Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire
Description official descriptions
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.
- ウルティマ サベージエンパイア - Japanese spelling
Credits (DOS version)
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|Ultima Game System|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 79% (based on 5 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 33 ratings with 1 reviews)
Origin had a state of the art game engine with Ultima 6 complete with an editor. This would have been a little wasted on just the one game which is where the World Of Ultima series comes in. The premise of the series was that the black moonstone you got at the start of Ultima 6 could be used to send you to anywhere in space and time opening up limitless possibilities for new standalone RPG's. Despite drawing on the Ultima heritage, the series was more aimed towards new RPG players and Savage Empire is a lot simpler and shorter than Ultima 6.
Savage Empire was the first in the series and the story sends you to a lost valley somewhere on earth along with a reporter and your stereotypical scientist/professor friend. Apart from a plethora of dinosaurs, the valley also contains about a dozen tribes picked from various locations and times from history. If you think of something along the lines of Journey to the Center of the Earth then you won't be far off. Finally there is a race of giant ants called the Myrmidex who are the main enemy in the game. The game centers around your attempts to unite all the tribes against the Myrmidex. The plot is fairly typical B-movie stuff and very different to anything in the main Ultima series. Each of the tribes wants something or other from you and you have to complete this quest before they will join the union. Despite the repetitive structure things never get dull as the quests are very varied and range from putting a bell on a T-Rex's neck to crossing a lava flow using a fire extinguisher to fetch a sacred hide.
The interface for the game is instantly familiar to anyone who played Ultima 6. Its been given a visual overhall and there are a new set of tile graphics which give the game a different feel and there is an excellent original soundtrack by the Fat Man. The Origin FX engine first used in Wing Commander has also been bolted onto the front of the game to do the introduction but this doesn't seem to be used at any other point.
The interactivity of the world that you expect in an Ultima is here in spades. To give a couple of examples you can make gunpowder by gathering sulphur from volcanic sulphur pools using a metal cage, get branches from trees and burn them in a fire pit to make charcoal, get your scientist to gather saltpeter from crystals and grind the lot together to make gunpowder. You can gather flax from Yucca plants, weave this into cloth at a loom, cut it into strips, impregnate it with tar and wrap it around a stick to make a torch. The world itself is a bit smaller than Ultima 6 but any larger and there would be too much walking between locations.
Although its an Ultima by name and some familiar characters turn up (without explanation or good reason), this game doesn't have any real ties to the series other than the engine. You go through the game taking anything that isn't nailed down right out of the natives houses and the virtues play no part whatsoever.
Every RPG aspect has been toned down from Ultima 6. For example you start the game at Level 6, Triolo (one of your starting companions) is Level 7 with a maximum of 8 leaving little scope for improvement. The spellcasting system is hugely simplified with just 9 different spells, all available from the start of the game. The heal spell for example heals all your party and cures from poison at the same time. Spellcasting is also unlimited by magic points - the only limit is how many of the reagents you can carry.
In Ultima you could talk to pretty much anyone in the world and get a unique conversation. In this game each of the tribes will have a couple of special characters (usually the shaman and chief) who have their own conversation trees but all the other tribe members will say exactly the same things. It makes the whole thing quite formulaic as you just go to each village, talk to the chief, complete their quest and repeat.
I wouldn't say the game had a great storyline. It's moderately interesting but the nearest thing to a twist or turn is where you find out how all the tribes ended up in the valley. Otherwise it works its way predictably towards an obvious conclusion. It left me a bit underwhelmed by the time I finished the game.
The Bottom Line
This is a worthy RPG but not in the same league as either Ultima 6 or its sequel Martian Dreams. If you consider it an introductory RPG for people who never played an Ultima, it does the job pretty well as the game is always quite easy and goals clear cut. It didn't sell too well and I think Origin would have been better served not trying to tie it into the Ultima line if they were aiming it at new players.
DOS · by Pix (1172) · 2008
The Three Stooges make an appearance in the game.
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.
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.
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.
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Game added by Old man gamer.
Game added June 16th, 2000. Last modified September 19th, 2023.