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You don’t need to worry overly about stats in Ultima 7. As far as I’m concerned it’s barely an RPG, and has as much in common with adventure games. There was a lot of criticism at the time from displeased fans about this despite the high regard it’s held in these days. The stats were massively simplified from previous games at any rate. Combat is largely avoidable and essentially automatic when it does happen. Gameplay in U7 is more about exploring the world, talking to dozens of NPC’s and completing quests. It has a really compelling open world that you can tackle in nearly any order you like, only gradually learning what is going on and what the main quest is really about.
There was an add-on (Forge Of Virtue) released some time after the original game which added an extra island and quest. Any version you are likely to play now should come with this pre-installed. This was kind of an authorised cheat pack as if you complete the quest it will up the stats of your avatar beyond the original limits and give you a talking sword with insta-kill powers. I highly recommend completing that quest at the earliest opportunity. Combat is not the strongest aspect of U7 and this will stop you having to worry about it much.
I’m seriously looking forward to playing this again myself. I’m a massive Origin fan to the extent that I collected all the games and blogged my way through everything they ever released about 15 years back. I’ve finished every Ultima, many of them loads of times on different platforms but I rushed through Ultima 7 all those years back, didn’t give it the time it deserved and I’ve always meant to go back to it. I did play the SNES version later but it’s not quite the same to say the least. On the PC it’s definitely an absolute classic by any standards, can’t wait to give it another go.
It’s the chess puzzles which need a lot of moves that get to me. The sequel was much better in that regard with the swanky 30fps video engine speeding everything up.
I read the novel in one go on Saturday. I really enjoyed it actually – way, way more than I was expecting. It’s quite short but still fleshed out the events in the house no end, not to mention putting them in the right order. I’m surprised how closely it stuck to the game using dialog straight out of the script and mentioning a large number of the puzzles and animations. For anyone with nostalgic attachment to 7th Guest, it’s essential. The stakes in the book are higher as it introduces a Cthulu-like influence with Stauf receiving his instructions from voices from some other dimension. The 7th Guest is apparently the means to release them upon the world.
I moved on to 11th Hour on Sunday. The FMV engine in that was just amazing for the time, nothing else ran like that without hardware assistance back in 1995. The gameplay took a step up as well with all the cryptic crossword clues adding another element. It seems like a better game all round except for the amazingly dumb storyline. That and hunting for some of those objects would be painful without a guide.
This is all getting me in the mood for The 13th Doll anyway when it gets released at the end of the month. I backed that one some years back but have been avoiding the betas so I can go into it spoiler free. I may give Clandestiny or Uncle Henry’s Mindblower another go in the meanwhile.
I would probably be less harsh although it’s hard for me to be subjective with a game I’m this familiar with from back in the 90’s. The 7th Guest is a game that made sense for a space of about 1-2 years in the first half of the 90’s. As soon as the technology loses the wow factor, it stops being a viable product. The nostalgia still carries it in my case but only because this was my introduction to games on CD-ROM.
I just finished my own playthrough last night. I agree entirely about the slow pace. This is another of those games made entertaining for me with the aid of a long backlog of podcasts to catch up on. The animations in some of the puzzles can be interminable. I still quite enjoy the puzzles themselves for what they are but it’s a very basic gameplay concept held up by the technology.
The acting/script is kind of entertaining but not exactly good and I’m not convinced anything in this game is even remotely scary. I do love the Fat Man’s soundtrack and the house design still holds up. Fun bit of trivia, there is a Doom wad on the original CD’s with the house mapped out. I think I read somewhere years back that it was created to prototype the design but don’t quote me on that.
I’ve not had enough 7th Guest yet so I’ll be starting on the novel today. Really curious to find out how you turn that script into an actual narrative.
I’ve been playing the original 87 version. I actually like having to use a physical map with games of this era, it’s all adding atmosphere. There isn’t a lot of it but the game has 3 channel sound if you play it on a Tandy so I’d recommend trying that in DOSBox if you are OK with the reduced colour palette. Tandy doesn’t look much different to EGA the majority of the time.
Does anyone have any tips on rescuing your family members? I’ve got all four pieces of the map for where my sister is, found where that is but I’m not seeing anything there.
You seem to need a radiator every 4 or 5 squares in corridors. Every room needs at least one, bigger rooms 2 or 3. I think it works on a radius, at least in the corridors. Something like the character has to be within 3 spaces of a radiator or they start getting colder so make sure to have them near any waiting areas.
There is also supposed to be a setting to turn up the heating but I never found it. You need a whole lot of radiators at any rate.
I thought this was going to be easy on first impressions but progress came to a grinding halt about level 5. I was always ending up with sickness bugs running rampant throughout the hospital which I gather are caused by not getting people through fast enough.
I’ve learned a few tricks since then like having multiple diagnosis rooms close together, building all your doctor rooms close to each other, and all your nurse rooms in another section. There are so many little things like this to figure out, it’s really quite difficult and frustrating. Having said that, when you get it right everything practically runs itself. When I did finally beat level 6, all I was having to do is pay a few bonuses to staff and watch the money roll in.
I’ve not made it past level 7 and I’m currently being distracted by modern games having bought my first new PC in over a decade so that may be it for this month. I’ll definitely return to Theme Hospital some time though. Strategy/sim games aren’t my favourite genre but it’s hard not to be sucked in by this game. I enjoy Dungeon Keeper/Magic Carpet more having said that with less micro management being required. X-COM is definitely a step too far for my tastes so I’ll be sitting out August. I remember all 5 of my housemates getting completely addicted to that game in my student days and I just couldn’t understand what they saw in it.
Only just listened to the podcast where it was mentioned that I never did give any feedback on the 32x version. Better late than never but there isn’t too much to say.
The cutscenes were very much like the PC except with some tiny added animations. The rest of the game played identically except it was a whole lot more colourful with some pre-rendered sprites. I can’t say I hated either of these but they weren’t really an improvement.
Other than the extra levels, the main thing of note about the 32x port is how pointless it was doing it for the 32x in the first place. I gather the hardware added extra colours but that appears to be the only feature being used. If I’d bought a 32x, I wouldn’t have been looking for yet another MD platformer to show it off. The likes of Aladdin were way more advanced without the 32x.
I didn’t play all the extra levels but they seemed to be more of the same from what I did see.
The robots are way overpowered and have huge reaches to rub it in. You can just about beat the first two playing properly but it gets close to impossible after that. It’s actually easier in the hardest mode as you will be able to block without taking damage – the beginner mode is probably the toughest way to play the game.
It’s actually 14 floppies on PC. I only know as that’s the version I played this month. I went back to try the CD version after which is exactly the same except with more cutscenes. The whole intro was missing on floppy + about half the transitional scenes. ROTR makes slightly more sense with those back in – they were arguably the best part.
You are probably right. It’s a plus point for me to be able to play another game like Flashback/Prince Of Persia these days. I would say it’s fair criticism that Blackthorne isn’t necessarily better than any of the games it is copying. £40 does seem a bit steep looking at it now given all of those would have been budget titles by then.
Just finished it! I’ve found getting to the end of this one a real challenge, much more so than anything else I’ve played for DGC so far. Level 12 was a nightmare – that jumping section that you have to do right at the end of the level got me time after time. When I eventually did manage it, I only then discovered I needed the key I’d just used for later on and had to start the whole level again! Part of the problem was the difference between this and Prince Of Persia in timing, I was always jumping too early.
The ending boss on the other hand was a real let down – I got through that on the first attempt and didn’t even figure out the strategy at first. It needed a more climactic battle to round off the end of the game.
It’s curious how little was introduced after the early levels in terms of new enemies or items. Near enough every game mechanic was there from the fist few levels. Other than the bit on level 12, the level design built really well on my slowly increasing skills and was extremely fair. I wouldn’t say the 17 levels felt short at all as a first timer. I’m sure I could play through it relatively quickly on a second attempt but beating it this first time has taken me a good number of hours.
I do still prefer Flashback which has more going on in it’s world and more variety to the levels. I’m heavily biased toward more story driven games also and the story in this was clearly tacked on for the sake of it. It’s a really well put together game anyway. Not good enough to be a classic for me but extremely solid.
My 32X doesn’t exactly see a lot of use so I’ll give that version a go and see how it compares.
I’ve more or less got used to ESDF but I still find myself using an item by accident every now and then. The main difficulty I’m having currently is falling from vast heights. It’s kind of annoying when you can hang off a ledge at the bottom of a screen and it doesn’t show you whats down below. It’s not entirely unfair about it as you usually get to see the lower screen beforehand but I don’t always remember what’s there. It’s surprising that a game of this era was flick-screen at all. It makes it technically less advanced than Lost Vikings so it must have been a deliberate design decision.
The challenge definitely ramped up from level 9. I struggled with the blue machine gun guys for ages until I figured out the rolling to either side of them technique.