Table of Contents
About Ultima I
Ultima 1: The First Age of Darkness is the first official game in the Ultima series, and is a successor to Richard Garriott's earlier game Akalabeth: World of Doom. Ultima 1 was originally released in 1981, but there was a PC remake in 1986 which this Guide is based on.
The setting is somewhat bizarre, featuring a mixture of medieval and futuristic elements including space travel. Although this might put off people expecting a serious plot, this game is in itself a glimpse into the history of Origin's successful franchises in role-playing games (Ultima) as well as space simulation (Wing Commander).
And even in its simplicity, Ultima 1 provides a somewhat mature gameplay experience involving an open world, character development, dozens of towns and castles, primitive 3D dungeons infested with monsters, and space combat.
You can learn more about Ultima 1:
- Here at Wikipedia
- Here at The Codex of Ultima Wisdom
- At an Ultima playthrough by The CRPG Addict
- At "Reconciling the Past: The First Age of Darkness" at The Digital Lycaeum
- At Pixelmusement's Ultima 1 video review
- At MS DOS Project's Ultima 1 Retrospective (YouTube video)
- From the Ultima 1 review by Richard Mitchell, that is part of The CRPG Book
- In the book Through the Moongate by Andrea Contato, although the description of the game is not entirely accurate
- In three parts [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3] at The Digital Antiquarian
The realm of Sosaria is under attack by a horde of creatures unleashed by the evil wizard Mondain. The kings of the various lands are divided and in their struggles against each other are unable to drive off the forces of their common foe. Your role is to perform services for these kings in order to find a way to destroy Mondain and free the land from his tightening grip.
You can read the story from the manual at the Ultima I Shrine on the RPG Classics Shrines.
Availability and Documentation
Ultima 1 may be purchased from gog.com as part of the Ultima 1+2+3 original trilogy. This is the 1986 PC remake of Ultima 1. The purchase includes a digital manual in PDF format.
The Ultima 1 Encore CD-ROM Game Manual can be found at the Ultima Web Archive.
An Ultima 1 manual [TXT] used to be hosted at Quill Dragon's Lair. A copy is being hosted here at Dino's Ultima Page since that site is no longer around.
Ultima 1 Sections
Entire sections dedicated to Ultima 1 can be found:
Plaid Dragon's hint files
In 1995, Plaid Dragon released three hint files for Ultima 1. Copies of these can now be found all over the web.
- U1WALK.TXT - walkthrough
- U1TECH.TXT - tech file - covers just about every aspect of the game, including character creation, user interface, geography, items, magic and transportation
- U1HINT.TXT - hint file - deals with general questions and answers about various parts of the game
Other Walkthroughs and Hints
- FAQ/Walkthrough by Andrew Schultz [TXT] at GameFAQs.
- FAQ/Walkthrough by Brian Hodges [TXT] at GameFAQs.
- Walkthrough by Prescient Dragon at the Complete Guide to Ultima 1 (Prescient Dragon's Hint Network).
- Walkthrough at the Ultima I Shrine (RPG Classics Shrines).
- Walkthrough at the Ultima 1 Guide (Gamer Corner Guides).
- Tips & Tricks at the Ultima 1 Guide (Gamer Corner Guides).
- Hints by Paulon Dragon at UltimaInfo (Internet Archive).
- In-game tavern rumours at the Ultima I Shrine (RPG Classics Shrines).
The CRPG Addict played through Ultima 1 between 16th-18th February 2010. The following are the posts in his playthrough:
- Game 4: Ultima (1981) (16th February 2010)
- Ultima: Hit Points and Progress (17th February 2010)
- Ultima: Won! (18th February 2010)
Linguistic Dragon played through Ultima 1 between 1st January and 9th June 2014, and wrote about it on his blog, Ultima Journeys.
There are several Ultima 1 speedruns listed on speedrun.com.
Ultima 1 screenshots can be found:
- Here (various platforms) from MobyGames
- Here (various platforms) at the Ultima 1 Shrine
- 3 screenshots of the C64 version can be found at the Ultima 1 entry at Lemon Retro Store
- At Pix's Origin Adventures: PC98 version, FM-towns version [Part 1 | Part 2]
The Notable Ultima has an Ultima 1 transcript by Underworld Dragon, based on the 1986 remake.
Quill Dragon built upon Underworld Dragon's work, producing an improved Ultima 1 transcript [TXT]. Since Quill Dragon's Lair is defunct, a copy is being hosted here at Dino's Ultima Page.
Thanks goes to:
- Johnny Wood, of Shattered Moon (developer of Ultima 4 Multiplayer), for providing notes with information about game files and file formats, as well as the Spuds MacKenzie pointer.
- Natreg Dragon for the part about Setting the graphics mode, the dungeon-related bytes in the savegame file, and tips that led to decoding the NIF.BIN file format.