Ultima III: Exodus: Wikis

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Ultima III: Exodus
Ultima III Exodus cover.jpg
Developer(s) Richard Garriott
Publisher(s) Origin Systems
Designer(s) Richard Garriott
Engine Ultima III engine
Platform(s) Amiga, Apple II, Atari 800, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, FM-7, Macintosh, MSX, NES
Release date(s) August 23, 1983
Genre(s) RPG
Mode(s) Single Player
Media Floppy disk / Cartridge

Ultima III: Exodus is the third game in the Ultima series. Exodus is also the name of the game's principal antagonist. Released in 1983,[1] it was the first Ultima game published by Origin Systems.

Contents

Gameplay

A battle with pirates. (NES version shown)
Exploring the countryside near Lord British's castle. A town is nearby, along with various enemies. (NES version)

Exodus features revolutionary graphics for its time, being the first computer RPG to display animated characters. Also, Exodus differs from previous games in that players now direct the actions of a party of several characters rather than just one. Players now battle groups of enemies on a separate battle screen, where the player has to understand fairly complex weapons and magic systems and employ rudimentary tactics in order to overcome each opponent, as opposed to the system in the previous two games, in which the player is simply depicted as trading blows with one opponent on the main map until either is defeated.

While previous Ultima games let the player explore wire-frame first-person dungeons in Ultima I (where they were randomly generated and largely indistinguishable from one another) and Ultima II (where they served no real purpose), Exodus' dungeons are solid-3D in appearance, integrated into the game's plot, and remain the same across multiple plays (therefore introducing the element of encouraging players to actually create their own maps for dungeons).

In many other ways Exodus is more focused than the earlier parts; futuristic references are largely (though not completely) gone; and while the total area of maps in Ultima III is much smaller than in Ultima II, the large swathes filled only with useless landscape without any interesting features are gone. By denying the player the ability to see what's behind mountain peaks, forests, and walls, the maps can now contain many small surprises such as hidden treasure, secret paths and out-of-the-way informants. The look of the game is no longer based on certain characteristics of the Apple II hardware; it is rather a carefully designed screen layout.

Plot

After Ultima II was set on Earth, the story of Exodus centers on a quest back in Sosaria, the world of Ultima I. The player's mission is to destroy the final remnant of the evil Mondain and Minax. The game is named for its chief villain, Exodus, a demonic creation of Minax and Mondain that the series later describes as neither human nor machine.

At the beginning of the game, Exodus is terrorizing the land of Sosaria from his stronghold on the Isle of Fire (known as Fire Island in Ultima Online). The player character is summoned by Lord British to defeat Exodus and embarks on a quest that takes him to the lost land of Ambrosia, to the depths of the dungeons of Sosaria to receive powerful magical branding marks and to find the mysterious Time Lord, and finally to the Isle of Fire itself to confront Exodus in his lair.

The game ends immediately upon Exodus' defeat; but unlike many games in the genre, Exodus cannot simply be killed in battle by a strong party of adventurers, but only through clever puzzle-solving and by paying attention to the many clues given throughout the game. At the end of the game, players were instructed to "REPORT THY VICTORY!" to Origin. Those who did so received a certificate of completion autographed by Richard Garriott. This was continued for later games in the series.

Although this is the last game in the series to take place in Old Sosaria, places in the game such as Ambrosia and the Isle of Fire make cameo appearances in later games, namely Ultima VII.

Reception

Exodus is credited as a game that laid the foundation for the computer role-playing game genre, influencing games such as Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy.[2] It was voted into Computer Gaming World magazine Hall of Fame by its readers[3], and over 120,000 copies were sold.[3] It also won the "Adventure Game of the Year" prize in Computer Gaming World's 1985 reader poll, about which the editors wrote "Although Ultima III has been out well over a year, we feel that it is still the best game of its kind."[4]

The demon figure that appeared on the front of the box caused fundamental religious extremists to protest. They made accusations that the game was corrupting the youth of America and encouraging Satan worshiping.[5] This, along with other factors, led Richard Garriott to develop his next game (Ultima IV) based on the virtues the Ultima series is now famous for.[6]

Other versions

Numerous ports of Ultima III appeared on many different systems. Below is a complete list of the various systems Ultima III: Exodus has appeared on along with some differences between them.

System Release date Publisher Notes
Amiga 1986 Origin Systems
  • More colorful graphics than the original.
  • Mouse support is present.
  • Complete soundtrack is included.
Apple II 1983 Origin Systems
  • Original version.
  • Complete soundtrack is included; requires the optional Mockingboard expansion card.
Atari 800 1983 Origin Systems
  • Complete soundtrack is included.
  • Most of the code is identical to the original Apple version, as both Systems are 6502-based
Atari ST 1986 Origin Systems
  • More colorful graphics than the original.
  • Mouse support is present.
  • Complete soundtrack is included.
Commodore 64 1983 Origin Systems
  • Complete soundtrack is included.
  • Most of the code is identical to the original Apple version, as both Systems are 6502-based
  • Unlike the original, dungeons are shown in black-and-white.
IBM PC 1983 Origin Systems
  • Designed for use with a composite color monitor; will not display correctly on CGA/EGA/VGA RGB-based monitors, nor in most emulators.
  • Does not contain music
  • Designed for a 4.77 MHz processor; requires slowdown measures on faster systems to remain playable
Macintosh 1986 Origin Systems
  • The game is restricted to black and white. Sound effects are supported only on very early Mac models.
  • Mouse support is present
MSX 2 - Cartridge 1988 Origin Systems/Pony Canyon
  • It was packaged in a VHS like box with only the game cartridge and 40 page manual.
MSX 2 - 3.5" Disk 1989 Origin Systems/Pony Canyon
  • While still in a VHS like box it contains the manuals and map, both translated. Although the map is very different from the original.
NES/Famicom 1987 Origin Systems/FCI/Pony Canyon
  • Modified graphics and a new soundtrack.
  • Considerable alterations to gameplay.
  • Significantly expanded dialogue.
  • Only a small instruction booklet rather than the map and manuals.
  • Added endgame sequence after defeating Exodus.
PC-8801 1986 Origin Systems/Starcraft
  • Came in a small box just large enough to fit the 5.25" disk and the translated maps.
  • Rather than a cloth map, it included a jigsaw puzzle that formed the map.
PC-9801 1986 Origin Systems Inc./Starcraft
  • Came in a small box just large enough to fit the 5.25" disk and the translated maps.
  • Rather than a cloth map, it included a jigsaw puzzle that formed the map.
FM-7 1986 Origin Systems/Starcraft
  • Came in a small box just large enough to fit the 5.25" disk and the translated maps.
  • Rather than a cloth map, it included a jigsaw puzzle that formed the map.
Macintosh 1993 LairWare
  • LairWare licensed Ultima III and created a remake for the Macintosh. Unlike the original Mac version from Origin Systems, the LairWare version is in full color. LairWare continues to sell Ultima III for Mac OS X and Mac OS Classic today, as a direct download from the LairWare web site.
The publisher Starcraft has no relation to the popular PC game StarCraft and went out of business in 1996.

References

  1. ^ (USCO# PA-317-503)
  2. ^ Matt Barton (February 23, 2007). "The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part 1: The Early Years (1980-1983)". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20070223a/barton_04.shtml. Retrieved 2007-04-30.  
  3. ^ a b The Official Book of Ultima page 35
  4. ^ "Game of the Year", Computer Gaming World: 32–33, November-December 1985  
  5. ^ The Official Book of Ultima page 34
  6. ^ The Official Book of Ultima page 39

External links

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