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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ultima Underworld II, Day 6 and 7

I didn't realize I was so far in my "days" of playing Underworld II! In any case, I have devoted this week to being something of an Ultimarathon, because I have made a point of reverting to my traditional 2-hours-a-day schedule from earlier this year before I had legitimate obligations!

So this blog will document my gaming from Monday and Tuesday, whih essentiall involved solving most of the Pits of Carnage and the Scintillus Academy.

The former was pretty rough--The pits are essentially three arenas, all of which are hard to fight in except the Earth arena (just a simple brown floor) and a lot of people who want to kill you. If you go downstairs, you meept a large group of other monsters which also desire your death! Whoopie! I explored all of the second level and only enough of the third to meet the pre-blogging troll named Blog. Appropriate! He assisted in fetching the gym for the world.

The pits are pretty boring, overall, and a bunch of the generic characters have the exact same portrait as other non-generic characters, leading to confusion. The last time I played Underworld II, I distinctly remember using the pits as a place to win huge amounts of gold: There is a fellow who will pay you to fight up to five enemies, and I would slaughter them all. However, this time around I seem too weak for even one of the male warriors, but I can slice up the women pretty easily (disturbing, perhaps, but there it is). I was unable to find much in the way of good weapons, and no one is even willing to train me in swords there, which was surprising.

The Academy is one of my favorite parts of the game, and far easier than I remembered. It consists of eight levels. The most famous are probably the gigantic 3-D maze for which your automap is useless, and maybe the level in which you have to leap onto platforms that cause other platforms to disappear--the aptly titled "non-reversible processes" test. You don't regain mana during the exam, but oddly I didn't really need to use any magic. A good thing, since I never bother learning magic in the Underworlds and can barely cast Lesser Heal!

I ended my game at the exit to the facility--They have this "secure vault" in which are stored a few sweet runes, but unfortunately I can't seem to get through the door in the ethereal void that leads me there. It occurs to me that I never bothered to try the key that got me in the vault in the first place, and I will feel like an idiot if that works. In any case, I'll mess with that awhile longer before I give up and go back to Britannia.

At present, my biggest problem in the game is lack of training. My skill in swords is very high, but not in attack or defense, and no one seems to do a good job of training either of those skills. Geoffery does them, as I recall, but only gives me like one point per training session, whereas the Dupre-like-guy Lothar in Killorn Keep gives me 3 or so points per session of swords! As it stands, I can fend off most monsters, but some things--male warriors and reapers--give me an extremely hard time.

I may post tomorrow again or wait till Friday, but I expect I will finish up my quest in the Ethereal Void by then. I seem to recall that the hardest of all is the Tomb of Praecor Loth, due to the trio of very difficult enemies you have to face at the end, but I also remember the place being truly stuffed with cool magic stuff. In my next few sessions I also intend to identify some of my magical items and discard the less useful ones in order to make room!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, it's not that Geoffrey is a bad trainer to give low skill gains, it's that Lobar is so good. According to the official hint book, Gems of Enlightenment, he gives bonus skill points in swords when you train with him.

While I think about it, I was playing a more magic-using character than you, but I found that by summoning powerful daemons (despoilers and destroyers) and killing them on the spot I got a lot of skill training points and experience.

To get through the first locked door in the Scintillus Academy Vault, you need the key you used to get in. :-P OTOH one of the most powerful weapons in the game is in there - the Axe of Firedoom. Save before using it though. ;-)

In the Tombs of Praecor Loth there are some REALLY nice magic weapons. The one behind the locked portcullis on the first level is the Sword of Stonestrike, which usually paralyzes the target on a hit. That makes combat SO much easier. In the maze lower down there's a suit of Leather Armour of Flameproof. That lets you use that nifty Axe of Firedoom with impunity.