Review by Somber Fox
Reviewed: 03/06/02 | Updated: 10/30/02
An interesting side quest for the Avatar!
The Savage Empire, while more of an adventure game than an RPG like its counterparts, is a fun and interesting game. While having little real action and battle, it makes up for that by great story and fun puzzles. The Savage Empire is a side story, it has no direct references to other Ultima games except a couple of small Lord British cameos and the Orb of the Moons being mentioned.
Game play - 7/10
The Savage Empire uses a modified version of the Ultima VI game engine, so gameplay is almost identical. There is a few big modifications though.
First of all, there is an extremely simplified magic system. Hey, you're in the past so only the shamans know how to use magic. Unfortunately there's only one shaman in the whole game that will be in your party. He casts spells by using one of three different skulls and using one of three different offerings on it. This makes up a total of nine different spells he can cast. Magic is mostly useless in Savage Empire, whereas it's vital in other Ultima games. I played through the game using only a few healing spells and light spells.
Weaponry selection is incredibly limited, and there's only one or two types of armor to find. Also, you can actually play through the whole game without ever trading for them. You can steal anything and not worry, since there is no karma ratings like the main Ultima series and no one seems to notice.
You have to make use of natural resources! For example, get pieces of flax from a certain flower and you can make it into cloth, or make a torch by getting branches from a tree and using a cut piece of cloth covered in tar on it. You can even make a bomb, rifles and bullets, because you have the good professor with you to tell you how. Interaction with your natural environment is vital to solving most puzzles.
There's no need to take too many notes yourself, since Malone carries a notebook with him and writes things you need to do in it.
Story - 6/10
By means of an accident involving a strange stone that resembles a moonstone, you, your friend Professor Rafkin of the local Museum of Natural History, and the reporter Jimmy Malone were zapped into a strange world of the past.
After meeting some of the tribals, you learn about the Myrmidex and other things about life on Eodon.
Unite the tribes! There is about 11 different tribes living in the lands of Eodon. The cruel Myrmidex are attacking and killing them all, and the only thing that will stop the Myrmidex raids is for the 11 tribes to unite and attack the Myrmidex as allies. Unfortunately, each tribe has one or two enemies among the other tribes and refuse to do so. Your quest is to visit each tribe and to convince them to join in the unity to destroy the Myrmidex. You must complete a task of some sort for each tribe before they will agree to the alliance though.
Audio - 5/10
The music isn't really great, and neither is the sound effects. They do make you feel like you're really in a prehistoric age though.
Video - 8/10
Graphics are almost identical to Ultima VI since it uses a modified version of its engine. The interface is modified to set the mood, and it does a great job of that. Instead of monsters, you'll be fighting among other things, dinosaurs, angry tribals, and the fierce Myrmidex.
Re-playability - 3/10
As with most RPGs, once you've played the game you probably won't want to play again unfortunately.
Overall - 7/10
Not a masterpiece, but nonetheless, Savage Empire is another excellent game designed by the great Lord British.
To buy or not to buy? - A must have if you're an Ultima lover. This is a very rare game though, so it will be hard to find if you plan on buying a copy.
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