Last night I finished Ultima I after many months of off-again and on-again playing. My very first introduction to an RPG (computer or otherwise) of any kind was the NES version of Ultima III: Exodus, and I played that game for hundreds of hours until I got its various sequels. When I saw that Good Old Games had Ultima 1-III as a collection for download, I acted quickly, having always wondered what the first two games in the series were like. I can confidently report that Ultima I is weird. If anyone's worried about spoilers for a three-decade old game, avert thine eyes now.
It's a very standard fantasy world with quasi-medieval technology and an evil wizard who must be defeated to save the realm. Except, eventually you'll need to buy a space shuttle, blast off into outer space, dock at a space station, shift to a fighter ship, and blast 20 TIE-fighters to become a Space Ace! I spent the entire game running around with a great sword and high-tech power armor. The morality from later Ultima games is nowhere to be found: to advance in the game, you have to kill a court jester to get his key and then slay all of the (otherwise friendly) castle guards to rescue a princess. And that's all so she'll give you a time machine!
|The deadliest monsters on Level 1 of dungeons|
|Graph paper mapping|
Temeris, Level 10 Male Human Fighter (Space Ace)
Hit Points: 9276
Possessions: Reflect Suit, Great Sword, Frigate, Aircar, Shuttle, Time Machine, Red Gem (x5), Green Gem, Blue Gem, White Gem
Here's what the ending screen says when you win:
A rain of silver lightning heralds the death of Mondain. Fleeting glimpses of fates avoided rush through thy mind as the arcane power of the mage's dying scream echoes in thy ears. A thousand years pass in but a moment's time as a strange sleep overcomes thee.
Upon awakening thou dost find thyself in new surroundings. A stately youth in violet robes helps thee to thy feet whereupon thou dost see the thousands who gaze upon thee in adoration.
"Thy selfless heroism hath saved our people, my worthy one. Should our gratitude alone not be enough to sustain thee, know that I, Lord British, hereby ordain that the entire realm of Sosaria be at they service for all time hence-forth. So let it be done."
Unfortunately, I've heard that the land is again threatened--this time by an evil witch named Minax. I better grab that great sword and get to work!