The Next Generation of the Serpent Forge of Virtue’s Hold…

Now how’s that for a title, heh?

So as I mentionned earlier, I decided to head to Cove. It was fairly quick since my main purpose was to get Jaana. I also got and went all mushy mushy with Nastassia and stole a kiss or two. You know, Nastassia is a nice enough character but I never really got why some fans seems so obsessed over her. I mean, outside of the fact that any true Ultima knows that Aiela is the Avatar’s one true love, I never felt she could even remotely be this kind of character for the Avatar personally. She’s nice enough sure but well… nothing to write home about.

Now following these events, I headed toward Minoc. Which is nice since it finally allowed be to do a little of combat.

Which reminds me I didn’t talk about combat in Ultima VII. Well… to put it basically: it sucks and it amongst the worst any RPG has ever had. You just press “C” and do nothing. There are strategies that are useless due to the amount of companions you have. So basically it’s like the ancestor of the boring MMO combat sandwish (except that unlike MMOs, it goes fast enough not to be boring).

In order words: even Ultima VIII’s clickfest was better than this.

But in any case: I got to Minoc… and as it happens there had been two other ritual murders, JUST when the Fellowship founders Elizabeth and Abraham were in town. And in addition there was a Fellowship Candelabra at the murder scene. But of course it has GOT to be a set up gainst the goody Fellowship, right?

On a side note – and I’m sure I’m not the only one here – the first times I played Ultima VII I never did see this crime scene, because the game was buggy as hell, and usually the bodies were gone by the time you first got to Minoc. Annoying.

So after getting Owen to kill himself, raided the mine for Serpent Venom to sell at Britain (hey, this is not theft this stuff HURTS people!) I also had my future told by the Gypsy Margarita (note: why are ONLY Gypsies allowed to read the future in Ultima?) that I needed to join the Fellowship to learn their true nature, and to contact the Time Lord through the Wisps. Yay!

So I went back to Britain and did Batlin’s personality test (which feels like a twisted version of the traditionnal Ultima Virtue questions) and his first quest consisting of getting a package to Minoc.

At that point though, I decided to do Forge of Virtue because I felt that plotwise it actually made more sense to do that before starting really the main plotline of Ultima VII.

Now small history lesson: Forge a Virtue is an add-on for Ultima VII that brings the character to the Isle of Fire where you killed Exodus in Ultima III and have you do some virtues test to prove your Avatarhood. It’s an excellent add-on really, altough I’ve always felt it would have been neat to be able to have the isle solely pop up halfwar through the game (which is basically how I did it back when I player the DOS Version).

Now personally I played Forge of Virtue *very* late. You see I had Ultima VII in French, but its add-on was never translated and the english version of Forge of Virtue did not work with the french version of Ultima VII. So I only got to play it around the same time I got Martian Dreams and Savage Empire… since my compilation CD which had Savage Empire also had the english version of Ultima VII. Neat heh?

So I first did the Truth Test. Which took like 5 seconds when you know the trick. Then I did the Love Test, which is an amazing quest about two Golems who love each other as brothers and amongst the best Ultima VII as to offer. It went easilly, but it’s always a pleasure to do it.

Then I started the Courage Test… and I got faced with two Golem on the second room. And I couldn’t kill them. And I figured “Dang I need magical weapons!” as I didn’t had any then. So where could I get magical weapons for free?

That’s right.

Serpent’s Hold.

Now I have to say it I hate Serpent’s Hold in Ultima VII. I actually kind regret my first play through when I didn’t yet know Star Trek: The Next Generation. It felt a bit irky even then, but that work. Now… it just get my eyes rolling. This is basically THE exemple of what you must not do with an easter egg: overblow it. So I did the quest there about the damaged Lord British statue, but I’ll confess: I rushed it.

So I trained my character at the blacksmith’s in order to improve their strength, then I looted the Vault (I’m the Avatar, I need to save the World!) and then I noticed a creepy thing.

Yes Riker and Worf are sleeping together in the same bed. Gargoyle love? I mean is sexualy intimacy even possible between humans and Gargoyles?

Leaving the two love birds behind I got back to the Isle of Fire using the Recall Spell on the nice little Red Stone I had marked… and I am not ready to face to trial of Courage!

In other words: big evil Dragon here I come!

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