Underwurlde

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Underwurlde
Underwurlde title.gif
Title screen
Developer(s) Ultimate Play The Game
Publisher(s) Ultimate Play The Game
Series Sabreman
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum
Commodore 64
Release date(s) ZX Spectrum Commodore 64
Genre(s) Arcade adventure; Maze; Platform
Mode(s) Single player

Underwurlde is a video game for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 developed and released by Ultimate Play The Game in 1984. The game is the second in the Sabreman series, following on from his adventures in Sabre Wulf. The format of the game is a 2D side view flip-screen platform game. The aim is to escape from the Underwurlde via one of the three exits, to go to either Knight Lore, Pentagram or Mire Mare. It was later included in Rare's 2015 Xbox One retrospective compilation, Rare Replay.

Plot[edit]

Sabreman visits the "Underwurlde", but finds himself trapped when previously dormant creatures and carnivorous plants wake in the hope of a meal. He must travel farther down into the Underwurlde to confront the ultimate evil and make his escape.

Gameplay[edit]

A typical in-game screenshot

Again taking on the role of Sabreman, the player must navigate a flip-screen maze (597 screens) that encompasses a castle and the large system of caverns beneath it. Unlike the maze in Sabre Wulf, which is viewed from above, rooms here are viewed from the side, and play takes the form of a platform game. Sabreman must make his way through the maze to one of three exits (one for each of the sequels to Underwurlde). To get to the exits, three different guardians must be defeated, each allowing deeper access to the cavern system. Each guardian is vulnerable to a different weapon - the location of which is hidden in the previously accessed cavern, thus encouraging exploration. The location of the weapons other than the slingshot (which does not affect any guardians) are a set of four different potential locations - once the player finds the first extra weapon using a map they can calculate the location of the other two.

Along the way, Sabreman is attacked by a range of enemies from winged harpies to floating jellyfish. Bereft of his trademark sabre, Sabreman can fend off these adversaries with the weapons he collects on his journey - starting with a slingshot. Contact with enemies does not directly cause damage, their aim instead is to cause fatal falls by knocking the player off platforms. After one of the first two guardians is destroyed (the third one cannot be accessed except through passing the second one), two more enemies are added, one that resembles a seal and otherwise acts like the starting enemies, and the eagle, which has the added ability of picking up Sabreman, and possibly dropping him from a height. Although Sabreman is tough enough to survive short drops, the caverns are full of chasms deep enough for a lethal fall. However, there is one item, the blue gem, that makes him temporarily invincible. These may only be found on ledges in vertical shafts in the caves. The only other item found besides gems and weapons are the extra lives, which are in fixed locations.

Climbing in and out of these pits can be achieved in several ways. Firstly, Sabreman can make rather athletic bounds between platforms. Alternatively, in the caverns he can make use of conveniently placed ropes to safely ascend or descend, but there is a risk of falling stalactites that will fall down the middle of the shaft, and even touching this obstacle when not affected by the Gem is instantly fatal. Also, in some parts of the maze, bubbles of volcanic gas can carry Sabreman up the chasms. [1]

Background[edit]

Ashby Computers and Graphics was founded by brothers Tim and Chris Stamper, along with Tim's wife, Carol, from their headquarters in Ashby-de-la-Zouch in 1982. Under the trading name of Ultimate Play The Game, they began producing multiple video games for the ZX Spectrum throughout the early 1980s.[2] The company were known for their reluctance to reveal details about their operations and upcoming projects. Little was known about their development process except that they used to work in "separate teams"; one team would work on graphics whilst the other would concentrate on other aspects such as sound or graphics.[2]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
CVG ZX: 36/40[3]
C64: 35/40[4]
Crash 92%[5]
Sinclair User 8[6]
Zzap!64 69%[7]

The ZX Spectrum version was number 18 in the Your Sinclair Top 100 Speccy Games in 1992,[8] was voted number 97 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time in 1993[9] and was voted the 17th best game of all time by the readers of Retro Gamer Magazine for an article that was scheduled to be in a special Your Sinclair tribute issue.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Ultimate Adventure Underwurlde", Your Sinclair (Future plc) (11), February 1985: 44 
  2. ^ a b "The Best of British - Ultimate". Crash. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Underwurlde - Review", C+VG (Future Publishing) (39), January 1985: 28 
  4. ^ "Underwurlde - Review", C+VG (Future Publishing) (52), February 1986: 24 
  5. ^ "Underwurlde - Review", Crash (magazine) (Newsfield Publications) (12), December 1984: 16–17 
  6. ^ "Underwurlde - Review", Sinclair User (EMAP) (35), February 1985: 24 
  7. ^ "Underwurlde - Review", Zzap!64 (Newsfield Publications Ltd) (9), December 1985: 18–19 
  8. ^ "Top 100 Speccy Games", Your Sinclair (Future plc) (73), January 1992: 34–36, archived from the original on 1999-01-01 
  9. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time", Your Sinclair (Future plc) (93), September 1993: 11 
  10. ^ "The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!". ysrnry.co.uk. November 2004. 

External links[edit]