Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 – Martian Dreams Retrospective

Back in the day, a good decade ago actually, Richard Cobbett had a column with PC Gamer where he covered all sorts of obscure titles. And seeing how not everyone has had the chance to read those older articles, we can now revisit them. Which brings us to this massive retrospective for Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 – Martian Dreams.

While it’s a lesser-known entry in the Ultima series, the game has you teaming up with Warren Spector and Sigmund Freud in a sci-fi battle against Rasputin and his alien overlords. So, without further ado, here’s a quick excerpt and you take it from there:

What’s going on is that back at the Columbian Exposition of 1893, shortly before Rosalind Lutece attached the hot air balloons and it went sailing on its merry racist way, just about every celebrity of the era was having a tour of Percival Lowell’s new Space Cannon. This turned out to be exactly as bad an idea as it sounds, with the whole lot of them being shot to Mars. It’s now two years later, and in what’s unofficially dubbed Operation: Really Bad Idea, Sigmund Freud and Nikola Tesla have teamed up with a cowboy, a doctor, and lady journalist Nellie Bly to head to Mars and find out what the hell happened.

I shall repeat that. Sigmund Freud and Nikola Tesla have teamed up with a cowboy, a doctor, and Nellie Bly to go to Mars. And via time-travel and a signed note from Tesla to himself, the Avatar and Warren Spector have a seat. “Suck on my Epic Mickey, Mike Dawson,” mutters Spector to himself, as he belts himself in for one of the greatest game premises of all goddamn time.

Before the adventure though, the Avatar needs a personality. Not much of one, the main criteria being the ability to say “Name”, “Job” and “Bye” to people, but a personality. The normal Ultima character creation system involved talking to a fortune teller in a fairground, who asked questions like “A thief steals your wallet but explains when caught that he needed the money. Do you show Compassion by letting him go, or Honesty by telling him you don’t care and turning his skin into a nice new leather purse?” That kind of thing. Martian Dreams is similar, only with Sigmund Freud instead.

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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