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

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ultima VIII, Day 2

Well, my second day was focused on the necromancers, although for some reason or another, I don't seem to have any screenshots of the necromancers. Maybe they are actually in Day 3? Anyway, this involved two quests. One involved collecting some reagents--Executioner's Hood, which was under a tree near the cemetery (and which is aptly named), and some sticks, which, humorously, only come from one tree off in west tenembrae, and which are called "dead man's elbows" (not so aptly named). The second one was one of the more amusing quests in the game due to its absurdities--Mordea, the Tempest and leader of the city of Tenebrae, stole the ceremonial dagger that is needed to kill of the dying Necromancer. I am unsure why she did this--the net result would ultimately be Lithos, the local titan of the earth, getting annoyed and causing earthquakes and so on. Anyway, she has it hidden in her bedroom. The key to her bedroom is hidden under a pillow, and her servant gave me the key to the chest in her room where the dagger is hidden. Well, I wandered in to fetch the thing while Mordea was asleep, and made the mistake of assuming the chest in question was behind her bed--needless to say, she got upset and killed me. This happened repeatedly, until i broke down and slept so that she'd leave.

And slept.

And slept more.

But she never got out of bed! Then I remembered a notable detail of this game--time doesn't pass until you trade screens. Did I talk about this in the last blog? Anyway I went out and came back in, and indeed, Mordea was awake in her throne room, yapping about the need for more executions. So I just walked past her, into her bedroom, opened her closet, retrieved the dagger, and went and returned it to the Necromancer, and he was kind enough to make me his acolyte. Technically, he was not yet the Necromancer; instead, it was a woman on an altar, who he promptly stabs to death. From there I was sent to the catacombs to meet the previous Necromancers.

And boy did this waste a huge amount of time--nowhere in the game are you told "this is the necromancer's den." Instead, you just have to randomly walk into a room whose floor collapses under you. Of course, it's surprisingly hard to go down holes in this game (this is why I did not get Slayer), and I ultimately had to aim a jump just right to end up falling in the hole. But that is tomorrow! There are also some levers that turn the world upside down. I don't understand what this means, exactly, in terms of the actuall experience of the Avatar, though.

In the meantime, Bentic was executed. Eek. Poor library guy. Devon, the fisherman who rescued me, was also imprisoned. I had a chat with him, and saw Bentic's book hidden in an evidence room in the jail. I need to do something about this, but I was unable to find a way to get into the evidence chamber...

Finally, some comment replies. I agree that the characters are well animated, but they are ugly in the first place, and a smoothly-moving blurry blob is still a blurry blob. I also find the animations pretty annoying, in terms of interaction with the world--it's infuriating when I can't attack a monster because I am busy going through some random animation sequence (or worse, when I am going through the various directions of rotation before I can turn around and run away). Agh. Finally, I would note that it's a bad idea to get too creative about getting places. I have a screenshot here of me hidden underneath the waterfall, because I accidentally fell behind the wall there. I have similar shots in the catacombs and elsewhere, so we'll see more of this.

The day associated with this part was pretty good. Except for the catacombs, which are interesting but which need better directions. Making the map was particularly fun; I haven't ade many maps since Ultima VI or so.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Random question about Ultima VII: Black Gate that I haven't been able to figure out. When, you double click on a bolt of cloth in the game one of your party will say "That appears to be a fine piece of cloth. No doubt it would fetch a fair price in Minoc, or you could cut it up to use as bandages." I thought that when I played as a kid, I could actually sell the cloth in Minoc or somewhere. Now I can't figure out how to, and I'm not sure if I just imagined it, or if it's a bug. Note: I haven't played the original since I was a kid, just Exult. Do you know where to sell cloth?