Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Ultima Underworld: Lost

Changing out my boots for something sweet
On my way back down to the seventh floor, I meet with both the tailor and the magician, in the hopes that the items they're building for me are done. Seems like if its taking this much time its probably important. I swing by for the boots first. Yep, done, have enough food. They're lava-proof too. Okay, I next head towards the ring room. Okay, I remember the sequence. NW, SE, NE, and then SW.
Uh...nothing happened. I try it again. I reset it and then try it again. I continue this for several more fruitless attempts. Is this a glitch? Its not mentioned anywhere. Did I get the wrong sequence? No. Wait, I have a ring in one of my backpacks, maybe this is it? I should throw it into the lava to see if its the one. And it sunk. Is that not it? No, its a ring of jumping. Well, I could do a couple of things that would take a very long time and not actually solve my problems, or I could cheat...if that were possible. Sadly, it doesn't look like the work for that is done, despite there existing several level editors for the game. How one doesn't exist for such a beloved title, I do not know. I just have to hope that resetting it and then leaving the area and returning will work.

More useless yellow rocks
Back up, I feel motivated to explore the sections near the empty bits of the map. How did the lever to open that one area work, just use the wall until something's different? Okay, and secret door inside the secret door. The ultimate sign of what kind of game you're playing is the reaction you have upon doing that, and its necessary to win, disgust or joy. Only this doesn't actually give me anything, there's a door here next to two switches, undoubtedly a puzzle I have no answer for yet. And a pile of money, but who cares?

I never did figure out what this was for

Returning to the ring place, and no, it doesn't work. Either I have to wait longer or the game is screwed. I did have a ring on me, but its a jumping ring, not a special ring. But I found a flute, which means I can be tought the song by the one ghoul. I guess that'll come in handy soon. Continuing my downward descend, I look throughout the lava river on level 6. I can see an area up beyond my reach that just so happens to be near an area I didn't think there was anything in. After a search later, I have the Book of Honesty. Seems like I may have gone out of order slightly, but whatever, now I only have two items left.
Finally back at level 7 I'm not too sure where I can go. Oh, sure, I'm clearing out enemies, but I don't have a path forward that isn't the previous trap I fell into or the steps downward. Well, I can try the waterways, but the poison lurkers are a pain to fight and kill. One poisoning, even at full health, will kill me if I don't make it back to the fountain on the 3rd floor, the nearest fountain there is. And I have to wait out the poison, something that makes Shadowcaster's wait times look paltry.
I guess I missed something in the lava rivers down on the 8th floor then? No, I actually did explore everything that I could. What else is there? There's a key I don't know if I tried on every locked door in the northern section of this level, but that doesn't work either. I try sleeping in the trap room, but nothing happens. Time to look it up in a walkthrough.
Okay, the walkthrough isn't quite clear on how to proceed, but I get enough to advance. They all assume you're going to be sneaky and use the medallion, then bribe the guard who talks to you after entering the trap. Rather than engaging in brute force. I admit, I wouldn't have thought to bribe him without checking the walkthrough, because money has been useless outside of one time. Now its been useful twice, but this case is more brutal because you can easily screw yourself over.

Dead things turn out to be even more vermin
Inside the prison are a lot of locked doors I have to break open. Good thing the Sword of Justice doesn't wear down or I'd be forced to punch all these doors. Prisoners, more talking. Oh, great. The important part is that there's an escape route out of the dungeon; A dwarf gives me a crystal that does something in the tombs of the dead. I think dwarven tombs of the dead, not the ones I saw earlier.

Lava's coming from somewhere
The escape route is over a lava river. I suspect I would be dead by now if I didn't have the lava boots or the jumping ring. I spend some time exploring the lava part, finding a map of an area that's full of traps. After finishing up down there I just walk into an area with an obvious secret door, that leads back to before the final goblin checkpoint. I guess so the player isn't stuck, because this is also where the locked door leads.
I have a bit more of the area to explore from here. There's a temple-looking room that seems impressive, but really only has a stairs down and a troll.
Secrets are getting hard, but not impossible to find

Since that's a dead end I start going back through the maze, I absent-mindedly check every wall. Because this game does pull an actual secret off at times, and the Wolfenstein method of pressing space on every wall is still important. Naturally, this reveals a secret...graveyard. Can't people put these in a normal place? What the hell? There's nothing of interest inside, but there is a secret door out. And I need to find where I dropped a rock hammer, because a giant rock fell on the path back in.
The remaining length of the lava river's no good, its just swarming with fire elementasl, so I guess the other stairs down is the way to go. After some more monster clearing, I find another stairs up. Seems like these last two levels are very interconnected, because there's nothing here really, beyond these two stairs up. I hope this means I'm close to being done.

Was this the party the baron sent?

This leads to a small enclosed area where a man died with a key. A key to a different one than the one locked next to him. Something about the evil dead. Another secret graveyard, or is it just a locked one? Well, its not impenetrable to my sword, and the ghosts inside aren't either. After I clear that out and start exploring the other side, I notice my health is very low despite not having taken any hits...and then I die. Huh, I guess I shouldn't go through there. I decide to check if the door near the start is unlocked by the key I just got. It works. This seems to be the area the map is for. Maybe I triggered a trap? Not quite, there's another maze that also has traps in it and I didn't even notice at first. Doesn't even seem to lead anywhere I can do anything in.

Endless fun
Guess that means I have to clear out the fire elementals. And you better believe these things are packed densely, usually two are visible at a time. Their melee attack isn't much, but their ranged attacks are murder. Funny thing is they're guarding some random door down here. Its locked, but that key works, and wouldn't you know it, but it contains another set of stairs down. How many are there? Game has been starving me of these things and now all of a sudden there are four of them. And oh look, its another small room with a set of stairs up.
The grey part will kill you pretty quickly
Here I meet a talking imp. At least the game tells me its an imp. He tells me in rhymes that he's a thief who stole a magical crown from the evil wizard. He tells of a crown that is smaller than the others and I need one eye to see it. At first I think he's talking about a red jeweled crown, but only one crown here is unique, so I take that one. The golems nearby don't attack me so I must have gotten it right. So...what's special about it? Hmm, secret door, which leads right to that maze.
I dunno, if I made it here chances are I'm no joke in the combat department

Ah, it leads me through the maze. Directly to Tyball. Uh...that was fast. He needed the baron's daughter because he needed an innocent to sacrifice. Muahaha, he's going to kill me. Anyway, I kill him and a cutscene happens.

Didn't you bring me here?
He needed the girl because he needed to put a great evil, The Slasher of Veils, into an innocent body. Why he's decided to tell me this after I've kill him is a sign this guy is incredibly stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. All life will be wiped out, yatta, yatta, yatta. If someone could have been bothered to tell me this before I fighting me maybe we could all have been alive right now. Well, there is no telling that I would have believed him, because every generic bad guy says that he's actually doing the world a favor. He drops a couple of keys, another medallion and some thread.

By waving my sword around until my problems are over? I don't think that's wise
With the orb rock I picked up from downstairs I can destroy the orb, restoring my magic. With one of the keys, I can open the door the princess...wait, I thought she was a baron's daughter. Anyway, she tells me she's going to inform her father, since she has an "Amulet of Free Travel" and that I have to save the world somehow. With that, she disappears and I have to figure out what to do. Does it involve the eight artifacts of virtue?

Probably some kind of humor I don't get
Entering the dead wizard's study I see a lot of stuff that sounds important. Lots of scrolls and books that seem like they're of value to someone earlier or just important for this quest. More worryingly, I see a book on resurrection and a scroll from Tybell saying he'll resurrect someone. Uh-oh, don't tell me I have to pull this kind of crap? Rounding out his quarters is a secret passage into the southern maze.

Yes, the rat is in the lava, and yes, it did burn alive. This game can be clever at times

Finding a path downstairs, it is for once not a small detour. In fact, its a big, monster-infested dungeon. The question I have to ask at this point is...why? Why did the game need this? Not the whole surprise final boss bit, but that too. Why scores of monsters this late in the game? There is no way I could make it this far and not be at level 16, have great equipment, and know how to deal with enemies. This is just busywork because they made 8 levels.

I am curious about the logic of putting the Slasher into a maiden, but I don't think the man was too smart
Naturally, at some point I get hurt enough to want to retreat upstairs. Well, that's through a maze and basically four levels. Its becoming quite the journey. So I take a gamble and rest...this results in a vision from the guy seen in the intro. He's Tybell's brother? Huh. Anyway, I need to find his bones in the mines somewhere. More cleaning out of enemies, and a lot of bones. Just so many bones. None of which are labeled. All right, better look up the answer; The bones are nameless but don't stack up with other bones. Right, did that.

This does raise some questions about the ghosts I killed earlier
I take him up to the graveyard on level 5, since I figure that one's actually important. Takes a while but I find it. And then he becomes a ghost. That raises some questions I don't want to answer. He says we need to figure out some way to channel power to open a portal to take care of the Slasher, something pure, something connected to Britannica. I have to tell him what. Oh, the eight talismans. One of which I can't get.
Well, I guess I've lost. I'm not about to restart the game considering how much of a slog this last section has been. That was a disappointing experience.

Final Session: 3 hours 30 minutes

Total Time: 14 hours 45 minutes

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