In the real-world timing, I am just about finished with Serpent Isle. I should wrap up the game sometime tomorrow, though I might need to play slightly more than two hours (the Chaos shrine in Skullcrusher is a seriously annoying dungeon--a big empty maze, basically--and the Sunrise Isle quest is not exactly brief...).
First of all, on the day I document here, actually two days, I should mention that I obviously misnumbered things so that these are days7 and 8; somehow, I skipped day 3. I should go back and renumber the old entries. In the end, my whole Serpent isle experience will have taken 17 days, plus two for the Silver Seed. I think theat blows away all previous games in terms of length! in any case, these two days were not very interesting. The first was spent endlessly haggling with mages in Moonshade in an effort to buy up all the available spells. I also performed a few dubious experiments for Gustacio, who has been investigating the teleport storms--his logic was not especially clear, though. I don't understand how I was supposed to tell the "change one thing into another" lightning bolts from the "exchange item" lightning bolts--they effect would appear th same, unless the teleported item happened to be nearby...
Ale the Parrot was transformed back into Edrin, an exchange I think pretty much everyone realized would happen within five minutes of meeting the bird :-P I also did some breif exploration. I enjoyed the fact that a gazer that is in an underground area near the town seems to shoot his paralyze bolts up through a hole in the ground. Similarly, the burned out house of Vasculio was a nice touch. I guess I can simpl narrate my screenshots since I'm unsure what to talk about...
The first shows one of the more amusing though not strictly fun parts of Serpent Isle--organizing all the random crap you pick up so that you can carry it all. I end up with a lot of wands and firedoom staffs (which I never use due to their tendency to kill my companions...especially Boydon), lots of food and spare armor, and approximately 100 million random quest items. Cantra's sword, the necklace Ylinda gave Iolo, etc. There are even useless quest items that do nothing...but we'll get to those in the 2nd half of the game!
The second screenshot shows amusing commentary during Gustacio's experiment, but I already mentioned that. The third is in the cave of the ratmen from day 8, whom I was able to put to sleep using a magic harp provided by Mosh the rat woman, appropriately enough, after i gave her fish. I thought cats liked fish, not rats. This particular area seems to be a throne room, but the king and queen of ratment seem to be dead. I wonder what happened.
The final screenshot is a bit of a prophecy from king Zheklas of the gargoyles whom I met at the end of the 8th day. The adventure in his underground domain will bring on us all one of the most important sentences in all of Ultima. 100 bonus points if you can guess just which sentence that is!
Finally, comment on comments...No, I do not use the HQX or whatever filter on DOSBox, largely because I have no clue what it is. As for performance--I have a 1.2 ghz laptop at present, and DOSBox performs very poorly on Serpent Isle; if I have i use too many cycles, the sound gets unbearably choppy and the game too annoying to play. That's my main concern with Ultima VIII. I am opposed to the idea of a boot disk since I don't want to reboot just to play a game, and I would have to make some kind of boot CD for lack of a floppy drive on the laptop. But we'll cross that bridge when I come to it! I do notice that Serpent Isle generates huge numbers of "illegal read" errors in the DOSBox status window...odd.