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Old 17th April 2017, 12:15 PM   #1
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Default Ultima VII: The Black Gate, 25th Anniversary

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the release of what was to become my all time favourite Ultima and probably one of the best RPG's I have ever played in all my gaming years. Released on April 16th, 1992 (US Time), it was masterpiece in story telling and you really felt like you were in a living breathing world with NPC's seemly having their own lives to live with places to be and things to do.

My first experience of Ultima 7 came years later after it's release when I picked up a copy around 1995 in the "bargin bin" at my local Myer's. At the time of it's release we still had an 8088 so for a long time my only Ultima fix was Ultima 6 and Savage Empire, the last two Ultima's which would still run on an XT. Martian Dreams much to my disappointment pushed the minimum to a 286. But finally with now a 486 at my disposal I played catch up with many a game and finally got a chance to get stuck into Ultima 7 was a joy to behold. I lost so many hours in that game and actually got my sister (a non-gamer at the time) hooked into it as well.

Looking back, I still love the subtle digs at Electronic Arts (who was to later take them over) that they made in the game. From the two evil protagonists, Elizabeth and Abraham, the three evil generators which looked suspiciously like the old EA logo (a cube, a sphere, and a tetrahedron) and the Guardian being known as the "Destroyer of Worlds" (Origin's motto was "We Create Worlds"). I don't recall there being many games that went at such lengths to be so cheeky towards another developer in what was supposed to be a serious game.

Loved the cover art as well, just a simple black box with the all too familiar Ultima title. It just seemed to sum up the dark mood of the game perfectly, brilliant in it's simplicity. While on the subject of it's cover art, Denis Loubert last year released alternative box art for Ultima 7 which looks good, but I prefer the original.

Happy birthday Ultima 7.

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Old 17th April 2017, 2:01 PM   #2
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Thanks for the reminder! I was first introduced to the Ultima series by a friend who had Ultima 4 and Ultima 5 on Apple. I ended up getting Ultima 6 on PC and have been a great fan ever since, though personally I think that the Ultima series finished at U7 part 2, and everything after wasn't really an ultima

I just spent about 90 minutes going through all the Ultima stuff and reminiscing on the games.
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Old 17th April 2017, 2:31 PM   #3
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https://www.gog.com/game/ultima_7_complete

$8 AUD and it works
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Old 17th April 2017, 5:57 PM   #4
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I've never played Ultima 7 but I have watched a fair bit of gameplay and it is absolutely awesome for a 1992 game. The scope of the game is astounding, I have played games released after 2000 that didn't have as much potential gameplay as this game.

All the bugs and quirkiness of the game are good for a laugh too!
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Old 17th April 2017, 8:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rass View Post
Thanks for the reminder! I was first introduced to the Ultima series by a friend who had Ultima 4 and Ultima 5 on Apple. I ended up getting Ultima 6 on PC and have been a great fan ever since, though personally I think that the Ultima series finished at U7 part 2, and everything after wasn't really an ultima

I just spent about 90 minutes going through all the Ultima stuff and reminiscing on the games.
Almost mirrors my experience. My first introduction was Ultima 4 through my friend on his Amiga 500. I missed Ultima 5 but I had Ultima 6 on my PC which was the first time I could really get stuck into it and I enjoyed it immensely. Probably my 3rd favourite Ultima behind U7 and U7 Part 2.

Yes I know what you mean about the games beyond that. Ultima 8 I don't mind, but yeah it was the beginning of the bastardisation of Ultima by EA and worst was to come with Ultima 9. I forgot how bad it was until I saw this video review a couple of years ago. Fricken hilarious how he rips it to shreds.







Quote:
Originally Posted by Oblivion-330 View Post
I've never played Ultima 7 but I have watched a fair bit of gameplay and it is absolutely awesome for a 1992 game. The scope of the game is astounding, I have played games released after 2000 that didn't have as much potential gameplay as this game.

All the bugs and quirkiness of the game are good for a laugh too!
If you ever get around to it, it's also worth checking out Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle. Same engine with a few refinements and is refreshing in that it takes place in a new land instead of being set in Britannia. VERY close to being an equal all time favourite of mine but Black Gate just pips it.

Speaking of quirkiness, again if you do play it you should purposely get the copy protection wrong. It still allows you to play the game but everyone starts talking gibberish and all sorts of weird stuff happens making it unplayable. It's quite funny and an awesome way of handling it instead of just dumping you out of the game.

Speaking of which, fast forward to about 5 minutes in.

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Last edited by Flamin Joe; 17th April 2017 at 8:49 PM.
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Old 9th May 2017, 7:38 PM   #6
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Both Black Gate and Serpent Isle are one of my favourite gaming experiences. Never before or since had a world felt so intricate and meticulously crafted. It was an absolute joy to explore, with the perfect mix of wonder, danger and curiosity. It was the antithesis of the sandbox/procedural RPG and I fear we will never see its like again.

I assume that the GoG version uses Exult, since this was a bastard game to get running under DOSBox. Its nice being able to use magic keyring in Black Gate.
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Old 10th May 2017, 9:43 PM   #7
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Did anyone ever finish the game without using a walkthrough guide?

These early RPGs were extremely unforgiving, Ultima8 is another game I would have no chance in hell of finishing.

If you've never heard it listen to the MT-32 soundtrack, some of the best in game music ever composed.

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Old 11th May 2017, 8:52 PM   #8
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Did anyone ever finish the game without using a walkthrough guide?
Sure did; both games and the expansions. I was young and had a lot of time. Plus, we didn't have that fancy internet thing.
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Old 11th May 2017, 8:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
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If you've never heard it listen to the MT-32 soundtrack, some of the best in game music ever composed.
I was always partial to Stones.
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Old 12th May 2017, 8:59 AM   #10
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I was always partial to Stones.
Ah yes! Such an Ultima classic. Heard it in all it's glory for the first time in Ultima 6 on my SB Pro. Not as good as an MT-32 but for the time it was a massive upgrade from the PC speaker.

From the Ultima codex wiki. I forgot about this in Ultima 7!

Quote:
In Ultima VII Part Two, selecting "Stones" on the music box at the Inn of the Sleeping Bull will draw a sentimental reaction from Iolo, before causing Shamino to contrarily moan, "Not Stones again..."
lol
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Old 12th May 2017, 9:17 AM   #11
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just clicked on the gog link above because i love this game, to find it's 74% off...

Might have to grab it for 2 bucks, if only to stack the boxes in trinsic and become all-powerful one more time.
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Old 12th May 2017, 12:17 PM   #12
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Spent countless hours on Ultima 7
I remember going from a 486 25 to a 486 dx2 66 and wow it felt like the Avatar was running everywhere!

Clicked on that GOG link above to get me some retro action only to realize i bought the complete Ulitma Pack of GOG 4 years ago

I know what I am doing this weekend!
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Old 18th May 2017, 2:27 PM   #13
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I loved Ultima V, and bought the cd for 7 that contained both games.

Was devastated that I could never get the game to run on my computer, due to memory issues or something. Even though at the time I had a Pentium 75 with 8mb ram.

No matter how much I configured the config.sys file or Autoexec.bat (god I hope I remembered those names right), I could never get it to run
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Old 18th May 2017, 2:33 PM   #14
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for all you Ultima nuts grab an Origin Access sub ($39 for a year) and you get access to all these Ultima gameses

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Old 19th May 2017, 9:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
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No matter how much I configured the config.sys file or Autoexec.bat (god I hope I remembered those names right), I could never get it to run
IIRC, they used their own memory manager (Voodoo), so you needed to disable EMM386 to stop it interfering with high memory allocation. I also needed to unload my CD-ROM drivers to get enough base memory. I ended up creating a bootdisk for it...

I can remember that, but I can't usually remember what day it is...
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