While the pile of Origin ephemera I picked up a year back contained a fair share of obviously collectible items, it also contained a good deal of odds and ends that probably only have any appeal to the more “dedicated” fans such as myself. That doesn’t stop me sharing them however and this is one such item, a design board dated September 7 1988 for the Paths Of Destiny clue book flyer that was bundled into copies of Ultima V.
As with all these design documents, it’s a mosaic of cut out sections glued together. I can’t compare this to the finished version since I haven’t got one in my copy of Ultima V and the Internet has failed me in digging up a photo. I do notice that the clue book cover here contains a full size picture in the arch window framing and no title. The other thing that struck me was the 3-4 week delivery time which I seem to recall being standard for anything mail order when I was a kid. I doubt Amazon would be the size it is now if this was still the case.
Back in 1987 Origin signed a deal with Broderbund for them to distribute their games. Dating from a year later, this is a scan of the first sales bulletin provided to the Broderbund sales and marketing team. It gives the basic info of the various ports that were just being released at the time + the Ultima 5 cluebook. That cluebook followed some months behind the initial release of the game which definitely wouldn’t happen these days. It also mentions problems with the first version of Ultima 4 on Amiga although it never shipped to customers. This does make me wonder what happened to all those faulty copies:-
This was published in 1988 by Origin. I seem to remember there being two versions with only the first edition having the colour front cover. Once again this is available to download from http://www.replacementdocs.com. It is about twice the size of the Ultima 4 cluebook, although the same could be said of the game so this is no surprise.
The book starts with the familiar towns and locations section which takes up two thirds of the pages. It’s back to overhead views for the maps which this time using the actual graphics from the game. This is more useful for finding your way around, if less atmospheric. This guide also adds the co-ordinates of the town + the shop prices. After this section, there are some new parts offering the sort of detail that was missing in the U4 cluebook. This includes a list of all the unique items and roughly where to find them.
The dungeon maps are next, followed by an extremely useful map of the underworld complete with highlighted locations of interest. This really would save a lot of trial and error searching around the most dangerous part of the game. Finding the three shards without this will take a lot more effort.
The book ends with a brief passage on how Lord Shalineth (the supposed author of this book) attained some of the knowledge within from a mysterious child who appeared in his keep one morning.
Paths Of Destiny addresses the problems I had with the U4 guide and contains the extra bit of information that could help you to get through the game. It does this while still maintaining the pretense of being a guidebook prepared to help the Avatar and has a little more (although not much) background detail to boot. There wasn’t a whole lot of extra content for the Ultima fans here though.