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

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Ultima Underworld, Day 7

First, to deal with some comments:

1. Someone might ask, and I will admit it now--yesterday's screenshots were irrelevent to the content of the post. Most were just amusing things I saw, such as multicolored ghosts, a spectre named Warren, and a talking door.

2. Concerning Ultima VIII: I will be using the same software/hardware for it as every other Ultima game, namely DOSBox on my HP Pavillion laptop. I play in a window and leave a page of notes open on the left.

3. Someone on Facebook mentioned Ultima VIII as being their favorite of all the games. That made me feel sad.

4. Concerning skulls on tombstones--the gargoyles had them, but so did some other people it seemed.

5. Someone mentioned being unable to play heir Zelda games due to the graphics. This seems odd to me--I just played Zelda II a few months ago. I'm also fond of a similar game, Battle of Olympus. I almost exclusively pay retro games, to be honest. I've played only a very few games (Half-Life, Age of Empires) that I enjoyed in the past ten years or so. The magic seems to have been lost somehow, in preference for of mass-marketing.

Today has been a busy day. I am bleary eyed from excessive Ultima Underworld...Or at least what feels like excessive Ultima Underworld, because when I really think about it--just about everything I did was rather brief in terms of time, but I did a whole lot of stuff. Last night (well, Friday) I killd Tyball in about 20 minutes. The guy is pretty weak, when you get down to it, but he's a wizard so what do you expect? He's powerful from a distance but in combat he's primarily just a dude with a beard. Killing him saved Ariel, who was locked in a jail along with her deus ex machina in the form of an "amulet of travel." With Tyball dead, I am forced to deal with the demonic Slasher of Veils on my own. On Tyball's tombstone, I might write: "Here lies Tyball, evil wizard, and creator of a very annoyig maze. RIP."

With such a dangerous quest I did the only natural thing--Head up to the northwest of level seven to look for treasure. I eventually found it, in the form of a lighted helmet that glows like a lantern, and a black sword. The sword turned out to be total crap. It takes forever for my bard to swing it, and it seems to do less damage than the jeweled sword I got from the Chaos Knight on the floor above! Oh, I also went and solved a quest for the key of courage, which was basically a long string of combats--At the end you face some of the hardest monsters in the game, and ridiculously I did not look at them to decide what their names were, but they look totally goofy. They are outlines of a person with big yellow eyes and they disappear and reappear--They don't give the impression of a powerful monster that can turn invisible, just the impression of a goofball with one frame of animation missing. One of them also guarded the worthless-to-me black sword.

Today was spent exploring level 8, and there's a lot of cool stuff down there. Sadly, the vast majority of it seems to be plate armor which are too heavy for me and weapons that I don't use! The single best item, possibly the most useful in the game, was a regeneration ring from up in the northwest. The most overrated item has to be the invisibility ring that I found with Garamon's bones (For the forgetful Garamon is the blue bearded fellow who appears in my dream to tell me things that are not very useful--in the intro, he also says "Treachery and doom!" in a hilarious way). The invisibility ring seems to not do much, anyway, and all my enemies are able to target me without a problem.

With a full map of the lowest level (which is oddly devoid of quests or things to accomplish--you can skip nearly the whole level without a problem) I am now prepared to head back up and accomplish the few quests I still have left behind. In no particular order:

-Smoke some incense with the wizards on level six
-Tell the magic word from Gurstang, a prisoner, to a wizard on level six
-Give a picture of Tom to the sad old lady on level five
-Also on level five, learn a flute tune. Requires finding a flute.
-Level five again: Get the giant nugget of gold from a wizard
-Find a crazy man on level three and get the taper of sacrifice
-Get my sword from Shak (finally) on level two
-Find the wine of Compassion. So far, no one has given a crap about the Urgo guy that I rescued from the Lizardmen. I'm pretty sure this leads to the wine, but how, I know not!

I could also use a better sword, but I just haven't found anything decent. I need it to swing fast and do extra damage. How about fireballs or something? Bah.

I got a mysterious "underworld error" on level seven of the abyss, in fact, I get it whenever I enter or exit the level. It seems to not matter, but it makes me nervous nonetheless. I also found this crazy flying rat on level eight--I would be standing on a ledge, and then the rat fell in front of me from nowhere, and then it suddenly slid off into the air and I didn't see it again...until an hour later, as I headed to the exit of the abyss, where it was floating in midair!


Anonymous said...

Tooty, fluty goodness is in a chamber behind Goldthirst's throne. Nab it while delivering the golden McNugget. No, he doesn't give you a decent sword for it. Caliburn is pretty good though, and once you lose it by the plot, you don't need a weapon afterwards.

Dr Owl is completely lacking in compassion, but he is honorable. Murgo is his servant.

Tyball is easiest to kill if you destroy his orb first. That halves his hitpoints and allows you to work magic back at him.

Anonymous said...

Crazy trivia about Garamon and Tyball: This game was translated into Japanese at one point, and the dev team got a call from the translator asking which was the older brother. He needed to know because "older brother" and "younger brother" are different words in Japanese. Up to this point, no one had even considered the matter, and when you think about it, it makes a bit of difference to the plot: an older brother is a bit of an authority figure to the younger, so was the murder an act of tyrranical betrayal or rebellious usurpation?

They decided on the former, I think mainly because Doug Church liked it better. Betrayal by older authority figures went on to become a theme in most of the games that Church worked on (System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex, etc.)

Anonymous said...

In an interview, Warren Spector admitted that for some reason, all of his games have something play with th rdysfuntional family theme.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the Amulet of Travel is the thing around Tyball's neck, so it's not that bad.