The Avatar, the embodiment of the Eight Virtues and the hero of Britannia, is called back to deal with a grave threat. Lord British, the country's benevolent monarch, has disappeared, and a man named Blackthorn has usurped his throne. The tyrant rules the land by enforcing the virtues upon the will of the people, corrupting their meaning in the process. His fundamentalist visions led him to create a police state, where failure to adhere to the virtues is punishable by death. Behind Blackthorn are the three Shadowlords, anti-thesis to the three principles of Truth, Love, and Courage. The Avatar must understand their meaning and origins, find a way to defeat them, rescue Lord British, and restore the former ethical principles of Britannia.Ultima V
uses the basics of the Ultima IV
engine, an overhead perspective for the map of Britannia and its towns, and a rosette-compass 3D view for the dungeons. The battle system also resembles that of the previous game, with separate battle screens and navigation of character icons in turn-based style. Many of the gameplay elements of the predecessor return, including the complex spell system (reagents must be bought in order to cast spells), recruitable party members, moongates that teleport the party between locations, various means of transportation (horses, ships, etc., with the notable addition of a magic carpet), and so on. Character creation based on morally ambiguous questions and basic leveling up system have been preserved as well. In comparison to the predecessor, the classes have been reduced to four.
Additional challenges include navigating characters through the Underworld, a vast underground area containing many hazards; random presence of Shadowlords in the cities, which influences the behavior of their inhabitants, making them run away, steal from, or attack the Avatar; inscriptions in a runic alphabet that must be deciphered by the player, and others.
The game has a noticeably more detailed world than any of its predecessors; the towns are much larger, with many unique buildings and objects represented graphically. Ultima V
introduces physical interaction with the game world: many objects can be pushed or pulled, the main character can sit down on a chair (which is graphically shown), etc. It also incorporates a day/night cycle and schedules for non-playable characters: for example, it is impossible to shop at night because the shopkeepers are sleeping. Dialogues with NPCs have been enhanced, featuring more unique and detailed conversation topics.
- "Ultima: Warriors of Destiny" -- NES title
- "Ultima V: Shukumei no Senshi" -- Japanese title
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Original boxes of Ultima V
included a symbol stamped coin representing The Codex from within the plot and in some cases with a cloth map of the world.
In the Apple II version of the game (and possibly others, though not the DOS version), yelling FLIPFLOP outdoors would cause each tile on the screen to invert itself, top to bottom. This is quite bizarre -- check the screenshots page to see it in action. Yelling it again will restore the tiles to their normal status.
- There is no music in PC version, but there exist a freeware patch that adds all the glorious music from C-128/Apple versions to play properly with the PC version as MIDI.
- Contrary to popular belief, the Commodore 64 version did not have any music. The music was only available to those who had a Commodore 128 and started the game in Commodore 128 mode. Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny was one of very few games that gave particular attention to the Commodore 128.
References: Electronic Arts
- ORIGIN founder Richard Garriott has always had a bit of a grudge against Trip Hawkins, co-founder of Electronic Arts, because he didn't like their treatment as an EA affiliated label. Not only did he name a mausoleum after him (Pirt Snikwah backwards) in his Britannia Manor (a house in Austin, Texas, designed and used for creepy real-life RPG's), but, more related, he also made him appear in Ultima V as shipwright Hawkins.
- There has long been animosity between EA and Origin. Just dig through the Ultima V binaries. Ultima V had a list of swear words that, when used in conversation, would result in the response 'With language like that how didst thou become an Avatar?!'. In this swear word list in the binaries were the usual 4 letter words as well as 'Electronic Arts'.
- Many of the people in Ultima 5 are constructed from other Origin employees or friends of Richard Garriot - one example is Christopher in West Britanny, modeled after Chris Roberts of Times of Lore and Wing Commander fame.
- The name of captain Johne's ship is Ararat. According to the Bible, that is also the name of the mountain where Noah's ark landed after the flood. Quite an appropriate name for a ship that's run ashore.
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny has been remade by fans in 2005 using the Dungeon Siege engine. It is a highly ambitious attempt to reconstruct the original title, including an enhanced plot, and adds strategy elements and updates conversational mechanisms to resemble modern game dialog systems. It is free for download from the TeamLazarus homepage (See Links section).
In the stable near Iolo's Hut, you'll find Smith (a talking horse). If you talk with him, he'll give you a "very important clue" -- however, the clue is for Ultima IV
. Apparently, the Ultima IV
design team forgot to include the clue so they put it in Ultima V
as a joke. This tradition has since carried on throughout subsequent Ultima
Information also contributed by
- Computer Gaming World
- November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #14 Most Memorable Game Villain (Pirt Snikwah)
- 2001 – #42 Top Game of All Time