Saturday, April 14, 2018

Quest for Glory III: Questions of Honor

My inventory sure loaded up after the first session.
          
The first couple hours of Quest for Glory III play like an extended prologue. You have a little freedom, but most of the events are timed and scripted and don't allow you to screw up and miss them the way you can in Trial by Fire. This isn't good or bad by itself, but there was one particularly long segment (transitioning this and the next entry) in which the character was just shoved from one place to the next, and I was glad when it was over.

Alex over at The Adventure Gamer got so far in his second entry that I'm going to have to split this one into two; look for the second on Monday.
           
To a new player, it's also not clear that these "cut scene" screens allow you to click around and speak.
         
I have so much to cover because I started the game over after my first entry, following the revelation that using the mouth on the character--which produces a joke in the remake of So You Want to Be a Hero--opens up lines of dialogue not possible by clicking on the NPC, including the ability to "Greet" and "Say Good-bye" before and after every conversation. You also often get "Tell About" options, which is how I was able to tell the shop owner about Julanar. He vowed to leave and find her "on the next caravan" to Shapeir, which I hope is after the conclusion of this game.
              
I really think she could do better.

               
The option also allowed me to do more in the Temple of Sekhmet. When I greeted the priestess who tried to throw me out, the statue of Sekhmet came to life. He chastised the priestess for saying that the presence of a human defiled the temple ("you will speak only MY words--not your own"; I briefly considered how cool it would be if this happened every Sunday morning). He called me "Doer, Changer of Worlds, Releaser of Darkness" and demanded that I return with the Gem of the Guardian to be "weighed and judged."
              
I get enough weighing and judging at my annual physical.
          
Since I already knew the layout of the land, I was able to re-explore most of the city on my first day. The first priority was changing money in the bazaar. I followed NPC instructions and went to the north end, but before I could approach the money-changer, I witnessed a keffiyeh-clad thief sprint away as the money-changer yelled "stop thief!" I fumbled around trying to figure out what spell might do the trick, then realized I'm not supposed to cast spells on the streets of Tarna. By then, the thief was off the screen, so I all I could do was chase him.
           
Well, that was anti-climactic.
         
There, the thief was arrested by some liontaur guards, who demanded that as a witness I accompany them to the Hall of Judgement. The liontaur judge named the thief "Harami," which was nice foreshadowing on the part of his parents, since it means "sinner" in Arabic. When asked if he wanted to say anything before he was "named honorless," he answered, "hey, big deal." The council designated him honorless and evicted him from the hall.
           
I'm not sure this is the basis for a sustainable criminal justice system.
          
After thanking me for helping to capture the thief--honestly, all I did was walk from one screen to another--the head lioness said that King Rajah--whose parents also had a gift of foresight--wanted to see me. 

Rajah was a bit of a jerk, lounging on his throne, tended by lioness guards. He expressed doubt that a human could do anything to help with the present situation, particularly since the city already has a powerful mage. (This dialogue, of course, must be class-specific.) He insulted his brother, Rakeesh, for needing a human's help and called him "cowardly" for wanting to make peace with the Leopardmen instead of taking revenge for the death of Reeshaka (Rakeesh and Kreesha's daughter).
           
A true "role-playing" game would allow me to kill him right now.
           
Rakeesh stood up for himself, nothing that "revenge for the sake of revenge is pointless" and "mindless revenge is pure stupidity," at which point Rajah threw me out so he could speak to his brother alone. There were a couple of times during the conversation where I had to click on myself for dialogue, and I suppose the dialogue could have gone other ways if I'd asked things of the king instead of "talking about honor" or whatever I chose.
               
Rakeesh is the only data-driven liontaur.
          
Back outside, I was free to explore the city. I spent the rest of the day in the bazaar, starting with changing money. I had enough to obtain 180 royals. At first, I thought this was a huge advantage for an imported character, but it turns out new characters also start with as much money. This meant that I had to make almost no tough choices at all as I explored the rest of the bazaar. I bought anything and everything, hardly ever bothering to "bargain," and still had over 100 royals to spare. Of course, I didn't have to buy any pills, thanks to the stock I brought with me.
           
I think I had more than that at the end of Trial by Fire.
        
They moneychanger offered some interesting foreshadowing, saying that there is tremendous inflation in Silmaria and that since no one can travel in and out of Mordavia, the exchange rate for their coins has bottomed out. These are the locations of Quest for Glory V and IV, respectively. If we didn't know from Corey Cole's comments how much of this series was planned years in advance, this bit of dialogue would provide some insight.
             
Now, if he'd mentioned Sardonia, we'd be really blown away.
           
The rest of the bazaar offered a variety of colorful figures selling items of both obvious and questionable utility. In the order that I met them:

  • Two "junk dealers" clearly based off Sanford and Son, a reference that was already 15 years old. The Redd Foxx character, wearing a fez, called himself "An Forda" and referred to his son, appropriately, as a "dummy." The developers lacked the rights to the real theme song but played a suitably similar tune. They had some amusing dialogue but ultimately only had a tinder box to sell.

    (As Alex points out in his entry, you can use the tinderbox to light a water bong in Salim's place, which causes you to become a drug addict, which causes you to die in an alley years later. I don't know what amuses me more: that the Coles, who I'm guessing have lit more than one water bong in their lives, offered such a conservative warning, or that Alex immediately thought to give it a try.) [Edit: Speculating on someone else's drug history, even in humor, is rarely a good idea. And in this case it seems to be incorrect. I apologize.]
              
Breaking the fourth wall? Or did some variant of World War I happen in this universe? Are the games set in Earth's future rather than the past?
            
  • A weapon-seller. He convinced me to buy a "fine dagger," but it turned out to be the same as the one I already had. I also bought a throwing dagger and a spear. I assume other classes get other options here.
  • A merchant selling both water skins and zebra skins. I bought one of each.
  • A merchant selling fruit. I bought some, but I have a bunch of rations already.
  • An oil seller.
           
He was somewhat mission-driven.
          
  • A guy selling honey. I think I'll need this to lure a honeybird later and capture his feather while he's happy, a quest given to me by the pill-seller.
  • A woman selling pretty beads. I bought a couple of sets.
  • A rope-seller. (Alex didn't buy the beads or the rope. I wonder if this will come back to haunt him.)
  • A katta selling wooden carvings. This was the one for whom Shema had given me a note. I guess if I'd given him the note first, I could have gotten a carving of a leopard for free, but I screwed up the order and ended up paying for it.
           
Katta has wares if you have coin.
            
  • An Anubis-looking dog selling meat. He acted like a dog, too--desperate to please a human master. My purchase of a few rations sent him into an ecstasy of adoration. It was a little creepy.
           
This is why it's a good thing that dogs can't talk.
            
  • A woman selling clothing. For no reason except that I was buying everything, I bought a robe.
  • A huckster selling protective amulets. The game wouldn't even let me get conned into buying one.
               
I mean, it's not like amulets of protection don't exist in this world. Why am I suspicious?
            
At the end, I had a pretty full inventory. This would place to note that the game offers fairly detailed descriptions of each item when you click on it with the "eye" icon. Very few games are doing this in this era.
           
Or maybe few games ever did it, and I just fooled myself into thinking Might and Magic VI-VIII and the Infinity Engine games were the norm.
            
From Alex's entry, I see that I missed the ability to donate some coins to a drummer in the lower bazaar. I saw the drummer but missed his collection plate. I'll have to return later, although I'm not sure if the resulting "honor points" are important to my mage.

Back at Kreesha's place, we had a long conversation. There were a couple of cute reversals of common themes in the "real" world: the Council of Judgement consists solely of female liontaurs because "males are too emotional to make rational decisions," and it turns out that the liontaurs have a saying that "curiosity haunts a human." I suppose being "haunted" is better than being killed.

She had quite a bit to say about Rakeesh. He's apparently the only ruler in Tarna's history to voluntarily step down, and the only liontaur to become a paladin. She believes that the Demon Wizard that Rakeesh previously defeated is behind the recent troubles. Rakeesh intends to "pledge his honor" to bring peace, which means that if he fails, he can no longer enter Tarna. That not only seems a little strict but also reckless on Rakeesh's part, since he doesn't yet know anything about what's happening. What if the Leopardmen really are the aggressors?
             
And what if the troubles are caused by demons? Won't we need to fight the demons?
         
Kreesha also gave me a mage-specific quest: the creation of a mage's staff, "both a container and an amplifier of the magic user's spells." But before we can do that ritual, I have to return with some "magic wood."
            
She didn't mean go to the tavern and see Janna, but that's what I did.
           
In the tavern that night, the ability to click on myself gave me some new dialogue options with the hostess, including "flirt." At first this seemed to go well:
            
Oh, much more. "Communication" wasn't even a skill until the last game.
              
And then even better:
          
The Cole skirt an "MA" rating.
           
But the bottom dropped out when I tried to give her one of the strings of beads:
            
You couldn't have mentioned him an hour ago?
           
I was happy to see that Alex liked the inn as much as I did. There's something enormously evocative about the image, candles flickering on the table as the light dims outside, people comfortably resting on cushions in a huge, open room with cool, clean floors. It's one of the only video game images I've seen so far in my chronology that made me want to visit in-person--my enthusiasm only dampened slightly by the suspicion that they don't serve cocktails here.

Alex also reminded me that there's no adventurer's guild in Tarna--just a bulletin board in the inn with a bunch of random messages, none of them quest-worthy. That's an element of the previous two games that I miss.
    
The next day, I didn't have much to do. I interrupted Rakeesh and Kreesha in flagrante, which must have been great fun for the artist to draw. Rakeesh explained more about the thief's punishment from the previous day: as one designated "honorless," he'll be totally ignored. No one will sell anything to him, give him a place to stay, or give him food. Since there are no caravans on which he can leave, he's in for a difficult time. (Rakeesh didn't mention what happens if the guy simply steals food.) The whole story gave me a flashback to an episode of The Outer Limits or something where a guy gets branded on his forehead and no one is allowed to talk with him. At first, he thinks this is awesome because he can do whatever he wants, but later he nearly dies of loneliness. Anyone know which one I'm talking about?
             
This still doesn't make any sense. I understand why you had to kill the Demon Wizard, but why did you have to give up the throne to do that?
         
It also occurred to me that I haven't seen any signs of a thieves' guild within Tarna--no one who would provide succor to someone like Harami. Maybe the amulet-seller in the bazaar? I guess when I try the game as a thief, I'll make the sign to him first.

For the rest of the day, I spent some time practicing spells. I wandered out onto the savanna only briefly--I'll have more to say about that tomorrow. I tried to find Khatib Mukar'ram, the survivor of the Leopardmen ambush, but he was never in the tavern when I arrived. I went to bed early and was summoned automatically to the Hall of Judgement the next day.
           
"Levitation" isn't the most masculine-looking spell.
           
The head of the council summarized the plot so far, in case I hadn't been paying attention:
             
Two months ago, the Simbani requested that we aid them in their war against the Leopardmen. It was the decision of this Council to send emissaries to the Leopardmen to determine their grievances. The peace mission was ambushed at night by creatures or beings unknown. Evidence and the account of the sole survivor of the ambush, Khatib Mukar'ram, indicate the Leopardmen. A warrior of Tarna, Reeshaka Dar Kreesha, was discovered missing from the bodies of the emissaries. Signs and scent indicate some sort of struggle, and then all trace of Reeshaka was lost.
         
Neville Chamberlain over here.
              
The various council members then debated what to do. One wanted to seek revenge for Reeshaka; another said that liontaurs should not get involved in affairs of humans. A third pointed out that humans are a part of Tarna. Rakeesh then stepped up, stated his opinions about demonic involvement, and pledged his honor to bring peace.
           
But what about war with demons? I'm so confused.
         
The head lioness emphasized the consequences if he fails and asked if I also "pledge my honor." I'm curious about the consequences of saying "no." For this character, I figured that Rakeesh is the only reason I'm here, so I might as well stand by him. If I'm exiled from Tarna, the worst that happens is I go back to Shapeir and continue being a prince.

I see from Alex's entry that saying "no" is the only way that a fighter character can remain a fighter; otherwise, he inevitably becomes a paladin. That suggests that "yes" is the "honorable" path. But to me, it's the path of "I really don't know much about this situation and I'm not going to commit myself to a life-altering course of action until I do."
           
I'm curious how the low-honor thief deals with this.
         
The council gave us time to fulfill our oaths. Afterwards, we had another audience with Rajah, who continued to berate Rakeesh and to show support for the hawkish faction.
             
Well, that's a good attitude.
         
He said he'd give us time, but warned us not to take too long. Shortly after that, Rakeesh and I walked out the front gates and on to the open savanna.
            
More about this map next time.
         
Miscellaneous notes:

  • The inability to reliably walk off-screen is a huge interface issue. I might be missing entire explorable areas because the game fails to transition from screen to screen when you get close to the edge. I end up having to walk to the edge and then use the keypad to keep nudging my character until the transition takes over.
  • I like the music less in this game than previous ones. This comes from my own personal quirk of not liking background music in general. I feel like the first two games played cute leitmotifs as you entered certain areas and encountered certain characters, but then stopped. This one has more constant, unrelenting background music.
  • On the other hand, as several people--including Alex--have pointed out, the graphics are beautiful. Definitely some of the best that we've seen by this era.
  • I've been checking my character sheet, but my adventures so far have mostly earned me only "communications" points.
  • This comment threw me because I forgot at first that The Mummy (1999) is actually a remake of a 1932 film. But I'm still confused because in neither film is the mummy called "Amenhotep."
           
And how would a character in this game have seen a movie anyway?
          
This is the sort of game where the content-per-minute is so high that I could easily post a full entry per hour. That will probably shrink in the middle stages, but for now I need an entire second entry before I can leapfrog Alex. More soon.

Time so far: 3 hours

46 comments:

  1. Is Sekhmet specifically referred to as "he" in the game? Because originally, it's a goddess.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Two thoughts re: the homeiness and allure of the inn (which I, too, was captivated by): The whole series is pretty fantastic at establishing not only a sense of place but a sense of connection between the player and the locale. It's elegantly done, and much of it can be attributed to the fact that the player has a home base that he visits and revisits, with fresh content every time. (I adored having breakfast at the Katta's Tail Inn and hearing the news of the day, or seeing what was happening at the Mordavian inn on any given night.) There's nothing close to equivalent in most RPGs, where the player or party is constantly on the move. Even most adventure games keep the player on a relatively linear path throughout, moving from region to region without regularly returning to a well-developed "home."

    (Much later, we'll see "strongholds" and bases like Mass Effect's Normandy, but while those establish a sense of connection they don't do much for the sense of occupying a foreign and fascinating land. After all, they belong to the player--I'm not a guest learning local customs, but an owner customizing the environment as I see fit.)

    The other point I want to emphasize is how lavish the descriptions of food are in this series. Every inn has its own exhaustive set of meals, and those meals teach something about the local culture and economy. It's a touch of detail that so few games bother with, and it's incredibly minor--barely noticeable, really--but it's deeply suggestive of richer worldbuilding and evocative of senses most games never touch. (When's the last time you had a good sensory impression of taste in a modern RPG?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why more RPGs didn't use the "home" idea. I always wanted to have that back in the day. But, nobody ever did it. Once in a while, you'd have a "house" but all it ever had was your starting equipment and you'd never have reason to revisit after leaving.

      I guess it was just this hard-headed refusal to consider any alternatives to the murderhobo paradigm, combined with the inevitable "we started with a lot of great ideas, but didn't bother to plan out time to implement them, so amputate them halfway through the game and just make everything harder to compensate."

      Of course, today every damn game has a house, or multiple houses, but I think that's more for the modern gaming aesthetic of pandering to the "hoarder" part of the brain. The furniture may be virtual, but the pleasing neurochemicals released are quite real.

      Delete
    2. The way I see it, this works because becoming a hero in the Quest for Glory games entails actually sticking around, helping people over a long period of time and therefore winning them over.

      Most rpgs are about the constant push to go out and explore further and usually you're gated by level gain. When you're level 5 and you killed the first boss dungeon, there's no point to ever go to the first dungeon again. Now you've got enough power to leave the opening location behind forever and feel weak against new monsters again. But in QfG there's not much of a treadmill. You can kill almost any one single enemy in these games with starting stats. Perhaps you'd struggle with bigger groups, but you can always run away from these fights, and most scripted confrontations are solved with adventure game logic instead. Quest for Glory isn't about killing things to solve problems, I think.

      In every quest for glory you're in a fairly small area (because it's an adventure game engine) so you have to learn to live with the locals and solve their problems with the skills you have already. If you better your skills the result is natural and short-term: you can do the things you already could do, just faster and easier.

      This makes this series feel both less mercenary and less colonial than most rpgs where you go out to slay all the orcs and then move to the next town to slay all the trolls with your sword +1.

      The Witcher 2 has an fairly contained opening in a small village where you go about witchin' as the Witcher does and once you've resolved the main plot lines in that small village you're unleashed in a much bigger city hub and the game loses that cohesion that the well-contained starter village had. That's the only other rpg that kind of scratched that itch of the QfG experience of helping all the locals. But the Witcher is much more cynical and has a darker tone.

      Delete
    3. The recent game that attempted the 'this is home' and 'help all the locals' was Dragon Age 2, and it was much maligned for doing so. On the whole it worked for me though (the melee splash damage on nightmare, not so much.. the only class I had the patience to play through was warrior).

      If you set up in the Imperial City hovel at the beginning of Oblivion and stayed there, I certainly felt like a a home-like feel developed as one progressed through the game, although that wasn't the intent.

      Dark Sun: Shattered lands also had some of that dynamic, both due to the main quest and its emphasis on dialogue (especially for a D&D game).

      Delete
    4. I was gearing up to make this comment but you did it better than I ever could have. Thanks!

      The intimate sense of place and sensory experience (like food, drink, etc.) in these games actually reminds me of the Redwall series of books that were popular when I was a kid.

      Delete
    5. In Trails in the Sky, the main character (Estelle Bright) has a house, and you can revisit it in the second game. The second series (Zero and Ao no Kiseki) was based in one city so the home base for your police force was the main hub in both games.

      Delete
    6. The “home base” aspect AND the descriptions of food (until the inn in QfG V, at least), are definitely highlights. It gives the player the feeling you’re helping defend something cherished.

      Delete
    7. I would say that this feeling "this is my home now" is done well in first two Gothic games. For example in Gothic II, when I finally got to the monastery and started the mage training, the monastery really started to feel quite homely. I think what helps is that the world of Gothic II is rather contained and not too sprawling. ... There was also some tower with bandits which I cleared and "pretended" that was my home now, but alas the game did not support that much.

      Delete
  3. I'm pretty sure there's other ways to not become a paladin, such as by pissing off the Laibon.

    Your approach of buying one of everything is indeed the correct one (rkprcg gung lbh'yy arrq svir mroen fxvaf). I found it a bit weird that the shops contain exactly what you need, and nothing you don't need.

    Anyway what I like in this game is that you're actually accompanying two old friends on their request for help. I find that slightly too many RPGs either start you out as a random nobody or as The Chosen One with no real connection to the world or characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the shop sells something, and the player doesn't need it, then why is it in the game? Shops should only sell needed items, this is good game design. Of course you should buy one of everything from every shop.

      Delete
    2. "Red Herrings" are a common thing in both adventure games and RPGs. They make the game seem more like a real world, where not everything is there to serve the adventurer.

      Delete
    3. That said, I think there has (a) been a strong trend away from useless/red herring items in games since the 80s and (b) a much stronger trend away from them in adventure games versus RPGs. Useless items in IF are not well-regarded whatsoever.

      Delete
    4. Besides required and useless, an item could also be optional. RPGs tend to have a fair amount of those, although adventure games usually don't.

      Delete
    5. Peter,

      You might be right about other ways for a fighter not to become a paladin. I just remember a fighter playthrough where I kept becoming one when I didn’t want to and the only reliable way to remain a fighter was to refuse to pledge my honor.

      Delete
  4. I have been playing through the QfG series using a real MT-32. When I started QfG3 the music just sounded 'off' like the wrong instruments were being used. I thought I had configuration error and I spent hours trying to figure out what the problem was. I eventually found recordings of the music taken from vintage systems, and confirmed the game just supposed to sound that way .

    Don't fret, QfG4 music is amazing on the MT-32. I caught myself more than one letting the opening music play all the way though before loading my game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Everyone should be using Roland MT-32/General MIDI music for DOSbox games. In the age of emulation, there is simply no excuse for putting up with the tooty Soundblaster music, none.

      Delete
    2. I'f I'm playing a game from my past, I want it to be the same game I played 20 years ago, not some slightly different thing.

      Delete
    3. Hell, I bought a Roland MT-32 years ago just for Sierra titles, though there are other games that use it, of course.

      Sierra pushed the Roland MT-32 (and CDROM drives and various sound cards) through the InterAction magazine, I think the Roland retailed for something like $700 back then.

      But I can only imagine someone's reaction to playing King's Quest IV for the first time with the MT-32. Totally worth it.

      Delete
    4. When I was a kid I took a tour of the Sierra offices in Oakhurst, and at the beginning of the tour they showed off Space Quest 3 with an MT-32 and a decent sound system. I was blown away. I had never seen an SCI game and never heard anything but the internal speaker.

      Later my family bought a Game Blaster, which was soon upgrade to a Sound Blaster.

      It wasn't until after college I bought myself an MT-32 on eBay for $50. I find it amazing that despite every other piece of equipment on my desk being replaced, the MT-32 is still in service, and the old Sierra games still hold up against modern titles in terms of music.

      Delete
  5. Couple of things, first I know you're just picking fun at the names but an interesting thing is that in some ancient cultures it wasn't unusual to change your name based on major events in your life so maybe they weren't born with names like King or Sinner.

    The other thing is a side note, I love quests to make magic stages, not sure why but I do. My favorite quest in Oblivion is a Mage's Staff and in Morrowind it's a Wizard's Staff, I know you don't make that one but it's still cool to get a quest for a powerful staff. I also know you can make them in Skyrim, though I hate staff enchanting in that game, and Temple of Elemental Evil with the Create Staff feat. Does anybody know of other games with the option to make staffs or cool quests to find them?
    (Sorry about the whole Staffs Staves thing, I'm never sure which to use.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Water bong"? Did you learn about those on the internet machine website?

    About the forehead-mark thingy - it's from an episode from the 80s reboot of the Twilight Zone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah the episode is called "To see the invisible man"

      Delete
    2. Oh, quiet. I copied the term from TAG. I have indulged the leaf now and then, but never that way, and I suppose it never occurred to me that there aren't bongs without water.

      Delete
    3. Thank you on the episode name. I just watched it on YouTube. It's campier than I remembered.

      Delete
    4. I was going to post that I didn't see that episode, but I remembered the short story by Robert Silverberg on which it was based. Same name.

      Delete
    5. To be fair with Chet and Alex, US teen movies often involve something called a beer bong. A completely different device, but the name might suggest that beer bong and "water bong" are just types in a more general class of bongs.

      Delete
  7. No spoilers, but I am currently playing through QfG5 for the very first time. It came out during a bad time of my life and later when I finally bought it, I was initially (and immediately) turned off by the changed graphical style.

    One of the things I LOVE about QfG5 is all of the payoffs to all of these little plotlines seeded throughout the first four games. At times they go a bit overboard (is *everyone* in Silmaria someone you met on your travels?), but reading your play of this now and thinking of how aspects tie into that game, brings a smile to my face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. QfG5 is a good game that suffered a lot from being an early 3D game. There were a lot of those. Not only did the early era of 3D graphics look terrible compared to the late era of VGA, but those games frequently had a lot of bugs and compatibility issues.

      Delete
    2. Cracks me up to this day how the Hero turns in place. Lift leg, pivot, lift leg, pivot. He handles like a M4 Sherman tank.

      The music, as has always been the case for the series, is fantastic. One of my fever dreams is for someone to refresh QFG5 on a modern engine.

      Delete
    3. Joe, I felt the exact same way about Dragon Fire. The Coles really creates a satisfying conclusion to all the little plot threads. My only small gripe is that it’d have been really nice to have seen Shema and Shameen one more time.

      Delete
    4. I would love for someone to remake QfG5 into an Adventure Game Studio-based VGA game, just as QfG2 was remade that way.

      Delete
    5. That would be cool...but I wonder how close to the “original” vision it would be, thinking about an alternate timeline where QfG III was Shadows of Darkness, and IV was Dragon Fire, created at the time the IV we all know was instead.

      Delete
    6. I used to think that QfG5 would benefit from that treatment, but frankly it would not. There's some nice camera movement in a few scenes and such that just wouldn't play as well in the old engine.

      That said, QfG5 went wrong by not having decent character portraits and making the font too small. Small things, perhaps even silly things, but I really miss the portraits. The 3D models for most of the characters are very low-polygon and that hurts as well. It's what they could do in 1998.

      I'd say, an "ideal" QfG5 would be the current game with a watercolor/cell-shaded feature to make the texture more like the previous games, plus character portraits and text boxes more akin to the those installments. Keep the music. Keep the simplified interface.

      Past that, I know some people complain that it leans more heavily into RPG territory but I've found it to be quite fine. A bit different, but still recognizably an adventure game.

      Delete
    7. Actually, having made it farther into QfG5, I can see the basis for some of the complaints now. At least the part of the game I am in is combat-centric and event after event where I just spam flame dart is getting a bit old. It could have used more "adventure" solutions to problems. (A mage's battle in particular would have been handled in an "adventure" way in the previous games, but here was just another combat where you had to wait forever for the enemy's "reversal" spell to fade so you could sneak in a few darts before he puts it up again, then repeat.) We'll see if that continues...

      Delete
  8. The "honorlessness" here seems to operate like the "outlawry" of northern and western Europe -- you don't get any of the privileges and immunities of a regular member of society, even a slave or serf. Which means that if you're caught stealing, someone can just kill you and face no legal difficulty.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Typo: "Rakeesh stood up for himself, nothing that..." should be "... noting that..."

    Some of the character names in Quest for Glory are just there for the sound, but many reinforce the character. Lori did not choose Harami randomly. Similarly, we learned from a filk song that Uhura means "freedom" in Swahili; we didn't just give her that name as a Star Trek reference. It made sense for her character concept.

    I'm fairly certain neither Lori nor I has ever "lit a water bong". We may have taken a puff from one at some time in our lives, but I'm not sure about that. I did have a roommate in college who used a bong frequently, so at least I'm not a total innocent.

    But we're pretty "straight" as far as drugs and alcohol go - we just don't find them interesting, and they cost more money than we care to spend. Lori had a drug dealer friend once, but neither of us has ever tried anything stronger than marijuana, and that just makes us sleepy.

    Historical side note: My mother *did* use marijuana as a teenager. It was completely legal then (late 1930's) and often prescribed for asthmatics.

    All reference to drugs and drunks in our games is imaginative, not from personal experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I apologize for applying a stereotype. I'll edit the above when I'm not on my mobile.

      Delete
    2. For the record Chet, I’m straight about drugs as well. I lit the pipe or WHATEVER it’s calles because when you click “hand” on it, the game tells you you can’t do anything while it’s unlit. And then I got a tinder box...

      Delete
    3. The burned-out drug addict ending is easily my favourite Sierra death after failing to pick your nose in QfG1.

      Delete
  10. Maybe Harami’s parents were just employing reverse psychology...you know, like how making a child Chastity is one way to make sure she won’t live up to that name... Looks like that also backfired, so we are wise to stick with more indirect names rather than being named after morals!

    ReplyDelete
  11. About the Mummy thing...either they mixed it up with Imhotep or they referred to the spanish Paul Naschy film. I wouldn't find it that weird given that back then when you were a horror fan you were a hardcore one that knew all those VHS tapes in the store around the corner.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The statue also appears to have very distinct breasts, so I'm assuming that's an error on his part.

    ...and speaking of catwoman anatomy...WHAT is going on with the lower body of that catwoman on the right in the throne room? Is she part slug? Is she dissolving?

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's a great touch to be descriptive about food to plunge the player into the world, if they haven't yet.

    I mean, sure, it's just a Hunger Bar or a number denoting how much Food/Ration you're carrying but scents and taste are what really evokes a sense of being there.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't have the option to tell the apothecary about Julanar, although I'm sure we had the conversation about the talking tree earlier on. I'm a little later in the game, though, so I may have missed my chance. I hope it's not important.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I really enjoyed the ritual of the first three games. Waking, eating and talking in each location, doing chores that resulted in stat gain. The living anatomy of each town was great and didn't feel like grinding. Walking back to Kattas inn, having a descriptive and delicious meal and occasionally a dance in QfgII were highlights of the series for me.

    ReplyDelete

I welcome all comments about the material in this blog, and I generally do not censor them. However, please follow these rules:

1. Do not link to any commercial entities, including Kickstarter campaigns, unless they're directly relevant to the material in the associated blog posting. (For instance, that GOG is selling the particular game I'm playing is relevant; that Steam is having a sale this week on other games is not.) THIS ALSO INCLUDES USER NAMES THAT LINK TO ADVERTISING.

2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

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.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

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: I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.