Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny, Commodore 64

Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny was originally released by Origin Systems in 1988 for the Commodore 128, with a Commodore 64 version following in 1989. The game was remastered in 2020 by Drunella, to provide CRT (cartridge) and d81 versions for fastloading, although the graphics remain the same as the original (there are no enhanced graphics, like in the remaster of Ultima IV). The music from the C128 version of Ultima V has been included in the remaster, though.

Gameplay-wise, the Commodore 64 version of Ultima V is more or less the same as the Apple II original, but with more colourful graphics and – unfortunately – worse controls.

The control system, for some reason, is very sluggish, and – to be honest – it really got on my nerves very quickly. I got tired of pushing a direction and getting no response. Only holding down a direction seemed to make a character move. I don’t know if there was anything I could’ve done to improve this lack of response, but it seriously hampered my enjoyment of the game. Compared to the feather-light controls of the PC version this is such a slog to play…

Also: the Commodore 64 version seems to have a few issues with random events. Like, for example, campfire ambushes often being overwhelming. I struggled to get a foothold in this version because my luck always seemed to be out. But I don’t think it was luck – I think this conversion just has different RNG to the original (or most of the other conversions).

There are also problems talking to NPCs. I lost count of the number of times I was standing right next to an NPC, and pushed the joystick toward them (as you’re supposed to), after requesting to talk, only for the game to say either “nobody’s here” or “no response“. There 100% was an NPC stood there, and getting no response from them was not something that I’d seen happen in any of the other versions of Ultima V. I also encountered a few sound bugs, where the music would get stuck on a note and play it continually.

These problems take what could’ve been one of the best conversions of this classic game and make it frustrating to play. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my emulator setup that was causing this as I’ve played hundreds of C64 games with the same setup and not had the same problems. It’s bad programming. Either of the original version, or the remaster. Or both.

It’s a pity, really, but I can’t recommend the C64 version of Ultima V. Play either the MS-DOS version or the original Apple II version if you want responsive controls. Even the Amiga and Atari ST versions of Ultima V are sluggish when it comes to movement, so are best avoided.

More: Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny on Wikipedia
More: Ultima V Remastered on CSDb
GOG: Ultima 4+5+6 on GOG.com

Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny Keyboard Commands for Commodore 64:

a = Attack
b = Board
c = Cast
e = Enter
f = Fire
g = Get
h = Hole up
i = Ignite
j = Jimmy lock
k = Climb up
l = Look
m = Mix
n = New order
o = Open
p = Push
q = Save
r = Ready
s = Search
t = Talk
u = Use
v = View
x = Exit
y = Yell
z = Stats
Space = Pass turn
F1 = Exit/leave battle
1 to 6 = Set active player
0 = No active player

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