Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Adventures in Ultima

After watching Deeds of Yore, I was inspired to finally finish my Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar game. However, that didn't happen. I decided to play the original Ultima, although not on an emulator. Like most other dos games I'm running the Ultimas on an old Windows 95 computer which I've scrapped together. This version of Ultima is actually a port to DOS from the Apple II original. Some of the graphics have obviously been ripped from Ultima IV, and I was almost disappointed that the graphics weren't more primitive. The towns have a Roguelike feel to them, and offer you the chance to buy or steal items, armor, vehicles, food, beer, hp, and receive quests. No one town has everything, so you'll be force to explore the countrysides.

And the countrysides are vast. Ultima, quite frankly is a huge game. Without maps it almost impossible to navigate around. I've been lost for hours trying to find Lord British's castle. I needed a break from playing, so I'll post the story of quest so far.

It's late at night, and the only light is coming from the Monitor connected to my 1.78 Mhz machine. Ultima runs smoothly, slightly faster than it would have run in the past. Occasionally signs can be a challenge to read, and without an emulated dosbox I can't adjust the CPU speed. This Windows 95 machien is capable of running Dosbox, but the mouse isn't working and I don't feel it's worth the effort.

It's far too late to write a full, formal review of Ultima I. The game is famous, and I'm almost passing out at the keyboard so whatever. This is more about my adventures in this incredibly non-linear game anyway.

After many deaths, I got lucky and stole some great gear. I can attack from a distance and I''m not sure what the Reflect suit does, but it's expensive. Maybe it blocks spells as well.

This is just my old computer and my netbook. I may have been listening to the song from Deeds of Yore.

Every time you die, you keep your exp but HP and Food go down to 99. It's a brutal system because EXP makes the game get harder by increasing the overworld monsters.

Almost kicking ass now! I've got a some gold, food and HP. If I keep exploring this cave my numbers will only get better.

In this picture, I'm seriously into the zone.Repeated trips into the dungeon beef my character up in no time. The key skill here is "risk vs reward" as the player is tempted to remain in the dungeon for as long as possible, but it can be quite dangerous. Even on the first level of the dungeon it's easy to get lost and mobbed.

All the monsters use these awesome wire-frame designs. The pictures don't do justice to how brightly these things shine in an otherwise dark room. The vector graphics are a refreshing change of pace from the Ultima IV monsters roaming the overworld.

This skeleton is one of the better early-level monsters. The programmers even went through the trouble to generate 2 different skeleton sprites for variety.

The town of "Imagination." Not much is going on here, but at least I can steal some weapons and buy some food. The towns are all single-screens, and I love how you have to put up with absolutely 0 town bullshit. You get want you want and you gtfo.

Orcs lurk in the lower levels, and the difficulty increases dramatically.

I tried to push it to the limit and failed. This is one screen I've seen dozens of times already. You keep your armor, but you lose your weapons... You really don't want to die in Ultima.

Starting over from scratch isn't easy, but it's workable. However, the more I level up, the more monster appear on the over-world. Travel is beginning to be a problem.

Stole a Phazor from the King. Unfortunately it sucks as a weapon. 

After some extensive dungeon leveling, I'm back on a roll collecting massive amounts of gold. Only a few more trips down and I'll have the gold to get the super fucking awesome hovercraft, which will let me explore more of the world and complete some of the quests the Kings keep offering.

See it, want it, buy it, own it.

Cash rules everything around me.

Ok, I just got my hovercraft and it's time to cruise around killing shit and amassing sweet glory through adventure!

30 seconds later I lost the hovercraft.

In my fervor I parked the hovercraft at an island dungeon and subsequently died in said dungeon. I'm not even sure if my hovercraft is deleted or not... After so many deaths, which I didn't describe because deaths suck, and losing 2 hovercrafts (Yes, I actually lost another hovercraft a few hours before the one pictured above) I called it a night and decided to post the pictures I had taken. 

Well, it's the next morning and I'm probably just going to restart the game because I'm level 6 and the monsters are literally clogging the overworld when I try to explore. I'll have to redo a few quests, but in the long run I feel this is the better option. Because I restart with only 100 food, after one trip to a dungeon I need to purchase more from the towns. It's on this trip that the overworld swarms me with Necromancers, Dragons, Dark Knights, and Pirate Ships. It might be doable, but I'm sick of trying. 

So, readers, don't die in Ultima and consider taking breaks after you've been playing for 6 hours.

1 comment:

Robita said...

Dude! This entry is an awesome Ultima I ride! It is by far my favorite of the series, and the only one I finished. It gets so good at the end. Thanks for mentioning the DEEDS!