Friday, January 17, 2014

Ultima I: Look on My Works, Ye Mighty

Aric's adventure in Sosaria continues apace. After bouncing back and forth between the Tower of Knowledge and the Pillars of Protection, bumping up my stats from the both of them as much as I was able, I nabbed a few supplies from the nearby town of Yew and delved into the dungeons on my first proper monster hunting trip.

Yep, that's a cube in there.
Perinia was the closest dungeon (I find the dungeons in this game to be rather imposingly named for what they are - the Gorgon Hole, Where Hercules Died, Death's Awakening, and so forth) so I popped in and hunted about for ladders to take me down to the third floor of the dungeon, where I found a gelatinous cube waiting for me! Fortunately I noticed it and took care of it before it managed to eat my armor, not that it would have proven too difficult for me if it had (after all, there's a bug in the remake that ignores armor in dungeons). I hurried over to the Lost King to tell him of my deed (how does he know I did, by the way? Am I still covered in gelatinous slime?) and he kindly gave me a red gem, along with the information that I would need all four to win the game.

That was not the easiest part of the map to navigate.
Having accomplished all I could in the Lands of Lord British, I bought myself an aircar and made my way to the next continent east. My approach on this continent was much the same as they were in the Lands of Lord British - visit the towns and get a sense of what amenities were where, drop by the castles and get the quests (which were to kill a carrion crawler and find the Southern Sign Post), then head over to the signposts to up my stats. In wandering the towns, I had my first glimpse of a town arrangement where the magic shop is hidden within a maze of a forest - magicians sure do have it rough in Ultima I, needing to navigate all that they do just to find the shops where they need to spend a good deal of money for the spells that they use.

The Pillars of the Argonauts and Ozymandias boosted my weaponry and my stats, and once that was done it was time for more dungeon delving for that carrion crawler. Avaril's Hole was the closest one to me, so I popped in and wandered my way down to the fifth floor. Killing a carrion crawler wasn't particularly difficult, not with my new blaster from the Pillar of the Argonauts - it was making my way back out alive that was the difficulty! I was dead set on making the venture without any ladder spells, and I got absolutely swamped by monsters on the trek back, heavy hitting ones! I was just barely over 100 hit points by the time I made my way back into the light. The hit points I earned from all the monsters I killed in the venture made up for the ones I lost, but only barely. At least I had plenty of coin to replace the armor that a gelatinous cube had absorbed.

Two down, two to go...
I also discovered that my spells were working just about as well as my weapons, now that my stats had been boosted and I had the best weapon in the game. There's really little convincing reason that I'm seeing to choosing any class but a fighter, since they get extra stat boosts from the get go - they can cast spells too, after all, and even then, relying on spells doesn't seem to have any sort of advantage. Either way I kill an enemy in a couple hits at most, and weapons have more range than magic missile, it seems. All it is is another money sink, and it's not like there's not plenty of those to begin with. (Outer space, anyone?)

Anyway, I made my way back to the Castle of Rondorin to let its monarch know I had completed his quest, and I was rewarded with a green gem and the knowledge that I would need a time machine. Another continent conquered, I drove away from the Lands of the Feudal Lords and came to the Lands of the Dark Unknown. I started my explorations here, finding the Sign Post (what's it even here for? Although I do like the fact it reads 'Ultima Thule!' and makes use of the game name SOMEwhere, even if for no reason that to use it) and nabbing castle quests - even rescuing a princess in the Castle of the Black Dragon, which I do out of tradition. I mean, only seems fitting to save a princess from a black dragon.

Kind of fitting this raises wisdom.
My location question this time around was to find the Pillars of Ozymandias, so after I made my way over there (travel by aircar is interesting in that it can't go through forests, incidentally, it really makes one look at the map differently) I returned to the King of Olympus, who boosted my strength a substantial amount for the effort. What's the motivation of the monarchs wanting me to find specific locations, I wonder? The monsters I get, but exploration? It's got me curious.

I called it a day there, having two of the four gems I need now. The depths are going to get more difficult to navigate as I go on - for the Lich I have to kill, I have to make my way down to level seven of a dungeon - and I still have space to travel. But it's all an enjoyable romp, as it always is. Now, to go prepare myself for more dungeon delving...

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