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Ultima

From Academic Kids

Ultima is a series of fantasy computer role-playing games from Origin Systems, Inc.. Ultima was created by Richard Garriott, a.k.a. Lord British. Several games of the series are considered seminal games of their genre. Today, Electronic Arts holds the brand. Template:Ultima

Contents

Overview

Ultima tells the story of a hero who would be summoned by the ruler of a different world known first as Sosaria, later as Britannia, whenever troubles would arise and put in danger the peace of the land. The ruler of that world is called Lord British, and his pleas would be answered by a stranger coming from another world known only as Earth through a magical portal. As time passed, that hero would overcome several obstacles and fight several entities (both in Britannia and in other planes), and gain the title of Avatar, becoming the embodiment of virtues.

The Ultima series can be divided in three parts. The first three games (Ultima I-III), the "Age of Darkness" trilogy, are the typical "kill the evil overlord" fantasy games. Ironically the antagonists of the first three games appear to do nothing but reside in their castles, while the protagonist has the option of stealing and murdering. The next three games (Ultima IV-VI), the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy, add a revolutionary moral element into the fantasy game genre. The character had to attain the eight virtues of honesty, compassion, valor, justice, sacrifice, honor, spirituality and humility. The eight virtues are loosely based on the Chivalry code of knighthood (but without any explicit Christianity) and are similar to ideas from the movie The Wizard of Oz; though Garriott denies that they were the original source. The third and final trilogy (Ultima VII-IX), the "Age of Armageddon" (also known as The Guardian Saga), pits the Avatar against an anti-virtue deity known as the Guardian.

Ultima I-V were originally developed on and released for the Apple II family of computers. All the games from Ultima VI on were developed on IBM PC compatible machines. The earlier Ultima games were ported to many computer types, including 8-bit Atari (Ultima I-IV), Atari ST (Ultima II-VI), Commodore 64 (Ultima I-VI), Commodore Amiga (Ultima III-VI) and IBM PC (Ultima I-V).

The Ultima games were also famous for the trinkets included in the game boxes. From Ultima II on, every main Ultima game came with a cloth map of the game world. Starting with Ultima IV, small trinkets like pendants, coins and magic stones were found in the boxes. Made of metal or glass, they usually represented an important object also found within the game itself.

The creator, Richard Garriott, no longer owns the rights to the game, nor participates in the development.

There is also a substantial community of Ultima fans known as the Ultima Dragons.

The games

The original series

The Age of Darkness

The Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Armageddon (The Guardian Saga)

Other Ultima games

Ultima Online series (1997)

Missing image
Ultimaonline1.jpg
Ultima Online on the IBM PC
See the main article Ultima Online

A MMORPG version of the world of Britannia. In Ultima Online, thousands of players interact online in Britannia. See Ultima Online for more information.

UO spawned two sequel efforts that were cancelled before release: Ultima Worlds Online: Origin (cancelled in 2001) and Ultima X (cancelled in 2004). However, several expansions were released for Ultima Online, adding new features and areas to be explored. They are The Second Age, Renaissance, Third Dawn, Lord Blackthorn's Revenge, Age of Shadows and Samurai Empire.

Console games

Console versions of Ultima have allowed further exposure to the series, especially in Japan where the games have been bestsellers and were accompanied by several tie-in products including manga based on Ultima. In most cases, gameplay and graphics have been changed significantly.


  • Ultima: Exodus (NES)
  • Ultima: Quest of the Avatar (NES, Master System)
  • Ultima: Warriors of Destiny (NES)
  • Ultima: Runes of Virtue (Game Boy) — Non-canonical, action based gameplay and puzzle solving. The antagonist is called the "Black Knight."
  • Ultima: Runes of Virtue 2 (Game Boy, SNES)
  • Ultima: The False Prophet (SNES) — Gameplay adapted for the game pad. Includes plot changes and reduction in violence.
  • Ultima: The Black Gate (SNES) — Gameplay adapted for the game pad. Includes plot changes and reduction in violence.
  • Ultima: The Savage Empire (SNES) — A graphical update using the Black Gate engine for the SNES. Japan only, cancelled in the US.
  • Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (PlayStation) — Released in Japan only.

Related projects

Many communities of dedicated programmers have taken it upon themselves to patch the old Ultima games to run under modern operating systems, or to remake and/or revise their cherished series with modern gaming engines. This is a partial listing of them:

Engine rewrite projects

  • Ultima Classics Revisited (http://ucr.exahost.net/) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable engine, currently covering Akalabeth (complete) and Ultima I (partial).
  • u3project (http://www.u3project.com/) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima III engine.
  • xu4 (http://xu4.sourceforge.net) - An open-source, portable Ultima IV engine.
  • nu5 (http://nu5.sourceforge.net) - A planned open-source, portable Ultima V engine.
  • Nuvie (http://nuvie.sourceforge.net) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima VI engine (works with Savage Empire and Martian Dreams, too).
  • Exult (website (http://exult.sourceforge.net)) - An open-source, portable Ultima VII: The Black Gate and Serpent Isle engine (works with the expansions as well).
  • Pentagram (website (http://pentagram.sourceforge.net)) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima VIII engine (may later work with Crusader games, too).
  • Underworld Adventures (http://uwadv.sourceforge.net) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima Underworld engine.
  • The System Shock Hack Project (http://tsshp.sourceforge.net) - An open-source, work-in-progress portable Ultima Underworld (and System Shock) engine.

Remakes and new games

  • Ultima V Lazarus (http://www.u5lazarus.com) - A remake of Ultima V by voluntary programmers using the Microsoft Dungeon Siege engine. Currently in beta stage (2004).
  • Titans of Ether (http://ultima.cfkasper.de/) merges two former development efforts, both based on Morrowind game engine. Ultima IX: Redemption is an effort to create an alternative Ultima IX, writing a new ending to the series "for the fans". Ultima: The New King is a planned new adventure chronologically set after Ultima IX.
  • Realms of Ultima (http://www.thegrumpystrumpet.com/rou/rou_home.htm) is a Persistent World Template project under development by The Grumpy Strumpet (http://www.thegrumpystrumpet.com). The goal of this project is to allow free download of a module template based on the Ultima universe for multiplayer, single player, and hosted DM-lead games. This game will be developed with the Neverwinter Nights 2 (http://www.atari.com/nwn2/) game engine (due for release in 2006) developed by Obsidian Entertainment (http://www.obsidianent.com/). Currently the project is in the pre-planning stage. (4-10-2005)

Major and recurring characters

See also

External links

  • Origin Systems, Inc. (http://www.origin.ea.com/) (the same as the Ultima Online official website today)
  • The official Ultima Web Archive (http://www.uo.com/archive/) - Information and files concerning the entire saga
  • MobyGames entry for the Ultima Series (http://www.mobygames.com/game_group/sheet/gameGroupId,88/)
  • The Ultima Legacy from GameSpot (http://www.gamespot.com/features/ultima/) - A historical overview of the series
  • CD Mag Interviews (http://www.cdmag.com/articles/022/184/garriott_interview1.html) - Interviews concerning Ascension and other games in the series
  • Terilem Dragon's Ultima Webpage (http://homepage.powerup.com.au/~gjdanger/Terilem/) - Containing material about Ultima IX, as well as a section devoted to the history of all the games
  • The Ultima Collectors Guide (http://www.surfing.net/ultima/ucg/) - Information about versions and availability of Ultima games. Contains descriptions and photos of trinkets and other material
  • Ultima: Aiera (http://aiera.timeimmortal.net/) - an Ultima Project archive site, detailing ongoing Ultima remakes/ports/spin-offs.
  • Ultima at Tea Leaves (http://www.tgr.com/weblog/archives/000140.html) - A retrospective of the entire Ultima series

Ultima is also the name for the game originally known as Baroque chess.


In the Final Fantasy console RPGs, Ultima is a powerful magical spell, usually the most powerful spell in the game. There are also weapons and/or monsters called "Ultima Weapon" in several of the more recent instalments in the series.de:Ultima ja:ウルティマ fi:Ultima fr:Ultima nl:Ultima (computerspel)

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