Ultima VII: Part Two - Serpent Isle

aka: Ultima VII: Segunda Parte - Serpent Isle
Moby ID: 704
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Description official descriptions

The events of the game take place eighteen months after those described in Ultima VII: The Black Gate. Batlin, the leader of the Fellowship has disappeared, as well as Iolo's wife Gwenno. A map is found that points to the Serpent Isle where the Guardian is still planning to destroy Britannia. Lord British sends the Avatar and his companions to this new land. Once there, the Avatar discovers that a great imbalance is upon the isle and it is up to him to fix it. To do so, he must learn the philosophies of the original inhabitants of this land, who worshipped giant serpents symbolizing the principles of Order, Chaos and Balance.

Serpent Isle uses virtually the same game engine as the first Ultima VII, with some slight modifications in inventory management and NPC portraits (which are now digitized images of actors). The story, however, is more linear and also more extensive. Unlike earlier Ultima games, many tasks have to be accomplished before the player is able to advance to a different area. There are also many scripted events that advance the plot, though the free-roaming is still retained to a large degree, with a vast amount of locations to visit, items to collect, and NPCs to interact with. Combat is handled similarly to the previous game, with a simple real-time point-and-click management of the Avatar's actions, while his/her party members are being controlled by the AI.

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Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 10 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 61 ratings with 7 reviews)

Doug, put away those matches! I'll take your box!

The Good
Now, now, burning game boxes won't solve anything, will it? Especially not if you'd earn decent money by selling it on Ebay. Or you could simple give it to me, since I like Serpent Isle as a decent, engrossing fantasy adventure.

Sure, it's not exactly the families brightest child. Okay, you could argue that Origin wanted to milk the engine. And yes, it strains your patience with its infamous memory manager and some vexing puzzles.

But, hey, its still a good RPG. Think about the huge and detailed game world. Think about all those secret caves you discovered, the credible characters you talked to, the joy of exploration. That's Ultima style for you, and you'll get plenty of it in Serpent Isle. If you liked the others, there's little reason to hate this one.

The Bad
That Dupre d... oops. Almost spoiled your fun. :-)

The Bottom Line
Doug, do nothing you might regret! Hand me that box!

DOS · by -Chris (7766) · 2001

not an Ultima anymore.... but a quite good game

The Good
Ok guys, so this is U7 part two. Before playing this, I've played and completd U6 and U7 - read my reviews, if you want, before reading this one. It has the same graphics (improved, see the inventory display), same 2D engine, same party management. We are in a new world to explore, and in this new world there is a great variety of landscapes (forests, brushlands, mountains, icy lands, flaming dungeons, swamps, and so on). There are only 3 towns, but we face a lot of npcs, with a huge amount off conversation. The plot is more exciting than in U7, definitely. As you begin and go on in the game, you have no idea of its ending, and you are fascinated about this ancient serpent culture that seems to be involved in the game but still you don't know how. So, a new world, new faces, a new culture from an ancient civilisation... and, the dungeons are back again!! There's quite a lot of tunnels, on different levels, to explore (maybe they realized that U7 was so poor, with no underworld levels at all). The northern area si damn cool: all is snow-covered and there are new beasts (the snow leopards are too nice!), temples, a new civilisation again (the gwani). Cool. And the new means of teleportation are very nice (it's something similar to the orb of the moons, but more fascinating).Moreover, the plot is a bit less linear than in U7: there are a few things you can do in an order of your choice (for example, solving the subplots of the 3 main cities in order to get the items of truth, love and courage).

The Bad
it's difficult to explain. What may be a step back for me, it might be a step forward for another player as well. THIS IS NOT A RPG, and it has nothing to do with earlier ultimas. Ok, same graphics and party management, but this is an arcade game, in fact. There is a story you must follow, and various triggered events occour during the game. As you begin, you can only access certain places on the map: the cities of Monitor and Fawn, the Sleeping bull Inn, and a little more. This is opposite to the Ultima core feature: you can go wherever you want, do whatever you want, and have fun just exploring, without following the plot at all. Making the Swamp of Gorlab the only way to get to the northern areas was a bad choice. Since you must go and beat the swamp anyway (in order to get the serpen necklace), it would have been nice to reach the north since the beginning of the game, opening a very huge gaming area for early exploration (northern forest, snow lands, skullcrusher, spinebreaker, Shamino's castle, and so on). I admit this is only my point of view. I say: let's explore everything since the beginning, gathering pieces of information about the plot in the meanwhile, and then start to do things in order to complete the game. Others may say: oh, they finally made a less dispersive game, we like this new arcade-rpg hybrid.Back to the plot: it is cool and fascinating until Batlin dies and the Banes appear. After that, I didn't like it at all. Almost everybody in the land dies. You get to walk in cities and dungeons full of corpses. In general, too many people dies; ok, you restore balance at the end, but at which price? you are almost alone! And the rest of the plot is too abstract (gather various serpent items, visit various shrines, restore a mysteriuos balance in the land). Ok, so the ancient serpent culture becomes the core, but everything is too symbolic- there are a lot of serpent items (earrings, necklace, ring, sword, crown, armour, blackrock serpents, eyes of the serpents.........), and you get very confused about their meanings.

The Bottom Line
Well. This is really a great change from previous Ultimas. They all were rpgs (even U7, although the worst of them all, was an Ultima rpg). This is an arcade-adventure game, with some rpg features. On an absolute point of view, this game is good, really good. far better than U7 for me, since the plot is more interesting, and most of the bugs and the annoyances of U7 are eradicated. From an Ultima fan point of view..... well, if you expect the freedom of U4, you get frustrated. This is not a game where you can enjoy a living world and live in it, getting hours and hours of funny play just walking around, talking to people, exploring the whole map. Still my advice: ok play this, but also play a game from the Ultima enlightenment trilogy - the 3 real Ultimas.

DOS · by Emanuele Borinato (10) · 2004

Very similar to The Black Gate, without all the bugs

The Good
First of all, I'd have to say that I liked this game far more than The Black Gate, part one of Ultima 7. The paper doll inventory was different and interesting, but I'd have to say that that was nothing new--Event Horizon/Dreamforge have been using that method for years. I liked the new setting of the game, with its different monsters and characters. Although this explains where the other towns went--except for Vesper, I don't think they've been in any Ultima game since Ultima 3. The graphics were the same for Ultima 7. The exception here is that you could sell more items for cash in this game, until you got the spell False Coin. Jewelry and certain leather and antique armor items could be sold, as well as reagents--I preferred this to only being able to get gems and gold bars and nuggets in Ultima 7. While some spells were the same, others were different. The add-on for this game was no cakewalk, though, but well worth it--not only did you get the highest stats, you also ended up with some really useful items, like the Ring of Reagents--you never had to buy reagents again! Music was exactly the same as Ultima 7, part one. The ending was really great--the animation at the end was spectacular. And NO BUGS--yippee!!

The Bad
The fact that almost everyone in the towns died at the end of the game--what the heck was up with that?! The fact that Dupre killed himself--ok, so it was to save the Avatar, but WHY?! even have this in there!!

The Bottom Line
Very, very similar to Ultima 7. I think most hardcore Ultima gamers didn't really like the change in setting, but I really liked it.

DOS · by OceansDaughter (106) · 2002

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Trivia

Despite the loss of the source code, some dedicated fans of Ultima VII and VII Part Two are in the process of reverse-engineering the games under the GPL license! See Links/Searches for more details.

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Related Sites +

  • Denis Loubet's site
    Denis Loubet's personal site, which features (among many Ultima-related things) the original version of the Serpent Isle intro.
  • Exult
    An open-source project to reverse-engineer Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part Two. Highly recommended for any fan of these games.
  • Ganesh's Website - Planescape Torment, Ultima 7/8/UW1/UW2 & Jokes!
    Walkthroughs, tips, hints, cheats, trainers, backgrounds, wallpapers, desktop themes, music, mp3s, midi, hand-picked *very* funny jokes and much MUCH more! ALSO: U7 in Win9x, humor, lots of downloads!
  • Ultima 7 in Windows
    An exerpt .. "Thanks to a new and quite brilliant utility, Black Gate and Serpent Isle can be run effortlessly in Windows 95 or 98, with virtually any kind of sound card. With the latest edition (U7.DPMI) it is also compatible with Windows 2000, and possibly even Linux."

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 704
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: JubalHarshaw, Zovni, G. Ganesh, Jeanne, formercontrib.

Game added January 9, 2000. Last modified February 13, 2024.