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"Avatar! Know that Britannia has entered into a new age of enlightenment! Know that the time has finally come for the one true Lord of Britannia to take His place at the head of His people! Under My guidance, Britannia will flourish. And all the people shall rejoice and pay homage to their new... Guardian. Know that you, too, shall kneel before Me, Avatar. You, too, shall soon acknowledge My authority - for I shall be your Companion... your Provider... and your Master! MUUUHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!"
-The Guardian

Ultima VII:The Black Gate is a PC game released in 1992 by Origin Systems. It is largely considered to be one of the best games in the Ultima series, possibly one of the best PC RPGs period, and had a nearly Dragon Quest-esque level of influence on Western RPGs which followed - nearly every open-world RPG released after 1992 owes at least a little something to U7 and the absurd freedom of action it provided to the player.

Ultima VII is the first game in the "Age of Armageddon" or the "Guardian Saga." Two-hundred Britannian years after the events of Ultima VI, the Avatar returns to Britannia through a mysterious red portal that s/he did not summon. The Avatar arrives in Trinsic, and finds Britannia in a state of peace - well, except for that string of brutal murders s/he just walked into! As the Avatar attempts to solve these mysteries, s/he gets to the root of Britannia's various problems - as well as their connection to the mysterious force calling itself "the Guardian."


Ultima VII later came with an expansion pack, Forge of Virtue. This added a new location, the Isle of Fire, to the map. Here, the Avatar could create the Black Sword as well as get rid of the core of Exodus, the Big Bad from the third game. A year later, a "sequel" was made in the form of Ultima VII Part II.

The original game was released for MS-DOS, and was never ported to any other contemporary operating system, particularly due to a unique memory management system that made it nigh unlaunchable even on Windows 95 machines. A fan-made engine called Exult makes it playable on most modern systems (and adds several gameplay enhancements such as on-screen life bars.) A not-at-all-very-good adaptation was produced for the Super Nintendo, which suffered greatly due to Nintendo of America's censorship policies of the time. This version was ported to the PSP in 2006. An updated version compatible with modern PCs was released by EA in 2011. It is also now available for everyone along with part two over at Good Old Games.


This game had examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative:
    • Your answers in the Fellowship's personality test will always be interpreted in the worst possible way.
    • Frank the Fox parodies Brutal Honesty in this way.
  • Affably Evil: The Guardian, who even tries to help you in the beginning of the game. He stops being so polite once his plans are foiled, however.
  • All in a Row: The player's group follows in a line.
  • Apocalypse How: The Armageddon spell kills everyone in the world but you, Batlin and Lord British. Lord British can call you out on this reckless act: (paraphrased) "You fool! Now we are all alone on this world! Britannia is ruined!"
  • Apocalyptic Log: The diary found in the tower in the center of Ambrosia Isle.
  • An Interior Designer Is You: Yet again, you could set up in any old vacant house you chose. The furniture wasn't quite as easy to move around as it was in Ultima VI, though.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The Tetrahedron Generator disrupts magic throughout the land, making it unpredictable and causing mages to go insane.
    • Blackrock can negate the effects of magic altogether.
    • Kissme the faerie also creates anti-magic dust.
  • Ascended Glitch: Smith gives you helpful hints... for Ultima VI and Martian Dreams.
  • Attack Animal: One possible ranged weapon you can use is a trained hawk.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Armageddon spell, which kills everyone except you, Lord British, the ferryman, and Batlin.
  • Berserk Button: Your entire party will turn on you if you kill Kissme the faerie.
  • Betting Mini Game: The House of Games in Buccaneer's Den. One of the games is hilariously broken once you join the Fellowship. Joining ups your winning payout, which, on the rat race, goes up to 6 times your bet, with 4 options to bet on. This means you can consistently make half again on your original bet by betting on all four lanes. Using this loophole, it is possible to generate enough money to break the game engine, so that walls and scenery flicker on and off.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: This game mentions some aspects of Gargoyle reproduction. Apparently they come from eggs and only have one parent.
  • Brown Note: The Cube Generator's "security system" consists of a loud noise that does damage to your party.
  • Brutal Honesty: Parodied by Frank the Fox just outside Lycaeum, who proudly announces that he is a devout follower of Honesty, but actually does nothing but tell unpleasant things about other people.
  • Chain of Deals: To reach the Time Lord you need help from the Wisps, who want Alagner's journal, who wants to know the secrets of Skara Brae, where they're having a bit of a lich problem...
  • Church of Happyology: The Fellowship, with their philosophy named "Sanguine Cognition", a fancy way of saying cheerful knowledge (but not blood knowledge). Practically every single thing about the Fellowship mirrors Scientology in some form or other. Batlin is a spitting image of Hubbard, the Fellowship have practices similar to Fair Game and Disconnection, and the Avatar is even given a Personality Test early on, which, as you can see here, is obviously rigged against them.
  • Copy Protection: In order to leave the first town, and to join the Fellowship, you have to answer questions about Britannian geography and herbology from the manual and from a map included as a feelie with the original game. Not doing so will leave everyone speaking in randomized text.
  • Costume Copycat: The impostor Avatar. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about him much because the Fellowship has already caught him.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Britannia is finally at peace...or is it?
  • Darker and Edgier: As well as Bloodier and Gorier (the Test of Courage has a room full of bloody corpses) and Hotter and Sexier (there's lots of sexual references, and there's actually a brothel). Surprisingly it's good.
  • Debug Room: Can be found through the Trinsic cheat. Stack a bunch of crates up to the roof of the blacksmith shop in the southwest corner of town, and climb on to the roof. Walk up to the chimney to a room with lots of goodies in it. Then walk to the north side of the room to be warped into the Debug Room.
  • Developers' Foresight: Among other things, you can actually harvest wheat with a scythe, then mill it into flour, mix it with water pulled from a well (or any liquid, really) to make dough, and bake it into bread.
  • Dialogue Tree: Responses to others can be picked from one of several choices.
  • Disc-One Nuke: If you know where to look, you can get the best weapons and armor very early in the game.
    • Getting the magic carpet, which is not only free, but also allows you to travel almost anywhere.
    • If you have the Forge of Virtue add-on, going to the Isle of Fire as soon as it becomes available, which allows you to pick up the best weapon in the game, to raise your Dexterity and Intelligence to the cap without any training, and to raise your Strength to twice the cap without any training.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The three all-important generators that you need to destroy (and their Plot Couponus) are prisms in the shape of a circle, a triangle, and a square. Hmmm...
  • Dungeon Crawling: There are dungeons to explore.
  • Dungeon Punk: In contrast with the Heroic Fantasy setting of earlier installments of the series, Britannia now has Renaissance-level technology. Industrialization, pollution, labor relations, homelessness, class struggle, racism, and drug use are recurring themes.
  • Dying Race: The gargoyles have gone from ruling a world the size of Britannia to having a population that, even considering Thriving Ghost Town is in effect, is rapidly dwindling away to nothing.
  • Easy Impersonation: Throughout the game, you hear stories of a con-man pretending to be the Avatar fleecing various people around the world. When you finally find him, you find that he looks nothing like any of the selectable Avatars...especially if your Avatar is female.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Guardian. Though he's not quite as scary as others.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Blackrock Sword only becomes usable after a demon is bound to it.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Emps are somewhat monkey-like.
  • Evil Gloating: The Guardian's monologue at the top of the page, which occurs before you even start the game.
  • Expansion Pack: The Forge of Virtue.
  • Expy: The Blackrock Sword is an obvious one of Stormbringer.
  • Fake-Out Opening: Opens with a bright and cheery title screen for Ultima VII. It turns out Ultima VII was the computer game the Avatar was playing. The Guardian interrupts the game to deliver a message. Then the real title screen shows up in black.
  • Fantastic Drug: Silver Serpent venom, which is used recreationally by a few NPCs, and to dope the Britannian Mining Company's labouring gargoyles.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between humans and gargoyles, picking up where Ultima VI left off. Gargoyles are used as nearly slaves by the Britannian Mining Company. The largest gargoyle settlement is on an inhospitable rocky island where Blackthorne's castle used to be, presumably because it was an open plot of land which nobody wanted.
  • Fetch Quest: The Prisms. And the Talismans in Forge of Virtue.
  • Flaming Sword: The Fire Sword
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The Guardian introduces himself by sticking his head through your computer monitor, telling you how he's going to rule your life just as he rules Brittania.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Happens at the very end of the game. You're given the choice of entering the eponymous Black Gate and returning home or blowing it up and preventing the Guardian from entering Britannia.
  • Funetik Aksent: The gypsies and Gorn.
  • Gay Option: In the bath houses at Buccaneer's Den, you can have an Optional Sexual Encounter with the hookers of the same sex.
  • Ghost Town: Skara Brae, complete with literal ghosts.
  • Global Currency: Gold coins
  • Healing Spring: Played with. Some heal you, others put a protection or invisibility spell on you. Other flat out poison you.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Colors are muted at night but isn't too dark to see.
  • Hook Hand: Soon after arrival in Britannia, you find yourself looking for a man with one of these.
  • Hospital Surprise: What happens if the Avatar's HP drops to 0.
  • I Need You Stronger: Initially, the Guardian's voice chimes in with genuinely helpful (if imperious) advice and warnings if you do stuff that negatively affects your Karma Meter.
"Yes, Avatar, that is the correct direction to travel"
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Blackrock Sword. Also counts as a Sword of Sidequest Advancement.
  • Interface Screw: Not solving the Copy Protection will leave everyone speaking in randomized text.
  • Joke Item: Several people in taverns gush about how delicious silverleaf meal is. It has exactly zero nutritional value.
  • Justified Criminal: Weston attempted to steal apples from the Royal Orchard, and was arrested. In his cell, he said he headed to Britain to purchase food, and the keeper Figg was selling apples at a grossly inflated price. Should the Avatar rely the information to Lord British, he will quickly exonerate the thief and launch in investigation into the situation.
  • Karma Houdini: Batlin manages to escape at the end.
  • Karma Meter: Somewhat done away with here (which in itself is a good indicator that the world isn't as happy and peaceful as it claims to be). However, stealing or killing causes the civilians to call the guards on you. It may also cause your party members to leave or even attack you.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The game gives you a lot of opportunities to do so. But beware, there ARE consequences if someone catches you!
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • The Hoe of Destruction. The farmer (Mack) who owns the hoe in question took his hoe to a mage to be enchanted at the same time a warrior brought his sword to the mage to be enchanted. The mage got mixed up due to the in-universe disturbance to the ether, creating a hoe of destruction and a sword of weedcutting. You never find the sword, but you can get the Hoe of Destruction. (Which is a Stealth Pun. It's implied the sword is the Grasscutter (aka the Kusanagi), a legendary Japanese weapon made for the goddess of the sun.)
    • Dirty diapers. While not technically lethal, with one of these, you can cause any enemy in the game to flee in terror, which is pretty impressive.
    • The Weather spell. Calling a rainstorm will override Kissme's fairy dust, allowing you to freely use magic on Ambrosia.
  • Lord British Postulate: In this game, you can kill Lord British by dropping a plaque on his head while he's walking around the courtyard. Rumor has it that it's based on a real event in which a metal bar fell out of the ceiling and whacked Richard Garriot on the head.
    • It's also worth mentioning that this is the only Ultima with two different ways to kill Lord British. The alternate method is more sinister. The Black Sword's special powers can kill him.
  • Love Interest: Nastassia for the male Avatar. Sadly, this storyline doesn't go beyond a short dialogue and you getting your First Kiss.
  • Made of Explodium: Blackrock when Rudyom's Wand is used on it.
  • Magic Carpet: Found outside the Dungeon Despise
  • Many Questions Fallacy: Batlin administers a personality test to supposedly determine whether you need the Fellowship's guidance. It's full of loaded questions of the "Have you stopped beating your wife?" variety.
  • The Maze: Several dungeons and the inside of the Cube Generator are this.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The box is entirely black.
  • Minus World: The "land of the dead" where dead characters are sent. You can get there through the teleport cheat.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The logical progression through the game is to follow two high-level Fellowship officials, Elizabeth and Abraham, as they travel through Britannia. But it just so happens that at every consecutive point of their path the Avatar has just missed them. You encounter them only right before the game's end.
  • Money Spider: Gazers are literal money spiders, being spiderlike monsters that leave gold nuggets or stacks of coins instead of corpses.
  • Morton's Fork: The Fellowship's personality test runs on this trope. No matter which choices you pick, the only result you get is that something is wrong with you, and you need help from the Fellowship.
  • Multiple Endings: Right at the end of the game, you get to choose between letting the Guardian take over Britannia and go back to your home dimension, or stopping his plans and abandoning any hope of you going back home.
  • Multiple Head Case: The three-headed hydra on Ambrosia. One of the heads speaks only in bestial snarls and hisses, but the other heads seem to understand it fine.
  • Name of Cain: Caine, the alchemist in Skara Brae. He's a ghost who puts himself through a self-inflicted hell because he blames himself for the town's destruction. He also accidentally caused Batlin to turn evil.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The gargoyles Foranamo and Anmanivas.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: If you give Alagner's notebook to the Wisps, The Guardian has Alagner killed.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Shows up in the end credits.
  • No Fair Cheating: If you use the teleport cheat to access an otherwise unreachable room in the tip of a mountain range, you'll find Lord British, who will yell at you for cheating. He will also try to kill your entire party.note 
  • Non Standard Gameover: The Armageddon spell.
  • Not in Front of the Parrot: Bopping a parrot on the head with a gavel will make them reveal the location of hidden treasure.
  • One Size Fits All
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: At the bathhouses in Buccaneer's Den.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Guardian, though he does have an excuse. He's stuck in another dimension.
  • Organ Drops: Deer drop five legs (or are they just strips of meat? It's hard to tell!). Rabbits drop beef.
  • Pacifist Run: Can be completed with no fights whatsoever if you're Sequence Breaking. Even if you don't, there's only about two creatures that you absolutely have to kill. (One of them in the Expansion Pack).
  • Path of Inspiration: The Fellowship. Their three values, "Strive For Unity", "Trust Thy Brother" and "Worthiness Precedes Reward" seem good on the surface, but have a true meaning behind them. Unity copies the With Us or Against Us trope, Trust means do what another says without question, and worthiness precedes a just reward as indicated in the talk about the murder to the Trinsic Fellowship sage.
  • Passion Play: A group of Fellowship minstrels outside of Trinsic will perform what they call a passion play, but it has nothing to do with Jesus, being a badly-acted recruiting pay-to-view advertisement for the Fellowship. If the Avatar watches it, there's three key words noticed that draw an important connection about the Fellowship.
  • Power Glows: Most magic weapons glow, as does all magic armor.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Magic Axes and Juggernaut Hammers, as well as regular boomerangs.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: If the Avatar casts the Armageddon spell, then an exasperated Lord British would remark that the Guardian would no longer be interested in conquering the wasteland that Britannia became.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: A retired soldier in Jhelom sews as a hobby. He can sew you a new flag in one of the sidequests.
  • Sadistic Choice: Alina is living in the Fellowship homeless shelter, and her husband was arrested for stealing from the Royal Orchard. She has a choice to join the fellowship and perhaps they'll intervene in the case, or she could refuse while being at risk of getting expelled from the shelter (because it's for fellowship members).
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The demon inside the Blackrock Sword
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The Time Lord is imprisoned in the Shrine of Spirituality.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • If you know where all the story items are, you don't have to bother with joining the Fellowship or getting Alagner's notebook.
    • You don't actually have to talk to the Time Lord first to free him.
    • If you have the Forge of Virtue add-on, it's possible to reach the Cube Generator without getting a Caddelite Helm.
    • When you talk to Penumbra, she will ask who sent you to see her, and you can answer Nicodemus or the Time Lord. Except there is nothing stopping you from seeing Penumbra before meeting either of those, and will probably truckle through her locked door puzzle for no other reason than the fact it's there.
  • Shout-Out:
    • You can find a Kilrathi ship in a crop field, and the Kilrathi theme from Wing Commander plays.
    • One of the actors at the Britannia theater has a Troll doll.
    • Everyone in Serpent's Hold is based off of a character from Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Soul Jar: The Well of Souls
  • Stealth Run: The Invisibility spell is made for this.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker:
    • To observe that the Gargoyles return from Ultima VI. To also note that they retain their old speaking pattern. To start all sentences with an infinitive, and to avoid pronouns.
    • An example is shown by the speech of Emps. The passive voice is always used by them.
  • Straw Nihilist: Batlin is one of these, which you find out if you talk to him after casting the Armageddon spell. He had an existential crisis after Caine was unable to tell him the answers to Life and Death, which led him to joining up with the Guardian.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Blackrock Sword is needed to complete the Test of Courage in the Forge of Virtue.
  • Take That!:
    • The Fellowship is supposedly a satire of Scientology as well as Electronic Arts, who were trying to buy out Origin at that time.
    • Three generators, which are used by the bad guys to conquer the world, are a cube, a ball, and a tetrahedron: 3D-versions of the old Electonic Arts logo.
    • Possibly Elizabeth and Abraham, two high-level Fellowship officials, are another stab at Electronic Arts, as their initials spell EA.
  • Take Your Time: The planetary alignment of course does not actually occur until you reach the chamber of the eponymous Black Gate.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Kissme is an in-universe example. Your characters even find her cuteness rather annoying.
  • Tech Demo Game: This was the first ever game to require the (then) relatively new 486 processor (the predecessor to the first Pentium) rather than the older 386. It was the largest and most complex game that had ever been released, and had to use unorthodox memory management to get around DOS's limitations.
  • Unicorns Prefer Virgins: The leader of a herd of unicorns once refused the summoning of a wizard, who in retaliation placed the Curse of Chastity upon them and made them unable to stand the presence of non-virgins. Lasher the unicorn in particular is very tired of being used to ruin the reputations of women. Unless you've visited the in-game brothel before meeting him, your party members (one of which is a lecher, and another of which is married) are quite amused to learn that you are a virgin. Since the game had no way of telling whatever your protagonist has done in the previous nine games, Lasher simply reveals that you "regain your virginity" whenever entering the realm of Britannia.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The description of the world in The Book of Fellowship (the game's manual) is written by Batlin, who has a very biased view of certain aspects of Britannian life and history.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The Armageddon spell wipes out all life except you, Lord British and Batlin, meaning every character you need to talk to in order to progress is no more.
  • Vendor Trash: Gold nuggets, gems, and Silver Serpent venom
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There's plenty of opportunities in this game for Evil Avatars.
    • A particularly bizarre example regards the suicide of Owen the shipwright. After his death, you can resurrect him and have the exact same conversation, which will end with him killing himself again. You can do this as many times as you like.
  • Virginity Flag: Britannia's unicorns are living virginity detectors, due to a curse. The Avatar meets a unicorn named Lasher, who dislikes this role, because of the shame he unwillingly brought to many women. However, when Lasher learns about a man wanting to prove his virginity to his demanding fiancee, his curiosity is piqued, and he agrees to help.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stealing, attacking innocents, joining the Fellowship and wasting wine by pouring it into the floor will trigger this reaction from the Avatar's companions. Do any of these too much, however, and your companions will either leave or attack you.
  • What the Hell, Player?: British really lets the player have it if you use the Armageddon spell, which kills everyone save British and the Big Bad.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: In this game, you directly feed the characters with a food item. How full the character is depends on what you feed them. Fruits and vegetables are hardly filling, and it won't be long until the character is hungry again. Meat and cheese, however, are very filling. Just watch out for the characters saying they're hungry when they're actually not.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: One of the first truly enormous, all-encompassing sandboxes, courtesy of being designed for the 32-bit i486 processor as a minimum. It is entirely possible to lose yourself in the game for days of real time, just going around and doing things utterly unrelated to the main quest.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: You can have the Avatar try out for his/her own role at the theater in the town of Britannia...but no matter what you do, you'll get declined anyway.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The fate of Skara Brae, thought it's more of a localized Ghost Apocalypse. They all died at once too, no-one killed one another.


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