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Dragon Warrior 3
Released in 1991, Dragon Warrior III is the American equivalent of the Japanese game released in 1988 under Dragon Quest III. This is the game that spawned the myth that the Japanese government passed a law forcing DQ games to be released on a weekend so kids wouldn't cut class to go get it. The reality is that they only politely requested Enix to do so. This game is Dragon Warrior to the core, only with a job system! Yay!

 

Run: 5:14:xx by 'Darkwing Duck', done in 12 segments

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Dragon Warrior III was the first game I wanted to speed run when I first came across this site in 2007. Two years later I've finally completed one. Here are some general comments before the individual segments. First, This is significantly slower than the TAS. I cannot avoid battle anywhere except the first little bit of a segment. There is also no way to manipulate poison needles. To survive and kill enemies quickly, I need fast damage. Fighters fit that role. However, I cannot finish the game with three fighters. Healing from someone other than the hero and medical herbs is a must. Stepguard is a must. Thus, since I can level in the Tower of Garuna, turning a fighter into a sage is not out of the way. So that's the party, Three fighters which I turn one into a sage. I also take the full party from the beginning. I don't need much leveling until I get to Dhama anyway and get to metal killing. There was only a few things I took from the TAS, one being using heal to avoid battles, something this run may or not have. These opening comments are before the run is finished. My route is similar, but it was created independently. Anyway, this run could not have happened the way it did without Gamefaqs' user 1whoisnotapart. His bestiary and map distribution charts were nothing less than absolutely essential in developing this run. Onto the segments.

Segment 1:

I gain control getting out of bed. Have to talk to the king to get rid of Mom blocking the way. King gives me gold. 50 gold. You'd think having the great and almighty archfiend as your opponent, the king would provide enough cash to buy more than just a freaking club. Anyway, to solve this, I create two soldiers and along with the default soldier, I sell their equipment at 134 gold a pop which brings me to 452. Add in the sale of the hero's copper sword I'll need 23 gold to afford a chain sickle in Reeve. I drop off the soldiers and pick up my fighters, named appropriately so that I can easily identify them. There's no difference male or female, I just choose to evenly split the party. Plus, if I don't get the full 23 on the way to Reeve, I can sell a set of clothes, and I couldn't consciously sell of the male fighter's clothing.

I end up not having that issue as I run into more than two random battles on the way to Reeve. Note on battles I take full advantage of a bug in the game, fondly known as Parry Fight. You can parry, cancel, select fight and still get half damage that parry grants. Can't do it on the back character since choosing an option will begin the round. Most enemies won't attack the back character, so generally it works out well. I can also Parry Run, which I do quite a bit in the run.

I end up ahead of the game some as I level before I hit Reeve. I need to be at level 4 for the hero at the end of the segment, which is 171 experience points. In fact, I get enough gold so that I can get a couple herbs, including an antidote herb, which ended up letting this run through happen. I buy the Sickle, equip it. I had one failed run where I forgot to equip it. I then head to the forest off to get the thieves' key. Try to ignore the mistake of leaving the forest. I, for some reason, forgot about that screen.

I get into the tower so well off, I considered skipping the inn that was there. Why there's an inn in a tower infested with things trying to kill you, I don't know. "Location, location, location" must have been just a suggestion for the guy. I run into some babbles, which I generally run from, but since I've got one antidote herb, I figure might as well fight. One guy gets poisoned, so the herb came in handy. Pretty uneventful the rest of the way through the tower. Get the key, fall off the edge and head back to Reeve. I fought more enemies than usual so I am able to buy quite a few medical and antidote herbs, more than I usually can afford. I get the magic ball and I'm off to get off the island. I hit a wave of enemies before the cave and level up to 4 before even entering the cave. This proves to be necessary as I hit I believe two enemy groups on the way out, way less than usual. I make it to Romaly unscathed and save. I do not go to the inn for reasons I'll explain in the next segment.

Segment 2:

This is the luck manipulation segment. Initially I grouped this one with the next segment, but the arena wasn't cooperating a lot so I split it once, costing me about half a minute, which really isn't that much.

To explain the segment, the RNG affects things like NPC movement. If I move the same way, the NPCs will move the same way every time I reload the game. The bard in the king's room moves those two steps every time at that time. In this case, the man in the garden on the main floor faces up same time every time. Thus, when I go down to the arena, the battles will be the same every time, so I can repeat the results, as you see me winning every one. Now the real goal is to get the Spiked Hare/Poison Toad/Caterpillar/Magician fight and have something other than the caterpillar win. You'll notice I do a couple odd things. First I cancel the pick, move a space right, bring up the menu, and then buy the ticket. The way I guess is that once you enter the arena floor, or after an arena battle, the next fight is already selected. Clicking on the menu or taking an extra step change up the RNG a bit and the monsters in the arena take different actions. Going straight to the ticket counter and buying a ticket would have the caterpillar win. I was able to produce the same poison toad win in three tries, and you see the third one. At this point, I go to the inn. If I couldn't have found the long odds battle going straight to the arena, I could have stayed at the inn, giving me a new set of battles to try to go through. I never needed to.

Segment 3:

This one ended up quite interesting. First up, you see me pause several steps out of Romaly. This is one of the thing I sort of took from the TAS. On the overworld, the RNG that triggers battle is constantly in motion, so you can wait and skip battles that would occur otherwise. You can also use heal or healing item since that uses the RNG to process how much HP is regained. The RNG is static in dungeons, so healing is the only way to skip battle there. That tile had four Poison Toads that preemptive strike me, so I skip that battle.

This segment is the one where my strategy I'm the least sure of. I can get enough money in the previous segment to get three iron claws, but then I'm even more under leveled in Isis than I already am. I can walk to the Tower of Shanpane to get the 350+ gold on the third floor, but I end up with more than I need fighting enemies on the way. I decide to fight around Kanave to get minimum 811 gold (770 for Iron Claw, 25 for Wing, 16 for inn). I hit 814 a few steps away from daylight, which I like since I don't have to walk all the way over to the inn and backtrack to the weapon shop. I had to run into two caterpillars right at daybreak though. You can't go into town as the day changes or the town will stay at whatever the previous time of day was at.

By the way, I really heart Humanabats and their obsession with the ever so useful Stopspell spell.

I walk to Noaniels so I can use it later as a warp spot. I also do the same with Assaram.

A couple notes on some of the battles down in the Assaram area. The two Wild Ape, one Vampire Cat battle really shows how good AND how bad Vampire Cats are. They also really like Stopspell, but they also do terrible blows. The annoying part is that they occur only 5 or so percent of the time, and I've had them destroy runs before.

Three Wild Apes are incredibly dangerous. I really considered running in the split second I had to decide. My mind flashed "pray for terrific blows" and lo and behold, I get some.

I really screwed up the first four Vampire Cat battle. Yeah, missing the Parry and hitting Run. I at first freaked out since it was wasted time and wasted experience, but I failed to run. Then I freaked out because none of my characters were parried. Then the remaining two cats both parried. Wow. I was really lucky there.

The extra step east cost me that last Flamapede battle that I ran from. That annoyed me. I forgot that I didn't have to stop at the item store and I could have cut out a step in Isis, but not a big deal. I made sure my front character was full on inventory so that I didn't have to transfer over the Meteorite Armband over, using time to do so.

Last thing, the biggest thing about this segment was that I had great level ups for my hero. Now, the only reason they were great level up was that my hero got MP increases of +4, +4, +1. The previous run I had considered taking had level ups of 0, 0, and 0. That was the deal breaker there. Let me explain HP and MP gain quickly. Your HP gain is twice your vitality gain for that level with a standard deviation of 2. Your MP gain is twice your Intelligence gain with a standard deviation of 2. Thus if you gain 3 VIT, you gain 4-8 HP. If you gain 1 INT, you gain 0-4 MP. The hero will gain 1 INT previous much every time he levels up in this segment, getting 4, 4 and 1 was by far the best. This gives me a few more uses of heal for the next segment.

Segment 4:

The pyramid is the toughest part of this segment. I change formation because the front fighter had been unlucky in his level ups to that point and was better served in the three slot. I do it at that exact point since I know when the random battle with the bag and 'pede occurs. I choose to leave the pyramid going up instead of backtracking which is something I never did in my practice segments. I found there are about 50 fewer steps and using the magic key twice doesn't take that much amount of time. I was surprised I was able to fight the Floor 3- 6 enemies, which are stronger, without much more hassle. I fall off the pyramid, warp to Romaly. I had enough healing to avoid Romaly's inn, so I head straight to Portoga. The king is obsessed with pepper, so off I go through the cave near Assaram. In watching the TAS, I'm able to save one step of walking in the cave (yay!) and I head out to Baharata.

I hope to get really lucky with hunter flies as they have a 1/128 shot of dropping a Cloak of Evasion. Alas, no cloaks appear. Avenger Jackals use Surround, so I usually avoid them.

In Baharata, I lose the antidote herbs. I don't need them anymore. I take a slight detour here, heh. I stock up fully on medical herbs with one wing for the cave up ahead.

I actually have to use a good chunk of healing on the way to the cave, but it's not a big deal since I expect to lose most of my MP anyway to Catulas in the cave, which is why I have the full stock of herbs. I don't fight any Catulas on the way down to Kandar, so I have magic, but I'm also one level less than I want to be here.

With me facing Kandar here, let me explain about bosses. First off, yes, Kandar says "it's you again," even though this is the first time seeing him. He's the thief the King of Romaly mentioned when I saved there. You can skip that segment of the game and go straight to Isis. In other versions, Kandar won't appear until you do that quest, but not here.

All bosses (save the first time you face Kandar which I never do) have what is called regeneration. After every round, they recover a hidden amount of HP. The numbers are 25, 50, or 100 (there's a little variance for each amount). Kandar has 50 regen each round. This regeneration is why solo runs of this game are so hard, damage output is really critical in this game.

I'm unlucky a bit in the fight as this is the first time I'd fought him and not gotten a critical hit. But he goes down easy enough and I start heading back out the cave. I need to be at level 12 for the next segment, so I abuse Catula's some. Once I'm out of MP, they'll call for help 50% of the time, so I use this to get to level 12. You can ignore the fact that I didn't know where I was going for a minute. I needed the experience and it's better in the cave. At least that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Segment 5:

I know the next segment is going to take many tries, so I get this part out of the way quickly so I don't have to keep redoing it over and over. Pretty simple and straight forward, although I end up with one fewer herb than I could have had.

Segment 6:

This one is a doozy. My plan is to get to level 20 and have the Book of Satori and the Orochi Sword. The Tower of Garuna is the place to level for two reasons. First, the Book of Satori is there, and I need it anyway. Two, the metal slime encounter rate is the highest here than anywhere in the game. The reason that four of the five enemy types here are interconnected with the lone exception being the Great Beak. Here's how it breaks down. I have a slightly better than an eight percent chance of facing two to three Great Beaks, four Stingwings, or three to seven metal slimes. I have about a six and a half percent chance of facing one Sky Dragon, and I have a twenty-four and a half percent chance of facing two Garudas. Now, there are places where the lone metal slime group encounter rate is higher than the eight percent, but in the tower, metal slimes appear in the multiple enemy group list. Here's how that breaks down. There's an eleven and a half percent chance of one sky dragon plus either Garuda, Stingwing, or Metal Slime. The chances of the second enemy group are equal, 1/3 chance. There's a sixteen percent chance of a Garuda(s) and something else, and eight percent chance of Stingwing and something else, and an eight percent chance of Metal slime and something else. All told, metal slimes occur around thirty percent of all random encounters, which is actually quite high.

Of course, that means there's about seventy percent of the time where there are no metal slimes, and I have to survive to level 20. Two Garudas and one Sky Dragon are run killers here (about an eight and a half percent encounter rate) and fighting them ends up being a little better in the long run than running, though either way is not ideal. Sky Dragons use their breath 50% of the time and Garudas cast Firebane around 30% of the time. Brutal.

I would have liked one more metal kill before being forced to leave the tower, but I didn't get the chance. I head down toward Jipang, stay at the inn, and go off to beat the Orochi. The Orochi has 100 regen per turn, so the critical hit really helps. I end up around 2000 exp away level 20, so I use Outside so I can go through the cave and beat the Orochi again. The game intends you to follow the Orochi, and the Orochi respawns in that location if you use Outside. If I had leveled up before the Orochi, which I was close to doing, than I wouldn't have fought it again. As it was, I was one heal short of what I wanted, but I went after it anyway. Ended up in critical. I cast Outside again (I plan to use this experience well again) and head to the inn. Unfortunately, my fighter at 5HP didn't survive the King Froggore hit. I'll revive him next segment. This segment is a few minutes ahead of any other segment I had, and the thirty seconds it will take to revive the fighter still puts me ahead of any other time I've had.

Segment 7:

Required questing segment. I do three major things here. I get the final key. I get the Staff of Change. I drop the merchant off at New Town. I feel the route is the most optimal. I have to have the final key to get the Staff of Change, so I must get that first.

I start off by doing a little menu work. The hero requires to hold a key anyway for the Navel of the Earth, so I'd be transferring that item anyway. I give the book to the B fighter because that one has the least intelligence, so as a sage, there'll be more intelligence gain, giving me more MP. I make sure the sage will have the Chain Sickle for the little bit of time between the beginning of the segment and buying the Zombie Slasher. Once the class change occurs, I warp to Kanave. The House of Healing there is the closest one to a town entrance, so I revive there. I warp then to Aliahan, sail to Lancel. I do not believe Jipang or Baharata is closer. I buy only one Cloak of Evasion there since I need enough to buy a Zombie Slasher in a bit. I buy the needed invisibility herb and go to Edinbear via Portoga. I have a couple slight controller issues doing the puzzle, but I get the Vase of Drought pretty smoothly.

I warp back to Aliahan as that the closest place to the shrine holding the Final Key. To avoid having to use the time of another return to Aliahan to pick up the merchant, I do so here. While the merchant is in my party, I run from every enemy so that I skip all the superfluous merchant level ups. I get the final key, then go back to Lancel to sail to Tedanki. I just miss going in at night, which is good since I need it to be day. I pick up the needed Lamp of Darkness and use it. I then buy the Zombie Slasher for the Sage and pick up the first of six orbs.

I never did count off which place is closer to New Town, Portoga or Edinbear, but the TAS goes to Edinbear, so so will I. I drop off the merchant, and since I'm so close to the shrine to Samanao, I head there with just the three party members. It's the fastest way. As luck would have it, I hit a full metal slime encounter and kill two. Experience is divided three ways instead of four and my sage gains a couple levels I didn't plan for. I make it to Samanao, warp to Aliahan, rest, pick up my other Fighter and return to Samanao. In retrospect, staying at the Samanao inn may have been faster than the Aliahan inn.

The cave that contains the Mirror of Ra is ridiculously quick if you head straight toward the treasure. Of course I do so and head back to Samanao. Use the inn and make it night and take out the Boss Troll easily.

Segment 8:

This segment's route ended up changing once I found out the island with the Shrine leading to Samanao had a fairly high metal slime encounter rate at night. At night, I have a 20% chance of encountering something metal. This is a little bit less than the top floors of the Tower of Garuda. The first floor of Jipang's cave provides metal slimes at 8% plus the guaranteed 2600 every few minutes with Orochi abuse.

A trial run showed the island was a much faster place to level. The non-metal enemies yield more experience than the other two places without terribly threatening my party. And even with the lower amount of metals per encounter, my kill rate remains about the same. The explanation for this is purely anecdotal.

The script dictates that when the defense of a defender is higher than the attack power of the attacker, there's a fifty/fifty chance of doing one damage or missing. In my experience, against a single enemy, or even a group of two, this is fact the case. What reality really says though, is that this principle only works against the far right metal slime (or metal babble). So if your character targets a slime that isn't the far right slime, unless you crit, you will always miss. When there are two slimes, the characters will generally target the one on the right and ignore the left one. It's a one in six shot if there's three of them, but if you get a slime to 2HP, the AI will target that one for a kill since metal slimes die at 3 or 4 HP.

To summarize, you're rarely going to kill more than two metal slimes in an encounter regardless if you're facing eight or two metal slimes. I think in all my playing of the game over the years, I might have gotten five slimes once in my life. Four slimes is rare but not unheard of. Three is lucky. Two is a little less lucky and you're unlucky if you don't get one.

At any rate, leveling takes about ten minutes less on the island, so you get to see that for a little while. The island is really close to where you exchange the Staff of Change for the Sailor's Thigh Bone, a requirement because that's the trigger for the phantom ship to appear. I also pick up the orb in the pirate's village since it's kind of on the way and that's the only time the pirate's village is anywhere near "kind of on the way."

After I get to around where I want on the leveling, I'm a little low on magic and I have three tasks, one with a nearby inn. I decide to do the phantom ship, since it's fairly quick. I get a little unlucky as I turn into the bay rather than across where the ship ended up being. I get the locket of love with no real issues. I warp to Jipang, stay at the nearby inn and take out the Orochi permanently. I had it's 5200 exp on my mind, so I took that into account when I was metal hunting originally.

I warp to Noaniels and obtain the Sword of Gaia. I lose a couple seconds due to clicking on the wrong character to use the locket of love, than have an all too regular controller spasm the second time. The amount of times I move to use an item and the controller somehow registered two down movements was astonishing.

Segment 9:

This segment is solely for the hardest dungeon in the game, the Necrogond. While it's no Road to Rhone, there are a lot of dangers here. The area has nothing but previously unseen, ramped up enemies that really lay the wood down. First the troll which has a good chunk of HP and hit really hard. Frost clouds use Snowblast, and use it fairly often. Minidemons use blazemore and a small breath attack. Marauders aren't too bad, but numb you and hit twice and annoyingly have just enough HP to avoid being two hit killed. Lionheads use Firebane, but are a relief to see, generally. Dancing Jewels are annoying as hell but thankfully rarely appear. King Totragons have high defense, hit hard and will do a medium breath attack. All these guys rack up the damage but that isn't the biggest run killer. That would be the hologhost. The lovely, lovely hologhost uses instant death spells half the time it acts. Many a run died instantly here.

I pick up two items here. The Thunder Sword takes two steps off the path to get, so that one's a given. I go a screen off the path to get the Swordedge Armor for the hero and it makes a huge difference. I end up leaving the Necrogond with more magic than I would normally have, but I'm not complaining. I pick up the orb and save.

Segment 10:

The stuff leading up to Baramos is easy. Getting the two last orbs are cake which is good since beating Baramos is no easy task. A tidbit of information: Baramos' castle has a halved encounter rate. Normally a good thing, but here's my strategy on Baramos. Hero and two Fighters will always attack. The sage Saps, Bikills Hero and than heals. Here's the problem. The sage learns Bikill naturally at lv. 21. By naturally I mean that's the lowest level the sage can learn it. I'm on level 20 going into the segment. The sage only needs 3600 to level up, but given the halved encounter rate, normally a blessing, oftentimes keeps my sage from leveling up.

Just so happens that no level up happens here. At the end of the segment you should notice that the sage needs 77 to level. 77. Amazing.

Luckily, turns out I didn't need Bikill. Who knew? I sure didn't. I get there, do all my full healing stuff, and go into battle expecting a loss. Where I really get lucky is that Baramos doesn't kill with his Blazemost in the second round. Baramos uses a set attacking pattern. Explodet, than attack in round one, Fire breath (strong), Blazemost in round 2, Limbo and attack in round 3, Explodet and Chaos is round 4 and then the cycle repeats. So long as Chaos and Limbo miss, Rounds 3 and 4 aren't too bad. Once the cycle repeats, I'm dead, so I really need to kill him before his action in round 5. Here's the low down. Baramos has base HP of 900. Enemies in this game have anywhere between 75-100% of its base HP. Baramos is no different, so he has 675-900 HP. He has regeneration each round of 90-109.

I calculate the last hit my fighter does makes the damage right around 800. If the fighter hadn't killed him, explodet and attack would have killed my party.

Anyway. Happiness ensues but the party is crashed by a dude who takes pleasure and making trumpet holding soldiers disappear and the King of Aliahan loses his ability to write things on the Imperial Scrolls of Honor, which is apparently a "power," so the chancellor standing nearby must save my progress.

Segment 11:

This is a straightforward segment. There are technically two optional things I do. First is get the Ball/Sphere of Light. Zoma is beatable without using it, but not with the party I have.

The second optional thing I do is get the Sword of Kings. However, I feel getting the sword is a no brainer not just because of the damage increase, but the use of it as an item. It casts Infermost and a lot of enemies in late game are either completely vulnerable to Infernos or weak to it, not the least of which are Leonas in the Tower of Rubiss. I can one round kill a set of three of them, and the majority of the encounters are going to be three Leonas.

Everything runs fine to Kol. Kol has the one lady walking around the locked door. Boy did I cuss her out several times when she walked in from of the door and began to vegetate. Fortunately, she stays out of the way both times and I'm able to stay at the inn, get the Fairy Flute and buy the sword.

Now the tower. Despite my ability to One round kill Leonas, it's not a guarantee and my characters have sort of an initiative problem. That leads to many Snowstorms in the face and many failed runs. Everything is going pretty well until I start climbing the backside of the tower.

First let me explain diamond tiles. Diamond tiles skew controls 90 degrees. The white, bright side of the diamond is the direction the characters go when you push up on the controller.

An easy concept, right? Well, you see me freeze two steps from the one diamond tile and my brain freezes with it. I could not remember which direction to push nor could I figure it out by looking at the tile. I actually thought in the split second it took me to choose what to do that pushing right was the proper move. No. That sends me up and back down the tower. I didn't reset since I wanted to basically practice and see what the time would be. I head up the tower after that pretty quickly despite me forgetting a floor. I able to use the flute on Rubiss on that tile on the floor (another one-three step saved thanks to the TAS) and I quickly leave the tower and head around the south end of Alefgard to get the Staff of Rain and Rainbow drop.

I get quite lucky on the lack of encounters on the sea here. A good portion of the time three lovely Kragacles appear and tear you apart. They have a 75% chance to hit twice and a 50% chance to strike three times. They have 450 as their base HP, so I really don't like them too much.

With the Rainbow Drop acquired, Zoma's castle is now accessible. I walk up to Rimuldar so I can use return there, and then save.

I end up looking at my time for the segment, and it's 30:13. This is four seconds off the practice run I did and that's the only other time I ever got close to under 31:00. Not only is the segment fast, but my levels are at least one better than the practice run and I believe much farther into the next level than the practice run. All this plus what turns out to be about a forty seconds error at the cost of four seconds. I tried some runs after this run, but either died or couldn't duplicate the time. Segment kept.

Segment 12:

All this segment is about is beating the game. One last stop at an inn and I'm off. Second random gives me three metal babbles. Only time I encountered three metal babbles by themselves was this particular attempt. It's also the first time I defeat a metal babble, and I do so without a critical. Quite surprising. Defeating a metal babble was unnecessary, but it's nice not having to worry about the last strength gain level my fighters will get.

I then have good luck with few encounters to Zoma's castle. Fewest on any attempt, I think. The first level of Zoma's castle is ok. I thought I was one step farther back on the left side of the castle and I take an extra step left I didn't need to. The next part is what accounts to three miniboss fights. All with two Granite Titans. Their dialogue triggers after so many steps in their chamber, so that's the reason for the back and forth.

I don't like Granite Titans. They're mean. Hit hard and will attack twice half the time and critical you a quarter of the time with no regard for party formation. The good thing is that they're weak to sleep. It'll work 70% of the time. The bad thing is that the first battle it misses both. A 9% likelihood. Bah! The good thing is that sleep works on both the Granite Titans the second battle, a 49% likelihood. The bad thing is that both titans acted before my sage. Nyah! The good thing is that the third battle really didn't have a bad thing. As an aside, the reason I parry fight even when both are asleep is that if they wake, they can still use their second attack (50%). You see that happen once, but it attacks my back fighter anyway. Dah!

Second floor is two steps. Hard. Although I have had randoms there before.

Third floor is fun. The floor actually has its encounter rate halved. One couldn't tell since I get into quite a few on this floor. But of course, that's not the main feature of the floor. The diamond tiles are. I do a pretty good job of traversing the tiles. Getting into randoms on diamond tiles makes you stay alert.

I run into the first bout of really bad luck here. The putregons have a 50% of using their stronger breath attack. That's all they use on my in two rounds of failed escapes. Of course my unparried back fighter dies. The good thing is that Vivify only takes twice to work and I spend a lot of HP healing my characters. In comparison to where I should be in order to not run out of magic, I am way behind.

I run into some archmage/other enemy combos at the beginning of the fourth floor. I'm fortunate that they don't spam Explodet and dwindle my low MP even further. I'm then able to traverse half of the floor without an encounter, and then run from the encounter I do get. This lets me make up the MP loss and get back to almost on target.

The fifth floor, I'm able to run a lot. Pretty good luck. Then there's the Ortega battle. So many things wrong with this. First, the battle reverts to a really slow battle speed. Second, this is a speedrun. I want this battle to end as fast as possible. Story wise, this is the hero's father. Basically I want my father to die as fast as possible. Creepy. Third, why doesn't the party, you know, help the dude out? They just sit there and watch him die. Fourth, Ortega refers to the party as "travelers." Yes, travelers are the type of people that would traverse the basement floors of the ultimate archfiend.

Anyway, I make it to the treasure room with no issue. I pick up the World Tree in case I die in the Zoma battle, the Sage's Stone for obvious reasons, and the Wizard's Ring again for obvious reasons. Then I run into the second bout of really bad luck. The Wizard's Ring crumbles after one use. I've NEVER had that happen to me before. I've had it break after a couple uses, but never after one.

This ends up making me change my strategy a bit. I run from the first Swordoid battle, but I need to fight most enemies since battle is the only place I can heal since I need to conserve MP. Fortunately, the last battle before the next floor, where there are no randoms, let's me heal fully. Very fortunate here.

Now the last four battles. King Hydra is easy. Two turns I think. Baramos Bomus is more difficult. Very low hit points, but very high defense. I'm iffy on MP here so I go for just for sap. It fails. A little unlucky, but not terribly so. Thus I sit and wait for a crit while using the Sage's Stone. Not too bad. My HP after the battle is low, but I only heal the back fighter once. This is because Baramos Gonus is very easy. It's slow, and attacks once. Granted, its attack is very hard, but it never crits and I can survive it. I would normally use bikill on the hero, but again, I couldn't heal before battle so I do it in battle.

I need only to heal the sage going into Zoma. I'm at almost full health. To set up for Zoma I do the following. I move the Hero to the back. He can take direct assaults better and may survive a breath and attack. It's also to survive round 1 since the Hero will do nothing. I give the sage's stone to the former back fighter.

Here's the strategy for Zoma. In round one, head fighter uses Sphere of Light. Second Fighter uses Sage's Stone. Sage casts Sap, and the hero parries. I do not attack with the Hero since he probably wouldn't survive the initial Zoma attack and it's worthless anyway since Zoma regenerates 100 HP a turn.

From round two on, the head fighter and hero only attack. The second fighter will use the Sage's Stone and attack only if everyone's HP is at or near max. The sage will use the following pattern, bikill hero, bikill head fighter, healmore on Zoma since he takes damage from healing spells. When Zoma uses freezing waves, sage repeats pattern starting with Sap. Unfortunately, since my MP is low, the Sage cannot afford to use healmore, so I have the Sage attack instead.

A few notes about Zoma. In his normal form, he has max agility, so he'll generally get the first attack. Sometimes my fighters will get lucky and act first. Unfortunately for me, the worst possible scenario happens and the wrong fighter gets to act first. Zoma's normal form is a set pattern. Always maximum breath attack followed by snowstorm. With the scenario I get, I'm attacked with no healing. The good news is that weakened Zoma has pretty poor agility and my fighters should act first, so I expect the Sage's Stone to be used before Zoma attacks. In weakened form, Zoma has eight attacks, each a 1/8 chance of being used. Three of those attacks are the plain ol' physical attack. Two of those are the freeze beam. One is Snowstorm. One is mid range breath attack and the last one is the strongest breath attack.

Once weakened, unless he uses two max breath attacks, Zoma is quite easy. Much easier than Baramos. The Sage's Stone is the difference. With Zoma dead, I go back to Tantagel and end the game.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, this turned out well. The only segments I may not be completely satisfied with strategy wise is Segment 3 and the leveling portion of Segment 4. I can't think of a faster way to get to a point where I can level to 20 in one try to the Tower of Garuna. If one could convince there's a faster way, I'm all ears. Maybe the experience from the first Kandar fight, but it's really out of the way.

This run is faster than the RTA run at Ultima Garden, so take that for whatever it's worth.

I'd say about 75% of the small little mistakes in direction and in the menu are due to my continuous battle with the control. The controller would read my actions so oddly. Nothing I could do about it, really. A new controller wouldn't help. The run was also done on a top loader NES, if that means anything to you.

Hope you enjoy the run.

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