Ultima: One of Our Greatest Treasures

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Ultima is a classic series for the PC, and a benchmark achievement in the
Role Playing game world (which is largely self inclusive, as Anthropoligists
have suggested). Each game developed the world of Sorsaria and the
nation state Britannia- bringing new and improved graphics and interface
to the fanatasy world. The first trilogy was fairly simple and straightforward-
find items of power, buy and upgrade weaponry and figh a powerful
arch-mage. Great stuff really. Then came the second trilogy. The graphics
were substantially upgraded and the world more vast and interactive. With
an improved engine, the series developed plot wise as well. 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 ascend to higher understanding.
It was the first computer RPG 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, the virtues of the fourth game 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
Avater learns tolerance. A misunderstood race of Gargoyles find themselves
unjust targets and the Britannians falsely assume that these different ethics
(those of the Gargoyles) are in concflict and ultimately evil. The avatar must
quest 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 cities and the continent on two different scales. The seventh
game improves this even more- with a heavily interactive world and a totally
non-linear plot structure. The seventh was split among two games- Part I. and
Part II.. The seventh dealt with a shadowy cult beloved among the people , but
ultimately the front for a crime syndicate tied to an other worldy 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 far different, corrupt,
and out of order with nature. In Ultima 8, the otherworldy being (known as the
Guardian) transplants you to a world he's made into a virtual prison. The avatar
must escape that world to face the Guardian in Ultima 9- which has yet to surface.
That will move the adventure to the controversial 3d platform.

Ultima is a classic RPG series; highly interactive, non linear, well plotted and beautifully
rendered. Even the most primitve Ultimas ressonate with beauty (however pixelated) and
profundity (at least for a game series).

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. Pt. I. The Black Gate.
Ultima VII. Pt. II. The Serpent Isle
Ultima VIII. Pagan
Ultima IX. Ascension

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