Ultima: The Dark Core Walkthrough

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Ultima: The Dark Core Map (click to enlarge)

The following is a walkthrough for Ultima: The Dark Core, by Michael D. Hilborn a.k.a. A New Breed of Dragon.
It is based on the original walkthrough by Houston Dragon.


"Howls of thunder and wind engulf the world you know as Britannia. Rivers of magma flow through a broken landscape as if the earth bleeds a fiery blood, and the sky churns in a cauldron of scarlet clouds. Yet here, isolated upon a promontory thousands of feet above the wasteland, you can do nothing but stare at the mountain before you. No, not a mountain; a monument erected to the conqueror of this land, Britannia's new Guardian."

The Avatar has become the Titan of Ether, fleeing the dying land of Pagan with the power of the Blackrock Obelisk. Upon returning to Britannia, the hero is immediately kidnapped by the Guardian and pulled into the Ethereal Void. There, the Guardian gloats that he will use the power of Exodus' psyche the Dark Core to destroy Britannia, and wishes the Avatar to watch, but in his moment of triumph, is actually pulled into the core itself. The Avatar is pulled in shortly thereafter. The hero must escape the Dark Core and find a way to return to Britannia.

Upon entering the Dark Core, the Guardian immediately appears. Unstable after being pulled into Exodus' psyche, the Guardian tells the hero to seek out Erethian to learn how to free them both from the Dark Core.

The Library[edit]

The Avatar now finds themselves on the northern edge of a strange woods, similar to the forest near the hero's home on Earth, yet altered. To the north is a moongate which leads to the Dark Core's inner sanctum. Far to the south past a crossroads lies a a treehouse. Go there, and descend to the basement. Examine the bookshelf, and carefully make note of all the scrolls, you'll need their information for later. Pay special attention to the crystal ball. It will reveal four elemental symbols and the corresponding sound associated with them. Also take note of the fifth special symbol which appears, representing one of the eight virtues. There is also a scroll on the main table, which reveals the secret to understanding the inner sanctum. The books contain backstory about Britannia.

To the right of the bookshelf, examine the painting of the cover of Ultima V. This will reveal a series of buttons:

Darkcore-Key01.jpg This pattern opens the painting to Erethian. Darkcore-Painting01.gif
Darkcore-Key02.jpg This pattern opens the painting to a bucket, which you should take. Darkcore-Painting00.jpg
Darkcore-Key03.jpg This pattern opens the painting to show a spinning globe. Darkcore-Painting02.gif

Erethian is understandably angry that you disrupted his studies on the Isle of Fire by sending the Dark Core back to the void. During this process, Erethian was also absorbed into the Dark Core itself. Erethian recommends the hero talk to the wisp that had also been absorbed into the Dark Core, and that the Dark Core is very similar to the wisp information matrix. Finally he explains those who are absorbed find themselves experiencing a reality shaped by their own memories, and every creature in the Dark Core faces a different reality. Say "bye" to end the conversation.

Before leaving, turn the globe on the main table five times, to get a feeling of someone watching you from behind. Turn around, and take the Guardian symbol of Earth, and the hourglass.

Darkcore-HourGlass.jpg Darkcore-GuardEarth.jpg

The Forest Pool[edit]

Return to the crossroads, and this time go east to the Forest Pool. Dive straight into the water, and quickly swim to the end of the pool. There, hidden in a small doorway is the Guardian Symbol of Water. You have to go quickly, or you will be forced to surface from lack of oxygen.


After retrieving the Guardian symbol, walk around the pool to the gazebo. The table here closely resembles that which the hourglass was originally taken from, so place the hourglass here to summon the wisp.


This wisp has been in contact with Erethian, but will soon realize you are actually the Avatar. The wisp explains that the Dark Core is a plane of existence used to store information, for it contains data far beyond what could be held in a physical space. This particular wisp had been selected to make contact with the Dark Core, but had unfortunately become absorbed by it, as Erethian, and the Avatar had been, and was now trapped within. The wisp goes on to explain that when Exodus' psyche and the matrix were separated during Ultima III, it began to look for a new host to assimilate to serve as its psyche. Finding the previous creatures absorbed unsuitable, the Dark Core hoped to use the Guardian for this purpose, a process the wisp found most worrisome. The wisp asks you to go to Erethian to learn more about how to prevent this "assimilation" process. Erethian realizes he and the Avatar will be destroyed if the assimilation process takes place, so tells the hero to return to the wisp and ask about the "heart" of the Dark Core. The wisp will explain that the medallions you have been collecting represent the Four Cards of love, sol, moon, and death originally used to destroy Exodus, and will be needed to stop the assimilation process.

The wisp has a particular interest in the primitive human concept of time, and thus is willing to trade the hourglass for a representation of the information storage device known as the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom. "Transact" with the wisp to conclude the trade. This will prevent you from talking to the wisp again after ending the conversation, though.


As you leave, fill the bucket with water. You'll need this later.


The Stairway to Heaven[edit]

Return to the crossroads, and this time turn west. Head to a strange spiral stairway, and ascend up into the skies. At the top of this stairwell is the ethereal shrine. Approach it, and use the symbol of the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom upon the shrine to activate it. The shrine will ask you which virtue you wish to meditate upon. This virtue is represented by the symbol you originally saw within the crystal ball of Erethian's library. The altar will ask you the corresponding mantra, which can be found within the books of Erethian's library.
Virtue Mantra
Honesty Ahm
Compassion Mu
Valor Ra
Justice Beh
Sacrifice Cah
Honor Summ
Spirituality Om
Humility Lum

Finally the altar asks you which mantra combines the principles of Truth, Love, and Courage. Answer, "Veramocor", to receive the Guardian Symbol of Air.


Sewer Maze[edit]

Descend the stairway. Just to the west of the crossroads, look to your right, and head into the woods to the south. There is an abandoned well. Descend down the rungs to enter the sewer maze. If you get too lost, the Guardian will come to taunt you, transporting you back to the start of the maze beneath the ladder.


Follow the map to the southeast corner. Be careful, east and west are reversed on this map! If you're having difficulty, go all the way south, west, south, west, south, and finally west. As you approach the symbol, you'll be momentarily disoriented by a flash of light. Turn around, and there you'll see the chamber for the Guardian Symbol of Fire. It's too hot for you to touch, so use the bucket of water to cool it down. Take the cooled symbol.


The Inner Sanctum[edit]

You should have in your possession all four Disks of the Guardian and the Symbol of the Codex. Head back to the crossroads and go north through the moongate into the Inner Sanctum. First, douse all of the candles. Then use the map you found on the table of Erethian's library to guide you through the correct sequence to light the candles. The Guardian's eyes move in the proper order. Take the red moongate to access the Heart of the Dark Core.


Heart of the Dark Core[edit]

You have finally entered the Heart of the Dark Core. Here, the Dark Core is assimilating the Guardian so that Exodus can be reborn. You are blocked from your final destination by a chasm, so use the control panel. Long ago in Ultima III, the password 'Evocare' was used to pass the Great Earth Serpent to enter the Isle of Fire. Use this same password in runic again, to gain entry to the Heart of the Dark Core.


Approach the Guardian, you can see him being slowly assimilated by the Dark Core, a process which you need to stop by using the four symbols of the elements you have collected. Be careful during the next part, for if you use the symbols in the wrong order they are lost, and you will have to restart the game (This section is MUCH easier with the sound turned off).

The disks must be used in the order: love, sol, moons, death. Click on the Guardian until the sound changes to the correct tone for the appropriate symbol.

Darkcore-GuardFire.jpg The Disk of Fire represents Love. Use it on the Guardian when the air thunders with a metallic pulse, its howl reminiscent of a fiery comet shrieking across the sky.
Darkcore-GuardAir.jpg The Disk of Air represents Sol. Use it on the Guardian when the air thunders with a metallic pulse, its wail as deafening as a winter gale.
Darkcore-GuardWater.jpg The Disk of Water represents Moons. Use it on the Guardian when the air thunders with a metallic pulse, which is prolonged, deep, and resonant, like a bell sounding from fathoms below the sea.
Darkcore-GuardEarth.jpg The Disk of Earth represents Death. Use it on the Guardian when the air thunders with a metallic pulse, which is deep and muffled, as if resonating from deep below the earth.

The End[edit]

With the last card inserted, the Heart of the Dark Core begins to crumble, and you quickly run to the safety of the red moongate to save your own life. The Guardian also breaks free in the resulting chaos and saves himself.

The Dark Core of Exodus is destroyed, and you and the Guardian are freed from the machine's clutches. Instead of being grateful, the Guardian promises to continue his quest to destroy Britannia and Earth.


Game Ultima IUltima IIUltima IIIUltima IVUltima VUltima VI
Savage EmpireMartian DreamsUltima Underworld IUltima VIIUltima Underworld II
Ultima VII Part TwoUltima VIIIUltima IX
Console Ultima III (NES)Runes of Virtue
Fan Games Ultima IV Part 2Ultima V: LazarusThe Ultima 6 ProjectUltima: The Dark Core