Friday, April 4, 2014

Game 22: Ultima: Quest of the Avatar (NES) - A Humble Spirit makes a Just Avatar

This symbol was slowly building, but I'm not sure what determines it
I'm going to skip the virtue play-by-play this time around. By the end of this post, I'll have covered up to a point where I've achieved Avatar status, and collected everything to beat the game, I believe. I just couldn't bring myself to completing the journey before I made another post (plus it was late).
Useless treasure is the best kind
The last runes I needed to find were Humility, Justice, and Spirituality. Humility, was actually about 10 steps from the last screenshot in my last post. I figured it might be there, but didn't take the time to search. Plus, I couldn't really figure a way to fit it into the last title (even this one is a stretch). Justice was, as we knew, hiding out with Vorpal in the Yew prison... sitting right in his cell. The last and most troublesome was Spirituality.
I found it! Between these virtue sapping chests I avoided like the plague...
My mind worked so slowly through this one clue, "Rune of Spirituality in a hidden room of the great castle... near the soldier's western chambers." At first, I thought the great castle must mean Lord British's. Then I started second guessing myself. What greater castle is there? What other castles are there? Well, there are three other castles.
Soldiers? Check. Western Chamber? Check. Now, where's that hidden room?
I couldn't for the life of me, during the last two weeks, piece together where in any castle were  soldier's chambers, let alone a western one. I thought I was look for living quarters, beds, something resembling a dressing room. I'd even settle for a broom closet with armor. In the end I decided, it must mean Lord British's castle, and it must mean one of the hidden rooms I'd come across. I'd just explore them all. Oh, look-ey there, a spot on the ground surrounded by chests.
As opposed to the room full of chests that taunt me in every town
But, that's okay. I mean it took me quite some time before I even needed the rune. My Spirituality was growing so slowly that Honesty finally overcame it. To fill the time I started on my way collecting stones. I stopped by Deceit and found when I answered the question of the gatekeeper (each stone has one) I was sent outside without the stone.
Oh, that must happen because I don't have partial Avatarhood
Not quite seeing the connection between my answer and the dismissal, I returned after gaining Avatarhood in Honesty and answered again, "Dost thou ever lie to thyself or to others?" as 'no'. A second time I was banished from the dungeon. I tried 'yes' on my third, and was rewarded with the stone. Okay... I suppose this may have a deeper meaning, say, honestly admitting that lying is human nature in some way. Either that or the game is bonkers crazy and I'll be lucky enough to get any of these answered on my first try.
Nope! The game's mad...
My third stone stop was Justice. I don't recall the question, but it was straightforward. The response I received I couldn't make heads or tails. I was just happy the wall dropped and I was rewarded with the stone. This didn't always happen. I make my final case with the stone of sacrifice, "Art thou one who would withhold the gift of thy own blood from a dying companion?" Yes/No?
Equally applicable, I give you the question of Valor
Thinking on these in succession, I realize now the answer to them all is 'Yes'. Maybe someone forgot to code the 'No' option. So, we learn that the avatar actually lies to everyone, withholds blood from dying companions, and flees from the malevolent face of danger. During all this I found my way into Hythloth, a dungeon whose entrance behind Lord British's castle doesn't offer an exit.
Using the Exit spell in Hythloth takes me directly to this location
The hot-air balloon removed the need of dealing with pesky random encounters; however, the only way to control the balloon is to cast a Wind spell, which blows a wind from that direction. Randomly the wind will change though, and require another casting. With it I managed to come across two new locations. A cave where a scale and the white stone sat, waiting for me.
Seriously, just waiting for me with NPCs to tell me exactly what to do with them
I also happened upon the city of Cove. I never did find a whirlpool, but unlike Ambrosia in Exodus, Cove is on the continent of Britannia. Here I learned of the Gate spell, the Candle of Love, and that if I was foolish enough to enter the Abyss then I should meditate at the shrines of Honesty, Compassion, and Valor in that order. The time it takes to recover from meditation is very long though, and I've only made it through the first two. This is where I'll pick up the next session.
These are the only messages I get now that I have Avatarhood
With the help of dungeon gold, I've been able to keep my Blink and Quick spells funded through all battles, and gems are falling out of my pockets. I also managed to guess that the last two ingredients for Life and Tremor was Manroot. At times though, the game has aggravated me with its faulty descriptions of locations, and the backwards questions spoken across the world. I managed to get the bell from the shoal just north of Serpent's Hold, which really meant northeast across a quarter of the ocean. I wonder if the PC or SMS had these issues as well.
Who's this Flamis guy and what can he tell me?
I collected the Avatar's Sword and Armor from the respective castles, and am now as fully prepared for the assault on the Abyss. I believe I have to enter some of the volcano-like mountains surrounding the Shrine of Humility. Speaking of that shrine, here's a humorous story. So, I was warned it was guarded by demons, and I needed to use the horn to dispel them. Well, I kept running into these demons because they looked exactly like a random encounter. Not until I finally ran out of MP and couldn't automatically escape did stop to think. Then it dawned on me to try something different. Play the horn, no encounter. Simple enough, after the fifth battle.
This word 'great' is thrown about quite a bit
I have now the three keys of Truth, Love, and Cour; the three principle items Book, Candle, and Bell respectively; and a clue to visit the shrines in that order. Seems I'll find somewhere to read the book, light the candle, and ring the bell before I find the Codex, read from it, and move on from the land of Britannia. Wish me luck, I may need it.
I still haven't found a use for this shrine, but it hints at the end game
I'm not sure if "This is nes" is coincidence, or someone having fun
Elapsed Time: 5h58m (Total Time: 17h22m)

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