Ultima IV: Quest Of Avatar (US Gold) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


Ultima IV: Quest Of Avatar
By Origin Systems
Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer & Video Games #56

Ultima IV: Quest Of Avatar

This is the game currently taking America by storm! Ultima IV: Quest Of Avatar cannot strictly be labelled an adventure game or an arcade-style game - it's really a blend of the two.

The setting is the Empire of Britannia, ruled by Lord British, to whom the authorship of this game is attributed. Ultima IV: Quest Of Avatar is the search for a new standard of life for which the people of Britannia may strive. The search, warns his Lordship, will be arduous.

Your quest opens on a warm sunny day, when walking along by a stream, you sit down to rest, under the shade of a willow, and close your eyes. There is a high pitched cascading noise, and a glowing portal appears. Almost as quickly, it is gone, leaving a circle of stones in its place. Among the stones you discover an ankh, and a book wrapped in cloth, on which is printed a map.

This opening sequence is in narrative form, and it continues by instructing you to read the book, the History of Britannia. The book is real - it is part of the package.

Back at the computer, you continue your pleasant walk, and come across a Renaissance fair, where a gypsy invites you to have your future predicted. Here is the player's first interaction with the game. Laying down tarot-like cards in pairs, the old lady asks you questions that cause inner conflict.

From your answers your character is assessed, and then you move into the game proper, which is played in real time. Here is a cast land, with towns and castles dotted around. You have a graphics window of a small part of the map. You move around by control keys. You are always pictured in the centre, and the map moves under you.

Commands that can be entered with a single character keystroke. Among these are attack, descend, enter, wear armour and talk.

Talk is a command that initiates a text exchange between the player and a character in the game. To do this, you move alongside, and type T followed by the direction in which the character stands. The character will tell you something about himself, and ask you what your interest is.

There is plenty to do in Ultima IV; so much, in fact, that it is contained on two double-sided disks, which you are prompted to change over when necessary. As well as a certain amount of animation, there are sound effects to accompany your actions. It can be turned on or off instantly by a single keystroke, should you tire of it.

This is an absorbing game with plenty of depth, that should please those who enjoy quest-type adventures, and dedicated purists who are partial to straying occasionally from the orthodox text/graphics adventure format.