Ophidian Dragon blogs his way through the entire Ultima series, from beginning to end.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Serpent Isle, Day 18

Well, it's time to end the Serpent Isle blog! But I must first acknowledge an error--In the last blog, I described killing off the Trapper, when in fact that happened on this day, as you will note from the screenshot! (Did I mention he oddly killed the remainder of the Gwani but left their bodies just laying around instead of skinning them?) It was the last thing I did before Dupre was sent to sacrifice himself.

Actually, that is a mistaken phrase. In reality, after I finished off the Trapper, Xenka informed me that one of myself or my Companions had to sacrifice him/herself for the greater good. I drew the shortest straw, and so we were all sent to Monitor, where I removed Renfry's ashes from the crematorium machine (Renfry rand the cremation service in Monitor--this was one of the more amusing details of the city's destruction) and pulled the lever, intendeding to hop in. But alas! Dupre felt guilty for all the crimes he had recently committed, and leapt in in place of me. A sad tune plays and you see a nice brass urn roll out from the machine.

So what did Dupre do, anyway? Iolo slaughtered people in Fawn; Shamino blasted them in Moonshade, but it's not clear that Dupre did anything at all, besides sit around the White Dragon Castle and plan for my doom. Anyway, this sacrifice by Dupre fulfilled the crystal ball prophesy in the ice caves of Ultima Underworld II, which I am sad to report I did not get to see due to that game's bugginess :-(

The rest of the game was a whirlwind tour. Xenka immediately sends me off to the Skullcrusher mountains (AGAIN!) to open the Chaos Wall of Lights, and send Dupre's soul into the void so that he can control the Chaos serpent while I go and release the great earth serpent. The more I think about this, the more confusing it is. Why doesn't the Order serpent need anyone to bind to it to control it, or the Earth Serpent for that matter? In any case, this qualifies as the most boring quest in the Ultima series. It entails nothing more than exploring three levels of a gigantic maze in the back of that dungeon (after blowing up some big golden doors). The maze is mostly devoid of anything interesting at all. There are a some rooms, and a few monsters (particularly a dense forest of gremlins that are extremely annoying; I didn't even try to fight them) but no treasure, no books, nothing else. Eventually you reach the Chaos temple area, and if you are lucky, notice a secret door in the back through which you enter and see the Wall of Lights. With the Chaos banes (oh yeah--maybe that's why you need Dupre to undergo this binding; I forgot about that) you send Dupre into the void, and he prevents the Chaos serpent from attacking you.

Side question--where can I download all the ultima voice files? I have a tool that extracts them from Ultima VII, but it doesn't quite work for Serpent Isle, and I am additionally way too lazy to convert the .voc files.

From there I head back through the maze, chat with Xenka, who finally sends me on to Sunrise Isle, a huge dreamland-like "island" which on the map takes the place of where the Eastern Signpost was in Ultima I (creative reference, almost as good as Bulldozer -> Sleeping Bull!) but which gives no evidence of being on the planet at all. Actually, Gwenno did freeze to death there, so maybe that indicates it is in the frozen north somewhere (I gave up trading boots between the Companions and just let her die). Sunrise Isle is largely a series of puzzles--Collect the items that symbolize each virture. Then gather cubes of ice and fire(!!!). The hardest part is the very first one--you have to remove blue and red serpent statues from some pedastals and place them on the scale. The only problem is that the "scale" looks absolutely nothing like a scale I've seen. The only clue that it's supposed to be a scale is a) a chain nearby and b) the complete lack of anything else to do.

In any case, I finally made it to the last chamber, right after I presented the Great Earth Serpent with the serpent crown, staff, and armor, the emblems of the Great Heirophant, which somehow got scattered all over Serpent Isle. As a reward, I was given the Order Serpent Eye, a blue glowing thing. This was good, because I had the Chaos Serpent Eye, and I was certain that the Order one must be around somewhere, but I never saw any mention of it! And the Chaos serpent eye just showed up in the random secret room behind the Great Heirophant's mummy. This was one of the more confusing aspects of the game, I'm afraid. Anyway, from there I took out some servents of the Order serpent (ice elementals), and heard the famous alliterative line, "Slay me! Slay me with the Serpent Sword, and send my soul back into the void!" That sword was the rusty-looking Ophidian sword Xenka gives you, and it's lucky I remembered to keep the damn thing with me.

As a side note, the last time I played this game, I totally forgot to pick up the Chaos blackrock serpent from the slot I dropped it in when I used it to send Dupre in the void, and I was so mad that I broke down and cheated to create a new one. This time, however, I remembered it and finished the game entirely legitimately!

In the void, I see the Serpents all combine with each other in a manner reminding me of the serpents-around-a-staff medical emblem, and then the Guardian snatches me out of the void and drags me to "another world altogether!" Then the game crashed, and I immediately reloaded, played through the last scene again, and finally saw the credits in a relatively anticlimactic manner. I am sad that I didn't get a "You beat Serpent Isle in XXX days!" message, so I'll end this game with a screenshot of a gigantic hand!


cyberninja said...

Yay! Serpent Isle is conquered! Congrats. I never finished that one, it went on forever and I lost interest after I was carrying around some guy's head and got frustrated with all the trinkets I was carrying around, cluttering up my backpack, for fear of dropping anything.

I very much look forward to reading about your adventures in Pagan. Wood + Dirt = Superavatar!

Adam said...

I'm looking forward to your foray into Ultima 9... I'm working with a group trying to revamp the engine, which is buggy as hell.

My advice is, get yourself a 3DFX card on eBay. Playing it with D3D is just asking for a lot of grief. I've heard there's an openGL "emulator" of 3DFX somewhere, may want to check that out if buying an old graphic card isn't something you care to do.

Natreg said...

Congratulations on finishing the game. Looking forward to see your Pagan Playthrough. Sadly there is no Lost Vale expansion :(

I don't think Dupre was supposed to control de Chaos serpent. It was more like he was supposed to become the chaos serpent and so resurrect it. Then of course Dupre stops the Chaos serpent from attacking :)

U7Wizard said...

U7Wizard should be able to extract VOC files from U7 & SI

IIRC, VOC files plays correctly in Winamp so you should be able to use it to reencode into another format

EmEl said...

Wow, you're really getting through these games. I just found this blog (through Blogging DQ), so I'm sure somebody has made this joke already, but I can't wait to see how quickly you blow through Ultima Online!

Claus said...

Grats Phid - I never finished that one. After Dupre is dead, it gets very, very confusing, at least, that is how I remember it, which kind of hold me back from finishing it as I simply didnt know what to do.

The thing with the serpents is something I have never really understood.

So, in theory: You have Order and Chaos, held at bay by the great hierophant.

IIRC, order broke down (pun intended) and wiped out the hierophant and most of chaos.

So chaos should be gone, then why are the companions transformed into chaos banes?

And what happened to order?

And why does the chaos serpent need to be controlled, if it was order which was breaking the balance?

Natreg said...

Claus the thing is that when the order wiped out chaos they somehow destroyed the Chaos Serpent in 3 and imprisoned this 3 parts in soul prisons in the temples. Those are the banes. The ashes and the imprisioned banes are for resurrecting the serpent, not for controlling it.

Claus said...

Ok, so that is what happened.

And with chaos restored, order can be controlled.

Is there anything in the game as of why Order broke the balance?

Claus said...

Didn't Dupre slaughter all the people in Monitor?

Oh, and another thing: So, the Great Earth Serpent was the one guarding Exodus, is that correct? So, since it was away, order and chaos began to fight?

Someone has to write a history of all this, else I will never comprehend it.

Natreg said...

Yes, Exodus took the Earth Serpent from the void and the war started then.

I don't remember if there was anything else... I think someone killed the Balance hierophant or something too...

What I always wondered was what that book in the Isle of Fire said about exodus being controlled by someone else... But oh well, it was just one book in Ultima VII so in the end is not really that important.