Day 56

The next map piece is in the hands of a woman at Serpents Hold. Thats a location which I haven’t been to yet, when I walk in the front door I’m asked if I want to join the order of the Silver Serpent. I’m let straight in but apparently I have to make my own shield.

I ask the local blacksmith about this shield and he would make it for me if I have all the needed parts (which I don’t). I leave this for now and get back onto finding the map piece.

The  map piece is in the hands of Morchella who wants a silver serpent shield in exchange. It turns out the magic shield I’ve been using for days that I got in one of the dungeons fits the bill so she just hands this over without me having to do anything. I have lost my nice shield though so I buy a spiked shield instead to replace it.

One minor curiosity is that Seggallion from Knights Of Legend is hanging around the bar here. He gives me a long story about how he ended up in Britannia. He would have joined my party but I don’t need reminding about Knights of Legend so I leave him behind.

The next map is in the hands of a hermit on Dagger Isle apparently. I find after sailing round the island for a bit. He doesn’t look like someone you would want to run into on a dark night but does tell me he has hidden the map in his house.

Moving the stuff around in his house reveals a set of stairs…. 

which go down to a tiny little basement which has the map in it.

The next piece is to be found at Empath abbey allegedly. I try to take the direct round the world route only to forget that the world is flat in Ultima 6. I have no idea why and can’t say it adds credibility to the world but I turn round and go the long way.

The mortician at Empath Abbey is having a spat with the gravedigger about something and nothing. I run between the two of them carrying a load of messages.

And eventually they settle their differences. I’m rewarded by being aloud to loot the mages corpse he has.

The guy who had the map piece turns out to be dead but I run into his widow.

Aparently the map was stolen by some gypsies. There are a dodgy looking lot of gyspies hanging around Trinsic so I head straight there.

And one of them sells me the map for 50 gold pieces after a bit of haggling. Thats the last of the 8 pieces – the final 3 were strangely easy. Since I had to go through the hardest dungeon of the game so far to get the egg and the clues to them I’d expected them to be difficult.

I head back to Bucaneers Den and Homer gives me the last piece in exchange for me bringing him back the cloak thats in the loot. I never got around to bringing it him back, but it will teach him not to spend all his time sat in the pub. 

Outside the pub, I assemble the map. Homer informed me that the island at the top left was Bucaneers Den. That makes the right New Magincia.

Its a short sail to find the island. The directions I was given start from inside those 3 stones.

This lead to a suspicious looking spot of ground if I ever saw one. Digging here reveals a hole into another dungeon.

The pirate caves prove to be quite tricky with some tough monsters, bear traps, holes leading into lava pits, etc… Eventually I get to the bottom and find a whole room full of stuff including the tablet I’ve been looking for and also a fan which I’ll be needing later.

I take the tablet to Mariah who manages to read the book and point me to Sin Vraal who I’ve already talked to once. Since I’ve already been to the gargoyle world this isn’t really new information and scant reward for hours of chasing map parts.

While I’m here I have a look round the library and find the book on ballooning. I want to get to the gargoyle temple by flying so I’ll need this next. It points me towards Minoc so I head there and ask around.

Isabella points me towards Selganor…

Who in turn tells me to go to Suteks castle.

Suteks island turns out to be a pretty odd place. In what has to be a Monty Python and the Holy Grail reference, the moment I get there I’m set upon by rabbits. Thankfully they are less dangerous than the one in the film.

There are loads of two headed animals around + no way in to the castle. Thankfully my telekinesis spell from yesterday comes in here.

The castle is full of hidden doors and not easy to get about in. I make my way through to this hydra which my party finishes off…

to reveal Suteks lab. This is not a pleasant place by all accounts.

Sutek is friendly enough as long as I’m polite and tells me the baloonists body is in his catacombs.

The catacombs prove to have more levers and the like – I just pull the lot of them.

This lets loose about the biggest monster I saw in the game. Hes not too hard to kill as I attack the tail while the heads behind a wall.

On the next level is a two headed talking horse with one lying and one truthful head. Its dead easy to work out which is which with a couple of questions but you could just try both directions and reload anyway.

Another level down I find my ex baloonist and get the baloon plans off his corpse. I need a string of things (a basket, rope, cauldron and bag. Rope and a cauldron I already have.

I need to make the bag out of silk so it will be light enough. I buy a load of spider silk from a magic shop. Arbeth in Paws spins it into thread.

Thindle can’t weave it though and sends me to Charlotte in New Magincia.

Charlotte makes my cloth for a small fee.

Back in Paws, Marissa makes my bag.

In Minoc, Michelle makes my giant basket. I’ve now got everything I need so its back to gargoyle land…

First off I go the the hall to fetch the broken lens. There is a small library here also with the history of the gargoyles. Aparently they summoned the codex here in the first place and the process is described in detail. Other books also describe the gargoyles equivalent to the Britannian virtues with Passion, Control And Diligence forming the 3 fundamental principles.

I talk to the gargoyle prophet Naxatilor and he sends me to get the lens fixed.

This is just a case of asking the right person and doesn’t even cost me anything.

Going back to Naxatilor, I now get the quest that will ultimately finish the game. I must create a human lens also and retrieve the Vortex cube, then go to the codex to find out what to do with them. I can’t go to the codex without being on a quest though which is where the balloon comes in.

Using the balloon and the fan(to change wind direction) I enter the temple and talk to the triangle in the middle.

It won’t send me on a quest until I’ve gone to each of the 3 gargoyle shrines.

The shrine of control is another lever-fest. A lot of trial and error and I get all the portculises open.

At the far end of the hall is a statue of Mondain who is apparently the embodyment of Control. Not sure what I think about that but I guess it kind of fits but he apparently lost his self control which is why he did what he did.

He gives me another mantra at the end.

The shrine of passion is similar enough. This turns out to be a statue of Minax – there is a pattern emerging here. I guess she showed passion when she was telling me to DIE FOOL!!!.

I get another mantra.

The last shrine is a bit trickier and has more secret doors.

I get there in the end and get the obligatory statue of Exodus (who looked nothing like this).

After a speech on diligence he gives me another mantra. I like the idea of tieing this into the first trilogy a bit – the speeches by the statues were a bit poor in some ways and each pretty much repeated the last. The idea was better than the execution all in all – why would gargoyles who regarded us as demons until recently have humans representing their virtues anyway?

I go back to the temple with the 3 quests done and get sent off to the codex.

First though, I’ve still got a lens and a cube to get.

A star watching mage makes the lens for me – he needs to study a glass sword before he can do it but I’ve been carrying a few of them around for ages so thats no problem.

On the way to Stonegate, I stop off to mention the book to Sin Vrall. He tells me to go to see the gargoyles and to get there through Hythloth. Bit late now….

I also run into a moonstone I accidently buried right back at the start of the game. By waiting until the right phase of the moon, the gate disappears.

Leaving just the moonstone which I pick up again. I’ll be needing that in a bit.

My attempts to walk to stonegate fail as I need to sail into it from the top of the map. When I finally decide this I find it pretty quickly and run into a child who is being raised by cyclops.

The female says the cube is in the cellar, but I will need the key off the male. He won’t give this to me until I take his fishing rod and catch a fish. I guess this quest was just to illustrate that you could actually do this as it takes about a minute.

Getting through the cellar is tougher but I finally get the cube and can head for the codex.

The guardians let me straight in.

Reading the codex, gives me plain instructions on what to do.

I put the lenses either side and the cube infront. I drop all 8 moonstones into the cube then use it.

Theres a nice swirly screen effect…

the codex has vanished and the end game kicks in.

Something you only discover in the end game is that the Rule Britannia and gargoyle music play ontop of each other and actually form a harmony. This is pretty clever stuff, since the gargoyle theme still sounds good in its own right (a lot less annoying than Rule Britannia infact).

I’ve enjoyed this Ultima more than any of the others so far. Having played the whole thing now, I agree with the comment from a couple of days back that the orb of the moons does mess around with the storyline. Getting the map was largely pointless except for me needing the fan. I never went through Hythloth at all since I could just warp down to the gargoyle world. However, not being able to warp around at all with such a huge map would be no fun at all. It really looks like the orb was added at the last minute to solve this problem and it had a few knock on effects. The game needed some system where the orb didn’t take you somewhere until you had been there once – this would have worked fine and solved the problem without affecting the story.

More music would have been nice – it can grate a little after a while. I love the dungeon theme but it lasts about 30 seconds. You must hear it hundreds of times. Its not the best version of Stones in Ultima 6 either.

These are minor nitpicks in what is a truly epic game though. The storyline with the gargoyles is very well done and I like the role reversal that takes place when you find out you stole the codex from them and are really the aggressor. I’m looking forward to Ultima 7 now but the series branched out at this point and I have 4 Ultima spinoffs before then as well + a load of other games. Its not mentioned that I’m sent back to earth at the end of this game although I must be as I’m sure Savage Empire was set on Earth.

Next: Wing Commander – Secret Missions 1

3 thoughts on “Day 56

  1. This is still my favourite Ultima.

    I’m glad you’ve discovered how the orb of the moons all but wrecks the storyline. Last time I played Ultima 6 I refused to use it. Although it does make travelling a pain… I really have no idea why they left in the positions that took you to the gargoyle world. Or at the very least they should have been locked until you’d actually reached there. Ah well, engine restrictions I’m sure.

    I so adore this game. I remember the excitement of seeing new brick wall tiles in the game as it meant a new character to talk to.

    This, U7 and UW2 – nothing has come close since.

    • I’m always going to be partial to the Underworld games as my introduction to Ultima + I’m a huge fan of Martian Dreams but Ultima 6 was the best of the main series for me also. The orb was a good idea but it should have needed each location to be activated by travelling there first as you say. It’s a game I’ll go back to some time and force myself to play it that way.

      I’ve heard that Lazarus is every bit as good as Ultima 7 but I’ve yet to try it. I’ll be writing about it on here sooner or later. Other than that you are right, there has been nothing to compare since. They literally don’t make them like this any more. I’m surprised that the Ultima’s and other classic titles aren’t being ported to PSP, DS or iPhone though. The Final Fantasy remakes sold well enough and Ultima has so much more to it than those games. EA is missing a trick here if you ask me.

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