Great Games You Probably Haven't Played Pt 5
Posted by PlasmaDavid , 12 February 2012 · 1,865 views
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Worlds of Ultima: Savage Empire
Look at the cover art for this game. LOOK AT IT. Sadly this is not the cover art that I was presented with as an X year old boy. Then again if I had been I'm sure I would have passed out like a bad cordial trip just from the radness of it. I guess I would have been ten (or younger) when I came into glorious posession of a yellow CD Rom (CD ROM!) filled with... no wait a minute, I covered this in the second installment of GGYPHP. If you don't remember, go read the first paragraph. I'll wait.
Now the rest of you read on whilst those numpties play catchup. Glorious Savage Empire was one of the games that ran fine on our PC. That is to say, after much work on my fathers behalf. He even programmed me an Autoexe disk with a menu for me to select which title I wanted to load up and play. (Autoexecute disks loading up the program you wanted to use before DOS was fully loaded, thus saving more memory for the game to use)
My furthest memories of the game were very basic. A sort of spinoff in the famed Ultima series of Lord British fame, this was oldschool 16 bit top down USE TALK ATTACK GET etc RPG adventure at its finest. The disk also had a "real" Ultima game, which the thick all-games-in-one manual temptingly read about, but I don't recall ever getting it working properly. Anyway, after the brief story introduction (the rest was in the manual!) you'd go on to awaken and have a shaman ask you some moral questions that determined your characters stats, with the all important DRM to boot. And by that I mean "Here is a question, the answer is in the manual." Luckily for me, by the time I had lost the manual a(nd before I had the web to check the answers) I had memorised a few questions. Anyway, you'd awaken and your adventure in the fantastical valley of Edon would begin.
As a cool dude who had been transported to the valley (along with some others and the lab that the experiment-gone-wrong had taken place in) it was your job to USE TALK ATTACK and type swearwords your way through the world, winning over the hearts and minds of the many tribes of the valley, and blowing the brains out of a few as well. Throw into the mix dinosaurs, hidden cities, giant maneating ants, a sprinkling of modern colleagues and Ultima cameos and a great dose of logic, and you've pretty much got 16 bit Bethesda in a nutshell. Just be careful where you save; kill one major NPC and you can kiss goodbye being able to finish the game. I only ever leveled up once. ONCE.
Now as I was young, I never figured out how to equipt items or change control between characters, so for the longest of times I'd steal flaming torches from walls and just cock about being a noob. It wasn't until much later I discovered the controls and the magic system, and made a great deal of progress through the game. Having the professie help you make improvised firearms and bombs, and hoarding the many different primitive weapons, or enlisting the help of a lizardman... these were heady days indeed. And that glorious dialogue system, typing in key words to evolk responses. Sadly no variety of LETS GET NAKED would work on the likes of Sharee...
Well this is awkward. What can I say, the natives just love blondes.
I really must complete Savage Empire one of these days, though I eventually found a complete walkthrough and synopsis on some corner of the web and thus a good part of the ending has been spoilt for me. There's also a second Worlds of Ultima game set on Mars that I've played a snippet of, but it seemed boring and confusing, not to mention a blood soaked hangover on the eyes after the tropical delights of Savage Empire. Though it is Victorian English. Sabres and pistols what what.
Oh yes, and tramping around the jungle and having the words "You hear a noise to the DIRECTION" then jumping out of your skin when the ENEMY NEAR music started had to be one of the most harrowing experiences of my chilhood. Damnit Rafkin, no you cannot attack with bare hands you old fool!
This is the perfectly hardcore, adult theme laden, literate heavy stuff that kids should be playing.
Better than cheevos. Oh yes.