Ultima: Runes of Virtue Description and Walkthrough

by Gargish Dragon

Ultima: Runes of Virtue is an Ultima for the Nintendo Gameboy. Your task is to gather the eight virtue rune stones from the eight dungeons which oppose the virtues. The game is very nicely done. You will meet lots of characters from the main Ultimas, including Sherry, Dr. Cat and Chuckles, which gives you a fuzzy warm feeling about the game. Although the game elements are simple, the puzzles which are created by using those elements are quite nice.

Minstrel Dragon got the original Gameboy modules without much documentation, so I'm giving this description as sort of an enhanced game documentation. The graphics are taken from the excellent Virtual Gameboy, DOS version.

The Runes and Dungeons where they are

Honesty The Cavern of Deceit
Compassion The Cavern of Hatred
Valor The Cavern of Cowardice
Justice The Cavern of Injustice
Sacrifice The Cavern of Selfishness
Honor The Cavern of Dishonor
Spirituality The Cavern of Pride
Humility The Great Stygian Abyss


There is a lot of useful equipment available in shops or in dungeons.

Leather armour. This costs $25 and is given to Dupre as the starting present.
Chain armour. Can be bought for $50.
Plate armour. This one can be get in the small cave besides the Cave of Selfishness. You can buy it for $75.
Magic armour. This one is found in the Great Stygian Abyss.
This small dagger is the better-than-nothing weapon which is given to Mariah as the starting weapon. It is available in a shop on the mainland for $3.
This sword is the reliable close combat weapon of choice. You can buy it in shops for $20 on the mainland.
Magic Sword. You can get this sword in the Cavern of Pride
This bow can be bought for $60 in shops.
Crossbow. You can buy this ranged weapon for $35.
This is the Magic Axe which will magically come back into the hand of the thrower. You can acquire the magic axe in the dungeon to the north of Lord British's castle, the dungeon of Deceit.
This boomerang is quite cool: As the axe, it is a ranged weapon and comes back to its throwser, but it can damage opponents even while it makes its return flight. If you move during the flight of the boomerang, it will fly back towards your new position which means you can reach enemies you would normally not have reached.
This small bomb is handy to destroy several opponents. When it hits an obstacle, it explodes in a blast of fire. Be sure not to stand beside the bomb when it explodes!
The wand of fire blasts streaks of fire towards your opponent. It slowly drains magic energy (stars) if you use it for a longer time. The wand of fire can be found in the dungeon of Falsehood, if you follow the advice of ....
The whip is a close combat weapon which reaches two tiles wide.
The lightning amulet. This amulet shoots bursts of lightning at your enemy. It is the only weapon effective against the Black Knight.
Ankh The ankh teleports you back to Lord British. It must be used when you are stuck in a room with no exits or when you want to get out of a dungeon quickly.
Ankh Key. Used to open Ankh Doors.
Heart Key. Used to open Heart Doors.
Star Key. Used to open Star Doors.
Cheese With cheese you can lure monsters at a place where you want them to stay.
Hammer With a hammer you can smash one barrel. Be careful to select the right one, because it is a one-use item. A hammer is normally found near to the place where it is to be used.
Rope You can bridge one field of water with the rope. You can not use the rope while you are standing on a bridge built with the rope, so the use is really limited to one field of water. Each use of the rope needs one magic star.
Food You can fully heal yourself with food, that is refill your hearts display. Be careful with gremlins, they will eat your food when they have the chance to attack you in close combat.
Mana Potion. This potion immediately restores all your mana (stars).
Trumpet This trumpet stops all monsters in the room for a short time so you can finish them off or run away. It is a one-use item. Its use needs one magic star.
Sack This sack contains spikes which can be used against opponents.
Chalice of healing. When you use this cup, you can exchange one star of mana for one heart.
Ghost Boots. You can move through the whole dungeon level freely.
Troll Ring. Makes you look like a troll. You are ignored until you attack.
Restores one life.
This star increases your mana by one star.
This gold coin is worth $1.
This precious gem is worth $5.


The Cavern of Hatred

KLIP&KLOPMove down to second level, move right, go through the labyrinth of rooms. When you are asked to select a door to choose between tiger and princess, select the right door. After returning to the labyrinth, move south around it. Use the first possibility to go down to the third level to get the magic axe. Believe Klip, not Klop, and you will get the axe. To get the rune, don't take the first ladder down but proceed through the large room and take the next ladder down. Solve the presto chango lever puzzle by pushing rocks into the alcoves. Push the presto chango lever, get the key and take the next ladder down. Get ONE mushroom (or any odd number), then try the floorplates until the way to the rune is open. Kill the reapers and the rune of compassion is yours.

The Cavern of Deceit

Don't believe Finn, because he is (mostly) lying. When you first meet him, he will advise you to take the south door to get to the rune. This is wrong. Nevertheless take the south door, you will acquire the fire wand. Go down through the hole. Get the gem, but not the chest. In the next level, get the hammer, smash the barrel which is barring the way down. Finish the trolls in the next level. You can't get the treasure of which Finn is talking, at least not yet. You need to carry a spare hammer from another dungeon to get the treasure. Instead, go through the secret passage and climb down the stairs. Open all doors with the right keys. Go down, and search the whole place until you find the wand. Use the ankh to leave the dungeon. To find the rune, now take the north door. Move down two times. Use the level to control the troll. The next ladder down is a fake. DONT pull the level as Finn suggests. The next level is tricky. Keep on the pressure plates to walk through the large room. Pull all levers in the last level and get the rune of honesty.

The Cavern of Cowardice

Use the ship to go to the island east of the mainland. Enter the cave. Move down, down. Go through the secret wall. Use the lever. Take the SOUTH hole. The wizards can be beaten best, if you move between them. In the next level you have to find the magic rope. Find the hidden door behind the mushroom, go through. Pick the mushroom in the water labyrinth and get the rope. Use the X to return to the last room. Use the rope to cross the two water fields. Continue your way down. Be careful of one fake ladder. Don't use it. In the teleporter labyrinth find the secret doors and use them. The last level is a bit dangerous. Use food to max your life energy. You find the rune of valor here. If you have enough money you might make your way into Zoltans cave on the small island besides the large one you are standing on.

The Cavern of Injustice

Use the ship to move west from the mainland. You need the fire wand from Deceit to remove the black cobweb. Quickly move through the first room since you don't have much time. In the next room head west, then north. Leave the checker board to the north. Tip of the day: The whip is quite useful against slime. To go to the X in the room behind a gate, you need to leave the room to the south, then go east, north and back west into the room, picking up keys and hammers along the way. The room behind the X has the rune of Justice.

The Cavern of Dishonor

This cave is on the southern continent. Use rope and ship to get there. When you reach the sea monsters, use an oil flask to kill them both. Push the leftmost fountain to refill your mana. The ladder down leads to a room where you have two choices, left or right. Try left first.

The next two rooms are a bit tricky, try to kill the beasts with ranged weapons. The next rooms are straight forward, but be careful with the room full of sea monsters. Quickly run through and watch them kill each other. After another set of rooms you get the Rune of Honor.

Use the ankh to leave and enter the cave again. Now use the right exit from the choice above. Be sure to bring one or two extra mana potions with you! Hint: You can only carry one of each type of keys, so to open two doors in a row you have to first open the first door before getting the key to the second door. Second hint: Push the statue surrounded by water for an extra bonus. In the next room, refill your mana by talking to the eep. In the water checkerboard, use the rope n, e, n, n, w, n, to avoid sea monsters. In the wisp/water labyrinth head to the northwest snake corridor, the mushroom will open a door. Some hard rooms later you can get hold of the magic whip.

The Cavern of Selfishness

This dungeon is on the small isle next to Zoltan's cave. You need to cross by rope and use the wand. Get the heart key, be careful of the stone golems. When you have the chance to kill one, it becomes a rock and might bar your way. Find the way through the labyrinth. The Black Knight bars the way in the next room. You must first find the lightning amulet, so find the key and leave to the south. Find your way through the eep eep cave, pick the mushroom to open the gates. This is an excellent place to drop cheese, by the way. Take the way east. Before you enter the room with the wisps, collect two keys. You must talk to an eep eep to remove rocks. In the wisp room is the amulet of lightning. The way back is barred, so use your ankh. Do NOT kill the knight yet. Leave south again, then go south again. Talk to eep to make the lava crumble. To get the chalice first get both keys, Enter the rock chamber, let the reapers kill the wizards. Get the cup. It will heal one heart for one star. You can now kill the Black Knight and move on. The last room is a bit tricky, use the levers wisely and you will find the rune of Sacrifice in the center of the room.

The Cavern of Pride

Go back to the south isle and zap the Black Knight. Enter the dungeon. Pull the level in the second of an array of rooms. Move on until the room with the 6 reapers. Let 4 of them be killed by the others. The right pressure plate produces a barrel, the left one a seamonster. Let the sea moster zap the web, The X changes all barrels to water, so build a canal for the sea monster to reach the left gate where it fires the second web.

Penumbra then tells you two tasks: Get the magic sword south, or get the rune east. You need to continue from the rune, so get the magic sword first. This path is quite short, and you should be back at Penumbra soon. Using two swords is effective against Hulks (actually its quite effective against nearly everything if you have enough lifes, as I found out when playing Dupre).

The east tunnel leads to magic boots wich (according to Klip and Klop) let you walk through walls and enter a passage in this or another room to the south. Use the door in THIS room, as the one in the other room leads to the flooded room. Be sure to get the star key in the transoceanic tunnel which makes the following room much easier.

The Chess club: Read the signs. When entering the chess field, move to QR4 (Queen's Rook 4, first row, forth column), then right to QR6 (sixth column), down to K6 (King 6, 5th row), left to K3 (third column), down to KR3 (King's Rook 3, row 8) and finally right to KR4 (forth column). Voila, you have beaten Dr.Cat once again :-) The rune of spirituality is in the next room.

Now you must contine to the Isle of the Avatar which lies at the other end of the cavern of Pride. In the room with the hearts, be equipped with two swords. The Troll Ring: The room with many trolls has a secret. Pick one of the mushrooms to create a spider. Let the spider weave its webs everywhere before you pull the lever which floods the level except where now web covers the floor. Use the troll ring in the next room with trolls: find a safe position, then kill all trolls and slime. Place the boulder left of interesting places, then change them to a right arrow with the lever.

The Isle of the Avatar

Before you enter the Abyss, be sure to borrow Beh Lem's boat, and stock up your mana potions, which make good Gremlin-proof healing potions in conjunction with the chalice of healing.

The Great Stygian Abyss

First, you should get the magic armour from the pit, as Beh Lem says. Kill slime. Leave NE. Kill Ghosts, kill spiders. Use Teleport, leave S in the SW corner. Take the middle pit. Kill mages. Leave W. Kill mice. In the fork, take the upper branch. Kill blobs. Leave S without touching anything. Kill slime. Kill spiders. Kill reapers, push pressure plate near reapers. Push other plate. Take SE exit. DONT OPEN THAT DOOR! Climb down, get armour.

Kill tiger and climb down. The four elemental rooms: Earth (Rock), Water, Fire (Lava) and Air (Wisps). Grab the star key from the Earth room. Grab the heart key from the water room. Step on the pressure plate in the air room. Use the keys in the fire room.

In the room with the six mages kill the moving bolder. Push the resulting bolder to te left of the treasure chamber and pull the lever. The room with many gates presents another problem. Press the sw pressure plate which releases a troll. Then pull the lever twice to make the troll march into the spider area. Press the other plate to open the way to a mimic with boots. Do as Beh Lem says, but be sure to step on all pressure plates before attempting to do so.

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Updated 17-Aug-97 Gargish Dragon