Ultima Patcher Update

I’ve acquired a copy of UW 1 + 2 from GOG, thanks to the generosity of Loaf, and have added both games onto the patcher. Apart from the various patches, I added in a toggle for sound devices. I’ve also included a couple more Ultima 4 patches. The U4 form is looking a little crowded so hopefully that’s all of them.

I’d just about got that ready when GOG surprised me with more Ultima games in the form of the second trilogy. This time I’ve bought them myself and although there aren’t as many patches available for these, what there is I’ve added into the patcher. GOG aren’t supporting character transfer at the moment which isn’t any fun, so I’ve included an option to mount your savegame directory for the previous game to allow the in-game character transfer to work correctly.

There are a few things to note:-

  • The Spanish translation patch for Underworld included a replacement .exe. This has been altered to give loads of experience so you are level 8 by the time you walk down the first corridor. As far as I can tell, the .exe isn’t needed for the translation and only affects the messages during start-up so I’ve not included it.
  • The Ultima 4 Music Patch has some serious slowdown in-game, so I tell Dosbox to run with maximum cycles to improve it. This isn’t exactly ideal and even then it slows down when playing PC speaker sound. I don’t know if there is a later version available which would improve this, or possibly some alternative DOSBox settings. The VGA version certainly doesn’t have this problem. As it stands, I’m tempted to remove this patch.
  • For character transfers in Ultima 5, the PARTY.SAV in the game’s directory is not the one that is used when you save your game. It will no doubt be different on XP but on Windows 7 it uses the directory “C:UsersRichardAppDataLocalVirtualStoreProgram Files (x86)GOG.comUltima 4” or a close equivalent depending on where the game is installed. When asked to choose your save game directory, you need to make sure you get the right one although the patcher will probably select it for you if it’s in the default location. If you have the free Utlima 4 and the one in the trilogy, then you have two lots of savegames. These are never deleted when uninstalling, no matter what you select when asked.
  • Finally, these latest additions are a rush job to get it done before I head out to watch the rugby tonight, so there may be problems. If it all works then I just need to plug the holes and possibly improve the interface next. Please let me know if something doesn’t work, or you have any suggestions.

Day 92

I’m off on holiday this Sunday for just under a week so I made a concerted effort to finish this game last night in one of the longest gaming sessions I’ve had at any point in this blog. I made my way back up to the academy and through the vault. There is a chest at the end containing some rune stones + a few other bits and pieces.

Just behind here through another illusionary wall is another vault with the goodies under a hidden floor panel in the middle. I remember the axe here from playing the game before – it lauches a load of fireballs when you swing it as I remember but tends to do as much damage to me as anyone else. If I cast flameproof before combat every time this thing would presmably be lethal. All my stats are in sword use though so I leave it behind.

After cutting the power line I make my way to the next world – the tomb of Praceor Loth. There are four levels of this world – the first is an 8 spoke hub with a map scrap at each end (apart from one). You copy these to your main map and get a load of notes for one of the later levels to help you through.

The first scrap is guarded by a fire elemental.

The next spoke has been destroyed. This is the place to cut the power line. The blackrock gem is here as well. I find out later that I also need the bones from here. Technically thats everything I need for now from this level but I know I’ll also want Praceor Loths horn + I’m looking for the standard for Ogri in Killorn Keep.

Another piece is guarded by 3 golems. The magic sword I picked up from another spoke comes in useful here as it turns golems to stone for a while so I can hack away at them with impunity.

After getting the 7 map scraps available I make my way to Level 2. There are plenty of ghosts and skeletons around. One ghost, Trystero gives me some of the back story for this world. Praceor Loth was a king who was defeated by the guardian and sealed in this tomb. He still lives as a ghost protected by his 3 warriors (now liches). Trystero also ask for his bones which I run back to fetch.

Theres no reward as such for fetching the bones – I guess its just a way to make sure you get the gem.

The wife of Praceor Loths ghost wants me to seek him out – the three are keeping the truth hidden from him and he still believes he is alive. This will mean defeating 3 liches of course…

I head for Level 3 and talk to another ghost. He warns me to get the map scraps which I already have before proceeding. This level is just a long series of traps with plenty of monsters, fireballs bouncing around, etc… The map scraps help a bit but it still takes some navigating. I do make it to level 4 in the end – just at the end of level 3 is the long elusive runestone I needed to cast open. This gives me the complete set – my magical abilities are coming on pretty well by this point. You seem to collect a lot of experience points later in this game and the skill points for training come thick and fast.

The first liche was a thief in life using a poison blade. He is easier than expected to kill.

The second was a mage and is also guarded by two golems. He floats around and casts fireballs if he gets too far away. As long as I keep him at close range he isn’t much danger though.

At the end of his realm is outer space!

Exploring a bit more I find a platform + fireball area. Picking the right route over the platforms I get to a magic circle at the other end. Removing a candle from this breaks the spell and outer space turns into a normal corridor.

The final liche is a fighter and the toughest of the lot – to win this fight I end up retreating back into the previous area and jump up onto the ledges. I then use a flame wind wand to take her down with impunity.

She drops what for me as a sword user is AFAIK the best weapon of the game (the black sword). This will make life a lot easier from here on out. What ever happened to my demon sword from U7 anyway – I sure could have used it up to this point.

I find Praecor Loth and he sure enough believes he is alive and well in his palace. I talk him round and he gives me his horn and releases all the ghosts still haunting this place in the process. Just behind is a small storage area with the long elusive standard.

I take this back to Ogri and he tells me about the secret rooms in the basement and barracks, which I figured out days ago.

Next its time to sort out some unfinished business before I tackle the last world. First turning myself into a djinn bottle. I got some basilisk oil from the vault in the academy. I head for the SE of the ice world level – the fact that I know to go here is only briefly mentioned in a scroll from much earlier in the game but I remember it from playing the game before.

I throw in my basilisk oil and jump in the mud which then coats my skin.

Next I need to bake myself on some lava. I head for the pits and on the way give a spare Flam stone from the vault to Zogith (an aspiring mage). In return he tells me the valor spell.

The arena of fire has plenty of lava to bake myself on so I jump in.

I then use a potion of iron flesh (which I just fetched from behind the dire reaper on level 3) and the mud turns into a clear glaze. This completes my transformation in djinn bottle but I still need the djinn.

Its onto the last world, the ethereal void. This place is seriously bizarre and consists mainly of a load of floating coloured walkways and moongates. Most of the monsters tend to fly around shooting at me so I cast fly myself and clear most of them.

I run into Mokpo from the ice caves but hes a bit of a different figure here and calls himself Mokpo the Mighty. He gives me a little information about the layout of the void.

I also run into Iolo who tells me he comes here every night in his sleep. He wakes up almost as soon as I start talking to him and vanishes.

I gather from the two of them that there are 4 coloured zones I have to complete to get to a fifth. I start off by heading into the blue zone. This place dosn’t get any less odd – I meet a mute who wants me to collect eyeballs for him and get a sort of wavy sine bridge to cross.

Aside from a load more monsters there are few wisps floating around at the end of the bridge. In exchange for some information on Bishop one of them tells me about the history of the Trilkhai.

I have to run onto a bouncy pad which throws me onto the top of a pillar into a moongate (if I get it right). This drops me onto a giant pyramid like structure. UW1 had a tribute to Pacman – this is clearly a tribute to Q-Bert. I have to jump on each block changing the colour to that of the zone I just completed.

A few characters have been giving me hints about eating the plants that grow on the graves in tombs before sleeping. Theres nothing too specific but I remember this from playing the game before. If I try a few times I will wake up in the prison the timelord was trapped inside in Ultima 7. The blackrock gem is inside a stone box in the middle. As I recall I can’t take this back with me so I throw it to the ledge outside and fly up to get it when I go back to the void.

In the meanwhile I go back to give the news to Beauty. This doesn’t seem to give me any useful info at all -she just tells me that Lord Thibris is planning some sort of invastion but when I talk to him I don’t get any new conversation options.

So its back to the void and the red zone next. This is described my Mokpo as hell which is a pretty accurate description. A flameproof spell is a must here but its still fairly lethal.

The sceptre than Zoranthus wants is lying here but is fairly well guarded. All the potions and scrolls I’ve been collecting throughout the game come in handy here.

There is still another fiery stage and then a final zone when everything wants to poison me. I gain 2000+ experience just from the swamp bit alone. This drops me back onto the pyramid which I turn red this time.

I head back up to the castle to spend some of the skill points I’m rapidly collecting in the void. Nystul notices the fact that I’m now a djinn bottle.

He also tells me we can use Praecor Loths horn to shatter the gem if we can find a way to blow it – that will be where binding the air daemon into my body comes in.I take the scepter to Zoranthus at this point to pick up the bottle containing the djinn from him in exchange.

Next, its the yellow zone which is a 3D maze full of brain creatures. The easiest way through this would be just to cast fly but I’m out of mana and do it the hard way. When I kill a couple of brain creatures at the end they drop some eyeballs which I grab to give to the guy in the blue zone.

There is a white moongate at the bottom of the pyramid – I use this to go the the sigil of binding.

I drop the djinn bottle into the pentagram, and whack it with my sword. With nowhere to go it is now bound to my body.

I give Prinx the eyeballs and he offers me a scroll in exchange. I have no idea what this scroll does however.

Its the purple zone next. This is full of slippery ground and bouncing pads but isn’t too complicated. One sliding pad slides me straight into the guardian himself who is not a pleasant sight.

I wake up in stick figure land – this is a bit of a tribute to Ultima 1. I seem to remember there being a secret area here but I don’t find it and just head straight through the moongate at the end. I recolour the pyramid, then do so once again (this time in gold).

A gold moongate appears which takes me to the cell. I use the rod here to cut the power. Thats all the gems and all the power lines cut.

When I get back to Britannia there are a load of guards milling about.

They are an advance scouting party from Killorn Keep who have come through the gem! I wipe them out then head back up to Nystul to get the final gem warmed.

When I use this on the gem it starts flashing. I still need to get Nystul some info on the casting of the spell that created the gem. I head for Killorn Keep to see what this invasion is about.

My ally in the keep has gone but she left a note. Mors Gotha is organising the invasion of Britannia and is in the keep with the spellbook I want.

I head for the barracks and hack my way through a locked door into Mors Gothas room. Neither her or the guards take kindly to this. The spellbook I need is on the floor in here though.

When I’ve nearly killed Mors Gotha the guardian summons a moongate and she takes off through it leaving me with a room full of guards to deal with.

I clear out of the keep with the spellbook and take it up to Nystul. He wants to know a few more details about when and where the spell was cast. Nell gave me these a long time ago (throne room at 4 in the morning).

Everything is in place to shatter the gem but before we can give it a go Mors Gotha arrives with an invasion party and I have to kill her once more.

My combat stats were maxed out a long time back and this isn’t a hard fight. This time the guardian doesn’t save her.

I kill off a few remaining guards and head for the throne room.

Everything is ready. I talk to Nystul and the final cutscene begins.

It has to be said that for such an epic game the final cutscene is really quite poor. Its short, less than spectacular, doesn’t have any new music and doesn’t really advance the plot beyond what you would expect. The game itself has been great fun to play again after all these years though. With me trying to get it finished before my holiday this was probably the single longest time I’ve sat down to play any of these games so far but it just flew by.  The last couple of worlds were a lot more interesting than some of the earlier ones, more than anything due to the size and complexity of them. Having said that I’m glad I remembered what I was doing as some of the puzzles at the end would be pretty hard to guess otherwise to say the least.

The game felt more dated to me than Underworld 1 despite being larger and better graphically. Some of these worlds deserved a more advanced game engine but this was as good as it got in its day. If I’ve ever seen a game that deserves a modern remake this is it. Ultima 7 still looked great with its 2D world but this early 3D really doesn’t do the worlds of this game justice.

My shadowcaster CD may or may not have shown up by the time I’m back from holiday but thanks to Natreg I now have a copy I can use in the meanwhile either way.


Day 91

I run into a guard called Relk who somehow recognises me as the avatar and attacks me on the spot. Hes easy enough to beat.

However, when I try to take some of the stuff he’s dropped the whole castle turns on me. I reload at this point and don’t take anything he leaves behind. Some of the characters in the castle have hinted about secret rooms so I go in search of these instead.

I find some tunnels in the basement, including some sort of red square that teleports me to a stange place with a giant floating skull. I reload and break the teleport by moving all the candles at each corner of it.

Just behind is a small room with some headless + the gem I was looking for.

I move onto the next world which is more than a little odd. There are bouncy pads all over the place which push me towards walkways that push me to the edge of the map.

Each corner of the map has teleport pads that take me directly to any other corner.

The sentient beings here are big floating balls called Tallorids.

After talking to one for a while he gets the hang on my language. Each of the race just has one function it seem, this one is supposed to make new Talorids.

I find another who makes runes and come across more runes than I could ever want (unfortunately all the same type except one)

The amethyst rod that I need for Killorn Keep is lying around.

I meet a historian who gives me the background of this world. The guardian has talked the Talorids into become so single minded about particular task and also reduced their sexes from 3 to 1. They now manufacture stuff for the guardian to use on other worlds. He tells me to speak to Futurian.

Futurian is just down the corridor. To put things right I will need to kill the Bluy Skup Ductosnore (who makes the new talorids) and created a new one using his own machine. I need the old storage crystal which is making its way to be disposed of in the lava (at a rate of a couple of cm a year). I need a control crystal which he has ready for me and I also need a delsignator whatever that is.

He informs me that he has told the guardian I would be coming and that all the Vorz will now attack me. There had to be a snag.

I head down a level by dropped through a hole in the floor and find the crystal I need right on the edge of the lava.

There is a room heaving with Vorz down here. They only take a single hit to kill most of the time which is just as well.

Inside is the machine which creates Vorz. Its powered by the delsignator I was looking for so I grab it.

Which the help of a scroll from the dialogicans, I get the data integrator to tell me how to create a new ductosnore.

The instructions are pretty easy to follow and a new ductosnore pops up ready to try to sort out all the changes the guardian has made.

Going back to the historian, he teleports me directly to the blackrock gem.

Thats another world done. I’m none too healthy so I sleep for the first time. I get a message from the guardian telling me he met Lord Draxinusum but I’ve no idea of the outcome (or if it really happened).

I clearly need to get a move on so its onto another world, the Scintilus Training Academy. I run into a mage who has been waiting to chicken out of a test for new mages for 63 years. He isn’t much help but just gives me a bit of background on the world. To get to the academy, I’m going to have to do this test myself. The fact I have almost no magical ability as I’m playing a fighter is not going to help.

The test actually doesn’t seem to require any particular ability. Its more a collection of 3D puzzles. In the one shown I have to jump on a load of pillars each with an arrow on it. The pillar in the direction its pointing vanishes when I land on it so I have to get the route right. None of these are too hard but there are about 6 levels of these puzzles. Where I do need to cast a spell there is always a wand lying about that has the required effect.

When I get to the end the academy is deserted. I find clues and a key to point me to their vault which sounds like a good place to go (I think there may even be a Vas rune in there). This vault is in the ethereal void which is basically the world I was in right at the end of Underworld 1. There is no slasher of veils chasing me around this time so its safer but I require telekinesis to press a button out of reach and don’t have enough mana to do this. I’m going to have to build up my magic skills and come back.

The gem is sitting in the middle of a pentagram. I grab it and head for the exit.

When I go back upto the castle Charles has found an ancient key but he gives me no idea of what it opens. There are still areas of the sewers I’ve not explored so I head back down there.

On the way I grab to spider egg I need. The spiders don’t take this too well.

The key opens up a door on the first level of the sewers. There is a non-hostile ghost in here + a treasure chest. The big treasure here is a moonstone. I found another of these in the academy. Unlike Underworld you need two of these, 1 to cast the spell on and one to teleport to for the gate travel spell. Its still no use as I don’t have the magic or a Vas runestone yet.

Kintara makes me the weapon. Its not a weapon in the conventional sense but can be used to stop the guardian drawing power from a place. Each of the worlds has some location where he draws his power from (it will be where he is strongest) and I need to go there and use this weapon to cut the link.

I head back to the goblin tower first. The troll is still here in the captains old office. He gives me a note from Bishop which tells me to find a mage called Zoranthus. I use the staff in Bishops cell and there is a minor earthquake.

Its the ice world again next. I find the ruins of the lost city Anonduros. The guardian pops up with a message as I arrive “Perhaps thou seest thy future here”.

I try the rod here and sure enough it works. A ghost talks to me and thanks me for removing the guardians influence. A search around the area reveals the elusive Mani rune I need to cast healing spells.

When I get back to Britannia again the ice is gone from the gem cavern. This must be something to do with me removing the link.

Its onto world 6 next. I immediately meet a guy who wants to be my slave…. He volunteers a load of information about the world. I’m in some sort of prison called the Pits Of Carnage. Prowess in battle in the only thing that matters here and there are four arenas for duelling to the death. I learn the the gem is in the hands of the worlds greatest fighter Dorstag.

The next person I speak to challenges me to a duel. These fights aren’t too hard and after a win 3 people seem to show me a bit more respect on the whole.

Dorstag is at the NW of the level. I’m obviously going to have to defeat him so I trick him into challenging me to a duel so I get to choose the arena. The battle turns out to be very difficult indeed and I have to repeat it about 10 times before I beat him. In the end I use up some of the magic wands I’ve been carrying around and hes just too strong for me to take out with a sword.

I hear stories about Zoranthus living on the levels below the pits which are rumored to be seriously dangerous. On the whole its not too hard to make my way through although I do run into a dire reaper who is just unbeatable. I give in and will come back for this guy later.

When I sleep to recover I have another message from the guardian. He is slowly taking over Britannia if he is to be believed. We all need to get out of this giant gem asap.

Zoranthus is living behind a maze of portculis’ and buttons. He doesn’t have much to say but does give me instructions for making a bottle to house a djinn. I remember the game well enough to know that I have to make myself into a djinn bottle at the end. I’ll need some basilisk oil before I can get started on this though.

Back at the castle, Nelson has something urgent to tell me but Patterson keeps breaking in. He is just about to tell me a spell to destory blackrock when Patterson snaps and stabs him to death.

He then attacks me barehanded. Suffice to say he doesn’t survive.

Patterson dies expecting the guardian to save him but he doesn’t of course. Thats 3 of our number dead thanks to the guardian (and Patterson) but hopefully the last.

The castle is in some shock after the news but Geoffrey has some good news. He says the gem is starting to weaken as he can hear it creaking.

Its back to Killorn Keep next to try to cut off the power there. I find another secret door this time around in the guards barracks. This takes me down a level and I run into a guard who wants me to leave immediately. I’m not about to do this of course – he claims to be more than he seems….

Sure enough as soon as I kill him he turns into a giant red daemon and I have to kill him again. I can’t get through the locked door behind him although I just remembered a key I found ages back in the basement on this world that I never found a door. I’m in the right place as when I step to the door and use the rod I get the usual earthquake so I’m near enough without having to get through. I’m missing the first rune still for the open spell and could really do with finding it so I could get through some of these doors.

I presently working my way back through all the academy exam levels to get to the academy and get to the vault this time + cut off the guardians power here. That would pretty much complete 6 of the worlds with just 2 to go + the business with the djinn.

Day 90 – Ultima Underworld 2

So while I wait for the Shadowcaster CD to arrive, I changed my next game to Ultima Underworld 2 instead. I have played this before but it was a long long time back and I’d not played any of the main Ultima series to compare it to.

The intro is reasonable – the artwork is nice but its otherwise fairly unexciting and certainly not as much fun as the UW1 intro was. There is no speech in the intro at all. The plot is that during a celebration to mark the year since the defeat of the guardian, Castle Britannia has been trapped inside a giant blackrock gem.

The character creation is the same as in UW1 but on starting the game a few differences are immediately obvious. First off the view window is quite a lot bigger but more significantly this is a completely different sort of location to anything in UW1. I’m in Castle Britannia with beds, log fires, etc.. Its a change from the 8 levels of dungeon in the last game.

I gather my equipment and head for the throne room. This uses a new set of textures again – the environment in this game is clearly going to be a lot more varied.

The castle is also full of people from the main Ultima series which always helps to give a game a bit of depth for the verterans who have played all the rest of the games.

Lord British sums up the situation. Something else to note here is the character portraits are much larger than any previous game to date.

The guardian puts in an appearance at this point. I’m used to hearing all his words with full speech after Ultima 7 but its just text in this game. There are new digital sound effects on the plus side so I get creaking doors and the like.

I walk around the castle talking to everyone. There are plenty of familiar faces around – in fact I don’t think any of the characters are new to the series. I can ask what they have been up to for the last year since U7 and the dialog is up to the standards of the main series, although I admittedly have fewer conversation options. Nelson hints that there should be a smaller blackrock gem somewhere in the castle in the same manner as the generators in U7.

Iolo and Dupre are in the castle (although I’m on my own this time). Iolo tells me that the sewers have become infested with monsters.

The layout of the castle is very similar to that in Ultima 7. The secret passages all around the edges are still there as well. I find a secret door in my room leading to a rune bag.

My first monster is just outside although its not hostile. The graphics for the monsters and people are a lot more detailed in this game. Some of them in UW were really low res and this is a big improvement.

Dupre gives me the key to the sewers. Going down there looking for a blackrock gem looks like my first quest but I’ll go around and talk to everyone else first.

Nanna seems to upset about being ordered around by LB. I’ll hear more about this later.

Nystul is on much better form this game now the generators are destroyed. He gives me all sort of information about the spell being so large it may effet other realities and seems quite confident he could undo it if we could get the spellbook it was cast from. I’ll have to keep an eye out for that.

After I’ve talked to everyone, its time to head for the sewers. As soon as I climb off the ladder I’m attacked by some rotworms and a bat. They aren’t too hard to beat.

Just round the corner I bump into a thief who has come through the passage from Buccaneers Den (I don’t remember this still existing in Ultima 7?) to rob the castle. He gives me my pocketwatch and I persuade him to turn himself in.

I explore the sewer a bit more. Its more familiar UW territory although there are moving platforms and a few other things I’ve not seen before. There are blatantly some areas I’m not tough enough for yet. And the two gazers above make mincemeat of me.

Avoiding the difficult areas I make my way down a few levels and find the gem. Its a bit too big to stuff in my backpack Ultima 7 style. It has 8 facets one of which is lit. I walk into that facet and find myself teleported into some sort of basement.

I appear to be in some sort of tower filled with goblin guards. I bluff my way past them with a delivery note I find.

Apart from having to put up with a little verbal abuse from some of the guards, I’m not learning much here until I find a human working as a slave in the kitchens. It seems I’m in one of those alternate worlds Nystul was talking about. In this world the goblins have enslaved humans with the help of the guardian. There is some sort of resistance leader called Bishop on the top floor who I will need to try to rescue.

I get a pair of Franzium coated gauntlets from a goblin smith for coming up with a way to make them for him (coating iron gauntlets). I’m sure these will be useful later.

On the fifth floor I meet the captain of the tower. He immediately assumes I’m some interrogator he has been waiting for. Contradicting him with all these goblins around doesn’t seem like a good idea so I play along and he sends me up to see bishop on the top floor. He gives me some more gauntlets which I need to get into his cell + the password (meander).

Bishops cell is behind this forcefield which is where the gloves come in.

Bishop has actually heard of me although I’ve no idea how. He is kind of my equivalent on this world it would seem.

He gives me a clue to a potential ally in another world who also opposes the guardian.

He also tells me about a small blackrock jewel appearing in his cell, but the captain of the guard has it now. This sounds useful so I’ll have to try to talk the captain out of it. I give Bishop my spare pair of gauntlets so he can escape.

The captain hands the gem straight over.

He’s less happy when I tell him that I couldn’t get anything out of Bishop and decides to attack me on the spot. The goblin guard outside joins in the fight but I just about manage to beat them. One of them drops a keyring which is a useful way of keeping all my keys organised. I could have done with that in U7.

There is a locked prison cell just outside. One of the keys opens it up and I talk to the troll inside.

I tell him hes free to go and he immediately takes out every single goblin in the tower on his own.

There was a locked cell on the top floor, so I go back up to see whats in there now I have some keys. He doesn’t have much to say other than something about being discovered by giant cat. There isn’t much else to do here other than raiding the armory so I make my way back to Britannia.

When I go back up to the castle Miranda immediately takes notes of what I’ve been up to so she can pass news onto everyone else and also points me in the direction of a few characters with things to tell me. This is a pattern for the game which will repeat throughout as I remember. After certain key events (usually beating a world or the like), everyone in the castle has new things to say. Its a nice touch to see people actually taking note of what I’m doing in this game. There was a bit of that in Ultima 7 but in all the others its always been the case that no one reacts to anything you do.

Nanna is something of a trade unionist and wants me to talk to LB about abolishing the class structure in Britannia. This doesn’t seem like the most appropriate time as no one will ever get the decree unless we do something about this gem but I agree to speak to LB about it. He tells me he needs time to think it over.

I give my blackrock gem to Nystul and he magically warms it and says I should take it to the larger gem and see what happens.

As soon as I do this the ground shakes and one facet of the gem lights up. Another couple of facets start lighting up alternately as well.

Stepping into one of these facets teleports me to another world. This is very different to anything I’ve seen before – its an icy cave world.

There are a new set of monsters although most of them are monsters I’ve already seen with a different colour pallette. I.e. this yeti here looks remarkably similar to the troll I saw in the last world. These guys throw snowballs however which are seriously painful.

It really does feel quite different an environment to the usual dungeons although it could be said that the graphics show their age more because of it. The ice breaks sometimes can I have to swim out – other areas of sheet ice are slippy and I bounce around like a pinball if I try to move too fast (not all that realistic unless avatars are made out of rubber).

One of the yetis get me and I die. This time instead of being dead I awake by the gem. The edges of the lake around the gem have frozen – I’m unsure what this means. Are the worlds seeping into Britannia?

I head back to the ice world and find a human inside a cave. He’s under the impression that this world is not real but his description of the real world sounds even less likely. He does tell me that the yetis are more hostile than usual as they are probably fighting over some sort of bauble. This has to be another gem.

Sure enough I find the gem near a river. There is still a lot of the level to explore so I keep looking around.

I find an ice golem guarding a door to some dam controls for the city of Anodunos. I’ve not seen any signs of a city around here but this sounds interesting. He doesn’t even give me a chance to leave but attacks straight away. I manage to kill him off and he drops the key to the door he was guarding.

Behind it is a pillar with 4 different types of switches on it + a garbled note with instructions.

With a bit of trial and error I manage to work out a combination of the switches that opens up a maze to let me get first a key then a locked door that the key opens with the dam control behind it. I pull the dam control chain but die again at this point and decide to head back up to the castle for some training before I do anything else.

LB tells me he has agreed to Nanna’s demands.

Nanna tells me that the guardian has being trying to influence her but she wisely doesn’t trust him.

I head back for the gem and this time end up in another world – Killorn Keep. This is a flying castle of some description (I only have other peoples word that its flying). It appears amazingly similar to Castle Britannia in many ways and some of the characters are even close to those in Britannia, especially the aging king.

This world has been fully conquered by the guardian and its not a good idea to go around declaring that I’m the avatar. Most people seem friendly enough if a little untrustworthy in some cases. The merchants in the main hall are especially rude and don’t seem to have anything of worth to sell for that matter. I do find a woman in the dining hall who has some dragon skin boots for sale. I know I will need these but despite offering a small fortune she is not interested in trading. I will have to find something specific she wants it seems.

An old servant wants me to find the standard of the keep which was lost during a battle. I’ll keep an eye out for this but its clearly not going to be in this castle.

Lord Thibris reminises about his days as a soldier serving the guardian. He also mentions the banner which is apparently lost in the tomb of Praceor Loth.

I find a mage and remembering Bishops clue mention his name to her.

She tells me that a servent of the guardian will be spying on us somewhere in Britannia and gives me a dagger which will a) open the entrance to his hiding place and b) allow me to kill him.

She tells me he will be hiding near lava and water. I hadn’t seem any lava in the castle but once I explore some new areas I soon find it. The listener dies easily.

While I’m exploring new areas I also run into a reaper who nearly kills me off but I prevail. The thief at the entrance to the sewers mentioned losing the key to the armory when fighting a reaper and I find a key hidden in a recess behind the dead reaper. There isn’t too much I need in the armoury but I grab a broadsword.

When I get back up to the main level I discover that Lady Tory has been murdered! No one knows who did it and many of the people don’t believe it could be a traitor but since she was stabbed it obviously wasn’t done by a monster from the sewers. Some people blame Feridwyn but he doesn’t seem like too obvious a suspect. Patterson had been behaving a bit strangely and would be the more likely suspect but with no proof there is nothing I can do for now so I head back to the keep.

I go and tell Altara I have killed the listener. She now wants me to fetch her a spiders egg + an amethyst rod. I’ve seen spiders eggs in the sewers. I definitely haven’t seen an amethyst rod anywhere though. These she can use to make some sort of weapon but I’ve no idea what it will do.

Taking the hint from the goblin prisoner, I talk to some of the cats wandering around the keep. They are kept as some sort of beasts of burden/hunting but are actually telepathic. They tell me something about a myth about them flying and throwing fireballs in the past and want me to get some information about this.

I’m starting to remember UW2 a bit more now so I have a reasonable idea of whats coming but I don’t remember much of the detail. It feels a little disjointed compared to the last game if I’m honest with the swapping between worlds but the scale of the game is impressive. I don’t much care for the soundtrack, its the worst music of any ultima to date (except ROV). None of it is awful but its all a little dull and frankly depressing. This is a real issue with a game this large as you hear the music over and over – I may give in on it yet and just put some mp3’s on instead. Its quite a downbeat game in general as it is and the worlds I’ve visited so far are not exactly cheery places.