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Unwinnable By Mistake / Ultima

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  • In Ultima I, you can attack your own transport. If you happen to accidentally destroy your ship while you're on an island, well, better hope you saved recently.
  • In Ultima II, getting a ship is vital early in the game, but in order to board one, you need to get the Blue Tassles. Unfortunately, thieves have a tendency to steal your items, so if you do a bunch of monster grinding then park in, say, England to get to Castle Britannia and a thief just stole your last Blue Tassle, and you didn't park the ship so you could just crossover to the mainland, then you'd better hope you've got enough health and food to wait for a monster to spawn, hope it'll spawn in England, and hope it'll drop a Blue Tassle. Otherwise, like the last entry, better hope you saved recently.
  • Ultima IV omitted dialog entirely from a key character. The talking Horse in Iolo's barn was supposed to give you the answer to The Riddle. Instead, when you talked with it, it said "A". If you asked about "A", then it replied with "A" and asked you "A? (y/n)" If you replied yes, then it answered "A". Oops, default dialog! Unfortunately, this was the answer to the very last question you had to type and hit RETURN to win the game - the Codex's final question, of what Truth, Love, and Courage are made of. (Hint: it isn't literally "A.")
    • If you had taken proper notes, particularly during meditation sessions at each shrine (which were required), then the answer was fairly obvious. Still...
    • This became a running joke in the series. In each of Ultima V, VI and VII, Smith the Horse will say, "There was something I forgot to tell you" and give you a vital clue - to a puzzle from the previous game.
    • A more severe bug was present in the French version of the game. Because of how poorly the game was translated, the Text Parser recognizes neither the French nor English forms of items. Thus, you can't use items at all and the game cannot be finished.
    • In an effort to screw with pirates, Ultima IV has copyright protection that ramps up the difficulty of the game's combat to impossible levels if an attempt is detected to pirate the game. In the German version of the game this copy protection was activated on accident, making the game impossibly difficult and unplayable.
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  • In Ultima VII, flying over the wrong mountain on the magic carpet would trigger a door lock in an area near the final showdown, which makes it impossible to complete the game.
  • In Ultima VII Part II: Serpent Isle, a generic-looking bottle of "Fawn ale" that can be picked up early on turns out to be critical to the plot. If you happened to use that bottle on one of your hungry party members, or if the game automatically chose it when you used the 'f' key, then you can't advance past the point where you needed it. The point where you will get stuck without it is most likely days after you picked it up. An identical bottle will not suffice, either.
    • On your way to the teleported mint, you pass a house with ghosts in it. The ghosts, unfortunately, have the dialogue of ghosts you meet much, much later in the game. Talking to them here can cause the game to become unwinnable.
    • In order to free the captain, you have to pay his captors a fine. If you offer them currency, they will increase the size of the fine to more than you have on you — they'll only accept gold bullion.note  There is a place where you can get gold bullion, but if you convert it into currency before talking to the guards, then they'll just up the fine again and you'll never get the captain out.
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  • In Ultima VIII, the player has to learn sorcery, which consists of placing reagents at the points of a pentagram and summoning flame to consume them, enchanting a talisman in the center with the spell in question. One of the potential reagents is brimstone, which in at least one version of the game explodes when burned, destroying the talisman (and potentially killing the Avatar). Since the player has to create and present a talisman as proof of competence...
  • Ultima IX, as released, has a number of killer bugs that make the game unwinnable. The most notorious one occurred about two-thirds of the way into the game: some bad clipping code on a screen at the extreme edge of the game map caused some people to literally fall off the edge of the world with no way back into the game even though, visually, you were only one step away from being back on track. Worst of all, your saved games became invalid; you were forced to start over. Thanks to Executive Meddling and the general destruction of Origin by Electronic Arts, only three patches were released officially, and there were still game-breakers uncorrected by those patches.
    • Going to Yew before you were supposed to breaks the game's scripting, making the game unwinnable. The player could assume a large rock blocking a path is part of the charm of the open world environment and try to jump over the rock, instead of completing a quest where Lord British magically makes it disappear.
  • Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire: Leaving the Myrmidex cave after beating the Great Drum leaves the party stranded in an endlessly repeating field with no exit and no way to go back to the cave.

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