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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 series.


Akalabeth: World of Doom Windows Now, am I a fighter or a mage?
Akalabeth: World of Doom Apple II Title
Akalabeth: World of Doom Windows Do I want my character to have these stats?
Akalabeth: World of Doom Apple II Facing an orc inside a dungeon.

Promo Images

Akalabeth: World of Doom Screenshot
Akalabeth: World of Doom Screenshot
Akalabeth: World of Doom Screenshot
Akalabeth: World of Doom Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Ultima 0" -- Informal fan title
  • "D&D28b" -- Working title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Starting point for the "overworlds/underworlds" concept,nothing more Windows Andrew Fisher (707)
The start of the Ultima series - fun while it lasts but a fairly basic game even at the time. Apple II Pix (1234)
Grandfather of the Ultima series... but very primitive. Apple II Mirrorshades2k (282)

Critic Reviews

Just Games Retro Apple II Jul 11, 2013 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Retro Archives Windows Apr 18, 2021 8 out of 20 40
Retro Archives Apple II Apr 18, 2021 8 out of 20 40
Legendra Apple II Jun 29, 2010 0.5 Stars0.5 Stars0.5 Stars0.5 Stars0.5 Stars 10


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Cover art

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!

PC port

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.

Release history

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.

Information also contributed by John Romero, Mirrorshades2k, Pix, Terok Nor

Related Web Sites

  • Akalabeth Remake Home Page (Home Page of David Froy's DOS and Windows remakes of Akalabeth, including download.)
  • Cellphone Akalabeth (Akalabeth reinvented for MIDP(Java)-enabled cellphones. Includes a dungeon minimap and a god mode for when "you get annoyed starving to death all the time." Works surprisingly well.)
  • The CRPG Addict: Akalabeth (Posts about the game at The CRPG Addict blog. )
Contributed to by Cavalary (11439), KnockStump (1004) and Pseudo_Intellectual (65065)
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