Well, Underworld has not disappointed the past two days, and in fact I have mostly finished three levels of the dungeons in that time. Level three was pretty complicated, because there is no initially easy way to get from the stairs to the Lizardmen's domain. I ended up swimming downstream until I found a bridge. Actually, there IS a door, but it involves a button puzzle that also creates skeletons, and I didn't really try it out. Curiously, the Lizardman area is not marked with ankhs for some reason, even though the ghouls are so marked two levels down. Their are three quests to fulfill--one each for the red, green and grey lizardmen. The green guy wanted me to give him enough food (two fish, two pieces of meat, two corns, and a bread) to free a trapped mute wizard named Urgo, and I had to learn the language. The red guy wanted a big ruby for unspecified reasons, whereas the grey one wanted me to swim and retrieve a note from his leader, Ossikka, who had been missing for awhile. This is the point where the denizens of the Abyss begin to seem completely pathetic. The bones of Ossikka were literally about a 15 second swim from the guy who is looking for them! Come on.
The next floor is home to knights and trolls, and I rapidly joined the knight's order down there, while also befriending a bunch of trolls. I was a bit scared of this level, because I had to face off against Rodrick, the Chaos Knight in the northern section. However, the fact is that I had so extensively improved my combat skills that I had little to worry about. I hit him four times, getting a "green" response indicating he wasn't badly hurt, but yet in three more hits he died (one yellow and one red). For my trouble, I got a jeweled sword, as well as a set of unknown magic chain armor from a waterfall area somewhat nearby to the trolls. My weapon collection has not really improved, in other words--I am pretty desperate at this point for that Lore mantra! This level also houses the bullfrog puzzle, which is not much of a puzzle. All I had to do was raise the earth a few levels, and jump through an imaginary wall. This might be tough in concept, but because the illusion-passage shows up on my automap, it was easy to find!
With Rodrick dead and my bard at level 11, I decided to tackle some loose ends on level three, where I killed a handful of brigands, and snatched up a sword shaft. Making a bowl of rotworm stew for a troll was more annoying, because I had discarded the recipe in a mountainman room on level two, which was annoying to go back to (This pales in annoyance to my need to go to level one to get some spider thread, though, as demanded by a ghoul).
Speaking of ghouls...They are demanding. One needs fish. One needs thread. One needs a flute, and I don't know where to find one. I saw one and thought "Don't I need this later on?" and then thought "Well, I can come back for it." Oops. I quit my gaming for the day in the actual crypts of level five, where ghosts haunt.
I do wonder if I am missing some of the game. but I don't think so--I like to have a 100% complete automap, so the only things I might be missing are some secret doors that I don't see. Would the search skill help here? What I need most right now is Lore, because I have collected dozens of scrolls, potions, and wands, with little idea what they do, and they take up so much room that I get a "this is too heavy" message when I try to pick up, say, a scrap of paper! Tomorrow, I intend to wrap up level five and six, before tackling the maze on level seven on thursday and probably finishing the game on the weekend.
WHEN DID IT HAPPEN?
-Judy on level six was engaged to be married to Tom by Cabirus, but she is an old woman now. If we suppose they were both, say, 23, and her current age between 55 and 75, we might suppose Cabirus died and the Abyss colony fell apart, at most, between 30 and 50 years before I arrived. It's much more likely to be less than that, though.
-The ghouls did not exist when Cabirus was arround; they emerged when they had trouble finding food and ate corpses instead. But they don't give a clear idea when it happened, only phrases like "many years."
-Ossikka was gien a note by Cabirus, and Ossikka's bones had evidently been lost for awhile. It's hard to judge this one though--any halfway decent search party would have found his bones in a few minutes. Maybe this was just one lone, obsessed grey Lizardman? Who also couldn't swim? Or even see very far? Anyway, Ossikka must have been dead awhile if the time frames above are plausible, but it does seem he died very soon before the collapse because the note he carried mentioned the need to preserve the alliance of Lizardmen.
My laptop has been giving me trouble with its AC power, and I am worried it will be unable to charge or be plugged in soon, which would sort of bring the blog to a halt. I need to back the games up on a different machine, though all the others are much slower and might have trouble with DOSBox.