Review Your First Ultima

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  1. Tartness

    Tartness Avatar

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    KING APPEARS

    July, 1988, my 11th birthday. Mom comes home with the birthday present, of course it?s 1988, and it will be a Nintendo game!

    In my little 11yr old mind I had probably not played a bad NES game yet, Super Mario, Metroid, Castlevania, Contra, and so on. All very good plug-and-play button smashing food for attention short pre-teenagers. Naturally I was very excited! Out comes the pressie, out comes a NES game cartridge, quickly toss the game manual over behind the couch, insert game into system, and proceed to mash buttons! Well did I have a surprise waiting for me inside Ultima III Exodus when I thought that was going to be how it went down. Ultima III quite aptly said to me; HOMIE DON?T PLAY DAT!

    It was the longest afternoon of video game not playing I had ever had to endure, even after a whole hour I was still trying to figure out how to create a party and get into the game world. Mainly giving up and hitting enough buttons to kick out a ?ready-made? party, I was finally in the over world ready to jump kick / people?s elbow combo some evil dragon face!

    Right, over there, kind of grey colorful blob, must be a baddie. After walking the party over the screen flashes and I lean forward, menacing battle music ensues and I am ready to start cartwheeling the directional control pad for random effectiveness combos. Though, something was kind of odd here also. The enemy skeletons were at the top of the screen and my party was at the bottom, and instead of scissor kick sliding my way over to them I could only move one space at a time! What the hell was this! Ok, fine, I?ll slowly walk up to the skellys and then start to lay the smack down. Then they all killed me pretty quickly. The same thing was then repeated and I had had quite enough of that trash! Out comes Ultima III never to be played again and in goes Double Dragon, I need violence STAT!

    COME BACK AFTER YOU HAVE HAD MORE EXPERIENCE.

    I honestly have no idea how long passed, it would have been around four months or so before I?d get that bored I would then go grab Ultima III and subject myself to that punishment again. Things were pretty much going the same before Mom came over laughing at my troubles and also had a go. She was able to figure out there was magic in the game which I suppose was cool, only it kept missing which I took as another example of a failure of a game. Some success but little enjoyment was had, finally I opened up that manual that I tossed aside so long ago to have a read through it.

    SOKATH ? HIS EYES UNCOVERED!

    The manual by no means robust for a game such as this, however it had enough information in it to get me over the learning curve and lay out the basics for me. Weapons and Armour to help me in battle, status screens, gold sharing, and a pretty diverse magic system for a game of its time. It was certainly all there, just not immediately presented to me like I deserved to have it from the start! You actually had to work for it. It was a world of its own and the entire family got into Ultima III, there was a lot of grinding to do after all.

    Ultima III was an experience I won?t forget, being able to take your characters through the game, actually feeling attached to them rather than just disposable chumps you can get 1UPs for by shooting a few losers in the face. Working for everything, finding the marks, finding the order of the cards, locating the mystic weapons and silver horn and even taking your ship through a whirlpool to a different world! Which by the way introduced me to the first incarnation of Camping I have ever come across, those man-o-wars really liked Camping that ship in Ambrosia!

    BECAUSE YOU HAVE DONE WILL I GIVE YOU POWER

    In the end I couldn?t get enough of this game, nor could anyone else as there was more than one incident of rage over who gets control over the party?s actions! I even remember one time sending the NES across the room because my sister had to play, the game had some trouble starting up after that? It looked pretty bad at first, but we got back in and all at the inn safely, just one issue. Sister?s Paladin character dropped the magic points all the way down to 20! So I was pretty LMAO at first, till the next battle came across? Not only did the Paladin character have access to all Wisdom spells, its magic points were now actually 120 but the max for the game was 99! Not going to lie, that character came in very handy helping to complete the game at the time

    It was different in every way, all the way to the end. Getting attacked by the floors was very interesting, although I do hear a lot of people make a big deal about them. They weren?t that tough in the NES version anyway, just toss out the psi-kill and it would toast them pretty much every time. Castle Death was pretty formidable, plenty of Balrons, Devils and Dragons in there and was kind of the first time for a while I had to go hand to hand with the party as the magic against them wasn?t overly strong and MP inside Castle Death for healing was at a premium. Even the goal of the game, defeat Exodus was very unorthodox! There was no final boss to fight, notta. After the floors attack you, you just lay the cards down in order and then run like hell before Castle Death collapses on you. Have to say though, I didn?t mind, even after going through all the way I didn?t feel ripped off in the least and in fact I felt like I had actually accomplished something in the end!

    In many ways Ultima III did open my eyes, it ended my pre-teen A.D.D. early and showed me that instant mash button punch and shoot games were the actual trash. It was a diamond in the rough, and one that has had me looking forward to every Ultima release since!

    AA
     
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  2. Ultima Codex

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    Bookmarking this so I can come back to it tomorrow.
     
  3. LlamaDragon -=(udic)=-

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    Ultima III, C64. It was 1980-something, and I was 5, give or take. My review would not be terribly insightful, so let me just say that while my dad actually did the hard work of figuring out how to win the game, I took care of countless hours of combat grinding and thievery, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
     
  4. Lord_Peregrine

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    It was 1981 and my parents had just bought an Apple II. I saw Ultima advertised in computer magazine, but Wizardry is what captured my imagination. I'm sorry, this is the best I could do. :(

    I wish I could go back in time and experience all of the Ultima games, but I think we're on to something better and I'm so looking forward to participating in this new world of Garriott's.
     
  5. Jaana98

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    C64 Ultima IV (best one eva). My brother and I were hooked, reams and reams of notes (Which I only tossed out about 4 years ago!!). When it came time to go down into the Abyss Dungeon you couldn't save and it took A LOOONG time to get to the bottom!! My computer would over heat and shut down and we'd have to start over LOL. We finally put a desk fan on the HD so it wouldn't over heat...then we get down there and we misspelled the word needed (Infinity) and were ejected from the dungeon. Good times..... :D
     
  6. MazeWalker

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    Ultima VI The False Prophet. It was a blast and my first RP on PC!
     
  7. Jarikith

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    My first Ultima would have been Ultima V on ye ol' Commodore 64. The things I recall most vividly about the game we not actually the game itself, because quite frankly I never finished it. :p What I do remember most vividly was all the rich lore that was found just inside the box itself! A coin! A map! The Book of Lore! Heck that book had a piece of music in it! Truly this showed the Origin did indeed Create Worlds. Plus Ultima V rocked was is still probably my favorite piece of artwork for a gamebox cover ever. Even though I never finished the game, all of that stuck with me enough that after I made the move to PC from the C64 I did infact get Ultima VI, which I then in turn actually beat, so V is what got me started on the whole thing so from that standpoint alone it did a good job.
     
  8. Moonlight

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    Oh lordy, Ultima Exodus for NES, I can't begin to tell you how many hours upon hours upon hours of time I sunk into that game.

    Everybody thought you had to get the mark of kings and level up to ungodly amounts first, when in fact that was the WRONG thing to do, as monster difficulty ramped while your offensive ability stayed about the same level.

    After about a half dozen attempts between my family and I, we ultimately figured out the trick, stick at level 5, grind an ungodly amount of time to get enough gold to get the best weapons in the game for everybody, grind a full 9900 gold for everybody, take them to ambrosia, burn all that into stats, lather rinse repeat until max, -then- get the Mark of Kings, and -then- actually play the rest of the game.

    Strangely enough, one of my favorite parts of Ultima; Exodus was something you didn't deal with in Ultima III: escaping Castle Death while it crumbled around you. Granted I'm assuming this much was a nod to the japanese gaming trope of the "Load Bearing Boss" a la castlevania
     
  9. Keketamine

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    my first one was Pagan. I had NO idea what it was. my firend wa playing it, just like that. never finished it or got interested in it. my dad then biught it for me and i got hooked in the whole series. i have mentionned it many times before but ultima saved my life in many ways. not sure what i wouldve done if i couldnt'va gotten lost in this series in my teenage years.
     
  10. Pong3d

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    After seeing my friends play Ultima IV I got Ultima V for Christmas in 1989 when I was 14. My best memory is my ship being sucked into a whirlpool into a random part of the underworld and accidentally saving the game. You only had one save game so I was stuck down there. Fortunately my party was strong and was well stocked with provisions and gems and I was able to make my way back to the surface!
     
  11. MeddlingMonk

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    My first Ultima wasn't Ultima. It was Akalabeth. But this was at about the time Ultima III came out, which is my first proper Ultima. I played II and III before IV came along, after which I played the games in the proper order as they appeared.

    What can you say about Akalabeth? You go into dungeons and kill things (and curse the thieves, and the traps). Actually, at first what I mostly did was starve to death on the surface because of how fast you burn through food while on the surface, and because the randomized map always seemed to configure itself for maximum inconvenience. Another abiding memory: the word 'British' being spelled with two Ts.
     
  12. Craneman

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    Me and my friend were tired of playing Dig Dug on his Atari when he said his dad brought home a game, but he couldn't figure it out. It was Ultima IV. We opened the box and there was a cloth map, an ankh, The History of Britannia, and another book written in different alphabet.

    I think the best part about it was that we didn't know what was going on. We answered the gypsy's questions, and then we were on our own to figure it out. No other game up to that point provided so much information about the world, but so little information about what the plot of the game was.

    The end result was that we became adventurers. I navigated and my friend drove. I figured out where we were on the map, the commands and the spells. We found Iolo, and he joined our party. We played for months and never got far in the story, but I was hooked.

    I returned to complete IV years later, after playing V-VIII, and it will always hold a special place for opening up an entire world that I have had fun exploring long after I 'grew up'. Now I am eagerly awaiting the new adventure ahead in SotA!
     
  13. Mugly Wumple

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    I was about 30. My lover had recently purchased an Apple][ for her work. She also got a game on the recommendation of the salesman - Ultima IV. Eight hours a day of working at the computer dampened her enthusiasm for playing any game, but I loaded it up and was immediately enthralled. So enthralled, in fact, that whenever I visited I spent almost all my time sitting in front of that computer, keeping copious notes in a specially designed book.

    After weeks of playing, the ill winds of my inattention, a serious hangover and that particular time in the estrous cycle combined into a storm. We had the biggest and most serious fight of our relationship. It was over.

    I moved to the other side of the U.S., bought one of the first IBM clones and...Ultima IV.

    Happy ending. It took over 25 years and a convoluted route worthy of the Silver Serpent, but in 2012 that woman became my wife.
     
  14. Zigmalion

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    Ultima II, back in 1982 when I was about 17. My older brother had an Atari 800 and he took a chance on the game. We were hooked and two of my brothers and I (and a mutual friend) would get together on Sunday evenings in my oldest brother's apartment and play it. We each had our own character and we'd take turns advancing them.

    I was the first to kill Minax, a few months later. We knew we were into the final castle and died a few times. One time I went in, thought I figured out the mechanics, and a few minutes later I was shouting out loud enough for the entire apartment complex to hear; the words, as I read them on the screen and which I remember verbatim 30 years later: "MINAX IS DEAD! ALL HER WORKS SHALL DIE!!!!!!"
     
  15. Hai-Etlik

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    Ultima VII and a Gravis Ultrasound. Half the game was getting it to run in the first place between the terminate and stay resident pseudo driver that allowed the GUS to pretend to be a Sounblaster, and the wonky non-standard memory manager in U7.

    I was just dumped into this world with no clue what i was doing other than a strange red guy with a booming voice had stuck his head out of my monitor and taunted me. And then I roamed around and explored a massive, living world and it was awesome. I didn't particularly care if I was making progress, there was just so much to see.
     
  16. Grimkor

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    One of the fondest memories of my childhood was going over to my friends house in the early 90s and playing Ultima VII: The Black Gate. The game was way over both of our heads, we couldnt have been much older than about 7 or 8 at the time.

    I remember the amazing intro, with the Guardian shoving his head out through the computer monitor to call you out. I had never seen anything like that before.


    You start out in Trinsic and meet up with good ol Iolo right away. Talking to both him and the mayor you learn a little about the murder. The two of us entered the stable and saw the horror inside. The blacksmith was gutted, ripped apart and there was blood everywhere, there was even a bucket of blood next to the body (Nice touch!) Truly one of the most horrific video game scenes of all time. (Up there with the Butchers room from Diablo)

    Anyways we worked up the courage to search the bodies, found a key (or two?) and followed the bloody footprints out back. This is where we accidentally end up attacking the horse and we die immediately. Lesson learned

    We continued onwards exploring the town of Trinsic, and not really knowing what it meant to be "The Avatar" or what these "Virtues" were all about... we ended up breaking into various houses and robing people blind. Good times


    One of the most memorable events happened when our friend Iolo started to get hungry. We went into the local tavern there in Trinsic and stole a cake that the lady inside had just finished making, she made another and we stole that one too. This went on until both the Avatar and Iolos bags were full of nothing but cakes.

    The next time Iolo said he was hungry we opened our bags and started feeding him cakes. After he ate a good number of cakes it seemed like he was finally full, "No thank thee" he said. We took this as a challenge and force fed Iolo about 300 cakes! It was glorious!


    So yeah, that was my first Ultima game. I spent hours upon hours playing it and never even figured out how to leave Trinsic. That didnt matter though, there was so much to do, so many people and objects to interact with, so many good memories. Even though I was WAY too young to be able to fully appreciate the game, it still holds a special place in my heart.
     
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