Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Worlds of Ultima 1 & 2: *FREE*

Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 18, 2012

They aren’t indie, but they were made on what would be considered an indie budget today. And they are free at GOG.COM …

Worlds of Ultima 1 and 2 – FREE

These are two spin-off games from the Ultima series that were made using the Ultima VI engine. As I recall, Warren Spector said his original budget for the first game was something like $50,000 (which wasn’t very much even back then), and he got in trouble for blowing his budget pretty badly. I think the games were modestly successful, mainly because they had such miniscule budgets and were made with existing technology.

I never played ’em, but always wanted to, so I’m kinda excited about this release. Not that I don’t already have a metric buttload of old and less-old RPGs waiting to be played (at least more fully) on my hard drive. I’ve been waiting for these for a while to show up at GOG.COM, so it’s pretty happy news.  Now we just need Ultima IX – fixed up to work on modern machines (which I understand is no mean trick…)

Incidentally, there was a third “Worlds of Ultima” game in development that was canceled – mainly because the team got pulled onto other, potentially more lucrative projects (like Ultima Online).

Filed Under: Free Games, Retro - Comments: 8 Comments to Read

  • hexagonstar said,

    Wow! They give these two gems away for free? These two already get a high rating from me for the non-fantasy theming. Flying with Freud, Nellie Bly and Tesla to Mars sure sounds like a great premise!

  • Barry B said,

    The spinoffs for Ultima VI were very successful–I still have my copies in their original boxes. One was a takeoff on pulp fiction set on Mars, the other, pulp fiction set in a prehistoric earth region cut off from changes. Very good games, but that was right before Garriott decided to lay down the hammer that all development in the future would originate with him. Several game developers under Origin Systems’ aegis left.

  • Anon said,

    Thanks for this news tidbit – saves me some time!

    Won’t download these titles, though, as I already have them (bought them back them).

    Great stuff, especially Martian Dreams, which I thought was better in many aspects than Ultima VI. A bit slow in the middle part, perhaps, but the start and end of the game are fantastic. Still is in my personal all-time favorites list.

    Also some very juicy VGA-graphics on Savage Empire! They really had some of the best artists in the industry back then.

    If you like loading game exes into a hex editor to see hidden messages be sure to examine both games: In one of them (SE?) is private message about actress Winona Rider 😉

    There is also one massive bug in Savage Empire, though:
    It’s entirely possible to screw up your game pretty early but you will find out much later! -> And then can’t complete the game!
    Of course I immediately fell into this trap and left the game at this point. I wasn’t too fond of repeating most of the game… :-/

    So, before you play it: Do an online search for it to avoid it!

  • Acrin1 said,

    I have the Ultima collection but not these two so thanks for the pointer.

    I remember reading a review of Savage Empire in a magazine and being keen to play but I still had an Amiga at the time so I couldn’t play!

    I still need to finish most of the other Ultima’s though…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    There are more Ultimas I haven’t finished than ones that I have…

  • Barry B said,

    6, 7, and the pair of 6 spinoffs are well worth getting. So are 4 and 5, if you don’t mind the graphics. In fact, Ultima V Lazarus remakes 5 using the original Dungeon Siege engine, and throws in new features, extended plots, etc.

    8 annoyed me, and after my character drowned because he couldn’t step on a rock properly while crossing a stream, I uninstalled it. 9 was a disaster, IMO.

    1, 2 and 3 are good fun, but 3 has some intriguing ideas. Time travel, anyone?

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    It’s 2 that has the time travel.

    I recently re-played 3 to completion. Making liberal use of faded memories from the 80’s and some online maps, I think I beat the game in only 7 hours or something. I totally didn’t roleplay it – once my characters were strong enough to fight guards, I ground on them until I was strong enough to survive the end-game.

    Okay, so maybe it’s not quite as cool of a game as I remember (though a lot of it can be explained in the term, “for its time), but I still had fun playing it.

    I’ve only played a little bit of 8, and I never played 9 at all. I have a friend who enjoyed it, but I understand getting it to run on modern systems is a nightmare.

  • Barry B said,

    Yes, you’re right. The second release was the time travel one, and Garriott used the premise in several creative ways.

    I keep hoping someone will do an updated treatment of The Magic Candle games, but nobody seems interested. I suppose if they can’t get a remake of Darklands off the ground, they aren’t about to work on TMC.