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

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ultima VIII, Day 5

I suppose I should take a few moments to specify my blogging goals going forward. Obviously, ultima VIII is nearly done, leaving Ultima IX and ROV2 to play. I tried a little ROV2 today, and I'm betting on < 8 hours of gaming to finish this guy up. Ultima IX will be more difficult, but new copies of the discs are on their way, and I have begun looking into Glide emulators so that I can play Ultima IX without huge numbers of crashes that result from using its normal Direct 3D support. Note that I have really not played games much in the past, oh, six-to-ten years, so I am far from an expert--as I understand it, Ultima IX used Glide, and then Glide died. Way to go guys. According to Random Website, Glide was particularly for Voodoo graphics cards, which I find curious considering a certain other use of "Voodoo" that caused Ultima-related headaches sometime before :-P

I guess I will probably need to be playing on my new desktop instead of my laptop as well...

Back to 1994. My last blog left off with me mastering the extremely easy magic of the Theurgists, and I subsequently decided to go see the sorcerers. I got there and spent a good half hour or so wandering around, trying to find a way over the giant lava river. A note on lava in this game--if you touch it once, you will probably die, because the Avatar just says "Agh!" and does his pain animation, and moves a step back...usually into more lava. So you get him saying "AghAghAghAghAgh" over and over until he's dead; you cannot run away due to the tiresome pain animation needing to run its course. In any case, I eventually gave up and went back into the cave from which I came, a very large cave off of the catacombs, full of water and random zapper traps and a few ghosts. I recalled one other door, and this one led to Carthax Lake, which is the home, sort of, of Hydros aka the Lurker, who controls Tempestry. She lives off of a big white platform with a dolphin on it, and she talked to me briefly, promising that she'd give me Tempestry powers if I freed her. All right! So I did so, and spoke to her again. Turns out I'm an idiot, and she'd rather go kill Devon--"Let's see who can reach Devon first!" Granted, she is (?) the sea, but I bet I reached him first by double clicking on my recall item...Devon was mildly upset, but to my surprise didn't seem to care that I freed hydros, saying that I have an odd luck about me. Then he tells me "Go see the sorcerers" but "Dude, I just CAME from there" is not a response option offered. Incidentally, freeing Hydros causes random fog. So if some of my screenshots seem washed out, that's why.

This whole sequence raised a few questions...
-If Hydros is trapped, in what sense does someone who dies at see "rest with the Lurker?"
-So when i first played Ultima VIII, I thought Hydros was some sea creature, and her tentacles rose from the sea to speak to you. But this time, playing on a gigantic screen, it occurs to me that these might actually be extremely long, thin waves. I propose a vote--is Hydros manifested via tentacles, or long thin waves?

I then continued on to Daemon's Crag, the sorcerer's domain, and home to a huge amount of lava. I chatted with two of them--Bane the Friendly, and Vardion the Jerk. Thinking that these guys are a bunch of liars, after speaking to Bane, I used the "Speak Truth" spell before talking to them, or at least before talking to Vardion. Bane had previously informed me of my and her truenames, and she asked me to help get Vardion's. Ah, what a dilemma! But since the "Speak Truth" spell had no effect, I assumed that Vardion was genuinely concerned about Bane, and therefore gave him her "truename" which he promptly used in order to kill her with a daemon (I guess she didn't have "banish daemon" prepared?)

With her dead, and me surprised, the Sorcerer leader Malichir comes by and tells Vardion to hurry up and train me. I will skip over the training, except to say that sorcerer spells are a pain in the rear to set up, but nowhere near as annoying as before the patch is installed. I had assumed that, much like Necromancy, I would be wandering around with the spell reagents in a container, but since the reagents do not stack, this didn't happen! In any case, with that training done, he sent me off to the Obsidian fortress, which is worthy of a new paragraph.

There are basically 5 things to note about the obsidian fortress:

1. Arcadion, the black sword daemon, is there. He's been trained as a sorcerer, but he doesn't recognize you. Apparently this is him back in the past or something.

2. Much of the rest of the fortress is spent wandering around, collecting pentagram symbols. These symbols are blue, and you should avoid at all costs single-clicking on them, because your game will crash. Apparently someone didn't bother to give them an official name.

3. Flame Sting, a nice weapon which causes bursts of fire when you use it, is hidden, well not so hidden, in the Obsidian Fortress. It's probably my favorite weapon, even though i was also fond of the thunderclap produced by the Slayer mace.

4. At one point, you are attacked by some random children. So this game has at least two cases of kiddy attacks! Wow.

5. Vardion is also a jerk--he never bothered to tell me I need an ignite spell prepared, though he did tell me about the candle I needed. After you pass the Obsidian fortress, you summon Pyros with the assistance of Malichir and some other sorcerers. But since I did not have ignite prepared, I tried to light my candle myself. Silly me! This made Malichir mad, and he began shooting fireballs at me, but I was wise and dodged behind one of the other sorcerers. Thus began a massive sorcerer battle royal, in which everyone summoned daemons and send blasts of fire at everyone else, while I hid myself away. I assumed this was not the way the game was supposed to proceed, and reloaded.

I still was unable to create an ignite spell, because of the paucity of Malichir's reagent selection, but at least P survived this time. Pyros is not as violent sounding as he ought to be; I think the voice is not so great. Afterwards Malichir expresses his irritation wit me via a flame bolt. Jerk!

I quit at that point, having played for more than the usual two hours. The next thing to do was to go speak to Malichir about the tongue of flame, which I need to escape the island...


Anonymous said...

I have never had problems with clicking on the blue Pentagram symbols. They are just labeled as "symbol" or "'name of a spell' symbol".

Adamantyr said...

Also, if you've maxed out your intelligence to 25 by doing the incredibly boring task of reading the same book over and OVER again, you actually hold the circle during the summoning well, and Malchir personally thanks you in a very uncharacteristic way.