Well, this actually covers my gaming from the last three days--but one of those days was shorter, so I am not calling it a "day." As one might expect, playing the game is easier than writing about it, especially for the Underworlds because there are not as many random world details to talk about. However...we can speak of the lack of random world details. Where'd LB's throne go!?
Anyway, on Paulon's reminder, I was able to complete the "secure vault" and get a Vas and a Tym rune, plus a few others I lacked. Now I am only missing Ex. And that rune is very useful, because with it you can cast open, a spell I am in desperate need of due to a seriously tiresome portcullis maze in the tomb of Praecor Loth.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Before I hit that tomb, I went to the Ethereal void and wandered around awhile. The void has, essentially, five distinct sections. The section you enter is this highly random (as a dreaming Blog says, "stochastic") arrangement of platforms and darkness, chock full of gazers, imps and other beasties that do a boatload of damage in one hit (I've had fireballs that did 50+ hit points!!) The other areas are distinguished by color. Here's some thoughts on each:
Yellow: A big annoying maze. Really, really annoying, since there's no automap here (or anywhere else in the void). But fortunately there ar eonly a few floating brains to contend with, and it's easy to finish.
Blue: Here you meet a man who wants some eyeballs, a wisp, and a HUGE number of monsters that fly out of range of your attacks and blast you with distance spells. Agh. There's some treasure, but I died too quickly to get to it. Fortunately, once this is done, there's nothing else.
Purple: This one's a hoot. The first part involves some purple slides, with the final one leading into a frankly rather shocking image of the Guardian's wide-open mouth! From there you hit one of the highlights of the game--A black and white maze full of stick men that brings back memories from 1980 (or last February, for me) and the old Akalabeth. I seem to recall that a powerful weapon of some kind is hidden here, but I don't remember where and I couldn't find it.
Red: This is called the "red hell" and for good reason. It's full of fire elementals and difficult daemons, of a wide array of different varieties. I didn't get too far with my "RUN, RUN, RUN!" method--I leaped over some lava chasms, was teleported to a poisonous swamp, and then to another dark room, where I died of intense poisoning. Lesson: Have magic and the ability to cast cure before coming here again.
At the end of each level, you leap Q-bert like on a pyramid and change it to various colors.
Since I couldn't finish red, I decided to go to the only reamining world instead: The tomb of the kind Praecor Loth. I think the sequence at the end of this part of the game--where you face the three companions of Praceor Loth, the king, and then speak to him and convince him that he is dead and his kingdom is gone--is among the more gripping sequences in the whole Ultima series. I invariably have mixed emotions when I play through that part of the game. SOmetime when the blog is over I'll make a list of all such similar moments that help make the games worth playing.
In any case, I'm not quite to that point yet--I'm just wandering through mazes. On the plus side, I have found a black sword and the sword of stone strike Paulon mentioned in comments to the last post. on the minus side, I don't know where I'm going :-P I think I need to head up to an area marked "EXIT" on the third level of the tomb, but sadly that area is surrounded by flying fireballs. I may go back to Britannia before continuing.
Speaking of which--I just noticed that I have a total of 36 training points. 36! Where did all those come from? I thought you got like one per level. In any case, that emphasizes my need to head back to Britannia--I need to train my attack, defense, and spellcasting. I think it's been dumb of me to ignore spells until now, because some of the monsters really need distance magic; moreover, "open" will do wonders for certain annoying doors...And I have so many random magic items I cannot identify, too!
Allright, enough for one day. I know I am a lazy bum concerning the screenshots. I think when I finish this game (Tomorrow? Monday?) I will start adding a few. I'll probably take a break for awhile before beginning Serpent Isle, by the way. After that, only two games remain in my immense quest!