Ultima 8 – The Ultimate Strategy Guide

This is my other Ultima 8 cluebook and this was published by Prima in 1994. I didn’t think too much of Origin’s attempt at a cluebook but am glad to say this was a lot more fun. Before I get onto the book itself, I have to say that I’m not so sure about that cover. Is it just me or does it look more than a little piratey? Other than the title of the game, nothing on there says Ultima 8 to me.

The title of the book is a little misleading also. The book does contain a standard full walkthrough (as an appendix) and a short section at the start of the book to give general tips on how to play the game but the vast majority is a novelised telling of the game, relating the story of the unlikely named Stencil as he journeys through Pagan. This section of the book does add in extra detail that would help you out playing the game so it is serving as a long-winded walkthrough as well as a mini-novel. This is far more entertaining than I might have expected, although I did skim over some parts which were giving routes through mazes and the like.

There are two appendices. The first is the brief walkthrough I mentioned before. The second is a complete transcript of every book in the game which is a nice feature. For something claiming to be the ultimate strategy guide, there is a lot missing though. There is no list of spells, no bestiary, no maps of the levels, etc.. You could get some information from the book transcripts but it seems to me that you would need to add both the two cluebooks together to give the full product.

This not being an Origin product is fairly apparent at times. Some of the tips given are close to exploits such as knapsacks within knapsacks and stacking items, which is useful advice but not something I’d expect to see in an Origin cluebook. The start and end of the story also give away the authors unfamiliarity with the series. The Avatar is supposedly snatched up by the guardian while sleeping at the start of the game, and at the end returns to the land of his birth. Inbetween this though, the dialog and plot are all from the game so it doesn’t cause any problems.

In short, this book isn’t the ultimate strategy guide it claims to be and is basically Avatar Adventures for Ultima 8. I quite like the Avatar Adventures books so this was right up my street. It’s been a while since I played Ultima 8 and reading through this brought it back to me without having to play the whole thing again.

10 thoughts on “Ultima 8 – The Ultimate Strategy Guide

  1. This one looks interesting, and it’s funny that the end is the same that was used for Ultima IX instead of the other cluebook who said you were at the Guardian’s world.

    Is there any chance you could do scans for it or for the Avatar adventures books?

    I really would like to try to read those.

    • I took the ending as the author thinking that the Avatar came from Britannia but it’s open to interpretation.

      In truth, I’d like to scan most of these books in and get them available online. My old HP scanner was great for this but I’m just not happy with the quality of this Lexmark. It’s fine for magazines but I’d have to flatten books to get a half clear image around the spine. I’m assuming this is why the U7 and SI cluebooks never made it onto replacementdocs so it’s stopping me from contributing there also.

      I’m considering buying the Plustek Optibook 3600 although I’ve seen very mixed reviews of it. It’s the only affordable option I can find for scanning books without destroying them and looks like it should do the job even if the software is a bit quirky. Just not sure I want to spend the £130.

  2. That’s understandable. £130 is quite a lot of money for something like this, specially if you have doubts about how good it is.

    I was gonna try to buy those 3 books, but they are way more expensive than they were last year at Amazon (I was very lucky to get the Lynn Abbey books for just 2€ in good condition last year).

    BTW, I got the Ultima Book first edition scanned somewhere (not my scan), if you want to share it when you comment about it I could send it to you. I haven’t had the time to read it myself but seems interesting.

    • Actually, you prompted me into having another look around for one of those scanners and I’ve picked one up new for about a third of the retail price on Ebay. From what I gather they work well enough but you have to reinstall the software every now and then. They have been around for a few years so I’m hoping the software will have improved since then but I’m sure I’ll cope either way. I’m probably away next week so it could be after that before I get started on anything.

      You’ll save me doing it, if you can let me have a scan of the official book of Ultima. It’s well worth reading btw if you find the time.

    • Thanks. Those other scans are a lot better than mine. As long as mirir doesn’t complain, I’ll put them on here to download. It would be better if they were somewhere a little more permanent like replacementdocs (assuming they ever got approved) but here is better than nowhere.

      Have you got any other Origin books scanned in by any chance that aren’t on replacementdocs? I’m happy to host anything that isn’t available elsewhere. I know you had the System Shock cluebook which I should still have but replacementdocs doesn’t appear to have anything apart from the ones I’ve done. I’ve got ebooks of the first 6 Wing Commander novels but thats about it. I’m intending to scan each book in as I “review” them on here but I may as well avoid doing the scanning for any books that are already done.

  3. Well…

    The WC novels I have are:
    End Run
    Fleet Action
    Heart of the Tiger
    The Price of Freedom
    Action Stations
    Freedom Flight
    Wing Commander the Movie
    Pilgrim Stars

    None of those are scans, but transcripts. And for some reason, Fleet Action has no paragraphs at all which makes it very difficult to read.

    I also have:

    Ultima I Atari Manual
    The Quest manual
    Akalabeth Reference Card
    Iolo First Book of Crossbows
    an Ultima VI design document
    Ultima Online GM Guide
    Ultima Warriors of Destny NES manual (better resolution than the one at replacementdocs)
    Ultima The False Prophet for SNES manual
    Ultima Kingdom Reborn manual
    Ultima Lord Blackthorn’s Revenge Quick Reference
    Ultima Online Mondain’s Legacy manual
    Origin Prequel Legends
    The Tales of Virtue fiction
    Ultima end certificates for: U3, U5, U6, UW1, U7, SI, U8

    A lot of this can be found on the web, but I’m not sure if everything is still online at where I found it.

  4. Thats a lot more than I was expecting. I wasn’t really thinking about hosting manuals so I’ll leave them but I’d be interested in the Wing Commander Movie novel (I’ve found all the others as ebooks) & especially the end certificates which I can’t find anywhere.

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