June 21, 2012

[Game 022] Dragon Quest II (NES - 1987) (SNES Remake)

Translation by RPGONE & Evilteam

The second installment of the fantanbulous Dragon Quest series kicks off exactly one century after the last one.  The descendants of the legendary ShenNung from DQ1 have been ruling the various regions during this time but their life of leisure and crapulence is about to come to an end.  It begins in the sleepy castle of Moonbrook, ruled wisely by a beardly king and his charming daughter, Maria.  All of a sudden the castle is being overrun with demons, summoned by the nefarious Hargon.  The bearded one makes haste to hide his precious daughter before being cornered by a couple of demons.  Baring their ichorous fangs, the hellspawn slowly encroach towards the kindly old king, obviously jealous of the rich, fullness of his beard.  Then shit gets real as the king opens a can of whupass and just starts givin' it to the demons.  Unfortunately, a different demon sneaks up behind the king and burns him to a cinder.

The beard survived though.

Princess to be rescued — check.  The last solider, wounded but alive, bravely tries to make his way to Castle Laurasia to warn the king there.  Every step and breath sends agony coursing through his body.  Even from a distance, the soldier can still feel the heat from the inferno that consumes Moonbrook.  His home.  His family.  His entire way of life.  All gone forever.

Hey, at least you still have
your healt... oh right.

Struggling across at least five screens worth, the drained soldier crawls into Laurasia before collapsing at the feet of the castle guards.  He demands to see the king at once and the soldiers carry him to the staircase leading to the king's audience chamber.  Spilling chunks of entrails onto the royal carpet, the soldier is once again forced to crawl as none of the nobles help him out.  He's not even allowed to yell across the room; he has to get within earshot of the king and use his indoor voice.  Of course, after delivering the crucial message, our heroic soldier gives up the ghost and is promptly forgotten by all the nobles.

But not before the king
snatches his wallet.

Prince ShenNung, descendant of ShenNung, is questified to put a stop to Hargon's madness.  He's too much a puss to do it alone so he is sent to seek out two other Nung descendants and put them on the payroll.  Before he can even get out of the castle, however, he is accosted by someone who must be channelling princess Laura from DQ1.

Oh asterisk, I could never
forget whoever you are.

The first companion is a prince located in the northerly castle of Sumaltria.  For now, Shen must face the fearsome beasts of the lands by himself.  What horrible monstrosities await Shen in the untamed wilds?

Battles have become more complex from the one-on-one mode in DQ1.  Multiple enemies can now be fought and often different species of monsters will be found joining forces in their attempts to destroy Nung.  Without any companions or even any innate magical ability, Shen often can have a hard time against a large group of foes.

Arrrgh!  Can't... resist... *gasp*
triple adorableness attack.

The graphics heavily resemble the ones from the first game which is no surprise since both games are on the same cart.  It's so great that the developers kept the all the imagery in the game looking very close to the NES version; they just used the 16-bit power of the SNES to focus and lushify the existing imagery.  Whereas some remakes of games end up "upgrading" the original beyond recognition, the DQ2 remake is still giving me plenty of amps worth of nostalgia despite never having played it before.

Purple is still to be avoided.

Acquiring the second companion leads Shen on a wild goose chase through some castles and caves.  Nothing that Shen's new weapons and levels can't handle though (as well as copious amounts of Medical Herbs).  Prince Kain is not well versed in swordplay but makes up for that by being able to cast magic.  He comes installed with a Heal spell so Shen is overjoyed at not having to carry around piles of Medical Herbs anymore.

Sword fight!  Sword fight!

The next companion, the lovely princess Maria, is a little more difficult to find.  Since her home of Moonbrook was destroyed, she could be anywhere but it's as good a place to start as any.  Some of the poor souls that died here are still wandering about in the form of ghostly flames.  Being dead doesn't stop them from being chatty, though, and soon Shen and the other guy learn that Maria has been turned into a dog.  The curse can only be broken by finding the Mirror of Ra which is hidden in a poisonous swamp (of course).  After that, it's a simple matter of finding the poochy princess and ending that curse.

I hope your old self likes killing.  Lots.

A quick look at Maria's stats shows that she's even more magicky than Kain which probably means she's even worse in melee than he is.  She also starts at level one so there will need to be grinding done before her true potential shows itself.  With the two companions now gathered, the titanic trio can focus on what really matters — stopping Hargon and his evil horde of demons!