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Video Game / Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire

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You had disturbing dreams of a faraway jungle, an endangered princess, and the black moonstone you carried away from Britannia in your last adventure there. The spirit of Lord British commanded you to find out all you could about the stone. So you took it to your old friend Dr. Rafkin, curator of the local museum of natural history, hoping that he could unravel the mystery. At Dr. Rafkin's, you met ace reporter and "Ultimate Adventures" correspondent Jimmy Malone. Malone's a little too nosy to suit you......but he kept his wits when everything went haywire, when Dr. Rafkin's experiments on your moonstone sent the whole museum lab through a bizarre black moongate!

Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire is the first spinoff of the Ultima series by Origin Systems, using the Ultima VI engine. The same engine would later be used for Martian Dreams, and a third spinoff was planned about the Knights of the Round Table, but this was cancelled. All Worlds of Ultima spinoffs tell stories in separate worlds from Britannia, only tangentially related to the main Ultima continuity.

Ultima VI ends with the protagonist, the Avatar, in possession of a moonstone orb that can open portals to other locations. An unknown outside influence uses the orb to draw him into the Valley of Eodon, a lush prehistoric landscape populated with tribes plucked from various locations and times in Earth's history, and all are under attack from a hivemind of insects known as the myrmidex. It quickly becomes clear that the humans aren't going to get anywhere without cooperating, so it falls to the Avatar to persuade each individual tribe to support him in a shared strike against the insects. Obviously, the tribes aren't too eager to join unless you do something for them first.

Although Martian Dreams is more famous, Savage Empire already shows off the versatility of the engine, allowing you to use pretty much everything in the world. For example, you can get flax from a plant, use it on a loom to make cloth, use it with scissors to create cloth strips, and then dip these in a tar pool to create fuses for makeshift bombs.

This video game provides examples of:

  • Adventurer Outfit: You start with one of these.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Found in the hintbook. Jimmy the reporter, who narrates the walkthrough, is able to believe that an experiment performed on a magic stone brought him to a lost world inhabited by Mayincatec robots, sentient gorillas, lizard people, ancient force fields, snake centaurs, and Neanderthals. But the teleporter is obviously some kind of fake.
  • Artistic License – Biology: You can gather flax from yucca plants and weave that into cloth. Even allowing for that this does not literally mean the flax plant but flax-like fibers, yucca plants do not have similar fibers that would be suitable for making cloth.
  • Author Avatar: "Zipactriotl", a.k.a. Dr. Spector, is based somewhat on Warren Spector.
  • Bridge Logic: Knocking down a tree is the only way past a chasm. With a grenade, oddly enough.
  • Brought Down to Badass: This time around the Avatar doesn't have access to spellcasting (Shamuru is the only magician here) however he's still a mighty warrior and as a modern human he knows how to use firearms.
  • Continuity Nod/Shout-Out: The tribesmen Triolo, Shamuru, and Dokray bear a striking resemblance to the Avatar's traditional companions...
  • Cool Sword: Sadly only in cutscenes, Darden wields a sword which is perhaps best described as a macuahuitl, but with fangs from large predators in place of the obsidian blades.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: You must unite all the tribes (and make a big drum) before you can start the strike against the myrmidex.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards in Tichticatl ignore you. Speak with one, and they notice you and your party of ~7 are intruding (even when walking outside) and attack.
  • Identical Stranger: Three inhabitants of the valley look and even have names suspiciously similar to Iolo, Shamino and Dupre from the main games. No explanation's given for the resemblance; supposedly they were included to help ground veteran Ultima players in the unusual new setting.
  • Lizard Folk: The Sakkhra and Kotl. The Kotl civilization is implied to be reptilian due to the appearance of Katalkotl in a hologram, and the reptilian Sakkhra being descendants of the Kotl.
  • Lost World: The valley.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The Avatar's usual Brittanian magic doesn't work in this world. Instead, only a shamanistic style of magic can be used, and only a certain party member knows how to use it.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: By default, party members can behave according to one of three behaviours (ranged, flee, or close), but may also be directly commanded in combat. The Avatar is always manual control.
  • Mayincatec: One of the civilizations.
  • Mighty Whitey: Predictably, a tribal princess falls in love with you, a tall blond white man dressed in explorer gear.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Dorkray and Ugyuk are arch-enemies, and neither will talk to you at all if their enemy is in the party.
  • Now, Where Was I Going Again?: The game allows the player to remember their progress by asking Jimmy about his notebook. He will tell you progress in each part of the main quest, listing each tribe and what needs to be done.
  • Nubile Savage: Aiela, pictured on the cover and romanceable in-game, is obviously one.
  • Prehistoria: The setting.
  • Puzzle Boss: The game contains three tyrannosauruses, all of which hit extremely hard and cannot be killed by direct combat. Of course the plot requires you to deal with all of them, each requiring different approaches.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Inara of the Pindiro is the only chief who immediately agrees to unite the tribes instead of demanding a quest first.
  • Sequence Breaking: Yunapotli is invulnerable, a fact that can be exploited to reach the myrmidex queen early.
  • Shout-Out: The Disquiqui tribe includes thinly veiled references to The Three Stooges as their chief, shaman and former shaman.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Kotl created the myrmidex to be their workforce after enslaved humans turned out to have a bad tendency to rebel and escape. The Kotl civilization did not survive the myrmidex rebelling against them.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: Almost all of the valley is accessible immediately, and you can play around with all kinds of things in the environment.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The lab has a single piece of gold, but no one here trades in gold.

Alternative Title(s): Savage Empire