I have been playing Ultima 4 for my blog at www.backlogkiller.com and was shocked to see no entry for the PC version here! It is a free game that is available on GoG for free and set a new standard for RPGs that continues to this day. By getting rid of traditional story and encouraging the player to win by simply being a good person was a brave experiment and deserves all the praise it gets. Despite being 25 years old, it holds up and I am enjoying every minute of it. (Aside from the time spent flying the hot air balloon.)

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 10/23/2012 at 05:05pm

Hi Will! My main experience with Ultima 4 was the NES port. The Ultima games are my biggest classic rpg blindspot.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/24/2012 at 01:18am

I just nabbed this game on my Mac off GoG. Doesn't seem to work too well so I will give it a swing on the PC.

I like your blog, thanks for sharing! Feel free to keep the updates flowin'!

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 10/24/2012 at 05:01am

I'm almost finished and had a good time with it, but it certainly helped that I had a good idea of objectives from previous attempts. It's taking me about 10-15 hours to finish, but if you don't know what to do I would double that. Some stuff is a little esoteric and maybe impossible if you don't take note of EVERYTHING. Definitely worth a play, though.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/25/2012 at 12:40am

For sure. I think with many old games there is that "if people didn't know this would be nearly impossible to figure out" kind of elements. Like in Monkey Island or whatever, prob would have just hit a brick wall without a walkthrough for some of it.

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 10/25/2012 at 03:18am

I actually did pretty well Monkey Island. It was certainly more 'fair' than this one. Ultima 4 gives you everything you need, but many of the solutions are a little obtuse. The biggest culprit is the word needed to enter the final dungeon is represented in rune form after ascending each virtue. What look like simple vertical lines or nonsense have to be written down, translated, then rearranged like an anagram to get the word. Most of the other stuff is pretty easy, though.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/25/2012 at 04:02am

That's awesome. Now I understand more about why Lord British gets SO much love for this game. I have a ton of love for Retro Games and one I am itching to play and will do so next month...

The Red Wings are calling me back and I am really looking forward to playing Final Fantasy 2/6 again! It has been WAY too long!

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 10/28/2012 at 02:26am

Lost all my progress I made. Turns out I had two copies on my computer: one on the HD and one on a flash drive I was using to test moving save games around. The desktop link was attached to the flash and not the HD meaning that when I deleted its contents to give a friend some files... *POOF*. No more party. Need to restart and cry.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/28/2012 at 03:48am

Holy shit that's horrible. Sorry for the loss man!

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 10/28/2012 at 04:05am

I'm convinced I can finish it in under 10 hours with all my notes. Already about 25% complete in an hour or so. We're doing this.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/28/2012 at 04:18am

Awesome you want to see this finished.

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 10/28/2012 at 04:35am

I normally don't get this serious about games, but this one holds a more symbolic meaning for me w/r/t my past. Gotta see it through.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 10/28/2012 at 05:00am

I hear you. One year I set a goal to complete Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past no matter what. The story and feel, for me hold a ton of symbolic and "feeling" that I had to experience. I am starting to feel the same way about Final Fantasy 2(US). Its kind of like I need to do it to re-learn something I had forgotten.

So yeah Will, I totally get that. I think its a sign of something really meaningful when you have that kind of connection to a game or whatever.

Need to return to the Hobbit every few years, nothing brings me to that magical zone quite like reading that book.

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 11/01/2012 at 03:57pm

Well, less than five hours into the restart and I am almost back to the point where I lost my data. I would guess maybe 2 or 3 solid hours to finish. Definitely can be done in under 10 hours.

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 11/13/2012 at 03:39pm

I finally finished the doggone thing. A piece of my past finally left behind. What a good game, too.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 11/13/2012 at 05:21pm

Awesome. How many hours did it take you to finally complete it?

Gary_Butterfield wrote on 11/13/2012 at 07:14pm

Congrats, Will!

Will_Owens   Post Author wrote on 11/14/2012 at 01:34am

The first part of the game (getting virtues, stones, and dungeon diving) took about six to eight hours. Then, the abyss took two play sessions for a total of one and a half or two hours, so I would estimate it to be a ten hour game. As I posted, though, that's if you know exactly what to do. A clean run with no prior knowledge could easily take twenty hours or much longer depending on how quickly you grasp the objectives. The game is really amazing, though, and still comes through as innovative and something special after almost 30 years. It would be tough to get it to appeal to younger people, but if you can get past the graphics, it's super fun.

jdodson   Admin wrote on 11/14/2012 at 03:33am

It seems like a great game. I grew up cutting my teeth on MUD's and ZZT so games like this don't bother me much :D

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