Saturday, December 24, 2005

The ultimate Ultima

I think everyone who cares about this sort of thing already heard about the Ultima V fan game, aka Ultima V: Lazarus. The naming scheme isn't that far-fetched to anyone familiar with the Ultima VII games (as in plural (as in 4 games (making Ultima VIII actually Ultima X (but who's counting)))). It's actually a Dungeon Siege mod, so it's not playable without a copy of DS.

If anyone's a real Ultima fan or wish he was, I suggest Exult. It's the only known way of playing the Ultima VII games (aka the "DOS couldn't handle the game so we created a new OS, making the game nearly unplayable) without undergoing the 9 circles of hell with the DOS memory management, and the ONLY way of playing those games under WinXP, not to mention GNU/Linux (and several other OS they ported the game to). Again, this is only an engine port, the actual games need to be purchased (good luck on that), or a friend who hasn't thrown his ancient game collection needs to be found. If anyone asking, the best game(s) are the Ultima VII games, closely followed by Ultima III.

To my best of knowledge, only Ultima IV has actually been released as Freeware. It won't run on any non-DOS machines (or more likely to run all too fast). This is basically the same issue for all Ultima games, bar Ascension. (Which is NOT recommended).

Current situation is much better than it was several years ago, as can be learned from Ultima: The Reconstruction site, there are several fan projects created to port the Ultima games to other OS, mostly Windows. The xu4 offers ports of (freeware) Ultima IV, a very good place to start as it is with this game that the whole Ultima concept really began taking shape.

Now if only someone would make System Shock playable on anything...

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