Part 60: SUNRISE ISLE - is basically the last update... so whatever, let's roll.
I finish updates a day in advance, generally. So I thought, you know, what the hell. I already finished the game, and this is basically the last update... so whatever, let's roll.
The Universe's New Greatest Threat: Electronic Arts
Before we head out, make sure you've got everything you see here. Among the required items for successful rebalancing of the universe:
The Hierophant's Outfit:
Chaos Serpent Eye
Blackrock Order Serpent
Blackrock Chaos Serpent (DON'T LEAVE IT IN SKULLCRUSHER)
Blackrock Balance Serpent
Don't discard your fur cap/Helm of Light, because Sunrise Isle is considered a "cold" area and the Serpent Crown is not considered "warm" equipment.
"Alright guys, we're off to Sunrise Isle to make sure Dupre didn't hilariously incinerate his mustache for nothing. So I just have one piece of advice, something my prior companions are probably already familiar with but which you new guys will need to hear."
"And that is?"
"Don't fuck anything up."
Despite its name, Sunrise Isle does not take place anywhere near or involving the sun, nor is any part of the island outdoors. I think it's meant to be a great mountain peak rising from the north sea (I guess that's where the sun rises on the Serpent Isle), but the Grand Shrine of Balance has been built inside it. Don't ask me how the Ophidians got in here the first time to build the serpent gate.
Underneath the gate is a book detailing the workings of the shrine:
~~TEMPLE OF BALANCE~~
Only he who hath achieved balance within this temple may be free to find greater balance on the path to the Grand Shrine.~ He who wishes to find fulfillment must use the fire of chaos and the ice of order to restore balance.
Only a true serpent of fire and serpent of ice will bring thee to balance.
To do that, we'll need to balance these scales. The only things in the entry shrine which qualify are the paired red and blue serpent statues.
When one of each is set up, three objects appear on the pillars.
Same thing in the south. That gives us a chain, a dagger, an abacus, a heart, a rose, and a torch. Now we can leave to the south.
Sunrise Isle is a great maze of cavern passages. We need to find six shrines. This well-tended garden represents Discipline, and since this is the Balance shrine, we need to place an object which opposes that: a rose of Enthusiam, creating Dedication. You can just guess because if you're right the item disappears but if you're wrong nothing happens.
The chest hidden in the corner there only has torches in it. I dunno why they felt the need to give you those here and now.
The stark and wild landscape of this shrine marks it for Emotion. We'll temper it with an abacus to represent Logic and create an atmosphere of Rationality.
A pristine shore recalls Ethicality, so we leave behind a chain representing Tolerance. That gives us Harmony.
A harsh desert requires Enthusiasm to survive. We'll drop off a dagger of Discipline for Dedication here too.
The great stable void of Logic needs a heart of Emotion to create another Rationality point.
Finally, the poisonous swamp of Tolerance needs a torch of Ethicality to guide the way to Harmony.
Placing all six objects properly creates a book at the sixth temple (you're not required to do this in any particular order).
"Great, a magic book. I never could trust these things."
"Isn't your spellbook a magic book?"
"Well, I mostly focus on the pictures..."
"The writing has changed!"
Behold! Thou art worthy to proceed in Balance!
A bridge of Order's blue flame crosses the first half of the chasm...
...and the red flame of Chaos gets us the rest of the way across.
"It would figure we weren't done."
"How did anyone manage to assassinate Ssithnos with this much security? Anyone who wasn't trying to save the universe would've given up and gone home by the ocean temple bullshit."
We need a "Symbol of Order" and "Symbol of Chaos" for our pillars. The snake statues don't do it. Something specific must be wanted.
A chest is trapped by a forcefield in the west, and there's a key in one of the bags here as well.
In the chest is a nearly-useless Infinity Bow (since there's only one fight left in the entire game and it's easy as hell), a couple scrolls, and a book about the Hierophant's equipment.
~~IMPLEMENTS OF BALANCE~~
A devout follower will know the true path towards Balance. Thou shouldst know the arts necessary to achieve Balance. To those of you who have forgotten your lessons -- take heed:
Fire is the embodiment of the force of Chaos,
Ice is the embodiment of the force of Order.
The Ice Diamond and the Fire Ruby are necessary to achieve balance within the shrine.
Disciple of Balance, know the true way to balance fire is with ice, and the one way to balance ice is with fire. Using thy tools of the candles of fire and the solids of ice thou mayest achieve the way to Balance and to the Shrine.
"That's instructive, I suppose."
"Why go to all the trouble of this elaborate double-faceted puzzle if you're going to just give us a guidebook on how to do it?"
"To test... something or other, I'm sure. Some virtue thing."
"We should probably just leave this one to Steve. She seems to have experience with this whole tweaking-the-universe-until-it-fits thing."
The path through the Order side is blocked by a wall of ice.
But back in the Chaos section are some Serpent Candles.
The fires of Chaos can't be tamed right now, so we'll go back to Order...
...and light a candle, destroying the ice wall quite explosively.
"Pretty!" (actual line)
That's the Ice Diamond. Before we go, grab a block of ice.
We can use that to balance the Chaos side and create a path to the fire ruby.
Place the objects as requested and the door opens!
Unfortunately, there's another puzzle.
"Cubes of Order and Chaos? What the fuck, Ssithnos?"
The next part is kind of tedious, and you teleport left and right into the various chambers of the side rooms until you can get at those cubes, which, as far as I can tell, are apparently concentrated blocks of an abstract concept.
Yeah, I don't know either.
Alternate placing cubes of Order and Chaos until an altar with a teleporter is fully created. There, another scroll instructs the would-be applicant for Ssithnos's job:
To commune with the Serpent one must be in possession of the Earrings of the Serpent. Only via these can the Great Serpent channel his words to thee.
To be at one with Balance one must have the blackrock Serpents of Order, Chaos, and of Balance.
To enter into the Grand Shrine of Balance one must wear the Armour of the Serpent, carry the great Staff of the Serpent, and wear the Crown of the Serpent upon one's head.
Only after these are obtained may one enter the most sacred of sanctums of the people of the Ophidian order.
"Alright world, it's time there was a new sheriff... or hierophant... or babysitter, whatever the hell it is I am now."
The teleporter sends the Avatar - and the Avatar alone - to the halls of the Great Hierophant.
By placing the requested implements on the altar, the Order Eye (you were wondering about that, I'm sure) is created.
"I declare thee worthy to bear the emblems of the Great Hierophant of Balance."
"So does this mean I got the job?"
"You know it."
"I'd be more excited about this, but I've kind of got a lot of titles already. As they go though, this one ranks somewhere slightly above Savior of Mars."
"I suppose there's that, at least."
"You guys can get a sandwich after we stop the cataclysmic end of all things. C'mon!"
Finally, we can enter the final shrine, where the Wall of Lights is located. This is an extreme-zoom shot to show off the architectural design of the Grand Shrine of Balance. Note the regular Order side and irregular Chaos side, converging in the center at the altar.
But no sooner do we step inside than the Order Serpent finally catches on to our little game:
"Dost thou think that thou canst chain the Serpent of Order within a prison of Balance?"
"Never! Servants of Order, attack!"
In the game's final combat, the Order Serpent dispatches a handful of ice trolls. If he'd thrown in some frost dragons I might actually consider this some kind of boss fight rather than a speedbump.
"Righto then. Let's get on with that prison of balance thing, shall we?"
"Yes, why don't we?"
"I hate you guys almost as much as I hate my new roommate."
"He's jealous of the mustache."
"There it is. The Wall of Lights. The good one. Now we just have to... well, I'm not totally sure what we're doing here."
"You must make preparations for my reawakening to the Void. Open the Wall of Lights!"
"Alright then, let's try not to screw this one up."
Place the Blackrock Serpents in their appropriate slots (if you have difficulty with this part, go back to Kindergarden until you master shapes).
The Balance Wall of Lights is a mix of blue and red, representing the blend of Order and Chaos.
"Now place the Eyes of the Serpent before my statue."
You can't really tell, but the statue of the Great Earth Serpent is now moving.
"Well, yes, wasn't that supposed to work?"
"Hey hey, we're treading new ground here. Now what, chief?"
"Slay me! Slay me with the Serpent Sword, and send my soul back into the Void!"
"Wait, you're the statue? When did that happen?"
"I think it's symbolic."
"Yeah, I knew that. I was just a bit surprised that I get to stab something as the final act of a ritual. I always wanted to do this!"
And so, as your final act, slay the Great Earth Serpent's statue. He'll return to the Void... and bring you with him!
"Oh boy, stuck in the Void with a goofy Cobra Commander outfit."
The Order and Chaos Serpents fight endlessly over who was supposed to take out the trash this evening.
When up swims the Great Earth Serpent...
...and brings them both to heel.
"There, we are done. Balance is restored. Serpent Isle, Britannia, your Earth, the entire universe, all are saved."
"Worry not about your friend Dupre."
"I wasn't that worried about Dupre."
"Wow, I'm so surprised!"
"Sure, bitch about it now."
"You kids knock it off or so help me! ...anyway yeah. He is one with us, and content."
"I'm not all that content about this jerk!"
"Screw you, mustache-fangs!"
"Sigh. Oh well. Goodbye, Avatar. We thank you."
"Ummmmmm, guys? You gonna send me back or something?"
"Well well well Avatar. You have managed to thwart me once again."
"Thwart you? I wasn't even entirely clear on what you were doing."
"Yeah, admittedly I was a little unclear on that. By restoring Balance where once Chaos reigned you have saved your accursed world."
"But now here you are, poised at the edge of eternity."
"Thanks for reminding me."
"Where would you go? Back to Britannia? To Earth?"
"Ugh. No thank you."
"Yeah. I'm sick of those guys. Seriously, have you listened to them? They're not even worth conquering."
"Perhaps you would join me in another world altogether."
"Actually, I have a better idea."
"Why don't we just quit?"
"What, you mean like, quit Ultima?"
"Yeah! We'll just ditch the place. EA is just going to drive the series into the ground and make us into hilarious caricatures of ourselves. We're in the freaking infinite Void. There's bound to be a better game around here. Someplace that appreciates a giant cosmic force of evil with a muppet face and, uh, me."
"Well, I'm all for it. But what about Ultima? EA isn't just going to let this series die quite yet."
"Screw them. They're going to lose track of what any of this means anyway."
"But what about you? They can find another red guy, but they're not just going to let the Avatar get away."
"Oh, don't worry about that..."
"...we'll just get some white guy to do it."
"Won't they notice it's not a woman?"
"Nobody ever noticed I was one."
Let's break up the somber mood with a better ending: