Ultima Underworld – Japanese Cluebook Artwork

Nearly a month after starting, Skyrim continues to eat up all my gaming time with no ending in sight as far as I can tell. To keep things ticking over on here, I thought I’d dig out another of the Japanese cluebooks.


This was written by Tetsuo Kanai and published by Locus in 1994. Like all of these Japanese collectibles, there isn’t a whole lot I can say about the content not speaking the language. It appears to be thorough racking up just under 160 pages with loads of close-ups of specific map areas to highlight where to go for various quests but what usually makes the Japanese books fun for those of us who can’t read them is the unique artwork. This particular guide is largely textual but each chapter does have a little Underworld cartoon at the start all of which I present below:-

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A quick appeal before I go. After wanting one for years, I’ve got my hands on an Apple II this week in the form of a IIGS that has spent its previous days being used in a school. The first thing I did with it was see if my CPC Ultima disk would boot up and shockingly it does still work after 33 years. I’m only in black and white until I build myself a SCART converter cable for the monitor output + I’m waiting for a CFFA3000 flash drive from dreher.net so I’m not quite up and running yet but will definitely be playing a few Origin games on this thing over the coming months. Which brings me to the game that I’d really like to play on it which is the IIGS port of Ultima 1 published back in 1994 and sold by mail order until relatively recently. The snag here is that I can’t find a copy anywhere and believe me I’ve tried. I’ve even attempted to contact one of the authors Rebecca Heineman to try to buy it direct from the source as such but with no response so far. If anyone out there has any idea of where I could locate this, I’d be extremely grateful.

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8 thoughts on “Ultima Underworld – Japanese Cluebook Artwork

  1. I hope you find a copy of that version of Ultima I Pix. I tried to look for it myself without luck thus far, which really sucks because I know I have seen it being sold before and is one of those things you don’t buy and after some time you regret not buying.

    Are you gonna scan the underworld japanese cluebook? I’ll be interested in it.

    • I’m mildly optimistic that Burger Becky will come through eventually. She’s definitely the current owner of the copyright and has at least hinted that she would sell copies in a comment on Youtube.

      I wasn’t planning on scanning this one but will change my mind since you asked. I’m finishing Skyrim first though.

  2. Nice, Thanks a lot Pix. The images look silly, but I’m curious about the guide anyway. My japanese is very bad, but I’ll probably can understand a few things.

    I’ll probably start skyrim soon myself. I’m gonna get my hands on the collection edition for the Elder Scrolls this month. It seems to have all the games except Battlespyre and Red Guard. I suppose it’s also missing some of the expansions and DLCs from Morrorwind, Oblivion and Skyrim too, but I’ll check that out when I get it.

    • The UW guide is pdf’ed. That collection looks like it could keep someone out of circulation for at least a year. I’ve finished Skyrim now, the main quest went quickly once I ran out of sidequests. It has been a big improvement on Oblivion as far as I’m concerned, you should enjoy it.

  3. Thanks Pix. That sure looks difficult to read, no furigana at all to help me read it…. I suppose that being a game oriented for adults it’s normal they didn’t put furigana for the difficult kanjis.

    My main problems with Oblivion were that all characters were very robotic during conversations. “I’m X and I work at Y.” It didn’t help that they also sounded more or less the same (specially Elves…. my god, all elves use the same voice actor….).

    Also way to many oblivion portals that looked the same.

  4. I can provide you a copy of Ultima 1 IIGS. My youngest are currently making their way through it and it’s definitely the best version ever made.

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