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  Review by
Kati Hamza
(Chuck Vomit)

 

 
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 for the Avatar
1986 Origin Systems
Programmed by Lord British (Richard Garriott) and Chuckles

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the forty fourth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: November 10th, 1988).
 

 

ULTIMA IV:
QUEST OF THE AVATAR

Origin/Microprose, Amiga 29.99

 

must say that I, Chuck Vomit, lord of the crocodiles and baron of bridges, find it hard to believe -- but apparently you're supposed to be capable of enlightenment. And I don't just mean all that stuff about the birds and the bees, or a pint of Hemmeling, I mean the real thing -- the Ultima biggy. What do you mean, you don't know what I'm on about -- I'm on about the Avatar, birdbrain.

So what's this Avatar lark all about then? Well, apparently it's a quest for a new standard and a new peaceful vision of light Billygoats haven't got it but trolls have, so why shouldn't humans find it too? The land of Britannia has passed through three turbulent episodes of warfare and destruction -- now is the time for peace.

If you're expecting spectacular Amiga graphics, don't. Apart from some pretty neat introductory illustrations they're almost exactly like the 64 version (first released back in 1986). You move around on a full-screen map which shows enemies, cities, castles and towns. You can talk to people, make use of objects, mix the correct ingredients to cast magic spells, fight enemies, buy, haggle and sell.

Forests, mountains and plains are inhabited by some fairly nasty monsters: bats, dragons, gremlins, orcs, skeletons, zorns and orcs -- oh yeah, and trolls. Some joke that! Real trolls would tear any puny adventurer, enlightened up to his armpits or not, covered in armour or billy-goat jelly (either will do) with their bare hands -- with their bare thumbnails, even. These pathetic little ponces are definitely not the real object and I advise you to beat into a pulp any that you see. Grrr . . .

The best in the Ultima series yet - for the Amiga, anyway

The more monsters you belt, the greater your experience rating, but the more people you speak to the greater your chance of achieving the Avatar. The potential for conversation is definitely what makes this game so good. You can speak to almost anyone on an incredible list of subjects -- it really feels like you're having a chat because what Nigel the wizard, or a child playing in the street, mentions, actually determines what you can talk about next. Not only that, you can learn about other people by speaking to their friends and use the information you've gained from earlier encounters when speaking to others. A few conversations and you feel you're really getting somewhere. Unlike other role-playing games where you have to spend ages hacking and slaying to get your experience points you feel in the thick of things right from the start.

One of the more picturesque locations in the world
of Britannia

If you thought role-playing games were nothing but an excuse for a good fight and a load of plunder, think again. Ultima IV isn't just brawny -- it's got a brain as well (a lot like me, really). And if that isn't enough to tempt you, just think about the excellent presentation (two booklets, an ankh and a top-quality tea-towel . . . er . . . I mean cloth map). Thought about it? Right -- go out and buy it NOW!

 
Atmosphere 86%
Puzzle Factor 84%
Interaction 92%
Lastability 95%

Overall

91%
 


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 (19 Apr 2007)
The Amiga screenshots of the original review have been replaced by their C64 equivalents.

Read the White Wizard's review of the same game here.

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