Spinebreaker's Lair (now inhabited by Spiney Dragon)

 

Ultima:What's all about it? (aka The Beginners Guide to the Ultima Universe)

Ultima is a computer role playing game (CRPG) by Origin Systems, Inc. It is one of the oldest computer games series with now over 10 games available, with different styles of gameplay and different styles of stories and places, but most of them are situated in a world called Britannia, ruled by Lord British (aka Richard Garriot, creator of the Ultima-Universe) and always threatened by evil creatures. They developed from simple games to world simulating epics, with the story, conversations and the virtue system becoming the most important things.

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Ultima: The Games

'Cause there are so many websites with information about Ultima this is only a short summary of what the games are about. Since I only have played the IBM versions I have no knowledge to share about the Runes of Virtue (GameBoy) or Escape from Mt. Drash (VIC-20). And everything is AFAIK.

The following games are available (sorted by release date):

Ultima IX: Ascension is under production for a  long time already and will hopefully be released at Christmas 1998, check out Sith Dragon's homepage for further details.

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Akalabeth

Akalabeth was the first commercial game Richard Garriot created and is the predecessor to all the other games. It is a simple game where you have to explore dungeons and kill monster most of the time. And it is also one the most misspelled titles of all time. ;-)

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 U1  U2  U3

Ultima I-III

The first three real Ultimas are rather hack & slash games, with the big goal to destroy the evil villains. The story is not that important and there is no virtue system yet. The only major improvement is the introduction of a party in Ultima III: Exodus.

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 U4  U5  U6

Ultima IV-VI

The next three games are a big improvement, starting with Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar introducing the virtue system. The goal is to become a Avatar that means to gain enlightenment in the eight virtues: Honesty, Humility, Honor, Valor, Sacrifice, Justice, Compassion and Spirituality and to enter the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.

In Ultima V Britannia is threatened by the Shadowlords and Blackthorne, who have kidnapped Lord British. The graphics are still EGA, but they look better than those of Ultima IV and for the first time there is the possibility to attack diagonally in combats.

Ultima VI introduces a new race in Britannia, the Gargoyles and is the first game using VGA.

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 SE

The Worlds of Ultima (The Savage Empire and Martian Dreams)

The two Worlds of Ultima games are not playing in Britannia. They tell the story of the Avatars adventures in the time-lost land of Eodon (Savage Empire) and on the mars (Martian Dreams), but are connected to the main plot. Especially Martian Dreams is a great game 'cause it features many famous characters from around the turn of the last century, like Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud ... Both are using the Ultima VI graphics engine.

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 UW1

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss was the first 3D role-playing game, released even before Doom. The Avatar is thrown into the Great Stygian Abyss on the Isle of the Avatar after being held responsible of kidnapping Arial, daughter of Baron Almric. During your attempt to rescue Arial and escape the dangers of the Abyss, there's the chance to meet all the population of the Abyss, from the Knights of Jhelom (they came to the Abyss together with the Mages of Moonglow and the ones, who call themselves the Mountain-Folk (also called dwarves by unknowing mundanes) during the attempt to colonize the Abyss) to the fearsome trolls and goblins which haunt the dark passages.

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 U7-BG  U7-FOV

Ultima VII: The Black Gate + Forge of Virtue

In Ultima VII: The Black Gate a new enemy is introduced: The Guardian. Supported by Batlin and the Fellowship, his goal is to conquer Britannia and also the home of the Avatar, our blue planet Earth. With the Forge of Virtue Add-on there is the chance to explore the Isle of Fire, which was the home for the evil Exodus in Ultima III and had sunk into the ocean after Lord British tried to install the shrines of the three principals Love, Truth and Courage.

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 UW2

Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds

One year after the destruction of the Black Gate the upper class of Britannia including Lord British and the Avatar is captured by the Guardian in Lord British's castle during the festivities to celebrate the anniversary. This is the background story to Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, in which the Avatar has to free themselves to prevent the Guardian from conquering Britannia.

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 U7-SI  U7-SS

Ultima VII-Part Two: Serpent Isle + The Silver Seed

After the threat of the Fellowship is averted a scroll is found in which the Guardian commands his inferior Batlin to leave Britannia and go to the Serpent Isle. Lord British sends the Avatar after him to prevent the Guardian from conquering Serpent Isle and to restore balance between Order and Chaos, the two twin forces of the Serpent Isle. During your adventures you have the chance to travel back into the time of the War of Imbalance, where you have to plant the Silver Seed to heal the world.

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 U8  U8-Speech Pack

Ultima VIII: Pagan

After you brought balance to the world again, the Guardian throws the Avatar into the world of Pagan. There you have to find a way to get back to Britannia, cause in the meantime the Guardian tries to enslave the population of Britannia.

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Ultima Online

Sorry, no information about Ultima Online, due to the fact that I never played it. But take a look at the official Ultima Online website.

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This site was last updated on the 14th of October 1998.

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