Quest for Glory
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|Quest for Glory|
Quest for Glory Anthology cover art
|Genres||Adventure/Role-playing video game (games 1–4) and Action/RPG (game #5)|
|Creators||Corey Cole, Lori Ann Cole|
|Platforms||MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Mac OS, NEC PC-9801, Windows|
|First release||Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero
|Latest release||Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire
Quest for Glory is a series of hybrid adventure/role-playing video games (and later Action/RPG for game 5) designed by Corey and Lori Ann Cole. The series combined humor, puzzle elements, themes and characters borrowed from various legends, puns, and memorable characters, creating a 5-part series of the Sierra stable.
Although the series was originally titled Hero's Quest, Sierra failed to trademark the name. The Milton Bradley Company successfully trademarked an electronic version of their unrelated joint Games Workshop board game, HeroQuest, which forced Sierra to change the series' title to Quest for Glory. This decision caused all future games in the series (as well as newer releases of Hero's Quest I) to switch over to the new name.
The series consisted of five games, each of which followed directly upon the events of the last. New games frequently referred to previous entries in the series, often in the form of cameos from recurring characters. The objective of the series is to transform the player character from an average adventurer to a Hero by completing non-linear quests.
The game also was revolutionary in its character import system, which allowed you to import your individual character, including the skills and wealth he had acquired, from one game to the next.
Hybrids by their gameplay and themes, the games feature serious stories leavened by humor throughout. There are real dangers to face, and true heroic feats to perform, but silly details and overtones creep in (when the drama of adventuring does not force them out). Cheap word play is particularly frequent, to the point that the second game's ending refers to itself as the hero's "latest set of adventures and miserable puns."
The games also have some memorable easter eggs, including a number of allusions to other Sierra games. For example if one types "pick nose" in the first game, (or click the lockpick icon on the player in the new version), if his lock-picking skill was high enough, the game would respond "Success! You now have an open nose"; If the skill was too low, the player would insert the lock pick too far, killing himself. Another example is Dr. Cranium, an allusion to The Castle of Dr. Brain, in the fourth game.
Each game drew its inspiration from a different culture and mythology (in order, Germanic/fairy tale; Middle Eastern/Arabian Nights; Egyptian/African; Slavic folklore/Eastern European folklore; and finally Greco-Mediterranean) with the hero facing increasingly powerful opponents with help from characters who become increasingly familiar from game to game.
Each game varied somewhat from the tradition it is derived from; for example, Baba Yaga, a character borrowed from Slavic folklore, first appeared in the first game. The second game introduced several Arab and African-themed characters who reappeared in the third game, and characters from every game and genre in the series reappeared in the fourth and fifth games. In addition to deviating from the player's expectations of the culture represented in each game, the series also included a number of intentional anachronisms, such as the pizza-loving, mad scientists in the later games.
There was some criticism concerning the games as time-consuming. For example, while adding to realism, in order to build a certain skill or reach a certain point of time, the player has to repeat for countless times some certain action (such as 'climb tree', 'get rock'-'throw rock'), or walk aimlessly until the time passes.
The gameplay standards established in earlier Sierra adventure games were enhanced by the player's ability to choose his character's career path from among the three traditional role-playing game backgrounds: fighter, magic-user/wizard and thief. Further variation was added by the ability to customize the Hero's abilities, including the option of selecting skills normally reserved for another character class, leading to unique combinations often referred to as "hybrid characters". During the second or third games, a character could be initiated as a Paladin by performing honorable actions, changing his class and abilities and receiving a unique sword. This would apply when the character is exported into later games. Any character that finished any game in the series (except Dragon Fire, the last in the series) could be exported to a more recent game (Shadows of Darkness has a glitch which allows one to import characters from the same game), keeping the stats and parts of the inventory. If the character received the paladin sword, he would keep the magic sword (Soulforge or Piotyr's sword) and special paladin magic abilities. A character imported into a later game in the series from any other game could be assigned any character class, including Paladin.
Each career path had its own strengths and weaknesses, scenarios unique to those that possess the skills associated with it. Each class also had its own distinct way to solve various in-game puzzles, which encouraged replay: some puzzles had up to four different solutions. For instance, if a door is closed, instead of lockpicking or casting an open spell, the fighter can simply knock down the door. The magic user and the thief are both non-confrontational characters, as they lack the close range ability of the fighter, but are better able to attack from a distance, using daggers or spells. An example of these separate paths can be seen early in the first game. A gold ring belonging to the healer rests in a nest on top of a tree; fighters might make it fall by hurling rocks, thieves may want to climb the tree, while a magic user can simply cast the fetch spell to retrieve the nest, and then, while the fighter and magic user return the ring for a reward, the thief can choose between returning or selling the same ring in the thieves' guild (which is not available for those not possessing the "thieving" skills). It is also possible to build (over the course of several games) a character that has points in every skill in the game and can therefore perform nearly every task.
Each character class featured special abilities unique to that class, as well as a shared set of attributes which could be developed by performing tasks and completing quests. In general, for a particular game the maximum value which can be reached for an ability is 100*[the number of that game]. Quest for Glory V allows stat bonuses which can push an attribute over the maximum and lets certain classes raise certain attributes beyond the normal limits. Quest for Glory V also features special kinds of equipment which lower some stats while raising others. At the beginning of each game, the player may assign points to certain attributes, and certain classes only have specific attributes enabled, although skills can be added for an extra cost.
General attributes influence all characters classes and how they interact with objects and other people in the game; high values in strength allows to move heavier objects and communication helps with bargaining goods with sellers. These attributes are changed by performing actions related to the skill; climbing a tree eventually increases the skill value in climb, running increases vitality, and so on. There are also complementing skills which are only of associated with some classes; parry (the ability to block a blow with the sword), for instance, is mainly used by fighters and paladins, lock picking and sneaking thief's hobby, and the ability to cast magic spells is usually associated with magic user.
Vital statistics are depleted by performing some actions. Health (determined by strength and vitality) determines the hit points of the character, which decreases when the player is attacked or harms himself. Stamina (based on agility and vitality) limits the number of actions (exercise, fighting, running, etc.) the character is able to perform before needing rest or risking injury. Mana is only required by characters with skill in magic, and is calculated according to the character's intelligence and magic attributes.
Puzzle and Experience points only show the development of the player and his progress in the game, though in the first game also affected the kind of random encounters a player faces, as some monsters only appear after a certain level of experience is reached.
- Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero (1989; VGA remake released in 1991)
- Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire (1990; Authorised VGA style remake by AGD Interactive released in 2008)
- Quest for Glory III: Wages of War (1992)
- Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (1994)
- Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire (1998)
- Quest for Glory Anthology (1996), a package that includes the first four games, including the fully patched CD version of QFG IV; game copy protection codes (a feature of Quest for Glory IV) are included in the manual and on CD, while game saves are included in the save folder of the CD and the VGA version of Quest for Glory I.
- Quest for Glory Collection Series (1997), a re-release of Anthology with a Dragon Fire demo and sample soundtrack.
- Quest for Glory 1 – 5 (2012), a digital collection on GOG.com that includes all five games in the series (including the EGA version and VGA remake of QFG1).
The gameworld of the series is called Gloriana and is basically a fairy tale mirror version of Earth. Countries and continents explored in the Games are Spielburg (Game 1; German folklore), Shapeir (Game 2; Arabia of One Thousand and One Nights), Tarna (Game 3; African mythology, esp. Egypt), Mordavia (Game 4; Slavic mythology) and Silmaria (Game 5; Greek mythology). Adventures, Monsters and Story of the games are usually drawn from legends of the respective mirrored region, although there are several cross-over exceptions, like the eastern European Baba Yaga that also appears in the first game.
Along with the Hero, several memorable characters appear and re-appear throughout the series including Rakeesh Sah Tarna, Abdullah Doo, Elsa von Spielburg, the evil Ad Avis and many others.
Originally, the series was to be a tetralogy, consisting of 4 games, with the following themes and cycles: the 4 cardinal directions, the 4 classical elements, the 4 seasons and 4 different mythologies.
This is what the creators originally had in mind:
|Quest for Glory I: So You Want to Be a Hero||North||Earth||Spring||Germanic|
|Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire||South||Fire||Summer||Middle Eastern|
|Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness||East||Air||Fall||Slavic|
|Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire||West||Water||Winter||Greek|
However, when Shadows of Darkness was designed, it was thought that it would be too difficult for the hero to go straight from Shapeir to Mordavia and defeat the Dark One. To solve the problem, a new game, Wages of War, was inserted into the canon, and caused a renumbering of the series. Evidence for this can be found in the end of Trial by Fire: the player is told that the next game will be Shadows of Darkness and a fanged vampiric moon is shown, to hint at the next game's theme.
They talked about it in the Fall 1992 issue of Sierra's InterAction magazine, and an online chat room:
“When we developed the concept for the series,” explained Corey, “we wanted some unifying themes for the story. We worked with the four seasons, the four basic elements – Earth, Air, Fire, and Water – and the four cardinal points of the compass. We planned to create four games to follow these elements.
“The first game – So You Want to be a Hero – is springtime and Earth and set in medieval Germany in the North. The second game – Trial by Fire – was the element of Fire, in the summer, and set in the South, in Arabia."
“The original third chapter,” added Lori, “was to be Shadows of Darkness, set in Transylvania – the East – and in the Fall, using Air as the central element.”
Somewhere between finishing Trial by Fire and cranking up the design process for Shadows of Darkness, the husband-and-wife team realized a fifth chapter would have to be added to bridge the games. That chapter became Wages of War.
The concept of seasons in the games represents the maturation of the Hero as he moves from story to story. It's a critical component in a series that – from the very beginning – was designed to be a defined quartet of stories, representing an overall saga with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.
“One of the unifying themes,” explained Corey, “is the growth of your character, going from being an adolescent Hero in the first game to being a young man in the second. You're strong and confident...”
“The third game,” continued Lory, “was to show you as a master of your profession, with the fourth depicting you at the mature peek of your powers.”
In the first episode, the player is a new graduate of the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School, ready to venture out into the springtime of his career and build a rep. It's a light-hearted, exhilarating journey into the unknown that can be replayed three times with three distinct outlooks at puzzle-solving.
In the second chapter – Trial by Fire – the Hero enters the summer of his experience, facing more difficult challenges with more highly-developed skills.While the episode is more serious and dangerous than its predecessor, it retains the enchanting mixture of fantasy, challenge, and humor that made the first game a hit with so many fans.
Of all the reasons Lori and Corey found for creating a bridge between Trial by Fire and Shadows of Darkenss. the most compelling was the feeling that the Hero character simply hadn't matured enough to face the very grim challenges awaiting him in Transylvania.
“In terms of role-playing aspects,” said Corey, “Shadows of Darkness is going to be a very difficult game. You'll have very tough opposition from the very beginning of the game.”
“Also,” said Lori, “you'll be very much alone. In Trial by Fire you had a lot of friends to help you. You always had a place to go back 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.
“Wages of War is the bridge,” she continues. “You start with people you know to help you along in the beginning. But when push comes to shove, you're the one who's on his own, who has to solve the ultimate mystery. As you go along, just when you think you're all alone, your allies come back to you, but you have to face the final challenge by yourself.”
- Quest for Glory 1-5 for download $9.99 - GOG.com
- Interaction Magazine (Sierra On-Line) (Fall). 1992.
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