Last Thursday I was home sick. Not really sick, but that Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) showed up on Wednesday and made standing difficult. It made turning my head difficult without room spins.
So I was on the couch, flat on my back, looking at the ceiling, when I got an idea on how to spend the day: I would go on a quest.
Cora brought me my net book and right around 7:30 am I began a fresh game of "Dragon Warrior". I was playing clean. No cheat codes for extra money. No saving the game to try something risky, and then restoring if I failed. This was a race, and the race was on.
"What is 'Dragon Warrior'?" I hear you ask. Well, sit back and listen, if you're so inclined, on jump to "THE CONCLUSION" section below if not.
Dragon Warrior is a game for the old Nintendo NES system that came out in 1998. Revolutionary at the time, it had a battery in the cartridge that allowed you to save up to 3 games, instead of having to write down strings of seemingly random characters as restore points. It's a fairly straight forward adventure game. Fight the monsters, earn gold for better weapons, gain strength through experience, solve the puzzles, rescue the princess, and then defeat the super villain at the end. I bought the game second hand, beat it a few times, enjoyed it greatly, but my NES was replaced by the Sega Genesis, and that was that.
A few years back, I was thinking about DW, found the ROM from a place like THIS, downloaded the Nessie NES emulator HERE, and was back to slaying monsters. I think I burned through the better part of a weekend solving it, shocked both by how much I remembered, but also by how much I forgot. And that lead me to go looking for maps and other reference materials and I found them on THIS WEBSITE. Great resource, but I do have a few disagreements with him on strategies.
Hints, Tips, & Tricks
1 - Offense trumps defense - Starting off, you'll have $120. Spend it wisely. It's more important for you to hit your enemies harder than it is to soften their blows. Spend $60 on the club, and go out and Louisville Slugger some slimes. Run from everything else. DO NOT DIE (see "death tax" below). Return to town. In the lower right side of town is a merchant in a pillbox. Go in and sell him your torch for $4. Now you have the $70 for the fancy leather armor you were eyeing. Now go kill until you die. But you just said...
2 - Death Tax - When your Hit Points (HP) hits 0, you die. When you die, you return to the king where you started, fully recovered. Usually this part is not a big deal, but can be a time suck walking all the way back to where you were when you died. The worst part of death is the taxes. You lose half of your hard earned money. Gone. This really hurts, and can set you back a long way when saving thousands for the magic armor that you want. So don't die. There are two exceptions to that rule. Near the end of the game, after you've bought all the cool kit, money really doesn't matter. Also, the cheapest room at the inn to rest and heal at is $6 so if you have less than $13 it's in your favor to die vs. pay for the room. Save a buck or two whenever you can.
3 - The "Mountain Cave" – This is a good place to visit over and over and over to gain money and experience points (and maybe snag a $1200 Death Necklace). As long as you take a torch with you and load up on healing herbs, first. But once you get 2000 EPs, it's time to move on, thru the swamp, thru the tunnel, and to the lower east side.
4 – Be In The Zone - Most of your fights should result in you killing the monster in 2-3 attacks. Fewer, and you are wasting your time fighting chumps. More and you are wasting time and money running back to the inns to power up and risking death.
5 - Don't Buy - Thee clothes or the bamboo pole. If you follow rule #1, you won't need them anyway. Also, you can skip the full plate armor. At $3000' you are almost half way to the $7700 you need for the magic armor. The small shield is debatable. Usually, you have much more pressing needs for the $90, like the $180 copper sword (offense trumps defense), that buy the time you have the cash to spend, you are eyeballing the large shield for $800.
6 – Buy - The magic armor. Expensive, but every 4 steps you get back on hit point, so you can stay out in the field much longer between trips to the inn. Now, don't waste time in town, walking around for 5 minutes just to power up, but it will really stretch out your trips back. And buy the flame sword if you've got the money, and you should, so why not.
7 – Spells – First and most common – Heal. You will use this hundreds of times throughout the game. Healmore is great. You get it late, but it's fab. Hurt is really only useful for a few levels. Soon you will do as much damage with your weapon, and you can save the magic. Hurtmore is the last and lamest. Do not use this. Either fight or run, but don't waste you magic on this spell.
8 – End Game – It's possible, but unlikely that you will defeat the Dragon Lord while you are on level 19. It's probable but not for sure on level 20. Level 21 and up, is basically for sure.
THE CONCLUSION – I spent all day playing the game. Only a couple of harrowing trips to the bathroom (hey, trying to pee into a moving toilet is harder than it sounds, and sitting may not help much, because you might miss trying to squat and fall butt on the floor) and a couple of untimely deaths (it happens to all of us) and I finished up in 10.5 hours. I could probably make it in 10 if I used my real computer and took a few more chances. Maybe some day.
As for the BPPV? It started to fade around 5:30 or so, and I was pretty much back to "normal" by bed time.