My memories of Ultima Underworld are of an endless stream of delighted discoveries, an abject fear of what might lurk in the dim and tortuous tunnels, and of scribbling notes about which NPC wanted what item and which rune sequence created which spell.
Jumping back into the sprawling dungeons of the Stygian Abyss today is gleefully exciting. But it’s also a tiny bit depressing, because I’ll never get to play it for the very first time again.
Not only was this the first ‘proper’ PC game I ever played, but also one of the most influential PC games in terms of technology and design that has ever been released. Like its Ultima predecessors – in spirit if not in mechanics – Underworld was a genuine RPG, stuffed full of quests and magic and exploration and dialogue and weapons and stats.