The Collectible ULTIMA

ULTIMA Collections

Origin put out several collections of the Ultima games on various platforms. Electonic Arts and some others also put out collections which contain some of the games. If you can't find the title you're looking for separately, maybe you can find a collection that includes that game. You won't get all the fancy maps and trinkets, but at least you'll be able to play the game. Well, probably.

Ultima Trilogy I,II,III Ultima Trilogy I,II,III
  • Platform: PC.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1989.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-76910. 5.25" (3).
  • Included: Paper maps for Ultimas I, II, and III; Ultima I-III Compendium; Reference card.
  • Original List Price: $59.95
  • Platform: Apple II.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1989.
  • Platform: Commodore 64.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1989.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-76930. 5.25" (3).
It says in the Compendium that each one of these games was "redone" for inclusion in the trilogy. That's certainly true of the first two; Ultima I was completely redone in assembly language, and Ultima II was modified to remove references to Sierra. But I've never quite been sure what was done to Ultima III. Anyway, all of these games are identical to those included in the Ultima Series I-VI listed below. One thing that has been pointed out to me: originally, the reference card was a 2-page foldout made of heavy stock paper; in later runs it is simply two pieces of thin paper stapled together.

Ultima, The Second Trilogy: IV,V,VI Ultima, The Second Trilogy: IV,V,VI
  • Platform: PC.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1992.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-79010. 5.25" (13), 3.5".
  • Included: Second Trilogy paper map (similar to Ultima VI); Age of Virtue Compendium; Reference guide.
  • Original List Price: $79.95
Early orderers of this product got the "Special Limited Edition", which included three cloth maps. You can tell if it's a special edition by a big red sticker on the lower right of the box. At least one person has said they also got an Ultima V trinket with their copy, and two others have mentioned getting the Ultima IV ankh. Looks like they used this product to get rid of all their remaining inventory of maps and trinkets. If you are buying a Second Trilogy, you should ask if it's a "special edition".

Ultima I-VI Series Ultima I-VI Series
  • Platform: PC.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1993.
  • Characteristics: UPC 17814-80515. CD (1).
  • Included: Paper maps for Ultimas I,II,III; Second Trilogy paper map (similar to Ultima VI); Ultima I-III Compendium; Age of Virtue Compendium; Reference guide.
  • Original List Price: $79.95
This product essentially contained exactly what the first and second Ultima Trilogy boxes did. There are no cloth maps or trinkets, though.

Ultima Series I-VI
from Software Toolworks
  • Platform: PC.
  • Publisher: The Software Toolworks Inc., © 1992.
  • Characteristics: UPC 50047-10531. CD (1).
  • Included: Same as above, plus a Software Toolworks Catalog.
Here is one of the little mysteries of life. Software Toolworks released the Ultima I-VI series, just like Origin did. This product is exactly like the Origin series collection. Only Software Toolworks' collection came a year BEFORE Origin's did. I guess Origin knew a good idea when they saw one.

The Ultimate Games Collection
from Encore Software
  • Platform: PC.
  • Publisher: Encore Software.
  • Characteristics: CD (1).
  • Included: Nothing.
Encore released a very popular collection of games called the Ultimate Games Collection. It included seven CDs, one of which contained Ultimas I-VI. Unfortunately, it contained none of the documentation! And no paper documentation for any of the Ultimas (or any of the other games for that matter) was included either. Origin later realized the error and began offering the documentation by mail for a small fee, or via the Internet for free. Unfortunately, Origin has recently (October 1997) redone their web site, and removed all of their Ultima-related files, including the documentation for the Encore CD. Fortunately, thanks to Micro Dragon's Ultima Documentation Project, all the documentation from the first six games has been beautifully reproduced and can be downloaded online for free.

Ultima Collection Ultima Collection
  • Platform: Win95.
  • Publisher: Origin Systems, Inc., © 1998.
  • Characteristics: UPC 14033-10503. CD (1).
  • Included: Manual/Installation Guide (47pp.), Atlas (16pp.)
  • Original List Price: $34.95
  • Availability: Electronic Arts.
Origin released this collection of the original, cardinal Ultima games on February 17, 1998. The games themselves are identical to those released in previous compilations - right down to the same planet files being messed up for Ultima II as on the I-VI collection. No modifications to the games were made, not even bugfixes. The game Akalabeth has been ported to the PC especially for this collection - the only PC version of Akalabeth that has ever been "officially" released. The atlas contains what I've heard quoted as "grainy photocopies" of the original maps, difficult to read or use. The collection does have some improved installation routines for Windows 95 users, and the CD contains a brief sneak-preview sequence from the game Ultima: Ascension, and some video interviews with Richard Garriott. Also, all of the original documentation has been ported into Windows Help format, complete with the original graphics, which is nice.

All in all, this product is a mixed bag - a few new things, but as for the original games themselves, not much going for it. And at $34.95 direct from EA (more in most retail venues), unless you're new to the Ultima series or otherwise couldn't find copies of the older games, there's isn't much incentive to pick this product up.

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