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Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress
Ultima II cover.jpg
DOS cover
Developer(s) Richard Garriott
Publisher(s) Sierra On-Line, Origin Systems (re-release)
Designer(s) Richard Garriott
Platform(s) Apple II, Atari, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, FM Towns, Macintosh, MSX, NEC PC-9801
Release date(s) 1982
Genre(s) RPG
Mode(s) Single Player
Media Floppy disk

Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress, released on August 24, 1982 (USCO# PA-317-502), is the second computer role-playing game in the Ultima series.

It was also the last Ultima game published by Sierra On-Line. Controversy with Sierra over royalties for the IBM PC port of this game led the series creator Richard Garriott to start his own company, Origin Systems. [1]

Contents

Gameplay

The gameplay is very similar to the previous game in the series, Ultima I. The scope of the game is bigger, in that there are several more places to explore, even though some of them (like most of the solar system planets and the dungeons and towers) are optional and not really needed to complete the game.

In the game, the player has to travel to several different time periods of Earth, using time doors. The periods are the Time of Legends (a mythological period), Pangea (about 300 to 250 million years ago), B.C. (1420, "before the dawn of civilization"), A.D. (1990), and the Aftermath (after 2111).[2] The player also has to travel to space, where he can visit all the planets in the solar system.[2]

Plot

From the game's story, we learn that the lover of the dark wizard Mondain, the enchantress Minax, is threatening Earth through disturbances in the space-time continuum. The player must guide a hero through time and the solar system in order to defeat her evil plot.

The young Minax survived her paramour's death at the hands of the Stranger (in Ultima I) and went into hiding. Several years later, Minax got older and very powerful, more than Mondain once was.[2][3] Minax wanted to avenge the death of her lover, so she used the time doors created by Mondain's defeat to travel to the Time of Legends, a place located at the origin of times.[2] From there, she sent her evil minions to all the different time eras; she also used her dark powers to disturb the fabric of time and influence men, who ultimately destroyed each other in the far future, nearly wiping out humanity.[2]

Lord British called for a hero to crush Minax's evil plans. The Stranger once again answered British's call.[2] The game begins with the Stranger starting his quest to defeat Minax. Minax's castle, named Shadowguard, can only be reached through time doors (similar to moongates in the later games); even then an enchanted ring is required to pass through the force fields inside. The war against Minax's vile legions is long and hard, but eventually the hero hunts down the sorceress to the Time of Legends, pursues her as she teleports throughout the castle, and destroys her with the quicksword Enilno.

It's interesting to note that this game is set on Earth. Even though Ultima I is set on the fictional land of Sosaria, Ultima II borrowed characters and the story of Ultima I, but relocated them to Earth with no explanation. Later games in the Ultima series ret-conned this, and assumed that Ultima II actually happened on Sosaria[3], not Earth, to create a continuity among the games.

Development and versions

Ultima II was the first game of the series to be coded completely in assembly language rather than in interpreted BASIC. Playing speed and reaction time were vastly improved over the original release of Ultima I. In fact, when running the games on one and the same computer, Ultima II is the fastest game of the series due to its relative simplicity.

Since Richard Garriott was attending college at the time, it took him almost two years to create Ultima II. [4]

Ultima II was the first game in the series to include a cloth map inside the box, which would become a staple of the franchise. This map, which illustrated how the time doors were linked, was inspired by the one seen in the film Time Bandits.[5] Two versions of this map were produced. The first version is of a heavier and thicker material. This map can be found in the large boxed (8"x11") Apple II and Atari 800 versions of the game. Later production runs of the game featured a much smaller box and a lighter weight map.

It was also the first game to be officially ported to platforms other than the Apple II. Versions for the IBM PC with CGA graphics, Commodore 64, Atari ST and Atari 800 were published. (An Atari 800 version of Ultima I was published in 1982, some considerable time after Ultima II's release; Atari ST version was published in 1985.)

The original Apple Ultima II received an audiovisual upgrade in 1989, bringing its graphics up to date with more recent games in the series much as was done with Ultima I. This "enhanced" version was only available as part of the Ultima Trilogy I-II-III box set released that year and discontinued only months later, and is considered exceptionally rare today. (The Commodore and IBM versions of the Ultima Trilogy include the original, unenhanced versions of the game for their respective platforms.)

The game was re-released several times later in CD-ROM PC compilations, including 1998's Ultima Collection. All these re-releases are missing necessary map files for planets other than Earth, rendering the game unwinnable. Modern computers also generate a divide by zero error when attempting to run the game. These issues are addressed in a series of official patches, which are available from a variety of Ultima fansites. The game is known to run without errors and at an acceptable speed in a DOSBox environment, provided the missing map files are present.

Reception

Upon its initial release, Computer Gaming World gave Ultima II a glowing review, noting its vast improvements over the original, particularly in the amount of detail. CGW also praised the great scope of the work, even though little of it is necessary to complete the game; it was suggested that additional scenarios would continue to be added leading up to an "Ultimate" quest.[6]

Ultima II sold over 50,000 in 1982, and over 100,000 copies to date.[7]

References

  1. ^ The Official Book of Ultima second edition page 25
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress Manual. Origin Systems. 1982.  
  3. ^ a b Ultima IV: Quest for the Avatar Manual: The History of Britannia. Origin Systems. 1985.  
  4. ^ The Official Book of Ultima page 23
  5. ^ The Official Book of Ultima page 17
  6. ^ McPherson, James (Mar-April 1983), "Ultima II: A Review", Computer Gaming World: 23, 45  
  7. ^ The Official Book of Ultima second edition page 23

External links

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