User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire (Sharp X68000)

missing cover art
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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.

Description

The Avatar, the Earth-born hero of the magical realm of Britannia, has discovered a mysterious black moonstone there. He returns to our world and asks his friend, the natural museum curator Dr. Rafkin, to analyze it. A reporter named Jimmy Malone is eager to cover the story and joins the two. However, the experiments triggers a gigantic explosion, and the group is teleported to a seemingly otherwordly place known as the Valley of Eodon, where native tribes with Mesoamerican and African characteristics co-exist with Neanderthals, dinosaurs, as well as sentient reptile and insect species.

The Avatar befriends Aiela, the daughter of the chieftain of the Kurak tribe. However, she is soon abducted by her belligerent suitor from the tribe of Urali, who knocks the Avatar out. When he wakes up, he realizes that his friends are gone as well. Now the hero of Britannia must explore the new world, find his friends, rescue Aiela, and eventually help the locals sort out their differences, uniting them against a common threat.

Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire is a side story in the Ultima series. It is made with the Ultima VI engine, and is very similar to that game visually and gameplay-wise. Like Ultima VI, the game is set in a seamless graphical world, and offers many objects to interact with and combine, party management, and turn-based combat. As in the other Ultima games, the player is free to roam the world and visit almost every location from the onset. Like Ultima VI, there is more emphasis on exploration, obtaining vital information through dialogue, and finding or creating a variety of items than on combat.

Some features have been slightly simplified compared to Ultima VI. There are less spells and only one companion who can use them with the help of special totems. Most characters start at relatively high levels and can only gain a few more during the course of the game. The Savage Empire is the first game in the series to use cutscenes during some of the key plot events.

Screenshots

There are no Sharp X68000 screenshots for this game.

There are 46 other screenshots on file for other versions of this game.


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Trivia

Cameo

The Three Stooges make an appearance in the game.

Gameplay

One thing about finishing this game is that all completing the quests do is gain you levels and tell you where to go to kill the end villain. In hind sight, if you were powerful enough you could just go straight there and kill her and complete the game.

Programming

The following is written by ORIGIN programmer Paul Meyer:
This was the game that started the "Thank you for Playing" tradition at Origin. Part of that came from Texas culture - it just seemed right to thank people for playing the game - but the actual moment of genesis has a story behind it.

If you remember the bad old world of DOS programming, you know that the OS was more or less incapable of stopping you from doing hokey things - or even bloody murder - at the machine level. Development environments of the day would try to help out. In particular, the environment used to program this game put a guard block at address zero in memory, so bad writes to null pointers would not damage anything and could be detected when the program exited.

At one point in the development of the game, there was a bug that was causing just such a write. When a couple of weeks of work failed to find the bug, and one night while a little punchy from lost sleep, Steve was inspired to hack the error message. Instead of saying "Null pointer write detected" as you exited the game, it would say "Thank you for playing."

Eventually the bug was actually found and fixed, but everybody decided that the message was so appropriate it should be there, so they added the message as normal code when the game exited. But whenever I see a "Thank you for playing " message, I remember that late-night half-mad hack, and grin.

References

Both this game and its sequel, Martian Dreams, feature a character named Dr. Spector. He is based on Warren Spector.

Special Edition

Available by pre-order from Origin only, there was also a Special Edition of this game that contained a T-shirt and the hint book, plus the box was autographed in gold ink by Lord British.

Information also contributed by Mark Ennis, mocagh, Timo Takalo, weregamer, and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe

Related Web Sites

  • Nuvie (If you have an original copy of "Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire", you can use Nuvie to run it on modern systems.)
Terok Nor (19006) added Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire (Sharp X68000) on Feb 01, 2012
Other platforms contributed by Picard (29344), Old man gamer (302), Sciere (268188) and אולג 小奥 (171551)