Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash


Escape from Mt. Drash is a game of life, and unless you can prevent it, a game of death. You are a prisoner of the evil, wretched Garrintrots whose stronghold is high atop the treacherous Mount Drash. The mountain is honeycombed with old mining tunnels that have been long since abandoned by humanoid life. The Garrintrots have stocked the caverns with all manners of creatures, and now use the caverns as gaming arenas where you are the main attraction.

Find your way through each of the fifteen randomly created mazes, dodging or fighting the creatures which dwell in them. You will progress from the rank of Qwimby to colonel as you manage to escape the levels which become harder - visual aids disappear, gems must be collected and enemies become faster in combat. Luckily you also have a limited number of spells at your disposal to teleport, breach a wall or temporarily put an enemy to sleep. Escape all fifteen mazes and achieve the ultimate ranking of Questor.

Escape from Mt. Drash, developed by Keith Zabalaoui, is widely considered as the Holy Grail of Sierra game collectibles. It is so rare that is was considered non-existent until a copy surfaced on the internet about 15 years after its release. As a result, different myths started surrounding the game, including that it was dumped in a landfill (like the notorious E.T. game) and that the creator of the Ultima series, Richard Garriott (also known under the pseudonym Lord British) was unaware of its existence. Sadly these myths are widely accepted as truth, but they are not.

Escape from Mt. Drash is, despite its name, indeed not part of the Ultima series or even a role-playing game, but Garriott had given explicit permission to Sierra and Zabalaoui, who had programmed Ultima 2: Revenge of the Enchantress and was a close friend of Garriott, to use the name of his popular game series. Sierra had done so because they doubted the game would sell well, not only because the game itself was mediocre, but also because it was only released for the Commodore Vic-20, which was rapidly losing its popularity at the time. In addition, the game required an 8K RAM expansion, making it even less likely to properly sell. Sierra only produced the minimal amount required and placed a single ad for the game in Compute Magazine (July 1983 issue). Retailers pulled it from the shelves shortly after, and the rest is history. However due to the myths and the game's rarity (around 10 copies are known to exist), it goes for considerable amounts whenever a copy appears on auction, reaching bids as high as $3,000.

External links

- Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash at MobyGames
- Ultima: Escape from Mt. Drash at Wikipedia