Richard Garriott‘s famous Role-Playing Game series began officially in 1981 with “Ultima” for the Apple II. It was a pioneering mixture of single-player adventuring, combat and levelling, with humble beginnings, starting out on early 8-bit systems and working its way up to modern PCs in the 1990s. The Ultima series was always evolving; always innovating, and constantly proving to be a considerable influence on story-based, single-player RPGs, and the fantasy adventure game market in general.
Ultima IX: Ascension is the ninth and final instalment of the core Ultima series and was developed by Origin Systems and published for Windows-based PCs by Electronic Arts in 1999. It was the first Ultima game to use polygonal rendering in a full 3D environment.
Ultima VIII: Pagan is the eighth entry in the Ultima series and was developed and published by Origin Systems for PC MS-DOS in 1994. Like its predecessor (The Black Gate), Pagan goes for a darker, more mature tone than most of the previous Ultima games, and it is also more puzzle and action-oriented.
The only version of Ultima VII: The Black Gate that is available for any system other than the PC is the Super Nintendo port, first released by FCI/Pony Canyon in 1994. It is a much simplified version of the game, but is still fun to play if you like old school RPGs.
Serpent Isle is an oddity in the Ultima series in that it is a direct sequel to the previous game – Ultima VII: The Black Gate – which uses the same game engine, but with a few enhancements. It was published by Origin Systems in 1993 and only ever appeared on the PC, running under MS-DOS.
Ultima VII: The Black Gate is the seventh game in the Ultima series and the first part of the “Age of Armageddon” trilogy, and was first released for PC MS-DOS by Origin Systems in 1992. The game is highly-rated among RPG fans and even series creator, Richard Garriott, describes Ultima VII as “the most masterfully-executed” of the Ultima series.
The 1993 Super Nintendo version of Ultima VI: The False Prophet was developed by Origin Systems and first published by FCI/Pony Canyon. It is a faithful and playable port of the classic RPG, but with a few changes made to adapt it to play on a gamepad.
Ultima VI: The False Prophet on the Atari ST was converted by Abersoft and first published by Origin Systems in 1992. It requires a minimum of 2MB of RAM to run and will run slowly on a standard 8MHz machine. In fact: even on a 16MHz CPU it will still run much more slowly than the original PC version, but is just about acceptable in an emulator with a fast ST configured.
The Amiga conversion of Ultima VI: The False Prophet was programmed by Abersoft and first published by Origin Systems in 1992.
The Commodore 64 version of Ultima VI: The False Prophet was programmed by Axel Brown of Imagitec Design and published by Origin Systems in 1991 and is the only 8-bit port of the game available. It is a somewhat stunted version of Ultima VI, with a number of changes made to make it fit onto three double-side floppy disks (six sides in total).