Serpent IsleUltima VII Part II is a PC game released in 1993 by Origin Systems. It is considered one of the best games in the Ultima series besides its predecessor, Ultima VIIThough its name would suggest it's a Gaiden Game, or that Ultima VII was so long that it needed to be divided into two games, it's actually neither. It is a stand-alone game that contains events important to the overall series. The only reason it was not officially named Ultima VIII is because Richard Gariott wanted all Ultima games to have different engines—and Serpent Isle uses the exact same one as Ultima VII. Thus "Part II" was slapped on.Eighteen months after the events of Ultima VII, Lord British finds out that the Guardian has sent Batlin to a place called the Serpent Isle. Fearing the worst, he sends the Avatar, Iolo, Shamino, and Dupre after Batlin to find out what they are up to. As the Avatar and his/her companions search for Batlin, they quickly become involved in the Cosmic Horror Story going on behind the scenes.Like Ultima VII, Ultima VII Part II comes with an Expansion Pack, the Silver Seed. Here, the Avatar uses an amulet to travel back in time and collect a bunch of very useful items.Ultima VII Part II was also released on DOS, and can be played on modern systems with the fan-made engine, Exult. It is now available to all along with its predecessor over at Good Old Games.
This game has examples of:
0% Approval Rating: Lord British is liberally (and sometimes literally) demonized by the denizens of the Isle. Everyone hates him for all sorts of crimes, there's a libelous poem found here and there, and the trial in Fawn has one of your companions almost executed for mentioning British's name (and the trial itself tosses all sorts of baseless accusations at you and Lord British). All because their ancestors thought the Virtue system was a bit oppressive.
A Taste of Power: You start out with good gear only to have it swiped by a magic storm.
Apocalyptic Log: There's a lot of these left behind by the Ophidians, like the Hierophant scroll which you get in the hidden cave right at the beginning of the game. Also, there's a very disturbing diary in White Dragon Castle that details how the king brutally tortured everyone to death.
The pikemen at Bull Tower have a curious fixation on the inherent value of raw gold, since they will demand increasing amounts of their regular currency no matter how much you offer, but immediately accept when you offer gold bars, which has a somewhat neglible value (two hundred monetari).
Baleful Polymorph: Ale the parrot is actually a guy named Edrin who got hit by a Transmutation Storm
Bag of Spilling: Explained here, as your items are taken away by a magical storm. What's not explained is why you're back at level three, though.
Also a The Dev Team Thinks of Everything moment. If you try and subvert this event by dropping all the affected items then walking to the trigger point for the storm, the results are the same. There are two copies of that starting beach. You begin on one, and are transported to the other one as the Teleport Storm happens. Justified as otherwise the early plot to recover them would make no sense.
The Black Gate notes that returning to Britannia has the effect of sapping the Avatar's experience, essentially bringing them back to the state they first entered the land in (and also returning their virginity). Possibly the same thing applies to travelling to the Serpent Isle.
Commonplace Rare: One of the common reagents you use for spellcasting is mandrake, and indeed it can be found and bought in plenty of places. Later in the game, an NPC gives you the task to obtain mandrake. For some reason, only mandrake from one specific location qualifies, all the other mandrake doesn't work; and you can't get to that spot yet (semi-justified in that he wants fresh mandrake, and the stuff you can buy is presumably dried: it doesn't make a difference as a spell reagent, though).
Continuity Nod: In the previous game, repeatedly tapping a parrot with a mallet will eventually have him tell you coordinates where a treasure was located. Doing it in this game, the parrot eventually says "That will not work this time!"
As well as the cause of the impending disaster. It's actually a side effect of events in the third game.
Convection Schmonvection: Averted here, as your characters will complain about the heat in Furnace and lose health if you don't cast Chill on them.
Crapsack World: If the magical thunderstorms weren't bad enough, most of the people living on the Serpent Isle are a bunch of bloodthirsty, treacherous, vain assholes.
Cypher Language: The Ophidian script is essentially this - the design of the letters and the presence of the Transcribe spell makes it obvious that it wasn't designed for easy reading (Erstam even lampshades its non-intuitiveness in the manual). It has a 1 to 1 correspondence to the Latin alphabet, too.
Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being a specialist in death magic, Mortegro is one of the few half-decent people in Moonshade.
Dead All Along: The ranger you meet in the Mountains of Freedom. Gwenno is also dead, but you get to revive her.
Debug Room: Claw Island, which you can only get to by teleporting.
Defeat Means Friendship: Beating Luther's overconfident self into the ground, in Monitor, makes him your eternal friend. (Sadly, he won't join your party, though.)
Depraved Bisexual: Frigidazzi comes close when she tries to cast a love spell (or rather, a love dance) on the Avatar. She DOES apologize for getting you into trouble and gives you important Plot Coupons later.
Boydon may count as The Big Guy too, since he starts with maxed-out strength and looks the part. If you dismiss him before the Banes break free, you can rerecruit him as The Lancer until you get your regular team back.
Genre Shift: Despite being made on the same engine as The Black Gate, the gameplay of Serpent Isle is very different from that of its predecessors, playing more like an Eastern RPG.
Get on the Boat: Traveling to Moonshade. To reach Erstam's lab, you have to Get On The Turtle.
Global Currency: Averted here, as each town (including the fortress in the Silver Seed add on) use different currency.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted. The strongest weapons in the game are (in order) an axe, a hammer, and a staff. You do need the Shade Blade for the Banes battle, but it does less damage than the one-handed sword!
Heroic Sacrifice: Dupre sacrifices himself to restore the Chaos Serpent so that the Avatar doesn't have to.
Hookers and Blow: When the Avatar is in the dream realm , he comes across Stefano, who is sitting on a throne surrounded by naked women (some of whom are playing tag). After discussing plot points with the Avatar, Stefano tells him/her to lighten up. If you have a ranged weapon you can kill his dream form and force him to wake up; he is not amused.
Hospital Surprise: Played with here. If the Avatar is killed, s/he is teleported to Monk Isle. The monks try to teleport you back to where you were, though they do miss sometimes.
Hub Level: The "Dark Path" that connects all the Serpent Gates.
Light Is Not Good: When the Hierophant of Balance was mysteriously murdered, the followers of Order blamed it on the followers of Chaos with almost no evidence at all. They used this as a excuse to wage a genocidal war on the latter.
Moving The Goal Posts: Trying to pay the fine at Bull Tower will result in the pikemen demanding a sum higher than what you carry. If you come back with enough money to cover their demand, they just demand more, no matter what. This is because you're supposed to go on a little side quest to find gold bars, which they immediately accept. Hilariously, the gold bars aren't that valuable, and certainly don't measure up to the regular money you're likely to have available.
Order Versus Chaos: The quite literal war between Order and Chaos is the main theme of this game. Your task is to restore balance between these two forces.
Organ Drops: Animals usually drop meat if they are killed - including a wolf you have to fight early in the game.
Although the deer, for some reason, drop five deer legs...
Our Vampires Are Different: Vasculio. He's not a vampire proper, but an undead wizard who needs blood as one of the raw materials to cast the spells that keep him "alive". However, he does otherwise behave like a traditional vampire, with habits such as sleeping in a coffin, and writing bad emo poetry
Pass Fail: Simon is actually a Goblin in a human disguise.
Pixel Hunt: Happens a lot, but especially with finding the Ring of Shal amidst rubble.
Shaggy Dog Story: The resolution to the plot with Batlin and carrying out the Guardian's plan on Serpent Isle, the whole reason you travel to the island in the first place, ends without you having needing to do anything. Batlin attempts to use the parts of the Chaos Serpent to become a god and overthrow the Guardian, who won't have any of that and fries him. Exactly what the Guardian's original plan is isn't stated either.
Shout-Out: The black "magic orbs" are Magic 8-Balls
Stealth Pun: The Sleeping Bull Inn is built on the ruins of an old town, from which it gets its name. The map of Ultima I indicates the town was called Bulldozer.
Stupidity Is the Only Option: When you go to get a tattoo from Lydia, she poisons you. It's pretty obvious that's what she's going to do, since she HAS A POISON DAGGER IN HER HAND. However, you need to have the tattoo in order to advance.
Another example is Frigidazzi. She flirts with you the second she sees you, and it's pretty obvious what she wants to do when she asks you to stop by her house after midnight. And being that she's the Mage Lord's girlfriend, you just KNOW you'll be caught. However, you still have to see her and get caught in order to continue.
Take Your Time: Don't worry, the universe won't come apart at the seams THAT quickly...
The Unfought: Batlin. He's killed at the Wall of Lights in a cutscene.
Unobtanium: Stoneheart. It's needed for instant-death spells.
Unwinnable by Design: The number of plot-critical items in this game is simply crazy, and dropping or consuming one by mistake will leave you stuck forever. By the end of the game your characters' backpacks will be filled with layers upon layers of random items. Things are only made worse by the fact that the game world is still so huge that you're extremely lucky if you even remember where to begin looking for it.
The Fawnish ale you picked up by the Goblin hangout is important to the plot. If you drink it, you may have to start over.
Unwinnable by Mistake: The game release was rushed, so there are many bugs left in the game that can break the plot.
Supposedly, talking to the factory ghosts way too early could accidentally seal off certain places.
Similarly, touching any one of the reused black pillars throughout the game will trigger a certain Test - which then drops you off somewhere you're not supposed to be just yet. Not only does this break sequence, it can break the whole game.
Vendor Trash: Gold nuggets, and gems. You can also sell armor in Monitor.
Wizard Needs Food Badly: In this game, you directly feed the characters with a food item. How full the character is depends on what you feed them. Fruits and vegetables are hardly filling, and it won't be long until the character is hungry again. Meat and cheese, however, are very filling. Just watch out for the characters saying they're hungry when they're actually not.
Your Cheating Heart: The mages of Moonshade do this constantly. It's hard to keep track of who's sleeping with whom. One of them even tries to cheat with you!