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 Commodore 64 followed in 1991. A port for the Amiga was released in 1992. Ports for the FM-Towns in 1992 and the Super NES in 1993 were next.
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, differently-scaled 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 has lasted 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 out of Britannia. But a strange book from the sacrifice-scene and a mysterious 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, one to each King, which must be used together to continue to read its wisdom and learn the truth. And so, peace is again restored to the troubled land.
Spoilers end here.
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 serve to put off some players. (Also see: Computer Ports of Ultima VI)
The only 8-bit port is for the Commodore 64 computer. 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 method of controlling the game, much reduced graphical-quality, almost no music (apart from the beginning and endgame) and several cuts to content (fewer spells and items). (More about the conversion here: C64-Port of Ultima VI)
The port for the Super NES system looks graphically much like the PC port, but has a much more complicated control scheme, no character portraits, and has a modified conversation-system, with some censorship due to Nintendo's corporate policies. On the other hand, its display is fullscreen, and features much smoother scrolling animation while moving and a better framerate than the PC version. (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.
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.
Ultima VI got very good reviews, and sold quite well for Origin. It was voted "Best Role-Playing Game of the Year" by Computer Gaming Magazine in 1991.
The game was included in several compilations:
Included with the game Edit
The release of Ultima VI included these things with the game:
- The book Compendium
- A cloth map of Britannia in Ultima VI
- An Orb of the Moons (same as in the intro)
- An insert about the Immortality Contest
- Only in some cases, a rune related to the Immortality Contest
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
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.
- For bugs in this game, see Ultima VI Bugs.
- For cheating in this game, see Cheating in Ultima VI.
- For easter eggs and real-life references in this game, see Ultima VI Real-life references and easter eggs.
- For a map viewer, see Ultimatrix.
- For nitpicks for this game, see Ultima VI Nitpicks.
- For technical details, see Ultima VI Internal Formats.
- For copy protection, see Ultima VI Copy Protection.
- The Commodore 64 version marks the final appearance of Ultima on an 8-bit platform.
- When the Commodore 64 port of Ultima VI was created, the limits of the system proved quite challenging to Origin, so a number of elements were cut from the final product. Among these deletions were horses and horseback-riding, the developers adding the in-game excuse that the Gargoyles had eaten all the horses in Britannia (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
- The Ultima 6 Project
- Nuvie: The Ultima 6 Engine
- The collectible Ultima-Ultima VI
- Nitpicks for Ultima VI
- The Other Codex-Ultima VI
- Ultima Aiera Ultima VI resources
- ↑ Computer Gaming World, Number 83. June 1991. Page 48.