Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quest for Glory II: Elementary

The Fire Elemental destroys Shapeir if you oversleep.

Since last blogging, I had to start the game over. It turns out that there's a bug in the game that, when importing a character from Quest for Glory, causes it to mis-identify the character class. In this case, the game thought I was a fighter instead of a mage. This should have been obvious when all the mage-related things I was doing (like passing the WIT initiation) wasn't causing my score to increase, but I didn't get it until I started exploring the desert and found that I couldn't cast spells in combat because my shield (which I didn't actually have) was getting in the way.

WTF, QFG?

Re-starting wasn't so bad. With the knowledge from the first character, it only took about 90 minutes to get back to the same location. Since I now knew the uses of BARGAIN, I saved a lot of money. My score was much higher when I finished, since I got appropriate credit for the mage stuff. Most important, re-playing made the game's approach to chronology a bit clearer.

It turns out that Quest for Glory II is organized into a series of days on which specific events occur. For instance, Shema always dances in the inn on the night of Day 2, the poet Omar always recites on the night of Day 3, the Fire Elemental first attacks and destroys Alichica's cart on Day 4, and then re-appears for the player to deal with on Day 5. You have to be ready for these events as they occur. Once the Fire Elemental appears, you only have two days to defeat him before he consumes the entire city and the game ends.

The flip side of this is that if you know what you're doing, you have to spend several days screwing around waiting for major events to occur. I re-did everything I had accomplished in the first few hours in a single day: visited the moneychanger, bought equipment and spells, talked to all key NPCs, visited Aziza and the astrologer, and went through the WIT initiation. That left several days to explore and character-build before the Fire Elemental first appeared.

Just for fun, this time around I checked out what would happen if I said "YES" to the wizards' demands that I give up adventuring to study full-time. Shapeir is destroyed and I spend the rest of my life wondering whether it would have been better to help them.

Thus, on Day 2, I decided to set out and explore the desert. This first involved purchasing a saurus from a dealer at the city gates--a dealer who looked suspiciously like Groucho Marx. BARGAINING got him down from an asking price of 50 dinars to 20. The saurus immediately walked up and licked me.

Ha ha! You can go.

The saurus makes desert exploration possible in a number of ways, primarily by cutting down on the travel time significantly and thus reducing water and ration usage. At any point while riding him, you can say GO HOME to get back to the gates of Shapeir. Having to MOUNT and DISMOUNT constantly is a little annoying, but not much. He bolts immediately (throwing you off) at the appearance of an enemy, and it took me a while to figure out that I need to return to the screen where I originally lost him to find him again.

I had to laugh when, once again, I found myself exploring a desert that is apparently endless (at least, in two directions), with only a couple of key encounters, and the need to keep an eye on my food and water levels. Quest for Glory II and Fallthru are probably the only two RPGs on my list that fit this exact description. East and west, the screens never seem to stop but there are less than a dozen north to south, with the entire desert surrounded on those ends by rock cliffs. During my exploration, I only found three areas of note:

  • A cliff with a griffon sleeping in a nest. By casting "Levitate" to get myself up to the nest, I could take one of his feathers, an ingredient the apothecary needs for a "Dispel Magic" potion. I don't know why, but I forgot to take a screenshot.
  • An oasis where an old man sits with his long beard wrapped around a tree. His dialogue revealed him to be the "Dervish," and taking a bit of his beard back to Keepon Laffin solved his quest. I couldn't get any useful dialogue out of the Dervish.

A case of do or die?

  • A tree in the shape of a woman. When I first found it, I had no idea what to do. Later, I got some hints from the apothecary and Aziza, but I'll save that for next time.

Or I've been in the desert too long.

I figured Raseir would be on the other side of the desert, but I'll be damned if I can find it anywhere. The large span of dunes in between holds occasional sight gags, like a golfer unable to get himself out of the huge sand trap and an airplane flying overhead . . .


. . . but more importantly combat with brigands, scorpions, TerrorSauruses, and jackalmen. There are also supposed to be "ghouls," but I haven't been able to find any yet, and I need to for one of the apothecary's quests.

I could swear Corey Cole made a comment on my blog in which he said he regretted the combat system in this game. I can't find it, so perhaps I'm wrong. I hope so, because I don't really mind it. I think it improves significantly on the first game. Instead of one button for attack, one for defend, and one for dodge, Quest for Glory II gives you numberpad options to attack, dodge, and parry high, medium, and low while still supporting spells with the regular parser. I actually find it's easier in this game to anticipate attacks and take the appropriate action, and my "Parry" and "Dodge" skills have gone up nicely as a consequence. It also makes sense that different levels of attacks work better on different creatures. I've been trying to mix up attacking, parrying, dodging, and spellcasting in each combat.

Fighting a brigand.

Scorpions are my least favorite enemy, since they have an attack by which they grab you by their claw and sting you with their tail, and once they decide to use it, I can't figure out any way to defend or evade it. But killing them is extremely rewarding for the 20 dinars the apothecary gives you for their tails.


I had jacked up "Flame Dart" to a high level in the previous game and found that it serves me well here, although I can't seem to hit enemies with it before combat the way I could in Quest for Glory; perhaps that isn't possible in the sequel. "Force Bolt" seems promising: it both damages enemies and knocks them back for a second, allowing you to get in a few attacks afterwards.

In contrast, I've found that "Calm" does absolutely nothing. Charging enemies stop respectfully and wait for me to finish casting it, then keep on charging and we enter combat anyway. I also can't see any effect to "Dazzle." Perhaps it does lower the attack abilities of my foes, but there's no on-screen confirmation that it's accomplished anything.

Over several days, I killed dozens of brigands and a few scorpions. I don't seem strong enough yet to take on TerrorSaurses (which are mercifully rare) nor the large packs of jackalmen who attack at night.

The hero learns not to be cocky about wandering around the desert after dark.

On Day 5, the Fire Elemental was in town, so I had to stop character development for the time being and deal with him.

The results of all my desert explorations.

The four elements and their associated elementals are clearly going to play a big part in this game. The WIT council was composed of masters of fire, air, water, and earth magic, and each mage I've met so far is aspected in some way to an element: Aziza to water, Keepon Laffin to air (he even floats about on a magic cushion), and the alchemist Harik Attar to fire. (I haven't met an earth-specific person yet that I know of.) The astrologer said that I would "walk in fire, earth, water, and air" on my quest.

Most important, the poet Omar, in his poetry/prophecy recitation, indicated that the city would be attacked by elementals of fire, air, earth, and water in that order. The prophecy started to come true the next morning when I found that Alichica's cart had been ruined by a Fire Elemental.

Does anyone?

Aziza was kind enough to give me a little tutorial on each of the elementals, suggesting that they would gravitate to the areas of the city that offered them the most fuel: open plazas for the Fire Elemental and the fountain for the Water Elemental, for instance. She further suggested that I would need to lure each of them from these places of comfort, then damage them somehow with their elemental opposites, and finally capture them in containers aspected to each elemental type.


She had the most information about the Water Elemental, and she directed me to the other mages for information about their respective specialties. Harik Attar, for instance, told me that incense would help lure the Fire Elemental away from the open plaza.


I engaged the Fire Elemental in the plaza outside the inn and used the incense to lure him into one of the passages. I thought to lure him all the way to the Plaza of the Fountain, but the game immediately told me that just getting him out of the first plaza was enough.

Spoilers?!

I then used my waterskin on him, which caused him to significantly diminish.


Finally, I placed my lamp on the ground, and he obediently fled right into it. I now have a magic lamp with a Fire Elemental trapped inside, which must be good for something.


I assume the other elementals will attack in regular intervals over the next few days, and I'll keep you updated. I have to say, I rather liked the first game's open-ended approach to time more than this game's insistence that the player accomplish certain tasks on a clock.

A bunch of miscellaneous notes:

  • Guards prefer that you not cast magic in the city--not even if you're just "practicing."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa . . . watch the magic!"

  • Guards and random NPCs have a way of walking in the middle of conversations you're having with other NPCs and responding to your prompts.

Yeah, I wasn't talking to you, Mr. Ego.

  • For my second character, I decided to buy things from the merchants--flowers, baskets, pots, whatever--whether I had an immediate need or not. Fortunately the ones selling things that were unimportant refused to bargain with me.

That's remarkably honest of you. I guess Katta aren't really like Khajit.

  • Between combats with brigands and selling scorpion tails to Harik Attar, I have no problem with money. I've been able to keep a good stock of healing, vigor, and mana pills, and the only thing that I'm "saving" for is a sapphire pin that the jeweler is selling for 500 dinars (I currently have only about 180).

That seems like a hint, but I can't begin to afford that right now.

  • I'm way overloaded with centimes, and I have no idea what to do with them. You get them as change from spending dinars and on enemy corpses, but shopkeepers never seem to take them instead of dinars. You can only DROP or GIVE them one at a time, and I don't really feel like spending hours typing GIVE CENTIME to the beggar, even if it will jack up my honor score. The moneychanger wants nothing to do with them. What am I missing?
  • I beat Trickster at yet another challenge.

I still don't quite understand what's going on with the Katta. In the first game, I got the impression they were in Spielburg as part of a trading caravan and just got stuck there, but at the beginning of this game, Shameen suggested they had gone to Spielburg specifically to find a hero, something that Corey seemed to confirm in a comment. Then, the poet Omar mentioned that a year ago, when the Emir of Raseir dissappeared, the Katta lost their home there, something that Shameen and Shema hadn't mentioned at all.

Something fishy is going on here.

But if the problems have been going on for a year, why were Shameen and Shema in Spielburg for three years?

Proof.

Why didn't the Katta tell me that they came from Raseir? How did they know there were going to be problems at least two years ahead of time? What aren't they telling me?!

65 comments:

  1. Combat system in HQ1 + QFG 2/3 is sort of lame. I found out that the fastest and the most effective way is just smash attack button as fast as you can. The game really doesn't reward you enough for successful dodge / block which is not easy to do - the animation is just too fast and you have like 0.1 s to react correctly which is maybe possible for people on drugs but not for me. So I just smashed attack button and it worked therefore the combat system is useless and the weakest part of the game from my point of view.
    U.

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    1. In Quest for Glory II, you should be more effective by mixing attack and defense. Defense uses no Stamina (an important resource) and increases the chance your next attack will hit. Mashing the attack button was effective in Hero's Quest, but is not the best way to fight in QG2.

      Ref Chet's question about the problem I had with QG2 combat, that was specifically in reference to the AGDI 256-color remake. Playing as a Thief, I could not seem to do any damage at all to opponents, and they killed me quickly. Later I heard that they (the AGDI combat designers) expect Thieves to throw daggers and avoid close combat. I wasn't carrying enough daggers to use that approach.

      I have no problem with the original QfG2 combat; I thought it was fairly well balanced. There is unfortunately a major bug with fighting Jackalmen - a memory leak that can eventually make the game unplayable in the endgame if you fight too many jackalmen earlier in the game.

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    2. See next post for my take on it. Thanks for clarifying, Corey. I knew I had something wrong.

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  2. I don't think it constitutes a proper spoiler, but you actually can get to Raseir by walking/riding,it just takes a very long time and serves no purpose, as you won't be able to get into the city itself.

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    1. It would still be fun to try, given that I have so much time to burn. Which direction and side from Shapeir? I've wandered for 20-25 screens in all directions (I think) and found nothing.

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    2. When I played this as a kid, this was an urban legend. If you walked so far in some direction, you will make it to Raseir. Maybe that is true but I never found it. I have always thought it was like the urban legend where you can play as Luigi in Mario 64-- something some twelve-year old thought up to get you trying to do impossible things.

      You CAN in the fan-made remake and there are screenshots you can Google for, but if it can be done in the original I have never seen it.

      Good luck. :)

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    3. All right. I'll regard it as a legend unless someone else confirms you can reach Raseir in this version.

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    4. HOLY HELL. You can walk there. I will email you the instructions.

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    5. Man, don't leave the rest of us in suspense! I thought it was impossible too.

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    6. Walk south from Shapier to the mountains. Head west around 250 screens and you will be back in the desert. South again then west. Walk for a very long time.

      The devs anticipated this and there is a short unique sequence when you arrive.

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    7. I can't seem to make it anywhere near that far without running out of water.

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    8. Before setting out, I bought and filled 15 waterskins and bought 45 rations. As it turns out, I didn't need that many but I still needed quite a bit.

      I also increased the play speed so I wouldn't have to watch hundreds of screens go by (which nearly killed me because I would be in combat and dying before I had a chance to respond). It is possible that when you make the game faster, it does not calculate the water usage properly. I did the trip in about one game day and was thinking it SHOULD have taken multiple days of game time, but possibly the game was being "smart" and slowing down so that I would not be away from Shapier as the following day would have been an "event" it wanted me back for. (I did my touristing with a new character on day three.)

      I hope that helps. I took a few screenshots when I arrived. I was utterly shocked as I thought it was just a rumor.

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    9. All right. I'm trying it. It's not like there's much else to do with most of the days.

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    10. That is of course a bug (or perhaps an exploit). In order to simplify desert programming, we used the same code for the deserts outside Shapeir and Raseir, but "flipping" the coordinates. However, SCI's only number type is 16-bit integers, so going farther in one direction than we thought possible (you're supposed to run out of water) allows you to "break" the desert. All the coordinates will be "off" on the "other side". Best not to do it except as a fun experiment.

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    11. What is more surprising then is that someone must have figured out it was possible and code the "kick you back into the desert" scene as a break-fix. Pretty cool bug then! But wouldn't have been easier to code some barrier (mountains?) to prevent passage, or have a flip that when you reach screen 100 you are silently teleported back 10 screens? The former would have required new art assets, but the latter would have been invisible...

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    12. Wait a sec. Does this mean that once you're in Raseir, you can ride your saurus back to Shapeir?

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  3. 100 centimes = 1 dinar. I don't recall ever having an issue being overloaded with centimes, I assumed the game automatically makes the conversion for you when making a purchase, but it's been a long time.

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    1. No, it doesn't. When you buy something that costs more than 1 dinar, it takes the cost from your dinars and gives you centimes in change. You have to buy something that costs only centimes to get rid of them. I finally ended up bargaining for rations (which costs only 90 centimes) for a while, then dropping all the rations. It was the only way I could get rid of them and stop myself from being overloaded.

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    2. I've not tried it but is it possible to change it at the Money Changer?

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    3. What happens if you don't have any Dinars? Will it pull from your centimes? (Assuming, of course, that you can set your dinars down and pick them up again.)

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    4. It will, but it's no easier to drop all your dinars than simply drop the centimes in the first place. You can only drop one coin at a time.

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  4. "I guess Katta aren't really like Khajit."

    Or maybe they are all bound to a Katta Mafia secretly run by Shema. If Tiram sold you the carpet there would be a Saurus head in front of his apartment door the next morning.

    I always assumed Raseir simply had a sizable population of Katta, not all of them, and most of them ended up in Shapier as refugees.

    Also, if this plot hole is bothering you I'd hate to see how you react to the ending screen of QFG2. Here's a hint: It is a loathsome liar!

    And no, that's not a spoiler of any sort. Obviously the chronology of the Quest for Glory series was not held to very tightly and was not a massive concern.

    And just to be a jerk: Khajiit has two i's, not one.

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    1. No, it doesn't really bother me. It's just that everything in QFG seems so tightly plotted and written that it's odd to find (what seems to be) a hole.

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  5. Oh man, when I first played through the game a few years ago with an imported mage, I never realised that the class was changed to a fighter, even though the portrait was obviously wrong. At least later games had an option of correcting your class.

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  6. LOL what is your character doing while the guard is yelling at him?

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    1. The guard interrupted me while I was casting the "Levitate" spell, so I was picking myself up off the ground.

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    2. I thought he just kicked your ass mid-spell from behind.

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  7. Strange, I feel like we might be playing two different versions as I never got the acrobat as a mage. Maybe he only shows if you have a certain attribute? Not sure. Is there a version number?

    I found the timing of the game to be reasonable and giving you a time limit adds to the dramatic urgency of the experience, while reducing your opportunity to grind. On a second play-through, I found I needed less exploration time and took advantage of the sleeping options to advance the plot. There is only one place in the game where I found myself frustrated by not being able to speed up time-- and then I found the menu item to speed up time and I was all good.




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    1. I felt there was too much waiting around for time to pass while at Raseir. Other than that the timing throughout the game was pretty good.

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    2. Speeding up time and resting sounds well and good, but if you haven't played it before (or don't remember things), you don't really want to take advantage of them lest you miss important encounters.

      The version number of the one I'm playing is 1.102. Is it possible that your character had no CLIMB skill? That's the only reason I can imagine that the tightrope walker wouldn't show up. Nothing else in the game completely disappears based on class, so it would be weird if that one thing did.

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    3. You are correct. Wizards in QFG2 do not start with "Climb", so that must be why it does not show up. Not sure how you got that skill either since neither the EGA nor VGA versions of GQ/QFG1 start with that skill for Magic Users. I suspect you added it yourself, no?

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    4. And starting up and playing a few minutes of QfG1 EGA... you realize just how far they had improved the engine and the art between games. The blocking of the scenes, the character designs, and the animation is all much better in the second. Of course, you expect that-- but it's been a while since I played the first game.

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    5. Yes, I added it to the character in QFG1. I wanted to start with as many skills as possible. Unlike with the thief, there's no way to start with ALL of them, so I sacrificed lockpicking and stealth but added the others.

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  8. Very interesting. It seems that traces of this game made it to Athkatla and to Fallout's radscorpion cave.

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    1. They're both common enough tropes that it's hard to trace them directly to Quest for Glory II, but I do think QFG2 is the first game in which magic is explicitly forbidden in a city while still being usable (as in, the game mechanics let you cast it, but the guards punish you if you do). There have been scorpions in a lot of previous games.

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    2. About the scorpions, they also have the poisonous tail in Fallout, and you can also sell the tails (or was it exchanging them for medicine?). A bit of a stretch, but interesting to think about...

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    3. Good point. I suppose that does make an influence on Fallout more likely.

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    4. But... scorpions really do have venomous tails, which have been used variously for medicine and as recreational drugs for thousands of years. These days, scorpion venom is used in the treatment of certain kinds of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and even malaria. No need to posit a link between the games, the real world is a much more plausible origin.

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    5. Hey, being toxic means it is interacting with the body, and that is step one. I recall hearing about work making a new form of the world's most profitable drug (one with a name I can't write here due to spam bots, but they had a REALLY sweet commercial series involving men singing "I did it my way") using spider venom. (Well, one molecule that is present in one types of spider venom alongside the toxin that causes a certain biological reaction).

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  9. I think ghouls only appear at night, although it's been a long time since I played so I might be misremembering.

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    1. Ghouls and Jackalmen are only encountered at night. The Fighter is required to defeat one of each monster in order to get a perfect score.

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    2. I finally did find a ghoul, but it turns out selling his claws to the apothecary doesn't give any extra points anyway (at least, not as a mage). They do come out at night, but it seems that encounters with jackalmen are more common, so you have to be strong enough to defeat packs of them first.

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  10. Okay, dangit, I hafta go back and play QfG1 and then start this one again. Your posts have given me the desire. I already played through Pool of Radiance after reading your (older) posts about it, and after checking out your experiences with Phantasie I did the same with it. Some of these CRPGs are just so good, I can't just read about them I need to play them again!

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    1. I'm delighted to be so inspirational.

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  11. On the subject of Flame Darts, pre-combat, IIRC you have to target the enemies with the mouse and click on them in this game.

    Makes it more difficult to get multiple spells off before combat, than in part 1.

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    1. Right--and I never get the sense that the pre-combat attacks are accomplishing anything. Unlike QFG1, enemies never seem to enter combat with some of their hit points already depleted.

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    2. That is odd; they should at least partially deplete enemy HP prior to combat. Wonder if you're running into some sort of emulator error.

      I played this game at least 5 - 10 times all the way through, on the family 286 back in the early/mid 90s; always made it a point to get a flame dart, force bolt or dagger off before combat.

      Once FD and FB were leveled they took a decent chunk off per cast. 10 - 15% or so.

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    3. In QFG1, with maximum magic/intelligence/flame dart you can easily kill daytime enemies without needing to enter combat. I found it very useful during my recent playthrough.

      However, in QFG2, I just can't seem to hit any enemy more than once outside of battle and the calm/dazzle spells appear useless. (I have maxed out my int/magic/force bolt & flame dart amongst others so far).

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    4. Mr. Cole? Any idea what's going on? Or is this some kind of Shapeir-related spell immunity?

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    5. I have the same problem as Andy. It might be an aiming thing. I can't quite figure if I'm supposed to aim at the enemy where he currently is, or try to anticipate where he'll be by the time the spell casts. Either way, it's hard to do while the enemy is constantly advancing.

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    6. I've been playing myself, and I am able to deplete them a little with the spells and daggers. I had to sit and grind Dazzle for two or three days (just standing in the desert with full magic and casting Dazzle until I was out to raise the spell potency) but that does cause them to sit still long enough for the spells/dagger to hit.

      It's also possible to catch them with it without stopping them, but you do have to put the target where they WILL BE when the projectile arrives, so you have to lead them and it's only really possible with slow/large creatures like the scorpion. The Terrorsauruses run so fast that they reach me before I can finish casting Dazzle, for instance, and that spell does nothing if they're in melee range before you're done.

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    7. Wow, I completely forgot about that, but you're right - I programmed Dazzle so that you could either use it to escape or to do an additional pre-combat damaging spell or attack. That you are having trouble completing the Dazzle spell probably suggests your emulator is running too fast. Circa 1990, all Sierra games ran at a fixed 10 FPS speed (or slower on poor hardware such as the Tandy 1000).

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    8. Corey: That really puts my demand that all my games never get below 60 fps in perspective. o.o (Which sadly means in newer games I have to give up on some shiny, usually in terms of shadows and water.)

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  12. Collector has a character import patch for QfG2 here: http://sierrahelp.com/Patches-Updates/Patches-Updates-Games/QuestForGloryUpdates.html

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    1. Yes, that's the one I downloaded, though I'm not 100% convinced that I did anything with it. The instructions want you to replace a file on the original installation disk and then install the game; the patch isn't optimized for the GOG version, which has its own installer. I downloaded the file and put it in the directory, but I'm not sure if the patch is responsible for my successful second attempt or just the vagaries of chance.

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  13. CRPGs with time limits are one of the most hated mechanisms for players with OCD as it forces them away from their current "quests", be it collecting stuff, completing side-missions, grinding XPs, gaining skill levels or exploring.

    But, personally, I feel that (if managed well), it is alright and actually provides a sense of urgency.
    Examples: The Magic Candle, Fallout, NWN2 (MotB) & Wasteland 2. QFG2's timing is a little too short for the 1st play-through and might cause a dead-end for players who have a habit of using only 1 save slot.

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    1. I can't begin to agree that QFG's timing is "a little too short for the 1st play-through." Most days, I found myself with nothing to do but stand around and cast random spells. More on this in the next post.

      I don't mind broad time limits on the game itself. They're usually padded enough that you can still do plenty of exploration and grinding (as here). What I can't stand are timed missions in games like Assassin's Creed. Fortunately, we rarely see those in RPGs.

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  14. I had some trouble getting the right height to get the griffin feather. It kept telling me I wasn't close enough, so I had to move up and down and meanwhile my spell points were slowly draining. That was after I even tried that - I totally thought the magic answer was to cast Fetch to either lift the rock or pull the feather free, initially.

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  15. 1990 must have been the year of the woman-turned-into-tree at Sierra. Although I don't know where the QfG tree-lady goes, King's Quest V had a woman turned into a tree as well, and apparently it also came out in 1990!

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    1. I don't recall that, but I didn't play KQV. We were forced to change one plot element in QfG2 because Roberta chose to use it in a KQ (I think KQV). It had to do with the traditional means of summoning a Djinn (Genie). We were annoyed, but changed ours.

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    2. That's funny. When I got to that part of the game, my reaction was, "who ever heard of a genie pbzvat bhg bs n evat?!"

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    3. That's true. The weaker one, but still.

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    4. KQ6 has a genie as a central plot element, so probably was that one. Too bad it had to be changed in QfG2 :(

      I don't recall if links are allowed, but go to YouTube and search for "King's Quest 5 Weeping Willow".

      Also, it is interesting to me to contrast QfG2 and KQ5 from a technology point of view. Both are excellent games, but it is interesting to me that the adventure game genre was used to showcase emerging technology. These days, the adventure game genre tends to lag behind instead. I think a lot of that has to do with the demise of Sierra--one of the saddest days in computer gaming history in my opinion.

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    5. The "Survival Horror" (Silent Hill, Resident Evil) genre is pretty close to a traditional adventure game, at least early on. That damn Shakespeare puzzle in SH3 especially wouldn't have been out of place in a Sierra game.

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3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

NOTE: Spam has gotten so bad lately that I've had to turn on comment moderation for posts older than 10 days. I apologize if it takes a little while for your comment to appear.