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Platform : PC, SNES

Developer : Lord British

Publisher : Origin

Players : 1

Format : 1 CD, maybe in floppies

 

System Req. : Any PC built between 1994 and today.

 

Reviewer's Machine : AMD Athlon 1.33ghz, 384MB RAM, Win9x.

 

 

Hints and Files

Runic Alphabet

Intro
             Ultima 7 is a classic RPG game of the olden days. It was made around 1992 by Origin, who now makes online-only RPGs. Ultima 7 is the 7th installment (duh!) of the Ultima series. The Ultima series is about the exploits and adventures of a legendary figure known as the Avatar (you). The Avatar has saved time and time again the land of Britannia from utter destruction. 

Story
               This installment involves a previous villain that has appeared in one of the other games in the series. The villain is only known as the "Guardian", and he wants to take over Britannia (who doesn't?). The Avatar is once again called to Britannia to save it from the clutches of the Guardian. You must rely on your battle experience and a little help from your "horde" of friends (You can have almost 12 party members at the same time!) to save the land of Britannia once again. You must find the Black Gate, the Guardian's only way of entering the world of Britannia, and destroy it. You must also outsmart the evil society of loyal Guardian followers known as the Fellowship.

Gameplay
                   This game was made around 1992, so the gameplay interface is different from the new crop of CRPGs popping up so frequently today. The interface is very simple, you point and click on things around you. Pretty simple right? If you've played CRPGs before, then you know how they're played. Now onto the good parts! The world of Ultima 7 is completely interactive. In other words, if you can do it here in the real world, you can do it here. Use anything as a weapon: rakes, shoves, chairs, torches, and even candles! The way of leveling up characters is also completely different. You acquire enough battle experience and then visit a trainer to get trained in order to level up (sounds more like real life doesn't it?). Money isn't received after every battle. It must be recovered from bodies or get it from stealing; that's right, stealing. You can either work to get your income, or just plain raid houses and dungeons to get your daily income. I prefer to invade the Fellowship Chapels and extract my income from their collection box. Aside from stealing and working, you must also take care of your party, after all they are human. You have to feed your party members when they start complaining about hunger, or they'll suffer and lose hit points and become less effective in battle. Sounds a little too excessive for you? Well, all this and more awaits you in the world of Ultima. 

Graphics/Sound
                 Other games that were made around this time were still at the bottom rung of the graphics/sound ladder. Fortunately, Ultima 7 boasts very impress graphics and sounds. U7's graphics are colorful and very detailed for a game made around the times of pixellation and low-res graphics. The graphics are detailed 2D sprites that show very little pixellation. The spell effects are also nice, showing off primitive transparency and lighting effects. As for the sound, it uses midi music and non-digitized sounds similar to the ones used in Final Fantasy games. The game also features speech that is spoken by the Guardian and having him interrupt your adventure with such taunts as: "Do you really know where you are going Avatar"? or "Thou had best not do that Avatar" is a frightening experience. All in all, the game's graphics were up to par, if not above the standard for that time period.

Conclusion
The game is way past its time now, but it still offers an adventure that no RPG fan would want to miss. The game can still be found in stores under the titles of "The Ultima Collection" or "The Complete Ultima 7". They're both pretty cheap and they offer the best in RPG gaming. The game will keep you busy for hours and hours and will have you pondering what you will do next in your sleep. The game uses less than 20 megs on your hard drive, imagine that? Some RPGs today take up more than 300 and they're not even close to the magnitude of the gameplay or story of the Ultima games.