And thus, after a not-quite-final showdown at the Duchal Palace, the remaining Grand Dukes are saved, the party's collective names are cleared (sort of) and Sarevok is ousted and on the run, with us in hot pursuit.
He choose to hide in the basement of the Thieves Guild, of all places, which proved to be a surprisingly convenient locale for that particular activity, with maze-like structure, traps and high-level undead, kicking the party's ass, all over. A dungeon by any other name, quite possibly the final dungeon, but then how would I know?
The undead prove to be the biggest challenge, with their frequent attacks for 9-12 hit points, which is 1/5 of my character's health, and their irritating 90% magic resistance. The fights with them quickly boil down to a test of luck, determining whoever can connect enough strikes and/or magic missiles to bring down the opposition before Jaheira runs out of healing spells. Needless to say, it's usually them.
|No kidding, I ended up having to load the game seven times just to kill those two fucks|
After the party finally manages to re-deaden the undead, we wander the maze for a while longer, spend ten minutes finding and disarming traps and finally reach the end of the inexplicable dungeon. A body laying beside the door starts up a conversation. It's Sarevok's lackey mage, the one who is responsible for teleporting him away from the doppelganger clusterfuck at the Duchal Palace, as well as providing him with general support throught his campaign. He's basically the Bad Guy version of Elminster, except, y'know, actually helpful.
It seems that Sarevok struck down his ally for rescuing him instead of killing the Dukes like he was instructed, so the mage is out of business (and working limbs), and uses it as an opportunity to blurt out a bunch of exposition I already know, like Sarevok's evil plans for starting a war or the fact that we share the Blood of Bhaal. Baldur's Gate seems surprisingly keen on adding those redundant exposition characters, which makes me wonder whether it's to reinforce their revolutionary non-linear storytelling techniques, allowing people who always pick the "rude" dialogue option and end up killing or alienating all the informants and questgivers to stay in touch with the story, or just for dummies who can't be bothered to read all the story-related documents you come to possess, like Sarevok's Journal outlining pretty much everything the mage says.
One useful bit of info I manage to glance from the conversation is that the Big Bad himself is hiding in the Undercity, which, I can only guess, is located beyond the little doorway conveniently close to the crippled mage.
|See if you can notice where the 3d artists forgot to render the cave wall|
We enter the Undercity. The place is another Diablo-esque decayed crypt filled with much less objectionable (but only marginally less annoying) "normal" undead - low level skeletons and zombies.
|I always wondered where fantasy villains find architects deranged enough to build something like this|
Soon, we find some sort of a Doom Fortress of PainDeath which, I assume, is Sarevok's summer cottage, take a nap on the front lawn and storm in.
|Tonight, on Grave Designs...|
And there it is. The End Boss Battle. The party uneasily approaches Sarevok and his cohorts, as I start mentally counting the number of times I'm going to have to load a savegame.
The fight is as infuriatingly unfair as you might expect in the Final Battle of an infuriatingly unfair game. Sarevok has two cohorts - meathead Tazok and mage Angelo, who seems all too keen to rain magic spells upon the party THROUGH HIS PERSONAL ANTI-MAGIC FIELD and teleport away giggling. Sarevok himself is a surprisingly straightforward enemy, a lumbering pile of Sauron armor that's neither immune nor particularly vulnerable to any form of damage, weilding a huge two-hander, which is thankfully his only form of attack. The arena itself is full of traps and has high-level, melee, Plate-clad skeletons - Battlehorrors, - spawn on it's edges at regular intervals.
After the first few attempts at taking the End Boss Posse on end sooner than I can identify all the enemies on the screen, I come up with a new tactic. In preparation for the last part of the game, among other things, I have purchased a wand of monster summoning, which almost instantaneously summoned a crowd of five creatures from the early game - ogres, hobgoblin archers, gnolls and hellish dogs of some kind, - at a small distance, and had whopping 20 charges in it. A new plan was born.
Since Sarevok is a melee fighter, I should be able to spam an impenetrable wall of creatures in front of him, which he would be compelled to attack by his thick AI skull, while my entire party stands 3 meters away and spams him with ranged attacks, slowly chipping away at his health and methodically replacing the fallen creatures with freshly-summoned ones (You can't have more than five creatures at the same time, but if one of the original five gets killed, casting the summoning spell will get you one additional monster as a replacement). Essentially, I aimed to beat the AI at it's own game. Also, this strategy required the mage to get distracted by shiny objects, and not notice the party, thereby avoiding being "pulled" by the initial attack (as enemies in BG don't rally eachother when they spot a threat). Oh, and I also had to lower the difficulty, because fuck this.
The fight went something like that (Sarevok is the guy in the black armor):
The party almost runs out of projectile attacks to throw at him, there are only 2 charges left in the monster wand, but the leviathan finally bites the dust. Cue the pre-rendered cinematic:
|Dibs on the armor!|
The final cinematic is pretty hard to show in still pictures. Basically, Sarevok falls and his body sort of... like, turns into red dust, which flows through a crack in the floor into some sort of an underground storage with statues, and it destroys the statue of Sarevok... look, it's a sequel hook, alright?
And thus. the almost-but-not-quite avatar of the God of Murder is defeated by
And that's Baldur's Gate Original Flavor for you. Mind, the game doesn't end right there, I get to loot Sarevok's twohander and then walk all the way back to the city and the Duchal Palace (because it's 1587 and the convenient shortcuts from the final boss to the main quest givers had not been invented yet). Still, Final Boss is dead! Yay! As for the happy ending:
|IT'S A SEQUEL HOOK, ALRIGHT?!|