Title Ultima VI: The False Prophet Game Type RPG Publisher Origin Players 1 Compatibility 1 MB required (AGA users must select OCS/ECS) HD Installable Yes Submission firstname.lastname@example.org Review The Ultima series is the grand-daddy of computer role-playing games, they started back in the early eighties on the 8-bit micros, and continue on to the present day. Although each game can be played separately, together they form a vast fantasy epic. Each instalment begins the same way - the player is just an ordinary person in our world, who is unexpectedly summoned to the world of Britannia (or Sosaria, as it was originally called) to perform a quest. In episodes I, II, and III, you defeated, in turn, an evil wizard, his female apprentice, and an army of invading demons. Ultima III was the first in the series to appear on the Amiga. Ultima IV took an unusual approach to fantasy adventure, as this time, rather than being sent off to slaughter evil monsters, the quest is the Quest of the Self - as your character journeys the land of Britannia he/she masters the Eight Virtues and strives to become the Avatar, a sort-of holy knight. If all this moralising is not to your taste, there's still plenty of fighting and adventuring to be had, but you'll be missing out on a great deal. Episode VI continues this refreshingly different theme in an RPG, and elaborates on it in a finely written adventure. As before, you begin by being summoned from the real world. However, this time, you arrive to find yourself not being sent on a quest, but about to be sacrificed by Gargoyles. After being thrown right into the game with a fight, you learn the Gargoyles have invaded Britannia and seized the Eight Sacred Shrines. Once again it's up to you to save the world, but this time you'll find that your enemies are not what they appear to be. If you've played the Ultima series before, you'll find that the entire interface has been revamped, and updated, for VI. It's now more icon-oriented, with graphics depicting everything in the game-world. Rather than the simplistic little game icons that represented characters, monsters, objects and terrain in previous episodes, here everything is viewed from above, and the graphics are sharply detailed. Also, for the first time, everything in Britannia is on one scale, and your party moves seamlessly from country, to city, to dungeon. The result is Britannia feels *huge*, and there's months of real-time exploration in this massive world. Fortunately, you're outfitted with a device called the Orb of Moons, which allows you to teleport around Britannia. All you have to do is figure out how it works... Ultima VI continues to utilise a number of unique RPG features. Rather than generating your character by tweaking random stats, you are asked a series of moral questions, and your character's class and attributes are based on the outcome of the questions. You'll either love this or loathe it - if you've ever played those yuppie board games, it'll probably disagree with you. Also, you don't create a party, rather as you continue your adventure, you will meet up with some old friends who will join your quest: Iolo the Bard, Dupre the Paladin, Geoffrey the Fighter, and other familiar characters from previous episodes. Ultima VI is a marvellous game to play. The over-head graphics are gorgeous, though the character and NPC portraits look disappointingly like the older Sierra games. The object icons are neat, and make managing your inventory fun and easy. No more typing commands, you ready weapons and armour by dragging their icons around. The music is OK, though like all adventures it rapidly becomes repetitive. There are four floppies, so disk changes even on a 2-drive system are a hassle, but Ultima VI is hard drive installable. Unfortunately, the game predates AGA, so 1200/4000 users will have to boot in ECS mode. What I love most about Ultima VI is its huge canvas, upon which your adventure unfolds. There are dozens of mini-quests to solve, many of them having nothing to do with the main story, but are imaginative and intriguing in their own right. I spent weeks alone trying to solve a ghostly little murder-mystery in Skara Brae (without success, if you know whodunnit, please drop me a line!). Of all RPGs I've ever played, Ultima VI is one of the best written. It's not just a game, it's a wonderful story. I don't want to give too much away, but it's a lovely twist when you learn more about the Gargoyles and their objectives, and have what alcoholics and characters in Tarantino movies refer to "as a moment of clarity". You'll find yourself questioning the whole concept of "good vs evil", and realise that ours is not the only planet plagued by prejudice. It's a rare and wonderful piece of software that makes you contemplate your own humanity. In case you're wondering "Ultima" comes from "Ultima Thule", which is what the Greeks called the edge of the known world, which to them was the British Isles.