The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: World of Xeen

by Thuryl

Part 91: You Gotta Have Soul

Update 49: You Gotta Have Soul

"The Dragon Pharaoh didn't seem very confident that whoever or whatever's in here could help us."
"Even so, it would seem this craft holds our best hope."
"Fubar still think we should just go into Alamar's castle and beat him up. Worked well enough for everyone else we fight so far."

"Like you even have to ask."

Interacting with this wouldn't do anything if we hadn't turned the power on. Since we have...


It's worth talking a little about the way this works: any stats with a base value of less than 50 are permanently increased by 50 points. That's a huge boost, and it means that if you really want to optimise your party, until you reach this point in the game you can get your stats as close to 50 as you like but you shouldn't increase them above that point. That means going through nearly all of the main plot with subpar stats, though, so for a normal playthrough it's probably not worth the effort.

Since our party's already got pretty good stats across the board, the only things that really got boosted by this were dump stats like Fubar's Intellect or Anleisa and Vandesloof's Might. Not a massive improvement in combat capability, but I'll take what I can get.

"Aw, dammit. I bet we could totally blow up Castle Alamar with this thing if we knew how to get it working."

"This must be who Alamar's supposedly afraid of. Anyone got any ideas on how to get him out of there?"
"First step is to try panels nearby."

Log Entry 3: Subject deactivated and retrieved. Returning to base.

Log Entry 4: Mission objective delayed indefinitely. S.H.E.L.T.E.M. unit escaped Location: VARN 4, CRON vehicle. 3.8 years have passed since last log entry, time spent in stasis in ship's brig. Activating full C.O.R.A.K. personality module to facilitate heuristic problem solving. Will begin search for S.H.E.L.T.E.M. unit immediately.

Log Entry 5: My search for Sheltem has borne little fruit to date. His reasons for imprisoning me in the ship's brig are unclear, his next action unpredictable. I wander the VARN in hopes of finding some clue as to his whereabouts, but nothing has turned up yet. CRON's Wire shows no record of travel between VARNs or to CRON itself.

Log Entry 6: I remain unable to locate Sheltem. The Wire shows signs of his tampering, but he has been careful to cover his tracks and hide his location. The cunning he displays must be a result of heuristic improvements to his mind. I am facing an advanced artificial intelligence uninhibited by mental blocks or behaviour restraints and driven by a will to survive. Sheltem may also be following some internal directive he believes he has.

"Well, we already know Sheltem's side of the story there. He wants to return to Terra so he can 'protect' it, and is more than happy to destroy anyone standing in the way of that goal. The more he's pursued and delayed, the more direct and violent his methods become."
"Right. Like that movie where Michael Douglas get stuck in traffic and then go crazy. Is insightful deconstruction of modern masculinity. But anyway, back to log."

Log Entry 8: News has reached me that Sheltem was posing as King Alamar, but has fled his usurped throne. I should have suspected. Alamar's subjects were saying that he has acted strangely for about four years, but it never occurred to me to question why. The Wire reports that he has lost his connection in the VARN but has fled to CRON. I will seek him there.

Log Entry 9: Sheltem is nowhere to be found. The Wire reports several attempts by Sheltem to subvert the system and regain access, but he has been unsuccessful up to now.

Log Entry 10: Sheltem has escaped CRON and returned to Terra! He ambushed and defeated me in combat, separating my memory core from my body and placing it in stasis in a cave. Fortunately, some natives of the CRON vehicle rescued me from my plight and saved CRON from Sheltem's plan to pilot it into the sun. The VARNs that were to be released on Terra have done so on schedule, revealing that Sheltem still follows one of his directives. I will use the matter transfer device to achieve planetfall once again on Terra. With Sheltem gone at last, CRON will be permitted to continue its star seeding mission uninterrupted from here on.

You know, there aren't many series in which reuniting a legendary adventurer's soul with his body can reasonably be retconned as reassembling a disabled robot, but Might & Magic is one of 'em, and so help me, that's why I love it.

... the S.H.E.L.T.E.M. unit. If it can be fixed at all.

Log Entry 12: After much time and effort, I have determined that Sheltem resides on the original seedship that first settled on Terra. The ship is entirely underwater, but several matter transfer sites exist on the surface of the planet disguised as pyramids. The pyramids have denied me access, of course, but that problem can be solved through the Wire. I feel confident that I will have Sheltem in custody soon.

Log Entry 13: With the help of the Wire, I have infiltrated the starship. Sheltem has activated all of the ship's defenses, sparing no effort to eliminate me. Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to cut Sheltem from the Wire or order him off. I will have to physically defeat him.

Log Entry 14: I was unable to capture Sheltem and he escaped once again. He is in an escape pod heading for the X.E.E.N. project. I am in one as well, seconds behind him yet unable to accelerate to catch him. The Pod has no weapons. Apparently, natives of Terra were right behind me and have activated the seedship's engines and launched. They are in close pursuit.

"Wait, this hunk of junk doesn't even have weapons? They weren't installed at all, even though there are controls for firing them? What a ripoff! When I get my own spaceship, it's gonna be armed to the teeth! I'll be the terror of the skies!"
"Easy there. How about we focus on stopping Sheltem's megalomaniacal fantasies before indulging yours?"

"None of that information seems likely to help us free Corak, but at least now we know it's almost certainly the right thing to do."

"If those are mean orbit and temperature, what are nice orbit and temperature?"

"Ah, this promises a way to be freeing Corak! Most excellent!"

This is a simple subsitution cipher: 1 is A, 2 is B, and so on.

But if you're even a little bit familiar with Star Trek, you can save yourself the trouble of deciphering it.

"Here's hoping he's still sane after all those years sitting there alone. I mean, out of a sample size of two of these guys on Xeen, at least one is definitely nuts. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence."

"... and has done much evil in this time. My instruments show that Xeen has begun to drift out of its orbit, indicating that Sheltem has full control of Xeen."

"That about matches what we've seen and heard so far, yeah. We were sort of hoping you'd have a plan for what to do about it."

"I have orders to stop Sheltem's galactic rampage, but I am unable to fulfil them. If I were to leave the safety of this ship, Sheltem would surely detect me with his newfound powers and slowly drain the strength from my body. I would never reach him. If you had some means of transporting me past his defenses, I would have a good chance of defeating him in battle. Without that, I cannot prevail against him." (+5,000,000 experience)

"This is a tall order that we have been left with. Perhaps the Dragon Pharaoh can be of further assistance?"

"... access to the city and all other areas and devices they still control. You will be known to them as the Chosen Ones. Go now to Olympus and find the Soulbox. Once you have it, take it back to Corak. He will instruct you from there."

"Ooh! Fubar always want to be chosen one! This totally make up for getting passed up for prom king!"

We can now use the stairs up to leave the Dragon Pharaoh's pyramid, which takes us to a little cloud island in the middle of nowhere with a whole lot of dragons surrounding us.

"I'm guessing that boat there is our ride to Olympus. Better deal with all these dragons trying to break into the pyramid first, though."

Now that we have the Dragon Pharaoh's permission, we can set off to Olympus from either the Great Pyramid or the launch point near Castleview. Of course, we could also just use Town Portal.

"To think: we're about to be in the presence of the gods themselves. I am honoured beyond words. And you had all better be on your best behaviour!"

The first thing to notice about Olympus is that aside from the main streets and the inside of buildings, all of the ground is made of clouds. Pay attention and don't be standing on a cloud when 5:00 a.m. comes around, or your Levitate spell will wear off and you'll be rudely deposited in the middle of the desert.

Apart from that, though, the city is safe, friendly and monster-free. It's a nice break from all the hard work we've had to do to get here.

"Huh, there's some kind of poem on this statue..."

There are three more statues around the corners of Olympus, giving us the rest of the poem:

A golden bird will sorrow ease
Sweet song will Knight's lost soul appease
Help the rider to soothe the beast
Gain a flight when expected least
The symbol of royal power
Frees the Queen from evil tower

Dragon's orb the world shall roam
Yet must again return to home
Pharaoh's magic back in its place
Helps to free the visitor from space
Code's the key to thinking machines
Starman knows the truth about Xeen

Dragon once more will get you by
Owns key to city of the sky
Starman needs to hide in a box
Alamar's defenses outfox
Face to face in Alamar's lair
Out of the box springs the land's last prayer

"Hey, it's talking about all the stuff we've done up to now, plus what we're about to do! That's super creepy! Who's been spying on us?"
"I'm fairly sure it's a prophecy. It would have been nice to know about all of this in advance, though."

A careful search of Olympus reveals the answers to most of the optional puzzles throughout the game, in case you were stuck on any of them.

"Is old news, but thanks anyway."

"I gotta say, I was expecting something in the way of golden thrones, not picnic tables. I mean don't get me wrong, it's nice and all, but it's not very... godly."

"Many thanks, my good man. We shall be keeping that within our minds."

"Probably a good thing I wasn't able to blow it up with the weapons on Corak's ship, then."

"Ooh, gods have blacksmith! Must have best weapons in Xeen here!"

I don't think I've seen obsidian stuff in Olympus' blacksmith (although I don't know for sure that it can't show up), but pretty much every other top-tier kind of gear can be generated. I'm definitely picking up that kinetic chain mail to give Anleisa a big energy resistance boost at the cost of some AC (which she probably doesn't need any more).

"Why does the tavern have a sewer access right here in the front room? It's plainly unsanitary."
"Even more unsanitary to need it and not have it. Gods not have time for social niceties like excusing self to go to bathroom. Just open hatch, and problem solved."
"Well, aren't I glad I asked."

"New food Fubar not try yet? Cannot miss this chance!"

Why, hello there, that looks like another callback to Clouds of Xeen. Remember Ligono, the ghost who wanted us to find his skull? If I quickly hop over to Clouds and redo Ligono's quest, then come back here...

"... is almost impossible, you should just walk in from the front already."

"Almost impossible? That sound like challenge!"
"I'd prefer if we were to finish saving Xeen before getting ourselves killed in an unnecessary battle."

"Food of gods for sale at surprisingly reasonable price. How can Fubar say no?"
"Wow, this is great. If the food here is this good, imagine what the drinks must be like!"

The tavern in Olympus offers a few little hints to postgame quests, as well as the usual bits of gameplay advice that you hopefully know by now.

"Whew. Ain't no drinkin' like drinkin' with the gods. Anyway, let's... what were we here for again?"
"Some kinda thing to help Corak hide from Alamar. A soulbox or whatever."

"Ha! Even in this crapulent state, my magical skills rival the gods themselves!"

The guild here offers every spell in the game, which would be great if we didn't already know every spell in the game.

"You think you have something you can teach Fubar about fighting? Fubar take you all on at once, with one hand tied behind back, and other hand tied behind first hand!"

Olympus' training grounds could train us higher than anywhere else in the game, to a maximum level of 200, except we're fresh out of cash.

"Good time to explore sewer while senses still dulled."

"Wow, even the sewers here are just full of fluffy clouds."
"Waste probably dumped in desert below. Not ideal for local environment, but good for city."

"I wonder what kind of treasures the gods accidentally flush down their drains..."
"Look outwards! Anything could be hiding in there, even a venomous spider or serpent! You do not wish to be bitten by a life subtractor!"
"You mean a death adder?"
"Eh, same thing."

"Well, that was anticlimactic."

"Why is it that every sewer we've been to has had people living in it? I guess as sewers go, this one's pretty nice, but still."

"Ooh! Chance to be trendsetter! First outside Olympus to have pet of gods!"

The game is piling on the Star Trek references kind of thick at this point.

"What an odd thing to say. Oh well."

There are two more notes in sewer grates, reading "BL" and "ES". Finding all of them requires using two different sewer entrances, on the east and west sides of town.

"Between this and the notes, I'm gonna take a wild guess that we'll need the password 'tribbles' to get to the soulbox."

"Called it."

This part of the sewer is only accessible from the entrance in the tavern. Giving the correct password opens a passage, leading to a ladder back up into an otherwise unreachable part of town.

"Now that's a promising name."

"Looks much too small for person to fit in. Must be strong magic."

"Score! Let's get this back to Corak."

"Oh, don't worry about us. We're very careful and responsible."

"By the way, speaking of holding on to things, did anyone think to buy any of that Olympian booze in bottles to take with us? 'Cause it was really good."
"Don't worry, I've got it covered. This means you owe me, by the way."
"And I'm sure you won't let me forget it."

The party's last stop before Castle Alamar is to remove the aging caused by the stat-boosting device in Corak's ship.

With that taken care of, we're ready for the final dungeon.

No more detours, no more sidequests, no more preparation. It's do or die. Next update, Sheltem, the villain pursued by three parties of adventurers across five worlds, makes his last stand on the Darkside of Xeen. Don't miss it!