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Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
Box artwork for Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar.
Developer(s) Origin Systems
Infinity (NES/Famicom)
Sega (Master System)
Publisher(s) Origin Systems
Pony Canyon (Famicom)
FCI (NES)
Sega (Master System)
Designer(s) Richard Garriott
Release date(s)
NES icon.pngSega Master System icon.png
NES, Sega Master System
Genre(s) Role-playing game
System(s) Amiga, Apple II, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, C64, DOS, FM Towns, MSX2, NEC PC-8801, NEC PC-9801, NES, SMS, Fujitsu FM-7, Sharp X1, X68000
Mode(s) Single player
Preceded by Exodus
Followed by Warriors of Destiny
Series Ultima
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Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar is the fourth in the series of Ultima computer role-playing games. It is the first in the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy, shifting the series from the hack and slash, dungeon crawl gameplay of its "Age of Darkness" predecessors towards an ethically-nuanced, story-driven approach. Ultima IV is different among RPGs in that the game's story does not center on asking a player to overcome a tangible ultimate evil.

After the defeat of each of the members of the triad of evil in the previous three Ultima games, the world of Sosaria underwent some radical changes in geography: three quarters of the world disappeared, continents rose and sunk, new cities were built to replace the ones that were lost. Eventually the world, now unified in Lord British's rule, was renamed Britannia. Lord British felt the people lacked purpose after their great struggles against the triad were over, and he was concerned with their spiritual well-being in this unfamiliar new age of relative peace, so he proclaimed the Quest of the Avatar: he needed someone to step forth and become the shining example for others to follow.

Versions[edit]

The most advanced versions of Ultima 4 are highlighted in green.

Year Port Notes
1985 Apple II The original port.
1985 Atari 8-bit Essentially identical to the original port.
1985 C64 Some improvements to graphics and RAM requirements, but very long loading times.
1985 MS-DOS Some improvements to graphics, but no music at all.
1987 MSX & PC-8801 Japanese only; almost identical to the original port, with improved graphics.
1987 PC-9801 Japanese only; almost identical to the original port, with further improved graphics.
1988 Amiga & Atari ST Great improvements to graphics and sound, especially in dungeons; mouse is featured; sold on single disk (no more disk swapping).
1990 Sega MS Further improvements to graphics; controls modified for joypad; overhead dungeons instead of first person; released in Japan, Europe and South America, but not in North America.
1990 NES Very different graphics and music; reduced dialogues; controls modified for joypad.
1992 FM Towns Japanese only; essentially identical to the MS-DOS port, with added music.

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