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File:Ultima VII Serpent Isle box 8976.jpg

Serpent Isle

Ultima 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 VII

Though 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 (Serpent Isle uses the exact same engine 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:

  • All in a Row
  • An Ice Person - Frigidazzi
  • Apocalyptic Log - A very disturbing diary in White Dragon Castle that details how the king brutally tortured everyone to death.
    • As well as the Hyerophant Scroll which you get in the hidden cave right at the beggining of the game.
  • A Taste of Power - You start out with good gear only to have it swiped by a magic storm.
  • Awesome but Impractical - The Armageddon Imbalance spell, which kills everyone except you.
  • 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. Justified as otherwise the early plot to recover them would make no sense.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti - The Gwani
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier - Arguably more so than even The Black Gate
  • Dead All Along - The ranger you meet in the Mountains of Freedom.
  • 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.
  • Dialogue Tree
  • Disc One Nuke - The Silver Seed Expansion Pack offers some. You can start it not too long after you arrive in Monitor.
  • Doomed Hometown - Shamino's castle
  • Dream Land - In Gorlab swamp.
  • Endless Corridor - The Mountains of Freedom has one. You have to search for a randomly generating invisible passageway in the right wall.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave - Nearly everyone on the isle dies after the Banes of Chaos are set loose.
  • Fetch Quest - Varo leaves, blood moss, mandrakes, etc.
    • Twenty Bear Asses - You need "worm hearts" to make Soul Prisms, which are dropped by ice snakes. Thankfully, you can get them from other sources too, such as Frigidazzi's lab.
  • Find the Cure - After getting poisoned by Lydia, the party must make a trip to Fawn to get the cure.
  • Fur and Loathing - Hazard. Even moreso since he has no problem with wearing the pelts of fully sapient beings.
    • He also prides himself on the fact that every animal he ever skinned, including the sapient Gwani, he skinned alive.
  • Gay Option - If your Avatar is female, you can have some Les Yay with Frigidazzi.
  • 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 - Subverted 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard - Batlin.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Name - while Frigidazzi's name fits with her magic specialization, in romantic matters she's anything but frigid.
  • Kangaroo Court - TWICE. Dupre is put on trial in Fawn which is being manipulated by Kalyista and Voldin, and the Avatar is put on trial in Moonshade.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero - The game practically encourages it. Lampshaded in the Kangaroo Court in Fawn, when the prosecution points this out as suspicious behavior.
  • I'm a Humanitarian - Shal the Fiend
  • Isometric Projection
  • Lethal Lava Land - Furnace and the larger Ophidian ruins.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything - Like teleport or transmute things. It is explained that these storms are magical, however.
  • Light Is Not Good - The worshippers of Order murdered the Hierophant of Balance, then they blamed it on the worshippers of Chaos, and used this as a excuse to wage a genocidal war on the latter.
    • Actually, I don't think it's ever made entirely clear who killed the Heirophant. It is clear, though, that the followers of Order blamed it on Chaos with almost no evidence at all.
  • Lost World - The Serpent Isle itself.
  • Minus World - The "land of the dead" where dead characters are sent. You can get there through the teleport cheat.
  • Monster Town - The Goblin and Gwani villages
  • Muggles - The "Mundanes" of Moonshade.
  • No-Gear Level - Mildly subverted several times here. In the places where you are stripped of your inventory, you quickly come across replacements.
    • It's also possible by abusing the serpent bond spell to enter some of these areas without losing your gear at all.
  • One Size Fits All
  • Optional Sexual Encounter - You have a couple here. You can have some in Monitor and with Frigidazzi in Moonshade.
  • 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.
  • Plotline Death - Generally a lot of people, but Dupre in particular.
  • Power Glows - Most magic weapons glow. The Helm of Light and Firedoom Staff glows so brightly, they light up a room! (To be fair, this is the explicitly designed purpose of the Helm of Light.)
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang - Magic Axes and Juggernaut Hammers, as well as regular boomerangs.
  • Precursors - The Ophidians
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old - Columna is actually an old woman. If you take away the Comb of Beauty before she dies, she'll go back to her true age.
    • There's also the realization when you find Shamino's old castle, which predates even the Ophidians. Just how old is he, really?
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent - Played straight with the naga and snakeman enemies, but subverted with the Great Earth Serpent.
  • Script Breaking - You can do this by talking to the ghosts at the burnt out factory.
  • Self-Deprecation - The mocking of Lord British, especially in books.
  • Shout-Out - The black "magic orbs" are Magic 8-Balls
    • The killer rabbit in The Mountains of Freedom. His crazy owner also called him Bugs.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World - The northern region of Serpent Isle
  • 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.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement - The Blackrock Sword is actually needed a few times in the game.
  • Take Your Time - Don't worry, the universe won't come apart at the seams THAT quickly...
  • Take That - You can go after a guy pirating Origin video games.
  • Hub Level - The "Dark Path" that connects all the Serpent Gates.
  • The Maze - The labyrinth in the Silver Seed add on.
  • The Mole - Lord Marsten and Spektor give secrets to the Goblins so that they can kill off the Bear and Wolf clan members. Simon is secretly a Goblin spy. Selena is working for Batlin.
  • 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 unlike the previous games in the series, this game is not a Wide Open Sandbox, so the area where you left the vital item behind may no longer be accessible to you when you actually need it, and even if it is, 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.
  • Vendor Trash - Gold nuggets, and gems. You can also sell armor in Monitor.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential - There's plenty of opportunities in this game for Evil Avatars.
  • Wham! Episode - The event at the Wall of Lights. Batlin dies, your friends get possessed, they run off and kill generally a lot of people.
  • 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,
  • You Fail Economics Forever - The False Coin spell should cause inflation to rise. Then again, the false coins should also vanish after a period of time.
  • 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!
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