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

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ultima IV, Day 9

Well, I finished Ultima IV yesterday, but I won't talk about that here. I played an excessive number of hours--probably like 4 or 5--to get to the end of the game. That's the thing about video games; when you feel close to the conclusion it's hard to quit 9especially on a Sunday...) But for this blog I will talk only about the first half, which was very boring. The first thing I needed to do was recruit Geoffrey and raise his stats, which was accomplished in fairly short order. To my annoyance, Geoffrey can't use any magic weapons so he was stuck with a crossbow. This, despite the fact that he is a fighter, makes Geoffrey among the worst party members, because the magic weapons are so good.

I also discovered to my joy that if all my mystic robes are readied, then I could find another 8 sets of them in Empath Abbey! Moreover, I can go to the shop and sell them all for 4500 gold apiece! With this newfound source of infinite cash, in Buccaneer's Den I outfitted my party with the best ranged weapons they can have: Magic wands for my wizard, bard and druid, magic bows for the ranger, paladin, and tinker, and a crossbow for the fighter. The shepherd was stuck with her stupid sling. Once everyone was fifth level and well outfitted, I made a treck to Paws and bought enough reagents to mix up 99 of the most important spells: cure, heal, dispel, light. As it turned out, camping (which I had forgotten that I could do) obviated the need for Heal, whereas buying 99 torches eliminated the need for Light spells. I also discovered that the abyss had no strange winds, which meant there was no worry for the torch supply. Anyway, mixing up the spells was boring and gave my fingers some repetitive motion fatigue--mixing up 99 Cures, for example, requires 99 repititions of the sequence C-B-C-Return.

After all that, I decided my party could use some better stats, so I headed to Covetous to raise strength and dexterity using orbs hidden in the dungeons. What did I discover? Two things:

1) The orbs in Covetous are a real pain to get to because the Z-Down spell does not work a lot of times, and there are three screens of monsters before you reach it.
2) The orb vanishes after each use so you have to find it multiple times.

I also tried Destard for strength orb-ing, but again I met with failure due simply to the nuisance of getting there and the fact that they can only be used once.

Anyway, at this point my party had such good weapons that most enemies were destroyed simply by standing there and hitting A and up, raining a barrage of magic arrows, crossbow bolts, and wand blasts on the heads of my foes, most of whom died before even reaching me. In Moonglow I took final stock, made sure I had everything I needed, and set sail for the abyss! I also backed up the game files in case things went badly. As it turned out I didn't need to worry.

I will write the second part sometime tonight. I will also create my Ultima V character and try to get to the nearest town, but I am considering yesterday's many hours of play to count for today's.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, in my version, once you touch an orb, it's gone for good! (Unless you start the whole game over with a new character.) This means that, if you are a perfectionist and want to max out all your character's stats, the best best is get them all to 8th level without using ony orbs (LB will raise their stats to a point), and then specifically seeing who still needs to improve what and giving them only those orbs they need to max out.

On the other hand, I found no impediment to finishing the game solo (except for the rooms where hordes of monsters keep putting you to sleep--those were so slow that I had to go do something else for minutes on end waiting for my character to wake up). Then a good strategy might be to max out the stats for the solo character as quickly as possible. Also the best bet seems to be to make a mage, since they can use the wand and also get huge magic points (usually you start out able to cast all the spells in the game, if only you can find the reagents).

Ultimate Carl said...

Eech, mixing all of those reagents sounds like a pain. I do the 99 item/spell/etc stock in a lot of games, too, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious what version Eric was playing that made the orbs disappear for good.

The first computer that I really got into Ultima IV on had a macroable keyboard so mixing reagents was easy. It was awesome.

If I recall Ultima V had the exact opposite problem as Ultima IV you didn't have to type the reagents in a lot you had to type the name of the spell in a lot. That almost annoyed me more...

Unknown said...

Strange which version are you playing? In the dos and sega versions when mixing reagents it asks you 'how many' and you can just input the number 99 right there.

Anonymous said...

The orbs didn't disappear in the C64 version. So you go to Hythloth, let somebody touch the orb, leave the dungeon, enter again, touch the orb, leave, enter, and so on. The only "drawback" was, you needed several ressurect spells, since these orbs drain 800hp. But they give +5 to all three stats. You can repeat that as often as you like and thus get expert characters.

About mixing spells, "How many" was asked in U5 only. Mixing spells in U4 was a pain...but if you used the wrong reagents in U5 and created many of this spell, you lost many many reagents ;-)