Divine Beast Cave & Norune Village Walkthrough - Dark Cloud
The first dungeon that you're tasked with exploring in this game is the Divine Beast Cave. Since this is the first dungeon in the game it'll have some tutorials for you every couple of floors but other than that it's a standard dungeon just like the rest. You'll most likely have to leave the dungeon every floor and visit the Mayor in town to get Repair Powder, Bread and Water. He gives you various other items too, all of which are free for the time being.
A tip for you, when you're standing in Norune Village press the Select button to switch to the overhead building view. You can use this to teleport across the large open area instead of running to the Mayor in his house each time. Also, press Triangle to open up the menu and teleport back into the dungeon when you're ready. No point in running to the front entrance each time.
While you are exploring the Divine Beast Cave pay close attention to the format of the dungeon since it'll be the same for most dungeons throughout the entire game. On each floor you'll want to collect all of the Atla available and find the item used to advance to the next floor. In this dungeon the item needed to unlock the door to the next floor is Dran's Crest.
Also, occasionally you will encounter a locked door on a floor in these dungeons. Each dungeon has a specific key that you'll need to use to open this door and the key stays the same on every floor throughout the dungeon. In this dungeon the key that you need is called the Bone Key.
Dran's Crest: Drops from defeating enemies in Divine Beast Cave & needed to advance to the next floor.
Bone Key: Found in Treasure Chests in the Divine Beast Cave & used to unlock a door on that same floor.
Tram Oil: This item is typically found in Treasure Chests and can be used on the Trams to access the Back Floor of the Divine Beast Cave dungeon.
That's most of the basic information I can give you about the Divine Beast Cave dungeon. On B4 you'll get your first Duel event, there isn't much I can say about this event aside from press all of the buttons at the right time when they appear on the screen. There will be a few Duel events throughout the game and depending on how good you are at timing they'll either be easy or hard.
B7 is the next unique floor, this is a Limited Zone which you'll get a lesson about from the Fairy King when you first arrive. Essentially a Limited Zone is a floor that has a unique restriction, this floor reduces Abs instead of grants them. You have a total of 8 floors to explore before you hit your first road block which we'll go over in a little bit.
By the time you make it to Floor 8 you will have collected enough Atla to construct a few buildings in town, the most important ones to build are "My House" and "Gaffer's Buggy". The Gaffer's Buggy is going to be our first vendor in the game and honestly one of the better vendors in the game since his shop carries various weapon upgrade augments that aren't found anywhere else.
Warning! Make sure you place Paige's House in town first. Also have Pike as one of the people at this house, when you finish the Gaffer's Buggy and his store opens you need Pike there for the Event otherwise Gaffer will hurt himself putting up his sign and won't sell as many items. In particular he won't sell Bombs which are the best Throwing Item in the game.
Once you unlock the Gaffer's Buggy vendor you will no longer be able to get free items from the Mayor. This may seem like a big downside but it's really not, with the Odd Gaffer vendor we're able to stock up on as many Repair Powder items as we want which allows us to explore many floors at once instead of having to constantly leave every single floor.
Aside from the Repair Powder I recommend you experiment a bit with the Bombs in this game as they can be quite powerful when you use them correctly. It may also be a good idea to carry around certain things like Soap (Cures Goo Status) and of course Food and Water.
Like I previously stated this vendor also carries various weapon augmentations that you can put into weapons using the "Customize" command in the menu. Every single time you Upgrade a weapon you'll want to make sure that it has augmentations in it otherwise you're wasting an Upgrade.
Toan's House is one of the buildings that's required for story progression, on Floor 8 you will get an Atla called "Stray Cat" that you'll need to put in his house via the Georama Menu. You'll then have to use the Changing Potion that Seda gives to you on Floor 8 of the Divine Beast Cave on the Stray Cat which is upstairs in Toan's House. For a video walkthrough of this part check out my How to get Xiao and past Floor 8 in Divine Beast Cave Youtube Video. This is how you can get past Floor 8 and to Floor 9 of the Divine Beast Cave dungeon.
Before we continue with the rest of the Divine Beast Cave I recommend that you go into the Georama Menu and start putting together houses and placing them in Norune Village. Every time you place a house down (and as you add items to it/complete it) you'll be able to search in and around it for chests. These chests sometimes contain some of the most important items in the entire game such as Gourds which permanently increase your Thirst Meter or Fruit of Eden which permanently increase your health.
I recommend that you take time off from dungeon grinding right now and start placing houses throughout town so that you can collect these chests. Also you should talk to each of the people who live in these houses and ask them how to complete their house. You'll have to talk to the residents in every house to unlock the ? spaces on the Georama Menu.
When you finish adding items to a house you'll get a notification of an "Event" pop up. The next time you visit the house there will be an event with the person who lives here, typically they'll thank you for finishing their house in the way that they wanted. Usually these events will reward you with an additional item, sometimes the items are regular stuff you can buy or find throughout the game and other times they're permanent upgrades like a satchel that increases your carry capacity.
Below are the most important items that you'll want to keep an eye out for in the chests and from the Event rewards.
Fruit of Eden: This item gives you a permanent +10 increase to health and works on every character. Every time you search a town for chests in this game you'll want to keep an eye out for this item.
Gourd: Gourd increases your 'water' slot by 1 allowing you to run around dungeons for longer without having to worry about your Thirst meter. Definitely the least important item of the 4 but that doesn't mean it's useless! I'd say Gourds are great for saving you time and money but they won't make your character any stronger.
Fish Candy: Increases Xiao's Defense Stat by 5 - 7 and is the most important item for Xiao in the game. Defense in this game is extremely important and greatly reduces how much damage you take from enemies. Once you make it to the final dungeon you'll have so much Defense (if you collect and use all of these items) that enemies in the first dungeon will be hitting you in the single digits.
Fluffy Doughnut: Increases Toan's Defense Stat by 5 - 7 and is the most important item for Toan in the game. When you increase your Defense in this game it will drastically reduce how much damage you take, making sure you collect each of these items for your main characters is extremely important.
Paige: She will give you increased carrying capacity once you witness the event. Definitely one of the most important rewards to get
Alnet: From Alnet you'll get the Fishing Rod which may or may not be useless depending on if you want to participate in the Fishing Mini Game.
Hag: When you finish her house she'll give you access to her closet to hold extra items. This is somewhat useful, I recommend you store the book that the Fairy King gave you here along with the Fishing Rod for the time being.
To complete all of the houses and all of the events you will need to finish the entire Divine Beast Cave dungeon. Since we can't complete the town without collecting all of the Atla that obviously comes first. If you struggle with any part of this dungeon I recommend that you use Xiao instead of Toan. Some enemies are significantly easier to defeat when you are using a ranged character (like Dragons, Opar and Rockanoff).
If you find Xiao to be too weak then you'll have to grind on her until you can upgrade her weapon and make it better. You'll quickly learn that a big part of Dark Cloud is repeating floors of the same dungeon to grind Abs for a weapon to make it more powerful. Arguably most of the time you spend playing this game will probably be grinding dungeons for Abs.
Once you've collected all of the Atla it's time to start putting together the village piece by piece. Technically everything is optional except for Dran's Windmill. You'll need to 100% Dran's Windmill then loot the Horned Key from inside of it, this item is what you'll need to open the
Tip: Check inside the Mayor's House after placing Dran's Windmill/collecting all of the Atla. You'll find a Fruit of Eden and a Gourd!
Divine Beast Cave - Divine Beast Dran Boss Strategy
The first boss fight of Dark Cloud will be against Divine Beast Dran, despite this being the first boss he is actually pretty difficult. If you'd like to see a video tutorial of me beating this boss instead of reading a text guide I strongly recommend you check out my Best Way To Beat Dran Youtube Video. Our fight against Dran is going to be a very tactical one and you'll be switching back and forth between Toan and Xiao the entire time.
Essentially how this fight works is each time Dran is flying around the room you'll have to switch to Xiao and shoot him to bring him down to the ground. Once he's on the ground you should switch to Toan and run over to him to hit him. The only attack against Dran that will hurt him is when he is sitting on the ground after you hit him with Xiao; attacking him in the sky does no damage.
I recommend you charge up your attack with Toan to deal as much damage as possible, you can do this by holding down the attack button. Repeat this a dozen or more times and you will defeat Dran. Now that you know how to beat Dran, let's talk about his attacks and mechanics. The worst attack that Dran does is he spits out a Fireball that will destroy the floor where it hits. If you let too many Fireball attacks hit the floor you'll end up making the fight significantly harder since you'll have less room to maneuver.
The only time Dran does his Fireball attack is when he is airborne, this is one of the reasons you want to bring him out of the sky as fast as possible. However, you don't want to get too trigger happy and shoot Dran the moment he takes off otherwise he'll start doing a charge attack instead of immediately landing.
My favorite ways of hitting Dran while he is airborne is to position Xiao so that Dran is flying straight at her or wait until Dran makes a turn in the sky and then take advantage of the brief opportunity. If you try to shoot at him while he is flying and you're not positioned right you'll never hit him since he moves faster than Xiao's bullets.
All in all once you get a solid rhythm down and memorize the correct rotation you should be able to take out this boss without struggling too much. If you find him too hard then my advice is (of course) going to be return to the earlier floors of this dungeon and level up your weapon on Toan a bit more.
Once you defeat Dran there will be a short scene after which you'll get a free piggy back ride out of the dungeon and back to Norune Village. Dran will reward you with the World Map item which not only shows us the entire world of Dark Cloud but also allows us to quickly fast travel from location to location.
Right now you have 2 choices on what to do, you can continue to the next dungeon and town or you can spend a little bit of time fulfilling all of the villager requests and 100% completing Norune Village. The choice is mostly up to you, I personally recommend you 100% Norune Village before moving on since the reward for doing so is Windmill Slash which is a unique skill for Toan.
Either or, whichever you decide follow the links below to be taken to that guide.