Monday, January 17, 2011

Ultima Exodus for NES, Such Sweet RPG Memories...

Dateline 1987, I remember buying one of the coolest games ever; Ultima Exodus.  What I did not know at the time was that Ultima Exodus would shape me as a future gamer. 

My first team was a Fighter, Paladin, Wizard and Cleric.  I had a Thief on the side too, which I occasionally called in for some covert activities.  As best as I can remember Ultima Exodus was the first game that gave you a LINE of characters.  Instead of seeing one person when you moved around the world you saw all 4 characters walking in a nice single file line.  I found this so freaking cool! I mean, dude, I could snake around and make it look like my Fighter in the front was talking to my Cleric in the back.  Yeah, normally I don’t think those two classes would have had much to say to one another, but I was bridging the class gap by putting them face to face.

The Thief is the guy in the up left corner who looks like a urologist.
Like Zelda, Adventures of Link and Dragon Warrior I was used to encountering some NPCs in towns, but Ultima’s had just about the dumbest ones ever.  I mean they rarely, like 10% of the time, had anything useful to say.  Some claimed to be the designers of the game, while others went on about liking cheese.  Oh, but there were one NPCs that really got under my skin.

"..and wipe your feet before entering my throne room."

Not sure why, but I had a thing against Lord British.  Maybe I felt he was all cocky sitting on his throne, not leveling up my troops when I felt they deserved it… but from time to time I would attacked his highness.  I first tried to overthrow the king early in the game, and then again later when I felt more prepared with better weapons, armor and spells.  If you have played any Ultima games you will know that Lord British is a GOD there and he has unlimited Hit Points.  After several ass whoopings I came to respect Lord British and even paid him such a honor that I would not ride my horses into the castle. 
At the time this game was released I could not imagine anything better.  I mean it had it all.  It had different character classes and spells.  Different armor and weapons, a variety of monsters and crazy maze like dungeons… it was a real D&D style video game and I loved it.  You never forget that magical moment that you commandeer your first pirate boat and sail right into the maelstrom… Ah, the memories. 

So during a late 1980’s summer I played and beat Ultimawhoppings Exodus.  I held that game in the highest regard for many years to follow.  I whistled the music, I even would start a new game from time to time just to cast the Repel or Undead Spells on some of the early level baddies.  A few years after it came out, I started a second serious game with all less character classes: Ranger, Lark, Illusionist and Paladin, but sadly I never finished.
When I start a game of Ultima now, using the magic of emulators, the music automatically takes me back to my childhood days playing the NES.  The overworld music and the combat music is just so addictive that I hum it in my sleep!

Kevin James Breaux
Author of SOUL BORN


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