Ultima 1 (Apple IIGS) – Part 2

I started out part 2 continuing to rescue princesses and raising my HP to a state where I felt I could survive long enough in a dungeon to bag a balron. This only required about 20 minutes of grinding so wasn’t too arduous and the amount of HP and especially gold I got returned on exiting the dungeon does appear to have been raised in compensation for the difficulty.

The balron was another dungeon creature missing its graphics but I did spot another couple to add to the menagerie, including one for you Zorn fans:-

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With all the gems in hand, it was time to head for space at last. As so often in all of these ports, this section of the game is little different to the original from 1980. The graphics are a little more colourful but in space no one can hear your IIGS playing MIDI music as there isn’t any. There are a couple of sound effects when docking and shooting but that’s about it.

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The TIE Fighters of the original look more like the advanced TIE in this port and are considerably easier to hit with the fat round body shape. On my first visit, I literally cleared space of all enemies and still didn’t get the 20 kills required to become a Space Ace. Maybe this can happen on other versions but I’ve not seen it before. I had to land, get enough money together to pay the docking fees again and head back to space a second time. As luck would have it, the invading aliens had been busy in their shipyards and I could grab the missing 3 or 4 kills required.

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Back on the ground again, I’d had plenty of practice rescuing princesses so one more to get the time machine wasn’t going to be difficult or at least that’s what I thought:-

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This first part went OK but was followed by a scouring of every part of the map looking for the time machine and not finding it. I tried rescuing all the other princesses to see if that would help and searched again to no avail. I can only assume that there is a bug in this port which can stop the time machine appearing and since I didn’t fancy starting from scratch, this playthrough has come to a slightly premature end.

I have seen this described as the best version of Ultima 1 and while it has plenty of good points, I would have to go for the FM Towns version instead. That has the advantage of intro and outro graphics, textured dungeons and no game-breaking bugs that I’m aware of. It has the disadvantage of sharing the music and graphics with 2 & 3 on the system but judged on its own merits has to come out on top as far as I’m concerned. I especially don’t like the fact that the dungeons on the IIGS are dangerous to the point of being unexplorable to any great depth. The use of ladder up/down spells should be optional in my opinion.

I would of course still like to see the ending of this and I expect there will be a part 3 eventually. If anyone happens to have a save game at the end and would like to send it my way to speed things up, it would be appreciated. Failing that, the next game on here and one I’m really looking forward to will be Ultimore – A World Divided.

5 thoughts on “Ultima 1 (Apple IIGS) – Part 2

    • I was looking at them myself the other month but haven’t taken the plunge yet. They were more affordable than I expected but I dread to think what the shipping costs will be like. I’ll be keen to hear how you get on with it – it’s only a matter of time before I follow suit. I’m guessing that just leaves you needing the Sharp X68000 for the ultimate Wing Commander gaming set-up.

  1. I think it’s just an NEC PC9821 left… and they seem plentiful, just a matter of deciding when I want to spend several hundred dollars on one. (It may be the hardest one to get right, for the smallest amount of game… Wing Commander Armada for the PC98 supports both MIDI and a Thrustmaster setup! So I expect months of scouring Japanese auction sites down the road.)

    I need to write about my Wing Commander setup, which has to be rebuilt after two cross-country moves. I did just finish putting together a really awesome rack with the best possible output on every original Wing Commander-supporting console!

  2. Looking at these shots sure brings it back…;)

    In 1986, after using a Tandy 1000 for a year or so, I decided to go with a newer box that was more graphically capable. So I had it narrowed down to two machines: Apple IIGS or Amiga 500…;) (I miss those days–kind of!) I called ever major computer game publisher at the time that I could reach, including Microprose, Sierra, EA, and some others whose names elude me at the moment. Back in those days you could call up the publishing house, ask to speak to a “programmer,” and you’d get one!!!…;) Long story short: every single game dev I spoke with recommended the Amiga 500. No exceptions. That began the next eight years or so when I went all Amiga, owned at least one of every Amiga made except the A1000…;) It was all seat-of-the-pants, but it was so much fun–the “Toaster” and all of that. Thanks for the memories…!

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