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Game start (Apple II, 1987)
Game start (MS-DOS, 1995)
For comparison: game start of Dragon Quest 1 (NES, 1986).

Town of Helwan[edit]

See also the corresponding text transcript.

You start the game near the city of Helwan. [E]nter the town and [T]alk to the people. In particular, talk to the shopkeepers: first of all, buy the best weapon that your character can wield (see: Shops and equipment), then the best armor you can afford. If you want, you can purchase extra rations. Get your equipment [R]eady.

The inhabitants of Helwan direct you toward your first quest, about a key for the boats. Leave town and start exploring.

Weapons Armor Food
A merchant (Scott) asks: "Do you wish to purchase any of my weapons? (Pst) Everything is on sale."
  • Y: "I am selling the following:"
    • A) Dagger - 20 G
    • B) Axe - 100 G
    • C) Mace - 150 G
A merchant (Renny) asks: "I only sell the basic armor, but it is better than nothing. Interested?"
  • Y: "Which of the following?"
    • A) Leather - 130 G
    • B) Padded - 150 G
    • C) Studded - 190 G
Lance (Dana) asks: "I sell a basket of 100 food for 75 gold. How many baskets?"

Crossing the deserts[edit]

Leave Helwan and start exploring. South-west of the city is a hot desert: as you cross it, your temperature will raise, and you can die of a heat stroke. Stop at an oasis in the south, cool down (just pass some turns until the thermometer goes back to normal), then cross it to the north and follow the north coast.

In the land north of the desert, you can visit the Nomad camp, if you want. The inhabitants offer little advice, and the shops are disproportionately expansive. The nomad camp will be more important later.

Leave the nomads and follow the coast east, then travel all the way north, until you reach the snow lands. Ignore it, and explore around the eastern desert. You will eventually reach a town on the east coast.

Town of Rara Avis[edit]

See also the corresponding text transcript.
  • NOTE: "rara avis" is Latin for "rare/strange bird".

In the town of Rara Avis you can learn more useful information. In particular, the Thieves Guild Shop is a reference to [[Ultima 3].

This early in the game, it is unnecessary to urchase further weapons or armors. The food is cheaper in Helwan. Therefore, the most useful shop right now is the healer.

Weapons Armor Food Healer
A merchant says: "Do you wish to purchase any weapons?"
  • Y: "I have the following:"
    • B) Axe - 75 G
    • D) Bow - 190 G
    • E) Sword - 840 G
A merchant says: "Do you wish to see my armor list?"
  • Y: "Which item will it be?"
    • C) Studded - 210 G
    • D) Scale - 480 G
    • E) Chain - 790 G
Kirt (Kirk) asks: "I sell a packet of 50 food for 43 Gold pieces. How many packets?" "Welcome. I am the healer of Rara Avis. May I be of help?"
  • N: "Sorry I could not be of service. Good luck on your journey."
  • Y: "I will heal you 3 health points for each gold piece paid to me. How much gold?"

Village of Capaal[edit]

See also the corresponding text transcript.

Leave Rara Avis and travel back to the entrance of the snowstorm land. As a man in Rara Avis suggested, get warm before journeying to the north; stay for a while on a desert tile until the thermometer rises near the maximum, then brave the snowstorm. You should be able to reach a passage to the south before you freeze to death.

Back in a temperate zone, travel south-west and enter the village of Capaal. The Thieves Guild is in the north-west of town, past the river. Purchase some "normal" keys, and also a few jail keys.

Weapons Armor Food Thieves Guild
A merchant (Matt) says: "Welcome to my weapon shoppe. My weapons will last a long time. Are you buying today?"
  • Y: "What are your interests?"
    • A) Dagger - 17 G
    • C) Mace - 106 G
    • D) Bow - 194 G
A merchant says: "Welcome to my shoppe. I sell armor of all types. Are you interested?"
  • Y: "Which item will it be?"
    • C) Studded - 213 G
    • D) Scale - 497 G
    • E) Chain - 842 G
Alison says: "Welcome to my shoppe. Do you want to buy some food?"
  • "I sell a basket of 40 food for 30 Gold. How many baskets?"
A thief says: "Welcome to Gary's guild shop. Do you wish to buy K)eys or M)aps?"
  • K: "They cost 8 Gold each. How many do you want?"
  • M: "These maps are good in all towns and outside. They cost 20 Gold each. How many do you want?"

With the keys in your possession, you can open the three locked doors in Capaal. Be careful, because if the people attack you and you fight back, all guards in town will chase you. It is better to run and sacrifice some health, rather than losing everything.

The humble man's information is very important: you have two types of keys right now, but there are more. Remember what you learned in Helwan.

If you purchase some maps, you can start getting some clear orientation about the land of Hera and its cities.

Map of the land of Hera
Map of the village of Capaal

Castle Thierry[edit]

Map of Castle Thierry
See also the corresponding text transcript.

South-east from Capaal, you can find Castle Thierry. It is the castle that you saw across the bay at the beginning of your quest. For every 100 experience points that you earned (or will earn), King Patrick raises your agility by 1 unit. There is a treasury with six chests; use a key and loot it, exit the castle, and repeat at leisure; the guards only react to violence.

King Healer
King Patrick says: "Return when thou art more experienced."
  • "I raise thee [some] agility."
Father Androl says: "Welcome. I am the healer of castle Thierry. May I be of help?"
  • N: "I understand, but you might need my help later on."
  • Y: "I will heal you 3 health points for each gold piece paid to me. How much gold?"

Ruins of Irray[edit]

See also the corresponding text transcript.

You own two types of keys, but none will unlock the harbor door in Helwan. The townfolk suggested to look for an island in a desolate place: they refer to the ruins of Irray, in the southern desert.

When you get to Irray, first of all pay attention to the temperature and avoid a heat stroke. There is a locked door in the north-west. Inside the room, a friendly water spirit will follow you around the ruins. Reach the stranded ships, walk around so that the water spirit is between a boat and the lake water. Board a boat and cross to the islet (it looks like a turtle or tortoise), where you can finally obtain the boat key. You can leave the ruins and repeat for more keys, just in case.

Map of the ruins of Irray. Notice:
 · "JH" near the NE corner, initials of the author Jeff Hendrix;
 · "85" in the SE corner, the year this project started;
 · The island shaped after a turtle or tortoise.
Map of the city of Helwan

Return to the city of Helwan and unlock the harbor door. Get onboard a ship and sail to the islets, where you can get useful advice, then leave from the north canal.