Ultima - the Computer Game
Created | Updated Jan 23, 2014
Ultima is a classic series of games for the PC, and a benchmark achievement in the Role Playing game world. It is highly interactive, non linear, well plotted and beautifully rendered. Even the most primitive Ultimas resonate with beauty, however pixelated, and exude profundity - for game series, at least.
Each game develops the world of Sorsaria and the nation state of Britannia, bringing new and improved graphics and interfaces to the fantasy world.
The first trilogy was fairly simple and straightforward. The player had to find items of power, buy and upgrade weaponry, and fight a powerful arch-mage.
Then came the second trilogy. The graphics were substantially upgraded and the world was made more vast and interactive with an improved engine. The plot developed too. In Ultima IV, the player picks a virtue and lives by it. He seeks Avatarhood, the essence of virtue, to combat corruption in the world and to ascend to higher understanding. It was the first computer role playing game to truly make morality and ethics a part of the game play. Everything you did could have a negative effect on your ethical quest.
In the fifth game, the virtues of the fourth are made into law by a tyrant called Blackthorn. Here the Avatar learns of the potential evil wrought when personal ethics are made concrete and punishable. In the sixth, the Avatar learns tolerance. A misunderstood race of Gargoyles find themselves unjust targets - the Britannians falsely assume that the Gargoyles' different ethics are in conflict with their own and are ultimately evil. The Avatar's quest is to prove the falsity of such claims.
The engine on this title is substantially improved, placing the usual isometric world-view on a mono-scale plane, rather than placing the cities and the continent on two different scales.
The seventh game improves on this still further, with a heavily interactive world and a totally non-linear plot structure in two parts.
Part I deals with a shadowy cult which is beloved among the people, but, ultimately, is a front for a crime syndicate tied to an otherworldly being bent on the world's conquest and eventual destruction.
Part II is heavily philosophical, moving the action to another world, where the value system is very different, corrupt, and out of order with nature.
In Ultima 8, the otherworldly being - known as the Guardian - transports you to a world that he's made into a virtual prison. The Avatar must escape that world to face the Guardian in Ultima 9, which moves the adventure to the controversial 3D platform.
- Ultima I First Age of Darkness
- Ultima II Revenge of Modain
- Ultima III Exodus
- Ultima IV Quest of the Avatar
- Ultima V Warrior of Destiny
- Ultima VI The False Prophet
- Ultima VII Part I The Black Gate
- Ultima VII Part II The Serpent Isle
- Ultima VIII Pagan
- Ultima IX Ascension