Monday, August 4, 2014

Quest for Glory II: Round Up the Usual Suspects

I suppose that was inevitable.
 
The rest of Quest for Glory II ended up being very linear, plot-heavy, and essentially pure adventure game, with almost no combat, very little NPC dialogue, and no need for all the money I'd accumulated. In this, the final third was a little disappointing, even as I enjoyed the plot revelations and endgame sequences, as well as the ways some of the skill-building paid off for the various characters.

In my series of posts so far, I've discussed the experiences of the mage, fighter, and thief in Shapeir. All classes end up automatically departing for Raseir in a caravan on Day 17. As I talk about these end-game sequences, I'll let you know when the experiences of the classes diverged. Otherwise, you can think of the narrative as applying to a universal character.

On the day of departure, Shema gave me some supplies and food, and the Sultan personally gifted me with a new saurus. After a nice animation showing my character and his new mount admiring the sunrise, I joined up with the caravan.

If nothing else, my character knows how to strike a heroic pose.

After a few screens of walking, I got a message that "the caravan comes under siege from hundreds of nomadic brigands" and that "the situation looks grim." I geared up for what I thought might be a long series of combats in which my weapon- and skill- grinding would pay off, but it was just an excuse for the game to be goofy. I got this screen:

Right-clicking on the items actually brings up descriptions of the popcorn and soda.

Followed by this one, depicting my triumphant character atop a pile of brigand and saurus corpses:

I don't think it was nice that we killed the sauruses.

Cute, but since there weren't any other major combats in the game, it would have been fun if I could have actually played out this encounter.

Before long, my vastly-reduced caravan arrived in Raseir, where I was accosted at the gates by guards. Khaveen, the guard captain, appeared and warned me that Raseir didn't "need any stinking heroes," but personally handed me a visa anyway.

Your third line needed to be "Well, lend me your ear."

Nearby was the Blue Parrot Inn, where the creators had a lot of fun blending allusions to both Casablanca (1942) and The Maltese Falcon (1941), which starred many of the same actors. The bartender is named Wilmer, after a character in Falcon, while Signor Ferrari (after Sydney Greenstreet's character in Casablanca) sits at a table, swatting flies with a little whisk. Later, the player is introduced to Ferrari's associate, "Ugarte" (after Peter Lorre's Casablanca character), who runs a black market selling water. Though their names (and the name of the bar) are lifted from Casablanca, their relationship (and association with Wilmer) are more in tune with The Maltese Falcon, where Lorre plays a character named Joel Cairo and Greenstreet is Kasper Gutman.


Anyway, I had a drink with Ferrari, who told me they'd reserve a room for me at the Parrot, and I should return in the evening to talk with him more. This left me several hours to wander aimlessly around the city, noting that its fountain had gone dry, its tiles were cracked and dirty, many passageways were boarded up, signs in the passageways reminded that "rules must be obeyed," and guards enforced a nightly curfew. All of this, plus the expulsion of the Kattas, lent another angle to the Casablanca/Nazi allusions.

As time goes by, I wander around the city and check out its state of dilapidation.

Back at the Blue Parrot in the evening, Ferrari gave me some more information about Raseir and introduced me to Ugarte who, for a 5 dinar fee (the last time I spent money in the game), told me that Khaveen was having me watched at all times and that "someone is very interested in my actions." (Again, this parallels similar lines about Victor Laszlo in Casablanca.) When questioned by Ferrari, Ugarte mentioned a "prophecy to be fulfilled" and that I "may be the one."

The character is clearly modeled on Sydney Greenstreet, only meaner-looking.

There wasn't anything else to do but go to bed, and the next day nothing to do but wander around the city some more. It was a bit eerie, as there didn't seem to be any other people except guards. Eventually, I came upon a scene in which Khaveen arrested Ugarte for selling black market water--a direct parallel of the scene in which Ugarte gets arrested in Casablanca. He even begged for my help.

I stick my neck out for nobody...also, the game didn't really give me an option to help him.

Lacking any idea what to do after this scene, I headed back to the Blue Parrot, but I was intercepted along the way by a woman who poked her head out of an alleyway and demanded that I follow her. She led me to the house of Zayishah, the Emir's daughter (I was never sure whether she was the daughter of the deposed Emir or the new one, his brother).

Quest for Glory II suddenly becomes a very different sort of game.

Zayishah explained that the Emir was going to force her to marry Captain Khaveen, and she wanted to flee before that could happen. She demanded that I change clothes with her, but it turns out Shema packed me a second set, so I gave those to her instead. She ran behind her curtain and changed, somehow acquiring a wig in the process.

I'd like to think my facial features are a little more chiseled and manlier than yours, but it's hard to tell on EGA graphics.

Finally, she demanded my visa, which I gave to her, trapping me in Raseir. In return, she gave me a mirror and said that if I showed it to any woman within the palace, she would help me.

After that was a lot of wandering around waiting for night to fall so I could go back to the inn and sleep. (Unlike the inn in Shapeir, it wouldn't let me go to bed during the day.) Here, the thief character diverges from the fighter and magic user, as Ferrari has a special job for the thief to do.

And where does the falcon come from, pray tell?

He directed me to a window overlooking the fountain plaza, where I could use my magic rope (or "Levitate") to climb in. I'm not sure why this wasn't possible with all of the open windows in Shapeir.

The house turned out to belong to Khaveen, the guard captain, and there were lots of ways to die there, such as failing to let the woman sleeping in the bed to return to her slumber after a board squeaked, failing to oil the hinges on the cabinet containing the falcon, and trying to attack the guard or wander into the hallway outside the bedroom.

Given later plot developments, I suspect that Khaveen was soon executed by Ad Avis.
  
After a few such accidents, I was able to grab the falcon and complete the mission.

The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of.

A reasonably funny joke when I returned with my loot to Ferrari:


Just as in the film (spoilers, I guess, but it's 73 years old), the falcon turned out to be a fake. Given that he'd been searching for it for 17 years, Ferrari took the news pretty well. Before departing for points unknown, he held out hope for a future association.

Hey, I kept that "Honor" score as low as I could.

The other classes had none of this, and after wandering around pointlessly for a day following Ugarte's arrest, they simply returned to the inn and went to sleep. The next morning, as I left the inn, a group of guards showed up and arrested me (all classes):

What's annoying is the game didn't give me a chance to go with the "force" option. I could have wiped the tiles with these guards.

The next screen found me in a locked cell, my equipment piled on a table outside, with a Katta for my cellmate. He refused to say anything at first, but he opened up when I showed him the pin the Katta merchant had given me as a reward for defeating all the elementals. He revealed himself as a member of the Katta underground, and he said if we escaped the cell, he could open a secret passage to take us to safety.

Or I had 500 dinars, since that's what the Katta was selling it for.

At least, this happened with my magic user and thief. My fighter had forgotten to stop by and pick up the pin, so he had to find the exit on his own.

Getting out of the cell was a simple matter of casting "Open" on the cell door (mage), using the pin as a makeshift lockpick (thief), or simply forcing it open (fighter). I'm not sure what happens if you're a thief and you didn't get the pin, but I suspect any class can force the door with a high enough strength. After that, I had only a few moments to grab my equipment and CRAWL into the secret exit that Sharaf opened (or, in the case of the fighter, that I had to find myself).

Seriously, have they heard of "magic" in Raseir?

The Katta led me back out into the streets of Raseir and indicated that the Underground planned to attack the palace the next night and overthrow the Emir.

Wondering what to do next, I began walking, but no sooner had I gone about 15 feet when the evil wizard, Ad Avis, popped out of an alleyway, froze me in place, and hit me with a Jedi mind trick. For my third character, I tried having "Reversal" active for this scene, but it didn't do any good.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Over the next few screens, the main plot of the game became clear. Ad Avis wanted to take over the world by releasing and controlling the spirit of Iblis, an ancient and evil djinn, from his tomb beneath the Forbidden City. Unfortunately, prophecy stated that only a Hero could enter Iblis's tomb on a specific night every 1001 years. Thus, Ad Avis overthrew the Emir, expelled the Katta, and sent his elementals to threaten Shapeir in hopes that it would lure a Hero to the area. Having accomplished that, he let me goof around until the appointed night, then mind-whammied me to convince me to help him open Iblis's tomb, claiming we needed the statue of Iblis to break the magic spell on the Emir-saurus.

Ad Avis whisked me out into the desert to the Forbidden City but threw a fit when he was unable to open the door to Iblis's tomb. The prophecy had said that the door would open when "the moonlight shines between the Dragon's jaws and is caught and held there by the Scorpion's claws," referring to images of the two animals on the tomb door. Unfortunately, the moon that night had risen in the wrong part of the sky. Ad Avis took it out on me.


But I showed him. I whipped Zayishah's mirror out of my pack and reflected the moon's light on the door, and it opened. Ad Avis demanded that I enter and come out with the statue of Iblis.

What followed were a series of adventure-style navigation puzzles that called upon my various skills, spells, and items. First, I had to light my magic Fire Elemental lamp to see. Then there was a river where I had to time a jump across a log. I spent a lot of time accidentally falling into the river.

Note my head disappearing at the bottom.

On the other side of the river was a wind tunnel that tried to suck me down its hole. I escaped it and went up the stairs, but I couldn't make any progress on the next screen because I kept getting sucked backwards. After some experimentation, I found that a few castings of "Force Bolt" loosened the rocks enough to collapse them and seal off the tunnel. (The fighter's solution was just to whack the rocks. I'm not sure what the thief is supposed to do. My thief had "Force Bolt," so I just used that for him.)


Next came a lava room where I had to thread my way carefully past some lava vents and avoid falling into the magma.

Do those little cones exist in real life? If so, what are they called? I tried to Google it but couldn't find anything.

The path on the next screen ended at a little cliff, and I guess my mage was supposed to "Levitate" down, but I got a little too close and ended up taking a different option.



I also took this option for the fighter, as I didn't know what else to do. My thief was able to get down with his magic rope.


The puzzles culminated in a door where I got a riddle: "None shall enter, none shall pass, but he who speaks the name of Power." This stumped me for a long time. IBLIS seemed obvious, but it didn't work. I tried a host of NPCs to no avail. Finally, I went back to my screenshots and found the answer among Ad Avis's ravings:


I could have also found the answer through a re-read of the game manual, which recounts how a thousand years ago, Sultan Suleiman bin Daoud defeated Iblis with an army of djinn and bound his spirit into the very statue that Ad Avis wanted me to recover.

SULEIMAN opened the door, beyond which was a passage through a treasure room. Trying to take any of the treasure led to unpleasant consequences.


Beyond another door, at last, was the statue.


Just as I was about to take it, Ad Avis teleported in (hey, why didn't WIT teach me that spell?) and snatched it from my grasp. He called me a fool and announced his plan to summon Iblis, "the greatest destructive power ever known." Perhaps more important was this little plot exposition:


Is the "Dark Master" just a generic term for evil, or is there really such a being with that name? If so, Ad Avis's next line suggested that he was done being a servant:


Instead of killing me, which would have been the sensible thing to do, he dubbed me "He Who Waits Behind" and force-bolted the rocks above the door, causing them to collapse into a heap, blocking the door. He then disappeared, leaving me alone in a cold, dark, inescapable tomb.

But wait!

Next post, we'll wrap it up.



28 comments:

  1. Do those little cones exist in real life? If so, what are they called? I tried to Google it but couldn't find anything.

    Er, volcanic cone, spatter variety?

    Also, guess you didn't buy Keapon Laffin's x-ray specs?

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    1. Those volcanic cones are enormous. I was wondering if little tiny ones that you could step over actually exist.

      I didn't even see the x-ray specs. They were only good for that one ribald moment, I assume.

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    2. The x-ray specs were originally put there as a useless joke item - part of the flavor of the magic shop. Once we got to the scene in Raseir, we (probably I) decided it would be amusing to have them actually do something, so I added the "like looking through a veil" description to the glasses and let the player buy them.

      It's a similar evolution as the Silly Clowns menu - Someone on the team (Brian Hughes in that case) came up with something silly, and we found a way to integrate it into the rest of the game. Lori and I frequently do that together, which is why we don't like to lock down the design at the beginning.

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    3. Makes sense. Your games are known for their sense of whimsy, and it would be hard to achieve that if everything had to be plotted and scripted ahead of time.

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    4. I think it's possible to see such baby volcanic cones on Earth billions of years ago. Your hero just happens to be living on a very young world that still has such cones that have yet to grow into a humongous land feature after multiple coatings of cooled-off lava.

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  2. You really don't remember who the Dark Master is or is it just a peculiar way to avoid spoilers?

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    1. I don't remember. I assume he shows up as the villain in III or IV or something, but barely remember those games.

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  3. I think the word for the lava cones is "fumerole" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumarole. The plural of "Djinn" is "Djinni" (pronounced like "Genie"). Of course we know the difference between a stalactite (hangs down from the ceiling, usually looks like an icicle, formed by mineral water dripping down) and a stalagmite (comes up from the ground, formed by deposited minerals that probably dripped down from a stalagmite). But many people confuse them, so we thought it made a good joke for the Hero to not remember which was which.

    There is a magic ring because Roberta Williams decided there could only be one magic lamp in a Sierra game, and she had one in one of the King's Quests. Besides, it comes across as less of a direct steal from the tale of Aladdin this way. :-)

    Lori wrote an article about the women in Quest for Glory II at http://www.theschoolforheroes.com/questlog/1447/fiery-females-qfg2/.

    As for the Dark Master, SPOILER ALERT, there is more about that Wizard and his successor (aka the new Dark Master) at http://www.theschoolforheroes.com/questlog/1597/women-of-glory-4-dark-mistress/.

    Other Quest Log articles talk about the roles of women in the other Quest for Glory games.

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    1. There actually was a djinni-from-a-ring in Aladdin's story. Not as powerful as the lamp djinni, but it whisked him around the world instantly without a problem. I always assumed that this WAS a direct reference!

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    2. I'd forgotten the ring, but we did quite a bit of 1001 Nights references, so probably Lori knew about the Djinn ring (which is the mark on a table service left from a glass of Djinn and Tonic, no doubt).

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    3. Evil wizard or vizier something stole Aladdin's castle and he asked for the ring Djinn to return it but Djinn couldn't because the one in the lamp was much more powerful hence Aladdin had to ask to be teleported near the castle instead to steal the lamp back.

      Must be 20 yars since I've read the tale so my memory is quite fuzzy.

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    4. Thanks for the terminology! I learned to remember the difference as stalactites having a "c" for "ceiling" and stalagmites having a "g" for "ground."

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    5. You got it backwards, Corey - Djinn is plural, Djinni singular.

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    6. According to my brother, who is currently learning Arabic, "djinn" is singular, and "djinni" would actually translate as "My djinn." Using "djinni" as the plural comes from using the Latin plural rules. I forget what the Arabic plural form would be. Plurals in Arabic are much more complex than in English (which is saying something). I think it was similar to "djinni", but with an extra sound in it somewhere.

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  4. It looks like the game will or "should" score lower than QfG I, because even if the second game might be better overall, it seems to be a weaker RPG.

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    1. I agree, but it is slightly balanced by my preference for the second game's story and puzzles. If it comes in lower, it won't be a LOT lower.

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  5. If you bought the otherwise useless X-Ray glasses from Keapon Laffin, Zayishah's clothing change is a little bit more risque and accompanied by a humorous sound effect.

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    1. I don't remember Keapon Laffin even mentioning them. Do you know how the X-Ray glasses were cued?

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    2. Oh, I see. You had to click on the Groucho-Marx looking things on the shelf.

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    3. Also reduces your chance at paladinhood even further!

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  6. I actually only watched The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca a few years back, and although I knew the references and where they were from (thanks to them being referenced endlessly in various media), it was nice to see that the films were as good as people said. I would recommend them!

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  7. Is there a restaurant in the game that serves an open sesame seed bun?

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    1. There's something like that in a Space Quest (3?). It's called Monolith Burger, IIRC.

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    2. After seeing that djinn joke i had to make up my own :)

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    3. Monolith Burger is also an establishment in "Jones in The Fast Lane" (a digital board game from Sierra).

      Also, the name "Suleiman" is the Arabic equivalent of "Solomon".

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  8. My favorite part of Raseir is the announcement periodically heard in its streets: "Everything that isn't mandatory is forbidden." Simple and chilling.

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  9. I think there's a plot hole here. If you save Shapeir from the elementals and then go join WIT, Ad Avis should have no way of getting the hero he needs, and thus he would have no way of getting Iblis. Yet the WIT game-over text says that Shapeir is destroyed...

    Come to think of it, is it possible to avoid getting on the caravan on the 17th day? Does that still lead to a loss? It shouldn't, since again, Ad Avis has no way of getting the hero he needs. But then the player's progress would also be stuck.

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    1. It's hard to avoid the caravan on the 17th day. You're automatically packed off to it when you wake up after sleeping in the inn the previous night. I think the only way to miss it is to be outside when the 17th day starts. In that event, I think the game does eventually give you a "game over," but I forget what the justification is.

      There are a few plot holes like this. If the hero, for instance, doesn't kill one of the elementals by the third day after it appears, the city is destroyed. How does that serve Ad Avis's ends? But they're all resolved if you simply assume that Ad Avis is a persistent sort of megalomaniac, and he's going to keep trying until he finds a way. Either he finds another way to release Iblis, or he finds another source of power that lets him destroy and conquer.

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