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Video Game / Ultima II

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"Traverse deep dark deadly dungeons
And tall terrifying towers
Travel throughout the galaxy
To the planets of our solar system
And conquer time itself to battle
Minax the Enchantress"

Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress, first released in 1982, is the second game in the Ultima series.

Minax, the apprentice and lover of Mondain, is a bit ticked off that some Stranger from another dimension killed her mentor. Utilizing time gates opened in the wake of Mondain's death, Minax travels back to The Time of Legends and builds a new army, which she uses to take over Earth. Once again, Lord British (who's escaped to Earth from Sosaria) summons The Stranger, who must travel throughout time and space to save the Solar System from Minax's evil. (Later games Retcon this, stating that the events of the game took place entirely in Sosaria, the world of the previous game.)

Ultima II is similar to its predecessor, though it takes the Schizo Tech element up to eleven, and was originally programmed in machine language rather than BASIC. The gameplay world is vast and detailed, though much of it is only for decoration and not required to complete the game. It also started a tradition of including Feelies in the box, in this case a cloth map of the various time doors.

This game had examples of:

  • Artistic License – History: None of the eras that you can visit in this game are even remotely historically accurate, with neither the BC era (1423 BC) nor the AD era (1990) having any civilizations that should have existed at that time (though that could be explained by World Limited to the Plot), and the Pangea era is set a mere 9 million years agonote  and also has a native civilization.
  • Artistic License – Space: All the planets in the Solar System have a habitable climate and harbor life.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The fact that this game takes place on Earth is never mentioned in any of the later games; and they all speak of Minax conquering Sosaria/Britannia instead. Could be The Great Offscreen War, could be a Cosmic Retcon; but even the writers don't talk about it. note 
  • Cool Spaceship: No TIE Fighters this time; you have to search the Solar System for a Blessing from a Priest who lives on Planet X (you have to search the other planets to get the coordinates) that gives you permission to get the Ring that lets you survive the Deflector Shields in Minax's castle.
  • Crapsack World: 2112 A.D. The sole surviving city is a Soviet outpost, with everyone else nuked.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Now they have towers too. There's even less reason to go into different ones than in Ultima I. Pick a dungeon and farm it for rocket fuel and Level Grinding. They were possibly intended to be the only source of fuel, but in most versions (FM-Towns being the exception) it can also be dropped by monsters in the overworld.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The Schizo Tech from the first game is still fully present, and this one makes it worse by modeling the world map after the real world.
  • Evil Learns of Outside Context: After The Stranger arrived on Sosaria in the previous game and thwarted her master/lover's plans, the sorceress Minax learns all she can about him and the world he comes from: Earth. She then uses time magic to raise and army and conquer that world in addition to Sosaria.
  • Four Is Death: Hyperwarping a Rocket to coordinates 4-4-4 will send your ship crashing into The Sun resulting in death.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Ultima II was originally distributed on floppy disks. When it was rereleased in the Ultima I-VI Series, the files from all three disks were placed in the same directory but files on those disks shared the same file name. As such, other planets have their maps overwritten with what's found on earth.
  • Game-Favored Gender: Male characters get a +5 bonus to their Strength, but female characters get a +10 bonus to their Charisma. And no, Charisma is NOT a Dump Stat here, so female characters actually get an advantage, as they have five more character points compared to the males.
  • Guide Dang It!: Minax can only be defeated by one weapon in the game: the Quicksword. The game does not tell you this. In order to get the Quicksword, you need to bribe a random man in a prison cell. The game doesn't tell you this either.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Minax means "threatening" in Latin.
  • Random Drop: Every monster can drop an insane variety of useful items. Keys which allow you to operate airplanes, blue tassles which allow you to captain ships, magic coins to stop time, tri-lithium for spaceship fuel... No, there's not a shop anywhere that sells any of these.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stealth Pun: Most of the jesters are located on Uranus...
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: One of the goals of the game is to find the "Quicksword Enilno", which is the only weapon that can kill Minax, and which you get by bribing a random guy in prison who has it.
  • Time Travel: Via Time Portal, to different eras. Time of Legends, Pangea, 1423 B.C., 1990 A.D., and Aftermath 2112 A.D. Garriott was a big fan of the movie Time Bandits, and it was the inspiration for the Time Portals (Which in later games were the seed for Moongates).
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: 1990 A.D., which features Earth as a Cyberpunk setting with a nuclear apocalypse right around the edge.
  • Video Game Stealing: One of the creatures can steal your equipment (but the game won't say which one requiring the player to check the stats screen.) As for the player, the game no longer mentions when you get caught stealing — but it provides a rather cheap way to collect food because the town of Le Jester isn't walled and has the food shop near the exit.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The time doors (as well as the map which comes with the game, which shows how they are linked together) comes straight from Time Bandits. Richard Garriot had his team members see the movie repeatedly in theaters so that they could make a copy of the map. He noted that after examining it, he realized it was just a prop and had no relation to the way the gates worked in the movie. He also named the time period that Minax's castle was located in as The Time of Legends, which is where Evil's fortress was located in the movie.

Alternative Title(s): Ultima II The Revenge Of The Enchantress