Sunday 17 August 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - Won! (Part One)

...and I’m done! On the one hand things finished up pretty quickly from where I was at the end of my last post, but on the other hand I actually got a little bit stuck at one point which delayed this post quite significantly. More on that in part two of this post, let’s get down to business. I’d just finished some dodgy dealings with Signor Ferrari and Ugarte in the Blue Parrot Inn, and wasn’t exactly sure what to do next. I spent the rest of the day wandering the streets of Raseir with no particular aim, waiting for nightfall to arrive so I could go to sleep. When it came, the guards stopped me on my way to the inn to remind me that it was forbidden to be out after dark in Raseir. Thankfully they let me off this time, so I was able to go to my room for a restless night amongst the rats.

...and do not collect $200!

The damn rats kept pulling my blanket off...literally!

The next morning was day 28 of my adventure, and I awoke to the news that Ferrari had temporarily left the inn. “Signor Ferrari sends his regrets, but he had some rather disturbing news. He will talk to you this evening.” I’d been hoping for some sort of direction to take for the day, but instead went back out into the city hoping to set a scripted event into action. Thankfully it didn’t take long for that to happen, as I found a group of guards standing around in the Fountain Plaza. When I approached them I discovered that Ugarte was in big trouble! He called for my assistance, but the guards blocked my efforts to reach him. The guards had discovered a water bag stashed beneath Ugarte’s coat, and since it was illegal to smuggle water in Raseir, Ugarte was dragged off for punishment. Khaveen directed his words at me: “This is the fate of anyone who breaks the rules of the city. Remember this, and see that you do not suffer the same fate.”

Who, me?'ve never seen this man before!

As I continued my aimless wanderings through Raseir, a woman suddenly stuck her head out from one of the adjoining streets and called to me: “If you are truly a hero, follow me!” With my hero status on the line, I followed her into the street and then through a doorway, finding myself in a glamorously decorated room. A scantily dressed woman addressed me immediately, demanding something I never would have expected in a Quest for Glory game: “Please, you must help me. Take off your clothes.” While I wondered whether I’d mistakenly loaded up a Leisure Suit Larry game, the woman, named Zayishah, explained herself: “I must leave the city before I am forced to marry Khaveen. I have heard you are a hero. With your help, I can be out of the city before nightfall. I wish to disguise myself as you and leave with your Visa, so please, let me exchange clothes with you.” The idea of completing the rest of the game dressed in revealing women’s clothing humoured me, but before I agreed I asked Zayishah some questions. It turned out that this woman was the daughter of Emir Ali al-Din Hasan, the man that had apparently overthrown his brother Arus! Zayishah explained that situation too: “My father would never overthrow his brother, no matter what foul rumors you have heard. My father is just a puppet for Ad Avis.”

You really know how to leave me with no choice.

I'm dreaming aren't I!

Zayishah’s hatred of Khaveen stemmed from her witnessing his torturing of prisoners, and the obvious pleasure he experienced from the atrocities. She had nothing good to say about Ad Avis either: “I fear and hate him more than Khaveen. It is he who destroyed my Uncle Arus and made Raseir the terrible place it now is. Ad Avis was my uncle’s Vizier. There are only two passions to Ad Avis: complete Power, and complete Control. He will stop at nothing to gain those.” By now I was convinced that helping Zayishah was the right thing to do, so typed “take off clothes”. (5 points) It was then revealed that Shema had actually packed a spare outfit when she’d given me clothes way back at the start of the game, which saved me the embarrassment of looking like a transvestite during the remainder of my quest for glory. Zayishah took the clothes and changed into them behind a fairly transparent piece of material. As Tricky (and me admittedly) sneaked a peak at her pixellated nudity, the woman that had drawn me to the room stared at me in disapproval.

I'm like, totally not looking!

I have to say I was a bit shocked when Zayishah suddenly took on my exact look, with even her hair and face looking exactly like mine! Magic must have been involved somehow, but no explanation was given. My now-doppelganger finally asked me for my Visa, and on receiving it showed her appreciation: “Thank you ever so much. In return for your favors, I can only give you a token. Here is my mirror. You have but to show it to any woman in the Palace and she will aid you.” (5 points) Zayishah hurried off to avoid discovery by Khaveen’s Eunuchs, leaving me to question her servant, Mayzun. I didn’t get much out of her that seemed useful until I tried to leave, at which point she gave me some advice: “If you need a place of safety in the Palace sometime, the Harem will welcome you for the aid you gave my mistress. I shall tie a veil from the battlements at night to guide you.” I left, and after wasting a bit more time around and about, made my way back to the Blue Parrot Inn to see whether Ferrari had returned.

Fool anybody?! I'm not even sure which one's me now!

You mean this isn't the Harem?

Ferrari was back, and as soon as I entered the inn, he summoned me over. “It is a pity about our friend Ugarte, is it not? I can see you are as broken up by the affair as I am. However, it seems he asked someone the wrong questions about you. That was just a performance put on for your benefit this morning. Khaveen has known about Ugarte’s water smuggling for a long time. A most dangerous man, Khaveen. Almost as dangerous as you are.” This was all he had to say, leaving me once again with nothing to do. I have to say that the whole Raseir section of Quest for Glory II is like this, giving the player little to do while they wait for the next scripted action to take place. It would have been more enjoyable had there been a few side quests to complete or monsters to battle during the downtime. Thankfully in this instance it wasn’t long until nightfall, so I was soon sleeping with the rats again. I awakened to concerning silence in the inn. Even Ferrari wouldn’t look me in the eye, stating that it had been “a pleasure dealing with you, my dear sir.” Clearly something was afoot, and I figured I’d find out what it was soon enough.

Keep messing with me buddy and you'll find out just how dangerous I am.

I did find out what was up, as guards took hold of me as soon as I departed the inn: “You are under arrest for breaking the law of Raseir on this day, the 29th of the Serpent, Year of the Djinn. Come quietly, or you will be taken by force.” Shortly afterwards I was dumped in the Palace dungeons, lying flat on my face! A Katta sat cross-legged in the corner of my cell, but my initial attempts to talk with him were met with stares of suspicion. I remembered the token that Zayishah had given me, but checking my inventory showed me the only thing I still had in my possession was the pin I’d been given by the Kattas in Shapeir. I showed the pin to the Katta, and it had the desired result: “A pin like that can only be seen by a friend, such is its magic. It is Katta magic. You must be very trusted by my people to gain such a thing. Well, Katta-friend, let us escape this very dangerous place.” (7 points) The Katta’s name was Sharaf, and I asked him about escaping: “There is a concealed passageway somewhere outside this cell. I have helped others escape by passageways before, but this is the first I have been trapped in a cell. I am not easily captured.” This was very useful information, but I’d need to find a way out of the cell before I could make use of it. Thankfully I had just the tool to achieve that goal!

I'd been dying to really test out my fighting prowess, so was bummed when I wasn't given the chance.

How graceful!

I quickly picked the lock with the same pin that had convinced Sharaf of my friendship, at which point the Katta followed me through to the room beyond. He showed me the large stone that needed to be removed to escape, and the two of us pushed it out of the way. I picked up all of my equipment that was on the table nearby, and crawled my way out of the Palace dungeon. As I did so, Sharaf warned me of the Underground’s plans to attack the Palace and overthrow the Emir the next night. When we were on the street leading back to the Blue Parrot Inn, he bid me good luck and scurried off. (7 points) I pondered what to do next, but my thinking was interrupted a couple of streets later when a man stepped out in front of me. A blue aura appeared around me, and then my view changed to a close up one of the man and Tricky in conversation. “Tricky, I am your friend. Remember your friend, Ad Avis. Remember my voice. Remember my face. Trust me, I am your friend.” He went on like this for a while, and it soon became clear that Tricky was completely hypnotised. “Together we seek to aid our friend, Emir Arus. I was his trusted Vizier, remember? To end the evil reign of Khaveen and restore our friend the Emir Arus, together we must go out into the desert. We must journey to the Forbidden City, and recover the magic item that will break the spell upon the Emir. We NEED to get the statue of Iblis!”

Apparently not even my low Lock Pick stat could keep this prison door locked.

If only this was my forcefield.

Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes...

Next thing I knew Ad Avis and Tricky were standing in front of some ruins out in the desert. Ad Avis was attempting to cast some sort of magic spell on a doorway that held the image of a scorpion. Once he was done, he turned to Tricky and demanded action: “You there, try walking through the door now!” Tricky walked over to the door, but was unable to open it. “No, no, fool. Pass through it!” When that failed too, Ad Avis told Tricky to get out of the way. The villain was clearly frustrated, and trying to figure out where his plan had gone wrong: “I cannot be mistaken. My translation of the prophecy must be correct. It must be you. Of all the stupid Heroes in the world, I had to be cursed with you! What is wrong! How does it go?” Ad Avis recited the prophecy, trying to find the missing piece of the puzzle: “For one thousand years and a year, Iblis will be bound, beneath the tombstones of the city that he once did found. Then comes a Hero from the Northland led unto despair, passing through the door unopened, that he will find there. When the moonlight shines between the Dragon’s jaws, and is caught and held there by the Scorpion’s claws.” Ad Avis was convinced that the timing was right, that we were standing in front of the Forbidden City, and that I was the right Hero, but there was a problem. A rather big problem at that!

OK, it's not really working out, but you look great trying!

Can't find any flaws in that reasoning!

The problem Ad Avis faced was that the moon was directing its light on the wrong side of the ruins, and couldn’t possibly shine between the Scorpion’s claws and the Dragon’s teeth on the door. “I cannot be wrong. It did not say a thousand and one years and a day. No! But how can the moon be where it cannot be? You! You’re the Hero. Answer me how the moon can be between the Dragon and the Scorpion?” Suddenly it was up to me to solve the riddle, and I hadn’t been prepared for that at all. I must have waited too long to answer, as Ad Avis continued his rant: “Let me see, where is the moon now? The moon is to the southeast. But the door is facing north! The moonlight will not pass over us enough to cast light upon the door. Why is this happening to me? After all these years of planning, how can so many things go wrong? Well, Hero from the Northland, are you so powerful a magician that you can move the moon from its orbit and force it to shine on the door? Or are you so strong that you can bend light? What can you say or do that will let you pass the door?” Suddenly I knew what the answer was. The mirror! I used it to reflect the moonlight back onto the door...and it opened! (5 points) I had mixed feelings about this success. After all, I was helping the enemy!

The good old mirror puzzle. An adventure game staple!

A simple "thanks" would be nice around now.

To be continued...

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 14 hours 30 minutes


  1. Haha. So that's where Sharaf was! I knew I had to meet him somewhere in Raseir, but somehow I didn't associate him with this imprisoned, laconic Katta. I never showed him the pin and moved on. I suspected there had to be more to that character but I assumed he'd play a bigger role with one of the other classes.

    I also wonder if there was any point to the rat that kept pulling the blankets at night, which happens every time you go to sleep IIRC. The way the hero describes the dream, I thought it was a hint of some sort.

  2. A longer Raseir section would have been nice, perhaps a chance to meet more of the locals and find out more about the underground.

  3. The relatively "on rails" nature of Raseir was a consequence of several things - rising dramatic tension, painting a picture of Raseir as a desolate and impoverished version of Shapeir, having a detailed storyboard before having time to fully flesh out the design, and a low time budget for the project. The entire game was designed, developed, and tested in 11 months, which made it 3 months later than Sierra wanted. Their ideal for a Christmas project was August shipment; QGII shipped at the end of November. We were also way over the disk budget, reducing their profit per copy sold. As a result, we made sure the endgame was solid, but had to keep Raseir short and simple.

    Ref the rat and the jail, I think that was just a bit of "humor by repetition" along with Schadenfreude - the player getting to laugh at the Hero's embarrassment.

    1. That really is a crazy quick turnaround! I take it you basically had to start the next one as soon as the previous one shipped?

    2. Yes, exactly. I don't think Sierra planned for us to make a second game immediately, but the preorders were much higher than expectations. Unfortunately, the combination of QG2 being Sierra's last EGA game in a VGA era, along with the marketing issue of not being able to call it Hero's Quest 2, greatly hurt sales of the second game. It did well, but not as well as we hoped.

      I moved to Oakhurst in April 1988 and initially worked on the Atari ST version of the SCI game interpreter. Lori sold our house in San Jose, then moved out to join my in June or July 1988. Michael had just turned 2 at that time. We worked on the Hero's Quest proposal over the Summer. Sierra accepted it in the Fall, but had nobody to assign to the project until January 1989. We completed the game in October and Sierra rushed it out the door.

      Kenn Nishiuye was assigned as lead artist in November or December, and he worked with Lori on storyboards until around January. By then, the other 1989 games had shipped and Sierra was able to assign us a team. Everyone thought we could get the game out by Fall, but development became very hectic because we pioneered the new VGA art process even though we used it to make an EGA game. After massive overtime for several months, Sierra shipped Quest for Glory 2 in late November, as I recall a little too late to benefit from the huge Thanksgiving shopping weekend. So that was another factor in depressed sales.

      The general rule at Sierra (and the game industry) was "Christmas comes in August." If the game is completed by August, it has time for testing, duplication, shipping, and magazine reviews before Thanksgiving. Any later and many sales are lost. I think Castle of Dr. Brain is the only game that actually made that idealized schedule.

    3. Talking about Dr. Brain, seems that Dr. Cranium is his great-great-grandfather. Is this planned out early on?

  4. Did you lose honour for picking that lock? How do you get out if you haven't put any points into lockpicking?

    1. Strong characters can just break the door and magic users have a spell for opening it.

    2. I guess the fact that I only had the pin in my inventory at the time made that the most logical solution. I should have role-played more!

      I don't think I lost honor for doing it, but then again...

    3. You'll know, really. You need to manage pretty much a perfect playthrough if you want to end it as a paladin. One stuffup (or lack of doing something, like not giving to a beggar etc) will mean you coming up without the ending you're after. For example, if you are a fighter with magic ability, and you just use Flame Dart instead of Soulforge, you don't get the prerequisite points you need because honour/'paladin points' which you get for RETURNING Soulforge. You can miss one of these events, or possibly two (though if you do it as a pure magic user / thief, you immediately get the points for qualifying (you have to reach a minimum under the 'honour' stat) as though you'd both spared the EoF guy and returning Soulforge (as these are undoable in those classes).

      As memory serves, the worst possible thing to do is to fight Merv the Griffin, which is a guaranteed DQ as a paladin. Fun, though.

    4. Will he still be able to become a Paladin in the next game?

  5. Great news for fans of bad (subjectively) low-budget old adventure games.

    The Hugo Trilogy is now available on GOG for $5.99...

  6. Does Reversal here works against Ad Avis' Hypnosis, I wonder. Time to fire up the old QFG 2 again!