by KezraPlanes on May 19, 2011 @ 12:01 pm
This time around I’m taking you guys back to as far as I can trace back RPGs to. I’m talking about 1980, when Richard Garriot created the very first Ultima game. Such was the success of this game that its series would span for over two decades, always delivering awesome RPG experiences and redefining the RPG genre. Ultima: First Age of Darkness was released on numerous platforms, including: DOS, Atari 400, MSX and Commodore 64.
However, you may be wondering, how did someone create a decent RPG back then, if we take into consideration the limitations in game development back then? To put it simply, Garriot was a pioneer and had a huge imagination. So follow me as we delve into: The First Age of Darkness.
This game’s story is about The Avatar (you) coming to the land of Sosaria and saving it from the evil wizard Mondain who has become immortal and terrorizes the land with his hordes of monsters. While I can’t say much more about the plot without getting into spoiler territory, I can however say that back then, this game was a gamer’s dream come true.
It’s a medieval RPG that also involves time travel and space exploration. Now there’s something that hasn’t been replicated in a while! Just don’t expect a complicated plot with marvelous plot twists and wondrous side-characters; since this is a 80′s DOS game, resources and time were hard to come across compared to today’s modern studios. However, what is in the game is very good and though this game really shows its age, it’s still a very fun experience if you have the patience needed to play it from beginning to end.
The gameplay in Ultima: First Age of Darkness is pretty basic but requires you to memorize pretty much every single keybinding. When in the overworld, you move around by pressing the arrow key, attack by pressing the attack button and then the direction in which you want to attack and when you want to enter a castle or town you have to walk over it and then press the enter button. I had to play for hours to get used to it. Besides that there isn’t much to say about the gameplay in Ultima, except that when you enter the dungeon, the first person mode makes it confusing.
Graphically, Ultima is as primitive as it can get, especially in the dungeon exploration part. The overworld is made in 2D DOS graphics, but it does look colorful and alive. However, the dungeon crawling part is made in 1st person wireframe graphics which are horrible and confusing. It was the part that I hated the most and where I had the most difficulty, even if in the end when I got out of there, I did so with a really sensation of accomplishment.
Don’t expect any sound or music from this game though, except a few beeps here and there. This game was made long before including any type of music and sound effects was easy, so it just doesn’t have any.
So in conclusion, Ultima: The First Age of Darkness is a really old and aged game, even if it can be fun. It’s only accessible to those who don’t mind entering a time machine and forgetting everything about the current age of gaming and delving into a very old classic. Play it at your discretion, having been warned about what’s really bad about it.
Review written by KezraPlanes/Nuno Sousa
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