Ultimuh MCMLXVII: Part 2 of the 39th Trilogy - The Quest for the Golden Amulet

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The title screen.

Ultimuh MCMLXVII: Part 2 of the 39th Trilogy - The Quest for the Golden Amulet is a satire video game developed and published by Nuclear Meltdown Productions, a name used by the developers Pete Hottelet and Philip Hassey, in 1993. The game is a satire of the Ultima series, mocking the vast array of titles. The game was purposely designed to look, sound, and play terribly. Despite parodying an RPG, the game is more closely related to a beat 'em up.

In the game, you play as a wizard who must travel through eight stages to find a golden amulet, although each stage is the same.

Personal

I remember seeing this game on a CD-ROM game collection that my cousin owned. My cousin hadn't played anything from the Ultima series like I had, so he wasn't in on the joke, but even I quickly found it insufferable. Many years later, while searching for a different game, this one caught my eye again, and I decided to see if it had an ending. I beat it on 2022-07-04.

The game was released as shareware. A registered copy was teased at, but I doubt it was ever made.

Review

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Best Version: MS-DOS

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The title gag works since Origin Systems really has pushed too many unrelated games into the Ultima universe.
  • Despite the game being awful, I'm sure it still felt like a triumph for the developers to see their game get spread around the budding Internet and on BBSes.

Bad

  • Nothing else about the game fits the Ultima series, and they certainly had a wealth of material to parody. It makes me wonder if the developers ever even played an Ultima game.
  • By 1993, SVGA graphics were becoming common, and even VGA was a low bar to reach, so the EGA graphics look dated.
  • The controls are poorly coded. The developers didn't know how to use the arrow keys, so you have to use the number pad, but they only knew how to use the number buttons, so you have to have num lock on, but they didn't know how to turn num lock on programmatically, so they require the player to do it themselves.
  • The music is a cacophony of discordant notes. Although it is pretty funny at first, it quickly becomes annoying. Also, while there are plenty of things to make fun of in the series, Ultima always had amazing music.

Ugly

  • There is a difference between a game being bad for the purposes of satire, and just being bad. This game is the latter. The Ultima series was a pioneer which pushed the bleeding edge of hardware with gorgeous graphics and music for the time. If anything, the game is more of an example of what was wrong with the MS-DOS platform as a whole: dumping awful shareware titles with no artistic merit into an already over-saturated market in the hopes of getting undeserved money.
  • The graphics are crude without even an attempt at humor, it shows that no creativity was put in. There are errant pixels all over, the outlines are of differing weights, the sprites are not clipped when they're drawn off the screen causing them to wrap to the other side, text wasn't cleaned up, and white is used as transparency which wasn't taken into account by the artist, so portions of the sprites are not even drawn.
  • The game play is a chore and not at all rewarding. Every stage uses the same background, enemies, and music. The enemies can't even hurt you, you just press a button to hit them, and, with each new stage, they require an additional hit to kill.

Media

Screenshots

Videos

Longplay.

Links

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