Ophidian Dragon blogs his way through the entire Ultima series, from beginning to end.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Savage Empire, Day 1 & 2

I have played some Savage Empire on and off for the past two days. The game is not as fun as I'd hoped it might be. It's less familiar, so I will quickly describe the premise--Experimenting with some black stones on Earth gets you, a profressor, and this annoying reporter with weird mannerisms from 1935 teleported to the Valley of Eodon, where several random primitive tribes from various parts of the world are hanging out. Your job is to get back home and rescue Aiela, a warrior princess who is supposed to be attractive and would be if it were still 1990.

Anyway, there is more to the plot, but I haven'tgotten that far yet. all the tribes represent an array of cultures, from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and even some Neanderthals and intelligent lizards. The game boils down to solving quests, one per tribe or so, in order to get them to unite to fight the Borg-like Myrmidex species, overgrown ants who attack you randomly as you wander around the world. What is disappointing is that the tribes are not very impressive, and each "village" has about one or two people who are unique; the rest are generic a la Ultima II. Quite a step backwards! Wandering around the cities is amusing--for example, I recovered treasure from the Aztec-derived Nauatla treasure room simply by walkig in and picking it up.

I have been given quests by the tribes, and when I solve them, they agree to unite against the Myrmidex. So far I've put a bell around the neck of a Tyanosaurus for some Three Stooges lookalikes, and stolen a boatload of swords. My current task, which is proving troublesome, is trying to rescue a kid from a mean gorilla on a ledge I cannot get up to. I have attempted to use a vine to climb up, but no luck. There is also a cave door behind a waterfall but again, I can't seem to step into it--even though there is clearly space to walk there. I figured I needed to sail a raft there, but the only rafts seem to be in rather useless locations.

In desperation, I sought another quest, this time from some lizard people. They demanded that I rescue their grove of green fruits from a Tyransaurous who is blocking access and eating everyone who comes near. I found the grove by accident a few minutes earlier, when i explored away from a teleport pad that helps me get around the valley. He is standing on a cliff, directly under a really big boulder. He doesn't move at all, and sure enough, I can go around and climb up to the ledge, and push the boulder off. or in theory. In reality, I don't know how to cause a boulder to fall off the cliff. i tried using the use and move commands, and then tried using a stick to pry it up over the edge a rope to tie around it, all to no avail. Undoubtably this is a puzzle where I'm supposed to have som particular item (rock hammer, maybe?) but I have no idea what it might be.

Thus far the game has not been too inspiring. I have dealt with three of the eleven tribes, and if I can get this rock moving and figure out how to get to the gorilla, that will be five. But I'm not too hopeful. One of the things that stinks about having only one save-game slot is that I can't reload at a point before I came all the way to this boulder, and now I have to walk back. Bah.


Paulon said...

One of the nifty additions to the Ultima series from U6 onwards was how you could chat to your party members. Some of them could give useful information, or tell you how to do things. And, for what it's worth, if you look closely at that waterfall, there's a boulder above it too... ;-)

One of the things I really like about SE was the level of item interactivity. The NPCs were pretty bad in their generic nature, but I don't think any of the subsequent games (unless you include UO with the craft skills built in) can match what you can do with items and the environment in SE.

And yes, those are hints for your problem - which has the same solution for both quests. Though you can ask the generic parrots (not Cleese) about uniting for an amusing suggestion about killing that T-Rex.

Jeff said...

Savage Empire, as I said before I've been messing with it, and it's got a different feel to it than U6. It's a smaller, more modest game in a lot of ways. Plus the night seems to be about twice as long as the day, and every so often I'll be walking along and suddenly a dozen myrmidex appear from nowhere.

Although I counted, the recipe for grenades has twelve steps, and that's pretty convoluted.

Narcisista said...

Talk with you party. Really!!!
The solution to the Barako and Sakkra quest is remarkably similar (and, in the kidnaped girl's case, a bit stupid).

SE was the first Ultima I actually finished. it's very light hearted and fun. I proably replayed almost as much as the Balck Gate.

Julie said...

This is an awesome blog! I made one about Savage Empire, too. www.savageempire.blogspot.com