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Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny

aka: Ultima V: Shukumei no Senshi
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Buy on Commodore 64
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Description official descriptions

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.


  • ウルティマV - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

28 People · View all



Average score: 85% (based on 17 ratings)


Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 120 ratings with 9 reviews)

Definitely the best of the lot.

The Good
Ultima V is in my opinion the absolute pinnacle of Ultima. The system that it designed, being the tile-based system, reached perfection in this game(no, didn't think 6 was perfect). And in my opinion, the graphics still stand out as being good by today's standards - solid, not dated, and they created a motif that is still hard to bash. Everything that began in Ultima IV was made better in Ultima V, and it got me hooked. Of course no one will ever believe you when you admit these things, but just try it.... and you might just agree.

The Bad
Nothing. Absolutely nothing bugged me about this game. I have always thought, and still think, it's a perfect roleplaying game.

The Bottom Line
It's the most quintessential of the Ultima series, and shows you everything that made the Ultima worlds so detailed and made the game design groundbreaking. And the graphics are still bearable, even today. Perhaps it's not an immersive enough experience for people brought up on the 3D revolution, but for those of us who began before that time, this is a classic roleplaying game. Absolutely my favourite, and still the best of the Ultimas.

DOS · by Old man gamer (381) · 2000

Another classic Ultima, could be the best.

The Good
The storyline is spectacular....and it immediately pulls you in. Also, after playing Ultima IV for months the new graphic interface in Ultima V is a nice addition. This game has a great storyline, characters and was really a step up from the revolutionary Ultima IV.....you need to play this game if your an RPG fan, but make sure you take into account the dated graphics etc. since this is an old game.

The Bad
Not much but one thing that was a bit annoying for me was the fact that almost every sign, street sign or scroll was written in the runic alphabet....very annoying since you have to pull out your rune converter sheet to decipher it.

The Bottom Line
Fantastic and a great sequel to Ultima IV, it has a great theme and storyline. You basically play the part of the newly attained Avatar (you), together with some familiar companions on a quest to.....well just play for yourself the plots and sublots of the game are the best things to unravel on your own........

DOS · by cimerians (49) · 2001

One of the Great Role-Playing Games

The Good
This game is the finest roleplaying game that Origin Systems ever released, period. The story world is both extremely large and well developed and the Uber-plot of the game is interesting and fun to watch unfold. The puzzles are hard without being confusing and the game systems, such as combat and inventory are well designed. This is also one of the last games I remember where it is neccessary to TYPE out your questions to people. The conversation manager is a slightly improved version of Ultima IV's, which requires that you ask the right questions of NPC characters, rather than getting a series of menu selections. Overall this game is a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone.

The Bad
The graphics are a bit dated looking these days which can be distracting, but other than that I have nothing bad to say about this game.

The Bottom Line
The "Ultimate" computer role playing game.

DOS · by Joseph Bell (31) · 2000

[ View all 9 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Was this game really released for the PC8801? Lifeinsteps (1) Nov 2nd, 2022
Another different Front Cover and a question Edwin Drost (6822) Dec 11th, 2017


Atari 8-bit version

An early prototype Atari 8-bit version of Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny was made, but never released. It can be found on the internet (there's even at least one video of it on YouTube), and offers nothing more than the game's main menu and credits screen.


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 games.


  • ACE
    • 1989/1 (issue #16): ACE Adventure Awards 1988 - "Game of the year" (editorial choice)
    • 1989/1 (issue #16): ACE Adventure Awards 1988 - "Best RPG-influenced game of the year" (editorial choice)
    • February 1991 (issue #41) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time, section Role-Playing Games (editorial staff choice)
  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (Issue #00) - #18 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"* Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #14 Most Memorable Game Villain (Pirt Snikwah)
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #42 Top Game of All Time
  • ST Format
    • January 1990 (issue #06) - Included in the list 50 Games of the Year

Information also contributed by Eisentel, jlebel, Mattias Kreku, Mirrorshades2k, rstevenson, Sciere, SimonG and Timo Takalo

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Ultima: Runes of Virtue II
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Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
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Related Sites +

  • Exodus Project
    Here you can find various upgrades to Ultima games, including an Ultima V patch that adds MIDI music to the DOS version.
  • TeamLazarus Homepage
    including the download links for Ultima V: Lazarus.

Identifiers +


Know about this game? Add your expertise to help preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by George Shannon.

PC-88 added by Trypticon. Commodore 128 added by Rola. Apple II added by KnockStump. Sharp X68000, FM Towns added by Terok Nor. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx. Atari ST added by Belboz. Commodore 64, Amiga added by Jeanne. Windows added by eWarrior.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, SGruber, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, RetroArchives.fr, Kayburt.

Game added January 28th, 2000. Last modified August 16th, 2023.