I was actually enjoying this game but, after twelve or so hours of play, I discovered that the GOG version is buggy to the point of being unbeatable. I reached a moment when I needed to find a Neanderthal chieftain only to discover that his sprite wouldn’t render on the map. Something was there and I could attack the empty space, but I was not allowed to trigger the necessary dialogue to complete my quest.
Savage Empire uses the fantastic Ultima VI game engine. This, along with Martian Dreams, was the last group of Ultimas that still felt like the Apple ][ games. Unfortunately, the jungle setting does not lend itself to much topographical variety. Everything was the same two or three greens and I could never tell if I could walk through a tree or not. This becomes a source of endless frustration very quickly.
The best part of the game are the various character headshots. These are visible during the many dialogue sequences that the game offers using its highlighted-word method of talking.
By this point in their history, the Ultima games were much more like large, open-world adventure games. Combat and character development are barely part of the game. My problems with this game are mostly with the bugs and the clunky mechanics. There is a great, original game here but it’s just to hard to get passed the technical flaws. This engine needs a video game “remastered” version.