Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of the Avatar) refers to the time period of the second trilogy of Ultima games (Ultima IV, Ultima V and Ultima VI). This also includes Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire, and Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams.
The Age of Enlightenment takes place in a time of prosperity for Sosaria / Britannia. The war in this time period is a spiritual one; the people long for a meaningful foundation on which to base their lives. Other lessons must also be learned about the dangers of racism, prejudice, and the dangers of basing strict laws on an ethical system.
In the Stygian Abyss however, survival under even the most difficult of circumstances has to be learned, while at the same time virtue has to be upheld as many of its inhabitants, despite their looks, are peaceful. Other worlds then call for different solutions.
- Your own dark side (Ultima IV)
- Lord Blackthorn and the Shadowlords (Ultima V)
- Gargoyles (initially), racism and misunderstanding (Ultima VI)
- Tyball and the Slasher of Veils (Ultima Underworld I)
- Myrmidex Queen (Savage Empire)
- Raxachk (Martian Dreams)
Real world notes
The Ultima series really began to come into its own in this period. Ultima IV, especially, was hailed as a groundbreaking game for its innovative use of ethical conundrums - the enemy was more often the player's own dark side, and it brought many questions to the forefront. The game could only be won by following The Eight Virtues ... there was no "big bad guy" to defeat.
Ultima V takes on the faults and dangers of taking an ethical system and turning it into strict laws (legislating morality), while Ultima VI tackles the concept of racism, and how seemingly-minor misunderstandings can lead to heinous tragedy.
Compared to this, the villains in Underworld I and the Worlds of Ultima are more conventional, although they have good background story behind them.
- Ultima IV
- Ultima V
- Ultima VI
- Ultima Underworld
- Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire
- Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams