Well… that was a busy day for Ultima VI!
Having now Eight of the Map Pieces, it was time to go back to Bucs’ Den and Homer in order to get his map piece.
But first I really wanted to have a boat. So I orbed to Jhelom and bought a Frigate for the sake of it. Now really it’s worth mentioning that there is no point of buying a frigate in Ultima VI, since unlike Ultima V – the skiff can go anywhere on the seas and you can also carry it in your inventory, which make the Frigate rather mooth. Now the frigate DOES offer the ability to attack with its canon, but Ultima VI has so little in terme of sea monsters that it’s not really worth the risk.
But I really wanted a frigate for the sake of it, so I got one. And I chose Jhelom because Frigates are really cheap there. So after that it was time to go back to Bucs Den and I decided to head westward… but I kind of forgot a tiny thing.
Holy flat world Batman!
Indeed the world it flat, so you can’t sail around as you usually did. So I kind of had to get all the way back around Serpent’s Hold, and also kind of got lost in the process. In other words: it tooks me aeons to finally get back to Buccaner’s Den. But I eventually did, and got the last map from Homer in exchange of the promise to get him a Storm Cloak (which reminds me: I probably should get back to him to give him his gift now!)
I then returned to Castle Britannia where I decide to put down and analyse the map in order to find out where the pirate cave could possibly be.
And so here I went! I had left my Frigate at New Magincia, and such decided to sail with my skiff to the former isle of Sutek. I thought a nasty big Hydra there and dug an entrance to the gave. And here I was: pirate cave!
Now this cave really is a maze and it took some time and one death to finally get through it. But I found the treasure, the tablet… and before the night was done I had Orbed to Moonglown and walke to the Lycaeum to bring the two tablets parts to Mariah.
So I learned I am the False Prophet and that I am destined to destroy all the Gargoyle race! Which is good right? I mean it IS what I have been doing the whole time right? But following Mariah’s advice I went to talk to Sin’Vraal which told me I could get to the remnants of the Gargoyle Lands (or the Underworld depending on what you choose to believe :P) through Hythloth.
I expected Hythloth to be kind of a pain in the ass, but actually… not so much in spite of the deamon, so I found out my friend Captain John (which had for some reason lost an “e” between games) who told me that the Gargoyles… really are not evil and are just defending themselves and that I need to help them by learning their langage and joining with Beh-Lem.
I gotta to say that is probably gotta to be one of the most awesome twist in gaming history. The evil daemons you’ve been killing all along are actually good guys, and you’ve been destroying the little left of there culture after you had already and unwittingly begun the destruction of it by stealing the Codex. I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming at the time (unfortunately… I was spoiled way too much already the first time I played U6), and I wish I could have seen the face of some fans upon this discovery. Now this is a pretty big retcon of the end of Ultima IV, but while there is a part of me who’s never liked this, I must also say how important it feels when you take the series as a whole. Also I feel this is important for the events that follows: when you mention the word “Sacrifice”, I’m sure that for many people this is just any other keyword to say to keep on the game – but it has a strong resconance if you take an in-character perspective, because there is no doubt that the Avatar would be willing to actually sacrifice his life to save the Gargoyle culture if that were the only way.
And that is pretty much awesome.
Now of course I quickly learned that there was an other way, which is to send the Codex back into the void with two lenses and the Vortex Cube. So I got the Gargoyle Lens repaired and prepared to head back to the surface, since well… I discovered that I needed that Balloon I heard about in Minoc and whose creator was last heard going at Sutek’s Castle.
But first, I figured I might as well finish getting all I need for the Codex, so I went to Ephemeries at the Lycaeum’s observatory who crafted me the Blue Lens, and then headed to the Stonegate where I could get the Vortex Cube with the help of two helpful cyclops (note: I love it whenever Ultima comes and present “monsters” as something more that just XP fodder).
Afterward I sailed to Sutek’s palace. Well I gotta say I’ve always wondered how the eck he became so nuts, because he seemed like a perfectly reasonable man in Ultima V. But in any case I went inside the catacombs looking for the architect’s body… but that was… painful to say the least. First I took a wrong turn, which lead to plenty of death, whith lead to me having to reload (yes I know!). This time I found the wrong way, but Beh-Lem had a nasty and deadly encounter with a Silver Serpent… but thankfully my buddy Gorn was there! So I recruited him to carry the body. The architect and his plans were right next to him, so after getting the plans, and I moved back up and sailed back to the mainland (since… yes I had come with my Frigate, altough this would be the last time I used it…)
So I now went to Minoc to get my basket done for my Balloon…. but then I realized that I didn’t had enough money anymore because ressurection Beh-Lem cost me a leg. I have to admit of having fallen to the dark side this time… since I basicaly caved in and went and pillaged the Britain treasury. Come on: it IS for the good cause!
So in the end I went and bought all the necessary items for the Balloon and had it built. Yay! I did move a bit around Britannia with it: notably I went to see Nicodemus for the sake of it, and I also went to see the Wisps to get the Armageddon spell… but I can’t use it. Meh.
After that, I just used the Ord to get back to the Gargoyle Lands (no offence to Hythloth, but I’ve seen you enough for a lifetime), and I used the balloon to get over the mountains.
Now I’ve gotta say the way to use the balloon is really annoying even with the Magic Fan to change winds. I think this is the time to mention one cool thing the SNES version of Ultima VI had: free control of the Balloon, which basically made it the equivalent of Ultima VII’s Magic Carpent – and I had a whole lot of fun going around the world in it. But alas, the PC version make this rather painful….
So as soon as I could, I landed and got into the Temple of Singularity which make me wonder: how did I miss the other books back in Ultima IV? 😛
I did talked to the Altar which has now sent pme to learn of the Gargoyle Principles of Control, Passion and Diligence in their respective catacombs. And this is where I stand now… I suspect I should have finish the game by tomorrow night, but the last few hours should be interesting to say the least!