But before getting into wrong… I had to get there of course!
So having now seized by frost sword thanks to Iceblade’s tips (comments are good, use them! :P) I continued my way through the northern mountains until finally arriving near the entrance of the Prison Wrong.
Pretty impressive, don’t you think?
Of course the main entrance is barred from the inside, so you actually need to find Vasagralem nearby to get access from the rear entrance.
Now this is a personal feeling – but considering the plan was to have NPCs that would accompany you from time to time, I’ve always felt that you were originally meant to go through these mountains up till this point with Vasagralem. Dang, I’d love to find the design docs of this version of the game!
But in any case you actually need to infiltrate the prison by swimming a bit:
I haven’t mentioned it before, but I like how they implemented swimming in the game and that they used it well with world design with often stuff or passages to find deep in water! Admittedly, swimming could get annoying pre-patch when you had to pass an underwater door or a small passage, but that was fixed thankfully.
And so here it was. Wrong.
Now probably anyone who played Wrong at the game’s release back in 1999 would tell you horror stories about this place: basically because it was near unplayable. In spite of being a Dungeon Area, frame rate tended to get to a crawl which could make the whole thing really annoying.
But Wrong is a pretty awesome concept in itself – because basically it’s a stealth dungeon.
While you could say that Deceit felt as if it had been lifted straight from Zelda, this was one nothing like it and felt more like inspired by Thief! You see this really is why Ultima IX shines in term of dungeon designs: because no two dungeons are alike and they offer a lot of variety which is something you rarely seen in RPGs alas. (Indeed Oblivion is possibly the only modern RPG I can think of which offers some variety).
Technically you can try getting through it gun… err… sword blazing and try to kill all the guards – it’s also one of the nice thing, there different possibilities there but it can get difficult because if a Guard touch you, you’re automatically put in a cell with no equipment. Of course there is a secret passage to escape but it can be difficult. (On a side note it really should be pointed that contrary to what you can sometime hear – NO you don’t have to get captured to finish the dungeon).
So the obvious solution is to zigzag between the Guards, who can only detect you if you come straight at them. So you need to walk behind them, use cells to hide… and even some more obvious possibilities such as using invisibility potions and spells works perfectly! You can also get use your wits a bit and so some stuff like… well, you know putting a Guard into a cell so that he does not bother you anymore!
Now of course, you need to find hidden passages and keys to go through all the dungeons – but that works! You can also find some nice equipment such as pieces of Wyrmguard armors and talk and free some prisoners possibly.
Notably there is this nice lady called Cleo.
She’s worth mentioning because she’s basically an easter egg gone bad. You see this lady is accused of killing all the horses, and tells you that Smith is found in a tree in Paws. Upon finding the body you were supposed to come back to her and she would give you a clue about Ultima VIII – warning you that the Titans are evil!
Alas while Smith’s body can be found in Paws, he is no different from any other horse visually so you can’t tell it’s him, and it doesn’t trigger the dialogue. 😦
But in any case the dungeon goes in two steps: first you need to find and free Raven into a specific cell hidden in flames. Once this is done, things are not over since of course you need to get deeper into the dungeon to get the base of the Columns.
But of course someone waits you there… your old companion Jaana, or rather Anaaj! That came rather unexpected for me at the time – since I thought the Wyrmguard in Deceit was someone nameless I didn’t really expect anyone else to turn as a Wyrmguard: I thought this was a one time thing with Iolo.
Anaaj is rather pissed at you for letting the Guardian invade Britannia and corrupt her and unfortunately she can’t be reasoned with, and you only choice is to trap her into a cage.
You then need to bargain with her so that she opens the portcullis leading to the Column per se… in exchange for letting her leave her cage. You can promise this and still let her inside but that cause a karma loss. In any case if you free her, your only choice is to kill her, and run to avoid her. Unfortunately… once you remove the glyph, this doesn’t change anything about her.
Alas this unresolved issue with Jaana goes further than this… since even if you did not kill her she doesn’t appear in Yew once Justice is restored, even though she does have dialogue in the usecode 😦
But in any case, having spared Jaana and seized the Glyph, I exited Wrong and left the dungeon behind. It was really a pretty awesome dungeon though, and in truth it is better to play now with a fully smooth computer as opposed to the crawl it could get back then!
Now I proceeded to get back to Yew and the Shrine of Justice which means a lot of walking through the mountains again. But well – what can I say? At least you can’t just teleport magically anywhere!
And so here I was at the Shrine, ready to restore it:
It is now time to get back to Yew, and have Raven’s case revised…