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RPG Trek

JCServantJCServant Certified PolygameistRPGamer Staff
edited January 2015 in Square Enix
If you're into retrogaming and RPGs, you may consider joining my brother and I as we trek through Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy! Check out more info at http://jcservant.wordpress.com/rpg-trek/ Our goal is to really dig into our RPG roots, by playing through some of the longest running series out there. This isn't really trying to compete with our very excellent year of forum series we already have going. Chances are, they've already done these games.

This is more for those who couldn't do those... or didn't have a chance (personally, for me, clearing a longer RPG in a month just won't happen). So, with this one, the structure is less formal. (Longer games will take more than a month for us to beat, in all likelihood). For those of you who tear through games quickly, this is something you can do on the side, in addition to other "month of" challenges or games you are already playing.

Anyway, hit the link up for more info, and contact me if you have questions. Expect me to talk about my experiences both on my blog and the RPGBacktrack. WOOT!
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Comments

  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    We (My brother and I) have finished the first game, Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest). I wrote up my insights about our journey here. Have any of you played Dragon Warrior recently to discuss your thoughts? If so, do you have anything you agree or disagree with? Did I miss anything?

    I plan to post things like this as we go on this journey, so I can look back on them later in life and remember important details about this trek we partook of.

    I started playing Dragon Warrior II (Dragon Quest II) just a few days ago. It's nice to have multiple party members! WOOT! More thoughts coming soon!
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2014
    I've been really wanting to get back to DQIII. I might hunt down an NES copy for my RetroN 5 if I can find one reasonably priced.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    I've got one Mac if you wanna rent it, I also have the GBC version
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I'm super looking forward to III, given its reputation. I've heard that many fans of the series consider it the best. By the time I'm done with this trek, I'll know from personal experience :)
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited June 2014
    I always found the first Dragon Quest interesting from a programming point of view. There are a lot of details in this game that are often obfuscated in almost all other games. For instance, the max experience in the game is 65535, which is 2^8-1, or the max value integer in a single byte. At least in the original nes version.

    I hope you like dq2. It gets a bad name for being difficult and not being clear about where to go, but I think its a better game than it gets credit for. 3 and 4 are my favorites in the series, so you have some good ones coming up. Though unlike FF, which everyone can identify ones they love and hate, I love all the DQs, they all are good in their own way.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    I think I hit one of those spots. In trying to find this sunken ship treasure deal, I looked EVERYWHERE. Then I looked at FAQ. Still couldn't find it. Then I did internet search. Finally got some direction (you have to talk to one guy AND answer question in a way that isn't intuitive.) I then found the 'sparkling' part of the ocean which was barely viable. I'm not sure yet whether this is required to get through the game...but if it is, I could see myeslf getting stuck and ragequitting without the official Nintendo Power guide to help me through :P

    But, then again most NES games were like that.

    Yeah, I remember enjoying IV when I played that one back in the early 90s. I was super happy because I beat it... and without a guide (unlike similar games such as zelda, where I used a hint guide or whatnot at some point).
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    If you'd like, I could probably mail you Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart :p

    All in Japanese, of course, but it reuses the entire DQII worldmap for weird reasons.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Wow, hahaahah. I had no idea! Thanks, but I'm just focusing on the core series...for now.

    I'm totally trippin' over the fact that the entire first game's map is a part of this 2nd game. It's done so well... a bit smaller (or zoomed out), but very, very well done. And I loved how I could just go right to the Dragon Lords castle from the original first town...because now I actually have a boat! Hahahaha! Genius!

    So, in summary so far...
    Having to find sunken ship: Bad
    Original world Redux: Awesome

    :D
  • ironmageironmage chaotic neutral observer SaskatoonFull Members
    edited June 2014
    smacd wrote: »
    I always found the first Dragon Quest interesting from a programming point of view. There are a lot of details in this game that are often obfuscated in almost all other games. For instance, the max experience in the game is 65535, which is 2^8-1, or the max value integer in a single byte.

    ...65535 is 2^16-1, which would be the largest *unsigned* integer that can be represented in a *two-byte word*.

    Limits like that appear all over the place in earlier games, from Link carrying a maximum of 255 (2^8-1) Rupees in the NES Legend of Zelda, and the stat cap of 255 in FF6, to the 15-item (2^4-1) limit we've been stuck with since Tales of Phantasia. My pet theory is that they wanted to pack two inventory slots per byte in the SNES cartridge's SRAM, and then kept the limitation for the sake of tradition...


    I haven't played any DQ games myself (aside from an abandoned attempt at playing the original in Japanese), but admit to some curiosity. DQ3 being well received, would that make it a good place to start? What is the platform of choice for playing it? (Keeping in mind that, although my NES probably still works, I'm not inclined to pay $100+ for a cartridge).
    Only the livin' have the privilege of sayin' they'll fight ta the last breath.
    And words like conviction and resolve don't mean much to a dead man...
    --Raven (Tales of Vesperia)
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    The original Dragon Warrior is super cheap, as they made way too many of them. II and III are mid price, hovering around $30, last time I checked.

    All three were re-released on the GBC, and some rebalancing was done, from what I understand, especially on DW1.

    All three were also re-released on SNES, but never made it to the states. If you can read Japanese, these are generally considered the definitive versions to play. If you don't, that may force you to play one of the older versions. Of course, there may or may not be translation patches available for the ROMs that may or may not be available to play via emulation. I may or may not be playing the translated ROM via emulation. (Don't let those screen shots fool you. You know, the ones I posted in my blog with the hero named "phil." I could have just taken those from another website. Yeah! The hero's name is just a coikidink!!)

    I originally played IV on the NES (and beat it...without a hint guide!!) back when it originally came out. However, the DS version is vastly superior, allowing you to control all party members in combat (the original only allowed strategic commands once you got to chapter 5). So, for IV through VI, I plan to go DS versions all the way. I have 7 on PS1, though I hope they release the DS version by then (It came out in JPN), and 8 on PS2 and 9 on DS, of course.

    As far as best place to start, I hear III is the most awesome one, but I don't know for myself yet. I really enjoyed starting at the very beginning. However, I would say that if you're anything like me (which means you're easily frustrated by required hidden garbage to move forward), you're going to want to FAQ the first game, and maybe even the 2nd one (I've had to resort to FAQ for II twice now). Otherwise, I would have got frustrated a lot faster. Which is probably a reason I didn't do these guys back in the early days.

    EDIT: Another benefit for starting from I. The first three form a trilogy. I've derived great joy already from seeing the story references/ties between I and II. Its not required, but it does make things more fun.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    Dragon Warrior Caravan Heart follows one of the characters from DQ7 after he leaves the party.

    The SNES versions of DQ 1 - 3 have fantranslations, as well as Caravan Heart
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Hmm...I might do the spin offs down the road if I hear enough positive buzz about them. Though I got so much in my backlog already, I likely won't get to them. I think I have DQ Monsters Joker something something on a cart somewhere, as well. LOL. I do adore the fan translations. My wife, who speaks Japanese, helped with Bahamut Lagoon's translation (I should get to that one day). Not that I would every advocate playing something you don't own. Nope! EVIL!
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited June 2014
    That's pretty cool JC, I plated that game and although the story isn't the best I really loved the battle system.
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited June 2014
    ironmage wrote: »
    ...65535 is 2^16-1, which would be the largest *unsigned* integer that can be represented in a *two-byte word*.

    Limits like that appear all over the place in earlier games, from Link carrying a maximum of 255 (2^8-1) Rupees in the NES Legend of Zelda, and the stat cap of 255 in FF6, to the 15-item (2^4-1) limit we've been stuck with since Tales of Phantasia. My pet theory is that they wanted to pack two inventory slots per byte in the SNES cartridge's SRAM, and then kept the limitation for the sake of tradition...


    I haven't played any DQ games myself (aside from an abandoned attempt at playing the original in Japanese), but admit to some curiosity. DQ3 being well received, would that make it a good place to start? What is the platform of choice for playing it? (Keeping in mind that, although my NES probably still works, I'm not inclined to pay $100+ for a cartridge).

    Right. 2 bytes not one- its 2^16-1 not 2^8-1. Unsigned is obvious though since you can't have negative experience. My mistake. I haven't had to deal with byte-size code in awhile.

    As for a place to start, DQ3 is a really good game, but given how tight the Erdrick/Loto trilogy is, if you don't plan to play the first two I don't personally think the third one is going to have as much payoff as it would if you did play all three. If you DID play it anyway, I'm told that the GBC version is better than the NES, it was an enhanced port of the SNES remake we never got. I can't verify that though since I've never played the GBC versions.

    However if you don't plan on playing the entire first three games, I'd probably recommend skipping to the second trilogy instead. They form a looser story, and though they follow the same structure in the chronology as the first trilogy, the games can be played in any order really and not lose as much of the impact. I'd recommend trying to track down 4-6 on the DS, since they are still somewhat easy to find.
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2014
    Dragon Warrior Caravan Heart follows one of the characters from DQ7 after he leaves the party.

    Before, actually. Caravan Hearts happens when that character is about 12, so maybe 5 years before DQVII takes place. It's like how the first DQM game stars a younger version of Terry from DQVI.

    Also, I second the recommendation for the GBC version of DQIII. It was very well done, looks nicer, and the whole thing is portable, which I consider a plus. I still have my copy in English over here. I used to use it to wow my students, before my GBA started going wonky.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Quick update...made some quick progress in DWII. Got all three party members and eventually got my ship. I'm taking my time, making sure to do plenty of fighting along the way. Ran across a few metal slime...man...I love metal slime. As I mentioned above, I got frustrated looking for the sunken ship, and I'm not even sure its required, yet. Evil ship. After a lot of searching, part of the issue is that ya have to talk to this one NPC, and answer a yes/no question a right way to trigger the event. The Yes/No question is something along the lines of "have you heard about the sunken ship before," which I have...yet yer supposed to say no, at least according to one forum post. Yeah, I could totally see these old school elements driving my blood pressure up the wall under normal circumstances. I just don't have the time to spend *hours* looking for stuff or running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to figure out some of these archaic clues and mechanics. With that being said, I *am* using an FAQ as needed, so I only occasionally run into issues.

    I can't remember if I wrote about this before, but part of this was investigating the original continent from DW1. You find it right after getting a ship. While a bit smaller (or zoomed out), it's totally done exactly like the first game, minus most of the towns. That definitely made me smile after spending 12 or so hours there in Dragon Warrior. Between this and the story references (of which there have been quite a few), I'm super glad I'm playing this entire trilogy in order.

    I'm in the lighthouse tower dungeon now. Man, this game loves stairs with dead ends and random encounters every 3 steps. I don't recall DQ4 being this convoluted. I'm seriously considering FAQ'ing this dungeon, as well...though I imagine all the dead end roaming might be good grinding. My main hero is lv 14-15... my princess wizard is 10.
  • AncientRuneAncientRune Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    its easier than it looks first floor take the the bottom left stairs then go up the left and down the right of the tower, do not go in the door on the left side of tower
  • RewindRewind Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    JCServant wrote: »
    I'm in the lighthouse tower dungeon now. Man, this game loves stairs with dead ends and random encounters every 3 steps. I don't recall DQ4 being this convoluted. I'm seriously considering FAQ'ing this dungeon, as well...though I imagine all the dead end roaming might be good grinding. My main hero is lv 14-15... my princess wizard is 10.

    Oh if you think you need a FAQ for that dungeon, just wait until the Cave to Rhone. Arguably one of the most difficult and trying dungeons in the series.
    PSN: TLDragoon
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Rewind wrote: »
    Oh if you think you need a FAQ for that dungeon, just wait until the Cave to Rhone. Arguably one of the most difficult and trying dungeons in the series.

    Yeah it was so bad one of the old Nintendo Powers had to put in maps of it into ones of Classified Information sections back in the day.
    sig.gif

    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Wow! Nice!! I'll keep the FAQ nearby. That last dungeon in DW1 seemed rather gnarly, so I can't wait to see that beast.

    Along these lines... Yeah... I thought about putting scores on my write up/reviews of these games as I go through them...but I decided against it. Really, when you think about what it takes to enjoy these games, it really has to do a lot with tastes... such as tolerance for putting up with trying dungeons (or, at least, a willingness to use FAQs a lot), grinding, etc. So, I detail out my experiences in the review, and let others (as well as 'future me') decide whether or not its something they wish to experience based on that, rather than feeling tempted to just go with that number at the end.
  • TexsideTexside Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I've always wanted to play DQI and DQII, and properly experience DQIII. The first two games were seminal games in my childhood; they introduced me to RPGs and were how I really became a gamer in the first place. They held my interest longer than anything else that I had ever played up to that point. I might follow your steps here (and look into those SNES copies), because that does sound fun. They should definitely be played in order. I remember loving it when I was young and saw the links between I and II.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Yeah... jump on board and join us! It would be awesome to have someone else to talk with about this.

    My brother and I spoke on Skype both Friday and Saturday night for a few hours as we played through. So happens to be we're at the same spot! And if you're free during one of those nights and wanna join us on Skype call to chat about DW (or anything elseZ), then that would also be cool.

    Depending on your free time, you might be able to catch up, though that's hardly a requirement. I'm about a dozen hours into DQ2...and it takes a dozen or so to get through DQ1 SNES proper. Since I only get to play about 10 hours/week (and sometimes not even that), it wouldn't be hard for you to catch up.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    JC if you'd not mind another wheel I wouldn't mind discussing on Skype as well. Having played DQ 1 -3 recently (last year or two) I'd love to sit and discuss points and such
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Yeah, sure thing :) If you want to join, you'll want to first add me as a skype friend if you don't already have me there. I'm JCServant7 on skype. I'm on most of the day (text only most weekdays). Just add me as a friend, mention who you are on forums and DQ... and I'll accept your request.

    We're pretty informal, with no real start time. Generally, I get on around 11pm EST / 8pm PST on Friday and/or Saturday nights...though I've gotten on earlier or later sometimes. I rarely miss a weekend night on Skype, but every once in a while, I do.

    There's no real set rules Some may not even be playing the games on the call...just Anime man, just want to talk about this series, or, eventually, other stuff as well. It's just us adventurers hanging out online, lolz!

    Edit: What I'll do is set up a skype group...to make it easy to text and initiate calls to everyone in our little DW group whenever. Fun times! :)
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    It'd be fun if we carried it over to other games too.
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    28 years of gaming and still going strong
    and now a mostly annoyed Father with first son. And now a father again to a second son :D

    Winner of the 2015-2016 Fantasy gaming Pool
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Indeed. Well, convo's can go anywhere, really. If two of y'all start talking about Wow, it's not like I'm going to start yelling "This is about Dragon Warrior only...RAWWWWR!" LOL

    My personal goal will be to get through the Dragon Warrior games, with my brother at least, while talking about them along the way and writing about them. Then, I would go onto other series. Maybe FF, Might & Magic... who knows? Maybe we discuss and choose together! The more people on a game series to talk about it, the more fun it is.
  • TexsideTexside Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    I think I might do just that! It'll have to be after the upcoming weekend, since I got company in town for the fourth (and some of it from across the pond!).
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    boxfront.jpgI'm about 1/3rd of the way through DQII now. Before I dive into my thoughts so far, I'd like to say, I enjoyed our Skype conference last night. Anna, Chris, Rob (AnimeMan) Adrian and I sat around and talked shopped as we played games. I worked on some Final Fantasy XIV (My wife is pulling ahead of me there), while Anime man worked on WoW, Chris played Banish and I forget if Anna was playing anything...however, she kept us VERY entertained with various news and RPG stories. One of the highlights, for me, was listening to Adrian play Xenoblades in the background. I love English accents in my games! I so want to play that just to hear the voice acting over and over! However, even that could not compare to listening to him play Transformers, a tactical RPG for the 3DS. Who knew? I'm sure we'll hear more on a review coming soon. Anyway, bottom line, it was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it again. If you would like to join, shoot me off a skype message as mentioned above.

    Now to talk about those of us on the RPGTrek are currently focused on... Dragon Quest II. (By the way, noticed I changed my avatar? This came from a promotion poster designed by [URL="http://Akira Toriyama"]Akira Toriyama[/URL] . I plan to change my avatar as we advance through each game :) Anyway, what follows are my journeys from this insane quest. While a bit on the spoilry side, I'm presuming I'm safe not to use tags given the age of the game.

    pic01.jpgNow, onto Dragon Quest II. In the early part of the game, you start off playing a hero who is a descendant to the hero in the first game. Set about 100 years in the future, some evil priest dude plans to overrun the world with dark magic, monsters, etc., and our hero must stop it. Fair enough. Similar to the first game, the brief intro leaves much to the imagination. The animation of a monster attack on a castle plays out rather nicely and for its time, must have really delighted RPGamers.

    I received my orders from the king, some beginning equipment and head out. Immediately I noticed a huge difference when a group of enemies attack. Battles no longer limited my foes to the singular... no, now I faced multiple monsters at the same time. This did make leveling a bit easier, so I grabbed a few levels before pressing forward.

    I knew from listening to towns people (and reading the box cover) that I would eventually have more heroes in my party, so I quickly set forth to find them. After running an errand and following a lead or two (which took me to a short dungeon), I finally met a fellow Prince who joined all to eagerly. Without much backstory and a only a few lines of dialogue, I found Kain to be bit of blank slate. With his ability to heal, but limited in armor and weapon capability, I quickly regulated him to the role of Cleric in my mind's eye.


    pic05.jpgI pressed forward, hiking to a distant land, to find my third and final partner. Having cheated just a tad (My zeal to gather my complete party exceeded my patience), I knew she had been turned into a dog. A vague clue or two lead me to a magic mirror in a swamp. Used on the overly affectionate pooch, the facade faded to reveal a wizard princess who looked much more attractive on the box art than her 8-bit art would suggest. She quickly joined our entourage, and for the first time, I felt I had a complete group of adventurers! Only the slaughter of hundreds, nay, thousands of enemies stood between us, and the experience needed to take down this evil leader!

    We quickly pressed forward, and in the interest of time, I shall jump ahead to a bit where we received a ship for exploration and further adventuring. I found myself amazed when, sailing east, I saw the continent from the first game. While it lacked most of the towns and appeared smaller/zoomed out, having just played the first game I quickly recognized its shape and layout. Sailing around the south, I headed to the inlet where the original castle still stood. Across the channel, I could see the castle of the DracoLord, the final enemy from that time. Between that, and the many references to the hero and princess from the first game, I felt immense satisfaction from appreciating the tie in between the two games.

    Curiosity got the better of me, and I sailed across to check out DracoLord's castle. Filled with tough enemies, I grinded there a bit before delving too far deep. Eventually, I met the successor to DracoLord who offered my advice on how to deal with our current foe! Interesting!! He mentioned five seals which needed to be obtained in order to confront the enemy.

    After clearing that castle and discovering the artifact sword that the original hero used (Which I gave to Kain), I sailed south.... More to come soon!
  • RewindRewind Member Full Members
    edited July 2014
    Are you playing the Super Famicom version with a translation patch?
    PSN: TLDragoon
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited July 2014
    Indeed I am.
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