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Thread: Played through UW1 for the first time

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: under God's grace

    Played through UW1 for the first time

    I played this game when I was a kid, like 18 or so years ago. But didn't play through since I didn't know English so well. And ever since I've been saving both Underworlds since I've noticed that deep games have gone out of fashion and it has been unlikely that there'd be more games like this. Well, now Neurath is making Underworld Ascension so I decided to play through UW1 after all these years (will play through UW2 in a few weeks). And finally, it's done. Gotta say it has been easily the best gaming experience I've ever had. The game is 20 years old and in my opinion still beats a major majority of modern games with its deep content. And it's not just because of nostalgia, even though I must admit that as I played I did remember quite vividly some happy childhood memories. It's because of the kind of deep content that the Underworld series has. And by deep content I mean making the world deep by having lots of multilayered connections between different characters, things and places, and having an atmosphere of mystery. And history. When locations, levels, things and characters have a history, it enables everything to have more connections between each other, which gives fuel to some really nice puzzles.

    Take the center of each level for example. At some point, maybe four levels down while going through the drawn maps of previous levels, without anyone in game or irl mentioning it, my eye catches the peculiar empty space at the center of each level. And as I go down further, the same pattern continues. No one talks about it, and no conversation even offers it as a choice on what to say, but it's there on every level. And then I finally reach level 8 where the entire plot gets its happy ending and this small unspoken detail gets silently answered. For me, that's a good example of deep content and satisfying proof that the developers made the world consist of much more than the explicit story stuff. The world is there for you to explore, and you should explore because the story doesn't explicitly tell you everything.

    Also I thought it was pretty cool how the grand staircase was logically and consistently at the same northeastern place on every level. I don't see this sort of attention to detail and consistency in many games. And since it's kind of a LotR reference (the Endless Stair in Moria), it only adds to the awesomium of it all.

    Now for the juicy list of BTWs:

    Did you guys notice the friendly whisp making a second appearance right as you use the tripartite key to enter the chamber of virtue?

    What use did the book of duplicity have? I got it as a quest reward on level 6 but I couldn't find any use for it and it served no purpose in the plot. Does anyone have any info on this item?

    Was there ever a golden suit of armor that one could obtain (referring to one of the guys in prison on level 7 talking about a guy in a golden suit of armor jumping head first into lava)?

    Did the armageddon spell have any real use in the game?

    How many of you played pac man on level 5?

    The devs really had a sense of humor. Did you spot the upset spectre named Warren in the storage on level 6?

    What about the door who was actually a mage, were you startled when you tried to open it, erm, him and he started to speak?

    Maybe I'm using way too many spoiler tags, but I'd really hate to spoil such rewarding details as these. At least they were rewarding to me when I discovered them. One more: So you probably talked to Corby on level 2 at the mountainman settlement? Did you notice him as the fictional author of Memoirs of Cabirus? He did talk fondly of him in the game and seemed to know a lot about him, which is another point for consistency regarding details and lore.

    I was actually considering making an LP out of my playthrough, but decided not to. Now I'm kind of regretting it. I can never ever play through UW1 for the first time again. Maybe I'll do an LP for UW2. These games are such gems!

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    Out of interest, how long did it take you to get through it?

    What use did the book of duplicity have? I got it as a quest reward on level 6 but I couldn't find any use for it and it served no purpose in the plot. Does anyone have any info on this item?
    Not sure about that title but there are 2 books on that level that I can recall -- the Book of Honesty and another book (maybe the one you're talking about) that you give to Ranthu in return for an increase in your casting skill.
    Was there ever a golden suit of armor that one could obtain (referring to one of the guys in prison on level 7 talking about a guy in a golden suit of armor jumping head first into lava)?
    Not sure about that. It doesn't ring any bells but I'll keep an eye out for it the next time I replay the series (I haven't done so for over 2 years now).
    Did the armageddon spell have any real use in the game?
    Yes, just make sure you save the game before you try it ;P
    The devs really had a sense of humor. Did you spot the upset spectre named Warren in the storage on level 6?
    And in UW2 he makes an appearance as "Here lies Warrin, chief of servants".
    What about the door who was actually a mage, were you startled when you tried to open it, erm, him and he started to speak?
    I recall reading that the challenge of making that object function as an NPC as well as door proved to be a real headache for the programmers.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: under God's grace
    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    Out of interest, how long did it take you to get through it?
    I played it on and off for about a month, but I didn't count the hours I spent on it. However, there were several days during which I recall playing for more than 4 or 5 hours, so I'd estimate it took me at least 20 hours. I was very careful to explore everything I could, and I tried to talk to everyone I could. Not just superficially but trying to remember things and attempting to form connections between stuff people said. You know, like a detective I don't care that much about the kind of min-maxing and grinding that modern RPGs tend to put out there. Instead I try to concentrate on immersing myself as best I can and playing as if I'm actually there, in this case living the unjust imprisonment of the Avatar. Kind of like reading a good book.

    Not sure about that title but there are 2 books on that level that I can recall -- the Book of Honesty and another book (maybe the one you're talking about) that you give to Ranthu in return for an increase in your casting skill.
    Well yeah, I mean I found the talisman (Book of Honesty) and "On the Properties of Runestones" (which I gave to Ranthru), but I'm talking about the tome whose pages have been torn out entitled "The Book of Duplicity". Actually, now that I think about it, I'm guessing I got it while I was questing for the talisman. I had just killed a fire elemental, when this guy asks me whether I've killed the eight headed fire hydra that has been giving the academy tremendous trouble (this was to test me whether I was honest and fit to receive to talisman). I immediately thought that he meant the elemental, which he didn't. I answered yes and must've gotten the book of duplicity that way. It was only later I accidentally tried to convince him that I had been dishonest, and then he told me where the book of honesty was. That was somewhat perplexing. I guess the developers could have used the name of some other monster there to avoid confusion.

    I recall reading that the challenge of making that object function as an NPC as well as door proved to be a real headache for the programmers.
    Heh, I can imagine! Having the code base for a door object and a character object, and then trying to make a new kind of object that is supposed to be both of those at the same time can absolutely result in difficult mechanological dilemmas, unless there already is an entity system in place that is designed for composing, separating, and controlling multi-component behaviors like that. That sentence may seem like technobabble, but I actually know and mean everything I said there. I'm a game developer, and more specifically an engine dev, and I've had the responsibility of creating an entity system that supported using composition to create behaviors from different components. This is quite different from writing class-hierarchies to define game objects.

    Usually I don't write or speak this much, but right now I'm on fire

  4. #4
    Did you get the black sword? Or the Ring of Levitation?

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: under God's grace
    Yup, both of them.

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