Spoony Reviews Ultima 9. You’ve Been Warned.
Where to begin? I really only kept summary notes as this disaster of a video was rolling, but here’s some of my takeaways.
- So…the whole “Spoony Experiment” thing has really just been build-up to venting about Spoony’s butthurt over Ultima 9?
- Spoony is, like far too many others, anxious to use Electronic Arts as a scapegoat for everything that he disagrees with about the later Ultima games. Why this myth persists to this day baffles me, given the ample debunking it has received from various sources (including discussions at Old Aiera), I will never understand. Then again, perhaps Spoony’s introduction offers an explanation: these games were, per his own words, essentially his childhood, and he feels some sort of emotional letdown with Ultima 9 and its failure to live up to his expectation. Maybe that’s how a lot of people feel. And you know what? That’s fine…but it’s not a rational thing. Emotion, especially childhood emotion, almost never is.
- While he’s right to call out the retcon at the beginning of the game, Spoony incorrectly assumes that the devastated land at the end of Ultima 8 is meant to be Britannia. It isn’t; that was meant to be the Guardian’s world, which the Avatar would presumably have had to battle his way thorough in the original plan for the ninth game.
- Moreover, the decision to retcon the end of Ultima 8 and move Ultima 9 first to Earth and then back to Britannia, was made by Origin Systems in response to fan outcry over the end of Ultima 8, as was revealed in the famous “fans.txt” file included with the Ultima 8 patch. I don’t know if Spoony just forgot about this (I assume so, charitably) or deliberately omitted mention of it, but either way…he should have known the retcon was coming. Origin told us it was coming!
- Okay, some of his criticisms of the encounters surrounding the Avatar’s house on Earth are legitimate.
- Does anyone remember if Spoony complained about the fact that hey, the Avatar’s stats had reset to novice levels at the start of Ultima 7? Anyone?
- In fact, did he complain about the changes to Castle Britannia and its grounds in his review of Ultima 7?
- Why is he griping about the fact that you have to steal to get ahead in the game? Isn’t this almost a hallmark of every Ultima? Has Spoony never even played Ultima 6? Oh, wait, he has…has he never robbed the Royal Mint?
- Yes, the Avatar asks a lot of what are arguably dumb questions. But this is true of Ultima 6 and Ultima 7 as well; the Avatar was always able to inquire about basic concepts in the games, in the assumption that some people might not have played the previous games. It’s almost never necessary to actually select those lines of dialogue, but they’re there for those who need the information.
- Seriously, did he crib this together from stock footage whilst reading from Hacki’s page?
Well…that was surprisingly un-funny. I usually chuckle at least once in the course of a Spoony review, but here? Nothing.
I’m honestly not looking forward to the second part of his review and the verbal abuse he is likely going to heap on the whole Guardian/Avatar oneness plot point, despite the fact that it’s since been shown that this was something that was planned for the game even before much of the design team was transferred to Ultima Online.
Oh, and for the record: the 3D engine used in the final game was actually an evolution of the original engine, not a complete from-scratch rebuild.