Still at Buccaneer’s Den, I talked to the locals and helped rekindle the bromance between two middle-aged pirates who had fallen out over the Fellowship. Meanwhile, Mandy the barkeeper told me of yet another ritualistic murder that had happened on the island years ago, and was probably the handiwork of Hook.
In the dungeons behind the casino, I found the key to the Shrine of the Codex and Hook’s personal hit list, including Lord British and myself.
I also located the Fellowship torture chamber, full of delightful objects like the guillotine, iron maiden, rats face cage and thumbscrews. Spark, the insensitive teenager that he is, thinks that torture is aaaaaawesome. And wait, is there a person inside that closed iron maiden with blood around it??
I took pity on the prisoners, and released Anton, Alagner’s apprentice who was caught while spying on the Fellowship. Despite the torture, he’s luckier than his unfortunate master. I also freed Sullivan the trickster, who had gone around pretending to be me for the freebies from the gullible merchants; I guess he suffered enough?
After that, it was time for Avatar and the companions’ last adventure on the Isle of the Avatar. It felt a tad sad knowing the game is going to be over soon.
The Isle of the Avatar
At the Shrine’s entrance, I was treated to the Guardian’s Big Belly Laugh. It scared the crap out of me the first time I heard it, but now it just makes me smile fondly. As does the Guardian’s Throne. I wonder if the whole thing was a secret welcome present from the Fellowship that they maybe didn’t think through; why would the Guardian want to remain here and rule from some isolated island?
Despite a few moments of uncertainty, I got through the final dungeon pretty quickly. I love how your enemies in the complex are just called “Fellowship members”; nevermind their backstory, motivations for joining the Fellowship and whether, to quote Faramir in The Two Towers, they were truly evil at heart. Nope they’re just anonymous baddies who deserve to be slaughtered.
I killed a dragon with a dead baby in its stomach, and after robbing its treasure pile my party was almost entirely clad in magical armour, minus magic leggings here or there. I also walked into a teleporting mirror by mistake, which took me back to the Shrine’s entrance where I could enjoy a repeat performance of the Guardian’s mocking laughter.
The Throne of Many Changes is a clever fun puzzle which had given me serious grief when I first played TBG. Once I found the Throne of Virtues, Spark jumped in and claimed the chair for himself. No sooner than I chased him away, Tseramed sat on the chair next. Get out of my way you lot, I’m saving Britannia here!
Soon, I found myself in the final chamber, facing the Black Gate and the Fellowship gang, who were pretty easy to dispatch. Batlin escapes and makes his way to the Serpent Isle, and my companions, in a hilarious bit of ill timing, chose the last decisive moments of the game to whinge about being hungry.
The Guardian dares the Avatar to make his choice: either destroy the gate and be stranded in Britannia, or go home and leave Britannia to its fate. Of course my first choice was to walk through the gate and read the grim depressing epilogue. Then, I aimed Rudyom’s Wand and watched the Guardian’s defeat while he howls in frustration.
Say, the Guardian looks pretty ripped. He definitely lets the soft life get to him in between TBG and Ascension where he doesn’t look anywhere as defined. I’m trying to keep the U9 negativity out of this blog, but god I hate hate hate hate the Guardian’s character design in it and especially his stupid heavy goblin jaw.
Poor old Guardian. In the end, you gotta admit he’s pretty dumb and falls for the usual villain cliché of jeering at the heroes, rather than thinking of the fastest and most efficient way to kill them off before they ruin your evil plan.
And that’s it for Ultima VII: The Black Gate. I had a ball replaying it and coming back to Britannia felt like slipping into the comfortable old shoes. If someone asked me, which fictional world you’d like to visit if you had a once-in-a-lifetime chance, Britannia would be my pick. I just love it that much.
Originally I had intended to jump into Serpent Isle straight away, but I thought that, in order to really make this feel like good old times, I could stay in Britannia a bit longer and do something fun and silly. It’s pretty funny that you could spend months in the game and the Guardian would still be just about to enter Britannia.