Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds
Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds is the second installment of the Underworld series and the eleventh in the entire series. It was developed by Looking Glass Studios and published by Origin for the IBM-PC in 1992. It is part of the "Age of Armageddon" saga.
Ultima Underworld II is much more complex and larger than its predecessor, Ultima Underworld. Its story is now an integral part of the main Ultima story line, with another plan of the Guardian to attack and conquer Britannia, and many of the backgrounds to the evil mastermind behind these plans are explained.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
A year has gone by since the events of Ultima VII and Lord British is inviting many prominent people, including the Avatar, to a party in Castle Britannia to celebrate the reconstruction after the crisis surrounding the Fellowship. But the next morning, disaster strikes. The Guardian attacks and traps Castle Britannia with all people within inside a giant Blackrock Dome, effectively paralyzing the land by cutting it off from its leaders.
The Player as the Avatar descends into the sewers beneath the castle in order to find a possible exit, where a strange, big jewel made of blackrock is found, enabling travel to other worlds. These worlds have already fallen prey to the Guardian, either being conquered or outright destroyed. Finding allies on some of these worlds, the Avatar learns that the dome's own construction can be turned against it. The Avatar weakens the jewel by turning the Guardian's own magic against it and cutting its magical supply lines from the various worlds, while searching for a way to break the dome in the end. Just when the Guardian starts a invasion from the world Killorn Keep through the jewel, led by his champion Mors Gotha, the Avatar has found the solution. Killing Gotha in battle, the Avatar and Nystul manage to break the dome with the Horn of Praecor Loth, sealing the gateway between the worlds.
Britannia is again saved from the Guardian.
Spoilers end here.
Ultima Underworld II is based on the same engine as Ultima Underworld, but with enhancements. The viewing window is now bigger - which was even advertised on the box itself - digital sound effects are implemented, the casting system is easier. The portraits of the people are now much better and bigger. According to Paul Neurath, Origin wanted the sequel out in less than a year. Despite delivering on time, it was a rush job and some corners were cut.
Although Ultima Underworld II was exclusively produced for the PC, a port for the PC-9801/9821 exists in the format of 3.5, 5.25 disks and CD-ROM. In 1995 a Japanese FM-Towns version was also released, but it is almost identical to the original version, except for the language.
Only the documentation of Ultima Underworld II was translated for the European releases, while the game itself remained English. A Safe Passage Through Britannia was completely translated, including the title. These were the title's translations:
- German: Eine sichere Reise durch Britannia
- French: Traverser Britannia en confiance
The Japanese FM-Towns version was fully translated, both the in-game text and the documentation. The Korean edition had a fully translated game manual, but not the in-game text.
The game gathered very good ratings, but sold only half of its predecessor. A third part wasn't made because poor sales killed Origin's further interest towards the Underworld series according to Paul Neurath.
It was later also released in the Underworld Series.
Included with the game
The release of Ultima Underworld II included these things with the game:
Ultima Underworld I and II can be purchased from Good Old Games at http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/ultima_underworld_1_2.
Ultima Underworld II has one upgrade available. It is a patch to convert the music for General MIDI usage instead of Roland Sound, thus making it far more compatible with modern soundcards. It can be downloaded here: MIDI Patch
- Runic Magic
- Ultima Underworld II Real-life references and easter eggs
- Cheating in Ultima Underworld II
- Skill System of Underworld I and II
- There are a couple of subtle references in the game's dialogue to the opening of the 1967 miniseries The Prisoner. When speaking to the goblin guards of Tarna, the Avatar has the opportunity to shout "I am not a slave, I am a free man!" Later, when encountering the wisp on the ethereal plane, the entity may be asked what it wants. When the wisp replies "We want information," the hero may reply "You won't get it!"
- The feline Trilkhai in Killorn Keep allude to the Kilrathi antagonists of the Wing Commander series. Their background story reflects the aftermath of Wing Commander III at the time of Underworld II.
- If Armageddon is cast, the wall to return to Britannia is subsequently destroyed.
- Although completion certificates could be obtained from Origin upon finishing Ultima Underworld and subsequent installments of the main series, no such award was offered for Ultima Underworld II.
- The collectible Ultima-Ultima Underworld II
- The Other Codex-Ultima Underworld II
- Ultima Aiera Ultima Underworld 2 resources
- YouTube - Excalibur Reviews: Ultima Underworld II