The Second Age of Darkness. In this game, the player is asked to defeat Minax, the apprentice of Mondain, and aparantley his lover too. This one was a departure from the first ultima because it involved time travel. The user had to master the Time Doors (an idea taken from the movie Time Bandits) to travel between 9 million B.C. and 2112 A.D. Ultima III, the third, and final, Age of Darkness, picks up where this one left off, and closes the first Ultima trilogy.

The triumph of good was short-lived, for Mondain left behind an apprentice and consort named Minax, a cold-blooded young woman whose ambition was exceeded only by her thirst for blood. Entire legions of evil creatures responded to her commands, bringing misery to the inhabitants of Sosaria. You rose to the challenge...

The Story

In the original Ultima a hero from a certain third rate blue planet orbiting an insignificant yellow sun came to the world of Sosaria and slew the evil wizard Mondain before he could fulfill his dreams of universal domination. Thus peace was brought to Sosaria, and the hero hailed as a champion of the people of all time.

Unfortunately, Mondain happened to have a young apprentice/lover named Minax who is understandably upset over his death. Using her considerable powers, Minax travels through time and space to the hero's homeworld of Earth and instigates a nuclear war, thus serving the dual purpose of working out her frustration as well as erasing the hero from history. Of course, as the hero, this works out rather badly for you, and so with the help of Lord British you must travel through time and somehow find Minax and prevent the events which culmulate in the destruction of Earth.

Creating a Character

You have 90 ability points to distribute among the six abilities: Strength, Agility, Stamina, Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence. You choice of gender, race, and class further affects these.

Abilities
  • Strength : Determines the damage you can inflict on a foe in a fight. Naturally, each foe's attributes influence the relative success of your attack.
  • Agility : Influences your skill at wielding a weapon; some weapons require a considerable amount of agility in order to use them at all. Good agility also increases your success at stealing, if your turn to crime to survive.
  • Stamina : Reflects your ability to defend against attack. Armor adds to your stamina. Attack from extremely strong monsters makes it relevant.
  • Charisma : Governs your success in bargaining with merchants. Prices may be lower when you are fun to have around. Wisdom- Required to cast spells successfully.
  • Intelligence : Increases both your bargaining skill and your spell casting ability
Gender
Race
Profession

Keyboard Commands

Movement

When traveling in the countryside, the arrow keys correspond to the directions of a compass:

  • North : upward arrow key
  • South : downward arrow key
  • East : rightward arrow key
  • West : leftward arrow key

When moving in towers and dungeons, the arrow keys correspond to:

Action
  • [A] ttack : Lets you fight someone or something. Command must be followed by a direction, unless you're in a tower or dungeon.
  • [B] oard : Mount a horse or board a plane, ship, or other form of transportation. See X-it to leave a mode of transport.
  • [C] ast : Cast a spell. A spell must be readied using the M (Magic) command. Spells can be cast only in dungeons and towers.
  • [D] escend : Go down a level in a dungeon or tower.
  • [E] nter : Enter a town, castle, dungeon or other landmark or read a sign. You must be standing on the entrance before entering.
  • [F] ire : Fire your ship's guns at a foe.
  • [G] et : Pick up items (for example, treasures, weapons). You must be standing on the item you wish to get.
  • [H] yperspace : Catapults your spaceship to the specified coordinates.
  • [I] gnite : Lights a torch.
  • [J] ump : Lets you jump up and down-a good way to release frustration.
  • [K] limb : Climb up a level in a dungeon or tower.
  • [L] aunch/Land : Toggles takeoffs/landings (on grass only) in a plane or rocket.
  • [M] agic : Readies a magic spell you know for casting.
  • [N] egate : Stops time for all things farther than one square away from you-if you possess a specific magic item.
  • [O] ffer : Offers gold as payment or bribe.
  • [P] ass : Allows one game turn to pass without any action. Same as Spacebar.
  • [Q] uit : (and save) Use this command to stop playing your press to disk. You can resume the game from this point. Available only while on foot in the Earth's countryside.
  • [R] eady : Equip yourself with a weapon your own.
  • [S] teal : Attempts to take items from stores without paying for them. May or may not work for weapons, armor, food, transport. Be sure to plan an escape route.
  • [T] ransact : Initiate conversations or conduct business with townspeople, merchants, and royalty. Must be followed by a direction command.
  • [U] nlock : Open doors if you possess the keys. You must indicate direction of door.
  • [V] iew : Toggles between normal view and bird's-eye view of town or planet. You must possess the correct magical item to use this command.
  • [W] ear : Put on a suit of armor that you own.
  • [X] -it : Leave behind or dismount your current transport and travel on foot.
  • [Y] ell : To yell anything you can type. Often used in combination with Jump.
  • [Z] tats : Displays your vital statistics, possessions, and spells. Also used to temporarily stop the passage of time in the game.

Weaponry

Below are all the weapons available in Ultima II :

Each is more effective than the one before it and more expensive too. Be careful because at first you aren't apt to be agile enough to wield anything larger than an ax.

At the armoury, you can buy :

You may as well wear your new armour and ready your new weapon right away; be prepared. There is one weapon you cannot buy; you must earn it. It is the magical quicksword, Enilno.

Magic Spells

Only clerics and wizards can use magic. Nine spells fall into three categories.

Spells Both Clerics And Wizards Can Use
  • Light : Creates magical illumination, and eliminates the need for a torch.
  • Ladder down : Teleports you straight down one level in a tower or dungeon.
  • Ladder up : Teleports you straight up one level in a tower or dungeon.
Spells Only Clerics Can Use
  • Passwall : Destroys the wall in front of you.
  • Surface : Teleports you immediately to the surface of the planet that you are on from within a tower or dungeon.
  • Prayer : Calls for divine intervention to destroy your foe. Results simulate reality.
Spells Only Wizards Can Use

Timezones

No one remembers exactly when in history time doors first appeared, probably because their very existence renders time relative. Ancient books show no mention of them prior to the defeat and demise of the evil Mondain, so well recorded in Ultima.

Strongly convincing scientific theory supports the chronology. Mondain had gained such power that, upon his death, the physical laws of nature suffered a great upheaval. When the smoke cleared, all that remained were corridors in time and space, we commonly call our "time doors".

Numerous scientists and adventurers have attempted to traverse the corridors. The few who have returned speak of great confusion and difficulty in navigating through the corridors, especially during primitive times.

Nevertheless, the existence of the time doors has changed irretrievably all that is and all that ever was. When there were no time doors, what was done could not be undone; there was no reaching into another time to find a cause, negate it, and thus remove its effect from all time.

Now, of course, it is possible in all times.

The Time Map

The few returning time travelers tell us that the time corridors are connected with five distinct time periods, but not one of them has been able to determine, with a semblance of precision, exactly when or how it happened. Their experiences do appear to confirm the existence of intelligent life forms in many eras previously thought to be supporting of primitive life only, or no life at all.

One period, reported by two independent travelers, if only vaguely, appears to have no equivalent in early scientific thought. It is what it appears to be, it is the period about which the most has been written. Until now, the period was believed to be theological at best, purely imaginary, it is a time we know only through mythology: the time of Legends.

Here are the five time periods accessible through the time corridors :

  • Legends : The time before time, peopled by creatures of myth and lore. Whether the time of Legends is ruled by good or evil affects all other times and places. It is believed that the power of the enchantress Minax, the authoress of our worst troubles, is greatest at this time.
  • Pangea : The time when Earth is still forming. Before volcanic upheavals separate the seven continents and set the great continental drift in motion, earth is one great continent surrounded by a gigantic ocean. There appears to be abundant, if sparse, life and some civilization, although the origins are so far inexplicable.
  • B.C. : The time just before the dawn of civilization as history records it. According to the time travelers, an advanced civilization already exists in B.C., apparently the progeny of the beginning civilization of Pangea. The old twentieth century "crack pots" theorized that civilization developed from a few human beings left behind by a prior advanced civilization that for some reason moved on into space.
  • A.D. : The present-if we can still call it that. Specifically, 1990. It is, but apparently now not as it was to have been, a rather perilous time of planetary egocentricism leading to an overemphasis on dangerously shaky interplanetary jealousies and greed. The times reflect the people who suffer stress with a sense of urgency that encourages pragmatism over reason, dulls an awareness of values and leads weaker souls to lives of crime.
  • Aftermath : The post devastation period once though of as the future. Much of life and all known civilization has ceased to exist. As we learn more of the enchantress Minax, we become more and more convinced of her single-handed perpetration of the entire devastation itself and all that led to it. Note that much of the land mass has been wiped out, especially the key centers and most troublesome hotspots of the great Sino-Russo-American Era.

Traveling

Traveling on foot will take you far in Ultima II, but not everywhere. You can purchase, overtake, or steal more efficient forms of transportation.

  • Horses : Riding horseback is slightly faster than walking, and horses are cheap.
  • Frigates : When a frigate docks near you, you can commandeer it, if the crew will accept you as a seasoned sailor, if you have a certain item. Otherwise, they'll turn the broadsides on you.
  • Planes : No jets in Ultima II, but these little single prop jobbies are just the ticket for hotfooting it around the world and through time, if you're prepared.
  • Rockets : Probably by the time you find one, surely by the time you figure out how to procure one, you won't need a manual to deal with the situation. It takes proper armour to launch one and survive.
Space Travel

In order to jump into hyperspace you need three coordinates to reach another planet. Make sure you also have enough tri-lithium for the rocket or you will have to explore the local dungeons to get back on Earth.

             Xeno Yako Zabo Life  Terrain
-+----------+----+----+----+----+-------------------
* Sun          4    4    4    N   None
A Mercury      5    4    5    ?   Water, swamp
B Venus        3    3    4    N   Water, swamp, grass
C Earth        6    6    6    Y   All varieties
D Mars         6    2    3    Y   Mountains
E Jupiter      1    3    4    ?   Water, grass
F Saturn       2    8    5    N   Water, grass
G Uranus       9    4    6    Y   Forest, grass
H Neptune      4    0    5    ?   Grass
I Pluto        0    1    4    Y   Mountains
J X            9    9    9    ?   ?

The Bottom Line

The sequel to Ultima featured several improvements over the original, such as seperate town and world maps, and the concept of traveling through time gates into different eras on Earth. Other than that the gameplay is pretty much the same as in Ultima I, with your single character roaming the land fighting monsters and looking for key items.

Moreover, it has been all but impossible to find a working copy of this game. I own many copies of Ultima games for many reasons - stand alones on the Commodore, stand alones on the IBM and copies in the Ultima I - VI series and the Ultima Collection. In all these, the only functioning copy I have ever found of this game was in the most recent, Ultima Collection.

For those who are die hard Ultima fanatics like myself, the game is a must play. The Avatar killed Minax, and I think you should too, or you ain't no Avatar. But unless fictional titles for fictional deeds weigh as insanely heavily on you as they seem to me, Ultima II is the one I would most advocate steering clear of.

partly taken from the Ultima II Manual

Back to The Ultima Legacy

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.