The Savage Empire
for PC (DOS)

Wandrell:Popular Vote:
Alternate Titles: Worlds of Ultima
Company: Origin
Year: 1990
Genre: RPG
Theme: Misc. Fantasy
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 31989
Review by Wandrell (2006-04-09)

On earth, an experiment with the moonstone the Avatar got on his last adventure goes awry and carries him, along a professor and a reporter, to the lost Valley of Eodon, where dinosaurs and humans live together.

The story's beginning is told mainly in the manual through many pages, not very good for a game. Not only they could have put it in a good introduction, but also, considering what little it tells, they could have made the story shorter. But after a little of pulp story your mission becomes for all the game clear. It is necessary to join all the tribes to get rid of the myrmidex, an army of ant beings that is expanding and conquering the valley.

At a difference from the linear Ultima here you won't get any side quest, and the main one is not too large and complicated. Go from one of the villages to another, work for them and get their alliance. Those jobs can be quite simple, such as getting weapons for the warriors; long as it is giving back the throne to the true king of the aztec-like people; and some of them will require of your wits, like the test of the merry Disquiqui, the one of putting a bell on the neck of a tyrannosaurus rex.

But after that I can not tell what happens. Having solved the problems of many of the tribes I found myself unable of finishing the one of the Disquiqui, as they give you an apparently useless object, which I threw away, breaking it, that ends being vital, and impossible to recover, a big fail in the game's design.

The game mechanics have, as usual, been improved, comparing to the Ultima, after all the engine is the same of Ultima VI. One of the main changes is that the characters and the party are smaller so the screen is easier to see. Also, more related to world design, all the villages are filled with objects, many of them, such as the food, useful if you wish to steal, and a some interesting interactions has been added, you may for example cut the bodies of animals to get meat, and you can create gunpowder, for using in bombs and simple rifles.

Those, as one can suppose, are great weapons, but they are also cheap, you only need the three reagents of black gunpowder: sulphur, charcoal and potassium; and then preparing the components of a simple bomb or equipping one of the riffles the professor can build. Then you are ready to not only blowing dinosaur heads, but also a good tool for moving heavy objects and obstacles.

There are a few other useful items, some with special uses, which are hinted in the manual but can be discovered through the game, such as a fire extinguisher and a fire axe found in the leftovers of the carried away laboratory, along with more common tools, like a fishing pole or the totem heads.

Well, perhaps a totem head is not an usual tool, but it is something found all over the lost valley, as it is the basis of the magic system. This time it is much simpler, there are three heads, carried from the beginning by one of your characters, the only one prepared to use them as he is a shaman, and three offerings, which gives a total of nine different spells.

Even though the game is quite good there is a downside compared to the normal Ultima, related to the lack of true secondary quests and which perhaps shows the game is unfinished, the villages are filled with generic characters all of which say the same things. But in general, the game is quite entertaining, and a variation of the typical medieval/renaissance theme of the Origin role games.

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