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Deviating from their traditional top-down game design, Origin Systems, with the help of Looking Glass Studios, presents the latest Ultima entry as a full 3D adventure, complete with a first-person point of view seen in many non-RPGs like Doom. The change of perspective hearkens back to the early Ultima dungeon designs, which were first-person wire frame based labyrinths.
At the beginning of the adventure, the Avatar is accused of kidnapping the daughter of an important man. In order to prove his innocence and identity, he must descend into the Stygian Abyss, rescue the maiden in the 3D catacombs and then escape. Along the way, several types of peril impede his progress including a myriad of monsters marauding throughout the dungeons, several puzzles — many deadly if handled improperly — and traps.
At the core of the game is the traditional Ultima design. Combat, though, is different from previous games as the speed and power of swings is determined by various actions performed and the type of weapon wielded. The magic system is familiar to any gamer who has played other Ultima adventures with the reagent system and runic aspect mostly unchanged.
Whether a burst of fire or a cold stone wall, the game display utilizes VGA graphics in a 3D environment. To keep up with the new graphic design, support for the Sound Blaster series of sound cards (with MIDI support) is available in addition to digitized sound effects. The Avatar, as in other Ultima games, possesses the abilities necessary to complete his quest and escape the Stygian Abyss alive but your own skill in navigating the new 3D environments will make or break his chances. ~ Drew Hunt, All Game Guide