Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Undiscovered App #49: C64: Elite Collection Free - Get Ultima 1, 2, 3, and 4 on the iPhone and iPad for FREE

c64 Collection - Get Ultima 1, 2, 3, 4 for FREEToday's Undiscovered App is a HUGE find for old school gaming fans.

You see, I grew up playing the earliest games out there, like Wizardry, Sierra On-Line's King's Quest series, Might and Magic, and Ultima series, so when I casually browsed around to see if someone had finally ported over Ultima 3 (as I like to do every few times in a year), I was shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you -- to find an app called C64: Elite Collection Free that had a collection of games ported over from the Commodore 64, and among them was the Ultima series, including Ultima 1, Ultima 2, Ultima 3, and Ultima 4 -- all for FREE on the iPhone or iPad. It's ridiculous how big of a find this is.

These are the kinds of games back when what you did had no consequences to future gameplay. You could beat up everyone in a town, raid their treasures, leave and then come back, only to have everything respawn. For the more groundbreaking stuff like future consequences, Wasteland was invented (another port I would love to see in the future).

So, after finding this app, I immediately downloaded Ultima 3 as an IAP (it's free), and got started building my party of 1. Yeah, screw the party of 4 that they allow you to have; I was going to go badass with my Ranger and try to finish it with just one character... and three days later, with bloodshot eyes and a lack of sleep, I finished it, for like the 10th time in my life. I can officially tell you that the Ultima 3 port works marvelously, and you can probably assume that the ports for the other 3 games work as well.

There are a few very small differences in how the controls work, with the biggest being a big positive: you can now save and restore anywhere on the map, including inside towns and dungeons, instead of like the good old days when only exiting or entering towns and dungeons triggered the save activity (or Quit/Save). One other change is that once you create a party, you can't go back to the Register and break up the party and form a new one. You're stuck with the one you've built all the way to the end, unless you start over of course.

The app lets you play it in either portrait or landscape format, but going landscape stretches the screen out disproportionately, so you can only really play it in portrait format. Plus, with the entire keyboard being displayed on the bottom of your screen, it's really only practical to play this on your iPad since the keyboard buttons are quite small on the iPhone.

I hope Ultima fans get to take advantage of this great find. I have no idea if what they've done has been sanctioned by Origin Systems (or Electronic Arts), so get it while it's still available. C64: Elite Collection Free has a bunch of other old school games in there that are worth checking out, so have a look.

Amazon.com: because today is a great day to finally order that stuff sitting in your shopping cart!

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