Boy do I need to finish this Serpent Isle blog up! No fear, this is the second to last day. With luck I shall begin Ultima VIII this weekend! bets are now open on how long that one will take--my recollection is that the game is not terribly long, but there is a fair amount of tedious stuff you need to do to win. But I only played it once, way back when it was released.
Speaking of first times--The worst game-stopping bug in Serpent Isle, to my mind, is the dream world, where if you die, the stuff you had there vanishes. As a consequence of this, I lost a key that is required to open a door near where Rabinrath lives, and thus could not finish the Dream World quest. That is "old news," but I was vaguely reminded of it on the Isle of Crypts, where I could have spent days wandering around trying to get anywhere had I not broken down and checked a walkthrough, learning that you need the balance blackrock serpent to continue onwards. And, quite frankly, day 17 consisted of "finding a bunch of missing quest items." In order of my acquisitions...
1) Balance serpent
Turns out that this goody is among Silverpate's treasure, Silverpate being a pirate who left a map hidden in the basement of the Sleeping Bull inn. That place has since been destroyed, the only survivor being Wilfred, who will join your party, and then cowardly run away if he gets too hurt. Inexplicably, the Sleeping Bull is loaded with dead guys who look like Brendann from Monitor. More inexplicably, there are "trails" of blood that lead to bodies, but in at least one case, the "trail" leads directly through a wall! Anyway, the basement is as empty as ever, and I eventually found the map, teleported back to Skullcrusher (I must have been there a dozen times now), and went and found the pirate's treasure after getting hit by lightning bolts and picking up lots of those annoying caltrops.
2) Order serpent
Technically, I probably fetched this one on the previous day, when i went to Moonshade, but it's worth mentioning here--I get the key to fetch this Serpent from...erm, that guy...from the dungeon,,,thief who people want dead? This is the blackrock serpent which I picked up in Ultima Underworld II, making Ultima Underworld I the only canonical Ultima game that does NOT get a reference in Serpent Isle. Hmm, actually the Worlds games don't either, do they? Ah well. Serpent Isle is more self-referential than most. Martian Dreams is only mentioned in Underworld II, and Savage Empire in Ultima VII and, obviously, Martian Dreams. This reminds me that I need to post all the UWII screenshots someday...
3) Eye of Chaos
I found this on a gold platform behind the place where the Great Heirophant is laid. Not sure how the hell i was supposed to look there. However, it's clear that when you see a big glowy read thing, you should pick it up.
4) Eye of the Serpent
Not to be confused with the eye of Chaos (or the one of Order!) this bauble is held by an old man in the basement of the Temple of Tolerance; he drops dead on the way out, and it can be used to chat up the Heirophant of Chaos, whose dead body is nearby. This may be the second least useful quest object in the game, the bottom position being a tie between all the random quest-item like junk you can pick up that do nothing!
5) Serpent Crown
6) Serpent Armor
7) Serpent Staff
This was a trio of adventure. The staff required for me to kill the Troll King near the gargoyle city underground. I remember when i first played Serpent isle, I found this staff and had no clue why it was there. I kinda wish the troll would talk to you the way the goblin king did, by the way. From there, I headed north to Fawn, where I discovered nearly everyone is dead except the gatekeeper, who seems unconcerned about eveyone's demise. Ruggs tells me that Mad Iolo (The not-mad-anymore Iolo presumably felt a bit embarrassed about now) came to town and tore the skin off of Yelinda, cut the tongue from fellowship-jabberer Leon, and basically slaghtered everyone else. So I fetched Yelinda at the swamp--still not having figured out how to get to Fawn's Serpent Gate, this proves to be annoying--and once I gave her yet another marginally-useful quest item (a magic brush that the game calls a comb), she sends me to her treasure chamber, which is actually mighty impressive--a firedoom staff, magic sword, magic armor, an infinity bow, and other junk (including the Serpent Armor). Sweet! From there it was south to the forest, where I stopped by a tree and fetched Hawk's treasure, the Serpent Crown, near where I hit up the house of wares with its exploding "glowing box" and the evil pirate. Why did the Avatar not recognize a computer, anyway? Finally I ended things by taking a brief trip to Monitor, noted everyone except Harnna was dead (she had suffered some traumatic brain injuryand did not note the corpses littering the street), and then hit the serpent gate.
Monitor looks good ruined, by the way; I like the smashed walls at the town hall. Why wasn't there more of this? It seems like ruining a town in Serpent Isle basically means trading the chairs for broken chairs, tossing garbage randomly, and making all the fences vanish. Not to say it looks bad, but when I see Monitor, I think the others could have been cooler.
8) Final Serpent Tooth
This is posessed by the trapper, who hacked up (but oddly, did not skin) most of the reamining Gwani. Man, saving the chumps on this island has been such a total waste of time! In any case, I went and found him, he proved to be pretty damned weak, and now he's dead and I have a tooth that will get me to Sunrise Isle, where the game will end. Hooray!
My birthday was last week, just after the Thanksgiving holiday, but I forgot to ask for a copy of Ultima IX, my original CD being lost. I'll pick it up on eBay, I suppose.