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

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Runes of Virtue 2, Day 3

So after I finished the three dungeons mentioned in the last e-mail, I was somewhat at a loss as to what to do next. I knew that the last dungeon, the Stygian Abyss, was in its usual spot. I also knew that Pride was not in its usual place; that is, it fails to not exist in this game. But how to get there?

I've played enough Ultima to know the following statement:

if (there exists a whirlpool && you have a boat && you have nowhere to go)
{
sail into the whirlpool;
}

Sure enough there is a whirlpool. Sailing into it took me where I expected--the city of Cove, which is unreachable through anyother means. Cove is a bit different than I remembered it, as all the townsfolk of the city of Love have been murdered by beasts foul and ferocious. Hacking my way through spiders and skeletons, I found a stairway down which leads to, you guessed it, the dungeon of Pride!

I just took a detour to see if the word "hythloth" had an actual definition. It shows up in the Urban Dictionary (!?) as a synonym for pride, which surprises me, but nowhere else. I guess it's invented. Hyth is a small haven; loth is a variant of loathe. Haven of loathers? Beats me. I am quite certain it is not intended to be the "cave opposite to humility" though, and I think Ultima IV states that explicitly.

Before I go on to pride, I should mention that Lord Quenton of Skara Brae is imprisoned here--somewhat backwards from the usual dungeon/mayor association since he is neither mayor nor from the town of humility. In any case, his kid is obviously a lot younger than in Ultima VI, so I speculate this is something of a prequel. Quenton offers an in-joke, when rescued, saying his experience "will haunt [him] for the rest of [his] days." Ho ho ho.

Anyway, pride is both extremely hard and very silly. I'll highlight things that are hard and then the thing that is silly. First off, the dungeon is HUGE. It's got four tracks you can follow; one for the mayor, and three for other items. I never tried the fourth; the third was the mayor, and my second effort I abandoned. After descending through some unpleasantness, I reached a room full of spinning black saws that do an enormous amount of damage with each hit, and black tiles on the floor, that when crossed, generate more spinny death things. But avoiding those tiles and not dying was hard enough that I gave up; even when I finally made it to the end alive, there were far too many more saws blocking the exit! I failed to note that the increase in saws would cause some clogging in front of the stairs to the next level.

The first track I took was the most interesting that I tried. It also featured an outrageously annoying teleport level, which was composed entirely of tiny rooms with teleport pads. I made a map of these pads (a leads to a; b to b; etc), but got very frustrated when I hit my 26th teleport pair and had to switch to greek letters that I remember from statistics. Eventually I finally won, but it took forever.

Later, I encountered the serious absurdity--a giant level full of trolls playing ping-pong. No, this was not the most insane thing I have ever seen in a video game. That belongs to either the whole premise of Decap Attack (the title is quite literal; your attack involves tossing your own decapitated head) for the Sega Genesis, or the bosses in Monster Party, which include dancing zombies, a kitten, and a large fried shrimp. Yet, ping-pong playing trolls does come pretty close. I was amused that when you killed one troll, the other would continue, and the room would soon have ping pong balls flying all over.

Unfortunately for the player, these ping pong balls freeze you, an you are prone ntil they wear off. Fortunately, you soon thereafter acquire your own magic ping pong paddle,which can be used to open doors and switch levers from a distance, which is cool except that all future puzzles are designed specifically to prevent this. In any case, freezing fast-moving monsters is very helpful. Also, when you open a door without going through, the monsters exist "underneath" the roof, but they cannot exit and attack you, yet you an throw your weapons and kill them from outside. This is very handy for the painful magic-bolt shooting reapers.

The other items in the dungeon were a magic sword and magic armor, both of which I did not go after. It seemed like a lot of work when my paddle + boomerang was extremely potent, and non-range weapons suck in this game generally as too many beasties either move fast or shoot ranged weapons themselves. I also found a whip, which is an OK weapon, but you can't walk away after attacking with it, so it's no good for a attack-dodge-attack strategy.

So from there I freed the mayor, and took him back to Skara Brae, where the game messed up and I was stuck inside the city, unable to leave. Eventually, I manged to rescue the soon-to-be-ghost with his annoying puns, and also leave Skara Brae. I'm unsure what caused the problem.

Next up, the Great Stygian Abyss!

I think i should put up my UW2 screenshots sometime as well, but I have been procrastinating since September; why stop now?

Because it allows me to procrastinate from Ultima IX, of course! :-D

1 comment:

Adam said...

Concerning the source of the word "Hythloth"...

A word for "anti-spirituality" is hard to find. My guess is Garriot went dictionary-delving back in 1984 and found the closest concept he could get was "materialism".

I remember looking this up once, and I managed to find it again: The root "hylic" is an old word referring to matters of a material or corporeal nature.

I would guess that Garriot used this and smudged together a more pleasing sounding name, "loth" being, as you said, an old form of "loathe".