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.
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