The Shrine of Chaos
The end is near! After losing Dupre, I recruited Gwenno to take his place, and made my way to Skullcrusher, where I blew up the brass doors with a powder keg.
This dungeon is unfortunately the most boring and featureless one in the game, and feels like the game designers just shrugged their shoulders before the looming deadline and gave up. There’s nothing fun or interesting, just endless corridors broken up with fields of magic sparkling mushrooms. Boo!
I finally got to the inner sanctum and opened the Wall of Lights, which always made me think of 70s wallpaper patterns. Dupre’s soul gets fused with the Chaos Serpent, and he shows up in his new form and tells you to hurry the hell up and restore the Balance, while he still can hold the Serpent together.
Xenka appeared and gave me the second-last remaining serpent relic, the Serpent Sword, and instructed me to go to the Sunrise Isle. How about directly teleporting me there so I don’t have to walk back through this tedious dungeon?
This place sure does flog the red/blue, chaos/order, fire/ice, putting-thing-on-a-thing to death. The first part of the dungeon involves walking around a lot and placing six Ophidian symbols in the mini-shrines devoted to the virtues that are opposite to the symbols – Emotion symbol on the pedestal of Logic and so on. I just began this task when I realised, to my horror, that I forgot to take the blackrock Chaos Serpent from its slot in the Shrine of Chaos.
So I had to walk through the Shrine of Boring again. Once I retrieved the serpent, I couldn’t handle yet another trip down the corridors, so I attacked Xenka who was still hanging around the place, and let her kill me so that I could get resurrected elsewhere – anywhere would do!
I continued with my quest at the Sunrise Isle, and did some last-minute fishing at the shrine of Ethicality which for whatever reason had a fishing rod lying around.
Further down the track, the area with the brass gates, buttons and teleporters was fairly annoying to get through, and I forgot to put the three blackrock serpents into my backpack so the Great Earth Serpent booted me out of the holy room or whatever it was. But finally he proclaimed me worthy, and gave me the very last piece of the puzzle, the Eye of Order Serpent. Who then showed up at the entrance to the main chamber, and sent a bunch of wimpy magical ice creatures to attack me, because it’s not that keen on joining Balance.
Which begs the question, are the other two serpents just plain selfish assholes, or do they act this way because of the Imbalance? Based on the acquaintance so far, I wouldn’t feel inclined to follow either of them, and the Great Earth Serpent seems like the only one who gives a damn about the big picture.
I commenced the final ceremony, and bizarrely Dupre’s paper doll made its way back into my party! If I wasn’t at the very end, it would have been handy as an invisible stuff carrier.
The giant black serpent statue began to move and groove, and as my very last action in the game, the Great Earth Serpent asked me to slay him with the Serpent Sword. After that, there’s nothing left for Avatar to do but undergo a sudden sex and race change, float in the Void sans the oxygen mask, and watch the serpents get entwined into their happy balanced threesome. The Great Earth Serpent assures me that Dupre is content where he is, which is doubtful unless the serpents have a stash of celestial alcohol somewhere.
The Guardian however is not happy that, once again, I’ve thwarted his evil plans.
It’s a real shame that the game wasn’t realised to its full potential, but even with the less-than-perfect second half, Serpent Isle is epic and magnificent. Next stop is Pagan and the joys of jumping.