Well… I guess Ed Del Castillo was right. Ultima is about savint the Princess after all.
Though you have to wonder what were all these kings (including the so virtuous Lord British) doing with Princesses imprisoned within their walls!
But I digress.
As you may have guessed, I have started Ultima I, well intent on kicking Mondain’s allmighty butt.
One point of note: before starting the game I sat down and read the manual from the 1986 remake. And I while obviously be doing for every Ultima game.
I forgot to mention this, but the Ultima game manuals are amongst the best that were crafted in the history of videogames, always taking an in-game perspective as if you were an actual history book. For its age the manual is very well written (altough it is an updated version and not the original 1980 one which was not quite the same) with very interesting background information.
I obviously started with a Human Male character, in order to stick with the canon and pretending that I am playing the Avatar to be. I choose a Fighter again, because really: I just love whacking thing around!
Now I must say the Apple IIgs version is just very neat: the tiles has the best we’ve seen for Ultima I while still remaining faithful to the original style, and the music is pretty nice with a nice Ultima vibe (we even get to hear “Rule Britannia” whenever we get inside a Castle!). There is however one downside to this remake: while the monster graphics have been fully redrawn for the dungeons, the walls were not so we’re still seeing Akalabeth-quality dungeons. Oh well…
One point of oddity is that it seems this port doesn’t really have monsters on the overland map while they were numerous in the PC version (I’ve actually started it just to be sure!). After a bit of archeological search, it appears that this was the way it was in the original Apple II version of the game, and that roaming monsters were only added for the 1986 remake, probably to be more in line with the newer Ultima.
I did happen to cross ONE monster on the overland map: a bear, after some time of play – so I am not sure what is the deal and wether I have some sort of bugs or if I’ll be seeing more monsters when my character become stronger. We’ll see.
My quest is going well as speaking to the bartenders (whose idea was that really? You need to get drunk to get plot points?) revealed me that I had to find a TIME MACHINE to go back in time 1000 years to kill Mondain before his Gem was completed and he got immortality.
You know this is actually a very good plot point: it also kind of explains why Ultima I has so much high technology. Interestingly the Lands of Lord British doesn’t appear to have such technology at first, so you might even possibly reconcile it by saying it’s the other who had space ships and all.
But of course It’d be hard to actually reconcile this aspect with the final “Ultima canon” especially the whole 1000 years before bit, but it certainly is interesting.
In any case the quest is progressing and I already have one of the four gem stones required to use the Time Machine. I get stronger and richer by the day, so I’ll hopefully soon be able to get into space and shot down those nasty TIE Fighters!
But now let’s go an free more Princesses…