Wizardry 8 - Part 14 - Ascension Peak

This is my second-last blog post on my Wizardry 8 progress.  So close!!

When last I blogged, I was about to turn my swords against my soon-to-be-former allies, the Rapax.  I was going to bust out two of their prisoners, an Umpani and a T'Rang, kill the Rapax King, then take the Umpani and T'Rang prisoners to their respective HQ's.  I'm going to kill the King because I know (thanks to an earlier save/reload) that when I pick up the two prisoners, they will demand that we go kill said King because "otherwise he'll come after us".  Meanwhile committing regicide is sure to keep the Rapax off our backs, but whatever.

Because I don't hate myself, I was intending to shortcut this process by planting a series of teleport spots in key places around the world.  That way I could keep combat to a minimum.

This plan...worked like a charm.  I freed the prisoners, then jumped to the Rapax King and commenced combat - I felt like a group of 6 heavily armed men leaping out of a cupboard.  The King dies in about 3 rounds (hooray!) and drops a Cave Key, which opens the nearby prison with the Queen in it.

The Rapax Queen and her cleavage

The Queen doesn't say much, just that she was imprisoned because she disagreed with the King's plan to join with the Dark Savant.  She warns me about the bomb in the tower, and that's about it.

Why oh why they decided to give her jiggling boobs is beyond me.  It's like watching sexy Godzilla.  I am, of course, not the first one to comment on this sort of thing:

I do like Sluggy. (Source here)

I then go to the T'Rang and Umpani strongholds.  In each place I then endure the following conversation:

     Ruler (pointing to prisoner of opposing race):  Ahh!  An Umpani/T'Rang person!  Kill them!

     Prisoner:  No!  We have to work together to kill the Dark Savant!

     Ruler:  But I don't want to!

     Prisoner:  You have to!

     Ruler:  Well....ok.

     Me:  I hope you didn't pay the writer twice for these two conversations.

The T'Rang then say that that they know the location of the Dark Savant's Ship (which is true, because I gave it to them).  They tell the Umpani, who ask me to go fire a big missile on the roof of their compound.  I saw several big missiles up there earlier, when I was exploring how you'd kill the Umpani if you sided with the T'Rang.  I thought it was a lot of scenery that did very little.

So I go to the top of the Umpani base, and after some fiddling around I learn that I enter the co-ordinates into the computer at the base of the missile, and NOT into the massive control tower with banks and banks of controls.  I briefly envisage the Umpani firing their high-tec missile defence system by having one guy running around from missile to missile, manually entering co-ordinates into each one.  Like someone setting off fireworks with a sparkler.

Something about this screams "OHS risk"

I enter the co-ordinates, ship goes boom.  But the Umpani say that they "can't be sure the Dark Savant was aboard".  Well of course he wasn't bloody aboard, or the end of this game would be very dull.  The Umpani and T'Rang swear that they will turn up to back me at Ascension Peak.

Well, that's the end of the side-quests.  Next it's take care of the bomb in Arnika Tower.

I use my well-placed teleport spot to jump immediately to the Arnika Tower (bypassing lots of angry Rapax), where I find a bunch of Savant Henchmen and a "press the right combination of buttons" puzzle.  Odd that they've got this system in place to prevent accidentally disarming the bomb, but nothing to stop it accidentally going off.  I guess occupational health & safety is not high on the Dark Savant's list of concerns.

In any event, I switch off the bomb and teleport out.  Now it's time for the real end game - ascension peak.  My last teleport spot takes me there (again bypassing angry Rapax).  And the real end of the game begins.

Ascension Peak is basically a rocky mountain.  Occasionally there's pools of water and the odd tree, but mostly it's bare.  Very soon I come to a large circular area with three gates leading away from it, and this interesting statue in the middle:  

There are three statues here: a Rapax, a Trynnie (not pictured) and a Hilgardi - each pointing towards one of the three gates; each gate has two statues of the relevant race on top of it.  There's also a lot of enemies (boo), who are fairly strong (hooray!).  I try and teleport out just as a test and learn - I can't.  I'm stuck here.  Hm.  This could be interesting.

I pick the Rapax gate.  It's locked as tight as can be, but I've got a fairly high lockpick so it's not a problem.  Actually I've never explained the lockpicking mini-game, but it basically works as thus:  click a lot.

Keep clicking the tumblers until they are all raised.  Try not to fall asleep.

I head into the Rapax Gate.  

Beyond the Rapax Gate the land looks...much the same really.  There's some evil-looking pools of water and some unpleasant skeletons lying around.  And a lot of monsters, all of whom look vaguely demonic.

There's no exploration here, it's one long corridor.  At the end I find a temple, and inside I'm suddenly visited by Aletheides - the robot guy from the very beginning.  He then asks me what force the Chaos Moliri, McGuffin #1, represents.

Aletheidies again.  No longer in the middle distance; still needs a hat.

And for the life of me I can't remember.

I look at the Chaos Moliri:  no clues.  I go through my in-game journal:  it's not there.  I go through my blog posts:  not there.  AARRRG I've been told this - why can't I remember????  It's something to do with death...chaos?  Destruction?  Endings?  Dying?  I was told in past conversations...I can't even go back and listen to them again!  I give up - thank the Lord for the internet.  Without it I would have been very unhappy - I can't even go back to my in-game conversations to learn the answer again.

The answer (spoiler) is "change".

When I answer correctly, double-doors swing open and I find a depression at the end of a corridor that obviously is supposed to hold one of the McGuffin's three.  I put the Astral Dominae there and there's a rumbling sound...I think I can see some walls shifting in the background.  Then a teleporter appears - it takes me back to the group of three statues that I saw early on.

McGuffin #1 in place - 2 to go.

Ok, this is fairly obvious now.  My educated guess is that each one of the three races represents one of the McGuffin's three.  I go to the end of each section, say what the McGuffin represents, then put it on a pedestal.  When all three are opened, a doorway will appear.

Very soon it turns out that I'm completely correct.

The Trynnie door is next - it's still mostly bare, but now with a few trees, plants, blue water and such.  The monsters are all animals - lizards, slimes, etc.  There is one significant exception though - as soon as I enter the gate I'm attacked by a large pack of Rapax including the harem-hopping Rapax Prince and a female Rapax called "Al-Usagi".

"Al-Usagi"?  Why is there a character named...oh...yeah.  So it seems Usagi  and the Demon Queen had a kid.  Nice touch.  Al-Usagi keeps spawning new Rapax too, which makes the name really fitting.  The character is a samurai, so I named him after this guy.  But she's hanging out with the Prince, keeps spawning new Rapax and her name literally means "rabbit".  Anyway.

After killing Usagi's child and grandchildren, I start exploring the Trynnie area.  There are Trynnie statues throughout that point in the direction I should go - this is helpful because the area gets a bit confusing when I eventually find a temple with huge stone slabs blocking the entrance.  After much fruitless searching I eventually that this must be where I go at the end of the game - why it's behind the Trynnie door I do not know.

Anyway, I soon find a second temple and meet Aletheides again. He asks me which force the Astral Dominae represents, and this one I remember - it's life.  He then asks me who the creator was - and fortunately I remember this from Wizardry 7 - there's this God "Phoonzang" who keeps getting mentioned.  There's another receptacle, and more rumblings when I put the Astral Dominae into it. One to go.

The last one is the behind the Hilgardi Gate.  This one has no change in scenery, it's all just bare rock, and the monster are mostly crystal unicorns, with one important exception.  Halfway in I meet a Trynnie Shaman (why he's not in the Tyrnnie gate I don't know) who has a little campfire and shack.  He demands a truly exorbitant amount of gold, which I refuse.  I don't need the money, but it's the principle of the thing!  He then calls upon an interesting visitor...

Ok.  NOW you got my attention.  Sadly though, it turns out to be not that difficult.  I hack the thing's toes until he collapses (death-by-toe-injury. He had it coming).  I then wonder just how long this Trynnie's been sitting there.  According to the in-game lore, Ascension Peak is as old as creation, and no-one before me has ever had the McGuffins 3 to warrant coming here.  So...why is he here?  And now I think of it, how did he get in??


I find the temple and tell Aletheides that the last McGuffin, the Destinae Dominus, represents knowledge - then I put it on the altar and I hear the gateway finally opening. Mind you, I've got to go back through the Trynnie gate and kill the re-spawned monsters on the way there - because if it's fun doing once it's fun doing twice, right?

I arrive at the now-open gate, and naturally see a familiar figure standing on the stairs...

But that will do for this blog post I think.  Next time - I finally finish this beast, completing not only Wizardry 8 but the entire Dark Savant Trilogy!

Time spent so far:  Approx 178 hours

Thoughts so far:  This game just does not manage the difficulty curve. This is supposed to be the hardest level of them all, and I just swept through it without even needing to rest.