Having started on the Ultima parodies it’s on to Ultima 4 Part 2 – Dude Wheres My Avatar. This is another fanmade game that takes place between Ultima’s 4 & 5. This was released about 6 months back if I remember right and other than seeing it mentioned on Dino’s Ultima page I know nothing about it.
The game has “borrowed” a load of graphics and music from various Ultima’s which is no bad thing. The intro shows Mondain + family have somehow made their way to Earth and are all on Jerry Springer. As always happens on that show they fall out and Exodus runs off to cause trouble.
I receive a phone call from the gypsy who is summoning me back to Britannia and does my usual career guidance interview only down the phone this time.
I pick my typical fighter route and when she asks if I’m ready I get the bright idea to take a bit of modern technology along this time.
When I start the game itself, I’m in LB’s throne room. The “modern” graphics are replaced and this really does look and play like Ultima 4 or 5. Some of the keys are a bit different or missing and I’ve only room for one party member but all the important stuff is there and I instantly feel at home. I can even go round pinching torches from the walls in true U5 style.
LB tells me a familiar tale. Mondain, Minax and Exodus have returned and set up camp in each of the 3 strongholds corrupting all of Britannia’s virtues in the process. LB isn’t going out until it’s safe so it’s up to me as ever to go and fix everything.
The conversation system here works using the familiar keyword system. I have to type the words in rather than click on them but I’m not so sure I didn’t prefer that anyway to the system used in U7 so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.
The castle is locked up to keep LB safe. He does have a secret escape route I could take but I’m not strong enough to open the door yet so I keep looking around.
I can explore the storerooms, searching barrels for food and equipment. I find most of the main items I’ll need here like a map and sextant + some armour. I can equip and use all of these just like in a real Ultima.
Next to this room is a book pointing out one of the major issues with Ultima sequels, although to be fair you could carry over your characters between 4,5 &6.
It does sound like a good idea though and LB does the honours and I’m now strong enough to open the secret door and head out into the rest of the castle.
I find Hawkind in his usual spot listening to some suspect music. He looks a bit different is as helpful as ever and sends me out to find Iolo in Britain.
The world map works just like in the original Ultima games complete with obscured sight and the day/night cycle. I head for Britain.
I go straight into the bar and soon find out that Britain is following a very different virtue these days.
This could be fun but Katrina shows up from nowhere to spoil things.
Iolo is in his house nearby. He is the only one in town unaffected by the new virtue. By running backwards and forwards between him and Gwenno I track down the cause of the troubles to a corset given by Iolo to his wife which is actually the new sigil.
I show the corset to Hawkwind. I feel a series of quests coming on at this point. I’m going to have to gather the sigils and mantra’s for each corrupted virtue. I’ve also lost the runes so I’ll need to get a new set of them from somewhere. I don’t ask LB about the orb of cheating. If I’m going to do this I may as well play it properly.
I track down the mantra for sex in Britain’s bar.
Then it’s off to sea in LB’s boat which was parked up in Britain. Sailing around is much like U5 but there is no wind in this game so I can move a bit more easily.
I go to Paws first and get sent back to ask Iolo about Smith which I do. This explains part of the Ultima 5 plot then, sort of…
It’s down to Trinsic next. Dupre has been corrupted and now worships rock and drugs. The three new virtues are sex, drugs and rock and roll in all their various combinations. He tells me about a symbol he saw in a dream of a pentagram which I need to keep my eyes open for.
I keep exploring the land and have to fight a few creatures. The monster graphics are all the same but the descriptions are a bit different.
I try to get into Serpents Hold but I can’t get in without a symbol of some sort.
I can’t get into the shrines either without the runes so I keep exploring the towns instead.
I find Cove and it appears to be populated entirely by characters from the Dukes Of Hazard. I really like the background music here as it does Duelling Banjo’s playing slowly and if you end up in combat it belts into full speed. I learn that Boss Hogg has the mystic weapons locked up around here. Daisy tells me to trick Jesse into giving me the key which isn’t too tricky and I let myself into his store.
The temple is haunted by the ghosts of 3 old computer games..
The tell me to talk to the Ankh and I learn that I’ll need to come back here when I’ve done the shrine quests. I expect I’ll be getting a letter from each one that makes a word just like in Ultima 4.
Its Magincia next which is now a rehab clinic. This makes sense I guess since this town must represent the virtue that has no sex, drugs or rock and roll.
I get sent on a familiar quest here to find the most rehabilitated person in town.
The towns are fairly small in this game so there are only 4 to choose from. The one that makes the least sense is the one that I’m supposed to pick. In return I get the tract of rehab which is the sigil for this place.
I stop in at Buccaneers Den and seem to have slipped into Sid Meir’s Pirates. There is nothing constructive I can do here for now anyway. Maybe if I clear the area of monsters I’ll get a reward of some sort but I expect it’s just a joke.
I head for Minoc and meet the runemaker. I don’t actually remember meeting this guy but he must have been in Ultima 4. I apologise for not asking him for the runes in U4 and he agrees to sell me some for a very reasonable 80 gold pieces. Unfortunately I spent about that much on poison cure potions so I’ll need to get some money from somewhere.
Donating to the begger here gets me the new mantra. He warns me about the bar here but I head in and explore.
My old companion Julia has taken up a new line of work due to her new found virtue of dancing. I’m going to need a whopping 1500 gold pieces to buy her sigil so it’s time for some dungeon delving next and see if I can’t earn a load of money.
I’m seriously enjoying this game. A lot of the humour won’t mean anything to anyone who hasn’t played the series but it pokes fun at the inconsistencies and loopholes in Ultima plots and is enough to make any fan of the series laugh. Like all good parodies, it is set against a serious backdrop and the actual gameplay is just like playing another Ultima game. Sure it’s been simplified a bit but it’s still an impressive effort and I was always keener on the talking to everyone in Britannia part of these games than the stat building. Just the opportunity to play another Ultima game would have been enough to get me interested. I have run into a few bugs but nothing too major. The background graphics vanish sometimes which is a bit distracting but nothing I can’t cope with. From what I’ve seen so far, every Ultima fan should play this game.