Join our Discord to chat with fellow friendly gamers and our knowledgeable contributors!

atari mania


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.


Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Sharp X68000 Oh oh! The Shadowlord of Cowardice has arrived in Yew! Better watch out!
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny DOS This gives you an idea about Blackthorne's ethical system.
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Amiga Battle with Orcs
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Sharp X68000 The resulting battle

Promo Images

Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Magazine Advertisement
Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "Ultima V: Shukumei no Senshi" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

An air of greatness doth surround thee... DOS Unicorn Lynx (181445)
This game is so good that I created an account for the sole purpose of reviewing the game DOS G P (3)
One of the Great Role-Playing Games DOS Joseph Bell (33)
Best of the Ultimas DOS Yeah Right (57)
Another classic Ultima, could be the best. DOS cimerians (52)
My favorite Ultima, and quite probably my favorite computer game of all time. DOS Mirrorshades2k (282)
The Best of the Series! DOS Toadstool (56)
Definitely the best of the lot. DOS Old man gamer (386)
the best game of it's time - ever DOS sarah mccormick (1)

Critic Reviews

64'er Commodore 64 Jun, 1989 10 out of 10 100
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) DOS Oct, 1988 928 out of 1000 93
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Amiga Jul, 1990 915 out of 1000 92
Retro Archives Commodore 128 Jun 13, 2019 18 out of 20 90
Retro Archives Apple II Jun 13, 2019 18 out of 20 90
Power Play Commodore 64 1989 89 out of 100 89
Amiga Power Amiga May, 1991 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 83
Computer and Video Games (CVG) DOS Sep, 1988 8 out of 10 80
Zzap! (Italy) Commodore 64 Feb, 1989 20 out of 100 20
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Apple II May, 1988 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
Another different Front Cover and a question 1 Edwin Drost (4230)
Dec 11, 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

Related Web 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. )
Contributed to by Trypticon (11037), Rola (8277), KnockStump (1004), Terok Nor (32358), George Shannon (115), Unicorn Lynx (181445), Belboz (6576), Jeanne (76226) and eWarrior (4875)