Produced by: Origin Systems
Website: Ultima Forever
From The Codex of Ultima Wisdom: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar is the fourth game in the series and the first installment of the “Age of Enlightenment” trilogy. It was published and released in 1985 by Origin for the Apple II, C64, IBM-PC and Atari 8-bit. Ports for the Amiga and Atari ST with some enhanced graphics followed 1988, for the NES and Sega Master System ports were released in 1990.
The game became much more complex and deep with this installment, compared to Ultima III. The people of Britannia can talk interactively. The puzzles are more complex, and more information has to be gathered to solve the game. Cities, castles and dungeons are much more detailed, as is the wilderness. The number of items to be found has risen, and the total party size is expanded to eight.
The most significant improvement for the game’s creator is the plot, where the player has to follow a path of Virtue to win. The killing and thievery of the three earlier games is now strongly discouraged. Instead, the player must prove to be a “good guy.” The whole system of virtues in this game changes the RPG experience.
This is the only Ultima that is now available for free (although only from certain sites), and one of the few RPGs in which there is no villain to defeat. Richard Garriott himself sees it as the best part of the series, ranking just above Ultima VII.