Richard Garriott (AKA Lord British) is a pretty important man. Not only did he single-handedly bring the Role-Playing genre to Video gaming prominence with his legendary Ultima series, he is responsible for the existence of MMO's as well as being one of the first tourists to ever visit the International Space Station. He's a pretty awesome dude.
His flagship creation, Ultima, is widely regarding as one of the most important video games of all time and is directly responsible for the creation of other legendary RPG franchises such as Wizardry, Dragon Quest and Hydlide. But Ultima wasn't the first foray into gaming for Lord British, thus I bring to you, Akalabeth: World of Doom.
Originally re-released on the Apple II computer back in 1979, developer QuantumToast has brought the game onto the iOS, under the close supervision of Garriott himself.
The game is an emulation of the original Apple II program, everything is relatively untouched, save for some additions for beginner players that we will touch on later.
The gameplay will be somewhat familiar to fans of the Role-Playing genre. You must navigate the randomly generated overworld map, adventure through dungeons in the first-person perspective and slay a variety of creatures. You begin in one of a handful of towns, where you can buy equipment such as weapons, shields, magical amulets and food. Like it's Ultima successors, food plays an important role in adventuring. You need it. Every step you take on the overworld map or inside a dungeon costs some of your food. Thieves and gremlins can also steal it, along with equipment that you own. Run out of food? You starve to death. Simple as that. As with most other RPGs, slaying beasts results in experience points, which allow you to level up and improve your character stats.
|The Dungeons of Sosaria are riddle with wireframe beasts, such as the Carrior Crawler Chest.|
The visuals and audio are left unchanged from the Apple II original, which keeps the charm of the game. All the creatures are blocky wireframes on a black background. While the audio is just a bunch of beeps, boops and whirs that come standard on a prehistoric platform such as the Apple II.
The iPhone version isn't an exact port of the game, QuantumToast has included a handful of minute additions which make the game a little more accessible to new gamers. These include the ability to save your location (Impossible on the Apple II), find food in treasure chests and the ability to start next to the castle of Lord British. They don't sound like much, but even a seasoned RPG-er is bound to die on the first few descents into the dungeons. Akalabeth also includes OpenFeint, so those who have an account can earn achievements during their adventure.
The game is a classic, Role-Playing Gamers, both hardcore and casual, will enjoy this piece of RPG history. You can download it on the App Store for $1.99. Which is a small price to pay for an engaging retro adventure. Check it out!
- Kyle K.