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December 26, 2011

Dark heart of Uukrul - slowly progressing

Last time I had just found my first Sanctuary in the huge underground city. Since then I have progressed with my party. So far we are all pulling east to get into new territories and on the way we have found new sanctuaries. I finally reached the marketplace. 

Here you can visit a blacksmith to have your broken weapons repaired (I was not too happy to discover you can break your weapons in the middle of a battle. You always have to have a backup weapon with you).


I also found a Maousoleum in which you can resurrect your characters if they die. The bad part - except for paying a lot of gold - is that you loose some attribute points when resurrected. There are, however, a guild just nearby that lets you recruit any new character of the ones pre-rolled. I haven´t tried them out yet so I  don´t know how good they are. 



When you reach enough experience points for your next level you have to visit a Sanctuary to level up. During level up, I have noticed you can increase from zero to three attribute points (totally random it seems). You also get more hitpoints and spell points. Close to each Sanctuary are teleporters. With them you could  write the correct word and then teleport back to another Sanctuary or place. Too bad the place you have discovered are not listed. You have to write them down separately. 




I have still to know any details of my main mission to destroy Uukrul, except that it seems his black heart are locked in by six locks that could be opened by a petrified human heart. I met a femal that faded in before me called, Mara, she mentioned I need to find the frozen hearts. So far I have had no reason to write anything down since every encounter is hostile anyway. 

When you level up you could visit the temples or the mages and if you are of enough level they will give you another ring or school of magic. Here is where I think I can begin to explain the magic system in the game. For both priests and mages you have several schools of magic. Each school have spells divided into categories that relies upon a certain ring of metal. You start at the lowest category which are an iron ring of a particular school. That is the most basic spells. If you are of enough level you might be given a copper ring which gives you access to the next level of that schools magic and so on. It works the same for both mages and priests. 

My only reliable partner is my mage. He could always throw spells in combat if he has enough spell points. My priest, however, invoke prayers and it is not guaranteed that they will be heard which makes him very unreliable. I suppose the chance to succeed also depends on the level or metal of the ring in the school but I have yet to verify it. The priest could summon elementals in battle. Only in level three I managed to summon an air elemental to fight at my side. That is another plus of the battles here compared to Demons Winter.

As said in my previous post, you have to manually enter all the spell names to cast them which forces you to print out the manual and flip through the pages every time you want to use your spells. It is almost impossible to remember the names except a very, very few. Very tedious and that makes me too lazy to use spells unless I really have too.

Other reflections of the game so far includes:
  • Food seems to deplete in a balanced way in the game. Everytime you move or take an action like "Searching the walls", "Looking for a device for a secret door" etc takes time and depletes your stock. It is not too fast and has not become any real problem yet, but not as slow as not draining the money I try to build up to buy better equipment.
  • As mentioned in my previous post, at every door you could Listen before entering. I have not found any practical use for it. You might get a hint if there are any evil denizens on the other side but you still have to go through that door sooner or later anyway, so I just open every door. If you are low on health and want to avoid meeting anyone you would not explore areas in which you have not been before anyway. 
  • Run from combat works very well. Each combat screen is built upon you immediate surroundings. So if you have three doors in the room you are in then they will be in the combat screen as well. It seems you only need two character close to the door to make the whole group flee. Your adjacent enemies are give a free attack but that´s all. Run actually means run. You will not start out in the same hex. You could have run a lot of hexes and you don´t see which hexes as in Dragon Wars either. I discovered that when I tried to map an area where the automap didn´t work. I just didnt get it right. Now I know why.
  • You don´t have to kill every creature in a battle. If you are strong there is a great chance the enemies will flee rather than meet their certain death. I really appreciate the programmers effort to include this feature of the game.
  • Walls in battles prevents spells like firebolts to hit their enemies. You can´t shoot around corners etc which makes battles more tactical.
  • When infected by plague it spreads to other members of the group unless treated in time. Good feature, albeit not fun to suffer from.
  • In battles you often get a general description of a foe like Orc until you actually starts attack him. Then you might identify him as a red orc, orc chieftain or something other more specialised type. 
  • Specific and unusual items you found could be used but they dissappear when you use them, regardless of if you where successful or not. I have bones, rags, ointments, unnamed scrolls, gems and other items I am not sure what to do with.
  • You have the option of Auto-combat but what that means is that the computer will command your characters and attack all enemies without any regard of tactics or protection of the weak mages. I only use this for easy fights. I would like an automatic, computed combat instead.



Notice the door in the southwest and northeast. You could flee through them
My party is slowly progressing but most of my gold goes to buy rations and heal my injuries. I have no money left to buy better equipment. I just got hold of the Chrome Key which opens a gate but right after I stumble into a den of thieves (or rather assassins). I have yet to defeat them in order to progress and have died several times in that battle. So I have to restore a backup from the sanctuary and go grinding for a few hours to reach level 4. Hopefully that will also get me some gold to buy better equipment. The priest is mostly useless so far and totally unreliable in combat. I hope he will be more useful later on in the game.

I am progressing farther and farther from my shops. I have no idea if my shops are the only one in the town or if I will find more later on. I would like to find someone to identify my ? items. I have not found any good weapons lying around so far. You don´t get much loot.

I am enjoying the game but the fights starts to get tedious and the overly difficult one-save-no-regret thing is starting to make things quite difficult. For example, the game saves the game in the beginning of every fight which means you cannot quit and reload. If you are unlucky the fight is impossible to win. In no way there are enough gold to resurrect several characters, much less so to be able to backtrack to the Mausoleum before the whole group is wiped out.


8 comments:

  1. Seems we are at the excact same spot in the game now. I just found the den of thieves and assassins, ran away and was ambushed and had to use all my scrolls and potions to survive.

    It sounds like you have overlooked one thing, which makes the game more frustrating for you. In a Sanctuary you can hit Esc, and choose to "Backup game". This means that if any of your characters are killed you can quit the game and use Utilies -> [2] "Restore game from backup position". You will lose some of the progress and have to replay that part, but in a game as hard core as Uukrul I am not ashamed to go to a Sanctuary and backup the game often.

    Personally I love this game after a slow start. The dungeon is fun to explore with many areas you have to return to later, the automap is very fun which means you can play the game much faster, and there is more a sense of "realism" than in most other CRPGs. And the random encounters are thankfully quite infrequent.
    The listening at doors, as you noted, seems rather illogical, though. Several times my party has heard footsteps or breathing and then found nothing when opening te door.

    Too bad this game never got any sequels and has mostly faded into obscurity. :-(

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  2. @PetrusOctavianus
    I know about the backup feature in the sanctuary. That is somewhat of a relief but still, it takes time to get back to where you left so instead I just copy the game folder from time to time just to be sure to have a fresh backup. I am not following CRPGAddicts strict rules here. This game is as you say, hard enough as it is.

    I am still trying to get experience to level up to level 4 in order to be able to defeat the thieves. The Assassins are very strong, hard to hit and could stun you. One or two hits on my mage or priest and they are gone.

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  3. Heh, just wait until you start meeting Orc Captains, Orc Leaders and Black Orc. Captains hit hard, are heavily armoured and physical attacks are all but useless against them, Orc Leaders cast Silence on your wizard and the one Black Orc I've met did 92 damage in one blow.

    I'm starting to hate this game a bit, since my fighters never increase their STR. They are both lvl 5 and stuck at 12 STR and even though I have plenty of money to buy them better weapons and armour they are not strong enough to carry them.
    Had I known this before I started I would probably have experimented with the character generation so that my fighters would start with max STR.

    Also, it seems like the tougher the enemies are the harder it is to invoke one of the gods. My priest is considering becoming an atheist...

    Have you found any of the hearts yet?
    The first two are quite hard to find.

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  4. BTW, I found that the Silver Swords are far more effecive than Broadswords, and do nice damage even against Orc Captains and Black Orcs. They are expensive, but well worth it. I don't think they break, either.

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  5. @PetrusOctavianus
    Thanks for the tips about the Silver sword. Have you managed to move on ? I must have missed several secret doors because I have no way to proceed after having cleared the thieves den. Right now I am backtracking using Talis everywhere.

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  6. I've just reached the Urshas sanctuary.
    I assume Urmor is the last sanctuary you've found? Have you found the old man Sagaris?
    I don't recall there being any secret doors between the sanctuaries, but the area between Urmor and Urlusam can be rather confusing.
    There is one place you descend a stair and there is a door to the left. Follow the corridor ahead and you enter a cavern from the west. I think the cavern is described as "the air is cold". From here there are three paths to explore. You want to take the southern one and generally head in a southern direction to find Sagaris and the next sanctuary.

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  7. @PetrusOctavianus
    Thanks! It turned out I overlooked an exit on my map. I managed to get on. To bad one can´t scroll through to see all maps at once. Its hard to remember which exits you´ve explored and not

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  8. heres a remake:

    http://pilole.com/uukrul/

    ReplyDelete