Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds

aka: Ultima Underworld 2
Moby ID: 691
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds takes place one year after the events of Ultima VII: The Black Gate. To celebrate the defeat of the Guardian, Lord British invites the Avatar and his companions to his castle. However, in the night of the feast the Guardian attacks again, encasing the castle in a giant gem of blackrock. Deep in the sewers of the castle, another blackrock gem is found, created as an aftereffect of the attack. This gem is a teleporter to other worlds controlled by the Guardian. Now the Avatar must travel to these worlds in order to free the castle from the Guardian's spell.

This sequel to Ultima Underworld plays almost exactly as the original, with its 3D world, action-oriented combat, magic system and multiple-choice conversations. The player creates the character of Avatar, choosing gender, class, and initial skills. These range from weapon proficiencies to social abilities such as diplomacy and bartering. Some of the skills can be increased during the course of the game by visiting trainers. After having accumulated a sufficient amount of experience points, the Avatar levels up, and his hit points and mana are increased. Like its predecessor, the game features an interactive world: many objects can be manipulated and physically moved.

The game's storyline is more connected to the main Ultima series than that of its predecessor, and the game world is larger and has more variety: besides the usual castles and dungeons there are such diverse locations as an ice world, an alien place called Talorus and the enigmatic Ethereal Void. Graphics and sound have also been improved: the size of the viewing window has been increased, there are new monster graphics and the game now features digitized sound effects.

Spellings

  • ウルティマ・アンダーワールドII - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 91% (based on 15 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 72 ratings with 2 reviews)

1st person RPG at it's classic best

The Good
Good graphics, balanced, fun. There were a lot of tough parts (Avoid poison at all cost!). Average story, great gameplay, fun game all around.

The Bad
It can get rather repetitive, and poison kills all too easy early on

The Bottom Line
Great game from one of the most classic series to ever grace the computer screen. Dig deep into this one, it'll take awhile to finish, but the graphics are good, and there's lots of interesting items and what-not in the dungeon!

DOS · by Ben Jacobs (10) · 2000

The best game ever.

The Good
Where to begin? Firstly, the superficial: both the graphics and sound were by far the best I'd seen or heard as far back as 1993. Nine years have passed, and its once youthful looks have been ravaged accordingly, but...

The storyline and immersion of UW2 are second to none. A compelling tale of imprisonment, treachery and heroism, with some truly amazing alternate worlds - the idea of a parallel universe with eerie similarities but a great difference due to the inhabitants' beliefs is not an original one, but is executed impeccably here. Without wanting to give too much away, the eight alternate dimensions are incredibly diverse, and fit together with each other commendably.

Wolfenstein 3D is generally credited as the first 3D game, but this is flawed for two reasons: the first Underworld game was released about half a year before it, and also it was as flat as Pong - there were no stairs or raised/lowered terrain, let alone bridges that can be walked over and under. The Underworld games, by way of a contrast, had (for the time) unparallelled 3D which, although taken for granted today, amazed me at the time.

The depth of NPC conversation was excellent. I wonder what happened to the good old multiple-choice replying system that featured in it so wonderfully - recent games tend to be a case of walk-up-to-someone-and-speak-linearly-to-them. What was said by each character in conversation really enabled the player to get a good idea about their personality, and have a sense of empathy for them. They were not simply vending machines on legs, as per Diablo 2 and its ilk.

Finally, I also love the tension of it all. Certain events happen throughout, which dramatically alter the mood - even conveyed entirely by text - and this builds up to a climactic finish. Whereas most computer games use all their ammo at the beginning and sort of fizzle out towards the end, leaving the player to lose interest, UW2 is quite easily the most satisfying game I have ever played, from start to finish.

The Bad
I had to think really hard about a shortfall, and I genuinely cannot think of any at all. The graphics and sound may no longer be state of the art, but it's unfair to judge a nine-year-old game on current standards.

The Bottom Line
An immersive, non-linear RPG with brilliant characterisation and tension. To neglect this is criminal, akin to dismissing a classic movie or piece of literature.

DOS · by J S (3) · 2002

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The PC version of Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Locked chest

In Nystul's library in the castle, you'll find one of the chests is locked and can't be opened. The only way to open it is to leave the castle and enter any of the eight worlds through the blue gem down on the 5th level (doing so will allow you to cast spells in the 4th circle or above). Cast 'Open' (the cursor will change) and return from the blue gem and back to the castle. Open the chest and you'll find the book Nystul was hiding... "Sex" by Madonna!

References to other games

In Killorn Keep there is a cat like creature called Blackie that you can talk to. He tells you the story of his race, the Trilkhai, which has a striking resemblance to the Kilrathi of the Wing Commander games (also by Origin). (Note also: The word 'Trilkhai' is an anagram of the word 'Kilrathi'.) The other Ultima game released around the same time (Ultima VII) also has a reference to the Kilrathi and it has been inferred that the space ships fought in Ultima 1 are actually Kilrathi fighters.

shades.dat

If you delete the shades.dat in the DATA subdirectory, you don't need torches or lamps in your quest any more due to the lack of shade maps. (Of course, this also means that every single environment you're in looks like daylight, which ruins the mood -- Ed.)

Virtues of the Guardian

Apparently, the Florida Department of Corrections have adopted the Virtues of the Guardian as their official virtues.

see it here (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Hmm... I realize that the Virtues of the Avatar could be a bit too touchy feely liberal for the organization. Still, did they really have to go so far as to emulate a guy who wants to take over the universe?

Awards

  • PC Player (German gaming magazine)
    • 1994 (Issue 01) - named "Best Game of 1993"

Information also contributed by Alan Chan, Fafnir, Itay Shahar, Patrick Breggar, and Vance

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  • MobyGames ID: 691
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Terok Nor.

PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx. Windows added by eWarrior.

Additional contributors: SchumiFan, G. Ganesh, eWarrior, FatherJack, Kayburt.

Game added January 8, 2000. Last modified February 13, 2024.