Ultima 6 Cluebook

This was published in 1990 by Origin and is available to download from http://www.replacementdocs.com. The nice colour front cover from U5’s cluebook is gone and this has a far less attractive purple monochrome drawing. It’s the worst looking of the cluebooks so far, as the first two at least had textured paper for their covers giving them a fake olde-worlde look.

The book is supposedly written by the bard Mandrake who offers an irreverent guide to the realm, with additional notes from Taynith who has glimpsed the future and offers very specific hints in a different font. This structure works very well and allows you to skip her clues if you don’t want to know what is coming.

We start as ever with a guide to all the towns and locations in Britannia. Once again, the format used for the maps changes and it uses a drawn overhead view with lines pointing to locations of interest. There is a lot more text to go along with the more complex and characterful towns of U6. This is written in an entertaining style with Mandrake’s fondness for taverns featuring prominently.

After some details on weapons, shop prices, and details on how to teleport around with the moonstone, the book goes over to the prophecies of Taynith. This is where the real spoilers are and gives outright answers as to what you need to do and where items you need are located. It is basically a complete walkthrough of the game and the first of the Ultima cluebooks to include this. The last section of the book is a Gargish dictionary if you fancy doing some translating which is an interesting addition. There is actually a passage in Gargish on the first page of the book although I’ve not attempted to translate it myself.

Ultima 6 marked a significant shift in the series as it moved over to the PC, dropped the 3D dungeons and started to leave behind its RPG routes in favour of exploring and interaction over combat. The cluebook has also shifted its design somewhat and is starting to look more like the guides that came later in the 90’s. There are tables of data here and a full walkthrough for the first time. The mock guide to Britannia style of presentation was carried through though making this a half decent read while it gets its information across.

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