PDA

View Full Version : Ultima game series - Favorite version?



barythrin
December 29th, 2011, 08:16 AM
I'm not sure how to phrase this well, I know to some extent why Ultima VI was popular (I loved it too) but I'm curious if folks played the others and just liked this one the best or if there was some other reason/release wise that this one is highly touted. For me, and probably just happenstance it was the first one that I had heard of for some reason. For a while I thought that it may have been the first version released on x86 but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe I just randomly noticed it or maybe I was in the right place at the right time but VI was either the first version I played or the first one I acknowledged.

I'll be honest, I haven't really played the previous versions but I did play VII. I hear that VI was the first to keep the perspective the same and I guess previous games went into first person view at some point? This probably made VI more like the TSR games I was already into which was an easy transition, combined with the amount of NPCs and seemingly open environment (not linear, forced travel paths) made it quite a hit for me. VII went full graphics and took away the half text interface which was cool (a little slow on my system) but I really enjoyed and always thought it was a perfect match of graphics with a text control and command console...of course I was also the kid that loved playing with the computer console in the star trek dos game and any other interactive AI type program.

Any comments on other versions or why a certain version was your favorite?

hargle
December 29th, 2011, 10:17 AM
Ultima III was my favorite. I was only about 11 or so at the time, but I played that game for over a year and half on my PCjr. I actually didn't care for U4 or anything later, purely because it supported 16 color EGA by that time, and I didn't think it looked right! I loved the game because of its open nature, instead of a linear adventure and the size of the game appeared to be gigantic.

I've played and completed U1 and U2 as well. Those were significantly smaller in size, I think I finished them in a day or less, vs the several weeks required to complete U3. I was also very happy that in U3 they removed any space/planet exploration aspect-that was just too weird.

I am so hooked on U3 in fact that I've always wanted to write my own tribute to it. I'd write it in x86 assembly, only support CGA, and it would run on an 8088 with a 360k floppy (or two). I was even going to call it: Ultima:Legacy

Unfortunately I'd need to clone myself to be able to find the time to write such a thing.

gubbish
December 29th, 2011, 12:52 PM
My personal favorite was Ultima 4, but only on the C64 - because the music was excellent. I still play the Ultima 4 travelling music from time to time. I agree with hargle that U4 on the PC looked strange though. Also the stark silence of the PC version made the game feel sort of lonely.
I also liked the game's basic theme because it was different from other quest-type games. Instead of the usual "kill the big bad" story, you had to do various good deeds to improve yourself and become enlightened in various virtues. Anyway that's my vote.

hargle
December 29th, 2011, 01:03 PM
I also liked the game's basic theme because it was different from other quest-type games. Instead of the usual "kill the big bad" story, you had to do various good deeds to improve yourself and become enlightened in various virtues. Anyway that's my vote.
100% agree. This was a groundbreaking new game design, at least for my limited knowledge. The concept of how good or bad of a person you were in the game changed the way the game itself played out-I thought that was totally a cool idea, although that also bugged me because I used to cheat in U3 by going into a town with the least number of guards (Yew maybe?) and then start looting the place and killing everyone in sight just to advance my characters. Exit the town and come back in and no-one was the wiser! Do that half a dozen times and you can get your characters loaded down with gold. Not so fast in U4 though!

Mad-Mike
December 29th, 2011, 01:11 PM
I'm not sure how to phrase this well, I know to some extent why Ultima VI was popular (I loved it too) but I'm curious if folks played the others and just liked this one the best or if there was some other reason/release wise that this one is highly touted. For me, and probably just happenstance it was the first one that I had heard of for some reason. For a while I thought that it may have been the first version released on x86 but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe I just randomly noticed it or maybe I was in the right place at the right time but VI was either the first version I played or the first one I acknowledged.

I'll be honest, I haven't really played the previous versions but I did play VII. I hear that VI was the first to keep the perspective the same and I guess previous games went into first person view at some point? This probably made VI more like the TSR games I was already into which was an easy transition, combined with the amount of NPCs and seemingly open environment (not linear, forced travel paths) made it quite a hit for me. VII went full graphics and took away the half text interface which was cool (a little slow on my system) but I really enjoyed and always thought it was a perfect match of graphics with a text control and command console...of course I was also the kid that loved playing with the computer console in the star trek dos game and any other interactive AI type program.

Any comments on other versions or why a certain version was your favorite?

I can comment on everything through Ultima VIII: Pagan as I have all those versions. I too have the TSR Forgotten Realms classics, which I like too.

Akalabeth (aka. Ultima 0) - this is the game Richard Garriott (aka, Lord British) programmed himself. It's overhead in the overworld, towns are just a text screen for buying and selling items, and Dungeons are first person perspecitve and everything is pretty much an outline. It has no plot other than fulfill Lord British's quests.

Ultima I: First Age of Darkness - Akalabeth is actually a subroutine in this game for the randomly generated dungeons. Towns now are overhead view but all one screen and you can do more than just buy and sell items like talk to people. No longer does one step in the overworld cost you a point of food. Also a bit less medevil as you have to build a rocketship to reach the final bad guy. My favorite of the first four.

Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress - Pretty similar, except there are finite dungeons, the game is based upon the movie "Time Bandits" where you travel between ancient sorsaria, earth, and different time periods. First major use of "Moon Gates" in the game. Probably my least favorite of the first four games.

Ultima III: Exodus - This is where the familiar screen setup one sees in this game through Ultima VI: The False Prophet started. It's even in the NES version of the game (many people mistake that it's the first Ultima if they only know the NES version as it's just called Ultima Exodus). Also, battles are now a separate "fight screen" with your party in formation south of a formation of beasts, and each takes a turn in performing actions in combat. I like the NES version the best as it's the first Ultima I played, and I'm more used to it that way.

Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar - This game was Richard's first move towards a story, and moving away from the stereotypical game style - get a bunch of objects and kill the bad guy. This game is more of a mixture of an introspective personal quest rather than a hero quest. Similar to U III except on PC it has more than 4 color graphics and the interface is improved quite a bit. Probably the last in line of the Avatar trilogy.

Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny - My second favorite of the Avatar Trilogy. This game becomes far more freeform, more objects in each world are manipulatable, the plot is deep and interesting. It still uses the interface from IV but has some foreshadowing features of U6. Garriott says the focus on this one was improving the story and building a cohesive legacy for the previous games.

Ultima VI: The False Prophet - My fav of the Avatar trilogy. Most people know of this one so I don't say much more except this was indeed the first one to stay in the same perspective all the way through. The interface was improved to fit the feel of the game more, the inventory system was vastly improved to be graphical instead of text based, and the "virtual world" is far more realistic and free form than previously.

Ultima VII Parts I and II (Black Gate/Serpent's Isle) - My second favorite, however it far surpasses U6 when played with Exult with cheats enab led just because of the mass havoc, mayhem, and insanity I can wreak upon the towns. Nothing like eating all the grapes in Empath Abbey and being chased by Monks and Guards while you take everything apart to get away. Also far more PG/R rated than the previous Ultima games.

Ultima VIII - This is fun sometimes, but it kind of lost some of it's virtual world feel, and the plot leaves me feeling a little sad for Brittania since the Avatar was thrown into this new world far away without anyone knowing where he is. It's also the first game you can jump, everything is at a 45 degree angle instead of straight down with a mild tilt perspective-wise, and it's entirely mouse-driven like U7 is.

And that sums it up pretty much

EverythingIBM
December 29th, 2011, 01:25 PM
I think my favourite would be ultima 4; I have a special "VGA" version that I tried, and it was very appealing to me.

Ultima 8 was mostly eye candy, but when you have the same name as the fisherman, weirdness, I was completely bewildered because the dialogue never made any sense (when the fisherman refers to himself and you with the same name!).

Maverick1978
December 30th, 2011, 12:44 PM
I have to ask it, given the recent auction.... What about Mt. Drash!?

I know that most don't consider it to be Ultima canon, as Garriot's buddy was the actual author of it, but who's got experience with it?

As for me, I grew up in a Christian household and wasn't allowed to play any games that had any type of roleplaying or sorcery connotations. Funny enough, but my parents weren't prudes, nor were they fanatical or anything, but my Mom didn't agree with many of those overlying elements and themes in the game, so I was simply not allowed to play them.

To this day, I have yet to do more than load any of the Ultima games - I've never played any of them. I plan to (they're classics!) - but like the Infocom text adventures, it's just finding the time... Anyway - this thread's interesting to me, as often, going back to these old games without personal nostalgia is sometimes difficult. It makes things a bit more interesting to hear others' memories of the games - gives me something to look forward to!

EverythingIBM
December 31st, 2011, 05:54 AM
I have to ask it, given the recent auction.... What about Mt. Drash!?

I know that most don't consider it to be Ultima canon, as Garriot's buddy was the actual author of it, but who's got experience with it?

As for me, I grew up in a Christian household and wasn't allowed to play any games that had any type of roleplaying or sorcery connotations. Funny enough, but my parents weren't prudes, nor were they fanatical or anything, but my Mom didn't agree with many of those overlying elements and themes in the game, so I was simply not allowed to play them.

To this day, I have yet to do more than load any of the Ultima games - I've never played any of them. I plan to (they're classics!) - but like the Infocom text adventures, it's just finding the time... Anyway - this thread's interesting to me, as often, going back to these old games without personal nostalgia is sometimes difficult. It makes things a bit more interesting to hear others' memories of the games - gives me something to look forward to!

The thing with Mt. Drash is that it was published without Garriott's knowing, and probably due to the fact a PC version wasn't made at the time (only for the VIC), it could have turned some people away from it. The game only had "ultima" slapped on its title in hopes it would sell better without Garriott's permission.
So it's not *really* an ultima game. I actually never heard of it before, but that's because I'm a PC gamer, more or less.

I'm actually a christian and I play all sorts of computer games (especially ultima). I don't buy into the whole legalistic "you can't do this, you can't do that". Restricting freedom is an awful thing to do. I'm thankful I had opportunities to explore many ideas and experiences, helps build personality.