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.