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

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Runes of Virtue 2, Day 2

It will be awhile before I get Ultima IX done so don't hold your breath. My enthusiasm is so low for it that any excuse I have to not play it I tend to take, lol. In any case, I still need to finish up my discussion of Runes of Virtue 2.

Day two was spent in three more caverns--dishonesty, selfishness, and cowardice. The former is on, as expected, Verity Isle, next to the lyceum, which now has "the orb of the moons" at the top, which has turned essentially into a collection of moongates that send you to the various towns. For what it's worth, Yew also has a moongate that sends you to Moonglow, though I think it's the only town that does. None of the caves had anything in them of any great interest. Well, aside from 1) a boomerang, which turns out to be a pretty powerful weapon, and 2) a snake staff thing that when used summons two snakes that rapidly die. Impressive. There are similar weapons for summoning other mosnters, including cyclops (cyclopses?).

One other random side quest in this game is that I am sent to new Magincia to give a letter to the mayor Anton, warning him about being kidnapped. I am given gold for this effort, though I already have so much gold I have reached the limit of 99 and cannot carry what I am given. Ooops.

They key to Runes of Virtue II is the food; the only bad thing that happens in the dungeons when you have emulation-enabled save feature :-P is that you can run low on health and not quite be able to complete the room; however, if you have a huge number of bowls of soup in you inventory, you can just blithely run through enemies without bothering with the puzzle. But this does not always work; we shall see in Day 3 that there are some areas that are simply so insanely difficult that no amount of eating and saving would get me through, and I simply gave up on them.

The neatest feature about ROV 2 is the ships, I think. You need a boat to get to the various island dungeons, and like the older Ultimas you have to sit around and wait for some pirates to approach you and capture their boat. However, in this game, the battle sequence is much prettier than any of the previous Ultimas, with three types of pirates; some with swords and some with arrows, and on each ship, two that fire cannons at you. The arrow guys are pretty dangerous. Once you have the ship, you can kill monsters on shore or at see with your cannon, like the old games. Pretty cool.

Now I'll make fun of this website.

I choose it simply because of the line:
"Interestingly, the Game Boy versions of both Runes titles support two-player cooperative/competitive play, predating Ultima Online"

First of all, the game would predate Ultima Online whether or not it supported two players. They probably meant "presaging Ultima Online." But that seems pretty silly as well, because if two player cooperative/competitive play was a hint as to the future of gaming, then that old Mario Bros. arcade game was the same way. There's really no relationship at all between the two, and I'd guess that was stuck in the description for the sake of tying it to a popular game.

I also disagree with the site's characterization of the game as combat heavy and light on puzzles. Unlike the early Ultimas (which WERE combat heavy). the ROV games have a lot of very weak monsters, many of which only serve to accentuate the puzzles, which are far more Lolo-esque than anything in Zelda, the NES game that the site compares these to. Additionally, I don't believe rooms reset when they are left; I think that like ROV 1, ROV 2 has a small cache of recently-visited rooms whose contents stay as they were left.

Yes, the last tqo paragraphs were filler because I had so little to say about the game itself, but it's so very similar to ROV 1 that there's just not much to say. The last two dungeons are a bit more interesting, though, so I may be able to work something out of them...

PS: he whorlpool screenshot belongs on the Day3 blog based on my description, but it fit here niely and technically I sailed into it on Day 2...


Tom said...

Yeah, that article is far from well-written, but I think the point of that phrase is that they were the first "multiplayer" Ultima games, not that they were some watershed moment in multiplayer gaming

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