So the next two days of my game playing were not very thrilling, especially the second. They deal with my brief visits to the dungeons of Deceit and Covetous. After my completion of Hythloth, I headed to the dungeon of...Hold the presses. I feel the sudden urge to make fun of stupidity come on!
pride, leading to death by one's own deeds. Also one of the anti-virtues in the world of Ultima
"Hythloth caused many many deaths when Hitler tried to raise up the Nazi's, his master race."
Ohhhhh boy. Even if the writer were correct in the definition, the usage doesn't make much sense.
From Hythloth, I returned to Buccaneer's Den, where Blackthorn captures me and tosses me into a dungeon! Specifically, the dungeon of Deceit. Which, strictly speaking, isn't a jail. Escape involved the use of a phase spider statue, which allos me to enter a parallel universe exactly the same as the present one, but where I can pass through tables, chairs, gates, and other non-door items. Manipulating levers there causes equivalent gates to open in the real world.
I'll just let that paragraph pass without comment, because there's no hope in trying to make any sense of it. Just let it pass, because the rest of Deceit is fairly entertaining, with weird timed-arrow shooting puzzles, some lava draining and filling, and so on. Eventually I met Mariah, though y ou don't seem to be able to avoid her via conversation; instead, i just ran past her. Outside in Moonglow, I am sent on random quests by a wizard who wants me dead, and whose quests are simply wild goose chases. In the last quest he sends me to...a cave where I find the item to control his soul.
OK. Continuing...Another wizard wants Mariah's shield. I go into her house and down to her basement, and flip some switches to retrieve the shield. Mariah appears out of literally nowhere, tells me to watch out for the mage, then vanishes as if she never existed. Trading the shield for the sigil lets me cleanse the shrine, and I'm done! Oh yeah, I made the "Lycaeum," which is now a floating building with a dubious oracle in it, appear. It told me the mantra that I already knew...
Cove...erm, Minoc...uh...Cove...that is, Minove was next. It seems like Minove was the least-thought out portion of the entire game. Blackthorn is in the town hunting for the lenses with which he can view the Codex; when the townsfolk refuse to hand them over, he puts a curse on the town using some really ridiculous magic words (I think "klunk" was one of them), which I assumed to be fake because before he said it, he added "You folk are a supersticious lot..." But it turned out to be real! Ahh. The dungeon on the island was Covetous, where I retrieved a blackrock crystal ball which always tells the future, but which for whatever reason I can't use to, you know, help me in my quest. The dungeon itself was a fairly tiresome one, with multiple levels and some fairly tough monsters (Skeletons that come back to life unless you steal a bone--I had about a dozen skulls in my backpack at the end).
Oh yeah, it had the worst enemy of all--massive numbers of crashes. Maybe every 10 minutes. The experience was so thoroughly miserable that I used a walkthrough to get me through it in as little time as possible. That allowed me to find a powerful bladed staff which actually doesn't seem very tough, and a helm of radiance that there is NO way I would have found on my own! Maybe I'm missing lots of other magic items, too.
That done, I headed back to Britain, hoping to never set foot in Covinoc again. I did learn one random plot detail--Julia, the guardian of the glyph of sacrifice, is in love with me. Poor girl. Is that why she'd always be seriously mad at you when you asked her to leave your party in the previous games? Hmmm...
Moonglow also posed a lot of problems for me--saving my game there and then reloading did not work, so I had to go back into Deceit every time. This was quite frustrating. I also experienced crashes, but switching to emulated Glide let me get through without a problem. I anticipate finishing the game tomorrow, but the blog will continue for a few more days. This is a LONG game and I have spent an enormous amount of time playing it!
One of the troubles of this blog, of course, is that it's so goal centered that I don't feel compelled to spend as much time just exploring and seeing what's around in this or the other games. Actually, I guess I did in the beginning (I remember visiting all the planets of Ultima II), but this late in my effort I am honestly pretty eager to be done! I can't believe it's been a year.
I have written on my hand a note that occurred to me at work yesterday, while writing interrupt routines for some printer firmware and listening to music--The song "Hope Road" by Anne Clark has some cheesy electronic music that for some reason brings to mind the castle music in Ultima III for the NES. My brother played that game for many hours when I was much younger, and listening to the MIDI version of the game music now brings back a lot of memories. Plus, the tune itself is fairly wistful. Which leaves me to think about Ultima music generally. Ultima IX's is very nice; a variety of presentation, with each town involving the melodies of its requisite principles of Truth, Love and Courage...I need to figure out how to extract it. Ultima IV and V have some good songs as well, and I also like the "Bane" theme from Serpent Isle. The most cohesive music is probably in Ultima Underworld II, where there's this attractive recurring theme in all the music, most notably in the haunting tune from the Tombs of Praecor Loth and the one from the ice caverns...
I wish I had a better MIDI synth. In fact, I don't know why it's not possible to just go buy some gigantic wavetable, store it on your hard drive, and then let your PC generate extremely high quality waveform files directly from the MIDI. Or maybe it is easy to do that. Whatever the case, you could end up with some sweet versions of the Ultima music.
Oh yeah, Ultima IX's cutscenes have suddenly quit showing. Not that it's much of a loss.