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Ultima VII (DOS)

Ultima 7: The Black Gate / Forge of Virtue
Genre: Role-Playing (RPG)
Perspective: Bird's-eye view
Visual: 2D scrolling, Isometric
Pacing: Real-time
Gameplay: Puzzle elements
Setting: Fantasy
Published by: ORIGIN Systems
Developed by: ORIGIN Systems
Released: 1992
Platform: DOS

I got to know the Ultima universe relatively recently. What can I do, I can hardly play the previous games of this, of course, a great series, because I am already too used to using the mouse and not having to dig into a thick manual to learn how to open doors or drink a bottle of potion ... But I just have to admit that Ultima is the whole world. The world is extraordinary, unique. The world of Ultima is the world of a kind fairy tale, into which our cruel reality burst. This is a world in which there was initially no place for evil and destruction. But it appeared. And in order to save this world, a savior, a messiah, an Avatar had to appear.
Ultima 7 DOS title

I will not be able to fully retell the events of the past parts, as I am little familiar with them. I will try to do this only superficially, in the course of the story. Yes, references to them can be found as you progress through numerous books and character dialogues. So I want to give you the pleasure of plunging into the world of Ultima yourself, to feel its depth and elaboration. And, believe me, in the seventh part (and even if you install Exult) it can be felt visually, unlike the previous parts, in which the graphics were very far from ideal. Of course, the resolution is not too high. But the picture is still very clear, you can see even quite small details.

I would say the graphics are fascinating. Floating clouds, birds in trees, water surface - everything is done very harmoniously. It may not have taken enough frames to animate the characters, but keep in mind that the game was released in 1992 ...

But the main feature of the seventh Ultima is its amazing interactivity and detail of the characters' lives. Take the average baker, for example. In the morning he gets up, has breakfast and goes to his bakery. There he pours flour on the table, adds water, kneads and ferments the dough, then puts it in the oven, he puts the resulting loaf of bread in a pile. Then he repeats the process. In the evening he goes to listen to Mass, and then comes to his home, lights a candle, wanders around the house for a while, and then puts out the candle and goes to bed. Doesn't that impress you too much? And what if I say now that each character has a unique daily routine, portrait, manner of speaking, its own story and a bunch of topics that you can talk to? And so with absolutely every character in more than twenty settlements in Britain? This was, perhaps, only in the Gothic released nine years later.

Also, the hero is given incredible freedom of action. He can build a ladder out of boxes or furniture in order to climb onto the roof or barricade the door with them. He can also bake bread, attend church masses and mine ore in mines - and this, of course, is not a complete list of all possible actions. Of course, the system isn't perfect. For example, I did not manage to forge myself an ordinary sword ...

But during one of the quests, you are instructed to forge the Demon Sword yourself, an incredibly powerful weapon endowed with its own soul. I will not tell you how much labor it takes to plant a demon in a stone. But I will only mention that you have to forge it yourself, repeating the whole process exactly.

A team can have up to eight characters, each with their own biography, unique character (remember at least Dupre, a paladin who leaves the team every time the Avatar does a base deed) and combat. True, I would not advise to allow busting with the number of characters, because they all have to be fed, and you have to carry food on yourself ...

I can't help but mention the magic system. It is as great and unique as the system in Darklands. You have to not only learn spells and achieve a sufficient level of experience to use them, but also find the necessary ingredients. And the very use of the spell is accompanied not only by graphic effects, but also by the words of the spell. It is interesting that Lord British (Richard Garriott), the creator of the game, invented the language and writing himself, or rather, borrowed it from archaic English (I am at a loss to say how this dialect and writing is called a scientific language). Many signs are written in cuneiform, and characters use words that have been obsolete for a long time. If you've played Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, then perhaps remember all the non-standard expressions used by the characters. Only in Ultima 7 is it much more natural and you will soon begin to take it for granted.

I will also mention the plot. The avatar lives in our world. And only when danger looms over the world of Ultima, Lord British calls him to himself, opening a portal (moongate) in the circle of stones located behind the house of the Avatar in our dimension. It's worth noting that time flows differently in Britain. In ours, only a year may pass, and there - a century. But people also live there longer. For example, the bard Iolo, a faithful companion of the Avatar, has already passed the second hundred, and he continues to engage in his favorite craft - making and selling crossbows. And how old is Lord British himself, no one knows. And now, lightning strikes again in the circle of stones, the portal opens again. But now it is not blue, but red. What does this mean? The avatar steps into the portal ...

The Avatar comes to the world of Britain in a new body, known to every “educated” local (unfortunately, there are not so many of them), like the body of the Avatar. Blond, gigantic, eyes piercing blue, the noble face of a stereotypical fighter for justice. But since this body has not been used for hundreds of years, with each of his adventures, the Avatar forgets the abilities and skills that he acquired in his past adventures, so everything will have to be learned again.

The portal slams shut behind him, and Avatar sees his old friend Iolo in front of him, talking to a terrified peasant. It looks like something terrible happened in the stable ...

The game begins with a detective story and develops into a global adventure designed to save the magic of Britain and the freedom of its inhabitants. This game is able to compete with the most modern RPGs, and even surpass them in many ways. If you are ready for a huge, exciting adventure with lots of fights, dialogues, unexpected plot twists and a fair amount of humor, then go ahead, Britannia is waiting for you!

Ultima 7 consists of two games with a single storyline: Black Gate and Serpent Isle. The second part is made on the same engine and according to the same role-playing system, so everything that has been said about the first part is largely true for the second.

In the story in Black Gate, you were never able to kill the dastardly priest Butlin, and he fled far north from you, to where the Snake Island is located. Your squad, fearing new evil deeds, goes after him.

You sail for Batlin by boat and land on a deserted beach. But out of nowhere, a storm that has come from and multi-colored lightning carry all your friends away, and you are left alone. Alone again.