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Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (DOS)

92
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Chris Martin (1098)
Written on  :  Feb 08, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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Summary

A Breakthrough 3-Dimensional Adventure game.

The Good

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss (UU), was a breakthrough game. Graphics were far advanced over what other companies were claiming as "3D" games. While Wolfenstein 3D, and Doom were really 2-1/2 D games (no ability to move in a up-down fashion), UU had jumping, flying, levitating, and much better (and eerier) graphics than what id had released at the time.

The implementation of Magic, fighting, and inventory were pleasingly simple. Everything is contained on the screen (no swtiching screens except for auto-mapping), and easy to access. Magic no longer requires the Avatar (you) to carry numrous regents and memorization of spells. Runes inscribed with letters (the same used in the Brittanic Alphabet) are used casting spells, and your character has a limited Mana pool. Your character must FIND all the runes needed for casting, so it makes the gameplay very balanced. You can't cast a high level spell on the first level of the game because you don't have the correct runes to cast the spell.

All fighting is done using mouse clicks. The position of your pointer determines the type of attack, and the length you hold down the mouse button determines the strength of the attack. So simple to use!

Communication, Sound and Music is well implemented, much like the S.C.U.M.M. interface for LucasArts Graphic adventures, and the IMuse system used in Most LucasArts games.

The Bad

Control is a bit touchy. You can use the keyboard, but the mouse is better.

The Bottom Line

If you like Ultima 9, or the lastest batch of Forgotten Realms games, find UU if you can (it took me 5 years) and play it. You'll enjoy every minute.