|A History of Ultima|
|The Age of Enlightment|
|Ultima IV - The Quest of The Avatar|
|Screen shot from PC version of Ultima IV|
|The time had finally come to put an end to the bigbadboy-theme and get some variation. Ultima IV looks and acts similar to its predecessors, but the similarities end at that. The quality of the story had been greatly enhanced, and a completely new interactive conversation system added greatly to the realism. Another new facet was the ethical system in the game. Following certain ethical principles is crucial to solving this game. This adds to the realism as well. This was the first Ultima game that I ever played, and it's one of my favorites. The game also introduced Britannia as we know it today and the concept of the Avatar. If you have played any of the later parts of the series only, then this is probably the first game you'll even recognize to be an Ultima game.|
|Ultima IV's story is pretty much based on ethics. After Exodus' defeat, peace has reigned in Sosaria for some time. During this period, one of the lords of Sosaria, Lord British, an immigrant from Earth, united the scattered peoples under his rule. Those who were not content with these ways emigrated from the land and ended up, as it would turn out later, on the distant Serpent Isle.
The newly created kingdom was named Britannia, after British himself, and the ethical system was introduced. It was a system consisting of eight virtues that should help the people of Britannia in their everyday life. The eight virtues were based on three principles: Truth, Love and Courage, and Lord British built one great castle for each principle. He then founded eight cities, each for the protection and spreading of one of the eight virtues. Britannia had become a very symmetrical and mystical place.
The population of Britannia needed an idol, though. Someone who they could turn to who would represent all eight virtues in combination. Lord British sent out a call for someone who could undertake the task of learning the eight virtues, combining them, and integrating them into his being, using the enigmatic Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, to become a personification of virtue, an Avatar. An adventurer arrived from Earth and agreed to undertake this vast mission. In the later versions of the story, this adventurer is the same as the one who defeated Mondain, Minax and Exodus.
|Ultima IV has been released to the public as freeware, as sort of a "history lesson" for players of Ultima Online that wish to learn more about the Ultima universe. The game is not advanced, but playing it is yet an unparallelled experience, which I highly recommend. The zipped game can be downloaded by clicking on the Ultima IV cover art below.|