Today we have an enhanced version that was created by the team at www.u5lazarus.com. Their creative use of Microsoft’s Dungeon Siege engine module designer, breathes life into a great dos game. If you’ve never tried Dungeon Siege before, then I would recommend purchasing the basic game, as you’ll need that to run the module. Make sure you download the update patch for Lazarus, since it had some bugs that have been cleared up. I won’t get into the details of interface controls, instead you can look up http://www.microsoft.com/games/dungeonsiege/, for further information on their game.
One thing of note was the game installation. If you’ve never played a DS module like me, then there is major confusion. I thought you installed modules in the DS directory, and they would show up on the main menu. It never occurred to me that DS mods startup in their own directory. They still require the DS game disk, but in all other respects they are a stand alone game.
As with all the Ultima games I’ve played, you create a character and read through the background story. Once finished you come upon a gypsy who reads some tarot cards, upon which questions are posed to you. This gives you a basic alignment on how your avatar will act while traveling and interacting in the world around them. You’ll also meet up with old friends from the past, who will travel with you. They’ll offer suggestions on various decision making objectives, which can be ignored if so desired. You are able to ask questions from the local population, that may give you further clues as well.
There is a difference in the magic system that Lazarus uses, which may confuse you at first. Before you are allowed to cast any spells, you must have the necessary reagents that make up a spell. When you open up your spell book, below that will be an area that carries all of your magic supplies. If you don’t keep an eye on that from time to time, you’ll get a rude awakening when you cast a spell. You can buy these reagents from stores as well as harvesting them from the surrounding terrain, once located. Some of these reagents are rare and may not be sold in all shops, so be careful on what spell you cast.
Video wise when the game begins it defaults to 640x480 which is a problem. Because of the size that displays when generating a character, you lose the, “journey on” key and are unable to continue. I suggest that before playing, you go to options and change the screen display to at least 800x600. I prefer the 1024x768 size since the graphics display better. In either case, chose what is best for you. I also turn off the music since it interferers with my concentration while playing. Again your choice whether you wish to or not. As you’re using the game features from the basic DS, some of the improved features from Aranna are missing, so be aware of that when playing. If my recollection serves me well, Ultima V doesn’t have pack animals, at least from what I’ve seen so far in the towns I’ve been in. My suggestion is to sell everything of inferior quantity, as money will be a challenge. At least in my case it seems to be. I never seem to have enough when it comes to buying high end items, or needed potions.
Spell components will be another big thing that you have to reckon with. As your party uses a pool of all components, it means you’ll burn through them fairly fast. Some spells use the same common ingredients, and you’re going to be wondering why you can’t to heal yourself, when you’ve had a companion hurling fireballs all the time. Other components are very rare and expensive and you will be hoarding them for your more powerful spells. Raising levels will be a bit slower as this type of game isn’t a frag fest, it’s more of solving a greater puzzle.
If you’ve never played any of the Ultima games then this will give you a taste of what they are like. If you have, then this will be like a trip down memory lane, but only better. I enjoyed playing this very much, and it brought back memories of the games I had when we only worried about 64k of memory in our systems.
My knowledge of the industry mostly evolves around beta testing games, such as Earth & Beyond from EA, Saga of Ryzom, and companies like MSN and Acolade. Self taught web design is another interest I have. Family life is entertaining at times. It also can get weird as well, after you have been married 31 years.