Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress, released on August 24, 1982, is the second computer role-playing game in the Ultima series.
It was also the only official Ultima game published by Sierra On-Line. Controversy with Sierra over royalties for the IBM PC port of this game led the series creator Richard Garriott to start his own company, Origin Systems.
The gameplay is very similar to the previous game in the series, Ultima. The scope of the game is bigger, in that there are several more places to explore, even though some of them (like most of the solar system planets and the dungeons and towers) are optional and not really needed to complete the game.
In the game, the player has to travel to several different time periods of Earth, using time doors. The periods are the Time of Legends (a mythological period), Pangea (about 300 to 250 million years ago), B.C. (1420, "before the dawn of civilization"), A.D. (1990), and the Aftermath (after 2111). The player also has to travel to space, where he can visit all the planets in the solar system.
Ultima II was the first game of the series to be coded completely in assembly language rather than in interpreted BASIC. Playing speed and reaction time were vastly improved over the original release of Ultima I. In fact, when running the games on one and the same computer, Ultima II is the fastest game of the series due to its relative simplicity.
Since Richard Garriott was attending college at the time, it took him almost two years to create Ultima II.
Ultima II was the first game in the series to include a cloth map inside the box, which would become a staple of the franchise. This map, which illustrated how the time doors were linked, was inspired by the one seen in the film Time Bandits. Two versions of this map were produced. The first version is of a heavier and thicker material. This map can be found in the large boxed (8"x11") Apple II and Atari 800 versions of the game. Later production runs of the game featured a much smaller box and a lighter weight map.
It was also the first game to be officially ported to platforms other than the Apple II. Versions for the IBM PC with CGA graphics, Commodore 64, Atari ST and Atari 800 were published. (An Atari 800 version of Ultima I was published in 1982, some considerable time after Ultima II's release; Atari ST version was published in 1985.)
The original Apple Ultima II received an audiovisual upgrade in 1989, bringing its graphics up to date with more recent games in the series much as was done with Ultima I. This "enhanced" version was only available as part of the Ultima Trilogy I-II-III box set released that year and discontinued only months later, and is considered exceptionally rare today. (The Commodore and IBM versions of the Ultima Trilogy include the original, unenhanced versions of the game for their respective platforms.)
The game was re-released several times later in CD-ROM PC compilations, including 1998's Ultima Collection. All these re-releases are missing necessary map files for planets other than Earth, rendering the game unwinnable. Modern computers also generate a divide by zero error when attempting to run the game. These issues are addressed in a series of official patches, which are available from a variety of Ultima fansites. The game is known to run without errors and at an acceptable speed in a DOSBox environment, provided the missing map files are present.