|Well, this sucks.|
You'd think after hundreds of games, I'd be a fairly savvy CRPG player, but every once in a while, I do something so bafflingly stupid, it's hard to imagine how I successfully start the game each time. This one tops even the time that I had to burn my Ultima V party to death to escape Lord British's chambers.
Check out the screen shot above. My party is in the middle of a river, and Eflun has just run out of "Walkwater" spells. Thus lacking, I can't move an inch. After I realized my predicament and swore, I decided I'd better kill the game and restart. But in an epically bad force-of-habit moment, I saved the freaking game before quitting.
"Surely you've been using multiple save game files this whole time," you say, confusing me with someone who's not a drooling imbecile. No, my last other save game file is more than 20 hours ago, before I even found the Zirvanad, before I awakened the gods in Crezimas and Khazan and got nice boosts in statistics, before a lot of things.
Am I missing some way off this river? "Teleport" doesn't work in dungeons. I can't camp to memorize more spells. None of the characters can touch land. Please, someone tell me some obvious solution that I've overlooked.
While we're thinking of that, let me catch you up.
|An amusing moment in Crezimas. Fortunately, I had a shovel and used it to find a nice cache of jewels.|
When we were last together, I was exploring the dungeon of Crezimas on the far side of the continent. It took forever to clear, partly because I ran out of arrows and had no idea where to get more--although the mushroom problem was solved with a plentiful number inside the dungeon itself. When I finished, I was rewarded with some Crystal Dust from the queen. Please remember that the meth epidemic had not visited the U.S. in 1989.
Within the dungeon, I found a teleportal combination to return to Pheron (the starting area, with the Royal Castle), which I used. Essentially back at the beginning, I had a decent grocery list of things to find for the ritual, and a few clues where to find them:
- Ritual of Awareness: Said to be in the book called Zilmaeron in the Tower of Ruhan on the Sunken Isle. To raise the Sunken Isle, I have to pull three levers all at once. One is in Darvale.
- White Amulet of Light: No clues.
- Green Ring of Order: Kept by the Last Unicorn on the island Heavenly. Need to learn Sherro's High Call from an elf to summon it.
- Blue Ring of Power: Said to be in the tower of Thakass on Wizard's Isle, far to the northeast.
- Bubble of Captivity: No idea.
- Elven Dream Dust: No idea.
- Three Words of Will: On obelisks. I've found one; there's another at Vo.
- Shir-Aka Ash: Kept by the wizards of Shiran
|This is going to involve some party-splitting.|
Rather than try to check these off methodically, I decided to engage in some free-form exploration and work my way around the land more-or-less counterclockwise, picking up clues as I went. I began by re-visiting Keof, Bondell, and Delkona and had planned to go to the Isle of Giants after Khazan (where I'm currently stuck).
|Bribing my way into Delkona.|
Delkona was a city in lockdown because of rumors of enemy spies. I was able to bribe my way in. The source of the enemy threat wasn't hard to find: a multi-level tower in the middle of town. I fought my way to the top, killed everyone, and got a 15 point boost to my charisma for this town only.
|If my halfling didn't already have 99 charisma, this might be useful.|
It's not a long report, and I'm afraid things are going to be like this for a while. I've already told you about all the gameplay elements, so all that's left is to talk about the plot, but the game is so slow going that I can summarize the major plot elements from 20 hours of gameplay in about three paragraphs.
|Large battles with multiple magic-users take a long time and sap arrows, spells, and mushrooms.|
Frankly getting sick of all of the battles. I have a strong sense of not accomplishing much with them. Most of my characters are maxed in their combat skills, and the game doesn't otherwise award experience. Gold collected from slain foes is paltry unless they're guarding a chest full of gems.
But all of these concerns fade to nothing if I can't get off this damned river. The idea of starting over to a pre-Zirvanad state is heartbreaking.