Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quest for Glory II: Won!

One of three winning screens I've achieved while someone was still messing around with the Earth Elemental. "Without peer" indeed.

My last post ended with my character trapped in the tomb of Iblis, from which Ad Avis had just made his escape with a statue containing the djinn. He had announced his plan to perform a ritual on the statue, release the evil djinn, and use him to take over the world.

But all was not lost. Wandering around, I found a magic ring on one of the stalagmites. Picking it up released a genie--presumably one of those who had aided Suleiman in trapping Iblis in the first place.

The developers didn't even program a response for MORE WISHES. Come on, Corey. That was bush league.

The genie offered me three wishes, but clarified that they were limited to "health, prowess, or teleporting you to Iblis." After some experimentation, I found that I could wish for any skill or attribute (agility, vitality, stealth, throwing), and the genie would increase my score by 50. The exception is honor, which "you must earn yourself." I forgot to check whether this would apply to skills I didn't have in the first place; if so, it could be a way for characters who start as fighters or mages to get all classes' skills.

For all characters, I wished for increases in their lowest useful skills. You can burn all three wishes on these boosts, but it ends the game immediately.

For the third wish, I chose to TELEPORT back to Raseir, where Ad Avis was in the midst of his summoning ritual. The closest the genie could get me was to the exterior of the palace.

Here, for my thief and mage, Sharaf reappeared and told me of the Kattas' plans to attack the palace "to provide some distraction." I didn't notice that this really did anything for either of the characters.

At this point, the experiences of the classes diverged considerably, but there were two things common to all of them. First, if I dithered around too much in any area, Ad Avis finished his ritual and Iblis escaped to destroy the world.

I'm not entirely sure what Ad Avis gets out of all of this.

Second, the freaking genie wouldn't shut his trap for three seconds. Between constantly telling me how to solve the puzzles and just generally telling me that I was running out of time, he was the most annoying character in the game, constantly popping up and interrupting whatever I was in the middle of doing.

Thanks. It wouldn't have occurred to me to just walk over to the only available exit. Glad you're here.

The palace was guarded by two soldiers and a eunuch walking along the upper balcony. The first task was to get past them and get into the palace. I'm sure there were multiple ways for each class to accomplish this. For my mage character, I killed the eunuch with a "Flame Dart," then "Dazzled" my way past the guards and opened the door. My fighter took out the eunuch with a thrown dagger and then, predictably, just charged in swinging and defeated the guards in combat (one of only two combats post-Shapeir; the other characters got none). The thief had to wait for the eunuch to pass by, then shimmy up his magic rope on the far left, where a scarf was tied (as Zayishah's handmaiden had promised).

Targeting the eunuch at the front gates.

This meant that the thief entered a different part of the palace than the fighter and mage. For the fighter and mage, the genie led me to an antechamber outside Ad Avis's ritual chamber. Khaveen was on guard.

Someone's going to be sorry he said that.

The mage solution was to cast "Calm," which caused Khaveen to forget what he was doing and wander out of the room. The fighter jumped down from the balcony and engaged Khaveen in combat. At one point during the combat, Khaveen drops his sword, and you have the option whether to kill him or allow him to pick it back up; the latter is necessary for achieving paladin status at the end of the game. The result was the same either way.

I then had to burst through the magically-guarded door to Ad Avis's summoning chamber. The door had some kind of damage spell on it, but my mage set it off with a "Trigger" and the fighter just sucked up the damage.

On the other side, Ad Avis was engaged in some ritual involving lighting candles in a hexagram. Some stone guardian was protecting him and attacked as I came through. Through trial and error, I found that "Trigger" caused him to just collapse, but the fighter had to ESCAPE combat with him because he wouldn't die from my regular attacks.

Next, I had to disrupt the ritual by either stealing ("Fetch" did the trick for the mage) or throwing a dagger to knock over one of the candles.

Stop trying to make fetch happen.

Ad Avis noticed me at this point. For my mage character, he immediately fired off a spell to turn me into an animal. Fortunately, I had been warned by Al Scurva to have "Reversal" active when I entered the room, and the spell bounced off me and hit Khaveen, who was coming through the left door. Al Scurva had specifically said that if the spell hit me, I would be "transformed into a creature most resembling your soul," and sure enough, Khaveen turned into a snake.

Now, here's the offensive thing. After I won, I played the encounter again without casting "Reversal" first, and guess what I turned into?

A saurus?! What the hell?! I could see why the Emir became a saurus: he was described as somewhat simple, kind, and skittish. But why am I not a lion or a bear or something?

But I digress. Ad Avis also had a "Reversal" spell active, so hitting him with "Flame Dart" or "Force Bolt" just caused the spell to go careening around the chamber. The key to defeating him was the realization that "Reversal" only protects the caster when directly targeted. What I needed to do was bounce a spell off something else and hit him. This took a long time and multiple reloads as I screwed around trying to first find the optimal position from which to cast the spell and second find the optimal surface off which to bounce it--all while dodging his own ricocheting spells at the same time. Eventually, I found the right place to bounce "Force Bolt" so that it knocked over the brazier and sent Ad Avis tumbling out of the window in flames.

Now that's a Disney villain death.

The fighter had a much easier time. Ad Avis didn't bother with any transmogrification spells; he just started casting flame darts. I just had to charge the guy and knock him out the window.

The thief had a very different endgame experience. Since he entered the palace by climbing up on the balcony, he started in a different room--specifically, the harem. Zayishah had said that the women of the palace would help me, and they did, first by hiding me from the suspicious eunuch.

Wait, did the previous emir have a harem and eunuchs? Because I'm not sure why I'm helping him, then.

There followed a sequence in which I had to hide and crawl around to avoid detection, but it was all overly-scripted and didn't offer many options for making mistakes. If I tried to go the wrong way, the genie would pop up and stop me.

The sequence ended with me on a balcony behind Ad Avis's summoning area, with his back to me. First, I had to cross over to him with my magic rope.

Good thing I practiced all that tightrope walking.

But I couldn't get through the pillars; there was some kind of force field preventing me. Instead, I had to throw a dagger to knock over the candle, then slowly approach Ad Avis while frequently typing DUCK (clued by the genie) to avoid his spells. A thrown dagger finally sent him to his doom.

Will you, for god's sake, SHUT UP?!

I guess if the thief shows up for the endgame without some extra daggers or rocks, he's in trouble. Incidentally, there was no opportunity to use "Reversal" for the thief, even if he learned it (as mine did), since there was no place to safely cast it after the palace entrance, and its effects don't last long enough to see the character all the way through the palace encounters.

So Ad Avis was dead, and at that point, the game became roughly the same for every character. I have to say, I really enjoyed the endgame sequence. Not enough games offer a solid denouement for the hero; a lot of them simply give you one end-game screen and drop you to the prompt. Here, we have a rewarding five-minute epilogue. First, the genie recites the prophecy under which Ad Avis was operating, noting that the real prophecy did leave open the possibility that the Hero would forestall Iblis's return.

The genie then takes Iblis's statue back to the tomb for another 1,001 years. The Hero, meanwhile, finds Emir Ali hiding in his bedroom and "persuades" him to take charge of the city and proclaim "the evil rule of Ad Avis and Khaveen to be over."

The Hero then restores Raseir's magic fountain with the Water Elemental. I have to confess, I'm not really sure how that works, or why the Water Elemental doesn't just destroy the city the way he was going to do before I captured him in the waterskin in the first place.

Whatever. It sounds good and has nice symmetry.

Abdulla and Shameen show up on the magic carpet to bear the Hero back to Shapeir.

Somehow, the elemental even made the cracks in the pavement disappear.

There, in the Palace of the Sultan, Sultan Harun al-Rashid is revealed to be the same person as the poet Omar, which explains why Omar was always handing me reward money. In a little ceremony, the various NPCs recount the Hero's deeds, with different NPCs speaking depending on what the Hero did during the course of the game. Shameen and Shema go first and recount the Hero's deeds in the first game.

Ha! But the Katta were driven from Raseir only a year ago, and in Quest for Glory, Shameen says they've been in Spielburg for three years! Why am I so hung up on this?

If the Hero freed the spirit of Julanar from the tree, Aziza recounts that. All my characters did this side quest, but I think it's possible to win without having done it, since you don't absolutely need to free Al Scurva.

Zayishah, Emir Ali's daughter, follows up by explaining how the Hero helped her escape Raseir. Somewhere in there, the EOF member, Walid, explains that the Hero spared his life, if the character was a fighter and chose that option. Then the Emir-saurus (the transmogrified previous emir, Zayishah's uncle and Ali's brother) shows up with his own contribution.

The Hero chooses this moment to administer a "Dispel" potion, "specifically prepared by Harik for the occasion" on him. I'd be pretty annoyed if I were him. I'd have expected them to use "Dispel" on me pretty much as soon as the potion was brewed. Either way:

Dude, I rode around the desert on your back.

Finally, the Sultan speaks: "I am Harun al-Rashid, Sultan of the land of Shapeir / I am the Poet Omar, teller of tales for all to hear / By the words which have been spoken / By the deeds that have been done / I proclaim this man a Hero / I now call this man my son."

Cool! Is there an inheritance involved?

There's one final sequence if the character obtained enough hidden "paladin points" and achieved a high enough "honor" score throughout the game. Rakeesh shows up and speaks of the Hero's courage, honesty, mercy, and compassion, proclaims him a paladin, and bestows upon him his sword, "Soulforge."

This comes with another 50 points and advances the maximum to 550. Only my mage (my first character) achieved a 100% score, and he wasn't proclaimed a paladin because he lost points disturbing (and killing) the griffon. My fighter ended with 517/550 and my thief ended with 472/500. In both cases, I just carelessly overlooked certain things.

The game ends with a credit sequence in which witty in-jokes are made about the development team members and their roles:

Followed by a preview of the next Quest for Glory game.

I, for one, can't wait. On to the GIMLET!


  1. I had forgotten all about the different ending sequence for the thief - that's pretty cool, and makes me feel better about the balance of game experiences for the different classes.

    Not directly relevant here, but a couple years later, King's Quest VI would borrow this idea of a climactic final break-in at the palace, with multiple 'scenarios,' though there they depend on your earlier actions in the game (whether you, knowingly or unknowingly, took the 'short' or 'long' way through the game) and it is only possible to get the best ending in one of these. As previously noted, I think adventure games were looking for ways to feel more exciting, to deliver a real sense that after all these weeks of banging your head against the puzzles every night (before finally turning the thing off and hoping the answer might pop into your head by the water cooler the next day), you had really arrived at the climax. The "castle break-in during the demonic ritual while outside the people are rising up" bit is straight out of Hollywood (see also: "we've got to disarm that bomb!") and I do think it works pretty well here. I'm reminded also of the way the brigands are closing in on you all through the last few screens of the first game in this series. There's no mistaking the sense that you must be very near the end of the game. In this sense, some of the "on-rails" or "too easy" quality of some of these climaxes may make sense: you don't want the ending to rush by, but you don't want to dissipate that heart-pounding sense that it's all coming down to the wire! RPGs, especially some of the tougher ones we've seen here (with permadeath or very limited save options), go through more regular cycles of tension and release, getting down to the wire, having maybe just enough hit points to make it back to the surface, all that stuff. Adventure games don't always get to play those chords, but if they do anywhere, it's in the endgame, and Sierra had lots of good ones in the early 90s.

    1. Good analysis. I've never really thought much about how common the "mob ineffectually attacks the fortress while hero penetrates the interior for the final confrontation" is. Skyrim is another notable example. TVTropes doesn't seem to have a good entry for this; "Storming the Castle" is the closest, but it's construed too broadly. We need a term for a situation in which one group storms the castle, but as part of the background to the hero's one-on-one confrontation.

    2. Yeah, true, that's a real cliché. I think half of the bosses of World of Warcraft have this kind of scenario. Also, Baldur's Gate II.
      @CRPG Addict: "The Luke vs. the Emperor scenario?" I mean, does it really matter what happens out in space between the Rebels and the Empire if either Darth Vader and the Emperor or Luke Skywalker die?
      Or maybe the "Frodo in Mordor" scenario? Does it really matter what happens outside of the gates of Minas Morgul (?) to Aragorn and the rest if the ring is not thrown into the volcano?

    3. "Mob Diversion Tactic"
      "This Mob Is Less Important Than You Think It Is"
      "Distracting Mob"
      "Hero's Mob Distraction Maneuver"
      "Hero With A Mob"

      I think I'm having too much fun.

  2. Maybe there are heroic Saurus?

    1. Well, we know there are TerrorSauruses and Saurus Rexes, so I suppose it's possible. But that one looks suspiciously like the simple, guileless animal I've been riding around the desert.

    2. Well, in sense all of Shapeir has been riding on your back the whole time too...

    3. And whenever you needed that simple, guileless animal, man, he was THERE for you!

      ...except during combat, but he came back! Heroic in his own simple way I suppose.

  3. That djinni sounds a lot like Microsoft's Clippy! "It looks like you are trying to cast flame dart. Would you like me to help with that?"

    1. Except that he doesn't have that little X on the top right hand corner to shut him.

    2. True story: I worked with the guy who excised about 90% of the Clippy code. We used to tease him: "OMG, you killed Clippy!"

  4. Quest for Glory 3 ended up being Wages of War rather than Shadows of Darkness which was part 4. Anyone know what happened?

    1. "Quest for Glory II hinted that Ad Avis would return in this installment which was originally titled Quest for Glory III: Shadows of Darkness. However they didn't think they could reach a new audience with a game that was significantly darker in tone then previous games in the Quest for Glory series. Therefore Quest for Glory III: Wages of War was created instead with the game just hinting at the whereabouts of Ad Avis and saving that particular plotline for Shadows of Darkness, which was changed to the fourth in the series."

    2. That seems like speculation, and is contradicted by the devs interview in InterAction Magazine.

      You can read it online here:

      ...though it's a bad scan full of typos. The article begins on page 31.

    3. A key paragraph is: "Of all the reasons Lori and Corey found for creating a bridge between Trial by Fire and Shadows of Darkness, the most compelling was the feeling the designers had that the Hero character simply hadn't matured enough to face the very grim challenges awaiting him in Transylvania."

      This series is somewhat unique in having the broad outline of the series and its settings plotted well in advance. From the interview, it seems clear that Lori and Corey meant Shadows of Darkness to be the apex of the series, and they felt they were rushing it. I think their reasoning makes sense. I'm sure Corey can verify and elaborate.

      When I was reading the article, I couldn't help but think of Return of the Jedi, at the beginning, when Luke Skywalker strides confidently into Jabba's palace and starts throwing the Force around like it's nothing. It's a bad-ass scene, sure, but it feels like something is missing. The last time we saw him, he was wetting his pants on Bespin. His conversion to this powerful, confident quasi-Jedi makes it feel like we've skipped some serious character development along the way.

    4. That interview is very strange.

      "You always had a place to
      go back to to rest. You always
      had a place of safety until the
      very end of the game. Once you
      get into Shadows of Darkness,
      you're not going to have any
      sanctuary. You won't be able to
      trust anyone, because nobody
      will trust you. "

      Erana's Place? Piotr? The Modovoi? The Inn? The Rusalka? Baba Yaga?

      Shadows of Darkness is full of safe havens and friends :)

    5. Early versions of games are often different to final version.

      Maybe initial concept was very different, but during the development they change this idea.


    6. The real story lies somewhere in between. Yes, we were worried that Shadows of Darkness would be too intense after a 2-year break between games - Lori and I diverted to educational games in the year following QG2. Looking at modern games, that was probably baseless.

      But the inspiration for QG3: Wages of War also came from a chance conversation with Ellen Guon, a Sierra producer and our friend. Ellen said, "I know what your next Quest for Glory will be about! It's going to follow Rakeesh down to Tarna and have the Hero deal with the demon prince that defeated Rakeesh!"

      So Lori and I looked at each other and said, "Oh, yeah, that's a really good idea. Wish we'd thought of it first." :-) Maybe not those exact words, but the rest is history. We wanted a transition before taking the Hero to Mordavia, we had unintentionally placed a smoking Chekhov's Gun ( in Trial By Fire in the form of Rakeesh's story, and we had never heard of an adventure or RPG set in Africa. So next thing we knew, we were proposing QfG3: Wages of War to Sierra. I mostly did not get to work on the project because I was off doing Sega Genesis CD stuff, but we'll get into that more in a couple of years when Chet gets to QG3.

    7. @Pedro: 1: What Anonymous said. 2: Some of the "safe" places you mention are pretty dangerous, or at least we wanted players to feel that way. The Rusalka? Deadly. Baba Yaga? Say a wrong word and you're toast... well, on toast. The Inn? Reasonably safe if you put out enough garlic, but everyone in it is suspicious and hostile towards you. Even the sheriff would just as soon ride you out of town on a rail as look at you.

      The game theme was alienation, "a stranger in a strange land." The player needs to work hard to gain the trust and approval of the Mordavians.

    8. Thanks for the clarifications Corey! QfG4 is, in my point of view, one of the best 5 RPGs ever.

  5. I hate to nitpick, but surely that's a hexagram, not a pentagram.

    1. Yes, I'm sure it tears you right the #$&@ up.

    2. It is most assuredly a hexagram, aka a Star of Solomon. When we recapped the final scene at the beginning of QG3, we got an angry letter from a woman saying we had defamed the Jewish people by having the evil Wizard use a Star of David. No sense of occult ("occultic"? :-)) history. She also felt we demeaned black people by having Uhura "speak" with a Jamaican accent instead of "normal English". I believe she sent copies of her complaint to B'nai Brith and the NAACP. Sierra took it seriously and we had to defend our design decisions.

      Never mind that we were perhaps the first game to have major non-white characters in important roles. This woman didn't play far enough into the game to discover any of that. Oh, I suppose we also demeaned lions by turning them into half-human Liontaurs, thus depriving them of their proud individuality.

    3. You guys really did a lot to diversify the genre (which, if anything has actually regressed over time). Has there to this day been another fantasy RPG set primarily in an African setting?

    4. The closest would have been Ultima: Savage Empire, I guess.

  6. Awesome! Cannot wait for the GIMLET!

    In my playthrough as a mage, I was much less violent than you: I just levitated to the balcony when the enuch wasn't looking and snuck past. It pretty much went the same way otherwise. As I also sucked at the "bouncing things off walls" puzzle, I solved it my just walking to the left side of the screen and casting at the brazier directly. Why make the trick shot when you don't need to?

    To your other comment, I recall reading that the series was intended to be four games with "Wages of War" as a sort of interlude to put the character in the right place mentally and physically for "Shadows of Darkness". Regretfully, I still have not played "Dragon Fire". I was put off by the interface change and the need to boot my Windows VM and have not made it back.

    Apparently, each of the games has a season (Spring = "Hero", Summer = "Trial", Fall = "Shadows", Winter = "Dragon Fire"), an element, and the main character is referred to as a different "hero". Hero from the East in the first game, Hero from the North in this one, etc. Lots of cool planning went into the series and then they almost cancelled the last one which threw my high school-aged self into fits. (And the delay placed it outside my game playing period in my youth, so I still have not finished the series.)

    Great stuff!

    1. I just got an older machine running with Windows ME, which is like installing Satan on to your computer, but anyway I got the computer just to play the 95/98 game Windows 7 wouldn't run and Quest for Glory V was the first game I installed on it.

      QFG5 really deserves a second look, though I'd never say it was the best game of the series. The music is fantastic and I still have the soundtrack CD.

    2. Doesn't the GoG version of the QfG1-5 series handle Win7 nicely? Will try...

    3. The GOG version works just fine on my Windows 7 machine.

    4. I like how the GOG promotion shots include one of the Hero embracing the nude Rusalka. That's not going to end well!

    5. GOG's selling point is to make games work on new systems, I personally had to buy a new set of BG II because the !"!"¤"#¤" star¤"#¤"#"¤"% whatever root kit %%"#% refused to work on anything but XP and older systems and hence game installer couldn't recognize the CD's.
      It was only a few € from GOG but I was still quite angry for it since after all I had the original discs and all (and they had costed me 45€ brand new some 10 years earlier).

    6. @Joe - If what you said was true, which season does Wages of War represent? Which element does it embody?

    7. My guess is the seasons/elements thing kind of collapsed when they introduced III, but it was never a completely necessary part of the mythos anyway. I guess an easy thing to do would be to regard III as an extension of the "summer" theme in II.

  7. Didn't Rakeesh give the Soulforge previously, or was that only temporary? I know that you needed the sword for the Earth element if you were using the fighter.

    I quite liked the text interface in this, but I can see why the successor changed it.

    1. It was only temporary the first time. You have to give it back to Uhura soon after, or you lose paladin points and can't become a paladin at all.

  8. Nice! I never beat QfG 2...I think I had the collection of the first 4 games which included the updated version of QfG 1, and I just couldn't get into the text parser for this one. I remember beating both the first and third games, and getting caught by the infamous bug in the fourth game (or perhaps just the infamous dead end) without knowing how to resolve it (or, in those early Internet days, perhaps I did find out what the problem was and chose not to start over). I never played QfG 5, but we're a long way from that being covered either here or by Trickster.

    I'm looking forward to Keys to Maramon coming up, I liked all the Magic Candle games (although #3 was buggy as hell and I never beat it) but never played the spinoff games (this one and some prequel about the dwarves).

  9. Oh, sorry to be putting so many comments in one blog entry, but I just had to say that you had Lori and me both laughing out loud at this one. Apparently the Djinn (wonder why it was a Djinni? That should be the plural form) was our Cedric the Owl.

    We thought we had handling for "more wishes" in the spec... but no, looking at the script, we just provided four different generic responses for wishes that the Djinni can't handle. It's a very small, weak Djinni, not a powerful Marid like Iblis, after all.

    1. Glad you thought that was funny. Sometimes people don't realize when I'm joking.

      I think we established in another thread (and a Google search confirms) that "djinni" is in fact the singular and "djinn" is the plural.

  10. Sorry if this has been mentioned in previous comments, there's so many of them to go through. Did you buy a pair of novelty glasses from Keapon Laffin, and did you ever find a use for them?

    1. The glasses change the scene where Zayishah changes into your spare suit of clothes. Having the glasses in your inventory temporarily removes the silk/gauze veil in front of her as she changes. Basically, the glasses provide some 16-color low-res nudity. Shocking!

    2. No, I didn't do either. I don't feel like I missed out on much.

    3. Also you lose honor points for magical peeping.


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