Ultima VI: The False Prophet is 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 is notable for its single-scale world, in which cities blend seamlessly into the overworld, its strong moral sense, and its unstructured, non-linear gameplay -- a harbinger 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, the player assumes the role of the Avatar, the embodiment of virtue and hope for the lands of Britannia. The game begins with the Avatar on Earth, enjoying a computer game, when a moongate suddenly appears. They enter through it, only to find themselves in the middle of a ritual sacrifice conducted by the winged, demonic-looking race known as Gargoyles. Although the Avatar is bound to the altar, and all appears lost, their companions -- Iolo. Shamino, and Dupre -- appear and free him. They then find themselves back in Lord British's castle, where they discover that the shrines of the virtues are under attack by the Gargoyles. The Avatar is tasked with freeing the shrines and discovering the nature of the Gargoyle invasion.
Similarly to other Ultimas, they are free to build their character, via stat points, in any way they 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, the Avatar gathers a party to fight alongside them. They start off with three members, Iolo the Bard, Shamino the Ranger, and Dupre the Knight, but they can take any number of different characters with them, 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 the player cannot talk to other NPCs unless they are controlling the Avatar.
As a sandbox-style game, Ultima VI lets the player 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 they explore every area. There is no level gating -- the player can explore the entire world from the get go. Ultima VI has a handful of travel options -- in addition to running, the Avatar can buy a horse, a boat, or ride a raft.
The Avatar can rob stores, steal from the bank, and kill NPCS. They 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 the player can take items gathered from the world and combine them to create something new.
Although the player has 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 the player's 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 the Avatar 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.