Wednesday, 29 October 2014

UltiMag

Three posts in one day, I know! And to celebrate the fact, this post will have two posts rather than the usual one. Ultima 3 is done and dusted, and Exodus, in a Wizard of Oz moment, turned out to be not an evil demon but a computer. Yep, there may not have been any space travel this time, but this is the Ultima series' last hurrah in terms of sci-fi. From here on out (as far as I know) it's high fantasy all the way. You can definitely see the incremental steps leading the series forward, but this still felt like a very early game, and I can't wait to move forward. I have a rose-tinted view of Ultima 4 because I played the Master System version, which I know is much improved graphically and musically, so I'm slightly worried the DOS version is going to be a bit of a disappointment. Still, at least in that game I know most of what I need to do. U4 marks the start of the second trilogy, and it's where we meet (or rather, we become) the avatar proper. This is where the Ultima series took fantasy role playing in a more mature direction, with the quest being to become an embodiment of virtue rather than to kill some big foozle. Anyway, I'm supposed to be writing about 3, not 4! The beginnings of the quest mechanics are there in 3, but the overarching story moves on in great leaps and bounds in 4, and the quests become connected.

I also had a go at MAG. It's a pretty straight Rogue clone so I'm not going to attempt a perfect run to complete it, but it was surprisingly good fun. The graphics are the standard ASCII characters, and they do a good job of illustrating the environs and monsters, and leaving your imagination to fill in the gaps. There was no character creation this time, you just jump straight into the dungeon, but everything else feels familiar - randomized scrolls and potions that you need to identify, lack of food, cursed weapons, wands to zap, and so on. The only thing I didn't find was a shopkeeper; I collected loads of gold, but never found anything to spend it on. That's probably just me being rubbish at the game, though. Like all good rogue-likes, it was really compelling to play and I'd happily spend my time going back to it...if time was something I had. Not in this lifetime!

Next up on the randometer is...Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain! An old WW2 flight sim. Can't say I'm looking forward to it that much, but I'll give it a go.

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