RPG Retrospective - Quest for Glory

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

Quest for Glory - RPG Retrospective

The Basics

Oh man.

When I was about six or seven years old, my parents bought a used Tandy 1000 along with a handful of games on these crazy things called disks. Old timey, right? I was fascinated by them. F-19 Stealth Fighter. Leisure Suit Larry 2. Sid Meier's Pirates! All of these would help gaming become a part of my life in a huge way, but none of them held a candle to one other little game from Sierra, the same company responsible for Larry Laffer and Roger Wilco, for Sonny Bonds and King Graham. Quest for Glory wasn't and isn't just a game to me - it forced me to learn. It opened my eyes to fantasy. It led me down the strange, sometimes miserable road that is my addiction to gaming. To this day, I love it. It brings me back to a good part of my childhood, the time I spent poring over dictionaries and learning basic sentence syntax in order to finish the game over and over and over again. It brings me back to the daydreams I'd have about Spielburg, about going to an old Spanish-styled library (now long since demolished) to begin that ardous journey of leaving behind childish books and becoming steeped in Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and T.H. White. It is, indirectly, what led me to become an English major, to continue my love affair with the written word.

And I'm about to tell you not to play it.

Fuck.

Originally released as a text-input game with the title of Hero's Quest: So You Want to Be a Hero, it was retitled to Quest for Glory after Milton Bradley got their panties in a bunch about the name coinciding with their incredibly shitty board game of the same name. Seriously, I own that too - and let me tell you, if you're ever desperate for a poor man's D&D and you look at that crap, just take out your cash and piss on it. It's a better investment. But back to the PC game. Hero's Quest, or Quest for Glory, featured a blonde haired, blue-and-black lovin' nameless hero. You could pick between a Fighter, Mage, or Thief. Your choice of class determined your base stats for a number of skills, such as strength, vitality, climbing, throwing, sneaking, or magic. You were also allocated a certain number of skill points to spend, so while a Fighter might not be able to use magic at the start, by investing some of your points into that skill, you could use it too. These stats would increase throughout the game the more you used them. By sparring with the castle's master-at-arms, you could increase your strength and vitality, for example, while a Thief would increase his stealth by sneaking.

Sounds like an RPG, right? And half of it really is. If you're planning to play the whole series through, investing the time in the first game to boost your stats is a great idea, because the game allowed you to transfer your character over to each new game. Yep, Quest for Glory was porting its main character long before Shepherd ever dragged his ass out of bed. Importing a character into the future games also allowed players to play as a Paladin class, which normally wouldn't be available.

But the skills and classes are only part of what the game was. It was also an adventure game - straight-up, old-school Sierra goodness. There were about eleventy billion ways to die. Sleep outside in the forest? Dead. Try to take on a dagger-tossing ruffian? Dead. Piss off the sheriff's tame ogre buddy? Dead. The game requires you to save constantly, as the trial-and-error difficulty of Sierra adventure games at that time were unkind, if not exactly brutal (they saved the brutality for King's Quest III). In the original version, you'd type in commands such as, "Look at centaur," "order dragon's breath," or "sneak."

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your nostalgia for these things), that's not the version I played for this review. When the world went all point-and-clicky, Sierra remade a couple of its adventure games with updated graphics and interfaces, including Quest for Glory. This version isn't inferior in any way, and in fact, if you're going to play one of the two and are younger than, say, twenty-seven or so and have no experience with text input games, go with the point-and-click version. It's easy to get running when installed straight from GOG.com (you can tweak some minor graphical options with a handy utility included with the games), and has shinier graphics in comparison to its older self.

The Story

Quest for Glory starts with the Hero coming into the valley of Speilburg after a narrowly avoiding an avalanche that has conveniently cut off the only route out of the valley. The Hero learns of Spielburg's many problems, including the missing Baronet and Baroness von Spielburg, the nuisance of the witch Baba Yaga, and an increasingly dangerous bandit problem. He also learns of various other smaller problems and opportunities in the valley, and comes to meet all sorts of various characters and villains throughout.

Wow. Put like that, the story of Quest for Glory sounds like Fantasy 101, and I guess it really is. Lori Cole, one half of the design team and a personal hero of mine, has openly stated that she hated the traditional adventure game elements and wanted to design a game with her husband that incorporated RPG elements. It's no surprise then that the game's plot sounds ripped straight out of something you might see in a D&D campaign or from one of the blossoming fantasy writers of the 80's.

While the generalities of the plot are relatively simple, the specifics remain delightful, even today. Baba Yaga is still menacing. Erasmus, the friendly odd wizard accompanied by his pet rat Fenrus, is still smarmy and a bit witty. And the game's best unseen character, Erana, is still eerie and intriguing. She's a long-deceased wizard of sorts, a powerful force for good whose presence still lingers in certain locations scattered throughout the games. The world is still supremely charming, too. The valley of Spielburg is inspired by German folklore, and most of the game's design focuses around that central theme. There are thatched roofs aplenty, so to speak.

This is, then, one part wherein my rose-tinted glasses aren't entirely wrong. Oh, sure, if you dig into your folklore books, you'll come across Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged house, but where the hell have you seen it in gaming before, hmmm?

The Graphical Style

Once upon a time, we used terms like EGA and VGA to describe games like these. Don't ask me what they fucking mean - I've had a cocktail or two and I'm feeling too goddamn lazy to get into the specifics (meaning I can't be bothered to go look them up). But put simply, EGA was uglier while VGA was shinier. Got it? No? Okay. Errr.... Put in movie terms, VGA was The Avengers or The Amazing Spider-Man, while EGA was the late-night Syfy-produced movie of the month. If you still don't get it, fuck off. I'm writing here.

The version I played for this Retrospective was the VGA version, the aforementioned point-and-click version. It was released in 1991, so obviously it's going to be a little aged no matter how much I try to defend it. To be honest, though, the graphics aren't all that terrible for a game produced in that era. Certainly it's on par with everything else Sierra produced, and I personally prefer it to the LucasArts game styles (Sierra's nearest competitor that you'd remember - there were a few other companies like Dynamix, but a graphical comparison between this and Willy Beamish would be one hell of a pointless endeavor).

But we're not talking about how it looked then, are we? We're talking about how it loks today. And as much as I hate to say it, it's just not that good looking anymore. It's like Dame Judi Dench - you look at her, and there's still a sparkle in her eyes, but her time for modeling in Playboy's a bit long gone.

It isn't fair to judge an old RPG by its graphics, but it is fair to judge a game by its graphical stylings and how well those have held up. There are some elements that are surprisingly good. I love the aforementioned Baba Yaga and her hut - they both look good (well, insofar as a magic-slinging hag can look good). The combat animations are a bit problematic and were the only cause for concern for me in getting the game running, but tinkering with the options in the game's utilities fixed this easily enough (I should note I'm running it on Windows 7). Some of the backgrounds and areas look great too, such as my absolute favorite locale, Erana's Peace. It's a small nook wherein... ahhh, you don't care about that - it's just a pleasant looking area.

But it's not all great. There's a dire generic nature to all of this. Even for the time, the graphical inspirations were fairly uninspired. Goblins look precisely how you'd imagine a hackneyed fantasy artist to draw them. The town, while full of colorful characters, lacks any sort of real color itself, save for the tavern. And the forest, which is where you'll be spending a great deal of time as you adventure, is fairly dull. Some sort of originality here would have done leaps and bounds to improve the game's long-term graphical prospects. But keep in mind too that this was a labor of love and an homage of sorts to the RPG's of the day. That doesn't make it easier to approach the game from a modern standpoint, but it's something to chew on if you do decide to play it.

Sound

I don't have any problem with getting the EGA version running with at least sound, which is awesome because I can listen to the original score for this game. I say "score" as though it were an orchestral thing, but as you're probably well aware, back then, it wasn't quite so grandiose. Still, I love hearing that old theme song again, and I've had parts of the music stuck in my head for weeks.

With the VGA update came an updated score, and while it's shinier in some regards, I actually think the EGA score is better. The VGA score feels overproduced, as though they wanted to take advantage of every new bip and boop they could throw in there. It's not awful by any means, but if a game released in 1991 can have an overproduced score, it's this.

There are still some highlights. The theme is still memorable, and Erana's Peace is downright gorgeous. The small bits of sound effects in the game sound pretty good too. I think this is one of those cases where it might be impossible for me to seperate nostalgia from the truth. I want to say that, yeah, the music and sound are fantastic. But I'm sure anyone who didn't play the game back in the day would hear it and shrug.

Quick side-note though - I do still have the score for Quest for Glory V, and while 3/4's of that score is pretty awful, there are some fantastic songs in there to help balance it out. If you're a fan of the series, check it out. I'm going to throw in

Here's the QfG I theme. Tell me what you think, because I'm genuinely curious. Memorable? Overproduced? Too simple for modern tastes?

RPG Cheese

Here's a weird one. Up until this point, the RPG Cheese section has dealt primarily with the problems of a JRPG. Here, we have a game produced in the West. Obviously, then, you won't be hearing me bitch about googly-eyed children saving the world for once. Whew.

Quest for Glory does have some cheese of its own. I can easily look past the game's generic fantasy nature because it was one of the first fantasy worlds I was introduced to, but many newcomers to the series just won't see the appeal of Spielburg. it's fantasy generica, whether I like it or not. There's also a fair amount of grinding to be done if you're looking to continue the series beyond the first installment.

Being also an adventure game, Quest for Glory has some problems that will be unique to it in the Retrospective series. There's a great deal of trial and error, as with any Sierra game of that period. While it's easy for me to remember the solutions to a great many of the puzzles, some of them are a little obtuse and might require the use of a guide. There are several points in the game where, if you haven't completed certain side-quests or obtained certain items, you will fail. Combat in the VGA version isn't quite as cut and dried as the EGA version, and the graphical interface for fights can be a pain. There are a thousand ways to die, and if you're lucky, you'll remember to save, save, save because autosaving was still about a decade off.

All that will sound really minor to old school RPG or adventure game aficionados, but to newcomers, those little things will add up quickly.

Replayabilty

By today's standards, it would be relatively easy to see everything Quest for Glory has to offer if you create your character with the right skills in mind at the start. Create a thief with magic capabilities and grind out strength and vitality, for example, and you'll have an excellent long-term character. But playing a "stock" character can be problematic, as you'll often times be confronted with problems that have no apparent solution with your current character. This really doesn't become a problem until Quest for Glory III and IV (especially the latter), but it's something to keep in mind. The game's fairly brief - I imagine you could probably do a speed run with minimal grinding in a couple of hours tops - but you'd be missing out on everything that made the game special in the first place if you just blitzed through it.

Frankly, the replaybility is going to be determined by your age and proclivity towards antique games. If you can handle the laundry list of problems I've talked about for newcomers, you might be surprised at how replayable the entire series is. But individually, there's not a whole lot to Quest for Glory that can't be seen the first time through with proper character planning.

Overall Quality, Then and Now

Quest for Glory was and is my favorite game of all time. That's why this section actually hurts to write. Fuck you, Father Time.

If you played Quest for Glory back in '89 or '91, you would have found a lot to love. It was an endearing, witty game with a memorable cast of characters and an incredibly unique blend of adventure and RPG gaming. If you play Quest for Glory in 2012, you won't know what the hell I'm going on about. You can walk into any bookstore (sorry, I mean hop on your Kindle or iPad) and find a fantasy novel for a few bucks that will instantly make this game's story seem juvenile and downright generic. And that adventure/RPG gameplay? If you've played Skyrim, you've seen the gameplay evolved to an incredibly delightful sheen.

I'm actually trying not to get a little misty-eyed here. I recommend that anyone who played this game back in the day, buy it. But if you're younger than that? Go on back to Skyrim. There's nothing for you here.

Total Value Versus Accessibility

For years, the Quest for Glory collection was one of those Holy Grails of gaming. Copies of the disks went for upwards of $150 at one point, and you could barely get those bastards working on a modern computer. Recently, though, GOG.com put out the Quest for Glory collection for a ridiculously cheap price and instantly rendered the on-disc craziness completely moot. You should be able to get all of them running with minimal fuss - my only problem with the EGA version was that I had to run it in a windowed format that made it too small for my vision problems.

As for the value, again, that's going to depend on your age. Keep in mind that for a similar price, you could buy a copy of Morrowind or possibly Oblivion, two games which have modernized the spirit of Quest for Glory, even if it's unintentional. And frankly, unless you're seeking to revisit the ghosts of adventure games past, there's no reason to play this instead of them.

I love Quest for Glory. I always will. it's one of a very, very few games I'd actually call important to my life. But overall, ladies and gentlmen, I can't recommend it to you. I wish you'd play it and enjoy it as much as I do. But I just don't see it happening.

#1 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

Quest for Glory - RPG Retrospective

The Basics

Oh man.

When I was about six or seven years old, my parents bought a used Tandy 1000 along with a handful of games on these crazy things called disks. Old timey, right? I was fascinated by them. F-19 Stealth Fighter. Leisure Suit Larry 2. Sid Meier's Pirates! All of these would help gaming become a part of my life in a huge way, but none of them held a candle to one other little game from Sierra, the same company responsible for Larry Laffer and Roger Wilco, for Sonny Bonds and King Graham. Quest for Glory wasn't and isn't just a game to me - it forced me to learn. It opened my eyes to fantasy. It led me down the strange, sometimes miserable road that is my addiction to gaming. To this day, I love it. It brings me back to a good part of my childhood, the time I spent poring over dictionaries and learning basic sentence syntax in order to finish the game over and over and over again. It brings me back to the daydreams I'd have about Spielburg, about going to an old Spanish-styled library (now long since demolished) to begin that ardous journey of leaving behind childish books and becoming steeped in Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and T.H. White. It is, indirectly, what led me to become an English major, to continue my love affair with the written word.

And I'm about to tell you not to play it.

Fuck.

Originally released as a text-input game with the title of Hero's Quest: So You Want to Be a Hero, it was retitled to Quest for Glory after Milton Bradley got their panties in a bunch about the name coinciding with their incredibly shitty board game of the same name. Seriously, I own that too - and let me tell you, if you're ever desperate for a poor man's D&D and you look at that crap, just take out your cash and piss on it. It's a better investment. But back to the PC game. Hero's Quest, or Quest for Glory, featured a blonde haired, blue-and-black lovin' nameless hero. You could pick between a Fighter, Mage, or Thief. Your choice of class determined your base stats for a number of skills, such as strength, vitality, climbing, throwing, sneaking, or magic. You were also allocated a certain number of skill points to spend, so while a Fighter might not be able to use magic at the start, by investing some of your points into that skill, you could use it too. These stats would increase throughout the game the more you used them. By sparring with the castle's master-at-arms, you could increase your strength and vitality, for example, while a Thief would increase his stealth by sneaking.

Sounds like an RPG, right? And half of it really is. If you're planning to play the whole series through, investing the time in the first game to boost your stats is a great idea, because the game allowed you to transfer your character over to each new game. Yep, Quest for Glory was porting its main character long before Shepherd ever dragged his ass out of bed. Importing a character into the future games also allowed players to play as a Paladin class, which normally wouldn't be available.

But the skills and classes are only part of what the game was. It was also an adventure game - straight-up, old-school Sierra goodness. There were about eleventy billion ways to die. Sleep outside in the forest? Dead. Try to take on a dagger-tossing ruffian? Dead. Piss off the sheriff's tame ogre buddy? Dead. The game requires you to save constantly, as the trial-and-error difficulty of Sierra adventure games at that time were unkind, if not exactly brutal (they saved the brutality for King's Quest III). In the original version, you'd type in commands such as, "Look at centaur," "order dragon's breath," or "sneak."

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your nostalgia for these things), that's not the version I played for this review. When the world went all point-and-clicky, Sierra remade a couple of its adventure games with updated graphics and interfaces, including Quest for Glory. This version isn't inferior in any way, and in fact, if you're going to play one of the two and are younger than, say, twenty-seven or so and have no experience with text input games, go with the point-and-click version. It's easy to get running when installed straight from GOG.com (you can tweak some minor graphical options with a handy utility included with the games), and has shinier graphics in comparison to its older self.

The Story

Quest for Glory starts with the Hero coming into the valley of Speilburg after a narrowly avoiding an avalanche that has conveniently cut off the only route out of the valley. The Hero learns of Spielburg's many problems, including the missing Baronet and Baroness von Spielburg, the nuisance of the witch Baba Yaga, and an increasingly dangerous bandit problem. He also learns of various other smaller problems and opportunities in the valley, and comes to meet all sorts of various characters and villains throughout.

Wow. Put like that, the story of Quest for Glory sounds like Fantasy 101, and I guess it really is. Lori Cole, one half of the design team and a personal hero of mine, has openly stated that she hated the traditional adventure game elements and wanted to design a game with her husband that incorporated RPG elements. It's no surprise then that the game's plot sounds ripped straight out of something you might see in a D&D campaign or from one of the blossoming fantasy writers of the 80's.

While the generalities of the plot are relatively simple, the specifics remain delightful, even today. Baba Yaga is still menacing. Erasmus, the friendly odd wizard accompanied by his pet rat Fenrus, is still smarmy and a bit witty. And the game's best unseen character, Erana, is still eerie and intriguing. She's a long-deceased wizard of sorts, a powerful force for good whose presence still lingers in certain locations scattered throughout the games. The world is still supremely charming, too. The valley of Spielburg is inspired by German folklore, and most of the game's design focuses around that central theme. There are thatched roofs aplenty, so to speak.

This is, then, one part wherein my rose-tinted glasses aren't entirely wrong. Oh, sure, if you dig into your folklore books, you'll come across Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged house, but where the hell have you seen it in gaming before, hmmm?

The Graphical Style

Once upon a time, we used terms like EGA and VGA to describe games like these. Don't ask me what they fucking mean - I've had a cocktail or two and I'm feeling too goddamn lazy to get into the specifics (meaning I can't be bothered to go look them up). But put simply, EGA was uglier while VGA was shinier. Got it? No? Okay. Errr.... Put in movie terms, VGA was The Avengers or The Amazing Spider-Man, while EGA was the late-night Syfy-produced movie of the month. If you still don't get it, fuck off. I'm writing here.

The version I played for this Retrospective was the VGA version, the aforementioned point-and-click version. It was released in 1991, so obviously it's going to be a little aged no matter how much I try to defend it. To be honest, though, the graphics aren't all that terrible for a game produced in that era. Certainly it's on par with everything else Sierra produced, and I personally prefer it to the LucasArts game styles (Sierra's nearest competitor that you'd remember - there were a few other companies like Dynamix, but a graphical comparison between this and Willy Beamish would be one hell of a pointless endeavor).

But we're not talking about how it looked then, are we? We're talking about how it loks today. And as much as I hate to say it, it's just not that good looking anymore. It's like Dame Judi Dench - you look at her, and there's still a sparkle in her eyes, but her time for modeling in Playboy's a bit long gone.

It isn't fair to judge an old RPG by its graphics, but it is fair to judge a game by its graphical stylings and how well those have held up. There are some elements that are surprisingly good. I love the aforementioned Baba Yaga and her hut - they both look good (well, insofar as a magic-slinging hag can look good). The combat animations are a bit problematic and were the only cause for concern for me in getting the game running, but tinkering with the options in the game's utilities fixed this easily enough (I should note I'm running it on Windows 7). Some of the backgrounds and areas look great too, such as my absolute favorite locale, Erana's Peace. It's a small nook wherein... ahhh, you don't care about that - it's just a pleasant looking area.

But it's not all great. There's a dire generic nature to all of this. Even for the time, the graphical inspirations were fairly uninspired. Goblins look precisely how you'd imagine a hackneyed fantasy artist to draw them. The town, while full of colorful characters, lacks any sort of real color itself, save for the tavern. And the forest, which is where you'll be spending a great deal of time as you adventure, is fairly dull. Some sort of originality here would have done leaps and bounds to improve the game's long-term graphical prospects. But keep in mind too that this was a labor of love and an homage of sorts to the RPG's of the day. That doesn't make it easier to approach the game from a modern standpoint, but it's something to chew on if you do decide to play it.

Sound

I don't have any problem with getting the EGA version running with at least sound, which is awesome because I can listen to the original score for this game. I say "score" as though it were an orchestral thing, but as you're probably well aware, back then, it wasn't quite so grandiose. Still, I love hearing that old theme song again, and I've had parts of the music stuck in my head for weeks.

With the VGA update came an updated score, and while it's shinier in some regards, I actually think the EGA score is better. The VGA score feels overproduced, as though they wanted to take advantage of every new bip and boop they could throw in there. It's not awful by any means, but if a game released in 1991 can have an overproduced score, it's this.

There are still some highlights. The theme is still memorable, and Erana's Peace is downright gorgeous. The small bits of sound effects in the game sound pretty good too. I think this is one of those cases where it might be impossible for me to seperate nostalgia from the truth. I want to say that, yeah, the music and sound are fantastic. But I'm sure anyone who didn't play the game back in the day would hear it and shrug.

Quick side-note though - I do still have the score for Quest for Glory V, and while 3/4's of that score is pretty awful, there are some fantastic songs in there to help balance it out. If you're a fan of the series, check it out. I'm going to throw in

Here's the QfG I theme. Tell me what you think, because I'm genuinely curious. Memorable? Overproduced? Too simple for modern tastes?

RPG Cheese

Here's a weird one. Up until this point, the RPG Cheese section has dealt primarily with the problems of a JRPG. Here, we have a game produced in the West. Obviously, then, you won't be hearing me bitch about googly-eyed children saving the world for once. Whew.

Quest for Glory does have some cheese of its own. I can easily look past the game's generic fantasy nature because it was one of the first fantasy worlds I was introduced to, but many newcomers to the series just won't see the appeal of Spielburg. it's fantasy generica, whether I like it or not. There's also a fair amount of grinding to be done if you're looking to continue the series beyond the first installment.

Being also an adventure game, Quest for Glory has some problems that will be unique to it in the Retrospective series. There's a great deal of trial and error, as with any Sierra game of that period. While it's easy for me to remember the solutions to a great many of the puzzles, some of them are a little obtuse and might require the use of a guide. There are several points in the game where, if you haven't completed certain side-quests or obtained certain items, you will fail. Combat in the VGA version isn't quite as cut and dried as the EGA version, and the graphical interface for fights can be a pain. There are a thousand ways to die, and if you're lucky, you'll remember to save, save, save because autosaving was still about a decade off.

All that will sound really minor to old school RPG or adventure game aficionados, but to newcomers, those little things will add up quickly.

Replayabilty

By today's standards, it would be relatively easy to see everything Quest for Glory has to offer if you create your character with the right skills in mind at the start. Create a thief with magic capabilities and grind out strength and vitality, for example, and you'll have an excellent long-term character. But playing a "stock" character can be problematic, as you'll often times be confronted with problems that have no apparent solution with your current character. This really doesn't become a problem until Quest for Glory III and IV (especially the latter), but it's something to keep in mind. The game's fairly brief - I imagine you could probably do a speed run with minimal grinding in a couple of hours tops - but you'd be missing out on everything that made the game special in the first place if you just blitzed through it.

Frankly, the replaybility is going to be determined by your age and proclivity towards antique games. If you can handle the laundry list of problems I've talked about for newcomers, you might be surprised at how replayable the entire series is. But individually, there's not a whole lot to Quest for Glory that can't be seen the first time through with proper character planning.

Overall Quality, Then and Now

Quest for Glory was and is my favorite game of all time. That's why this section actually hurts to write. Fuck you, Father Time.

If you played Quest for Glory back in '89 or '91, you would have found a lot to love. It was an endearing, witty game with a memorable cast of characters and an incredibly unique blend of adventure and RPG gaming. If you play Quest for Glory in 2012, you won't know what the hell I'm going on about. You can walk into any bookstore (sorry, I mean hop on your Kindle or iPad) and find a fantasy novel for a few bucks that will instantly make this game's story seem juvenile and downright generic. And that adventure/RPG gameplay? If you've played Skyrim, you've seen the gameplay evolved to an incredibly delightful sheen.

I'm actually trying not to get a little misty-eyed here. I recommend that anyone who played this game back in the day, buy it. But if you're younger than that? Go on back to Skyrim. There's nothing for you here.

Total Value Versus Accessibility

For years, the Quest for Glory collection was one of those Holy Grails of gaming. Copies of the disks went for upwards of $150 at one point, and you could barely get those bastards working on a modern computer. Recently, though, GOG.com put out the Quest for Glory collection for a ridiculously cheap price and instantly rendered the on-disc craziness completely moot. You should be able to get all of them running with minimal fuss - my only problem with the EGA version was that I had to run it in a windowed format that made it too small for my vision problems.

As for the value, again, that's going to depend on your age. Keep in mind that for a similar price, you could buy a copy of Morrowind or possibly Oblivion, two games which have modernized the spirit of Quest for Glory, even if it's unintentional. And frankly, unless you're seeking to revisit the ghosts of adventure games past, there's no reason to play this instead of them.

I love Quest for Glory. I always will. it's one of a very, very few games I'd actually call important to my life. But overall, ladies and gentlmen, I can't recommend it to you. I wish you'd play it and enjoy it as much as I do. But I just don't see it happening.

#2 Posted by Wakapeil (25 posts) -

It makes me sad that you can not expect anyone to actually play the quest for glory games anymore. The first and fourth game in the series are still among my favourite games of all time. The main theme brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. Even though it would be completly pointless I would love a proper remake o the entire series

#3 Edited by Mento (2740 posts) -

Good stuff, though it sounds like this was a little painful to write; at least the parts where you come to terms with how the game's aged. While there'll always be issues with a dirt old game that has problems that had been long since been fixed by the evolution of game design and subsequently left behind in a ditch somewhere, there's still value in a good idea well realised which is what these games pretty much are. I'm on an adventure game kick and recently bought this set (after your prompting, if I recall) so I can see myself coming back to Spielburg real soon to get Hooked on fighting Raiders in a Duel while avoiding the Jaws of monsters with devious AI. (Sorry, my keyboard capitalizes random words for some reason.)

You planning on playing the second one in the next part of this retrospective series or are you going back to anime shenanigans for a while?

Moderator
#4 Posted by ZombiePie (5735 posts) -

Quest for Glory III still stands as one of the biggest "fuck you, buy the next game" endings I have ever experienced my entire life. Beyond that it was an enjoyable series when I was younger and understood old school adventure game logic like it was algebra. I don't know how to explain it but Idon't remember struggling a lot in adventure games back in the day, but whenever I go back and play them it's like the game is in another language. I recently went back to The Longest Journey and couldn't solve the "Rubber Ducky Puzzle," and had to look up a guide for it when I didn't need to do that when I first played the game.  

Moderator
#5 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12008 posts) -

Really, you could've just said "This is a Sierra adventure game, but you also have stats" and I would have already been tipped off that it isn't really all that much for me. Nothing quite like constant, punishing instadeath combined with moon logic puzzle solutions to discourage. Honestly, the Homestar Runner tribute/parody Peasant's Quest does a better job at being a game that regular humans can play than anything Roberta Williams ever thought of. Also one of the puzzles was solved by throwing a baby in a lake.

Even despite that however, it seems clear that Quest for Glory is pretty unique. I certainly can't think of many games that directly hybridize RPG and Adventure in such a manner. That's something to praise, right?

#6 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

@Wakapeil: I think (and hope) that with the use of fan-made patches, I should be able to recommend the fourth game. I hope so, anyways. That one's going to take some work to get working properly and fixed up, and if I cover that game (and I intend to at some point), I will try to walk people through the most painless route to get it patched up. That said, I really wish I could say, "Hey, everyone! Go out and play this game!" But truthfully, I just can't. There's a new breed of die-hard adventure gamers out there who might want to pick it up eventually, and I really hope they do to keep the torch going. But for the average RPG gamer, the series is a really tough sell.

@Mento: I'm trying to the age and style of the games into account with these retrospectives, but in certain cases, aged designs are going to work against the game regardless of how much I wish they didn't. That said, I still think the entire series (even V) has bucketloads of charm if a person is willing to really, reallly work for it. I'll definitely be covering the rest of the Quest for Glory series, and might even do up a two-parter to cover both the vanilla QFG II and the point-and-click remake from three or four years ago. I believe that remake is either free or dirt cheap, and I've been curious about it anyways.

@ZombiePie: Haha! I completely agree on all counts! I used to chew up and spit out adventure games and their insane logic, but in revisiting games I've played only years ago (this one included, as well as the Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest games), I still find myself having to look up the occasional answer now and again. Leisure Suit Larry II is the absolute worst for that - escaping the ship with all the right bits and pieces is still one of the most aggravating parts of adventure gaming. Period. And as for QFG III, I could not agree more. Even worse, when Quest for Glory IV finally came out, it felt like ages before I could play it properly because of a need to upgrade computers.

@ArbitraryWater: Some part of me wants to shout, "Lies! It's all lies!" But this is exactly how I envision that younger gamers would see the entire Quest for Glory series. It's not friendly. The game design has moved on for many, many reasons. But thou shalt not slander the good name of Roberta Williams, you rapscallion! That shit will not stand! I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL, SIR!

#7 Posted by august (3861 posts) -

Hero business like eating peanuts.

Once you start, very hard to stop.

#8 Posted by august (3861 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater said:

Really, you could've just said "This is a Sierra adventure game, but you also have stats" and I would have already been tipped off that it isn't really all that much for me. Nothing quite like constant, punishing instadeath combined with moon logic puzzle solutions to discourage. Honestly, the Homestar Runner tribute/parody Peasant's Quest does a better job at being a game that regular humans can play than anything Roberta Williams ever thought of. Also one of the puzzles was solved by throwing a baby in a lake.

Even despite that however, it seems clear that Quest for Glory is pretty unique. I certainly can't think of many games that directly hybridize RPG and Adventure in such a manner. That's something to praise, right?

The constant punishing death thing in Sierra games gets blown out of proportion, plus seeing unique death animations was part of the fun of playing the game.

And in Quest for Glory in particular there weren't a lot of surprise deaths at all that I can think of.

#9 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

@august said:

Hero business like eating peanuts.

Once you start, very hard to stop.

Haha! Now here's someone after my heart!

#10 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12008 posts) -

@Sparky_Buzzsaw: Oh, it's time to duel, is it?YO-YO-YO MOVE. Yep. That's probably not totally irrelevant to anyone a few years older or younger than me. Basically, for as much as I embrace in regards to RPGs made in an era when it was ok to be kinda BS, I cannot say the same for the adventure genre. Considering I can barely get through Telltale's Sam and Max episodes without immediately considering a walkthrough (which I staunchly refuse, as at that point I'm kinda not playing the game at all), I can't say that the likes of King's Quest and Police Quest and Space Quest appeal to me in any fashion other than hilarious compilation videos of all possible deaths per game. Can't do that in Monkey Island. No siree. (one of these days I should really finish that one).

#11 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: What in the blue balled hell did you just make me watch? That's not Yogi! And when the hell did his last name become Oh? It's Yogi Bear! Jeezum crow, you kids and your PCP have ruined everything.

All right, that shit sounded way funnier in my head. Piss off, I'm about six rum and Cokes into making this night special.

Nah, I agree with you - if you weren't raised on the genre, those style of adventure games are gonna be nothing but trouble. Oh, and speaking of nothing but trouble? I see your Yogi-Oh and raise you a Mr. Bonestripper. Bring it, young'un!

#12 Posted by Slag (4739 posts) -

That was a fun read OP.

I had/have mad love for QFG I. The sequels never quite recaptured the magic the first game had.

I think your assessment is a little harsh. Yeah it's not Skyrim, but it's a different style of game. If Monkey Island can come back and people can appreciate it that QFG can be fun too.

#13 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

@Slag: It's kind of apples and oranges, though, isn't it? I mean, let's face it - Sierra games are usually a lot more difficult to pick up and play than LucasArts ones. That doesn't make them inherently better or worse, but it does make a modern reworking quite a bit more daunting for the Sierra games. As I mentioned above somewhere in the comments, I'd really like to play the recently remade QFG II to see both how it holds up against the original and if it might be a bit more friendly towards newer players than what I imagine QFG I to be.

I don't think I'm too harsh on QFG I. I'm an admittedly huge fan of the series, and have consistently ranked this game as number one on my favorites lists for a couple of decades now. For old adventuring warhorses or even those who might be fans of old-school RPG's and want something a little different, it's still a great, fun game. But it's been two decades since the last version of this game came out, and those two decades have seen it become antiquated in too many ways to really recommend it to gamers today. My purpose in creating this series of blogs is to give an honest look at how older RPG's have held up over the years as well as to offer as unbiased an opinion as I can give on whether or not a modern gamer should be troubled with trying them out. Trust me, i'm as pissed off at myself as anything else for the results of this blog, but I feel like I wouldn't have been honest if I hadn't stated the game's problems.

#14 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12008 posts) -

@Sparky_Buzzsaw said:

Oh, and speaking of nothing but trouble? I see your Yogi-Oh and raise you a Mr. Bonestripper. Bring it, young'un!

What the hell did I just watch? Was that a recognizable actor wearing heavy makeup?

#15 Posted by Slag (4739 posts) -

@Sparky_Buzzsaw said:

@Slag: It's kind of apples and oranges, though, isn't it? I mean, let's face it - Sierra games are usually a lot more difficult to pick up and play than LucasArts ones...

I don't think I'm too harsh on QFG I. I'm an admittedly huge fan of the series, and have consistently ranked this game as number one on my favorites lists for a couple of decades now. For old adventuring warhorses or even those who might be fans of old-school RPG's and want something a little different, it's still a great, fun game. But it's been two decades since the last version of this game came out, and those two decades have seen it become antiquated in too many ways to really recommend it to gamers today. My purpose in creating this series of blogs is to give an honest look at how older RPG's have held up over the years as well as to offer as unbiased an opinion as I can give on whether or not a modern gamer should be troubled with trying them out. Trust me, i'm as pissed off at myself as anything else for the results of this blog, but I feel like I wouldn't have been honest if I hadn't stated the game's problems.

Yeah they are. And less funny (well perhaps more accurately more subtle) so voicework etc isn't going to do much for them. But I don't buy that Lucasarts games are that much better than everyone else from that time. I hear it a lot than only Monkey Island etc is worth playing. And I think that's a bit of false nostalgia (And I love those games).

I dunno man, based off people I've met on here it seems today's new gamers are more tolerant of old game quirks than I would have guessed. People enjoyed Mega man 9 with the busted difficulty and the oddly preserved flicker (false nostalgia perhaps?). I think more would "get it" than you think. Especially if there was a prettier re-remake.

Your criticisms of the games weaknesses are fair , but I think they would know that going in the mechanics are going to be rough. I wouldn't think QFG would be anywhere near as popular as it once was, but I think of all the Sierra series it holds up the best. And I think the story/sense of adventure still works which wa sthe main appeal of the game anyway (for me).

Pont and Click isn't that hard to pick up, and gamefaqs etc make Guess and Check roadblocks pretty temporary unlike back in the day. Via kicstarter and such the gamestyle is making a minor comeback

Anyway Opinions right? I enjoyed reading your thoughts and look forward to more if you choose to do so even though I don't completely agree.

btw I have played the new QFGII (you are talking about the fan VGA remake project right?). It helps a lot imo. I did not like the original QFG II as I found the navigation tough to exexcute ( I knew where to go but had trouble getting the hero to actually do it), but I like the remake quite a bit. Worth a play!

#16 Posted by Hailinel (25203 posts) -

Oh, man. Hero Quest. I remember that board game. Sadly, I also remember playing that board game. If I had been introduced to Quest for Glory at all in my childhood, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. I mean, dying constantly wouldn't have been new to me. My formative gaming years were shaped by the constant images of Mega Man exploding and Ryu Hayabusa getting knocked into pits by asshole birds.

Still, that sounds like one fascinating game. And the fact that you could import your save into each successive entry back then is pretty mind-blowing.

#17 Posted by Grimhild (723 posts) -

This may seem totally random and unrelated, but reading that reminded me of playing The Legend of Kyrandia, which I had almost forgotten about. It was also the first time I remember encountering profanity ("Oh, shit! I'm burning!") in a video game. It only showed up in text if you had the captions on and the speech off. Good times.

#18 Posted by Jimbo (9938 posts) -

You and I had very similar introductions to gaming. I have fond memories of QfG, but I think I must have been a couple years younger or a bit slow, because I never really got anywhere with the first game. I was so in love with the setting of the second game though - I think I spent about two years of my life looking for the money changer (??). Police Quest was my true love of the Sierra games.

#19 Posted by Jimbo (9938 posts) -

Also, there was a Hero's Quest computer game too which I found amazing at the time. Worth playing just for the music at the start.

#20 Posted by Wakapeil (25 posts) -
@Sparky_Buzzsaw It was fairly recently I played through the entire series. Maybe 5 years ago. I remember there being game breaking bugs in the remake and part 3 and 4. I played 1 and 2 with the text parser and loved it on a at the time modern machine. I had to borrow my grandmothers old 75mhz computer to get through certain timing based parts. I dont know what kind of fixes they have done with the gog version but the disc versions would be impossible to finish on a modern computer.

Now I have to download the gog version and check it out as soon as I can. I might end up replaying the series again.

Also, they totally messed up the redesign of the antwerp in the vga version. The EGA antwerp is one of my favourite monster designs ever and if there is no antwerp page on this site it needs to be taken care of ASAP! The only reason I'm not doing it right now is because I'm on a a smart phone at the moment.
#21 Posted by The_Hiro_Abides (1266 posts) -

I played through Quest for Glory 1-3 about 5 years ago. They are terribly grindy but being able to import stats really sold it for me. I enjoyed the thief segments in the first and second one best. They were short and one off experiences but at least they were there. I don't think there were anything unique for a thief character to do in the third one.

I stopped at the fourth one because messing with the timings through dosbox was a chore. I think I got it running okay but I've lost the save file since then.

#22 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

@Slag: I don't buy that LucasArts games are necessarily better than the Sierra ones either. Both felt so terribly different at the time that it's hard for me to even really compare them against each other. Truthfully, though, I think my nostalgic attachment to Sierra's series will always give me sort of a biased opinion towards the whole "Sierra vs. LucasArts" thing. I can't talk about Quest for Glory or Space Quest without getting a big ol' dopey grin on my face.

Anyways, back to a great point I think you've made - I might be underestimating the Giant Bomb community here. I wish we could take ten random people, sit them in front of the Quest for Glory series, and say, "Have at it!" As it stands, though, I think you've made a really good point and I'm sort of humbled by that.

#23 Posted by Slag (4739 posts) -

@Sparky_Buzzsaw said:

@Slag: I don't buy that LucasArts games are necessarily better than the Sierra ones either. Both felt so terribly different at the time that it's hard for me to even really compare them against each other. Truthfully, though, I think my nostalgic attachment to Sierra's series will always give me sort of a biased opinion towards the whole "Sierra vs. LucasArts" thing. I can't talk about Quest for Glory or Space Quest without getting a big ol' dopey grin on my face.

Anyways, back to a great point I think you've made - I might be underestimating the Giant Bomb community here. I wish we could take ten random people, sit them in front of the Quest for Glory series, and say, "Have at it!" As it stands, though, I think you've made a really good point and I'm sort of humbled by that.

right on duder. Yeah it would be fun to actually find out what they think.

#24 Posted by MasterBrief (226 posts) -

Great review love the way to write. Sorry to here you can't highly recommend it. I understand what you are saying though I know some people that hold Zork as a great game but when I tried to play it on BLOPS I lost interest fast. I grew up on adventure games like Zelda and Shadowgate and even played some Dragon's Lair but text stuff is kind of boring to me but I am picky at times. It was interesting to here you talk about it and I looked it up and it looks decent so I actually think I will add this to my list and might get it off GOG to see how it is.

#25 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (6358 posts) -

@MasterBrief: Thanks for the feedback! I hope you enjoy the games as much as I do and that I'm completely off-base in my thoughts about new players to the series.

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