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(c) 2000 James Burrows

Review by
Steve Cooke
(The White Wizard)


Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Ultima IV - Quest of the Avatar
1985 Origin Systems, Inc.
By Richard Garriott (Lord British)
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the thirteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: April 20th, 1986).

Howdy-do there, all you Whizzard fans. This month ol' Whitey has dredged the very depths of Hell to bring you a review of Lucifer's Realm from All-American Adventures; struggled with Mission Asteroid, and gone on his own private Odyssey. So, if you want to catch up with all that's new this month on the adventure scene, read on for reviews, news, and tips from the man with the wand and the off-white beard . . .

Origin, Import only

e've already seen Ultima II in these hallowed columns. Now it's time to gloss over a few thousand years of software development and take a gander at Ultima IV, thanks to Tony Treadwell of Trollbound fame who has kindly sent me his recently imported copy.

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.

These 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.

Nice 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.

At this point, I'll let my honourable demi-Wizard Tony Treadwell take over the story . . .

'The 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!

The 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.

The 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 messages.

On 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 join you.

The 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!

A 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 success.

There's 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!

Ultima 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.'

Atmosphere 93%
Interaction 89%
Lasting Interest 94%

Value for Money




If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (30 Apr 2004)

Read the Chuck Vomit's review of the same game here.

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