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Forums > Submission Feedback > dagoss's Ultima: Quest of the Avatar review

This thread is in response to a review for Ultima: Quest of the Avatar on the NES. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: JANUS2
Posted: March 22, 2009 (05:15 AM)
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Interesting review. I hate playing these old RPGs, but I enjoy reading about them. I like how you differentiate Quest of the Avatar from other adventures (comparing the descriptions of Wizardry and Avatar was an effective idea). The conclusion was convincing, too. After reading the review I accept the idea that Quest of the Avatar deserves a seven for its significance, although I'm not sure I would ever want to play a game that made you fall asleep!


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: wolfqueen001
Posted: March 22, 2009 (08:13 AM)
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...Britannia? Seriously? That's... original. >_> Is there a mock Stonehenge, too? Haha. And yet the main religion is Buddhism/Shinto?

Anyway, nice review. Very analytical well explained, and your argument is quite believable, especially with how you justified it in the conclusion. The comparisons to other RPGs of that era and this is much appreciated because it gives a clear example of what this game tried to do, even if it failed. It's interesting that the game tried to do something unique, specially during it's time. I'm glad you recommend it even if it's boring, shallow, and otherwise fails completely; I've been interested in the Ultima series for a little while (and even downloaded Exodus on my comp), so it's good to know that this one, even though it comes later, is worth checking out despite its flaws.

I did find some typos, though (sorry), but just in one part of a sentence.

like having a cities represent virtues as they do here, requires a lot more colours and the ability

I think the "a" should be removed. And I think "colors" (or your preferred spelling of it) should be singular.


What espiga does in his free time
[Eating EmP's brain] probably isn't a good idea. I mean... He's British, which means his brain's wired for PAL and your eyes are NTSC. - Will


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: March 25, 2009 (11:10 PM)
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WQ: The land is called Brittania because the creator of the series was known by the pseudonym of Lord British during the heyday of the Ultima series. And, I guess, for all I know, he still calls himself that. The king in the series was named Lord British and the land was named after him.

Good review, dagoss. I remember how just a few months ago, someone else wrote a review for this game and received second place in the Alphabetolympics with it. I just wish I could remember who that rugged sex-panther of a man is!


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: bloomer
Posted: March 27, 2009 (04:40 AM)
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"Compared to contemporary titles, Quest of the Avatar must have seemed like a literal novel, an attempt to turn a game into something intellectually engaging rather than a child's play thing. Suddenly we aren't here to get treasure and experience, we're here for self-explication and strange interactive spirituality."

Heh, I find it interesting to muse on this ventured idea, which is a good one, since I was a functioning 10 year old gamer who'd already played Ultima III when this was released. I enjoyed answering the moral questions at the start of U4, but I found the game to be the most confusing, unwieldy Ultima to date. (And Ultima III was already bloody confusing.) Relatively speaking, I got nowhere. Some of you guys reviewing these things in the age of walkthroughs, you potentially have no idea how impenetrable a game like this was. If you were stuck or confused, you could remain that way for years. Years!


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Author: sashanan
Posted: March 27, 2009 (08:27 AM)
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Years indeed. There is a Commodore 64 adventure pragmatically named The Detective Game, and it took me eighteen years to finish. And that's not even an RPG!


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: dagoss
Posted: March 29, 2009 (09:41 AM)
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I don't know about any other versions of the game, but do know that Ultima IV's NES port came with a game and an instruction manual that gave most of the recipes for spells, basic maps for all but the final dungeon, complete instructions on how to use moongates, and pretty much everything that you'd expect to find in a competent walkthrough. With this stuff, there is almost no mystery or guess work for this game, which I think further downplays the importances of the actual game here. But again, I don't know how other versions were packaged, so this may simply be a cause of reducing the challenge for Nintendo's younger audience.


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Author: randxian
Posted: March 29, 2009 (11:12 PM)
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Wow. Very descriptive. I've spent very little time playing any of the Ultima games, but I've got a good sense of what this one is like. The timer thing sounds like a bad idea. I am confused by a couple of things however.

Allow me to give an example: in order to improve your honesty, you must pay full price to all in-game herbalists, who are all completely blind and require you to count the money into their hands.

I'm not sure what else you want the game to do to show your character has honesty. For valor, I can see wanting something more than not running from battles, but for ideas like honesty, there is only so much you can do.

And you pretty much reprimand the game for most of the review, yet it somehow gets a 7. I get the impression you gave it that score because you do like at least appreciate the attempt at original ideas. I guess I can kind of see that, but it just seems that score just came out of nowhere. I was pretty surprised it scored that high after reading the entire review.

Anyway, I still enjoyed reading it and how you covered all the important features in the game.


I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER?


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Author: aschultz
Posted: April 09, 2009 (10:05 AM)
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I enjoyed this review, too. It's interesting to see what made it from the Apple/PC version and what didn't. Now this may be more about my experience with the Ultima series, but I hope you find this extra info useful/entertaining.

The dungeons in the PC are set up differently--for instance, in the PC you can run from monsters, who roam the dungeon just as you do, and you have rooms where you have to push walls to find secret passages. Timers? Awful awful awful.

As for virtue, you're right--there IS only so much you can do in one game, with the memory/disk space involved. And I imagine the NES could not retain a lot of the dialogue from the PC, which may slightly seem like mumbo jumbo but is still interesting.

The PC had an amusing quirk where you could steal from the castle, losing several virtues, before giving extra money to blind reagent sellers, pumping those virtues up to avatar level. And also you could achieve the virtue you needed by finding the right virtuous action to repeat. Sometimes it'd be talking continuously to the same person and answering them correctly.

It's dilemmas like this that spawned the sequel Ultima V where virtue is corrupted into bad laws, and you fight from the inside.

I'm even more interested in the game than before. And I understand where you are coming from, because it's pretty clear what the port had to drop from the PC version.

BTW, I'd be interested to read if you think the PC version works. It's freeware. While bloomer mentions he had trouble getting a start(and so did I,) I was able to do better the second time around.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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