User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Cadaver (Amiga)

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80
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Wojtek Mata (4)
Written on  :  Jul 17, 2014
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

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Summary

Isometric puzzle feast

The Good

- great action-adventure game with good, even for today's retro gaming standards, isometric type of graphics

- puzzles are interesting and its variety is really wide. You do not feel that each new puzzle mechanic idea is being used up extensively. Instead you constantly face new and fresh challenges

- the same can be said about level design. There are five levels, each with a different setting and they do not feel like a bunch of repetitive locations . Map function is available but due to a good level design is barely used

- to some degree game has an RPG flavour. Firstly, our hero receives XP points for his efforts but these do not add anything to the gameplay as we do not have any other statistics to improve on. Secondly there are many objects lying around which are not used for anything in the game. Due to that, you kind of feel that there is a world around you (not like in many typical adventure games)

- it's rather a difficult game so one should be prepared to use external help occasionally. Many of puzzles are pretty tough but only a very few felt like not to be clued enough in the end.

The Bad

General problems with interface are:

- shooting at anything is a tiresome experience and its good that there is not much of it in the game, the same can be said about jumping which can be frustrating while doing it in isometric environment. Fortunately, also not much of precise jumping puzzle exists in the game.

- inventory sometimes very crowded and limited space forces you to find conveniently located "inventory room" in which you can put excess of stuff you carry

- reading anything is sometimes a tiring experience. Each page of reading material always disappears after the same time frame irrespective of amount of text to be read. This results in being stuck with reading some of it more than once. Also each one which contains more than one page has to be dropped to read any subsequent pages.

Sound effects/music - sound effects not very diverse, all monsters die in the same way by giving annoying scream which does not sound suitable for some of them (screaming spider ?!), its similar for walking, shooting, casting spells.

- music not existing at all beside intro sequence

The Bottom Line

I have no idea why did not get into this one in my Amiga days. Good action-adventure game with great puzzles and level design somehow hindered by mediocre interface. Great for any fan of retro gaming.