Ultima 0 – Akalabeth

The Spoony One | Jul 4 2010 | more notation(s) | 

Welcome, foolish mortal!

(Game collection photo by Captain Rufus.)

  • http://twitter.com/unacomn unacomn

    Strange coincidence. I started a similar retrospective for the Ultima series that will end tomorrow. I broke it up into one episode for each age.
    I'm really looking forward to seeing your take on the games.

    Also, will you be including the side games, like the Worlds of Ultima, or the Underworlds?

  • Doctor Who

    Heh. I loved the Ultima games growing up. Never even touched this one.

    Your shirt is awesome, and now I must find a site that sells them.

  • http://www.foxhack.net/ Foxhack

    And here I thought you'd be killing an African American boxer to be knighted. Phew.

  • sephex

    Very, very interesting stuff. Looking forward to the next part, especially because this is a series that I missed out on back in the day.

  • MitchellBandes

    This was a good review for its length, but it was painfully, painfully short. I do hope there's another review on its heels to compensate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SnowDruid Fabio Franchello

    Good work Spoony. It was about time someone remembered the Ultima serie :) (I was 4 when this came out… man I'm old)

  • Automan2k

    That's some pretty good work for being written in BASIC. I was so proud of myself when I wrote a dice rolling program on a C64 back in the day.

  • Logion

    Nice review! I'm definitely looking forward to more of these dungeon games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.dulude David Dulude

    this is made of pure awesome

  • skavenhorde

    Awesome review. I tried playing this one when it came with the collection, but I never could get into it. If I'm going to play a game that old I'd rather play Wizardry 1 or if I'm in a masochistic mood then I'll play Wizardry 4.

    Speaking of Wizardry 4 I hope you review that one some day. That would be one hell of a review/rant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1844354334 Matthew Clark

    Pretty crazy to see a game as old as this. By the way, nice touch with Knight Man's theme from Megaman 5 for the credits. :P

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/114319313498601954245 Kaltzor

    Killing a Balron to be a knight… Those damn knights must be around the level of DooM space marines.

  • Strelnikov

    The graphics could be worse: Scott Adam's “Adventure” games were just text and one word orders.

    “You are in a large cave with an door to the north. What do you do?”
    “What is a head?”

    And with this simple formula Adams was a gazillionare, all before the TRS-80 computers his games ran on had disk drives, color monitors, or sound.

  • http://twitter.com/xbeastcake Chris Gutierrez

    This is a great idea. Foolish mortal.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerard-Mckay/1552902991 Gerard Mckay

    Nice review never played this line of games myself.

  • Madpotator

    Welcome back! Nice start of the retrospective. Those gremlins sure like to eat your food from your pocket.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doug-Smith/1595632907 Doug Smith

    I had a feeling some Ultima reviews were coming from the updated intro.

  • http://bluehighwind.blogspot.com/ BlueHighwind

    Call me disrespectful to the RPG heritage, but this looks like the very worst game I've ever seen in my entire life. I know its old, and they couldn't do any better, but how could somebody who grew up playing a Super Mario Bros like this game? And I didn't play Super Mario Bros on the NES – I played Super Mario Delux on the GBC. My first RPG was Pokemon.

    Also this coming from a person who didn't like the original Zelda because of how simple everything was.

  • ganonslayer

    What was that music at the end from?

  • http://twitter.com/HunterwolfAT Maximilian Sieß

    Spoony reviews Akalabeth. Never thought I'd see that happen.

    Besides that, awesome review :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dan-Semmler/16506130 Dan Semmler

    Cool, I was always curious about the Ultima series

  • thedeviot

    Nice overview. I was only 3 when it came out so I wasn't exposed to it originally. But I did grow up on the C64, so I remember a couple of the Ultimas, and TSR computer games that were released at the time even if I never was a big RPG guy. I did notice before Ziff closed the magazine, CGW/GFW did an article about Lord British, and touched on Akalbeth although they didn't post screens. They did show a picture of the original boxed copy which wasn't boxed at all.
    Lord British basically photocopied a manual, bundled it with a disc, and distributed it to his local software store IN A ZIPLOC BAG. Not kidding. Still it was nice you were able to find gameplay videos of it. It really does seem to have a lot of the elements of the 8-bit Ultimas in place though.
    I also liked the Mega Man music during the end credits. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eli-Gionet/634762106 Eli Gionet

    What is the music from at the end of the review? Sounds like Megaman

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.szpakowski Michael Szpakowski

    How could people who grew up playing Mario like this game? Simple. This was released like 3 years before Mario.

    Interesting seeing a game where you fight a Balrog, having played Lord of the Rings: Third Age recently which has you help Gandalf even though it makes no sense!

  • http://shadowdancersworldo.blip.tv/ Shadowdancer21b

    I love that musit at the end!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6LVDGSN5J6SBDQY2NJIH4M3P4A Jerry Chifari

    Mega Man 6, Knight Man's level! I always thought Mega Man 6 was the most underrated game of the series. Better than the original trilogy? No…not really. But I thought it was definitely the best out of the later games up until Mega Man 9.

  • http://bluehighwind.blogspot.com/ BlueHighwind

    Remember, I said I grew up playing the REMAKE of Super Mario Bros, not the original. I was negative six when Super Mario Bros came out. I was five when Super Mario 64 came out. When I was playing Sim City 2000 in my school's Apple computers, that game was already eight or nine years old.

  • Barask

    What a very nice surprise. Ultima games has always interested me though I haven't played that many. My favorite is Exodus. Can't wait till you talk about that one, with the game being easier if you never level up, just buy higher stats.

  • starsteam

    Was anyone else facing withdrawal form not having a new episode, or was that just me XD.

  • thehivemind33

    Same here! Mega Man 6 is high up on my favorites in the original series. Although I find it a bit too easy compared to some of the others it still has a special place in my heart. It makes me super happy to hear Knight Man's theme in this vid! *Although Blizzard Man's theme is my most favorite in the game* Is spoony a fan of Mega Man as well? :o
    Ramble mode: off.

  • http://cassave.deviantart.com/ Cassavius

    I love the Ultima series…thanks Spoony!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Filipe-Isabelinho/100000173498272 Filipe Isabelinho

    I wonder what you would get if you actually alled back in the day… Anyone here that old? I'm rly curious!!! What was it like:

    You: “Hey I just finished the game, killed a Balrog!!!!”
    Phone: “Congratulations that's great!!!”
    You: “…… ok” -_-'


  • http://twitter.com/LikChan Lik Chan


  • Princess Stabbity

    Oh god, Ultima. I'm going to have nightmares of this series because I never finished any of them.
    Still.. I wonder why they wanted you to call the number after winning. Did you get something? A pat on the back? Shiny box of nothing?

  • Joon_Studios

    Nice review Spoony. You've really inspired me to do what you do. My YouTube Page s JoonStudios.

  • ganonslayer

    Amazing. I knew that I had heard it somewhere before. I love all of the mega man games and I love their soundtracks just as much. I just could not place it, thank you, it was driving me nuts.

  • StealthKnight

    1:28: I count 6 colors. =) Was this the 4 bit era or the 2 bit era?

    As much as it would be interesting to watch, it sounds really annoying to play and dull. I wonder if someone made a mod where Lord British tells you to kill random things like Ronald McDonald or your mother. That would would make the funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hbentonjr Henry Benton Jr

    I'm always glad to see Doom properly marked.

  • sifer2

    Looks like the guy supposed to answer the phone ran out of food.

  • Dasyati

    “California Pacific Computer, this is John, how may I help you?”


    “Wrong number, dumbass!”

  • Strata

    “Akalabeth”? Really? Lord British must have been loving him some Silmarillion. *Akallabeth* is the name of the chapter of Tolkien's The Silmarillion that deals with the downfall of Numenor. I don't think it has much to do with this game.

    …not counting a cameo by a Balrog, apparently. Damn. Knighthoods don't come cheap in this kingdom.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Acervus Logan Brock

    I live not more than 5 miles from Richard Garriot's House… Do you think if I beat this game, I can go up to his AWESOME mansion and be like, “KNIGHT ME LORD BRITISH! FOR I HATH SLAIN THE BALROG! ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Filipe-Isabelinho/100000173498272 Filipe Isabelinho

      Yes! actually YOU MUST Do it… and record it! =P I’d love to see his expression xD

  • MasterTalon

    Nice touch of adding in Knight Man's stage theme. It's fitting.

  • Swingontehspiral

    lol “oh there's the doom”

    thanks for the classic styled review spoony, this beat most everything at E3.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001035105890 Brett Wheeler

    An Ultima retrospective?! Tears of joy stream down my cheeks.

  • notyoursavior78

    That was great. I too am looking forward to this Ultima retrospective. I only had played mainly the ones that were released for the NES, but it was always a game series I wish I had played more and was more determined to beat.

    As far as calling up the company about your amazing feat, I think they would just mail you like a certificate saying you completed the game.

  • http://twitter.com/thebluesader AJ

    Sweet. Back to pure Spoony basics. Keep it up.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/LordKarnov42 LordKarnov42

    The Non-PC ports of the Ultima games were all pretty crap. IV for NES and SMS, and VI for SNES were okay, but the PC versions were the best by far.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremie-Caisse/100000114247204 Jeremie Caisse

    Nice, I literally know nothing about Ultima so this is pretty interesting to see and gotta love the (awesome) Megaman VI music.

  • starsteam

    Love, how the skeleton is face palming, thinking to him self that people would actually call in a report the feat.

  • sebasnadilo

    Back to the bases…Great!!

  • graaa

    Anyone else played the two awesome Ultima remakes – Ultima 5 Lazarus (crazy good) & the Ultima 6 Project (just released, haven't finished it yet) ?

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/LordKarnov42 LordKarnov42

    I played Lazarus but it was crazy glitchy and I never finished it. I like the idea of the added ending though. I just wish they found a way to incorporate sea travel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=729095830 Anya Niehaus

    Whoo – Ultima! Although I have to admit I never actually finished one.
    Cool T-shirt, by the way. Where did you get it?

  • IrkenTrad

    I read the title and I thought you were doing something involving excerpts from The Silmarillion. I am somewhat disappointed that that wasn't the case, but all in all it was a fun video to watch. Nice special guest appearance by Bauglir's minion, though!

  • Keydorn

    Great review as always Spoony.Can somebody tell me what is the music in the beginning of the video ? .It starts at the 00:49 mark. Looking forward to the reviews of modern Ultima games.

  • Sephur

    The ending song is Knight Man's Stage from Mega Man 6. That's not Ultima, :(

  • Keydorn

    I was talking about the music that starts right after the intro when spoony talks about the past tech and such.

  • Keydorn

    I was talking about the music that plays in the beginning of the video after the intro.

  • http://dragonacesg7.livejournal.com/profile Dragons_Dusk

    wow, early computer RPGs didn't fuck around, the Balrog? (sp?)

    oh and VERY COOL B5 poster behind you :D

  • http://dragonacesg7.livejournal.com/profile Dragons_Dusk

    wow, early computer RPGs didn’t fuck around, the Balrog? (sp?)

    oh and VERY COOL B5 poster behind you :D

  • Anonymous

    I like the appropriate knight man music at the end. =D

  • http://twitter.com/Khessed Sander van Leth

    Sounds like King’s Quest to me. Dunno which one though!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe he just wanted you to take care of Street Fighter Balrog and you ended up killing a monster so strong he had to call you a lord?

  • Anonymous

    Wow,Lord British doesn’t f*ck around,you wanna be a knight,you kill a goddamn balrog.

  • Anonymous

    Wow,Lord British doesn’t f*ck around,you wanna be a knight,you kill a goddamn balrog.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ICDHG7TLTN6JVK6JMK3TKQFXKQ Mike Wallace

    At least you got visuals; some of those old Apple II games were nothing but text, and no matter how you word it, you still can’t get ye flask.

    Loved the MegaMan music at the end of the vid, too. XD

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ICDHG7TLTN6JVK6JMK3TKQFXKQ Mike Wallace

    At least you got visuals; some of those old Apple II games were nothing but text, and no matter how you word it, you still can’t get ye flask.

    Loved the MegaMan music at the end of the vid, too. XD

  • http://twitter.com/PofB Process bel

    Question: has anyone actually called that number lately?

  • http://reasonablydoubtingnews.blogspot.com/ Pär

    Thanks for putting this together. I have a vague memory of Ultima I or II, and now I think I finally found a way to figure out which of the games in the series I really want to play, given that I want some graphics with my retro habit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000312873482 Amanda Belaire

    I knew nothing about Ultima and this is my fourth play through of all your reviews in a row. So awesome. Thank you so much! :)

    • http://dragonacesg7.livejournal.com/profile Dragons_Dusk

       I felt totally the same way :)
      I really enjoy this series, I like the indepth look at the game more than the crazy stuff from his FF series.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Wells/13805208 Patrick Wells

    No! Don’t kill Gizmo!

  • Anonymous

    Then leave and Begone!!!

    I love Spoony’s Ultima retrospective. He still has to get the games  for the PC that were actually considered really bad. I find Ultima VIII hilariously bad whereas Ultima IX was just kinda bad and disappointing too since the series ended there pretty much.

  • Jeremy “MEGADEATH” Lee

    whos the redhead in the beginning of this video?

    • Troy Lang

      That’s Zelda Scott, the illest mofo to ever set foot in a Game Crazy store. Check out the video in TSE Riff Theater.

      • Arsenal Of Megadeath

        OH! DUDE!! ZELDA SCOTT! TOTALLY AWESOME!!Thanks for the reply.

  • http://dragonacesg7.livejournal.com/profile Dragons_Dusk

    rewatching the previous Ultimas while you get 8 finished up Spoony, still funny shit :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jessano Jessica Marie

    I genuinely want to know what happened when people called that number. Did you get a personal thanks from Lord British himself? Did you get any cool shit? Sigh, I feel the world may never know…

    • Liam Elwood

      The number is discontinued…
      It says it’s not available

      • http://www.facebook.com/Jessano Jessica Marie

         I figured it was by now, I meant what happened when people called that number when the game first came out.

        • Senna4ever

          You got a huge phone bill for nothing.

  • Liam Elwood

    I actually called the number, it just doesn’t work anymore…
    anticlimactic… :(

    • gallowsCalibrator413

      I always call a phone number when I see it like this; usually results in ~30 second call culminating in “The number you have dialed has been disconnected or no longer in service” lol. But I was wondering if I’d get something this time

  • L1nk1

    That’s clearly from Megaman 6 the knightman stage. Nice pick

  • Arsenal Of Megadeath

    I wanna be the Warlock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jimmy-TheFish/100000139595167 Jimmy TheFish

    Hey spoon have you ever taken a shit so big you get paid by the pound.

  • jagarcia0705

    90’s Kid: Dude! Doom is the most awesome game ever since…ever!!!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/C5GOQAZXMIGVXZJAVFHRR5U7RI Yang Zhiwen

      It’s got zombies, and imps throwin’ snot and GUUUNNNNSSS!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Jesseraygarza Jesse Garza

    So awesome! The phone gag was the funniest thing! Your one of the greatest things on the internet Spoony!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devyn-Sha-ken-Kennedy/1047447079 Devyn Sha-ken Kennedy

    I’ve been following you for years and I love everything you do. Thanks for all the laughs, dude!

  • Senna4ever

    Kill a Gremlin…then Spoony shows a pic of a Mogwai…wrong creature.
    Come on Mr/ Spoon, you could not find a pic of a Gremlin?

    • cajaquarius

       Gremlins are just a non-metamorphosed mogwai – they are still the same basic creature. Gremlin is the butterfly that the mogwai pupa is supposed to become, if I recall the movie right.

      • Senna4ever

        They are still 2 different creatures.
        A caterpillar and a butterfly are 2 different creatures to.

        But as I said, he could not find a pic of a Gremlin?
        A quick google search and I found 1000’s

        “Gremlin is the butterfly that the mogwai pupa is supposed to become, if I recall the movie right.”

        No you don’t remember it right.
        Mogwai are not “supposed” to become Gremlins at all, in fact a huge piece of the plot is avoiding a Mogwai becoming a Gremlin.

        • cajaquarius

          But why would a creature evolve a metamorphosis that they were never supposed to undergo and could only avoid undergoing by having another species (us) stop them from undergoing it? I understand it was important for humans to keep them in the mogwai state but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t what they were naturally supposed to become. As for butterfly and pupa, the two creatures actually share DNA, for the most part. They may look different but they are, technically, the same overall species. That said, I can see your point though.

          • Meghan Heath

            I love how this argument got started over a Ultima review. Great review, btw… I love your retrospectives. =3

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Devyn-Sha-ken-Kennedy/1047447079 Devyn Sha-ken Kennedy

    Spoony, you are easily the greatest person ever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1641579667 Henkjan Braaksma

    “This review would take forever to complete.”

    Nearly two years later…

    Not complaining though, your work is absolutely stellar and worth the wait every time.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andreas-Tornqvist/605088298 Andreas Törnqvist

      I agree!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002517451944 Robert Saget

    Time for a Spoony marathon! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ron-MClendon/100000975670559 Ron MClendon

  • http://twitter.com/carfo bob barker

    its on iphone, search for akalabeth

  • http://www.facebook.com/xcellent2 Devin Leach

    Rewatching it all, the review of Ultima was probably my favorite thing you have done, second being Phantasmagoria

  • http://www.facebook.com/alan.shorter.94 Alan Shorter

    Has it really been two years! In that time I kicked out my housemate,
    moved in with my girlfriend, got married, become a teacher and had a child. Love all your reviews

    Wow time flies!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-Callahan/100000086211927 Timothy Callahan

    God, I love Spoony, I just recently became a fan and it is SO awesome to see another gamer who is obsessed with the old games like I am [Stonekeep / HeXen > All]; I also think it is cool that it is very obvious to see how much Mystery Science Theater 3000 has influenced his commentary styl

  • jagarcia0705

    Cortana: This is were it begins.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Redding/100001210219556 Mark Redding

    You think basic is primitive eh? Check out QB64, the 64 bit, unlimited memory, SDL library, 32 bit color, HD graphics version of ‘basic’.

  • Garmrspor

    He shows nothing of the overworld/overview or whatever the hell it is. >:O

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tobbelito92 Tobias Berg

    And so the journey through Ultima begins once again, this never gets boring no matter how many times I rewatch this series. Thanks for being awesome Spoony.

  • Senna4ever

    Hey, Mr. Spoon.
    Can you put the whole thing into one playlist, so we can just sit back and watch the whole damn epic journey.

  • Ezequiel

    The ending cracked me up. Man I love old as fuck games I never played.

  • Cameron Vale

    I don’t know why, but the uncredited use of Mega Man music really irritates me.

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    Decided to go through the Ultima-te ride once again. XD It never gets old.

  • Ryan Rardin

    Can you imagine someone going to fight the classic Lord of the Rings Balrog, only to fight the giant lunch box from Cave Story? If they pulled a bait and switch like that, I’d be laughing so freaking hard!

  • Damien Letham

    With the text at 2:43, I like how it says “press -space- to continue”, because after reading it, I pressed the spacebar to unpause and continue the video. :)

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