Ultima: Escape from Mount Drash
for PC
Also available for: VIC-20

Pheonix:Popular Vote:
Company: Sierra / Peroxide Entertainment
Year: 2003
Genre: Action
Theme: Misc. Fantasy / Fighting / Sword & Sorcery
Language: English
Licence: Freeware
Views: 13411
Review by Pheonix (2014-07-30)

This is a short and simple game. It was converted from the original Commodore Vic-20 game for Windows only. The conversion is designed for 320x200 resolution and doesn't re-size. I played it in Windows 7 64bit fine, though I had to lean to within inches of my monitor to see what was going on (320x200 is rather tiny on a 1366x768 screen.) I also tried it in XP mode, but it still wouldn't resize. Finally, I tried it on my Windows 98 Virtual PC build and it played with the same re-sizing issue, though there were issues on load forcing me to load it twice every time. There may be settings in Virtual PC allowing a re-size, but I could not find them (Virtual PC gives a message “Virtual PC has disabled live resolution switching.”)

The game play itself is simple, just move through the dungeon from level to level, avoiding or fighting monsters in the way. In the beginning this is rather simple as there is a map showing the location of the exit and monsters. As you advance things become more difficult (map disappears, monsters disappear, a gem is needed to advance.) You also have a limited number of spells you can use.

Overall, the game is only really good for a few minutes of play. It gets old rather fast and becomes boring. Even when it first came out the graphics and game play were simplistic. Even considering the source platform (Vic-20,) it isn't really all that good. For a die hard Ultima fan, there might be a slight amount of nostalgia involved. Though many Ultima fans don't consider it canon, as it wasn't written by Richard Garriot, or even really approved by him. Sierra had it written and released during the time they had all rights to the Ultima name (Richard Garriot later won those rights back when founding Origin Systems.)

The game is slightly better on a real Vic-20 as it includes music and sound. Though it is only “slightly” better as the music gets rather repetitive after a while, and may actually detract from the experience.

Comments (5) [Post comment]

Herr M.:

Seems like the game recently set a new record: It was auctioned off for 9002$, which might make it the most expensive Sierra game ever… or until the next auction at least. ;)

Sources: Sierra Chest and EBay

Herr M.:

Cool, someone else suffered through this game too and found it inspiring enough to write a review. :D Thanks for you thoughts!

As for the resizing problem: I had that too. But what I find even stranger is how the rest of the screen is filled with green background and the game itself is stuck at the bottom left corner. I guess the best way to fix this would be sifting through the source code and try to resize things manually. This begs the question whether it is worth the trouble though.

Did you finish the DOS port? I think it's a bit harder than the original, because you get only three spells over the whole game, while in the VIC-20 version you had threee spells in every level. The fighting is a bit easier though, since you can hit a lot faster.

Herr M.:
Nice find! Quite interesting article, which sheds some new light on the most fascinating aspect of this game, namely its history. Though I still doubt that that we will ever know the whole truth about this game's genesis. ;)