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DescriptionSeveral years after having restored Lord British to his rightful position as the monarch of Britannia, the Avatar is captured by demon-like creatures and placed on a sacrificial altar. His friends Iolo, Shamino and Dupre appear just in time to save him. In the Britannia castle, the Avatar learns that his abductors were gargoyles, a race of enigmatic creatures who have recently invaded Britannia and occupied the shrines of Virtue. As the Avatar embarks on a quest to liberate Britannia, he begins to gain insight into the gargoyles' true motives, and realizes that it is his duty to achieve peace and understanding between the two races.
Ultima VI is notable for introducing a continuous world to the role-playing genre. There is no "world map" in the game; all the locations are seamlessly connected to each other, turning the game world into a "sandbox" environment. Compared to the previous installments in the series, the game focuses more on quests and exploration rather than on combat. The latter no longer involves separate screens; battles occur during exploration, without any transitions. The turn-based system from the previous games has been preserved.
The interface has been re-designed, the original key-bound commands co-existing with selectable command icons and mouse-based interaction. The game world is more detailed than in the previous games, with a large number of various objects that can be manipulated or added to the inventory. Conversations are more extended, with a wider selection of topics, including many personal ones unique to specific characters. The player is also able to conduct extensive conversations with the Avatar's companions, as well as split the party and control the characters separately. Some important topics may be highlighted during text display, to facilitate further dialogue, which requires the player to type the desired conversation topics.
Like in the predecessors, the player is free to explore the game world from the beginning of the game, and visit locations in any order. Following the main quest and obtaining specific items and information is necessary to complete the story; however, the player can also opt to bypass a large part of it by using previous knowledge of the game or outside help. The FM Towns version has full voice acting for all the conversations, in English and in Japanese.
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The Press Says
DialoguesIn dialogs, key words can be identified for as they were highlighted in the text. However, this was only possible for EGA (and later) graphics. In CGA graphics (or similar) key words were not highlighted, thus adding additional difficulty in guessing which the key words were.
ExtrasThe game came with a map of Britannia printed not on paper, but on cloth. The quality of this material enhanced the realism of the world you got into when playing this game. A "moonstone" also came with the package. It was a smooth, black stone.
FM-Towns versionThe FM-Towns version of Ultima VI has full voice acting, both in English and in Japanese. The English voices were mostly provided by the designers, programmers and family members of Origin, including Richard Garriott in the role of Lord British.
Innovation music boardOne of the only games to support the Innovation ("SID" chip) music board.
IntroIn the game's introduction, the time displayed on the VCR is taken from your computer's system clock - in other words, it displays the correct time in-game. Also, you can change the channels using your numeric keypad.
Pacifist walkthroughOf the Ultima games, VI is the only one which allows you to win without a single fight, no cheating necessary. The Moonstone that you start off with transports you to different places in the game, so that all is required to finish are a few jumps to characters crucial to winning the game, and saying the right dialogue words to them. Learning the places and those words without outside-game knowledge(from a previous play or walkthrough), however, requires completing the rest of the game.
ReferencesORIGIN 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 VI as pirate Hawkins. Captain Hawkins is portrayed as a cruel man who was eventually murdered by his crew and his tombstone says "Here lies Captain Hawkins. He died a hard death and he deserved it." A few members of his crew are also named after EA employees: Alastor Gordon (Bing Gordon), Bonn (Stewart Bonn) and Old Ybarra (Joe Ybarra).
Re-releaseIn 1992, Origin re-released this game and chose GT Interactive as the distributor. It came in a smaller box and contained a paper map and Compendium book.
SeggallionOne of Avatar's possible companions, a knight named Seggallion, is in fact an important character in Origin's earlier RPG, Knights of Legend. In that game, the player's main objective was to rescue the imprisoned Seggallion from the evil lord Pildar. Seggallion tells Avatar that he is from the parallel world Ashtalarea (which is the world in which the events of Knights of Legend take place). He further explains that he accidentally stepped into a moongate and was teleported to Britannia.
SNES versionThere are a few changes in the SNES version:
Special EditionAs Ultima VI was published in 1990, ten years after the original Ultima (on the Apple II), Origin sold a special edition of the game to players who pre-ordered it directly from them. The special edition box was autographed by Lord British and included an audiocassette interview with him. There was also a contest in which players whose box contained a metal rune instead of the usual moonstone could have their name appear in a future Ultima.
Ultima 6 OnlineAn unofficial MMORPG, Ultima 6 Online or U6O, has been developed and released permitting free party-based multiplayer realtime adventuring (with spells, quests and scripted NPCs) in Ultima 6's distinct flavour of the world of Britannia (from its geography down to the look and feel of the sprites). Check out http://ultimasixonline.thezogcabal.com/ to investigate the server status, download the latest version of the client and see which players are currently online!
The Ultima 6 ProjectOn July 5, 2010, a group of Ultima fans, Team Archon, released The Ultima 6 Project, a remake of the original Ultima VI: The False Prophet as a Dungeon Siege mod. Not only a graphical update, the project also adds an alternative plot, an in-game journal and compendium, and a dialog system similar to the ones of Ultima VII and VIII.
A link to the project's page can be found in the related links section.
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