Turn-based intensity (probably has major DQ8 spoilers, so don't read unless you don't care)
December 09, 2005

I remember back in the day when Square started doing that active-time battle thing in their Final Fantasy games, people were all like, "Ooohhhh, this is so great. Battles are intense now, unlike those old-school ones where you could put down the control, make a sandwich and come back (never mind that you could usually PAUSE the game in the middle of a battle, sometimes by doing no more than accessing a menu).

I always thought that reasoning was stupid and last night proved it to me.

Abou 54-55 hours into Dragon Quest VIII, I finally got my hands on Dhoulmagus (evil jester that causes all sorts of trouble). His first form was fairly run-of-the-mill, although with a neat twist on the "enemy clones himself" battle (you know which one is real......but the clones have so few HP they can be killed in 2-3 turns, so you have the option to concentrate on the real one and get pounded by all three over a long battle ---- or take out the clones one-by-one, leaving the main guy standing for longer, but eventually fighting a 4-on-1 battle in your favor).

But, the second fight with him was just insane. He attacked twice a round and some of those attacks were enough to make me cringe. For most of the battle, it was all I could do to keep my four characters alive......for the final turns, my hero was stuck trying to resurrect dead characters and heal living ones, Yangus was attacking during turns he was alive, Angelo was dead and Jessica was hitting him with her one fire attack that was causing 60ish HP damage a round.

I didn't know if I could win that fight. My hero was just about out of magic when I struck the killing blow, so my guess was I had about 5-6 more turns of anyone being alive (at most) when I won.

That battle's up there in the top handful of RPG fights I've ever been in as far as intensity......and, by my estimation, I can't be more than 60% of the way through the game.......so, damn, how will the game top that one?

Oh, and as a sidenote, I was pleased (I guess) to find out that, as per the old-school Dragon Quest/Warrior norm, this game gets very vast when you get your ship. It took me something like 6-8 hours of play to actually get to my next in-story destination after getting that thing. I just knew it was in the western continent. But first, I had to slowly figure out what part of that place.....and then how to get there. That set me a bit behind as far as my time schedule in beating this game.

Most recent blog posts from Rob Hamilton...

joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - December 09, 2005 (06:39 PM)
Ah, the old "two moves in one turn" trick; I remember when Necrosaro pulled that in DW4. By the way, how do you dock your ship in Dragon Quest 8?
overdrive overdrive - December 10, 2005 (04:06 PM)
All you have to do is sail close to land that is low enough to disembark (ie: not a mountain range) and hit "x" to get a prompt to get off.

The load times for getting on and off ships are the worst in the game, though......makes me GLAD to be able to use "zoom" (this game's equal to "return") as much as possible....and only sailing to get to places for the first time (or places with nowhere to "zoom" to).

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