Ultima: Escape from Mount Drash

RPG 1983 Dos Sierra Myth and legend Dungeons and Dragons Medieval

Fascinating and rare fantasy adventure

While this game shares a name with the legendary Ultima series of fantasy RPGs, it is actually a rare and little known spin-off which bears little resemblance to the main franchise. The title was added in the hope that it would boost sales while series creator, Richard Garriot, had no involvement in the game's creation. So, ignoring the fact that this isn't an Ultima game, is it worth playing? For the average player, perhaps not, but for anyone with an interest in the history of RPGs, this is a curiosity of some note, despite its crudity. The game takes the form of a dungeon crawler like Diablo or Dungeon Master, albeit in the most basic sense, with players exploring a series of mazes and with the simple aim of getting to the exit. Of course, along the way you'll find various enemies blocking your way, which must be despatched in combat system. Although this too is simple, with only a limited selection of actions, you do at least get to control your hero's moves directly. Adding to the appeal is the fact that each level has a very strict time limit of 99 seconds, which really cranks up the intensity and challenge, something which is further boosted by the randomly generated nature of the levels. Magic too plays a part, with three spells which allow you to blast walls, teleport or put all the monsters to sleep for a while. The limited availability of these spells also adds a strategic element to the game. Escape from Mount Drash is undoubtedly a curio of times past, lacking in sophistication and depth but providing plenty of old school RPG adventuring. It is a must play for historians and collectors, just don't expect anything much like the other games which share the Ultima name.

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