🐳 New! Moby v2023.12.02

Ultima I

aka: Ultima I: The Beginning..., Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness
Moby ID: 12111

DOS version

A grand start to a series that has entertained millions.

The Good
For the time this was released, it encapsulates everything good about early RPG games. Exploration, character building, interrogating NPCs, dungeon crawling, a variety of weapons and armours to try, and even a bit of space exploration is all wrapped up in a game that originally came on a 360k diskette. The game can be conquered in a solid afternoon, but still there's enough randomness to it for repeated playing. Character building is quick enough to avoid getting bored, and challenging enough that you'll want to try and max out the character's attributes whenever you get the chance to do so.

The Bad
The story is a tad weak-it's boiled down to simply "build up your character and then kill the boss" but there is something enchanting about this type of tile based RPG that helps me overlook such a thing. I personally believe the addition of Space exploration and becoming a Space Ace is a bit of a bolt-on that the game simply doesn't need (and thankfully any Space references were dropped by the time Ultima 3 was released) Some will claim that the lack of music is a downside of the game, but I'm not a huge fan of music in RPG games anyway-entirely because of the length of time invested in an RPG, the music will end up being shut off anyway due to being too repetitive.

The Bottom Line
The top-down tile based RPG genre was a short-lived one. Grab this game and appreciate the depth of controls and wealth of landscapes to explore, then realize how incredibly early in the history of computer gaming this title was released.
Few other games, aside from purely text based adventures, provide anywhere near as many playable hours in such a small amount of storage space.

by jeff leyda (1842) on November 26th, 2006

Back to Reviews