My Journey through classic adventure games...

Friday, November 19, 2010

So I've become a Hero...

Well I polished off the first game of the series this morning. I rescued the baron's son, assaulted the brigand fortress and rescued his daughter and then turned Baba Yaga into a frog with the old 'reflecting the spell back with a mirror' trick. All in all I must say I really enjoyed playing through this game again. It really is one of my all time favorites and the chapter of the series that I'm most nostalgic about. I was treated to the ending sequence, which is a Star Wars IV type deal. Everyone gathering around and slapping a medal on me. I then export my character, Pratchet, to a file ready to be imported into the next game of the series - Trial by Fire. In the end Pratchet got his fighting disciplines all the way to 100 points, along with throwing. I only got magic to around the 50's and my sneak and lockpicking was a bit lower than I would have liked but no matter. To sum up the first game I would say it's a charming little adventure, full of humor and some fun puzzles that are never too obscure or illogical. There is almost always several ways around problems depending on your characters strengths. This is what elevates Quest for Glory above other adventure games of it's lineage. If you get stuck on any puzzles you can always run off and slay monsters or work on your skills. The roleplaying and adventuring mix perfectly together to make an absolute classic game.
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The grind...

A key aspect of any good roleplaying game is character building. Simply put; the increasing of your player character's skills and stats through earning experience through questing and combat. Quest for Glory is no different. It's skill system is pretty basic. Practice any given skill and it's level will increase up to a maximum of 100. I've been working on getting my weapon use and dodge skills up in preparation for the assault on the brigand fortress. It's a bit of a grind but lightweight by modern day standards. Anyone who has played World of Warcraft will understand 'the grind' and Quest for Glory's grind is nothing in comparison to some of the XP and rep grinds I've done in WoW. It would be nice to get most of my stats to as close to 100 as I can before I move Pratchet on to Quest for Glory 2 but some of them I just won't bother to do, namely magic, parry and stealth. It's interesting to see just how complex modern rpg's have become in comparison to the original Quest for Glory. I've seen speed runs through the game on youtube that take less than ten minutes. It's pretty unbelievable. You're looking at anywhere between forty and two-hundred hours for your typical current generation rpg. The boundaries of Quest for Glory are very narrow but the world is designed with such simple, almost fairytale like charm, that it doesn't feel uninteresting and pre-historic. It feels like what it is - a classic.

Burglarizing...

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I did some burglarizing today. This quest isn't gonna pay for itself. I need to buy healing potions and extra daggers with something...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Dryad...

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I started 'the dryad of the woods' sequence today. This is the start of the main questline to destroy the witch, if I remember correctly. I haven't played this game for years but I find it pretty amazing that I still remember my way around the forest so easily.

Wikid skillz...

I played a little more today. I mainly worked on increasing some skills like throwing (by playing darts at the thieves guild) and climbing (trying to get over the town wall at night). The only modern game I can think to compare the skill progression system to is Oblivion; keep practicing the skill and it will slowly increase. You don't 'pop' actual character levels like alot of traditional rpg's.


Next I collected what spells I could from the magic shop, the hermit and the meeps. I tried a little combat with a few goblins. I forgot how difficult early combat is in Quest for Glory. I almost kicked the bucket and had to 'escape' a few times. Although simple the fighting system is not bad for it's time. Just dodge and attack with the directional keys and use the text input interface to drink potions, throw daggers, cast spells etc.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mutliple options...

My first deed on the road to becoming the hero of Spielburg is to rescue the local healers gold ring from a birds nest outside her hut.

This is a good example of how there are multiple ways to solve problems in Quest for Glory. I first gathered some rocks from the ground and after a few tries I knocked the nest down with a well placed shot. Then I practiced climbing the tree to increase my climbing skill. If I hadn't of knocked the nest down already I could have used climbing to go out on the tree limb and grab the ring. Also I'm sure a magic user could have used the 'fetch' spell to get the job done.

If you want to play along at home...


I thought it might be worth saying here that, while it's not 100% legal, and you should only do it if you used to own the game, you can easily obtain some of the early Quest for Glory games online from some abandonware sites. Abandonia is my particular favourite for all the classics but there are several other good ones.

I do own the whole Quest for Glory series both on floppy disk and a cd anthology version but I just downloaded them for ease of installation.

The adventure begins...

I recently wrote a post on my blog professing my ongoing love for the Quest for Glory series, ever since I first played 'Hero's Quest: So You Want to be a Hero' (later re-named Quest for Glory I) when it was first released back in 1989. I enjoyed writing about and looking back at this classic adventure game so much that I decided to start another blog, dedicated to these timeless, old games. Since you can carry your character from game to game in the series I plan on going through the whole mythology and posting my thoughts and progression right here on this blog.

The details on this game, for the uninitiated, are that it was designed by legendary adventure game designers Lori Ann Cole and husband, Corey Cole. It was developed and published by Sierra. The game was released in 1989 under the name 'Hero's Quest: So You Want to be a Hero', but was subsequently renamed 'Quest for Glory I' after Milton Bradley started litigation against Sierra for naming infringement on their board game, also called Hero's Quest. The game itself is primarily an adventure game. You move the player character around the game world with the numeric keypad and input your actions for solving puzzles, interacting with characters and manipulating the environment via text. Most of Sierra's games from this period use this interface, the SCI or the 'Sierra creative interpreter'. The game also mixes adventure with roleplaying. When the game begins you can choose between three classes and assign points to stats and skills like an RPG. The game is a fantasy adventure setting with monsters and magic and the gameplay consists of problem solving and combat sequences.

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I decided to start my adventure as the 'thief' class. I named him Pratchet, I guess named after my favourite author, Terry Pratchett, who's first few 'Discworld' books (The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic) are a satire on the D&D/fantasy adventure genre, much like the Quest for Glory games. I assigned some stat points to magic and parry (if I had left them at zero my character wouldn't be able to use either of them) and I put the rest into weapon use to give me a little boost at early combat, and then I'm thrust into the game world.

The plot setup is very basic. Pratchet, my character, has come down from the mountains into the town of Spielburg, in the Spielburg valley. There I meet the sheriff who professes that the valley is now snowed in and filled with monsters and beset by brigands. The game world is pretty much open world from here and free to explore. I loved the feeling of freedom this game afforded back in '89. It just throws you into the game and doesn't do any hand holding, it just leaves you to explore things at your own pace.