Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss is undoubtedly one of my favorite RPGs of all time. This was the first RPG I had ever played, years ago, and my computer had died before I could finish the game. I was so happy to finally get to play it again!
You are thrown into a world unknown with nothing and you find different armor, weapons and various items as you travel. From a first person perspective, you can pick up and carry items using your hand tool, and there are other tools with obvious uses such as open, speak, attack and look.
You can carry a certain amount of items and arrange them in bags. You find keys to use, food to eat (which you will need because you do get hungry), candles and such to light your way, a bedroll to sleep in (and yes, you will get tired!), and of course weapons and armor of varying quality and types with which to equip yourself. I love how once you drop items, they will stay there until you come back for them. You meet many characters and find enclaves of such races as goblins, lizard men, dwarves and humans. You have choices of how you act and even what you say to everybody. Many of these characters will give you quests and
rewards to help you. You find runes along the way, and as you progress you will find the combinations to spells that will help you in various ways. One of the things I loved the most about the game is the map, which is created as you go. Once you start walking the area around you is drawn on a map, which you may look at any time and to which you may even add notes. Your character levels up, which gives you a chance to make him or her stronger by chanting mantras to raise whatever skills you wish such as strength, magic skill, athletic ability or sneaky skills. This game is all about choice, you choose how to equip yourself and how to play, effectively making yourself a magic user, a warrior, a ranger, or you can focus on a number of other attributes. It is very intuitive and thus easy to learn, but still challenges you with puzzles and strategy. It is non linear and if you and another person started the game at the same time, you would each end up finding things differently. This game kept me occupied for days, and I never got bored of it!
After playing this game, I had to try the second installment Utima Underworld 2, which is very similar and is recommended if you love the first one. It has the same feel, but a different environment.