Day 121

Each time I go back to Xenka some new random topic seems to be available to discuss – this time its sacrifice. I suppose it could be coming from the prophecies but no one has mentioned sacrifice to me at any point otherwise. She tells me in a very brief scene that one of my party will have to sacrifice themselves and we draw straws and I lose. It takes about 4 lines of text to find out that I’m supposed to throw myself into the cremation machine in Monitor.

I suppose its no use arguing so I head to Monitor. When I get there Dupre won’t allow me to do it and jumps in the machine himself. I knew that he died in this game at some point but I expected a bit more than this somehow – it all seems far too brief and is over in a few seconds.

Xenka now tells me to head for the chaos shrine and also gives me a sword to use somehow on sunrise isle which is presumably where my final tooth will take me. I figure I want to go to skullcrusher first.

Gwenno decides to join up with us at this point.

My first task is to find some powder kegs to blow open the door to the chaos shrine. I know I saw some very early in the game but I can’t say where now. However, my mind goes back to Monitor and the secret plan of Spektor for exploding weapons + the key I got and never used anywhere. There is a secret door in the mountainside here, south of the crematorium which takes a little finding. The key gets me through the locked door just inside here.

I don’t have to go far before I find a load of powder kegs.

Its off to skullcrusher and the powder keg makes a mess of the door.

There is a lengthy maze like dungeon spread over a couple of levels at this point. It only takes about 10 minutes to work my way through to the chaos shrine. There doesn’t seem to be anything much here – I need to go through a secret door behind the two snakes.

This gets me to another wall of lights and a load of plinths looking ready for some objects.

I use the 3 banes + chaos serpent then put dupres ashes on the last plinth.

The chaos serpent appears – its soul and Dupres have now merged and Dupre is holding it off from attacking me. The voice acting for Dupre is typically horrible (he’s played by Denis Loubet). Xenka teleports straight in and tells me to go to sunrise isle next.

I’m teleported straight into a locked room with a load more plinths. First off I have to get the snakes from the corners and place them on the scales.

When I do this all the other plinths fill up with the various symbols for the 6 virtues of the Ophidians.

I pick these up all these items and the doors unlock. Just outside is a book telling me what to do next. I have to place all these items in their opposite temples to balance them as such.

This place doesn’t look like an island to me and is more of a void type area with big black nothingness surrounding everything. Its not too dangerous though and I think I only run into one flock of bats the whole time I’m here. Finding the temples takes a while but I slowly work my way through them all.

After placing the final object a book appears in its place. This book claims to be some sort of key so I take it with me.

Using the book between two likely looking pillars back in the middle of the map creates a blue firey bridge which I walk across. I then get another two pillars where I do the same and get an orange fire bridge.

The shrine of balance has still more protection in the form of various balance type puzzles to solve before I can get in. For the first I have to place a serpent candle on an ice plinth. This shatters an ice wall into blocks and I use one of these blocks on the fire plinth.

For the next area I have to gather cubes of chaos and order – I can’t believe this typo got through to this version of the game.

This puzzle is a strange one involving teleporting between east and west sections gathering keys to use on the opposite side. After struggling with this for a bit I get some chaos and order cubes.

Using these blocks fills in the middle of the central room with stairs one at a time. A scroll pops up with details of what I will need next. Despite what it says I don’t need to wear the armour and all that, just carrying them would seem to be enough as I walk straight onto the new teleporter without any problems.

This gets me to the long sought after shrine of balance.

All the serpents seem to be here although the order serpent has one last go at stopping me by sending a load of ice trolls at me. This is a pretty big battle but we all come through unscathed.

The earth serpent tells me what to do at each stage now. I place the 3 serpents, put the appropriate 3 serpent items on the altar and then the snake statue comes to life as the chaos serpent. It asks me to slay it with the serpent sword to send it back to the void. I do so and am then struck by lightning repeatedly until the endgame starts.

I’m sent to the void along with the chaos serpent – I get to watch balance being restored and learn that Dupre is content in his new role but am then left floating in the void. The guardian puts in an appearance and before I can go anywhere else grabs me out of the void to take me to “a different world”. Its a nice ending, setting up the next game without being too much of a cliffhanger.

There was definitely evidence of the developers rushing the later stages of the game, although it didn’t turn out too badly for all that. Looking at the games around this period from Origin, most were released prematurely but at least a lot of the problems were fixed in later patches so I’m a lot better off than I would have been buying them new at the time. EA’s influence is definitely showing by this stage.

Ultimately this game wasn’t quite up to U7’s standards for me although it was still way above average. I gather that the series will take a turn for the worse at this point with U8 although I’ll judge for myself when I get that far.

I’ve now finished 40 out of the 60 games so I’m 2/3 of the way through this blog. I can safely say now that there is no way I’m not going to finish them all as I’m far too stubborn to get this far without completing the lot. After turning out loads of RPG’s in their early days, Origin seem to be concentrating on flight/space sims from here on which are going to make up half of the remaining games with the only RPG’s left being Ultima 8, 9 & System Shock.

Next: Strike Commander – Tactical Operations.

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