Ultima 6 logo

The story so far: er, well, actually, it's a little bit complicatd. Let's just say there were five other Ultima games (set in the land of Britannia, an exciting place full of trees and walls), lots of exciting things happened in them, and now here we are at the sixth exciting episode. An episode in which you, playing you, are called back to the land of Britannia by Lord British (the big cheese) to rid it of gargoyles. They've apparently been coming up through the sewers and no amount of Flash gets rid of them, so only you (aided by several other stout fellows) can shift them.

As ever the game's viewed from above and slightly off-centre, so there's a 3D-ish look to things. Your party is controlled as a group, simply by clicking in the direction you want them to walk. Objects can be acquired and used, signs read, people talked to and fought, and all the other things done without which an adventure wouldn't be an adventure.

What does 'Ultima' mean anyway?
Britannia's a big place and there's an embarrassingly huge number of objects lying about. Most people are oly too happy for you to walk into their houses, have a good look round and nice all their stuff - in fact they'll even talk to you while you're gaily pillaging their homes. As them nicely and they might join up, or just chat to them generally about what's going on and you may learn some interesting stuff. With the help mode on, words they'll respond to further are highlighted in red whenever they're spoken - bit of a giveaway, this.

Magic is a big deal too and the manual enthusiastically wibbles on about which ingredients are needed for what spell and what you should be wearing to cast it, etc. etc. In fact spell casting's a real piece of cake - just click on the Cast icon, choose a spell, and, providing you've got the right ingredients, whoomph! there it is.

Yes, all this would be fine and dandy if it weren't for one thing: disks. Ultima 6 gets through disks like the Windsors get through marriages. Firstly, you have to install the game either onto hard disk or four floppies, and this process takes at least 20 minutes of very tedious disk swapping. Then, during the game, virtually every time you move a character a new landscape has to be loaded and there's another disk access. Click 'Talk To' and you need to change disks. Click 'Use' and you often need to change disks. Click flippin' anything and you need to change disks.

In fact there's so much disk swapping and accessing (particularly on single drive systems) that the game slows down to a crawl and you dread doing anything just in case it provokes a "Please insert Portrait disk" prompt. It's not as if the graphics and music are so awe-inspiring that they warrant this sort of boredom; yeah, they're pleasant enough, but a little dated, and very slow.

Hmmm
Despite its relatively sophisticated exterior, Ultima 6 has its roots way back in the games of the early Eighties. Simplify the graphics and sound and you're left with little more than any type-in listing of that period could offer you. It seems odd that nowadays, with the polish and user-friendliness of games such as The Secret of Monster Island and Another World about, the anachronistic and unfriendly Ultima series should still be so popular.

Undoubtedly there is a lot for you to see and do, but there's virtually nothing to reward the casual player. Dedication is certainly the key to enjoying Ultima 6, but not least because of the terrible disk accessing/swapping problem. If you've followed the rest of the series then you may as well go to the whole hog and get this latest instalment, but don't go expecting an easy time of it.

If Origin aren't careful the Ultima series could well share the same fate as the Infocom games: obstinately sticking to a frankly outdated formula simply for the hell of it, while progress and the games-buying public moves on to newer and greater things. In corporea sans ultima propio, as they say.


Ultima 6 logo Amiga Joker Hit

Nach der ultimativ langen Wartezeit von fast zwei Jahren geht Richard Garriotts "Opus Ultimativus" nun auch auf dem Amiga weiter. Und endlich bekommt die Rollenspieler-Gilde, was sie verdient - den unumstrittenen Höhepunkt des Genres!

Wenn ein neuer Teil der Ultima-Saga ansteht, ist das ja eigentlich immer ein Grund, ein Fass aufzumachen; nicht umsonst gilt die Serie als das Nonplusultra im Reich der Krieger und Magier. Trotzdem, Ultima VI ist etwas Besonderes innerhalb des Besonderen: Inhaltlich markiert es das Ende des sogenannten zweiten Zyklus, äußerlich den Beginn einer neuen Grafik-Epoche...

Großmeister Garriott (alias Lord British) hat sich endgültig von der Ära der Tile-Grafik verabschiedet, Britannia erstrahlt nunmehr in farbenfrohen und detailliert gezeichneten Landschaften. Und weil der fleißige Weltenschmied schon mal beim Überarbeiten war, hat er auch gleich noch die Darstellungsweise vereinheitlicht - ob Häuser, Dungeons oder freie Wildbahn, alles ist jetzt aus einer leicht schrägen Vogelperspektive zu sehen. Untermalt wird die Grafik-Orgie von einem sehr atmosphärischen, auf Mittelalter getrimmten Soundtrack. Die Steuerung wurde ebenfalls gründlich renoviert und nahezu volständig auf Mausbetrieb umgestellt. Bloß beim Speichern und Reden mit anderen Personen muß man noch aufs Keyboard zurückgreifen, für alle anderen Betätigungen (Schauen, Nehmen, Kämpfen, Schlafen...) klickt man einfach das entsprechende Icon am unteren Screenrand an.

Wie gewohnt kann es die Story an Spannung aufnehmen, es warten Monate voller Überraschungen und Entdeckerfreuden sowie ein Finale mit Paukenschlag. Daher wollen wir hier auch nicht allzuviel verraten (wäre echt ein verbrechen!), gut informierte Abenteuer wissen dank der PC-Version ja ohnehin schon Bescheid. Für die anderen, glücklicheren, nur soviel: Das Hauptproblem besteht diesmal darin, daß die mysteriösen Gargoyles die heiligen Schreine der Tugenden besetzt halten. Warum das so ist, weiß kein Mensch, ja, über diese merkwürdigen Wesen ist ganz allgemein so gut wie nichts bekannt. Keine Sorge, am Ende seid Ihr schlauer. Aber bis dahin warten noch ungezählte Mini-Missionen, die der Party von einzelnen Landbewohnern angetragen werden. Die Handlungsfreiheit ist dabei maximal, denn die Kleinquests können ganz nach Lust und Laune absolviert werden.

Dazu braucht man natürlich eine Abenteuergruppe, die Charaktererstellung findet erneut im Zigeunerwohnwagen statt. Anfangs befehligt man vier Helden, weitere vier Freiplätze sind für Neuzugänge vorgesehen. Direkt vom Spieler zu steuern ist dabei nur der Avatar, die anderen laufen computergesteuert mit. Deshalb sind sie aber noch lange keine "Mitläufer", im Gegenteil, die Kerle erzählen Witze, mischen sich ungefragt bei Gesprächen ein und entwickeln überhaupt ein bemerkenswertes Eigenleben. Das gilt uneingeschränkt auch für all die übrigen Figuren, die den Screen verunsichern: Rund 200 NPCs arbeiten, feiern, streiten und erzählen dummes Zeug - sie leben einfach! Damit nicht genug der Spieltiefe, es liegen (fast) mehr verwendbare Gegenstände herum, als auf der Inventurliste eines großen Kaufhauses zu finden sind...

Ultima VI Die Moongates funktionieren prima wie eh und je, das Magiesystem wurde gegenüber den Vorgängern drastisch vereinfacht. So muß man seine Sprüchlein jetzt nicht mehr umständlich zusammen mischen, sondern braucht bloß noch den gewünschten Spell im (erst zu findenden) Zauberbuch anzuklicken. Ebenso einfach funktioniert der Umgang mit dem Inventory oder das Kämpfen und Reden, ohne daß deswegen auch nur ein Milligramm an Komplexität verloren ginge. Beim (wie üblich weniger wichtigen) Hauen und Morden kann man verschiedene Kampfmodi von "Berserk" bis "Retreat" einstellen; bei Begegnungen der etwas kommunikativeren Art läßt sich nun ein Help-Modus benutzen, wodurch wichtige, also nachhakenswerte Begriffe im Redeschwall des Gegenübers optisch hervorgehoben werden. Kurz und sehr gut: Lord British hat erwartungsgemäß ein höchst ausgetüfteltes Rollenspiel auf die Beine gestellt, bliebe bloß zu klären wie ausgetüftelt speziell die Amiga-Konvertierung ausgefallen ist.

Nun, die hübsch animierte Grafik, der tolle Sound und die geniale Steuerung unterscheiden sich lediglich in Nuancen von der VGA-Fassung - alles vom Feinsten, sogar an Portrait-Bildchen für weibliche Recken wurde diesmal gedacht. Der Preis, den man dafür zahlen muß, ist die nicht erhebliche Installationsdauer. Das gilt sowohl für den Disk - (vier leere Scheiben bereithalten!) als auch für den sehr zu empfehlenden Festplattenbetrieb. Außerdem benötigt man mindestens 1MB Arbeitsspeicher, dabei müssen aber sämtliche Zweitlaufwerke abgehängt werden. Wesentlich angenehmer wird das Handling mit 2MB und zusätzlicher Floppy, eine Turbokarte wäre sicher auch nicht verkehrt. Unsere Handhabungsnote bezieht sich daher salomonisch auf eine "mittlere" Konfiguration (Harddisk oder 2MB Speicher plus Zweitläufer), bei einer Minimalausstattung darf man wegen der Wechselei gut und gerne 20 bis 30 Prozent abziehen.

Aber wer Ultima kennt und liebt, weiß daß er an diesem Spiel sowieso nicht vorbeikommt, selbst wenn er dafür erst mal seine "Freundin" aufrüsten muß. Mit Englsichkenntnissen sollte man ebenfalls gut gerüstet sein, denn von einer geplanten deutschen Version war zwar schon gerüchteweise zu hören, aber nichts Genaues weiß man nicht. Zudem müßte man darauf ja noch länger warten, und gewartet haben wir auf das "britische" Prachtstück nun wirklich lange genug! (mm)


Ultima 6 logo

What a whopper! The latest episode in the Ultimate saga finally hits the Amiga.

Role playing alert! Role playing alert! You are now entering a non-joystick zone. Arcade players may as well flick on a couple of pages to the Apidya review or something right now instead.

Right, that just leaves the role playing fans, and the open-minded non-fans who are wiling to give this a chance. To be honest, non-role playing experts may find that this is not the ideal starting point - Eye of the Beholder or similar may be more up their street - but for you fans of the genre a real treat is in store. This game will teach you the real meaning of role-playing. RPG-aphobes have been warned.

Sequels are funny things. For a start they have got to avoid alienating the audience which the series has already built up, but they have also got to sidestep any accusations of 'seen it all before'. It is a neat trick if you can do it, and happily the Ultima series has not put a foot wrong yet. Always getting bigger, gaining greater depth, adding smarter presentation and better plotting, the games have grown with the technology. Inevitably, there has always been a bit of drag - the games' visual side never quite making the grade (betraying the fact that conversions from the original PC versions usually takes around two years) - but that aside, they have been consistently the slickest, most interesting RPGs around. And so we have now got Ultima VI, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

For the unitiated (please bear with me, cynics of the world), the Ultimate saga places the player in the guise of the Avatar (the human embodiment of all life's virtues) - a man (or woman) transported to the lands of Britannia (via a moongate - more about them in later) in times of trouble. The adventures have always been tricky, but this sixth journey to the alternate world is fraught with extreme danger. Walking into a red moongate during a particularly vicious storm (a bad sign - the moongate is usually ble), the player reappears on the other side surround by gargoyles. Rescued at the last moment by old friends of Britannia (Lolo, Shamino and Dupre), the quarter make their way through another moongate to re-appear in the court of Lord British - ruler of Britannia.

It transpires that the underworld of Britannia has been cracked open, releasing the gargoyles, whose mission seems to be inexorably linked with the player's role as Avatar. And so the mystery begins. Many lands must be travelled, towns visited, dungeons, explored, and seas crossed before the Avatar can discover the key to the mystery and put an end to the threat of the malevolent gargoyles.

DID THE EARTH MOVE FOR YOU?
What this boils down to is the player controlling his main character plus up to seven others (the aforementioned Lolo, Dupre and Shamino, plus any other recruits picked up along the way) in a plan-view quest through a huge (and boy, am I talking big here) world. Everything in the world is structured pretty much as you would expect: water flows into seas, cave entrances are hidden in mountainsides, roads connect the towns, villages and cities. Inhabitants walk around, go to work (there are inns, fletchers, museums, armouries, the list goes on) and can be communicated with.

The conversation system is not going to win any awards for contribution to the development of artificial intelligence, but compared to pretty much every other role playing game on the market, it is a masterpiece. All characters will respond to basic questions about name and job, and some will be willing to explain a lot more - try probing them further about key words which crop up in their conversation (which, with the help mode on, are highlighted).

In addition to all this keyboard jiggery-pokery, control is also achieved with the help of a whole range of icons to be manhandled with the mouse. (It is possible to use the keyboard to access these if you wish, but this is the '90s, y'know?). In fact the whole user-interface of Ultima VI is about as slick as you could wish for. To examine an object, simply click on the 'look' icon, then click on the object. Similarly, unlocking and opening a door takes but four clicks of the mouse button - there is no mucking about with full sentence input here.

The actual play area is limited to about half the screen, with icons and your text input area taking up the rest of the space. A line-of-sight system is used, which means that anything behind a wall or other barrier is blacked out - this is not particularly pretty, but works to neat effect in gameplay terms. It makes the risk of going around a corner just that bit more exciting - you never know what will be waiting in the shadows to beat your characters to a pulp.


Simply a role player's dream

USING THE SOLDIERING IRON
Which brings me to the combat system. Anyone who is familiar with the 'chess-with-spells' combat system found in games such as Chaos and Laser Squad will feel right at home with Ultima, this latest of which uses a combat system which has not really changed since the very first Ultimas, a testament to its perfect simplicity.

All characters and monsters take turns to either move, use short and long range weapons, or cast spells. The characters in the player's team (other than the Avatar) can either be controlled manually, or set onto remote - where they react according to a pre-programmed general order (such as berserk, flank, retreat etc). These orders can be changed mid-battle - and having the computer help out certainly makes things easier - but personally, I prefer having total control over my team. Remember though, you are going to have to control the Avatar yourself whatever you do, and this might prove, for beginners at least, to be quite enough to be getting on with, thank you very much.

As your team wins more battles they gain experience and, in time honoured RPG fashion, become an altogether more together bunch of dudes. Victory brings more victory, but do not get complacent - the monsters encountered soon adjust accordingly, and the player is faced with some pretty powerful new foes. Thankfully the stakes are higher, and defeat of bigger and meaner monsters usually yields better treasures - more gold, magic weapons and armour, the usual sort of stuff.

As I said earlier, the world of Britannia is frighteningly detailed. There is an awful lot to see and do, and a seemingly infinite number of little places to explore. As you make your way around it is advisable to talk to just about everyone. Information gleaned from computer characters is the way to progress in Ultima VI. One clue tends to lead to another, but just in case one problem seems too complex, there will always be several other missions on the boil that you can go away and concentrate on for a time instead. Getting hold of a skiff or full-blown ship means that even more mysterious lands open up to the player. Thankfully a map of the world is provided with the game - it shows the location of quite a few towns, cities and islands, but it is by no means definitive, which is neat. It makes the discovery of each new place that bit more satisfying.

Of course, there is an easier way getting round Britannia - via the moongates. Essentially, these things are teleports which appear and disappear intermittently in specific locations. Simply walk into one gate, and you will comes out of one of the others. The presence of each doorway is governed (as the name suggests) by the cycle of Britannia's twin moons. Learning mastery of the moongates early in the game is definitely a good idea, unless re-treading the same old roads again and again appeals to you.

And that is by no means all. There is still much to the game I have not mentioned - the shrines, the mantras, the plots within plots, the gargoyle island; the list of oddities, subtleties and surprises just goes on. Oh yes, there is the pretty neat spell system too - another finely tuned aspect of the gameplay. But enough. It is about time I got down to the nitty gritty and let you know just how good Ultima VI really is.

AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY
Well, it is a bit obvious, isn't it? I would not have been wittering for this long if I was not pretty damn enthusiastic about the whole thing. The basic game, then, is great - what problems there are come from specific flaws in this slightly disappointing Amiga conversion. The speed is probably the main problem. Moving around the world of Britannia just feels too cumbersome. Faster scrolling would have been wonderful. Graphically, we are obviously in hardened role-playing territory - there are no fancy 3D routines here and no need for them, and anyway, plan-views never allow too much scope for gorgeous visuals. The music rises to the occasion well enough, with several not-unpleasant (and context-sensitive) tunes - all very baroque.

And that is pretty much it really. Apart from the niggles about speed (oh, and the fact that playing it from floppies is a complete non-starter - there is an unbelievable amount of disk-swapping necessary) there is not really anything to complain about. Like I said earlier, I cannot see many people buying this as their first role-playing featst, but for those who know what they like this is just perfect. It is certainly the best Ultima game yet, and as such I reckon it is also the best Amiga roleplaying game available. And don't forget, with a game of this type and epic scale you are offered far more potential hours of game time for your pound than you will find just about anywhere else. What more could you ask for?


A BRITISH MAN'S HOME
Pictured below is the first scene of the game. The Avatar, Dupre, Lolo and Shamino have all just been transported into the court of Lord British himself. Unfortunately a trio of minor gargoyles also made it through the moongate. Luckily, they aren't of the winged variety, so knocking the stuffing out of them should not be too much trouble.Well, that is the theory anyway. Don't forget to check the dead bodies afterwards, for weapons and stuff.
Ultima 6: User face implementation
  1. This dude here is the Avatar. As you can see, he was in the thick of a bloody battle.
  2. These defeated fiery red creatures are lesser gargoyles, the bad guys of the game.
  3. The guy on the throne is Lord British himself, ruler of all Britannia. I don't know, he does not make a very good job of it, does he?
  4. The blue robed bloke is Nystal - wizard to Lord British.
  5. The sun or moon positions are displayed here, unless your party of characters is roaming around underground.
  6. This is the text input area. All messages and commands are shown here. By clicking on the icons, command words appear. Sentences can therefore be constructed simply by using the mouse.
  1. Attack using any weapons currently held.
  2. Cast any readies spel - the block is currently black because no spells have been readied.
  3. Talk to a nearby character (including characters in the party).
  4. Look at an object or person.
  5. Get an object - this must be within arms' reach.
  6. Drop an object. There must be sufficient space to drop it.
  7. Move an item to an adjacent location.
  8. Use an item - this basically will operate an object held or nearby which has a function. Objects which are usable include crystal balls, doors, and ladders.
  9. Rest - lets the party set up camp for R&R, but only if they are in the wilderness, and there are no nasties around.
  10. Begin/break off combat - will instruct any pre-programmed members of the party to engage or disengage the enemy. The orders are given via the icons at the top-right of the screen.
FACING UP TO THE FACTS
Or how to become a hero AND look the part at the same time.
The character creation system of Ultima VI may lack the user-definability of Shadowlands, but the end result is far more attractive. Having selected one of the faces shown below, it is off to the gypsy caravan to answer some deeply psychological questions - resulting in a unique character.
Ultima 6: Faces

Ultima 6 logo CU Amiga Superstar

With sales of over one million and a bundle of prestigious accolades from around the world, the Ultima series of fantasy role-playing adventures from Origin are regarded as the best examples of the genre. Sadly, the Amiga adaptions of the first five games were desperate efforts. Origin therefore wanted to make sure the person handling the conversion of Ultima VI over from MS-DOS possessed the right credentials for such a seemingly impossible task.
Enter programmer John Jones-Steele, who was previously responsible for the Amiga versions of 'NAM, EA's Hard Nova and Subbuteo. He phoned Mindscape six months ago and coolly asked for the job.

By now, you're probably asking what makes Ultima VI so special. Everything!
There simply isn't any other game out there with the depth of the Ultima saga. It's been estimated that, even if you know exactly what to do, it would take something like 200 hours to complete the latest game. Not that there's only way to finish it, either. The first three Ultimas were simply filled with loads of bad things to beat up, whereas the rest are a trilogy of stories exploring the demands of virtue.
Nevertheless, the core of Ultima is basically a struggle between the forces of good and evil.

Play begins with a fancy animated introductory sequence which transports you through time and space to the bizarre and frequently dangerous kingdom of Britannia. Punching up the character creation option on the menu screen allows you to select the name, sex and portrait of your alter-ego. The next phase is less obvious but far more important. A series of personality-probing questions determine what kind of character you'll get on the quest to thwart those marauding hordes of Gargoyles.

Ultima VI is the first attempt to make things easier to play. The game screen is divided into four regions, the largest of which is situated in the upper left area. This map shows a close-up overhead view of the world you're moving through, and a roster of all the members of your party is located on the right of the map. Below lies a window with text describing everything you see, hear and do. There are only ten commands necessary to handle the game. You can attack, cast spells, get something, drop something, move something and so on.

As Origin points out, 'if you can touch it, you can use it'. To cast a spell, you must have a spellbook readied and possess enough magic points and the right reagents which are collected on your travels. The crucial magical help is divided into eight circles of spells, which gradually increase in complexity and strength. A simple first level drains one point while a fifth level spell, more difficult to cast, takes five away.
Detecting a trap, for example, requires Nightshade and Sulphurous Ash but the eighth level spell to Resurrect requires both these reagents plus Garlic, Ginseng, Spider's Silk, Blood Mos and Mandrake's Root.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Ultima VI is the richness of the characters encountered. Clicking on the name of one of your party, for instance, reveals their portrait and a list of classic statistics. The higher a stat, the better. Strength determines how much they can carry and how effectively they can strike with bludgeoning weapons. The only way Health can be regained is by rest or healing. Dexterity reveals the speed with which they can move and attack, and how effective they are with non-bludgeoning and projectile weapons like crossbows and flasks of flaming oil.

A character's bargaining ability and effectiveness as a spellcaster is shown by their Intelligence rating. Magic points certify how many spells can be cast. Spells of the fourth circle will obviously use four magic points. These important attributes are replenished every hour by an amount linked to their Level rating. This indicates how powerful a character has become through experience gained in past adventures. Finally, Experience unveils the time when they're ready to progress to the next Level by meditating at a shrine.

The talk command allows you to converse with any people encountered. You're also able to speak with certain shrines and statues and with the other members of your party. You talk by typing single words, though most people respond to simple stuff like name, job and 'bye. During the course of conversation, characters will give you an idea of what they're interested in.
Keywords, which could lead to you gaining further information from the person, are highlighted by a different colour. This facility can be switched off if you want to discover them all by yourself.

There are a number of different beasts that inhabit the plains,m forests, waterways and dungeons of Britannia. These range from Acid Slugs, which dish out painful but superficial skin burns, to antagonistic Wasps. Fearless warriors will no doubt have immense fun hacking all the demons, gargoyles, and wolves. A successful adventurer, however, must employ more subtle and involved tactics to get anywhere in the game.

All the Ultima releases have so far been based around a system called tile graphics where the map is made up of 16 x 16 pixel blocks. John Jones-Steele has succeeded in trying to make the graphics as good as possible, no mean feat, considering the original Ultima VI on MX-DOS had the luxury of 256-colours as opposed to the relatively paltry Amiga palette.

Origin's philosophy for audio in games is tension metered. Well-scripted music scores compliment environmental sound effects used for campfires and axes hitting body armour. The background soundtrack changes depending on where you are and what you're doing. All the pieces have been ported across from a special compact disc created by Marting Galway, who hasn't been heard of since such C64 tunes as Wizball and Hypersports.

The Ultima VI hit-list includes the aptly titled Can't Remove The Pain, Black Forest, and Stones. Black Forest dates back to a 1974 composition by Todd Porter, who also provided most of the other tracks, too.

What's the catch? Ultima VI needs at least one megabyte of RAM. An extra floppy drive, and a hard drive prove useful, too. However, after sampling Ultima VI, everything else seems like a pale imitation.


BEST OF BRITISH! Ultima is the brainchild of Richard Garriott, the co-founder of Origin who also goes under the guise of Lord British. His father is a former NASA astronaut who flew aboard both Skylab and the Space Shuttle, so naturally enough, Garriott's hilltop mansion in Austin, Texas contains secret passages leading up to a fully-equipped astronomical observatory which can read a newspaper 15 miles away.
Every other year, Garriott transforms his home into a 'spook house' on the nights surrounding Halloween. Parties of victims are lead through a 45-minute delute of frightening sights, sounds and smells. Guests climb steep stairs and crawl through narrow places as they're 'scared to death' by a vast array of special effects and over 75 skillfully made-up amateur actors portraying ghosts, zombies and demons.
Garriott's garden is turned into a graveyard, his jacuzzi becaomes a swamp and the master bedroom is transformed into a chapel populated by gruesome lepers. The whole event costs $50,000 and takes two months to construct. Today, Garriott has more than one skeleton in the cupboard!
GAMES OF RIGHTEOUS JUSTICE Although every Ultima can be played separately, together they form a story of truly epic proportions. In case you've never met Lord British or the Triad of Evil, we hereby clutch the migthy sword of Avatar and pronounce judgement on this ultimate roleplay experience. Hurrah!
  • Ultima I - The First Age of Darkness. From the lair of Mondain the Wizard, hordes of nightmarish creatures stalk forth to devastate the tranquil kingdoms of Sosaria. Boo.
  • Ultima II - The Revenge of the Enchantress. Evil thunders its way into the world of Britannia once again thanks to Minax, young apprentice of the foul wizard Mondain. Hiss.
  • Ultima III - Exodus. Orc drummers herald the awakening of the Great Earth Serpent from a slumber of countless ages. Gulp
  • Ultima IV - Quest of the Avatar. Spiritual enlightenment sixteen times larger than the previous three games. Phew.
  • Ultima V - Warriors of Destiny. The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom from the deep recesses of the underworld creates a karmic imbalance in the universe. Oo-er.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...
After celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ultima last year, you'd think Origin and the rest of us would be thoroughly sick of Lord British and his pals by now. Far from it. Fans can read a series of novels using characters and themes from the Ultima saga, keep time with the Ultima wristwatch, drink coffee from the handy Ultima mug, or even visit the Ultima theme-park in Japan. There is also talk of an Ultima cartoon series for American TV.
WORLDS OF ULTIMA Like Opera, you either love or hate Ultima. Players who don't relish the idea of wandering through the fantastic realms of Britannia will soon be able to enjoy the silky smooth game system employed in Ultima VI without the hassle of casting spells and fighting gargoyles.
The first two 'Worlds of Ultima' titles boast highly-original storylines, spectacular artwork and cinematic music scores synchronised to the on-screen action. Savage Empire throws bold adventurers into a prehistoric jungle brimming over with bloodthirsty dinosaurs while Martian Dreams hurtles them back in time on an imaginative journey to the mysterious red planet. Both these games are being reprogrammed by John Jones-Steel and should be released early next year.