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Ultima VI - The False Prophet

original title: Ultima VI


Censored SNES Version
Region: USA/Europa

Uncensored PC Version
Region: USA/Europa

Release: Jul 17, 2016 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: Tony Montana
The Ultima franchise is probably one of the most famous RPG series ever. There are 14 installments in total but I would rather block out the existence of the last one. In Ultima VI, one has to face a Gargoyle invasion as the avatar, hero of Britannia and virtuous idol for the people. During the course of events, it turns out things are not as they seem and a tragic secret will be revealed.

Ultima VI is available for PC, Amiga, Atari ST, C64 and SNES. Since Nintendo of America had rather tough restrictions back in the day, alterations had to be made. Also, the SNES Versions suffers from the usual issues complex RPG generally have on gaming consoles: The Gameplay which is very complicated. In addition to that, the SNES Version also suffers from the new way of having a coversation and the disappearance of the character portraits.

Compared are the censored SNES Version and the uncensored PC Version.
PC VersionSNES Version

Creating Characters

This feature has definately been censored because Ultima VI contains numerous elements that are black-listed. For that reason, the SNES Version lacks this feature. In the PC Version, one gets a potion from some Gypsy woman by asking for the eight virtues of Britannia. Once the questions are complete, one drinks the potion. It is being explained that this was the moment one has become the avatar.

The most likely reasons why this section is completely missing:
  • The Gypsy woman was considered a racist cliché.

  • The questions often are about death and whatnot such asking having to choose whether or not a thief should be killed or let go.

  • The image that pops up after becoming the avatar appears to be very religious.

PC VersionSNES Version

Another aspect is that one can choose the sex in the PC Version. In the SNES Version, this option does not exist.

The Intro

The intro has been censored several times (That somme of the scenes have been recut is not an issue in this comparison). Moreover, the Gargoyles lack their horns (both in the entire intro and the final sequence) in order to make them look less satanic.

When the text describes the avatar's peaceful life, it reads "But television supermen cannot take the place of friends who died at your side" in the PC Version. In the SNES Version, it reads "Life in your world is peaceful and quiet" instead.

During the sacrifce ceremony, the head of the Gargoyles is called "priest" in the PC Version while he is called "leader" in the SNES Version.

When the priest intends to literally take a stab at it, the text reads "A dying scream, certainly your own, curdles the air" in the PC Version. In the SNES Version, it reads "You close your eyes, fearing the worst...".

A part of the intro is entirely missing here. The image goes black and the avatar believes he/she is deceased. But surprise, death did not occur. He/She then gets to watch a quarrel penetrating the priest's head (plus it is described drastically). With the companions appearance, the SNES Version is back in the game - so to speak.

When companion Iolo picks up the book the priest lost, it is quite obvious in the PC Version. In the SNES Version, the book is simply lying around.

Censored Battles

Dead Bodies
When killing adversaries in a battle, the bodies remain on the ground and looting is an option. In the SNES Version, the bodies are completely missing. As a cnsequence thereof, items just hit the ground while the adversary vanishes into thin air. This is only an issue with bodies from a battle. Bodies decorative reasons are still in the game.

Blood Trails
Possible blood trails as a result from a fight are entirely missing in the SNES Version.

Battle Report
The battle reports have also been altered resp. they are less explicite in the SNES Version. "X barely/lightly/severly/heavily wounded" has become "X gets Y points of damage", "X killed" has become "X is defeated".
PC VersionSNES Version

Attacking Civilians
In the Ultima franchise, being free to act has always been of the elementary elements. One simply had to do what was considered right. It was absolutely possible to attack and kill civilians but one then had to deal with the repercussions which could even screw up the entire game. In the SNES Version, attacking civilians is not an option. When tried, the text "Can't attack" pops up on the screen. One can't even activate the battle mode manually either.

Censored Spells
The "trap" spell is missing. With this spell, one can set a nasty bear trap the opponent can walk in. Probably the reason for removing it.

The spell "kill" has been renamed. In the SNES Version, it is called "destroy".

Astonishingly, the "death wind" hasn't been renamed. However, "mass kill" has become "mass desstroy" and the "summon" spell to summon demons is comletely missing. The "slime" spell to turn opponents into slime and the "eclipse" spell to cause an exclipse have been removed as well.

Censored Dialogs

The dialogs are a bit shorter, probably make it more suitable for a gaming console. And one did a good job on that, there is a lot of censoring. The original Ultima VI has rather open dialogs, combined with a lot of morbid and black humor and profanity. Since there are almost 200 NPC and all of them lots of text, it is impossible to list them all. Nonetheless, three ground rules stand out:

  • "Bad" words are replaced by "harmless" words.

  • The meaning of a dialog is different.

  • A longer part of a dialog has simply been removed completely.

A perfect example is the body stuffer at Empath Abbey. In the SNES Version, one gets to know his name and occupation and that is it. In the PC Version, he elaborates on his job, eats grapes, explains his point of view and gets upset about his incompetent gravedigger which triggers an additional task. All that is missing in the SNES Version and so is the additional task being triggered by it.

The Final Sequence

One statement of the final sequence is different. When the king of the Gargoyles Draxinusom shows up angrily, he threatens the avatar with death in the PC Version: "Thy time hath come, Thief!". In the SNES Version, he says "To have known that your surrender was false!" instead.

Censored Manual

Compared to the original one, the manual of the SNES Version just makes me sad. All the text alterations are not going to be mentioned here. But I would like to point out that two of the ilustrations are censored.

Not only have the demon's horns removed but his trident has been replaced with a regular spear as well plus the tip of his tail (devil's tail) has been retouched. The hair between his legs is missing as well.

In order to make the look less diabolical, the Gargoyles' horns are also missing.

Both alterations are questionable at the very least.
PC VersionSNES Version