Ultima VII: The Black Gate (DOS)
|Ultima VII: The Black Gate|
- For other games in the series see Ultima.
Ultima VII: The Black Gate is a fantasy role-playing game and the seventh in main series of Ultima. You play the role of the Avatar, a hero who enters the world of Britannia from your home on Earth. As the Avatar, it is your task to embody the virtues of goodness and set right the problems of the land. At the time of its release, Ultima 7 had one of the most realistic sand-box environments, allowing the player to interact with a wide variety of the objects in the game world.
In the opening scene of the game, you're sitting at your computer when a demon-faced entity known as The Guardian pushes through the monitor and taunts you with his infiltration of Britannia. An unusually-colored red moongate teleports you to Britannia and you find yourself at the scene of a ritualistic murder. Upon investigating it, you learn that a new religion called the Fellowship has been growing in the land and they are not the helpful group they claim to be. As you track the murderers, you are faced with dozens of side-quests, and must collect a party of fellow adventurers like Iolo, Shamino, and Dupre. As the story progresses, you delve into the complex problems that face the lives of the Britannians including partisan politics, taxation destroying the middle-class, racism and immigration, drug abuse, religious pressure, and more.
The soundtrack of Ultima 7 is professionally scored and quite expansive for a DOS game of the time. The music spans several genres including brass fanfares, Renaissance-era chamber music, modern orchestration, ambient mood music, and more.
Despite having a large base of popular Ultima themes available, the game's composer Dana Glover decided to write a mostly new soundtrack; only Rule, Britannia! and Stones make reappearances. Glover had to create several new themes like the organ-rich Fellowship Theme which plays whenever you enter one of its branches or secondary buildings, the Shrine themes which are all similar, but unique, or Avatar's love interest, Nastassia, whose theme plays whenever the story involves her. The game also features various instruments which, when activated, play their own theme; harpsichords, panpipes, lutes, xylophones, and the like.
One of the more impressive features of Ultima's music is that it changes dynamically according to the player's actions. Combat music is particularly varied, and there are different themes for when monsters approach, when you engage them in combat, when they flee, and when you finally defeat them. Music also changes in taverns depending on how crowded the establishments are.
There are a few unused songs in the game, including the two Orchestral tunes. There is also an empty track for the Shrine of Spirituality.
The music can be played on an MT-32 or any OPL2 compatible sound card, but currently only the Roland recording has been made.
- Ripper: Simon Quinn, TheAlmightyGuru
- Recorder: TheAlmightyGuru
- Game Credits:
- Audio Direction By: Martin Galway
- Music Composed, Arranged & Conducted By: Dana Glover credited as Dana Glover - "The Beast"
- "Love Theme" By: Raymond Benson
- "Wisp Call" By: Herman Miller
- "Stones" By: David Watson
- "Stones" By: Kathleen Jones
- "Seedy Tavern" & "Sea Shanty" By: Kirk Winterrowd
- Voice of "The Guardian": Bill Johnson
- Vocal Recording & Processing: Martin Galway
- Vocal Recording & Processing: Randy Buck
- Foley Artist: Marc Schaefgen
- Additional Sound: Nenad Vugrinec
- Physics, Tools, Sound Coding: Herman Miller
- Not Credited Composer: Thomas Arne
- Not Credited Composer: Martin Galway
- Not Credited Composer: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
In the game's credits, the developers claimed the game's soundtrack was available for purchase. While this was intended as a joke, it lead to the studio being inundated with requests to purchase the soundtrack. This lead them to add a message into the game's sequel, that the soundtrack was NOT available, so don't ask!
The MIDI music is compressed and encoded in various DAT files including INTRORDM.DAT, and MT32MUS.DAT. The ending XMI music files are stored in the ENDSCORE.XMI. The MT-32 recording was made playing the music through Winamp to a real MT-32 and recording the output.
The Guardian's voice files are stored in VOC format.
Currently, some of the songs are missing from the rip.
This rip is missing songs.
Ultima 7 took an interesting approach with its sound effects. Aside from speech, all sound effects are synthesized on an OPL2 or LA32 sound device. Speech requires a DAC, so only the Sound Blaster and Sound Blaster Pro can support it.
The game does not take advantage of the two stereo OPL2 chips on the Sound Blaster Pro, and downgrades the music to use a single OPL2 chip. It does support the various functions of the Roland synthesizers which produce vastly superior audio.