Ultima III: Exodus, Atari ST

The 1986 Atari ST version of Ultima III: Exodus is pretty much identical to the Amiga version. In fact: it was ported by the same guy who made the Amiga version – “Banjo” Bob Hardy – so shares the same codebase. Since they’re almost identical I’d assume that the ST version was the primary target and the Amiga version was the port (since doing it the other way around would probably lead to features being dropped from the ST version as the machine had fewer custom chips). Ultima III was published by Origin Systems and is arguably the joint best version of the game available.

I really like Ultima III on the Atari ST – it works so much better than the 8-bit originals and is more fun to play as a result. I’m not going to explain too much about it here (read my review of the Apple II original for more information about the game itself), other than to say that – if you like playing Atari ST games – Ultima III is a must-play title. As early role-playing games go – other than the mighty Dungeon Master (and its sequels) – I can’t think of many other RPGs that are as good as this on the ST. Amberstar is a game that springs to mind when I play this, which is an obviously very Ultima-influenced game from Thalion. The sequel to this game – Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar – is arguably better, but then you’d expect it to be.

Note: a word of warning about most of the ST versions found online: many of the floppy disk images I found were not cracked, and when you go into a shop in the game and speak to the proprietor they will say “Honesty is a virtue! I will not help you!“, which is the game basically saying: “This disk is not genuine – f**k off you pirate!” The version I found – that worked – was one that ran from an ST hard drive. If you want to play the ST version I suggest that you look around for a hard drive-based copy, or at least quickly test the floppies you download and ditch the ones that don’t work. If you can’t buy stuff from shops then you can’t really play the game…

The Atari ST and Amiga versions are the best versions of Ultima III around; are excellent RPGs, and are definitely still worth playing today.

More: Ultima III: Exodus on Wikipedia
GOG: Ultima 1+2+3 on GOG.com

Ultima III: Exodus Keyboard Commands:

a = Attack with “readied weapons” (followed by direction of attack)
b = Board (mount a horse or board a frigate)
c = Cast a magic spell (followed by player number, spell type, and spell letter)
d = Climb down a ladder in a dungeon
e = Enter a town, castle, dungeon or other landmark
f = Fire ship’s cannons in the direction indicated
g = Get/open chest (followed by the number of the player who will search for traps, open the chest, and acquire its contents)
h = Hand equipment (trades equipment between two players; followed by prompts to determine what is to be exchanged)
i = Ignite a torch
j = Join gold (gives all gold in party to player indicated)
k = Climb up a ladder in a dungeon
l = Look (identifies an object in a specified direction)
m = Modify order (exchanges positions of any two players within the party)
n = Negate time (stops time for all outside the party; requires a special item)
o = Other command (enter any command desired during gameplay; includes BRIBE, SEARCH and others)
p = Peer at a gem (shows a bird’s eye view of a town, castle, dungeon or the overworld; one viewing per gem)
q = Save game to disk (from the overworld only)
r = Ready weapon for use in combat
s = Steal (from behind store counters; success depends on skill)
t = Transact; use to talk to townspeople or trade with merchants
u = Unlock and open doors (if you have the key; followed by direction of door and the player whose key is to be used; one use per key)
v = Volume (toggles sound effects on or off)
w = Wear armour (outfits player with specified armour)
x = Exit (leave behind or dismount your current transport and travel on foot)
y = Yell any word that’s typed
z = Stats (displays your vital statistics, possessions and spells)
Spacebar = Pass one game turn without taking any action

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