Title Ultima V Game Type RPG Publisher Origin Systems Players 1 Compatibility OCS/AGA HD Installable No Submission Eric Haines Review Ultima III, IV, V, and VI are the Ultima games that were made available for the Amiga. Semi-coincidentally, those are the ones I've played, although I played III and IV on the C-64. I'll say right off that Ultima IV was my favorite of the bunch. In fact, it's still one of my all-time favorite RPGs, with only Dungeon Master having the same level of involvement. Now, Ultima III was really my first experience with computer RPGs, and I was fairly impressed with it. I hadn't played Ultima I or II, but I knew enough about them to know that Ultima III was a big step up. Ultima IV, though, really took everything to the next level. Bigger: Larger map, more towns, more dungeons, more monsters. Better: Better graphics, better music, better character interaction, better story. So naturally Ultima V had a lot to live up to. Alas, it didn't quite succeed. The Amiga version in particular had failings, but I'll get to those later. The problem with Ultima V is that it wasn't really "bigger and better" except in minor ways. One big disappointment for me is that the world was the same as the world in Ultima IV. To be sure, you were provided with a map of the land, so you knew generally what was there anyway, but part of the fun was exploring. With the same world, the exploration aspect was eliminated (a few new villages here and there don't count for much). Perhaps to counter that complaint, there is a whole underworld the size of the surface world, but this too turns out to be a disappointment, since it consists mostly of mountains. Pretty dull. The screen set-up is essentially identical to Ultima IV. That is, a large tile-based overhead view of the area to the left, and some character stats to the right. It retains the (unique to the early Ultima series, as far as I know) feature of having solid objects block your view as you move, by blacking out parts of the screen that your characters can't see. Unlike later games, the landscape is still separate from the towns, and the dungeons are still 3D (nowhere near Dungeon Master, but a little better drawn than before). The gameplay mechanics are essentially identical to Ultima IV. This is no bad thing, but again there is no sense of advancement. It's a decently fun game, but more of a less-memorable repeat of Ultima IV than anything else. The Amiga version is let down further by technical problems. First is the non-standard disk format, which makes copying it a pain. And copying it is necessary, since your game info is saved to this disk regularly. Trust me--you don't want to play off the original. The non-standard format seemed to be prone to failure, since my disk became corrupted several times during the course of the game, making a second backup necessary at times unless you want to lose hours of play-time. The Amiga's graphics certainly aren't taken advantage of in any real way, though I wasn't expecting a total re-working of the game, so I don't think this is really an issue. The graphics are essentially identical to the C-64 version, with a bit of extra colour thrown in. For me, the worst part was the music. Ultima IV had brilliant music, which I still remember to this day. I was expecting wonderful new compositions in Ultima V...only to discover that there is *one* piece throughout the entire game! It's not bad, but it's silly to have just one, since it gets tiresome after a while. True, the C-64 version had no music at all, but the C-128 version did, so there's no excuse. Overall, Ultima V is a side-step from Ultima IV, and especially due to the let-down of the Amiga version, I'd recommend it only to hard-core Ultima fans. Better for others to skip it and get Ultima VI instead.