Sometimes Blogger annoys me by failing to display the "new post" link when I would like it to, meaning I have to navigate back to the home page and log in through there. Aie yie yie. Is that how that is spelled? On to the gaming...
Today was all about exploration as I tried to hit some of the highlights of Ultima VII's game world. First, let's start with Zac's Island Adventure. Actually, it wasn't much of an adventure, but I did visit about 7 or 8 islands scattered about the coast of Britannia: Near Serpent's Hold, Destard, ad Jhelom. The highlight of the first set was an amusing mountain-top lodge with a pirate and a mage that I killed, plus a cool suspended patio with stairs leading to it. Unfortunately, the barely-hidden bag in the corner contained items that my companions didn't like me stealing. Idiots. The next isle of interest was a small hole in one of those same islands, where you can find a big stack of gold bars and a dead pirate. I blieve this is the same spot you get told about if you whack a parrot on the head. Near Jhelom, the most interesting island is certainly the one which has a hidden passage to a pirate headquarters with some crazy old ship deeds to ships made over 250 years ago. I'm not sure how this compars to dates given in Ultima VI, or if any of the names match up to Ultima V or VI. The final isle of interest contains a very useful item--it is a small shack full of dead chickens just near Destard, and on the ground is a big yellow key that serves as a skeleton key, and it will unlock or lock any pick-able chest! Wow!
Next up was Zac's Dungeon Adventure in the dungeons of Destard and Wrong. Destard, as usual, is packed to the brim with unfriendly dragons, but also has a lot of gold bars and such. Too bad I have plenty of gold bars! The dragons are much easier to kill now, with the black sword and some other powerful weapons, though to my great annoyance the Avatar is never willing to kill anyting; he attacks until the enemy is weakened and then just quits. That gets frustrating. Destard, or near Destard, is also the home of the unicorn Dasher, who I am happy to pet because I am apparently a virgin, as I regained my virginity by stepping through a moongate (having previously somehow lost it in college in spite of my computer engineering major and fascination with old video games). This leads to some unfriendly comments by my Companions...Also in the dungeon is this weird human-gargoyle bonded pair that raised my eyebrows, and a fool who wants to prove his virginity so that a barmaid will marry him.
Of less interest was my trip to Wrong, a series of three jail-themed dyngeons, complete with a wizard, some torture devices, a liche, and a real life guard who will talk to you, but who is killed if you go int combat mode. He called me an idiot for asking his job. :-( The place also has a lot of mid level monsters, and very little in the way of treasure besides a little gold and some potions. I actually got a bit bored wandering around--even the mage and liche have no treasure to speak of when you kill them! Gone are the days when the hardest monsters left the best treasure...Hmm...
In Ultima I harder monsters gave more HP; in II, they gave different magic items. In III and IV they were all the same; in V hard monsters had better stuff, but in VI and beyond few monsters had anything good. So when I say "the days when the hardest monsters left the best treasure" I pretty much mean "Ultima V."
After that (and after a quick trip to the now swamp-infested Stonegate, where I found another Magebane sword) I began Zac's Jungle Adventure and headed to that most famous of locations, the big black X near the desert to the east, where the Guardian intones a mysterious backwards phrase! I remember this fondly, how back in the day I had to use a tape recorder to save the sound, then record it in Windows 3.1's sound tool, then reverse it, then play it back. With DOSBox, it's easy just to save the sound to a WAV and reverse it with my audio program. Still amusing after all these years. Finally, here's the issue of the big box full o'trash that sits atop the X. Inside it is a mysterious key. What does it go to? I knew once...I think it turns out to go to the chest in Serpent's Hold, in the big meeting room, that you cannot seem to open. I might try it out next time and see if my ancient memory is correct. I seem to also recall that chest held nothing useful.
Well, I think the time for ending Ultima VII is fast approaching. I've baked bread, hit most of the dungeons, found a big X, talked to naked beekeepers, and even killed Lord British (and then reloaded). There is plenty more to see and do in this game, but after a month I think it's about time to move on. Perhaps the next blog will take us straight to Buccaneer's Den and then to the end of the game!
PS: I added all the missing screenshots
PPS: Yes, I know British gave me a boat. It's more fun to buy one.