I am now a Knight !

And this on the day of our Lord, July the 28th, did the mere Peasant Sergorn became knighted by his Majesty Lord British.

And there was much rejoicing or… well maybe not.

I have actually finished Akalabeth twice today. I finished the game I started yesterday at Level 1, and became a Knight. But since I have masochistic tendencies, I figured: what the eck? And thus decided to replay the whole game at Level 10 in order to get the “true” ending.

You see once you figure out the mechanics, Akalabeth actually becomes quite easy – the hardest part are actually the beginning since it require quite a bit of grinding to get more gold and XP, so redoing it was much easier this time. However I also figured out the ultimate cheat: Lizardman.

You see you use magic in Akalabeth by using Magical Amulets which offer multiples effects, which for a warrior also happen to be fully random. the Lizard Man is pretty awesome: because it double your HP, and all your stats permanently. Now the rist is that you could come upon Toad instead which criple your character with 3 in each stats. But I actually came with a bit of luck and multiple Lizard Man spells in a row.

By the time I faced the Balrog – the final monster in the game – I had thousands of hit point and could kill anything in a single. By the time I exited the dungeons with the use of magic… I had so many Lizard Man I completed the game with a freaking number of 235 000 HP and around 15 000 in each time.

Insanity.

Now the true ending was underwhelming: unlike the original Apple II version you don’t an outdated phone number to call, and the game merely tells to tell Lord British about your performance. Sure I would, but anybody got his e-mail ? 😛

On a side note the PC port also appears a bit sloppy with some silly typos such as “Kinght” and “Lord Brititsh”.

So in any case, this is it for Akalabeth. It actually does feel to finish a sorta Ultima I haven’t finished before, but I’m glad it didn’t last too long because it can get kind of boring.

In any case I’ll be back tomorrow with some words about my next adventure : “Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness” – and as a parting gift, a picture of my final battle against the vile Balrog.

Thou shalt slay some evil monster!

And here goes : my journey has finally begin !

As such I began yesterday to play through Akalabeth.

Now the first thing: it was actually problematic to get the game working as DosBOX just don’t like Akalabeth – or at least the Ultima Collection version. After some looking around I found a way to go and patch the .exe of the game that they run flawlessly, but this not exactly the easiest way to play a game (Note: I’ll see with WtF_Dragon about providing the modified .exe at Ultima Aiera).

But in any case I managed to begin my quest and find Lord British to gave my first mission : find and kill a Carrion Crawler !

Now… Akalabeth is one damn ugly game, and the colors of the PC version probably make it worst. It’s also goddamn repetitive as well. But most importantly: it’s freakingly hard – you just happen to die a whole lot and thanks god that the PC version offers an actualy saving system so that you don’t have to restart from scratch every time of this cause some accident of the computer being thrown through the window.

I’ve actually tried both the Mage and Fighter approach. They both have their advantages: notably the Mage can use Ladder Up and Ladder Down spells. But it is such a weakling in term of combat that I finally settled upon the Figther. Now after a couple of hours of playing, lot of money being spend of food, and more death than I had ever had in any Ultima game before – I did it: I managed to kill the Carrion Crawler and (most importantly) exit the dungeon alive.

I am now questing for an evil Gremlin. What can I say ? Heroes get no rest…

Akalabeth: World of Doom

Akalabeth was Richard Garriott’s first commercial game and was published in 1979 for the Apple II. Technically not an Ultima back then, it still offered some references to Lord British and Mondain and basic feels like a prototype for Ultima I, hence why it was eventually dubbed (first unofficially and later officially at the release of the Ultima Collection), “Ultima 0”.

Personally I can’t say I ever cared much for Akalabeth. I discovered it in early 1998 through an unofficial port made by Finire Dragon and played for a few minutes before like “What the eck is this crap ?” and quitting the game. I replayed a few minutes of the game with the Ultima Collection remake (which included a new menu, a few colors and some midi music taken from Ultima III), but again never bothered to play through it.

As such, this will actually be my first play through “Ultima 0: Akalabeth” so I guess this is something to be celebrated, somewhat. I’ll post my impressions later – I doubt the game will be that long to finish. I will of course be using the Ultima Collection version through DosBox to play it.

Akalabeth Cover