Ultima VII: Out into the big world

(This is part of my journey playing through Ultima VII. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

I’ve added a new banner to the Bio Break rotation in honor of my Ultima VII playthrough!  Ain’t it just spiffy?

Anyway, with the password in hand, I’m finally ready to leave the town — and I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous to leave the womb of the town’s safety for what lies beyond.  However, first I needed to fix a problem with the GOG.com DOSbox version of the game, which is that it seems to be running too fast (characters are sprinting everywhere, background effects go whizzing by, characters get hungry too quickly).  This is a problem for a guy who keeps alt-tabbing out while the game clock continues to roll.  This link helped with the food and speed issue as well.  CTRL+F11 should decrease the virtual CPU rate, so let’s see if that helps.

stones1I had a good time talking to Ocho about Ultima VII on TeamSpeak the other night, as this used to be one of his mainstay CRPGs.  We were talking about how there are those games that you return to every so often because they’re favorites, even if you don’t get all of the way through them.  Chrono Trigger is like that for me, and U7 is for him.  He was saying that it used to take something like 10 minutes just to save the game.  Egads.

Anyway, once out of the town I head south and plunge right into the woods.  I have the survival skills of a mewing kitten, I know.  I do find this spiffy moongate, however.  Should I touch it?  I should!

stones2As “Stones,” that fan-favorite music track, plays, I hop through several moongates in succession.  I’m guessing they’re some sort of rapid transit system through the world.  At one of them, my party is beset by wolves, an evil laugh cackles at me, and my very first combat experience in the game begins.

I’m… not impressed.  For all of Ultima VII’s immersion, combat is a weird mess of automated attacks and hoping that I don’t die.  I was hoping for something a little more sophisticated.  I guess that’s OK.  I’m treating this game more like an adventure title than anything else.

stones3It’s probably best that I stick to the roads for a while and follow the story of the game.  Heading back to the road, we’re attacked by more wolves.  Spark freaks, says “See you later!” and is run down and killed in the surf.  Well that’s what you get for abandoning me, kid.  Fine, I’ll reload.

Iolo and I hunt down a deer and harvest the carcass for its meat.  In another neat touch, a wounded animal will trail blood behind it before dying.  Gross immersion!

We start around Trinsic when a voice booms out of my speakers, “YOU ARE TRAVELING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, MY FRIEND!”  Gah!  Give me warning before you do that!  Also, aren’t I supposed to be going north?  Shut it, Navi’s dad.

Rounding Trinsic, we are rejoined by Spark, who has overcome his cowardice for the moment.  “YES, THAT IS THE CORRECT DIRECTION TO TRAVEL, AVATAR!” the game shouts at me.  I’m very non-plussed, as I’m not used to RPGs being a bossy GPS.

stones4Haha, Spark, I wish you had a spine so I didn’t have to resurrect your corpse after your latest wolf mauling!  But this is the world we live in, a world without wish fulfillment.

Just north of Trinsic is an outdoor theater.  Because I’m not in a rush and I fully expect this game to entertain me, I sit down and pay two gold to see a “passion play” from this troupe.  The fact that they put on a play is one of those “makes me smile just to see this in an RPG” moments, although it’s a pretty stupid play (even Spark and Iolo think so).

stones5Basically, it’s propaganda for the Fellowship with the message of, “If you give us some of your gold, you’ll get a whole bunch of gold back later!  Because unity and stuff!”

stones6The play concludes with a strange moment, as my character (and I, frankly) realize that several words they’ve used were also spoken by Mr. Big Red Face in the introductory cinematic.



3 thoughts on “Ultima VII: Out into the big world

  1. Joseph Skyrim February 5, 2014 / 4:29 pm

    Haha, if you think combat is messy now wait till you have a full party! You will literally not need to do anything yourself! 😛 Also why the heck did Spark decide to run off at the beach?

  2. Syp February 5, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    I am not sure. I thought he was armed but perhaps he’s not. I’ll check on that next time.

  3. Ocho February 6, 2014 / 9:36 pm

    Spark’s starting weapon I believe was a sling. It might be in that mess of an inventory somewhere. Also, yeah, combat was not one of Ultima’s best qualities, and is basically auto-fighting, and then inventory management as you loot everything. And yeah, sometimes you’re party will just run all over the place, or take 10 minutes just to sit down. A couple flaws that were looked over at the time. At least the inventory screens are the ones from Part 2, and not the boring original ones.

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