Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle
Developed by: Origin Systems
Published by: Electronic Arts
Description: Seprent Isle basically takes off where Ultima VII ends, and addresses the questions left unanswered at the end of that game. The game begins as the Avatar, Iolo, Shamino, and Dupré on the trail of Batlin to the Serpent Isle, which was once part of Sosaria. There, the Avatar finds refugees of old Sosaria who refused Lord British's calls for adherence to the Eight Virtues, and remnants of a mysterious lost civilization whose secrets could be the Guardian's key to returning to Britannia.
Notables: Serpent Isle used almost exactly the same game engine as the Black Gate did (as the Exult engine can run both games without change), and only a small amount of new art and music was created for it. That means that it has all of Ultima VII's strengths in world modelling, just with a different story.
My Opinion: Far from being an inferior copy of its groundbreaking predecessor, Serpent Isle is highly compelling in its own right. Although it uses the same engine as its predecessor did and very little in the way of new media was created for it, the storyline and characters have, in my opinion, greater depth than that in the Black Gate. Together, the Black Gate and Serpent Isle both represent the highest points the Ultima series ever achieved.
Notes: The game was only produced for the PC, and because it used almost the same engine as Ultima VII (with only a few bugfixes and convenience features patched in), it can be trouble for people with modern machines to get running. Probably the largest change in the Serpent Isle game engine (apart from the paperdolling character display) was that it now incorporated a frame limiter, so a program like MoSlo is no longer required to use it on modern hardware, unlike with Ultima VII. I've seen this effect playing both games on a modern machine.
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