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Ultima.. what port is best of each release?


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#1 psquare75 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:48 AM

I couldn't find a thread on this. Ultima is a great RPG series. http://en.wikipedia..../Ultima_(series) It was released on several different systems back in the day before it became PC only, with U7. What system has the 'best' version of each release? I've only played the PC release of each, except for the NES releases of III and IV, so I am curious. I actually enjoy IV on NES, lol. What would you say is the 'best' or 'worst' of each port? this includes consoles.

Edited by psquare75, Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:48 AM.


#2 cimerians OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:55 AM

Oh my god there's a ton of info here about Ultima but I must say that the PC versions with updated graphics are the best. With all due respect to the Apple II and the cool SID music of the C64 versions.

Everything you need to know about that is here:
http://reconstructio...eyword=upgrades

Use DOSBOX if you have to.

Summary:
Ultima 1-3 see the website above for the upgrades and use DOSBOX
Ultima 4-5 see the website above for Ultima IV or play the excellent updated XU4 here: http://xu4.sourceforge.net/
Ultima 6 see the website above
Ultima 7 nothing better than EXULT: http://exult.sourceforge.net/
Ultima 8 I use DOSBOX.
Ultima 9 this actually works to some degree on modern systems with the last patch they made.


Have fun!

#3 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:57 AM

The early Ultimas (through at least IV) should be played on the Apple ][, IMO. That's the platform on which they were developed. It also happens to be the platform on which I played them originally, so perhaps I'm biased. :)

#4 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:58 AM

I did this exercise from my personal perspective back in 2008: http://www.armchaira...ode/1764?page=1

The most straightforward answer is to play I - V on the Apple II, since that was the original platform, and VI+ on the PC, since that was the original platform for those.

#5 cimerians OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:25 AM

The originals are the best for me too but VERY hard to get back into, especially those newcomers or coming from a console. I've moved on and use the upgraded stuff now. Its a lot of great work and effort put into the PC versions with the updates. At least try them afterwards, its worth it!

#6 Midnight Synergy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:28 AM

Whichever you play the early ones on (and there is a good argument to try them on the Apple II, since these were the actual games written by Richard Garriott) you definitely need to at least try III, IV, V on the C64 for the music alone (gameplay/graphics are pretty much identical), especially on original hardware. Perhaps it's just nostalgia talking, but I almost get a lump in my throat each time the opening titles for Ultima IV appear on screen.

Edited by Midnight Synergy, Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:29 AM.


#7 psquare75 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:37 AM

I've beaten #1 twice.. the upgraded PC version that is. I just stole my way to Mondain.
#2 I could never get to run on my machine.. I always got a divide by zero error (I have the 1-VI compliation disc).
#3 I had trouble getting into. I didn't know about frame limiters, so I stuck to the NES version.
#4 Furthest I got was into the last dungeon with the Codex, and I lost my save game, so I quit. NES I never got far, but I enjoyed the graphics
#5 and #6 I always just wandered around aimlessly, it seems.
#7 I did beat.. once. I had more fun with the black sword add-on than anything else.
Serpent Isle, I didnt even get halfway into.
#8 I beat and that was a total let down.
#9 I stayed away from. When released my computer couldn't run it, and now I'm scared to be scarred for life by the bad plot.

#8 yell0w_lantern OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:55 AM

I actually beat 3 on the NES. We had a copy for the C64 but the game was buggy. Other than that my only experience is with the C64 version of 4 and I did not get very far.

I think the NES versino had some real merit due to the graphics.

#9 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:13 AM

Don't forget the FM Towns Ultima Trilogy. Quite nice ports. :)




#10 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:32 AM

The Amiga and ST had nice color graphics for the character tiles and more detail for the background objects in Ultima V (maybe III and IV as well). I played I-V on my Apple so I'm partial to those versions myself. There are two special versions to take note of though:

Ultima I - The Apple IIgs has an amazing remake that was only available on the IIgs. It actually makes the game somewhat fun and removed tons of bugs.
Ultima II - There was a special Enhanced version that only came with the Ultima Trilogy on the Apple. The C-64 version of the Trilogy didn't have it.

The ST version of Ultima II is also a bit interesting.

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#11 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:42 AM

I spent most of my childhood playing Ultima games. I got that Ultima collection for PC, along with Ultima Online. I played UO from 1998 until 6 months ago, lol.

Anyway here's my two-cents. reconstruction.voyd.net is definitely where you want to go for updates and happy things. That site made Ultima Collection even better.

1) Play the DOS one. None of them are really better than the other. They're all a 1 hour affair. Steal a blaster, vacuum and reflect suit, who cares if its the dark ages still. You can steal the lazer still!
2) Play the DOS one w/ the EGA patch applied. I wouldn't put too much thought into this game though, as the coolest part of it is the boxart. The game itself is... yeah. What happened.
3) DOS w/ EGA + MIDI. If you want a fresh spin on the game, play Ultima Exodus on NES (Or on MSX if you can read Japanese. Same game). The NES one dragon-warriors it up in a great way. You get the distinctly Japanese flavor that their RPGs have, with all the adventure and excitement of an Ultima game. My only complaint is some of the music swaps suck. :( The songs are great, but I miss the original tunes.
4) DOS w/ VGA+MIDI. The VGA is so badass. Its a new breath of life for the game. You can't go wrong really. Or, again, the NES one. Again, it puts some distinct Japanese flair into the presentation of the game. This time its more Final Fantasy like. The music is excellent. I give it a thumbs up. The SMS ultima IV tries to be too much like the PC one and is kinda dopey because of it. No point in playing that one if you have access to the superior PC versions.
5) DOS w/ MIDI. The NES port was an abortion. What happened?! They tried making it as perfectly identical to the PC ones. It was a stupid idea. They should've Japan'd it up again.
6) DOS. Any other version is awful. The C64 one will make your eyes bleed. The SNES one is tolerable, but not the greatest. The game is mouse-centric. SNES doesn't do mouse-centric games at all unless its Mario Paint.
7) Use Exult engine and play it in Windows in high res! Perfection for an already perfect game. 1024x768 is awesome. You can see way more of the game at once, and it's fun. The SNES port was just bad. Soooo bad. It was like The Legend of Zelda meets alot of drug use, with Ultima VII tossed in.
8) Yeah, you're playing the DOS one, or nothing at all. I prefer nothing at all, because the game kinda blows, alot. :)
9) Run away screaming. 9 didn't get much better than 8.

Ultima Online was great up til the recent expansion that added Gargoyles, and revived the underworld/stygian abyss. Now the games completely broken. Completely. my gargoyle's equipment was magically augmented in a few hours and completely owned everything everyone else had. Most of which took months to earn or craft. Not too fair at all really.

an honorable mention, though probably not one you will play, is Ultima IV for the MSX computer. Instead of having the Dragon Warrior/Final Fantasy flair added in, this one is a great Japanese version of the traditional DOS ones. The graphics look nice and crisp, and the game play is solid. But, if you cant read Japanese, you are totally screwed. Kinda like the FM Towns one that was shown. Great stuff, but if you can't read it, you won't get too far.

I chose the DOS versions over all other versions because of the patches that now exist to EGA+MIDI the games. It really improves things, especially if you are using an MT-32 for the music. You will most likely be emulating the early versions no matter which platform you pick (DOSBox is emulation too!), so you might as well pick the one that has nice graphics + music capabilities, and completely lacks disk-swapping. I think the lack of disk swapping along with the color enhancements and excellent MIDI make the DOS versions the best choice.


Now I have to go play Ultima Exodus on NES some more. I had a save file with 4 barbarians going last year. I should see about finishing that.

Edited by Arkhan, Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:44 AM.


#12 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:45 AM

Instead of having the Dragon Warrior/Final Fantasy flair added in, this one is a great Japanese version of the traditional DOS ones. The graphics look nice and crisp, and the game play is solid. But, if you cant read Japanese, you are totally screwed. Kinda like the FM Towns one that was shown.


The FM Towns Trilogy is in both Japanese and English. ;)

#13 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:08 PM

Instead of having the Dragon Warrior/Final Fantasy flair added in, this one is a great Japanese version of the traditional DOS ones. The graphics look nice and crisp, and the game play is solid. But, if you cant read Japanese, you are totally screwed. Kinda like the FM Towns one that was shown.


The FM Towns Trilogy is in both Japanese and English. ;)



oh, I never noticed that haha. I just played it in Japanese. I can stumble through it enough to manage. Is the english similar to Hydlide 3 on MSX, where the built in English is pretty cryptic and often hilarious to read?

#14 psquare75 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:48 PM

4 Barbarians? :cool:

#15 cimerians OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:14 PM

4 Barbarians? :cool:


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.

#16 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:38 PM

I could never get past the interface on PC based Ultimas. Ultima 3 for NES was the bomb for me. The 3D dungeons in that game seemed out of place though. Also, sprite-frame based damage checks suck Dragon Balls.

#17 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:13 PM

4 Barbarians? :cool:


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.



Yeah the C64 music was excellent. The same tunes are in the MIDI patch for PC. No disk swaps, EGA graphics, MIDI tunes w/ MT-32. Totally solid. All of the Ultimas have really great music. Very fitting music for the different game environments. Some games the music dont fit. Ultima doesn't have that problem.

But yeah the NES one, I made 4 barbarians. I figured why the hell not lets see how that turns out. Its pretty fun. I named them SMASH STUFF ALL DAY so thats what it says on the screen, lol

#18 jamesk OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:29 PM

LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.


Someone needs to make a SID expansion card for the IIe :)
Not that it would help these old games, just that the IIe needs a sound chip.

Edited by jamesk, Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:34 PM.


#19 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:42 PM


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.


Someone needs to make a SID expansion card for the IIe :)
Not that it would help these old games, just that the IIe needs a sound chip.


A lot of folks used the Mockingboard card. It was widely supported, but darned if I can remember if any of the Ultimas supported it.

#20 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:46 PM


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.


Someone needs to make a SID expansion card for the IIe :)
Not that it would help these old games, just that the IIe needs a sound chip.


A lot of folks used the Mockingboard card. It was widely supported, but darned if I can remember if any of the Ultimas supported it.


I wouldn't say a LOT of folks used a Mockingboard back then. It was definitely a luxury item due to the price. There were about a dozen games or so of the tens of thousands of released Apple II games that actually supported either the music or the optional speech portion (which required the purchase and addition of a speech chip), so you're talking a supremely tiny percentage. Ultima III (Mockingboard version), IV and V supported it. V supported dual Mockingboards, though not all 12 possible voices (sound channels) at once. I don't know of any game that took 100% advantage of dual Mockingboards. I have dual Mockingboards now, one original and one homebrew model. I added a speech chip to one (no point in adding a speech chip to both). I can't even imagine what that type of setup would have cost way back then...

Edited by Bill_Loguidice, Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:46 PM.


#21 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:52 PM


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.


Someone needs to make a SID expansion card for the IIe :)
Not that it would help these old games, just that the IIe needs a sound chip.


A lot of folks used the Mockingboard card. It was widely supported, but darned if I can remember if any of the Ultimas supported it.


I wouldn't say a LOT of folks used a Mockingboard back then. It was definitely a luxury item due to the price. There were about a dozen games or so of the tens of thousands of released Apple II games that actually supported either the music or the optional speech portion (which required the purchase and addition of a speech chip), so you're talking a supremely tiny percentage. Ultima III (Mockingboard version), IV and V supported it. V supported dual Mockingboards, though not all 12 possible voices (sound channels) at once. I don't know of any game that took 100% advantage of dual Mockingboards. I have dual Mockingboards now, one original and one homebrew model. I added a speech chip to one (no point in adding a speech chip to both). I can't even imagine what that type of setup would have cost way back then...


Wow, it seems like everything I bought listed the Mockingboard as being supported. Funny how the memory can play tricks. :)

I didn't know anything supported two of them, though! That would have been pretty amazing to hear back then.

#22 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:59 PM

If you search the Apple II newsgroup there's a list of all the mockingboard supported games. I asked the question awhile back. There were about 12-15 and none of them needed the speech chip IIRC. Still, I wouldn't mind a speech chip...

There was also the Phasor card which was like the Mockingboard. I think it might have actually been better, but I'm not sure about that.

The only problem with using the Mockingboard on the Apple version of Ultima is that when you movie the music stutters and pauses for a second. It's not bad, but it gets really annoying fast.

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#23 Midnight Synergy OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:05 PM

4 Barbarians? :cool:


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.



Yeah the C64 music was excellent. The same tunes are in the MIDI patch for PC.


There are also some interesting remixes of Ultima tunes at http://remix.kwed.org - worth looking into!

#24 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:33 PM


LOL

Someone mentioned the C64 music. Simply awesome....I still get the tunes stuck in my head to this day.


Someone needs to make a SID expansion card for the IIe :)
Not that it would help these old games, just that the IIe needs a sound chip.


Its possible probably.

I mean theres that Franky for MSX, it has a SID. Its pretty funny. I bet C64 guys are stroking out over it

SID ON A Z80 MACHINE?! WHAT. NO. >_O

#25 Ransom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:10 PM

If you search the Apple II newsgroup there's a list of all the mockingboard supported games. I asked the question awhile back. There were about 12-15 and none of them needed the speech chip IIRC. Still, I wouldn't mind a speech chip...

There was also the Phasor card which was like the Mockingboard. I think it might have actually been better, but I'm not sure about that.

The only problem with using the Mockingboard on the Apple version of Ultima is that when you movie the music stutters and pauses for a second. It's not bad, but it gets really annoying fast.

Tempest


Ah, I see:

Adventure Construction Set
Berzap! - A clone of the classic, (current at the time) arcade game, Berzerk!
Broadsides (SSI)
Crimewave - Speech supported
Crypt of Medea - Speech supported
Cybernoid Music Disk
Guitar Master - Guitar tutoring.
Lady Tut, specific Mockingboard version
Lancaster
Mockingboard software (Sweet Micro Systems)
Mockingboard Developers Kit
Mockingboard Speech Developers Kit
Music Construction Set, different revisions do more as released.
Music Star - The OEM version did not support the Mockingboard, it was later patched by the underground to use the Mockingboard instead of the proprietary hardware that shipped with it.
Night Flight
One on One - Opening sequence music only.
Phasor software (Applied Engineering)
Popeye
Rescue Raiders v1.3 - (SSI263 speech only)
Silent Service (Microprose)
Skyfox
Spy Strikes Back
Thunder Bombs
Ultima III, original release did not support the Mockingboard
Ultima IV
Ultima V - Supported two Mockingboards
Under Fire
Willy Byte
Zaxxon, specific Mockingboard version.


Which explains why I might have thought a lot of titles supported it. I bought a number of those games.

But of course the bulk of my software was...er...acquired sans packaging so I never noticed the lack Mockingboard mentions on those ones. :D

I learn something new ever day!

(I wish I'd never gotten rid of my Apple ][ stuff, so often...)




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