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Released in 1992, Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss is a first person RPG. Assuming the role of the Avatar, you attempt to find and rescue a baron's kidnapped daughter in a large, multi-level dungeon, before having to prevent a demon from taking over the world. The game is rather realistic, with players required to eat and rest, light sources can burn out and torches may be used on corn to create popcorn.

 

Best time with deaths: Single-segment 0:17:25 by 'gammadragon' on 2012-07-05.

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Author's comments:

Credits: Big thanks to Lag.Com on the SDA forums for some great ideas and two Youtubians - "thecybercat" for the basic route and "dandandan5" for more ideas. To see the planning for this run, visit the SDA forums at this location: http://forum.speeddemosarchive.com/post/ultima_underworld_1.html

Final time was 17m 25s - the endgame sequence starts at 17m 35s with 10s of menus and character creation at the start. On request I can also supply a lossless (534MB) video of the run, recorded straight from Dosbox.

There are several glitches in the PC version of the game that are abused in this run:
* Casting Fireball at single-use magic items (like potions and scrolls) turns them into debris which has the same enchantment as the original item but can be used unlimited times
* Using "Easy Move" keys (SHIFT+WASDX) moves the player in discrete amounts rather than the normal smooth motion. It is faster than normal movement in many situations - especially when swimming. There is a glitch here though - if you are flying above a monster and try to use "Easy Move" to get past, you get stuck in front of the monster as though it were at the same height as you
* Casting Fireball when Freeze Time is active suspends the fireball in mid-air. Running into the fireball is a fast way to kill yourself (to respawn at the Silver Tree)
* In the Ethereal Void (final area) there is a big shortcut that can be taken which is probably supposed to have invisible walls around it, like most of the rest of the level
* There is no need to free the Baron's daughter to finish the game, even though she appears in the endgame
* When flipping the levers to get the Ring of Humility, there is no need to flip the first NW lever. Only three need to be flipped in this order: SE, NE, SW. As far as I can tell the NW one does nothing, despite being documented in-game as being the first one in the sequence.

Here's a commentary of the run:
* Throughout the run you may spot occasions where an item is dropped unintentionally or the mouse "slips" out of the movement window. The controls are a little clunky and using the keyboard and mouse together sometimes results in small problems like this
* Creating a character is sped up by using the arrow keys and enter, which can be pressed before the choices are shown on screen. Acrobat is useful to get, but it's not essential for this speedrun and it's quicker to choose Swimming
* Level 1: fairly mundane and straightforward, mostly consisting of running to the stairs as quickly as possible while picking up the Silver Tree and dropping junk along the way
* Level 2: the door in the corridor is opened now so that we don't have to do it later. This lets us load up a fireball to kill Ironwit more quickly. More running to the stairs down.
* Level 3: it's faster to swim when using "Easy Move" (SHIFT+WASDX). This moves one square at a time and is the fastest way to travel but hard to control. We grab the required Sword of Justice Blade and run back to the stairs down
* Level 4: usually the secret door next to the waterfall appears very quickly, but I was a little unlucky here - even when clicking madly it took a few seconds. We pick up the Scroll of Fireball, Flute, and Ring of Leap then make our way to the knights. Running straight through the knight's area, past Roderick to the bullfrog puzzle, we create two platforms using the levers and buttons to navigate our way around. Using the platforms, we jump into the secret area and use the Wand of Fireball to turn our Scroll of Fireball into a pile of debris. A glitch gives this debris unlimited charges of Fireball. More platform jumping to the crypt area, where we make ourselves some Debris of Greater Heal and grab the required Sword of Justice Hilt. Heading back to Roderick, we blast him with Fireballs until he dies, then grab his Jeweled Sword and gold coins
* Level 5: a glitch is abused to speed up the Ring of Humility. Running to the central area, we plant the Silver Seed so that when we die we will respawn here. We run to the Scroll of Gate Travel and read it, teleporting us to the Moonstone on level 2
* Level 2: grabbing the other Scroll of Gate Travel and the Moonstone off the ground, we run over to Ironwit and dispatch him quickly with Fireballs and stab wounds to get his Potion of Fly. We turn the Scroll of Gate Travel and Potion of Fly into unlimited-use debris. Now we run over to Shak, dropping the Moonstone on the way to give us a shortcut back. Unfortunately I make a mistake here with the gold coins and waste 10 seconds trying to get the repaired Sword of Justice. We then teleport to the Moonstone, grab it again and run down to level 3
* Level 3: using the Moonstone to make our trip back quicker, we make a round trip to get the Cup of Wonder and the Taper of Sacrifice, then head down to level 4
* Level 4: once we get the Standard of Honor we want to die so that we respawn back on level 5 at the Silver Tree. To make this quicker, we fireball a wall on the way to get our health a bit lower. Once arriving on level 5 we head straight down the stairs to level 6
* Level 6: dropping the moonstone in the central area, we make a trip to beat the Golem (obtaining the Shield of Valor), use the Shrine to get the Key of Truth and raise our attack and sword skills (to make the Tyball fight faster), grab the Book of Honesty and make ourselves a Debris of Reveal (using it directly afterwards). Lifting the corner tile gets us the Wine of Compassion. We then teleport back to the moonstone, grab it and head down the stairs to level 7
* Level 7: we make our way to Tyball, using Reveal to remove the secret wall and creating ourselves a Debris of Freeze Time along the way. The moonstone is dropped in Tyball's corridor. After slashing Tyball, we grab his two keys and run to the maze. A shortcut is taken that hurts us in the process, but we just use our Debris of Greater Heal to fix that. We fly to the prison and free two prisoners, getting the Picture of Tom and Gold Key in the process, then make our way to down stairs to the Key of Courage. Not much of interest to describe here, except that at one point we break Freeze Time so that the gazer can be moved out of our path. Gate Travel teleports us back to the Moonstone and we grab it and head down to level 8
* Level 8: on the way to Garamon's Bones, we throw the moonstone down the corridor to make it quicker to get to the central chamber later on. After getting the bones we run into a frozen fireball to kill ourselves, respawning on level 5
* Level 5: we run to Judy, give her the Picture of Tom to get the Key of Love and run to Garamon's grave. On the way to the grave we build the Key of Infinity from the Keys of Love, Courage and Truth. We bury Garamon's bones to talk to his ghost. This has to be done, otherwise the talismans aren't triggered when thrown into the lava on level 8. We teleport back to the moonstone on level 8 for the last time
* Level 8: running straight to the central chamber, we use the Key of Infinity to gain access and throw the talismans into the lava, teleporting to the Ethereal Void in the process
* Level 9 (Ethereal Void): we take a shortcut to the Green Moongate and finish the game

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