Ultima IV Part 2 – Day 2

I head for the nearest dungeon to explore. There are no 3D graphics in this game unfortunately, but the 2D graphics work fine anyway.

They may not have the 3D graphics but the dungeons work in a similar manner. There are occasional doors and when you go through these you get a predesigned room with monsters, hidden switches, treasure and the like. An early room has what looks like a guinea pig monster and nothing else, but a bit of search reveals a hidden door with a switch. This opens up a room to grab a very useful magic axe. It also summons a load of demons who kill me before I can get out again.

I wake up back in LB’s castle. This time I ask him about the orb of cheating, which I’ll confess that I use liberally for the rest of the game. Some of these quests would have taken forever without it. The orb will take me to literally any location in the game.

I go back and finish off the dungeon then head for Jhelom.  They all want to be drummers here including Geoffrey who sends me on an errand to buy him some drumsticks in Yew.

I also meet a character from a game called Rogue (I think) which I’ll confess means nothing to me. They send me on a quest in Destard to infiltrate the lair of Professor Atombender and get his secret code from the 5 computers.

Before I try that I go to Minoc. I’ve got enough money from the dungeons to buy the runes and the sigil.

Then it’s straight to the shrine to get my first letter.

There is already a letter in place here so it looks like Spirituality is done for me. I think I can guess what the word will be but I may as well do this properly.

Srin Val is hanging around in his usual spot and is doing a bit of landscaping. He finds the environment a bit wetter than he would like and wants me to help him out by putting a load of sand into the lake here.

To do this I have to board a wheelbarrow to let me carry the very heavy load then walk up to the lake.

I dump in the sand, making the map a bit more Ultima 5 like in the process and in return I get the Pentagram of Heavy Metal which will be the sigil Dupre was talking about earlier.

I still need the mantra so I head back for this and then visit a couple more shrines.

Yew is next. Drugs and sex have combined to make Yew the town of virility. Jaana is as affected as anyone and invites me into her bed chamber to use a powerful clit sucker.

While here I get the next sigil.

But Katrina pops up again to spoil my fun.

I stop by the courthouse next. I have to help decide whether Michael Knight (from Knight Rider) or Magnum PI is the most virile by talking to them and then telling the judge my decision.

I think I can pick whichever I want here and this gets me the mantra.

Finally I get the drumsticks made for Geoffrey who gives me the sigil in return.

I head for Destard now and soon find the lair of Atombender. There are some tough robots in here but I’ve netted enough goodies from my earlier exploring to be ok getting through here. Interrogating each computer gets me one number of the five number code.

I head back with this code and I’m ready to do another shrine.

Magincia now, and Mariah is running a pizza house here. The principle of drugs means that this place is now the city of intoxication and all the students here spend all their time drunk. Mariah gives me a pizza so I can talk my way into the dorms and grab the sigil.

I get the mantra from a depressed wizard hanging around outside. I think he is from an SSI game but it’s not one I played.

The pizza ruse works and I get the keg of intoxication and head off to another shrine.

I carry on exploring dungeons. Some of the rooms have some interesting designs like this Pac-Man room, although Ultima Underworld did it first.

I also reach level 10 which is the maximum in this game. This knocks my hp and mp up to 200.

Hythloth has a space invaders room to keep the Atari references coming.

And also a suspicious looking spot which I’m sure I’ll need to use later.

I’ve still not visited Skara Brae which is now the city of partying. Shamino is particularly affected. I do learn that his toga is the sigil of partying but he won’t give it to me.

One of his buddies gives up the mantra easily enough although I’ll never need it.

Another gives me the key to getting the toga.

I just have to say beer to Shamino a few times…

.. and the result is something I never wanted to see. I do grab his toga though.

While I’m around I rent a room and meet the ghost who turns out to be another Pac-Man. He gives me a load more shotgun shells which I ran out of ages back.

I’ve now got all the sigils so I visit Hawkwind and he creates the Guardian to look after them .  Now I have to consult the codex which means raising it from the abyss.

Julia says she can help me but I have to get her a Mystic staff which will mean a trip back to Cove.

I finish off the last couple of shrines first as I know I need the word….

The ankh now lets me in and I get a full set of Mystic gear + more cash.

After a bit of innuendo Julia hands me a fishing rod.

I head for the abyss and raise the Codex straight up.

It tells me exactly what I need to do to get rid of the three villains.

I head back to Hawkwind once again, and he gives me the talismans I’ll need to enter two of the keeps.

Mondain’s castle is fairly easy to get around. I have to fight off a few guards but I soon scarper with his bong.

I throw this into the sewer and corrupt the Shadowlords in the process.

Minax’s castle is very familiar. To be fair the CGA graphics in U2 were actually in decent colours if you had a Tandy 1000 that could do composite colours but this is how most of us remember it.

I’m here to steal Minax’s makeup and hence her youth. Her beautician sends me off on a quest to Planet X first. He wants me to annul her marriage so he can run off with her himself.

Planet X looks much the same as ever when I get there and I’m still in CGA.

I run into a familiar face outside the town.

After flying millions of miles to get here Father Antos is about as chatty as ever.

There is a bit of unneccessary fun to explain the lack of space exploration in future Ultima’s on the way back home.

Then I finish off my quest by handing over the wedding ring….

…and using the makeup on myself.

Hawkind now gives me the final talisman so I just have to see to Exodus.

His castle is seriously dangerous and I die a few times before I make it to the end. I haven’t got the cards yet though and there is no clue as to where to get them.

It turns out the mayor in Paws has them but I have to carry out a few tasks first.

First off I need to seal all the dungeons,

Secondly I need to get some maps from Bucaneers Den and deliver them to Magincia.

And finally I need to petition LB to change all the signs to runic.

I head for LB first and he signs straight away.

I then glue up all the dungeons one by one. The orb comes in very handy for this.

Finally, I get the maps from Bucaneers Den…

… and drop them off in Magincia.

The mayor hands over the four sound cards which would be enough to ruin any amp. I head back to Exodus’s castle, look at his amp and the end cutscene starts.

That was my longest post in a while although I’ve let the screenshots do most of the work for me. Once I got started on this game I was hooked and had to play it to the end. I honestly had more fun playing this than Bioshock 2. If that doesn’t make me a retro gamer I’m not sure what does but it’s made me want to dig out some of the old Ultima games and play them again. The humour and design of U4P2 were just superb and a lot of time and effort must have gone into it. This is the nearest you’ll get to playing another classic Ultima with a load of laughs thrown in along the way.

Ultima IV Part 2 – Day 1

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.