This section contains tips, tricks, secrets, and answers to common problems and questions about Drakkhen. If there's something you're having trouble with, you might find the solution here. You might also learn a few things you never knew before.
The Glowing Road
Normally, if you were to try crossing the glowing road of arrows in the middle of the Earth Area, you would be greeted by a Dragon King and then pushed backwards out of the road once it's done talking to you. This presents a small problem early on since Princess Hordkha's Castle is on the other side of the road and you can't leave the Earth Area before you must first visit it.
The proper solution to this conundrum is to follow the road going west from Prince Hordkhen's Castle all the way until it forks north slightly and ends at a square surrounded by four arrows. Stepping into the center of the arrows teleports you to a corresponding warp point on the east side of the Earth Area, beyond the glowing road.
What you may not know, however, is that there is more than one way around this obstacle.
The first method is to approach the road, and when you see it, turn around and walk backwards into the road. When you cross over it, a Dragon King will fall out of the sky, talk to you, and push you backwards as usual, but because you're facing backwards, you'll get pushed to the opposite side. Note that you might get caught and have to be pushed backwards more than once to make it all the way across, but you'll eventually get there.
The second method is to walk all the way to the end of the road, north or south, far enough so that you're past the arrows, but not so far that you start leaving the Earth Area. Then just walk across. As long as you don't touch the arrows or exit the area, you should be fine.
Walking backwards can do more for you than just get you across the glowing road. Objects such as trees, stalagmites, building ruins, and cacti cannot normally be passed through. You'll bounce back if you bump into one and be forced to go around it. However, when walking backwards, you will pass through these obstacles as though they don't exist. Yes, it even works with those pesky tombstones that cause the dog heads to pop out when you disturb them.
Just be careful that you don't walk backwards into water because that is the one object that is not a free pass.
The Lively Inn
There's an inn that's not marked on the man where you can always find a merchant who is both selling and buying back goods. It's not on your map because, according to a wandering old man on the road who actually directs you to it, it's a new place.
To find it, take the road going west from Hordkhen's Castle until you come to the first intersection. Then turn south. On the map, it's between the two houses that are closest to Hordkhen's Castle, closer to the second one, but slightly north of it.
It is always a good idea to come here when your inventory is getting full to sell off stuff you don't need and check the merchant's wares for better weapons and armor. Don't forget that you can buy and sell items as well as weapons and armor, too.
Finding & Selling Goods
If you're in need of cash, a good strategy is to enter a castle (just about any of them will do, but Hordkhen's, Haaggkhen's, and Naakhtkha's are best when you're still early in the game), and raid them for all they're worth. Go to every room, picking up as much armor, weapons, and items that you can carry, equip the best stuff to your characters, and then leave. Return to the Lively Inn and sell the wares you don't need to the merchant. And then if you still need more, go ahead and go to a castle again for more stuff to sell. And guess what? It doesn't matter if you go back to the same one because all the items respawn once you leave the castle and return! Don't forget to fight the enemies in the castles for even more goodies, too.
Raiding castles is also a good way to replace armor that you lose in battles. Losing armor is one of the major pains of playing Drakkhen but the fact that you can often find suitable replacements for free eases that pain a little.
If enemies in the castles don't attack right away, try talking to them with the Mouth icon. Sometimes, they will give you extra information. Other enemies won't attack unless you talk to them a few times first. For normal enemies, this doesn't do a whole lot, it's just fun to try. However, for other characters, like the bosses and the Ninth Tear Allies, you often have to talk to them multiple times to progress the game.
Pay attention to the red dots that appear in the backgrounds of the castle rooms. They usually denote a hidden item or a message that you can read. Since Drakkhen is rather light on story, you can get a lot of background information out of reading the paintings, letters, and wall carvings here and there, although some of the messages are more nonsensical than others.
The ANAK shrines are the places to go to heal your party. Even dead characters can be resurrected, and it's totally free! There is one in each area of the world and they look like a white building with a pointed roof on the map. You can also talk to the priest for some more information if you want, but sometimes all you'll get is chanting or "mumbo jumbo" dialogue.
The 6 teleporters that can be found around Drakkhen Island make instant travel from one area to another possible. There are two in the Earth Area, one at each end that make getting around the glowing road easy. There are two in the Water Area, also one at each end, for an alternate method of transporting from Haggkhen's Castle to Haaghkha's Castle without having to trek through the watery middle section of the swamp. There is also a teleporter in the northwest corner of the Air Area that instantly transports you to a teleporter in the southeast corner of the Fire Area, and vice versa.
Be sure to visit the various houses that are scattered around the overworld. (These appear as houses in the Earth and Water Areas, igloos in the Air Area, and tents in the Fire Area.) Sometimes the inhabitants will offer background story information, and sometimes they just tell you to go away, but others have important information that actually tells you what to do in some situations.
Hordkhen's Castle Secret
Several of the game's castles contain secret passages to hidden areas that can be found by activating switches. In Hordkhen's Castle, there's a room with two compass-like patterns on the floor and a pedestal with a skull between them. First step on each floor mark and read the message that pops up. Then touch the skull pedestal and a door to a hidden area will open up elsewhere in the castle.
Hordkhen's Castle contains another secret area. When you find a circular grate in the middle of the floor, walk across it to activate the switch. However, the only thing of interest beyond the secret door is a pentagram floor icon that causes any character who stands on it to regain HP and MP more quickly than usual. Not much to get excited about, really.
Haaggkhen's Castle Secret
When you come to the second large fireplace in Haaggkhen's Castle, step into it to activate a hidden switch. You'll need to find this one to get to the area where the prisoner is held.
Naakhtkha's Castle Secret
In Naakhtkha's Castle, there's a room with two switches on the back wall. The righthand switch opens up a secret door in an earlier room of the castle. You will need to do this in order to find the hidden basement dungeon where Princess Hordkha is being held prisoner.
In case you're wondering, the lefthand switch is to open a door that locks behind you when you enter a certain room, but it's only useful if you split up your party before entering that room.
Haaggkha's Castle Secret
Haaggkha's Castle contains a library room with a book written by Methraton (or Mesrathon as it's sometimes spelled), a wise mage character who is often mentioned in the game, but never seen. There is actually a secret code embedded in the words of the book.
Numbers appear in the passage in the order of Four, Two, and Eight. This will be important later on in the dungeon to find a secret, optional area.
Deep within the dungeon you'll find a room with four switches, each has a number that either doubles when you touch it or changes back to the original number. Writing on the wall also suggests that you should remember the words of Methraton. Change the switches so they number, from left to right, 4, 2, 8, and 1. This is the order the numbers appeared in Methraton's book. Although the book did not come right out and use the number one, the "whole" mentioned in the last sentence can be interpreted as "1".
This will unlock the otherwise unlockable door in the room. In the following room, there is a Giant Dragon enemy that can be beaten if your party is strong enough for a reward of some weapons and armor.
I should also point out that Methraton's message is also seen in the game's opening story sequence, although here the word "all" is used in place of "whole" to represent the number 1.
The very beginning of the game will ask if you want an explanation on how to play it. Whether or not you chose to read it, you can always access it again by using the Controller icon on the menu. Some of the tips are very useful and actually solve some of the most common problems players have with this game.
The Door Icon
Remember that no matter what, you are never truly trapped in a castle. If you find yourself in a bind, use the Door icon to immediately exit. This helps you escape rooms with no exit, bosses you can't beat yet, and even annoying glitches that cause your characters to get stuck (yes, I've had that happen to me). And it saves you from having to retrace your steps all the way to the beginning of the castle when you're ready to leave.
L & R Buttons
When you find yourself facing an enemy that is too powerful to beat at your current levels (and believe me, it will happen quite frequently) tap L & R repeatedly to run from the fight. Every single battle in this game can be run from. (Inside castles, however, you'll have to either move to another room or use the Door icon to leave.) But remember that you do have to fight enemies to gain experience and levels so that you'll be prepared to take on the bosses.
Another important use of L & R is to escape drowning if you should accidentally walk into water. One of the main complaints I see from players about Drakkhen is that if you step into the water, the characters drown and you get a Game Over. But it's really easy to prevent that if you just tap L & R.
Believe it or not, the use of L & R to escape water actually makes it possible to traverse water. If you don't wish to walk all the way around it (especially in the Water Area where the massive amount of swampland makes travel difficult), you can wade into the water, tap L & R to retreat, then hold Up on the controller to move forward a little more. When the characters appear in the water again, tap L & R, and repeat this until you've moved the party all the way across. You'll probably lose some HP in the process, but you can regain it simply by having the party stand still on the overworld or inside a castle.
The Save Icon
Quite frankly, I think the best advice I can give for being successful in Drakkhen is to save, save, and save again. You can only save while your party is on the overworld, but you can save anytime and anywhere you are on the overworld. So, save before entering a castle. Save after leaving a castle. Save after winning good equipment. Save after selling stuff to the merchant. Save before entering a new area. This guards against loss of experience, weapons, armor, items, and progress.
This section is for things that seem like they should have some purpose, but don't appear to, and yet it might be possible that there's something more to it than what meets the eye. Maybe these are things that simply got left out of the final version, or had some purpose in the PC version that got nullified on the Super NES. If anyone has any more information about these mysteries, please send me an email with an explanation.
Excised Coffin Sidequest?
The painting in Prince Hordkhen's room says, "At the cross of the four coffins the total energy will be returned." I'm not really sure what this is referring to, if anything, but it kind of sounds like it's related to the excised Coffin/Spell subquest.
Indeed, there are two coffins beyond Hordkhen's chambers with the messages "The Almighty" and "The Gods". This seems like it was meant to be important, but I haven't been able to figure out any meaning behind all of it.
The Color of Hope?
When you enter one of the early rooms of Prince Haaggkhen's Castle, you'll automatically get a message that reads, "The color of hope is not always the sign of goodness". This could just be mumbo-jumbo, but I don't have any idea what it means. I'm not sure what the "color of hope" even is, and colors do not seem to play much of a role in this game anyway.
The Priests of Stonehenge?
A painting in Haaggkhen's Castle mentions that when priests stand at the center of Stonehenge and chant a spell, something will happen. This definitely describes the scene depicted on the game's title screen and package art, so it might just be a story element. But it's worded in such a way that it also sounds like a clue for something. Maybe this is the reason you have a Priest (or Priestess) for a character in your party - was he (or she) originally supposed to have more function? Could the "spell" spoken of here be related to the excised Coffin/Spell subquest? And what counts as "Stonehenge" in this game? The glowing road? Or maybe those mysterious stars on the ground...