Once, the land of Akalabeth was peaceful and quiet. But then came Mondain, an evil and ambitious man who created dungeons and populated them with foul creatures. The noble warrior British was able to drive Mondain from Akalabeth, but the monsters he brought with him remain.
As either a fighter or a mage, it is your job to explore Akalabeth, descend into the dungeons and vanquish the beasts dwelling within. On an overhead map of the land, one can find the dungeons, towns where one may buy supplies, weapons and armor, and a castle, where one will be given quests by Lord British. To fulfill such a quest, a certain type of creature must be destroyed in a dungeon.
Inside the dungeons, the view switches to a first-person perspective. Fight, explore and find treasure on your way to complete a quest. Each successive quest will require you to destroy a stronger monster, which will reside on a deeper dungeon level than the one before it.Akalabeth
is the precursor to the Ultima
- "Ultima 0" -- Informal fan title
- "D&D28b" -- Working title
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The box cover art was created by Denis Loubet
and is titled "Wrong Number".
Richard Garriott originally wrote this game for his own benefit but was persuaded by a friend at his local computer store to try to sell a few copies there. He hand copied the disks and put them into ziplock bags with instruction sheets and a copy found its way to the head of California Pacific, who immediately bought the rights for the game.
When he later wrote Ultima for California Pacific the entire code of Akalabeth was included as a subroutine for the dungeon levels. There were only 12 copies of the original version ever sold and Richard Garriott owns one of them. He does, however, have a box of unsold copies and did say in an interview in 1999 that he would sell some on ebay just to see the price they would fetch. As of 2000 he hasn't done it yet!
The game was originally created for the Apple in 1979 but ported to the PC in 1997 for the Ultima Collection - a compendium of ten Ultima games. Ported is too kind a word; it was completely rewritten, due to the fact that the original was written for the Apple series of computers. It includes a patch to provide music for the game.
There were actually 3 different versions of Akalabeth marketed.
Version 1 is Richard Garriott's own original disk and label and the original small batch he created were numbered. He sold less than 12 of these. They came in disk or cassette and included an 8-page booklet.
Version 2 was published by California Pacific Computer and they released a 5.25" disk version only. The cover art for this version has a hand-drawn orange castle on it. This version came with a large 4-page booklet.
Version 3 was re-released by California Pacific Computer in 1981 when after they had Denis Loubet create advertisement artwork and they used it for the new cover art. The booklet became smaller which caused the page count to increase to 8 pages.
The name Akalabeth probably derives from Akallabêth, which is the title of a section of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien, detailing the downfall of the continent of Númenor in Tolkien's Middle-earth universe. The Silmarillion was published only a few years prior to Akalabeth's release.
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