There's always something exciting about starting a new game.
I’ve spent a day and a bit in Shapeir, and while I haven’t achieved an awful lot, I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely. There’s something magical about this game, and it’s only through sheer determination not to get too far behind Chet (who has suggested he will play the game through at the same time as me over at CRPG Addict) that I’ve been able to pull myself away long enough to write this post. I should state that I’d intended to import my character from Hero’s Quest after reading through the comments on the intro post, but after making that decision I’ve not been able to find the save game. I distinctly recall saving it somewhere in case I wanted to use it when I reached part II, but I sadly can’t figure out where I put it. Accepting that I was going to have to create a new hero, I loaded up the game and clicked Introduction on the menu.
This looks like as good a place as any don't you think?
After flying from Spielburg to Shapeir on a magic carpet, the hero and his three friends Abdulla Doo, Shameen and Shema, landed in a plaza where locals went about their business among shops and buskers. The hero was still dressed just as he was in the first game, which clearly wasn’t going to do in this new desert-based city. Shema, a Katta with some magical ability, stated as much and then cast a spell that changed the outfit into something more suitable. With that the introduction was over, and it was time to create my character.
Man...I'm lookin' good!
I’d already made the decision that I would once again play as a Fighter, since I was very keen to try to gain access to the new Paladin class (apparently Fighters have the best chance of achieving it and only the most honourable of them at that). After making that choice, I was faced with the skills and attributes screen. I had stats very typical of my chosen class, with high Strength, Vitality and Agility, but low Intelligence and Luck. I also had significant numbers in Weapon Use, Parry, Dodge and Throwing, yet nothing at all for Stealth, Pick Locks, Climbing and Magic. I had 50 points to spend, but it wasn’t just a matter of throwing them around however I wanted to, as increasing any of the zeros to 5 cost 15 points! After playing around for a while, I decided to use up 30 points by adding 5 to Pick Locks and Climbing. I figured I could very easily grind up my pre-existing skills, but unless I’m mistaken, leaving any stats at 0 means I wouldn’t be able to use them for the entirety of the game. The final 20 points were added to my Strength, Agility and Vitality, boosting my combat potential. All that was left was to give myself a name, so I entered “Tricky” and pressed the Start Game button.
I just love swords alright!
I figure I might need to pick a lock at some point...legally, of course!
The game proper starts in The Katta’s Tail, a newly established inn run by my three friends. After a bit of small talk to set up the scene, Abdulla announced some bad news: “It is good to be back home, even though I have had troubling news. My old friend Arus Al-Din, the Emir of Raseir, is missing. He was a good man, but not as wise as I. Ah, but you have not even seen our beautiful Shapeir, and already I speak of problems. You need to go out, explore and discover why this is indeed a land of enchantment.” With that I was given control of the hero, who I will from this point on call Tricky. Before I began firing off questions, I took a look at my inventory to see what I was carrying. I had 5 food rations, a broadsword, a shield, a lock pick, some chainmail armor, 150 gold coins, and a full waterskin. The gold coins were clearly carried over from my exploits in game one, but it didn’t look like they were usable in Shapeir as the inventory screen made a point of telling me that I had 0 Golden Dinars and Brass Centimes. The final piece of information to be gleamed was that I was currently carrying 61 of a possible 77 weight units.
Yes, I think this will do.
I do wonder what I might have had in my possession had I been able to import a save game.
I spent the next few minutes asking Abdulla about everything I could think of. The parser was already extremely impressive, giving me quality responses for pretty much every question. Most of what I gathered was interesting background information about Shapeir and its sister city Raseir. Clearly there was something bad going down in Raseir, but Abdulla couldn’t give me any specific details about what that might be. When I asked about Arus Al-Din (the missing friend), I got some seemingly important information: “He was a generous and friendly man, and Raseir was a place worth living. Now Arus is lost, his brother sits on the throne, and Raseir stagnates.” When I asked about “money”, Abdulla informed me that I should find the Money Changer, and further questioning revealed that she could be found at the end of Dinar Tarik, a street to the west. The only other line of questioning that ended up with something attention-grabbing was when I asked about the Sultan. Harun Al-Rashid is his name, and Abdulla was convinced that he had been talking to the local Astrologer. “The Astrologer is a very important man here. He can see the future in the stars! You should go to him and find out your fortune, for is it not written, ‘A man should know his fate’? His house is at the end of the Tarik of Stars.”
Abdulla tells it how it is.
So already I needed to find Arus Al-Din, the Money Changer, and the Astrologer. I stood up, and after briefly chatting with Shameen, walked out of the inn and into the plaza I’d seen in the game’s intro. In true Stan S. Stanman style, I was immediately set upon by an overly-enthusiastic salesman. “You! Stranger! You justa in luck. I gotta everything you need right here. You needa map? I gotta map! You needa compass? I gotta compass!” After reading the manual, I figured I did indeed need a map and a compass, but it was doubtful I would be able to make any purchases without first exchanging my coins. The other shopkeeper was much gentler in approach, being a Katta named Lisha selling flowers. I didn’t have any reason to even consider purchasing flowers, so I opened up the manual to peruse the map of Shapeir. I recalled from playing the game all those years ago that the streets were labyrinthine, so I wasn’t willing to wander aimlessly out of the plaza. I could see the street called Dinar Tarik to the west of the plaza, so I walked through the gateway to the north with the intention of finding it.
...an annoying, arrogant persona.
The manual map does perfectly well in the early stages of the game.
As soon as I saw Tricky standing in the rather claustrophobic looking street, memories came rushing back to me. Typing "look" let me know what street I was on, plus any streets coming up on the left or right. At first I wondered whether I needed to be checking out any of the numerous doors along the side of the street, but checking them out revealed they were irrelevant. A short trip north and I was standing in a new plaza, with this one being split into two screens with a fountain in the centre. I decided to at least see what the various shopkeepers around the edge were selling before continuing my search for the Money Changer. The first one sold honey almonds for 30 centimes and lamb falafels for 70 centimes. The second shop sold pots and glazes, with one particularly pretty pot costing 3 dinars. The third shopkeeper was selling flowering plants for 100 centimes. The fourth shop was trading in baskets, with each one costing 1 dinar each. Finally, the fifth shop contained all sorts of brass items, including lanterns, lamps, braziers, tea servers and cups. A lamp seemed like something an adventurer like Tricky might need, and inquiring about them revealed that one would cost 15 dinars. Since I had no spendable coin, I couldn’t purchase anything at this point, and ignoring the two doors in the wall of the plaza for now, continued on my merry way to the north.
I seem to recall wandering aimlessly through these streets the first time I played the game as a kid.
The food that Scoree and Sloree were selling sounded seriously mouth-watering!
15 dinars!!!! Are you serious? Um...how much is 15 dinars worth anyway?
I walked through the twisting maze of streets, carefully checking my progress on the PDF map. Soon enough I reached the Money Changer, a woman peering out through a guarded window. “So we have a stranger to our fair land. Welcome, Traveler from afar. Come closer, that you might find all that you seek here. I am Dinarzad, Changer of money for Shapeir. Would you like to exchange something with me?” I certainly did, but first I tried chatting with the guard. He was completely unresponsive, but I have to relate the humorous way the parser gave me this news: “Franc, the guard, Marks you with his glare. You suspect he would give no Quarter in a fight. He would likely Pound you into Ruble. In any case, he has no Dime to speak to you (to Coin a phrase). To fight him would make no Cents. Better leave him a Loan for a Change.” Clever stuff to be sure, and to think I’d forgotten just how funny the Quest for Glory series could be.
I believe Abdulla would like to make an exchange of sorts with you!
I asked Dinarzad the Money Changer a bunch of questions, with the only interesting fact I gained coming when I asked about Raseir. “Now that things have changed under the new Emir, only those who toady to the authorities can get ahead. Ferrari is an excellent example of the type of person – only too willing to kiss and tell.” I wondered who this Ferrari guy was that she spoke of, so questioned her further. “Do not trust him in Raseir unless you are a thief. Even then, watch your backside.” Eventually I got around to exchanging my 150 gold coins into 105 Golden Dinars (7 points), then immediately made my way back to the Fountain Plaza. I bought myself a lamp (7 points), then returned to the starting plaza to continue my shopping spree. There I purchased both the map (7 points) and the compass (7 points) from the annoying salesman. Now I felt ready to explore Shapeir properly, so had a think about where I might go next. I typed “look at map” to check out my new acquisition, and was thoroughly impressed by what I saw! I was given a slightly three dimensional layout of the entirety of Shapeir, with the four plazas and the Money Changer that I’d already visited clearly marked. I could now visit any of the locations on the map just by clicking on them!
I don't see any reason why I should have kept any of these.
It doesn't top Monkey Island's overhead view but this is a fine map!
Looking over the map, I noticed that the plaza to the west was titled Plaza of the Fighters, and there was a Guild clearly marked there on my PDF version. The Fighter’s Guild seemed a pretty good place for me to go at this point, so I clicked on it. As I reappeared in the eastern half of the Plaza of the Fighters, I was surprised to find that there was no-one around. The screen had a blue tinge to it, and I quickly realised it was night time! Knowing that there was no point wandering around the city when nothing was open, I restored back to the starting plaza and selected Time / Day from the menu system. “Sunset approaches on day 1.” A good night’s rest would do me the world of good, so I entered the Katta’s Tail Inn and asked Shameen about a room: “Your room awaits you, just off the passage behind me. You will have a place to stay here as long as you wish to be our guest.” Wandering into the room behind her, my view changed to one of Tricky lying in bed. I could sleep “Until Dawn”, “Until Evening”, “One Hour”, or I could choose to “Stay Awake”. I chose to sleep until dawn, and awoke much refreshed mere moments later.
Oh come on! I heard the nightlife was rocking in Shapeir!
Like me, this Tricky never misses an opportunity to flex his biceps.
Ready for a new day, I went to leave the inn. As I did so, Shameen informed me that Shema would dance this evening in the inn. It looked like I might get a chance to see what companion Raifield’s friend’s mother was so stirred up about a couple of decades ago. This time when I reached the The Plaza of the Fighter, there was a lot more going on. The first store I checked out sold “cloth of the finest of weaves and the loveliest of colors”, but more importantly cloth bags to contain extra equipment. The bags cost only 50 centimes each, so I bought one. (7 points) All I’d done so far was buy a few items, yet I already had 35 of the possible 500 points! The second store in the plaza was selling leatherwork, made from dyed Saurus skin. The item of interest there was a waterskin, and despite already having one in my possession, I decided spending a single dinar to get another one probably wasn’t a bad idea. I received no points for making the purchase, but that wasn’t unexpected given I already owned one.
If one waterskin lasts a day I figure two will last a couple.
There was also a Weapons Shop in the eastern half of the plaza, so I wandered in to check it out. There I found a posing, bald blacksmith named Issur. There were numerous weapons on the wall, which I began to investigate. The parser responses I received were more humorous than useful, such as: “A mace in the face will make you race with haste to the nearest plastic surgeon’s place.” I started trying to buy things to see how much they cost, but the only items that hadn’t already been sold to someone else were the sword (100 dinars) and some daggers (5 dinars apiece). I didn’t have 100 dinars left after all my earlier purchases, so the sword would have to wait until I’d had some success elsewhere. As for the daggers, I wasn’t willing to spend too much of my money just yet until I knew what else I needed, but would probably get some later on. When I looked at the shields on the back wall, Issur announced that they were “trophies from Arm Wrestling tournaments in Petalumair” and not for sale. This made me wonder whether I might be able to challenge the big man to an arm wrestle, so I tried. “You want to wrestle, eh? Just to make it worth my while to put you in your place, why don’t we make a little wager, say, 1 dinar?”
A guy like me hey? Don't you know who I am?
It seemed like a silly idea to take Issur on, but my strength stats were pretty high, so I saved my game and agreed to his terms. My display switched to a first person one, and I was given some instructions on how to wrestle. There were also two Force bars at the top of the screen that would show how much force either of us were exerting on the other. Soon enough I was mashing the left arrow to increase pressure and then smashing the space bar in an attempt to slam Issur’s hand down onto the table. While I was convinced this was the right tactic, it didn’t work in the slightest. Before I knew it I’d run out of stamina, and the back of my hand pounded into the table. Clearly I was going to need a bit more Vitality and possibly Strength before attempting this again! This raised a question for me though, and it’s one I’d like to discuss with you fine readers before I continue. I recall needing to slow the speed of the game down before getting into combat during Hero’s Quest (using DOSBox on a modern PC of course), as failing to do so made it almost impossible to predict when attacks were about to come. Will I need to do something similar in Quest for Glory II? I’d rather agree on a suitable approach so I don’t feel like I’m cheating by adjusting speeds etc. I might sneak in a bit more play though in the meantime...
Decrease pressure? That's just not in my nature!
Thankfully I have a secret weapon. I like to call it...RESTORE!!!!
Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!