Coker/Stoker

I loaded up both Savage Empire and Martian Dreams after getting them free from GOG. I actually managed to get pretty far in Savage Empire by just charging into the jungle, killing some of the local wildlife, and figuring out pretty early how to get people to "join" my group, but when I reached a river where a raft and some paddles lay, I never could figure out how to get the damn thing to go. Maybe it needed an extra person, I only had three at the time, but it would be nice if it gave me some feedback on this.

Playing a bit of Martian Dreams solidified a long-ago held impression that it was by far the more refined of the two games, despite the appeal of Savage Empire's subject matter for my pulpy heart, so it's probably going to be the one I'll seriously play. The I-need-a-V8 slanty presentation and the inventory system are a bit clunky to me, but I want to see if I'll be able to get hints of the progress through the game that I'd made when I'd first played it a long time ago, back when I borrowed it from a friend of mine.

It also seems a bit turn-based, which I remember Ultima VII not being, perhaps wrongly. That's a great relief to me, since I remember U7 being a nightmare to play, even on an intended system that happened to be running it a little fast. Of course since it's emulated through Dosbox, old Martian Dreams shouldn't be too bad. And hey, Martian Dreams allows you a bit more customization for your character. Progressive nuff.

It's a bit charming how both narratives try to shoehorn the Avatar into the adventures, but I feel it has better solidity than... I guess other possible contrivances, and Martian Dreams even manages to project a healthy amount of John Carter of Mars without seeming like a low-rent imitation.

I'll admit this, like I have before: old-school RPGs are intimidating to me, even though I'm a fan of them in theory. I guess it's taken me years to realize that some games are a lot nicer to the player than others, that it pays to have a bit of faith in the designer that they're not going to create something cruelly difficult, even if it's an older design.

Lemme know if you have any memories of the Worlds of Ultima games!

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5 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

I loaded up both Savage Empire and Martian Dreams after getting them free from GOG. I actually managed to get pretty far in Savage Empire by just charging into the jungle, killing some of the local wildlife, and figuring out pretty early how to get people to "join" my group, but when I reached a river where a raft and some paddles lay, I never could figure out how to get the damn thing to go. Maybe it needed an extra person, I only had three at the time, but it would be nice if it gave me some feedback on this.

Playing a bit of Martian Dreams solidified a long-ago held impression that it was by far the more refined of the two games, despite the appeal of Savage Empire's subject matter for my pulpy heart, so it's probably going to be the one I'll seriously play. The I-need-a-V8 slanty presentation and the inventory system are a bit clunky to me, but I want to see if I'll be able to get hints of the progress through the game that I'd made when I'd first played it a long time ago, back when I borrowed it from a friend of mine.

It also seems a bit turn-based, which I remember Ultima VII not being, perhaps wrongly. That's a great relief to me, since I remember U7 being a nightmare to play, even on an intended system that happened to be running it a little fast. Of course since it's emulated through Dosbox, old Martian Dreams shouldn't be too bad. And hey, Martian Dreams allows you a bit more customization for your character. Progressive nuff.

It's a bit charming how both narratives try to shoehorn the Avatar into the adventures, but I feel it has better solidity than... I guess other possible contrivances, and Martian Dreams even manages to project a healthy amount of John Carter of Mars without seeming like a low-rent imitation.

I'll admit this, like I have before: old-school RPGs are intimidating to me, even though I'm a fan of them in theory. I guess it's taken me years to realize that some games are a lot nicer to the player than others, that it pays to have a bit of faith in the designer that they're not going to create something cruelly difficult, even if it's an older design.

Lemme know if you have any memories of the Worlds of Ultima games!

Posted by ArbitraryWater

I'm pretty sure the Worlds of Ultima games are using the Ultima VI engine. Considering I got roughly 5 minutes into Ultima VI before I got poisoned and died I don't see my future with either of these admittedly interesting games being all that bright.

On the plus side, Warren Spector is totally in Martian Dreams.

Posted by Mento

Yeah, I read a fairly good LP of Martian Dreams once. I believe both of them are based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' work, but I haven't seen enough of Savage Empire to compare it to Tarzan.

It was cool of GOG to give them both away, but I don't know if I can get over my dislike of Ultima long enough to give them a spin. Then again, I've recently been playing a lot of the Ultima-ish Avadon so maybe I'm coming around.

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Posted by believer258
Coker/Stoker

I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker, I play my music in the suuuuuuunnnn.

...sorry, couldn't help myself.

Edited by ahoodedfigure

@ArbitraryWater: Got poisoned in Savage Empire, then apparently lucked out (1 in 12 chance) using the right totem/ingredient combination to heal myself. If I understood right, poison just reduced health until you died, which is a bit crazy brutal. Spector like... wait... heh. Dr. Spector is, at least :)

Martian Dreams is probably more forgiving, but I can't force you to play old games you don't want to play :) God knows you can't force me to player newer old games I sorta want to play, even when I say I'm going to :)

@believer258: Evidently :P

@Mento: Savage Empire may derive from Burroughs (and maybe AC Doyle?), but it's certainly got the White Dude with Friendly and Hostile Natives in the Land of the Ruins and Dinosaurs thing going on, though perhaps a bit more apologetic than its predecessors.

Good point on the Avadon comparison, with their awkward object stacks and angle-y perspectives. Still, Ultima feels a bit more sandboxy than Avadon's more controlled environments did, often, from my perspective, to its detriment. I don't feel as though I was overwhelmed nearly as much by Martian Dreams as I was during my brief Ultima VI experiments, though, since I think you get better equipment and more of a sense for where you need to go and what's a good place to start exploring. I really need to play more to qualify my opinion better.