Unfortunately, Ultima IV isn't available here
yet, unless you're prepared to pay nearly fifty pounds
for an imported copy. However, these games usually make
it over here sooner or later and then you should expect
to pay about £20 for it.
games are in the D&D format, which is to say that you
choose a character for yourself and then sally forth
with a few friends to either plunder and pillage, or
else uphold all the principles of law and order. Ultima
IV is subtitled The Quest of the Avatar,
and although the graphics aren't exactly stunning, they
do the job, combining with a wide number of playing
options and a whopping great map to give all D&D'ers
a run for their money.
touches about the game include the music, suitably pre-Renaissance
and in particular the manner in which you choose your
character. Normally this involves a rather mundane choice
between various different attributes, but Lord British
has excelled himself in this game by having you attend
a fair where you are given a Tarot reading by a mystical
lady. Your choice of cards and the manner in which you
answer her questions determines your characteristics
for the game.
this point, I'll let my honourable demi-Wizard Tony
Treadwell take over the story . . .
game comes in a very nice box which is filled to the
brim with books, disks, reference cards, more books,
and a lovely cloth map which feels and looks similar
to a lavish dish-cloth!
program itself takes up four disk sides, one for the
introduction, which is very pretty indeed, one for the
world of Brittania, another for the Towns, Cities, Castles,
and Villages and the last for the massive underground
network of caves, mazes, and dungeons.
layout is very similar to Ultima III, with the
main part of the screen taken up with the view, two
smaller boxes for character status, and one for action
your travels you can enter dwellings and transact with
the different people, (all with different names). Each
town or city includes different types of religions,
races and so on, and your first task is to build up
a party of up to eight characters, ranging from Paladins
to Tinkers and wizards. To do this you travel the lands,
entering cities and talking to folk, asking them to
game shows some interesting features. For instance,
if you run around from town to town stealing the royal
treasures, you become very dishonest. The programme
recognises this and some characters refuse to join you.
Other traits are similarly significant -- there's a
character called Geoffrey, for example, who won't even
consider joining you if you retreat from battle every
time you encounter an enemy!
book of spells with no less than 70 pages is at your
side, telling you which magical herbs create which spells
when mixed together. Over 30 different spells can be
mixed, and all but two of the herbs can he bought at
any magical shop. The other two you'll have to search
around for -- very necessary, since they're vital for
also, of course, a comprehensive guide to playing the
game, with a short history of the land, different characters
and their skills. You're also given plenty of information
about the monsters you should be watching out for!
IV is a great challenge, and will take many months
to complete. For this reason I would recommend the game
to avid adventurers, even at the imported price of £49.
Others will just have to wait for this excellent title
to be imported at a (hopefully) lower price.'