This is kind of charming, very simple and direct, and free of pointless dialogue. It's almost a bit too simple, I rarely have to make any tactical decisions, and can win most battles just holding the A button down.
I missed the bus from Thomas J's new place, and ended up waiting for 1.5 hours in Aarhus train station. I was playing this game while struggling to keep awake. The game is so slow and simple to play that I enabled fast forward and played the game at 3x speed. I actually fell asleep several times while playing the game. Didn't impact the game a lot.
I tried transferring the save file from the Nostalgia.NES emulator to mednafen, which works without issue (after renaming it to fit the mednafen naming scheme). Save states were not compatible, and looking at the binary files, I can't even see any clear resemblance. Also, I had to figure out that you only save when you go back and talk to the King.
I explored the 'Mountain Cave' and got a couple of items out of it. The NW part of the map is more or less done now. Maybe it's time to go NE.
I have learned a couple of things:
You can fully heal up using the HEAL spell and then ask an old dude to replenish your MP in Tantegel Castle, where you begin the game.
The king in Tantegel Castle saves your game.
Wings transport you back to Tantegel Castle.
Warlocks cast SLEEP, which is very dangerous, but STOPSPELL counters spells for enough time that you can kill them.
Running from fights seem to mostly succeed.
The RADIANT spell generates light in dungeons.
I passed through the Swamp Cave to the east (walking on the left side, avoiding the dragon) and found the town of Rimuldar directly below it. I bought 6 keys there, the maximum number that I could carry, and used one back in Tantegel Castle to open another key shop. I like this key system as a means of gating game progression, very simple and fair.
An old man in Rimuldar told me about the Fairy Flute, and I went to Kol and found it 4 tiles south of the bath. Supposedly, it is like a SLEEP spell, and is supposed to be used on the Golem guarding Cantlin, the southernmost town.
Dragon's Scale boost defense.
Coming back from the Nordic Games Conference in Malmő, Sweden, I played a lot of Dragon Warrior. I killed a dragon and saved the princess, and retrieved the Staff of Rain. I have done an absolutely crazy amount of grinding in 3x emulation speed and is now level 16. This game is *slow*.
I reached Cantlin and used the flute to make the Golem fall asleep. I bought the Flame Sword, but couldn't afford the Silver Shield (14800 G). I entered the ruined town of Hauksness and defeated the Axe Knight, which got me Erdrick's Armor. Next up is Erdrick's Token, which is supposed to be in the swamp all the way south.
I got the Silver Shield and have the HEALMORE spell now. This game is getting pretty easy. Also, I'm very tired and fell asleep several times while playing this game for a while.
I reached the 'Dragonlord--King of Kings', as he denotes himself. He tempted me: 'What sayest thou\? Will the great warrior stand with me\?', and I dutifully answered no. He then proceeded to transform into his dragon form and destroy me, which cost me 10000 gold. I'm not going to need it, but still.
I have played most of this game with the audio turned down to a low volume, because I was a bit annoyed with the overworld theme being a bit out of tune. After listening a bit more, I realized that the music replayer has a neat feature, namely that the dungeon theme is transposed according to which level you're currently on, which is both helpful to avoid getting lost, and sounds great. Also, the sound of your character bumping into the environment is timed to the rhythm of the music (probably because it's being played by the music replayer).
I've switched to playing on 6x speed, making grinding more tolerable. I've reached level 23 and failed the Dragonlord fight twice. More grinding.
completed the game.
Thou hast done well in defeating the Dragonlord.
Another fun music detail: the credits music ends with a C64-style arpeggio, an uncommon technique in Japanese games.