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Ultima VI: The False Prophet

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Ultima VI: The False Prophet is the sixth game in the series and the last part of the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy. It was published and released in 1990 by Origin for the IBM-PC. Ports for the Atari ST and C64 followed in 1991. A port for the Amiga was released in 1992. Ports for the FM-Towns in 1992 and SNES in 1993 were next.

Gameplay Edit

There are big changes in the graphics and gameplay of Ultima VI when compared to previous games. Gone are the notorious tiled graphics, different scales, and 3D-dungeons from all previous Ultimas; Everything is now shown from a isometric perspective with attention to detail in a seamless world, making Britannia look much more realistic. Though the graphics are tile based, the tiles are integrated in a way that doesn't make them so independent from each other, but only as parts of the bigger world. Castles, towns and dungeons are in the same scale as the overworld, unlike previous Ultimas, where entering any of these places would move the player to a separate, different scale map.

Every character now has a portrait when spoken to, the inventory is now graphical, the game is mouse driven, and the characters and story have become more complex and mature than they were in Ultima V. Music support is available for the first time in the PC version.

The Story Edit


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.



After the rescue of Lord British and the mostly-complete collapse of the Underworld, Britannia seems to have found peace again, but it doesn't last for long. From what remains of the Underworld, strange creatures called gargoyles arise, starting a war against the humans of Britannia. The war now lasts for some years and the gargoyles have captured the shrines, stealing the Moonstones.

In this situation, the Avatar is lured to Britannia by a red Moongate and nearly sacrificed by the gargoyles. Freed at the last minute, the hero starts to fight back and frees the shrines and Moonstones from the gargoyles, effectively chasing them off Britannia. But a strange book from the sacrifice scene and a mysterious Translation Silver Tablet reveal a horrible secret: The gargoyles aren't really evil, they are desperate. They think the Avatar is their legendary "False Prophet," come to kill them all, as their homeland slowly collapses more with each day. Traveling to the Realm of the Gargoyles to set things straight, the Avatar realizes that the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom is both the biggest point of bitterness between the two races and the only voice of reason they will listen to. The Avatar sends the Codex back into the Void, where no one can claim it, but leaving two special lenses both Kings can view it with, to continue to read its wisdom and learn the truth. And so, peace is again restored to the troubled land.


Spoilers end here.



Development Edit

This is the first time an Ultima was developed on a 16-bit computer (namely the IBM-PC) and not the Apple II.

Differences between platforms Edit

The 16-bit ports for the Atari ST and the Amiga were basically the same, but had far fewer colors, worse music and used a large, inconvenient number of floppy disks which would put off some players. Also see Computer Ports of Ultima VI.

The only 8-bit port is for the C64. Origin was able to squeeze this huge game, without changes in the game engine, onto three double-sided disks. However, this version had a very complicated way to control the game, much reduced graphical quality, almost no music (apart from the beginning and endgame) and several cuts (fewer spells and items). More about the conversion here: C64-Port of Ultima VI.

The port for the SNES looks graphically much like the PC-port, but has a much more complicated control scheme, no character portraits and has a simplified talk system combined with some censorship due to Nintendo's policies. On the other hand, its display is fullscreen. For more information, see SNES-Port of Ultima VI.

There also exists a port for the FM-Towns (a Japanese computer) with full speech in both Japanese and English. Interestingly enough, many of the characters are voiced by their real-life counterparts in the English speech. Lord British is, for example, voiced by Richard Garriott. Not all of Origin's staff was available at the time of the recording, however, so a few substitutes were needed. Otherwise, the FM-Towns version is, for the most part, the same as the original PC version. It's very hard to find, but because of its full speech, it has become sought after by many Ultima fans.

Music Edit

Ultima VI represented a major change in Ultima music. Previously, music was limited to hardware such as the Mockingboard and Commodore's SID chip. Now it was possible to even play music on technologies better than FM synthesis.

This was also the last Ultima to give credit to Kenneth W. Arnold, who had previously composed all Ultima music.

Release Edit

Ultima VI got very good reviews and sold quite well for Origin. It was voted best role-playing game by Computer Gaming Magazine in 1991.[1]

The game was included in several compilations:

Included with the game Edit

The release of Ultima VI included these things with the game:

Upgrades Edit

Ultima VI is the first Ultima that doesn't need any kind of upgrades for sound or graphics to run in Windows XP. However, there are several projects in progress to allow it to run better on modern systems, or to remake it with other game engines.

The Ultima 6 ProjectEdit

The Ultima 6 Project is a project to recreate Ultima VI with the Dungeon Siege game engine.

NuvieEdit

This is an open-source project designed to use the original data files for Ultima VI and make it playable on a number of different operating systems. See Nuvie for more information.

More game related informationEdit

Trivia Edit

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An Ultima VI ad
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  • The Commodore 64 version marks the final appearance of Ultima on an 8-bit platform.
  • When the C64 port of Ultima VI was created, the limits of the system proved quite challenging to Origin, so they had to axe a few things. Along that, horses vanished to eliminate horseriding. They added the excuse that the gargoyles had eaten all the horses (with exception of Smith).
  • This installment is the first appearance of the Armageddon spell. With the possibility of players using the spell to destroy all life and then trying to finish the game, it was made impossible to win by returning the Codex to the void after casting Armageddon.

External Links Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Computer Gaming World, Number 83. June 1991. Page 48.
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