Friday, March 12, 2010

Ultima III: Won!



Exodus has fallen. I won Ultima III in about 10 hours of total gameplay.

I should have been saying this all along in previous entries, but ***spoilers follow!*** If you're planning on playing Ultima III you might read my first entry on the game but leave this one until you finish.

Ultima III is not a terribly difficult game if you don't push your luck with the dungeons until you're ready. As I think I said in my first post, I don't believe and saving and reloading games just because you don't like a certain outcome, like a character dying during a battle. Instead, I force myself to haul my character to the healer and get him or her raised or resurrected. It makes the game more challenging. The only time I reload is when my entire party is wiped out. Even with this restriction, though, my characters only died a few times.

A commenter pointed out to me that another blogger has already done a fantastic job with the Ultima series: Zac Bond's "Blogging Ultima." Over a one-year period from 2007-2008, he played every Ultima game, including the little-known Escape from Mt. Drash and the Nintendo Gameboy Runes of Virtue. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but I read his commentaries for I, II, and III. We had a lot of the same impressions--I even took the same "Copy Protect!" screen shot as him, and he also commented on the rampant evil of your character in Ultima II. Anyway, if you like my blog, his is definitely worth reading through (he still posts now and then with new material).

As far as I know, no one has blogged Wizardry, so I still have a corner on part of this market.

Although the gameplay was occasionally a little repetitious, I found Ultima III to be authentically fun. There are hints of the greatness that would soon follow in Ultima IV. The storyline is much more sensible than in previous Ultimas, the magic system much more developed, and the combat more tactical. If you're really interested in getting in to the Ultima series but don't want to slog through some of the nonsense in Ultima I and Ultima II, I recommend starting here.

The towns of Fawn and Monitor/Montor, first introduced in Ultima I, are here--I think for the last time until Ultima VII. You also run in to both Dupre and Shamino, soon to be your close companions in Ultima IV, in a couple of bars. As I said last time, Iolo and Gwenno are both in Lord British's castle. You practically have the whole gang here.

Finishing the game involves visiting every town and talking to each person to obtain a series of clues. By piecing these clues together, you discover that the main steps are:

  • Visit the dungeons and find each of four "marks"--hot iron brands on the walls that I guess permanently imprint on your characters. The Mark of Kings allows you to advance to higher levels; the Mark of Fire allows you to cross lava without damage; the Mark of Force allows you to walk through force fields; and the Mark of Snakes allows you to bypass the silver snake guarding Exodus's castle.
The things I do for Sosaria...

  • Take a ship through the whirlpool and into the land called Ambrosius. Within this land there are four shrines, and at each shrine you find a "card." The are called love, sol, moons, and death. You need these to defeat Exodus.
  • Find exotic arms and armor, which are the only weapons and armor that work in Exodus's castle.
  • Build up your characters until they're strong enough to make it through Exodus's castle.

Exodus's castle, beyond the silver snake. Anything to do with the later Serpent Isle?

Of these steps, the last is the most time-consuming. I discovered fairly early in the game that your spell points do not increase as you level up. They are dependent upon your ability scores and stay fixed based on those scores, so I realized if I was ever going to get my cleric to cast "greater heal" or "raise dead," I'd have to increase her wisdom. Fortunately, the shrines in Ambrosia that hold the cards also allow you to raise your stats--for a price of 100 gold per single stat increase.

For hours, therefore, I spelunked the dungeons, collecting both gold and experience, and made repeat trips to Ambrosia to increase my numbers, focusing on wisdom for my cleric and intelligence for my wizard. Some of the dungeons have fountains that heal you to your max hit points, and I found that a good strategy was to stand near one and wait until attacked, then heal after battle. I also found a town that contained a large cache of treasure chests I could plunder. They refreshed each time I left and re-entered, so it was an easy if time-consuming way to build up my gold.


This town made life a little easier.

The dungeons, I should mention, are a lot more interesting than in Ultima I or Ultima II. First, you have to use them--they're the only way to get marks. Second, they have a lot more perils, including traps, gremlins that steal your food (God, I hate those little buggers), strange winds that blow out your torches, fountains both foul and refreshing, and occasionally treasure rooms. You really do have to map them so you can avoid running in to the same traps over and over. Fortunately, you can buy gems that, when peered at, give you a map. I took screen shots of these maps and then annotated them in Word. Also, unlike previous Ultimas, in the Ultima III dungeons you can't see the monsters coming. One second you're walking down the hall and the next you're in battle.

This is for Gandalf!

Now, I did break my rule about saving and reloading once. Look, I'm not an evil man, but at least once every Ultima game, you simply have to try to kill Lord British. Well, it was surprisingly easy in this one. Lord British's castle holds a frigate which you can steal and use to blast guards, jesters, and other castle denizens--including our revered sovereign:


    
If you leave the castle and return, he's back on his throne, acting like nothing has happened. Still, I figured I'd better not press my luck and I reloaded.

When my characters all had 2150 hit points and reasonably high attributes, I decided to try my luck with Exodus. It was a little easier than I expected and I won on the first try. The monsters were fairly difficult, and just before the end you face a battle with--this is definitely an Ultima III original--the floor itself. Wave after wave of floor tiles, which you cannot see, attack you.

Ah, that dastardly floor! Quick, Ur-Emp, cast PINE-SOL!

After that, it's a simple matter of inserting the four cards in to Exodus, who seems to be a computer.

The heroes destroy Skynet...uh, Exodus

I recorded the ending as usual, including some audio this time. I'm going to see if I can find someone to whom to "report my feat." After that, it's on to Wizardry III if I can get it to work or Alternate Reality: the City if I can't.



video

57 comments:

  1. I love the comment in the screenshot: "Lord Britishs Destroyed!" He's plural! NO WONDER there's another on the throne next time you go back!

    198,881 moves. Wow!

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  2. You were supposed to "Report thy feat!" to Origin Systems, who would then send you a certificate for completing the game. Needless to say, such certificates are collector's items now.

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  3. It's too bad. My letter came back.

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  4. Interesting ending...

    Did the first Star Trek movie invent the trope of the Machine From Our Time as the robot overlord/enemy?

    Aside: my mother-in-law did her Ph.D. dissertation on punch cards... I assume she'd agree with this vision of the 70s era mainframe as the Ultimate Evil.

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  5. that's really cool you tried sending a letter. I wonder if any companies still offer any personalized acknowledgement of players completing their old games?

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    1. Sort of related: I think it was the Finnish game reviewer Tuukka Grönholm from Pelit-magazine who got a poster from CD Projekt RED, signed by the majority of The Witcher 2's developers, for being the first game reviewer to actually play through the bloody game before reviewing it. =)

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  6. I've only recently discovered your blog and have been reading through from the first entry. I'd mostly like to thank you. You've satisfied my curiosity about some of the older games (rogue/wizardry/ultimaI&II) that I no longer feel the need to spend (or waste) time on. Also it is very nice to see how some of the basic CRPG elements -- that we now take for granted -- were developed and refined over time.

    At first I was confused about how your Ultima III screens and experiences differed from mine. The game seemed (in my fuzzy memory) more refined and didn't feature a computer terminal as the final boss.
    Like many other comments in your blog, this was because it was a different port. I had played the Nintendo version, which was released in 1988, and also didn't have a keyboard available.

    The final boss in that port is a set of pulsing alters:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzhq3CzgROU&t=2m56s

    I'll continue to read through, although it may be a couple weeks before I catch up.

    Again thanks, and good luck!

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  7. Glad to have you, Silence. Platforms really made a huge difference in this era, didn't they? I couldn't believe the differences in Pool of Radiance when I saw William playing it on the NES:

    http://bloggingtheoldies.blogspot.com/

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    1. The NES Pool of Radiance is simultaneously a triumph and a travesty. I guess they did pretty well for cramming an over 2MB game into a 640KB cartridge (and that 640KB is within the 5 largest NES/Famicom games, out of over 1,000), but... there are so many things that have been cut or scaled back, that it feels either seriously rushed, or severely unfinished. Really, they either shouldn't have bothered, or waited to port it to the SNES (which had 1MB carts when PoR came out for NES, and over the next several years would eventually have 2MB carts being very common and 4MB semi-common.)

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  8. I really should have come back here as soon as I beat the game, but it continued to slip my mind until today.

    Here's my first post: http://allconsolerpgs.blogspot.com/2012/02/game-3-ultima-exodus-nes-introduction.html

    and my last: http://allconsolerpgs.blogspot.com/2012/03/game-3-ultima-exodus-nes-final-rating.html

    It has been one of the least enjoyable games, mainly due to constant grinding, and unbalanced combat. Basically I leveled too quickly, and found myself short on cash not able to take on the higher level monsters that were appearing.

    Maybe it was port differences, but it took me about 30 hours to get through the game. A couple points I wanted to note:

    - The enemies still attack diagonally, but you cannot.
    - The ship has no bombard or shoot option.
    - I didn't get the exotic arms, which made Exodus' castle take quite a few attempts more than was really necessary.
    - I didn't find the clue for the order to use the cards, which in this version of the game is given by an NPC hidden in a dungeon, but he doesn't show up as a point of interest on the gem map.
    - This meant it took a few attempts to get the correct order, which I guessed at being related to the cycle of life.
    - I did my best not to steal anything, and I somehow missed the bribe command. I realized it afterwards, and found it is given by an NPC you need to speak to twice to enable.
    - Replacing the Dig command are the silver and gold picks used to dig up the exotic arms. I didn't quite understand the clues to get these, and one in fact required stealing, which I decided I wouldn't do.

    The ending did reference altars, but you didn't interact with each one. It was more of a single device that requested you place the cards in the proper order.

    I hope that the other Ultima games prove to be better. I have Ultima IV coming up soon (will probably get to it next January or so). Before that I have the NES port of Wizardry. Wish me luck.

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    1. Forgot to mention another difference. I believe new to this version is the option to donate blood to the doctor (give 100 HP, get 50 gold). This is how I ended up earning all of my money for stat increases. It took a long while, but it seemed just as quick as getting into long battles. Basically go through nearly all my HP, run to the nearest dungeon with a healing fountain, go back to town and repeat. Only took about an hour or two to get nearly max primary stats once I found this method.

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    2. Dang, I should really let my thoughts ruminate for a while longer before posting. One other thing new to the NES port was an escape sequence. After shutting down EXODUS, the castle begins to crumble, and you must race to the exit. Get caught by falling debris, or have the way blocked would mean a game-over. It's an interesting addition.

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    3. Thanks for all this information, Zenic. I didn't realize the platform differences were so significant. The only one I can say that I "like" is the last one you mention. The game did seem to end a little abruptly after the fight with the fllor (is that in the NES version)?

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    4. The fights with the floor are in the NES version as well. They're still invisible, about 8 or 9 enemies (whatever the maximum was), and there are two fights. Basically there's a 4 x 2 area where the fight automatically occurs. So you step in this area and get into one fight. After this, you need to step up one more square into another fight.

      I don't know how it is on the PC version, so I'm trying to describe it best I can. After the second fight there are two more squares from which you can see the altars across the water. Here you use the Pray command to interact with them I believe.

      Also, the game makes reference to an Anhk symbol you retrieve before racing to the exit.

      One of the biggest things that held me back, and increased my time, was avoiding the dungeons. Early on I jumped in one and met Gargoyles and Demons are level 1. I figured dungeons housed more powerful monsters than outside all the time, but they seem more or less fixed at a certain difficulty instead.


      A lot of the the classes in the game seem superfluous when you can raise everyone's strength to the highest, equip them all with the exotic arms (called mystic sword and armor in the NES version), and HP is all the same. It makes more sense to have everyone in a priest or magic class to increase utility.

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  9. Ultima III was the first of the series that I played, and I had a lot of fond memories of it (those spell descriptions!!!). A few years ago, I went back and played it again. Unfortunately, the few memories that I had were really all of the cool parts, and while I still enjoyed it (I had been 10 the first time), this is one game that just doesn't bear replays very well.

    I make FAQs for myself as I play games. Kind of like your blog, but less prose and more hints, and with an intended audience of 1. This allows me to solidify my thoughts, keep notes, and if I'm taken away from a game by work or family for a few months, allows me to jump back in with a minimum of hassle.

    Well, reading my notes once I'd completed U3 the most recent time, I realized that quite a bit of the game is really pretty useless if you already know it, and all that's left is grinding. Perhaps it could be argued that that's true in most games, but it's more pronounced here. Furthermore, said grinding is actually best accomplished by being a worse a-hole than you were in U2.

    When you first start out, you're pretty weak, and it's somewhat tough to find wandering monsters, but the city of Yew has a whole bunch of single-enemy combats just waiting for you to pick up some easy xp (and gold!). Further, once you get more powerful, guards are a great source of consistent xp that you can fight over and over again.

    Also, the entire attribute-gaining system (and thus all the high-level spells) can be completely ignored. Getting to the shrines is required for the cards, but it costs quite a bit to raise stats. And the gain from doing so isn't all that much -- you only need to be able to fight a few nasty battles on the way through the ending castle. Since that's the biggest money sink, most of the money you need can be ignored, too. And if I recall correctly, powders to negate time can still help in the last section, so you don't even need all THAT many levels (though that's still the only real time sink).

    I did find it interesting to note, though, that all of the classes you can choose between boil down to Fighter, Thief, Cleric, Wizard, and then multiclasses like in AD&D. A Druid was a Cleric/Wizard. An Illusionist was a Thief/Wizard. A Ranger was actually all 4. In this way, it's also kind of a prelude to the class system (and therefore the Principle/Virtue system) used in Ultima IV. And, given that raising stats was useless, the best party ended up being a Fighter/Thief variant in front to open chests (I'd choose Ranger to get the "turn orcs" spell), followed by 3 Fighter variants behind him (I'd choose Paladins, so I could turn undead and heal). This allows you to equip all the best stuff so leveling is easier, and that's what the game is really about.

    Last note: I never did figure out if the Exotic Armor was useful. I remember in the final castle trying Exotics on some and regular on others, but couldn't really tell a difference.

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    1. That strategy is very interesting. Powders and negate time spells didn't work in Exodus's castle in the original Apple II release. That makes a huge difference in the strength of the characters needed to win.

      While I'm thinking about it, this reminds me of an interview with Richard Gariott I saw recently on YouTube (if I recall it was called "Britannia Burns"). He said that due to a bug, unknown to him for years, weapon type has no bearing on the amount of damage done in combat in Ultima III.

      He described how he found out. A fan send him a letter that said some thing like "wow, you were a genius for making it only possible to kill a dragon by using a dagger. Almost nobody would try to do that!". Richard Gariott said, hmmm, that doesn't sound right and went into the code to check and found that weapons are ignored in the damage calculations. He blames it on the playtest department which was one person at that time, the same person as the programmer, graphics designer and marketer :-)

      So, to your point about a streamlined strategy for winning, yeah, screw the weapons upgrades too :-)

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    2. That's an awesome anecdote. Frankly, this could happen in a lot of games--where the type of weapon is less important than player level--and most players wouldn't notice.

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  10. So at your recommendation, I decided to get Ultima another shot starting with the third. Any important hints on someone who has only dabbled, unsuccessfully, in the franchise?

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    1. You're definitely much better at Ultima 3 than me. I've spent maybe 10 or so hours in it over the past 2 days and seem to be stuck.

      I started off with a ranger, paladin and cleric. The Ranger, Tanuvein, is going to be the character that becomes the Avatar in IV, at least from my perspective. It seems to be a good party. I made slow progress originally, trying to balance out my explorations with weak healing. As I got money, I bought my Paladin a sword and my Ranger a bow, but it quickly became apparent the bow was a better option so I swapped those out as soon as possible. I managed to get them both plate armor as well as chain mail and a mace for my cleric. I needn't have bothered with the mace, he barely seems to do any more damage and doesn't kill anything.

      I've explored all the towns and talked to everyone on the mainland, getting several clues. I've explored the dungeons straight north, northeast and south of Lord British's castle and have managed to get to get the marks of fire, force and king. I haven't been able to find the mark of the snake yet, but there is another dungeon in the southwest I've yet to fully map and explore.

      I did manage to find Dawn after a few easily pieced together clues. After looking at them, however, I was somewhat annoyed with the denizens of Sosaria. Why must each one give me a vague clue about Dawn that only makes sense when I put them together? I feel like I should have tightened the wrenches on the jester in British's torture chamber when he gave me crypted directions. Why not just tell me what's there? Or when I get there? I understand it's to encourage exploration and such, but for some reason it feels silly. At least I know where all the random people who scrawl cryptic notes in Dungeon Master and its ilk are from.

      I digress. Once I got to Dawn, I bought a +2 bow for my ranger. I'm not entirely clear on if dex or str increases bow damage, but I gave him a balance from the start. I've yet to raise their stats as I haven't found Ambrosia - one of the tidbits from your posts I wasn't able to make myself forget. However, I've yet to find Ambrosia or Death Gulch, both of which I've gotten several leads for. I'm assuming their either on the island or the unexplored mountain range in the center of Sosaria, but that's where my problem lies.

      I spent about an hour running along the coast looking for a pirate ship, but one never popped. I'm still landlocked, looking for a way to escape. I finally googled it, and apparently it's just random so I'm hoping when I jump on tomorrow and one appears.

      I'm also stuck with an increasingly useless cleric. While invaluable in the sense of keeping my party alive, he never gets any kills himself. More importantly, since healing doesn't give xp, he's becoming a liability hp wise. With my ranger and paladin around 9 and my wizard approaching 7, it's a bit shameful he's still level 1. I've tried throwing him into combats, but I feel like I'm playing D&D with a level one character and swinging my sword in the air for 10 turns as I try to hit my foe.

      Hopefully if I get a boat, I can find Ambrosia, level his wisdom and get some damaging spells. If you have any tips on cleric leveling, what level I should be at by the end, or how to get a boat I'd greatly appreciate it.

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    2. Oh, I also haven't found any of these four cards that were mentioned in some of the clues. Also, as a side note, if anyone else decides to play the game, I highly reccomend using Pix's patcher for ultima games, as it gives Ultima 3 graphics from Ultima 4 and makes it considerably more appealing than the images here.

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    3. I've made considerable progress since my last posting. I am not sure if posting these here is acceptable, but as your blog motivated me to play these games it seemed appropriate. If you wish me to refrain through these postings in the future please let me know.

      Early in my session yesterday I continued to be lost. I explored the coast a few more times, looking for dungeons and towns I hadn't finished yet, but found nothing. What did popup was interesting and one of two fortunate accidents that day. I saw a portal just outside of a mountain range, what I imagine is a moongate. I immediately jumped in this portal and found myself at a new dungeon! Here I met the Time Lord who gave me some hints on how to beat the game. I also found the final mark I was missing here. I also found a another dungeon full of even more clues.

      I continued to explore the portal network, realizing that they seemed to shift based on the moon phases. I never bothered to map them and simply kept reentering until (I believe), I explored them all. I found Devil's Guard in the center of the mountain range and solved the mystery of all my missing random encounters and lack of ships. They were all here, waiting patiently for me. I took out about seven hoards of enemies and two ships. Upon leaving, it seemed to appropriately reset the spawn rate and I continued to run into larger amounts of enemies.

      Not much later, I finally got my first ship! First order of business was to explore the two remaining cities. I didn't find much at Death Gulch, but Fawn pointed me to go back to Yew and pray at the center of light. Doing so, I got the clue to say 'Evocare' at the snake and the hint I also needed a Mark (presumably the Mark of the Snake, which I now have).

      I took this opportunity to explore all the small islands, digging for exotics. I found the exotic arms almost immediately, but somehow I missed the armor my first time and had to search them all again. I was beginning to worry at this point, as I did not have any of the cards and could not find Ambrosia! I remembered you saying that is where I can get my stats raised, but I had successfully purged the rest of the information from your blog.

      Still searching for it, I managed to secure a second boat and sought to dock it in a convenient place for a back up. It was at this point that the whirlpool I had seen around decided to create some chaos. First it ate my backup boat and then it seemed as if it was chasing me. I tried to flee, but due to wind shifts I was mostly dead in water until it came up and ate me.

      At that point I expected a game over, but I washed up on a new, unexplored land! So, it turns out, this is Ambrosia. Was there actually a hint for this? The only clue I managed to find was that I had to 'go into the brink'. In retrospect, this probably means the whirlpool, but I would have never taken that as a clue to rush headlong into it.

      Here I managed to raise the stats for my Cleric, but I need money to do a bit more. I managed to get three of the four cards but gave up looking for the last. I didn't try too hard, honestly, as I was mostly seeking to raise my cleric's abilities. I'm sure I'll find it when I go back. In the mean time I've been sitting at the lowest level of the Time Lord's dungeon next to a healing fountain, trying to grind xp and gold. I've also been running in and out to loot his chests. At this point my Paladin and Ranger are approaching level 20, but my cleric is still locked around 7 and wizard is about 10. I intend to go back to Ambrosia soon to max out my cleric's wisdom so she can get her instant death spell. Hopefully a few castings of this will catch her up. Regardless, I might try what I assume to be the final dungeon/castle soon. This game is turning out to be a lot of fun, despite some complaints I have. It makes me look positively forward to trying Ultima IV.

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    4. I certainly don't mind you using the comments for this, and I'm sorry I didn't get back here fast enough to provide any hints. That's a riot that the game was spawning all of your enemies out-of-reach, and I'm glad you figured out how to get to them.

      I DID mention that the way to get to Ambrosia was to "take a ship through the whirlpool," but I honestly don't remember how I figured that out for the first time. I'm glad you ultimately got there, if accidentally. Based on your description, it sounds like you're on the brink of winning; I don't recall that there were many more puzzles or obstacles.

      Your point about the NPC dialogue is well taken. I'm on a quest to save the world, here! Do you think maybe you could give me more than half a hint?

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    5. So you were right in that I didn't have much to left. I just had to get the card from the strength shrine, which I already knew. I spent the rest of the time grinding, but that seems totally unnecessary in retrospect. My Paladin and Ranger were around level 20 and my Wizard and Cleric were 25. I had both of the caster's main attributes maxed as well as both of my fighter-types melee abilities. I also maxed out my Paladin's wisdom for a bit more healing.

      I jumped in my boat after my last leveling session, taking my boat to the giant snake and yelling 'Evocare!'. I holed up on the other side, passing a few towns casting healing spells. With a little trepidation I entered Doom's castle.

      It seems like there were a lot of false paths, but I didn't get distracted by most of it. Falling the left-hand rule, I pretty much only went into one small red-herring area. The combats were surprisingly easy, and I only lost maybe half of my hp by the time I was outside of Exodus' chamber. I took the opportunity to pass time and heal to max, which turned out not to be needed as well.

      I fought four tile 'monsters', which was a little tricky for the first battle, but I don't think they hit me for the other three. Looking at my notes from Dr. Who, I knew what order to use the cards in and received the final 'cutscene' asking me to play Ultima IV. Why yes, I will, thank you.

      All in all, it was a really fun game and now has me intending to finish the rest of the Ultima games (sans 1 and 2, I'm just going to skip them entirely). I enjoyed the relatively simplistic leveling system, though I was a bit disappointed the other playable races just didn't exist in the world. The story was bearbones, but the exploration and clue-hunting was fun. I would have liked the NPCs to have more developed dialogue as I remember your descriptions of 4, but saw nothing like that quite yet.

      Graphics were good, though I was using the patch to place the Apple versions in my DOS game. Sound was unbearable. My only real complaint was going to be that it barely leveled me or gave me enough gold to get strong enough throughout the main game, but it turns out I spent way more time strengthening my party than neccessary. I honestly think I could have beat it at around level 10 without any spells to back me up, based on the hp I lost and amount of healing I had to do.

      I did find food rations excessively expensive for how shortly they lasted, however. A months supply of food for four shouldn't cost as much as a +4 Plate and Bow.

      I look forward to playing Ultima 4. I already used Pix's patcher and tested it out, making (I think) a bard. I wanted a mage, but decided to answer the questions truthfully. I'm running the game with Apple graphics and C64 audio, both of which seem to be quite good. Unfortunately, Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC comes out in two days, so it may be a bit before I get back into Sosaria.

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    6. I'm glad you liked the game. I agree with you on its weaknesses, and I think you'll like the improvements in both U4 and U5. Feel free to post your experiences on those respective entries. I enjoy reading this from someone else's perspective, and to be honest, I didn't post enough about U3 back in 2010. It was early in my blog, and I thought I'd better serve my readers and purpose giving general summaries rather than detailed descriptions. It later turned out that we both preferred the latter.

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  11. Hello, I'm playing Ultima III on dosbox. I was able to get the Mark of the King and Mark or Fire. How do you get the Mark of Force and Mark of Doom. I looked at the dungeon map for fire and doom. They seem impossible as there's no doorway to reach them. How do I reach them? I playing using a human barbarian, elven theif, human ranger, and bobbit druid. Do I need to reach them via moongates, using the cleric's magic spell to teleport randomly in the dungeon to reach them? I can't
    seem to find any walkthrough videos on Youtube or anywhere on the internet that shows it.

    Also, how to I increase the magic points for the Druid and Ranger? They are stuck at 12 MP for the Druid
    and 6 MP for the Ranger. Please help. I want to beat this bad really bad.

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    1. Druid's MP is half the greater of INT or WIS, and Ranger's MP is half the lesser, so to raise a Druid's MP, you have to raise INT or WIS (no reason to raise both), while for a Ranger you have to raise both (and that comes out to four stat points per MP!) As for the maps... there are walls you can walk through, and check GameFAQs.

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    2. Walls that can be penetrated in Ultima spots a small hole in the middle: meaning that some randy lummox had already tried penetrating the wall before.

      So, check out for irregular patterns on the walls.

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  12. I meant to say I want to beat this game really bad. Please help me with how to reach the Mark of Force in Dungeon of Time and/or Dungeon of Doom since there's now doorway to get through according to the Ultima III dungeon map location. Also need help increasing the magic points for spellcasters.

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    1. 'Nym, I wish I could help, but I played this game three years ago, and I don't remember where all the marks are. My blog is fairly useless for hints because of that reason. But if Andrew Schultz's walkthrough...

      http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/562659-ultima-iii-exodus/faqs/20688

      ...doesn't help you out, I don't know what will.

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  13. Still a touch of the "science fiction" in there, with the punch cards and computer. Spoony's video of this game has a pretty funny skit on the floor attack.

    As an aside, the gremlins are one of the worst creatures in any RPG ever, along with their vile cousins in Ultima IV.

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    1. I would have added them to my "most annoying" list, but you don't actually SEE them in the game, so they're less an "enemy" and more a random encounter that just happens.

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  14. Your blog is fantastic and really hits home in a big way! I completed U2 when I was just a kid.. maybe 11 years old? I remember it being a rather bad experience, and the pop culture bits were way over my head. U3 was my next adventure. Interesting story about my experience with U3. My disk became corrupted and only allowed for me to have 1 character in my party. At that time, buying a new copy was not an option. Having limited experience (I was aware of Ambrosia and how to increase hit points from previous, brief plays), I decided to take a stab at a solo character party. For this daring attempt to work, I ultimately decided to go with a Bobbit Paladin (huge sacrifice of spell points for weapon damage). This served as a good choice considering he performed the functions of a fighter, cleric (all truly necessary spells), and makeshift thief with Apper Unem. Long story short, after probably dozens of hours playing the game, I maxed all stats, obtained all marks, and made my trip to Exodus. With 1 character, I was able to make it all the way to the floor tile battles! I could never defeat them all, but I knew, without question, that I was minutes away from completing the game. I'm not sure if it is at all possible to actually complete with 1 character, but I was SUPER close! I may be the only person on the planet to get that far solo, but to finally see the end of the game that I never could quite get to is priceless. Thanks!

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  15. I replayed the game after many years and had some fun by completing it with four clerics in 120k moves on DOSbox :)

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    1. That's awesome! I'm planning on trying dwarf four clerics the next time I play. With 75 strength and 50 dex I figure they'll be pretty decent fighters plus all the cleric spells. Being able to cast 4 Cleric O's will be really nice. I usually have a wizard but I don't think giving up wizard spells is that significant, except at the beginning when the wizard can give combat and extra push with Wizard A/B. Only using melee weapons as required by clerics will be different, especially in the beginning but I think it's manageable. At the end in Exodus's castle everyone is of course using melee weapons anyway.

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  16. Greetings U3 fans! I’m late to this thread (just found it), but I see there are some open questions I can help with.

    U3 is one of my favorite CRPGs of all time. I’d guess I have over 1000 gameplay hours in, between playing it over and over as a kid on the Apple II in the 1980s and a few times as an adult in emulators and most recently again on an Apple IIe system I bought on ebay.

    I’m a novice at blogging so I’m not sure how it all works, but if the blog sends me an email alert when new comments are posted I’m happy to try to answer any questions about the game anybody might have. I have a lot of information about Ultima 5, and to a lesser extend Ultima 4.

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    1. Wow, you really are a bit of a niche player, aren't you?

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    2. Yes, thanks :-)

      I’ve done a number of things to keep the game interesting, that I’ll share in case anybody else really likes the game but has won it a few times and it’s become less engaging.

      Things I’ve done are to take different paths and set goals aside from just winning the game such as:

      1) Find the marks in different locations than I remember them. There are multiple locations for most of the marks, and I don’t remember all of them. I have a usual location I get each mark that I seem to remember over time, so it’s been fun to make myself find them elsewhere, which recreates that part of the adventure in a way.

      2) Find a different way to raise mass quantities of gold than Death Gulch. There are several other honey pots out there than approach Death Gulch’s gold per minute acquisition rate.

      3) Experiment with different character types, go way outside whatever your norm is. I’m going to try four clerics next time.

      4) Set a goal of building characters strong enough to completely destroy all inhabitants of Montor east and west (the two towns with the most guards) without pausing after each battle to regain magic points; just plow through. More towns can be added to the list to up the difficulty level.

      The level of character development required to win the game is much less than required to accomplish this goal.

      There are of course some game ethical considerations here and I respect people who choose not to do things in a game that they would not in real life. For me I look at role playing differently, and I like to play the villain. I root for Darth Vader and the Witch King of Angmar ☺

      5) Set a goal of building characters strong enough to completely destroy all inhabitants of Exodus’s castle without pausing after each battle to regain magic points (just plow through) and still be strong enough to destroy Exodus. The level of character development required to win the game is much less than required to accomplish this goal. It is also much harder than #4 above.

      This goal can be divided into two sub goals (a) destroy all inhabitants that will attack you, easier. b) destroy all inhabits, much harder as there are Daemons, Balrons, and prisoners which won’t attack you but are quite powerful as they come in groupings of 8.

      I’ve achieved (a), but fell short of (b). Next time I play I have a new strategy that I think will work for (b).

      Same comment on game ethics applies as #3.

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    3. Well...good luck with your next play. Out of curiosity--you do play other games too, right?

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    4. Thanks for the well wishes. Yes, I do play other games. There are other CRPGs that I've replayed in recent years (Ultima III/IV/V), some I love but haven't played since the 1980s (Bards Tale III, Might and Magic 3, Wizard Crown, Wizardry I), and some I've recently for the first time (Bards Tale I).

      Ultima III was the first CRGP I played in the 1980s and for some reason always was drawn back to it. I think the other factor was, in the 1980s I recall very long waits between games, partly because of release cycles but also just because it was hard to acquire them as a kid for various reasons. So when I was worn out on Ultima IV, for example, I had nothing better to do than play Ultima III ad nauseum until Ultima V came out, with the occasional diversion into Castle Wolfenstein and trying to program RPGs.


      I've had a very bad experience with newer RGPs. World of Warcraft in particular I hated....also tried Neverwinter Nights and though it was "ok". I recently gave the modern genre another change by playing Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I’m finding that I really enjoy it despite low expectations and a fundamental aversion to the concept of a game that tracks your quests and tells you where to go, who to talk to, etc. I’m spending a lot of brain cycles considering the reason why.



      Sorry for the slow reply. I need to try and figure out how to get google to email alert me for blog replies.

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  17. Awhile ago somebody asked a question about where to find the mark of Force. There are two locations. The first is in the dungeon “Doom” southwest of the hidden Town of Dawn. (coincidentally the dungeon “Doom” is the name of the final dungeon in Ultima 5) You’ll know your in the right place if after walking forward a few paces you get misty writing “Welcome Fools, to you doom!!”

    The mark of force is located on the 8th level of the dungeon doom. Level 8 is a wide open level (not a lot of walls). The mark is found in the exact center of the level in a small room accessed by secret passages (view a gem or cast Cleric L to see secret passages on the map).

    The second location of the mark of force is in the Dungeon of Fire (due south of Lord British’s castle, and a little east, in the mountains. It is surrounded by lava.

    The mark of force is on level 8. If you look at a gem map you should see three rooms which are accessible via different ladders from level 7. The mark of force is in the room only accessible via the ladder in the southwest corner of the map.

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  18. Awhile ago somebody asked a question about how to find a boat in Ultima III because no pirate ships were appearing.

    Pirate ships should generate randomly but I have seen this problem (where they don’t generate at all) in PC emulators. I once got to level 15 once and no boat, which shouldn’t happen. I’ve never seen the problem on the Apple II version. Not sure why.

    However, there is another way to obtain a boat.

    Use the create boat spell to sally forth a frigate from the netherworld. This spell is available in PC emulator versions and the original Apple version. I know for sure the Mac port doesn’t have it. I’m not sure about other versions.

    1) First, board the boat in the lake (moat) of Lord British’s castle which can't the castle leave due to the protective force field that surrounds the castle and only opens at the entrance with the blessing of the King.

    2) Upon boarding boarding the boat, engage in combat with guards or Lord British himself. Sacrifice one of your players to the gods (allow him/her to be killed by the guards).

    3) Once the sacrifice is given, chant Appar Crashumgame Unem while rebooting your computer (apple II) or closing and reopening the application window (PC emulator). Upon reentering the game, you will appear on the surface map, in a boat, placed on top of the icon for Lord British’s Castle. Move the boat into the bay and you are all set.


    Note: I had some fun making an exploit of the games logical structure into a spell. I told this to somebody once and they took it literally and were trying to use the yell command to yell “Appar Crashumgame Unem” which doesn’t work in combat. So, just for clarify, all you need to do is board the boat, kill a character, and reboot the computer or app window :-)

    p.s. this isn’t a hack, it is an unintended consequence of the logical structure of the game, much like why Lord British can be killed by a canon. If anybody is curious in knowing a more technical explanation of why it works, let me know and I’m happy to elaborate.

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    1. U3_Guru, you're really living up to your name. The boat trick is a fascinating bit of lore.

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    2. Thanks!

      Here is another bit of Ultima lore:

      In Ultima IV, on the Apple II version, there is a way to create a box with unlimited gold in it. Just keep opening it and it will never run out.

      The way to do it is this:

      1) Backup the Britannia and Underworld (dungeon) disks just to be safe
      2) Go to the surface, outside of any towns/castles/villages (doesn’t matter where)
      3) remove the Britannia disk and insert the underworld disk into the same drive that the Britannia disk was in.
      4) walk around until the game reads from the disk in the drive.

      Ultima IV periodically reads from the Britannia disk when walking on the surface because the map is so large. The result of the game reading from the disk for more map data when the underworld disk is in the drive is that the map tiles go crazy. Tiles become random, and can be any tile used in the game. The end result is chaos and it’s hard to walk around as many things block the way. However, it’s almost always it is possible to walk around a little and eventually come across a tile with the box icon. For some reason, the box doesn’t disappear when it is opened and never runs out of gold.


      I have never tried this in an emulator version and the concept of inserting/removing disks doesn’t apply. There may be a way to do it by manipulating the disk images but I am not sure. If I recall I tried it once on Ultima V for the Apple II and it did not work.

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    3. Wow, you just triggered a long-dormant memory. I seem to remember playing with a friend and stumbling upon this cheat by accident. As you say, I don't know how you'd do it with an emulator. Maybe rename the images while the game is trying to access them?

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    4. That's a good idea, it might work.

      It's been a while since a I used an emulator but if I recall it access the images as needed...i.e. I don't recall the game pausing to prompt you to insert another image like it would to insert another disk. So maybe load up the game, go into DOS window and rename the underworld disk image as the britannia disk image and see what happens. I'll try it some time.

      The other key thing I think is whether the emulator reads from the image periodically as the avatar moves around the map. If it does then I think this has a good chance of working. In theory I'd think it would read from the image periodically because as I understand it the code structure functions the same in the image as it did on the Apple II, hence the Ultima III "create boat" trick mentioned in an earlier post is confirmed to work in an emulator.

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    5. For some reason this topic was on my mind today, so I set out to see if the Ultima IV disk swap exploit will work in an emulator.

      Quick recap: the exploit on the real Apple II is to go out onto the surface map, then swap the Britannia disk with the dungeon/underworld disk, then walk around until the drive reads data from the wrong disk, and discovery a very bizarre landscape containing a box with unlimited gold.

      The news is mixed. First I tried AppleWIN (PC Software), which can run Apple II disk images. It works! AppleWIN has actual disk drive icons which disk images are loaded into. As a result, it is possible to literally remove the Britannia disk and insert the dungeon/underworld disk into the drive.

      I also tried this using an emulator called Mame, which doesn’t have disk drives the player can manipulate directly. The disk images must be specified advance on the command line when launching Mame. I tried to rename the disk images to create the effect of swapping them but it didn’t work because the emulator put a file lock on the disk images.

      So, I suspect this exploit will work in any emulator that allows the player to insert/remove disks and it probably won’t work on any emulator that requires all disk images to be loaded in some fashion at launch, at least short of hacking DOS to remove the file lock.

      Another tip: it matter where you are on the surface map when switching the disk. The unlimited gold box is usually easily found by flipping the disks a few tiles south and a few tiles east of Lord British’s castle.

      The reason the location matters is because each tile map that the player sees on the screen is represented by an 8-bit hex value ($0-$FF). When the game is functioning normally, as the player walks around it will load data from a specific location on the britannia disk which contains hex values the were laid out so they would represent the map the player is supposed to see. When the disk is switched, the game will read from the same exact location on disk that it normally would, except that it is the wrong disk, resulting the game reading hex values from whatever happens to be stored at that location on the dungeon/underworld disk, which is likely the machine language for the program than renders the 3-D dungeon views.

      Since machine language is just series of hex values, the game doesn’t crash when this happens, it just treats the values it reads in as being the hex ID number for a tile, and it draws the tile graphics associated with it. By altering the location on the surface map when the swap is done it changes the location on disk that the game is reading from, and thus the hex values it reads change, and the tile graphics drawn changes. It is luck of the draw whether the hex value for a box happens to be a value read from disk in any particular location.

      Not sure if the technicals are of interest to anyone but I love games, and what makes them tick, so I thought I’d share :-)

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  19. A long time lurker from Sweden who, like so many others, have read through this blog from the very beginning. I started playing CRPGs on the C64 in 1980 and have never managed to stop. I think I’m about the same age as our addicted host. I must add that this is the most interesting and captivating blog I’ve ever come across. Thanks for all working hours lost :-)

    I noticed that no one has commented on a very peculiar aspect of Ultima III. On the character creation screen, when choosing you characters gender, you can press M (for male) or F (for female). But you can also press O for ”other”. I thought this might be interesting, particularly these days with all the discussion about HBTQ-issues in the media. I wonder what Mr. Garriott thought when he programmed this? I’ve never come across another CRPG where you could choose anything other than male or female for a characters sex, which makes Ultima III rather unique.

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    1. That's an interesting point. I suppose it's possible that the developers were being extremely broad-minded. Another possibility is that they though it better served fantasy themes to have a third choice--after all, do "fuzzies" conform to traditional gender roles?

      This absolutely isn't my area, so I could be wrong, but I'm not sure that an "Other" option really signifies HBTQ progressivism. I mean, whether you're gay, bisexual, transexual, or transgendered, you still generally identify with a sex, right? So calling a transsexual person "other"--like you're choosing "it" instead of "he" or "she"--would be a bit insulting, right?

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    2. I agree, it is very unlikely that they had anything other than broadening the fantasy theme in mind. But as far as I know this is the only CRPG ever to have had anything other than male/female as a choice. Something to keep in mind if you ever get around to write that book of yours.

      I will read through the comment sections of all games I have played myself, and see if I can find some other tidbits to contribute. Thanks again for this great blog.

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    3. Well, there are hermaphrodites, eunuchs and people born with ambiguous (i.e. none) genitalia.

      It's only insulting if the person in question find it so. For instance, most people would take offence if they were called a "f*cker" but I don't mind it at all. But call me a "f*ckee" and you will have to choose how many limbs you want still attached to your body & 1 is the maximum number you can get from me.

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    4. 'Other' tends to be regarded as an 'otherising' term. I think the most inclusive (and interesting) way to handle this is providing three options: Male, Female and Blank (write your own description in this space). If 'write your own' isn't suitable for some reason, then maybe you could title the non-binary option "both/neither". In any case, offering 'other' is certainly an improvement over the usual binary!

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  20. If anyone is curious, I removed "Owens's" comment not because of the question but because it linked to spam.

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  21. Hi, enjoyed reading these comments, it brings back many childhood memories. I'm currently replaying Ultima III and getting pretty close to the end. Could someone remind me if the world map remains intact and if I can continue to use the characters you win with. I have alot of chest unopened on the main map and don't want to loose them. Thx

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    1. No, I'm pretty sure the game ends for good when you win. But I could be wrong, because I can't imagine any mechanism by which you could leave unopened chests on the main map.

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    2. When you win Ultima III, the game presents you with a special "congrats you won" screen which hints at Ultima IV and then the game stops. You can't "continue" from that point with your characters but you can reboot the game and the game will resume just outside the final castle. Thus, all experience points (and damage) aquired in the castle are lost. From there you can enter the castle again or you can go anywhere in the world with your characters and continue playing.

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  22. Just finished the game. It actually doesn't save at the end so when you go back in, it leaves off at your last save.

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  23. Awesome blog CRPG Addict! I'm afraid life has left little time for gaming on the computer in recent years, but I've greatly enjoyed living vicariously through your blog. Ultima 3* was the first CRPG I played extensively and I loved the Ultima series, playing all of them up to Ultima 7 prior to real life barging in. Starflight was another fave. Interestingly, I wanted Wizardry, but was terribly disappointed when it turned out that our Tandy 1000 wouldn't run it... but it did lead to me exchanging it for Ultima 3 at the recommendation of our local computer sales guy!

    I will add that my favored party was three fuzzy wizards and a bobbit cleric. I would immediately buy all of them a stack of daggers (99 per person if you have the cash). I found that the ability to cast around 15-18 mittar spells (wizard spell B) along with the cleric throwing daggers was pretty effective in killing most lower level monsters, with only a few ever reaching hand to hand combat. The wizards would tend to outstrip the cleric in terms of experience, but once you saved enough gold to get to Ambrosia you could rev the cleric's magic points up to 99 and left them cast Zxkugyb for a series of combats which would level them up in no time. Once you go back and push all of your mages up to 99 magic points you have a party that nothing can stop at all. It was basically legal cheating! I'm not much a of a grinder you might say...

    Ultima 4-7 (And 7.5 although I never was able to play it through) saw exponential leaps in the gameplay, to my mind they would represent the games to play for anyone who wanted to revisit the golden age of classic CRPGs from 1983 to 1990 - with a side dish of Ultima 3 for dessert. And Starflight too! I have considered going back to Exult and playing the entire Ultima 7 package if I can find the time.

    * I say that... but I actually spent many hours playing Tunnels of Doom on our old TI too... almost forget about it, despite the fact that it was a truly remarkable game for the time it was written and the limited platform of the TI99/4A.

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