Ultima VI: The False Prophet was the third game in the second trilogy of the Ultima series, and the sixth (or possibly seventh) title to be released in the series. Ultima VI was notable for it's single-scale world, in which cities blended seamlessly into the overworld, its strong moral sense, and its unstructured, non-linear gameplay -- a harbringer of what would later be called sandbox games.
The Ultima VI engine would see use in the Worlds of Ultima series, which took place outside the main Ultima universe.
Ultima VI was the final Ultima to see release on a wide variety of personal computer platforms, ranging from the C64 to the Atari ST, to the Amiga, FM Towns, PC98, X68K, and the PC, and years later on the SNES. Ultima VI was the first Ultima game not available on the Apple II.
In Ultima VI, as in the previous two Ultima games, you play as the Avatar, the embodiment of virtue and hope for the lands of Britannia. The game begins with you, the Avatar, on Earth, enjoying a computer game, when a moongate suddenly appears. You enter through it, only to find yourself in the middle of a ritual sacrifice conducted by the winged, demonic-looking race known as Gargoyles. Although you are bound to the altar, and all appears lost, your companions -- Iolo. Shamino, and Dupre, appear and free you. You then find yourself back in Lord British's castle, where you discover that the shrines of the virtues are under attack by the Gargoyles. You are tasked with freeing the shrines and discovering the nature of the Gargoyle invasion.
Similarly to other Ultimas, you are free to build your character, via stat points, in any way you wish. The Avatar is capable of using all weapons and spells in the game; however by increasing either STR, DEX, or INT, either melee, ranged, or magic attacks will be increased in effectiveness.
Like other games in the series, you gather a party to fight alongside you. You start off with three members, Iolo the Bard, Shamino the Ranger, and Dupre the Knight, but you can take any number of different characters with you, each of which have their own stats and uses. While the Avatar is the main character of the game, it is possible to take control over individual characters at times (which can have strategic uses), although you cannot talk to other NPCs unless you are controlling the Avatar.
As a sandbox-style game, Ultima VI lets you do things different ways. There is not set order to completing objectives or visiting dungeons. There are a number of optional areas to visit and weapons to obtain. It is easy to miss things unless you explore every area. There is no level gating -- you can explore the entire world from the get go. Ultima VI has a handful of travel options -- in addition to running, you can buy a horse, a boat, or ride a raft.
You can rob stores, steal from the bank, and kill NPCS. You can kill a farmer's cow for meat, or milk it for milk to churn into butter. Take flour, and bake bread with it. Buy a ship and explore, or kill the shipwright and steal all his deeds. Ultima VI had a large number of what would now be called crafting opportunities, in which you take items gathered from the world and combine them to create something new.
Although you have a great deal of freedom, Ultima VI has, in the background and hidden from the player, something called Karma. Stealing or unprovoked killing decrease karma, while doing certain missions increases it. It is not possible to complete the game if your karma is too low.
|Beh Lem||before Hythloth dunegon||23||24||26||Gargoyle|
|Blain||with Gypsy band||16||21||18||Gypsy juggler|
|Gorn||under Sutek's isle||Fighter|
|Gwenno||Minoc||18||21||17||9||Bard, scholar and Iolo's wife|
|Jaana||Yew||Druid and healer|
|Seggallion||Serpent's Hold||28||21||20||Fighter. From another dimension|
|Sentri||Serpent's Hold||26||18||16||Lord of Serpent's Hold|
|Sherry||Lord British's Castle||A mouse. Can get into small spaces.|
Spells are organized in eight circles of increasing difficulty. The magic cost of each spell corresponds to its circle; so a fourth circle spell will cost four magic points.
Using magic in Ultima 6 requires that the spell caster has the proper reagents on hand. Reagents may be found in certain areas, or purchased from vendors.
The table below lists the areas where reagents may be gathered, as well as their price from various shops.
Ultima VI included a full cheat menu, allowing you to teleport anywhere in the game, spawn any item, and modify internal game state. To access it, the Avatar must talk to Iolo and speak the following words:
After doing this, the cheat/debug menu will appear. Using these cheats does not affect the outcome of the game (assuming of course that the player does not alter the game flags or karma).
The game is nowadays available at Good Old Games (Gog.com) in a package with Ultima 4 and 5, and has been made playable on modern computers.