Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ultima II: Revenge on the Enchantress

With space conquered and Antos having given me his blessing, there was only one task left in this strangely condensed, time-twisted version of Earth for me to do. Defeat Minax.
Aric's final stats

Which meant, of course, that tonight's session began the same way most of them have. With a grind-fest to gather the resources necessary.

I sailed around the Time of Legends, smacking down the baddies I found there for a rather hefty stack of gold - I should have done that sooner, it feels like the spawn rate for monsters in the Time of Legends is a lot faster. I don't know if it actually is, or it just feels like it due to there being considerably fewer nooks and crannies and islands for monsters to get caught up on so I find them faster, but either way, it meant that it was a lot easier to get myself a pile of gold there (then?) than anywhere (anywhen?) else.

Awfully expensive ring... that could have bought me 3000 hit points!
Once I amassed myself a sizeable chunk of change, it was off to Lord British's castle to buy as many hit points as I could hold (it still strikes me as somewhat odd that HP is a purchasable commodity), then off to - where else? - New San Antonio one last time to pump up my stats as high as I could off the several thousand gold that I'd stocked up. The last time I finished Ultima II, I ended the game with my strength somewhere in the 70s, and most of the rest in the mid-to-high 50s. This time around my strength was at a whopping 96, wisdom not far behind, and no stat lower than 60.

I was feeling pretty good, until I realized that I depleted my gold resources *before* obtaining the ring.

Have fun storming the castle!
So it was back to the Time of Legends for another smackdown session until I had 500 gold to dart back to claim the ring from the old man beneath ATREE. I never did get the message in-game that it was necessary to get the ring from him, I think it only comes from oracle messages, the near-prohibitively spendy ones, I'll have more to say on that in my closing thoughts post. Suffice it to say that I was properly equipped now, and I headed for Shadowguard.

With trepidation I wandered in through the gates, past the force fields and the devil-and-demon pair of guards, who left me alone. Slowly, carefully, I explored the castle, finding a life insurance salesman, a small chapel for devil worship, an eerie museum with a specimen of nearly every creature and brand of townsfolk I'd met, a she-creature that looked strangely like an orc begging me to take her... Minax was keeping some twisted things in her castle. I eventually found her in one of the corner towers, and I rushed her amid spell slinging and many shrieks of "Die fool!" before I landed a hit and she simply vanished from her position.

This is no time for a nap, Aric!!
I found her again in the opposite corner's tower (conveniently labeled 'Chamber Two') where I again suffered at the hands of her long range spells before getting close enough to land a blow with Enilno, and again she simply winked out of the room once I struck her. Back and forth I ran between the two towers, taking ever more circuitous routes with copious use of the strange coins I'd collected throughout my journeys to avoid dealing with any more of her minions than I had to (they overpowered me on two previous attempts to assault her stronghold). With each blow, she grew weaker and weaker, until with the fifth strike, she perished beneath my blade, her castle crumbling to ruins around me, all her works dying with her.

So ends the tale of Ultima II and the Revenge of the Enchantress, time and space one again set right with her death. The game continues to be something of a slog - it didn't feel much different the second time around - but I did a fair few things this time around I didn't last time, and the assault on Shadowguard was just as gleefully tense as any endgame sequence should be. I'll have a post with my final thoughts on the game in the coming days, and then it'll be time to gear up for another adventure - there's rumors of a creation of my two previous foes still lurking in wait...

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