Let’s see what those two guards are saying behind closed doors shall we?
“I’m too busy. Ask the other guard.”
And, “I’m too busy. Ask the other guard.” Aw, really guys? Really? Ah well.
Finally we get to the meat and potatoes, pushing on the wall of darkness to get to the Grave of Garin. As you see below and in the video, you want to walk upwards about three squares in from the western wall, this will place you outside of the building to the north:
This takes you to a path outside where an old man is standing. Down the stairs is the Grave of Garin, the hero. I explore this cave more fully in the next episode, so I’ll provide maps there. However, in the second/third level I run into a Wraith Knight which is a new enemy we haven’t seen yet. So let’s take a second to expand our bestiary:
Bestiary Part 5 Continued
Avg GOLD: 120
Special Attacks: None
Area: Grave of Garinham, Southern Continent
Description: At the level I was at when I first encountered the Wraith Knight in Garin’s Tomb he defeated me. His attack power is very strong, and he can heal, which really puts a wrench in things. You probably want to put him to Sleep and then pound on him while he’s in that state. Watch your hit points around him, his damage is high.
After I get pummeled by the wraith knight, I decide I need to gain a level or two, but somewhere else. This time I decide to go to one of my favorite leveling areas, south south of Garinham. That is, south of Garinham, over the bridge, and then south again till I’m in front of another bridge. The enemies there are the perfect difficulty as well as give good experience. There are goldmen, skeletons, and such, and actually a new enemy, the wyvern:
Bestiary Part 5 Continued
Avg GOLD: 100
Special Attacks: None
Area: Grave of Garinham, Southern Continent
Description: The wyvern gives just two less experience than the wraith knight, but he’s easier to kill so it’s a win-win! The wyvern is kind of a weird flying legless dragon creature thing, I always thought he was kind of odd. He can’t use any spells, but his attack power is high and he can give out some easily lethal damage. I wouldn’t confront this lady until you’re at least level 12 or 13, but once you do, just take him on, nothing special.
After I’m done fighting the wyverns and such, I go back up to Garinham and try to hawk the Cursed Belt. Like hell I’m putting that puppy on, it’s cursed! If you do put it on you’ll have to get the counsel of the guy in Tantegel Castle I believe that can revere the curse. You can sell the baby though for 150 gold, so I do that. Then, it’s a time to rest to adventure another day…
This post is part of a series known as “Let’s Play Classics” focusing on the Dragon Quest series.
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photo credit: The British Library Image taken from page 75 of ‘Otto of the Silver Hand. Written and illustrated by H. Pyle’ via photopin (license)