Tuesday 12 August 2014

Game 45: Quest for Glory II - Kattastrophic Hospitality

Tricky Journal Entry 8: "I still can't quite believe it really. After everything I've been through, it turns out the Emir has been right with me (well, beneath me to be precise) the whole time!!! Setting that little surprise aside for the time-being, I've now finally traveled to Raseir. I can't say it's a particularly friendly place. No-one seems very trustworthy. At this point I just hope I can make it out of here in one piece!"

I love Katta hospitality!

I feel like I’m getting pretty close to Quest for Glory II’s climax. It’s certainly still enjoyable, and I really want to know what happens, but I can’t help feeling just a little bit underwhelmed. My biggest (and only, really) gripe is the amount of time I'm just trying to waste time until something happens. Once in Raseir this problem gets a little bit worse, since there doesn’t appear to be any way of resting during the day. I’m hoping that things will move on with more constancy from my current position, but we’ll see...

Omar again! Aren't there any other entertainers in Shapeir?

Right, my last post finished with me having all four Elementals, and just waking up after a huge night celebrating with the Eternal Order of Fighters. This was going to be my last day in Shapeir before joining the caravan to Raseir, and Shameen told me the Poet Omar would speak again in the evening. I wasn’t sure how I would spend the last day, but I did know I needed to visit Aziza on her request. Once inside her home, a massive plot point was revealed! (7 points) “You have saved the city through your resourcefulness and bravery. You are very much a hero. I worked some magic last night to uncover information about your trip to Raseir. I need to discuss this with you.” Before she could continue, my saurus stuck its head through the door and roared “Grrrrrooooooonnnnnk”! This was very unexpected, but Aziza didn’t seem all that surprised: “Welcome, stranger. I shall be honoured to have you for a guest.” The three of us (yes, Aziza, Roget the Saurus and I) sat down to have a nice, refreshing come up tea. Aziza was convinced that the saurus was enchanted, so began to cast some sort of spell:

“Water of Wisdom, Liquid of Life,
I call upon thee three times three,
Mirror without what lies within,
So we shall have the true to see.”

A Saurus Throatus? Oh my!

What shocking twist is this?!

When Roget the Saurus looked into the water on the table, the reflection was that of a man. A man that Aziza recognised very well! “Ah the Emir Arus al-Din. There was good reason my spell could not locate you in Raseir. You are under a most powerful enchantment. The caster must be a very skilled wizard to craft such a spell.” Aziza cast another spell:

“Water of Wisdom, Liquid of Life,
Knowledge now is what I seek,
Reveal the caster of the spell,
Upon the one which I bespeak.”

You mean I've been riding the guy I'm looking for the whole game!? Brilliant!

A shadowy figure appeared in the water this time, but was gone before there was any chance of identifying who it might belong to. Aziza told me it was important that I join the caravan to Raseir, and that she would keep the Emir close to her until I could find the means to restore him to his rightful shape.

I'm afraid I didn't fully capture the shadowy figure as it appeared all too briefly and I hadn't saved in a while.

I was very eager to head off to Raseir ASAP, but the majority of this last day was still mine to fill. Whie I’d begun to doubt that there was any way to climb up to the Griffin’s ledge out in the desert, I couldn’t refuse the stats increase that came with trying. I went out for another go at it, only to find that the increases to my Climbing stat had a cap! When it reached 77, I was no longer able to try climbing the cliff, with a message informing me that with my current skill level, I could tell that climbing the cliff would be too dangerous. With that option gone, I paid another visit to the Fighter’s Guild, hoping Uhura might still be open to being pummelled for a while. As I entered, Rakeesh spoke to me: “So, Hero, not being content with having merely saved the city, I see that you are about to attempt to save the land of Shapeir as well. You have proven yourself both brave and resourceful by your actions. The journey you are about to make is to a very dark and dangerous place. The foe you will face is very powerful in the ways of magic. Be wary and alert, for you will be surrounded by enemies. Yet trust your instincts, my friend, for you may still make allies by your actions. All of us in the city will be hoping for your safety, for all know of the seriousness of your mission. May fortune smile upon you, Tricky.”

Damn! I was so looking forward to telling Andy_Panthro about my climbing exploits.

It's always nice to see your own name up on screen, particularly when it follows praise.

Despite clearly carrying a serious injury, Rakeesh offered to teach some weapon skills! Finally there was someone strong that I could take on and test my mettle! When I walked into the training room, Rakeesh and I commenced combat. Sadly, Rakeesh had nothing to teach me. I hit him repeatedly until he stopped the fight: “You are good, very good. Soon you will be a master with your sword. However, the real battle is not always won by a swing or a thrust. To fight with Honor is not always easy. Sometimes the Way of Honor will seem foolish to those that have none. Nevertheless, without Honor, there is no victory. With Honor, there is no real defeat.” This message seemed to be telling me something about an event that had not yet occurred, so I determined to keep it in mind. I thanked Rakeesh and left the Guild for the last time. With nightfall approaching, it was time to go and see what the Poet Omar had to say for himself. As with the previous time I saw him, Omar had a message for me from the Sultan of Shapeir:

“The Sultan of Shapeir had now decreed,
   that this hero is a Hero here indeed.
For actions fundamental,
   in dispelling elementals,
   a reward for he who freed us with all speed.”

Now I'm convinced that no-one will give me a decent combat challenge for the rest of the game.

*sniff...sniff* I'm gonna miss you guys!

I was rewarded with 100 dinars for my efforts! Omar wasn’t finished yet though, and hopped up on the stage to recite his latest piece of work. I won’t bother typing up this poem, as it was really just a lengthy recitation of events I played a central part in. Once he was done, I went to bed, knowing that it was my last night in Shapeir, at least for now. In the morning I was awakened by Shameen, who informed me that the caravan to Raseir was finally preparing to depart. I was given a new saurus on the way out of the city, a gift from the Sultan, and then I and a bunch of other travellers followed the Caravan Master out into the desert. We didn’t get very far before we were set upon by hundreds of nomadic brigands! I wondered how the Cole’s might deal with such a situation. Would I need to battle through endless waves of brigands? Would I need to escape somethow? Instead I found they’d done something completely unexpected, and absolutely hilarious! An intermission!!!!

Finally we're on our way!!! Let's hope I don't have to get inside this saurus to keep warm!

Ah, but there's one thing they're not counting on.......

......an intermission!

After listening to the typical intermission music and ignoring the desire that the onscreen popcorn and cola created, an animation of Tricky standing atop an enormous dead (or at least unconscious) pile of brigands and sauruses popped up. “I love the smell of victory in the morning. It smells like...sweat...no, no...oregano...no...like Victory! Yea Victory!...Yea! Yea! That’s the ticket.” While I was laughing about recent events, I was told that the rest of our week-long journey to Raseir was uneventful. I left the rest of the group and rode my saurus into the city, wondering what was waiting for me beyond the gates.

Well at least the game knows that I'm too powerful now!

It's like New Zealand is to Australia. It's exactly the same...but different!

Finally I was within the walls of Raseir, and it was as unfriendly as I’d expected it to be. I was immediately set upon by guards, with someone named Khaveen telling me how things were going to be: “Stay where you are stranger, or you’ll discover how sharp a weapon can be. So you are the one they call the Hero of Shapeir. Well, understand this: We don’t need no stinking Heroes around here. Do I make myself clear?” All I could do was say “yes”, at which point the Khaveen rammed home his rule: “See that you obey all the rules posted around town. Rule number one: Strangers must always carry their Visa. Do you have our Visa?” I didn’t have one of course, which didn’t impress Khaveen at all. He gave me one, almost reluctantly, telling me not to leave town without it. They eventually left me alone, and I realised the plaza looked very much like the starting plaza of Shapeir, with an exit to the north and a doorway leading to an inn on the north-eastern wall. I knew that Raseir was a sister city to Shapeir, but could it be that it was laid out exactly the same? I put the thought aside for the time being, and entered the Blue Parrot Inn.

That's a demonstration I'd be all too happy to show you stranger!

The Blue Parrot Inn was nowhere near as neat and tidy as the Katta’s Tail Inn in Shapeir. The curtains and wallpaper were ripped, and even the blue parrot itself was dead and hanging upside down from its perch! A man wearing green to the right of screen, named Signor Ferrari, immediately recognised me: “Come here, stranger. I see you have already made the acquaintance of Khaveen, our illustrious Captain of the Raseirian Guard, so perhaps you already have an idea of Raseirian hospitality. Come here, sit down, and let us have a little chat, you and I.” I recalled that Dinarzad the Money Changer in Shapeir had told me not to trust Ferrari unless I was a thief, so I approached him prepared for anything. I sat down at his table and listened to what he had to say. “If you don’t mind me saying so, you look like a man with a mission. I like that in a man. But perhaps a word of caution. In a city such as Raseir, there are many depths to the problems. Do not try to change things here too quickly. You will find that the system is not so bad, once you get used to it. However, it would be very dangerous to try to alter that system. You might make enemies. Enough of such morbid thoughts, though. Perhaps we should share a drink in honor of our new relationship. Would you prefer Raseirish Coffee, or a Djinn Sling?” Neither of these sounded good to me!

Yes, I doubt the hospitality here will be up to my standards.

If you don't mind me saying so, you just look like a man who likes...um...best not to mention it.

I decided to go with my gut, and told Signor Ferrari that I wanted “neither” of his drink options. This upset him, and I was sent out of the inn at once! Not only that, I was given a game over screen, apparently losing the only accommodation in Raseir and eventually being arrested for vagrancy! I restored, and this time chose the Raseirish Coffee. Wilmer the barman brought me a mug, and I drank the brown ooze quickly. “You feel strange for a few seconds, but the feeling passes. Ferrari starts to ask some very probing questions, but you evade most of them.” Hmmm, was the coffee supposed to put me in a state where I would answer Ferrari’s questions openly? His next comment cemented this idea: “You are a very closed-mouth individual. You handle your drink very well. I trust you will handle yourself in Raseir as well.” Perhaps my high vitality or strength had saved me? Before letting me go, Ferrari told me a room would be reserved for me in the inn, that it was forbidden to be outside at night, and that I should rejoin him at the table this evening to receive some information that might prove useful.” I looked around the inn a bit more, and tried speaking to the barman and the customers, but couldn’t find anything useful. It was time to go exploring!

Who knew having one for the road was so important in life!

Thinking? How novel!

The first thing I noticed when walking through the streets was that they had a grey tinge to them, which was different to the browns of Shapier. The second thing was that my magic map wasn’t going to work in Raseir! Could I get a new map or would I have to create my own?! My compass told me that I was facing south, which came as a bit of a surprise, but at least running straight ahead for a while brought me to a Fountain Plaza, just as I’d expected it to. It was completely empty, with two of the four exits blocked off by boards. I soon discovered a couple of key things. Firstly, Raseir was in fact a mirror image of Shapeir (ie. everything was the same only in reverse), and secondly, the vast majority of the city was blocked off by barricades. Knowing these two things made exploring much less daunting. The only plazas I could visit were the counterparts of the Gate Plaza, the Fountain Plaza, and the Plaza of the Palace, with only the streets between them being open to the public. By the time I’d been everywhere I could go, and had uncovered absolutely nothing apart from the guarded Palace, it was time to go back to Ferrari to hear his so-called important information.

Some magic map!!!!

I love what you've done with the place!

If this were a real RPG, I'd have the option of trying my luck here.

When I was seated at Ferrari’s table, he began his tale: “I wish to tell you a story, a fable that has a moral. How you choose to react to this moral is your own life. As you well know, the old Emir was deposed last year, and his brother took over the Palace. Raseir used to be a place with very few laws and restrictions; a place where the streets were filled with people and merchants and water flowed free from the fountain. That has changed with the coming of Khaveen and his master. A new order has been established. The weak have perished or fled. Only the strong who adapted remain. Those that could not adapt were destroyed. You are strong, but it remains to be seen how adaptable you are. It would be a great shame for you to wind up in Khaveen’s dungeon. Enough of that for now. I have someone I would like you to meet. Ugarte, I would like to introduce you to Tricky.” A man walked over to our table to make my acquaintance, and Ferrari informed me that Ugarte could provide an invaluable service to the community. “He obtains for others things which are otherwise unattainable.” Ugarte told me that he’d heard a rumor that might influence my actions, and that he would share this information with me for five dinars.

I could feel my Honor points dwindling away just by being in the Blue Parrot Inn.

I really wasn’t keen to deal with as shady a character as Ugarte, but had already learnt my lesson when it came to offending Signor Ferrari. I gave him the five dinars, and this is what he had to say: “Khaveen has sent the word out to his men that you are to be watched at all time. It seems that, ah, Someone is very interested in your actions. You should be aware that Khaveen does not usually greet strangers at the gate. You were expected.” When Ferrari asked Ugarte why this Someone might be interested in me, Ugarte responded with “There is the little matter of a prophecy to be fulfilled and this one may be the one”. I asked Ugarte about Ad Avis, assuming that he might be the Someone he was speaking of. His aggressive response told me I was likely correct: “No! Nothing! I know nothing about him. It is best such a name be forgotten.” Not giving up, I then asked him about the prophecy. “It is said that, ah, someone, is waiting for someone to open a door to something. I have had no desire to learn more about it. Things dealing with magic are best left alone.” This was interesting, as I hadn’t heard anything about opening a door when anyone spoke of the prophecy of the Hero. Perhaps the bad guys had a prophecy too!? I’ll have to play on to find out!

Hey! I paid you good money. Enough with the "someone this" and "someone that"!

I kept a close watch on my stats and my Honor hasn't gone down. I must be doing ok.

Session Time: 1 hour 00 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours 30 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!


  1. This looks like it's a really epic and fun game to play. I was planning to play along but I only lasted about 20 minutes with the remake before getting distracted. Reading about it just takes a lot less time and is fun enough for now, though I probably will play the remake at some point in the future.

  2. Loved what they did with the intermission, and with the musical homage to Lawrence of Arabia. :-)
    There are just so many references and little touches sprinkled throughout the game...

    But now I must ask for my fellow adventurers' assistance, for I've been stuck too long already:
    V pna'g trg cnfg gur qbbe gung nfxf zr sbe gur JBEQ BS CBJRE!! V'ir gevrq rirelguvat V pbhyq guvax bs -- Ybir, Bzne, Fhygna, Ureb, Xunirra, nyy gur ryrzragf, rira CBJRE vgfrys, naq fgvyy ab qvpr. V fhfcrpg gur nafjre vf uvqqra jvguva gur pbcvbhf nzbhag bs vasb tvira gb zr ol gur nfgebybtre be Nmvmn ng qvssrerag cbvagf va gur tnzr naq gung V sbbyvfuyl snvyrq gb wbg qbja...

    1. Gb dhbgr frireny natel VG cebsrffvbanyf, EGSZ!


    2. Gur nafjre vf tvira va gur tnzr'f onpx fgbel (n cnentencu va gur znahny) naq va Nq Nivf'f fcrrpu orsber gur qbbe. Vg vf gur anzr bs gur fhygna jub vzcevfbarq Voyvf va gur svefg cynpr. Vg gbbx zr n juvyr, gbb.

    3. Hint: Jvgu "fhygna", lbh'er nyernql ba gur evtug genpx, ohg vg'f abg whfg nal fhygna, vg'f n irel fcrpvsvp bar. Jung jnf uvf anzr?

      Solution: Fhyrvzna

    4. Whoops. Hit "Publish" a split second after Aperama, it seems. I totally missed that the music was from Lawrence of Arabia. Someone ought to do an animated pop-up version of this game. I also didn't realize until yesterday that Harun al-Rashid (the name of the Sultan of Shapeir) was a real person, the fifth Abbasid caliph, and a key figure in One Thousand and One Nights.

    5. Wow, would have never caught it. Thank you guys. There is a clear benefit to keeping previous screenshots stored in case you need to go back to certain key info (or, you know, I could keep notes...). And of course Aperama's suggestion. Heh.

      The good news is I just won the game with my thief! I'm very interested to see how the ending goes with different characters. I'm also sure I missed several events in Raseir, which was strangely devoid of content.

      @Chet: not only that, Lawrence of Arabia was originally shown in 2 parts separated by an intermission :-) But actually the game uses a variation on the theme. It's common to see it riffed in movies or TV shows, particularly during desert scenes. Case in point:

      For Maurice Jarre's original classic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdFwhhH2x7I
      I'll wait until Trickster is finished to raise a couple more questions about the game.

  3. Aaaand new King's Quest is confirmed! http://venturebeat.com/2014/08/12/die-triangles-sierra-is-back-with-new-kings-quest-and-geometry-wars/

    The Odd Gentlemen (the guys behind The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom) are apparently "re-imagining" the series. From the press release:

    "In development by the beloved and quirky studio The Odd Gentlemen (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom), King's Quest is a fully reimagined version of the fan-favorite Sierra game fit for both the old and new generation of King's Quest players. Huge fans of the original King's Quest series, The Odd Gentlemen are crafting a charming new adventure with an awe-inspiring art style, engaging puzzles, and a wondrous interactive narrative brimming with humor. In the new story, King Graham – revered as the greatest adventurer to ever live – shares his life's adventures with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn. It is through these tales that Gwendolyn discovers the true greatness of her grandfather. King's Quest is expected to make its heralded return in 2015.

    Today's news about the future of Sierra was met with excitement from its original founder, Ken Williams. "We're very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today's news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging," said Williams. "We look forward to seeing Sierra's independent spirit live on, and are especially excited to see what The Odd Gentlemen will do with King's Quest.""

    So, Corey, since the new Sierra brand is focusing on indie devs, are you "in talks" with them, or is it "no comment"? :p

    1. We have not talked to Activision at all. Reading about the "new Sierra", discussing a deal with them is intriguing. We would have to give up a huge chunk of profits in return for more short-to-mid-term security. Lori and I will think about it. (And of course there are no guarantees that Activision would be interested in a deal.)

    2. Interesting news. Not sure how I feel about the King's Quest new story, it's kind-of making a sequel but also I'm assuming they'll be essentially remaking the old games. Given that the first game has already had two remakes, it'll be interesting to see if they can expand upon the games a bit more.

      I wonder how many other Sierra games will be resurrected if this new KQ is a hit?

    3. I am genuinely, honest-to-goodness sad that we didn't get even one King's Quest release out of Telltale.

    4. QFG, Betrayal at Krondor, Police Quest, Caesar, Gabriel Knight, Phantasmagoria and Jones in the Fast Lane hopefully.

    5. The final game in Manhunter series would also be awesome.

  4. Ref the caravan and intermission - We're used to just watching cut scenes in games. But everything in this one is interactive, at least in terms of being able to right-click to get descriptions.

    I just looked at several "Let's Play" videos to listen to the music. In most of them, they just go through the caravan "movie" and talk over it. In this one, the player took the time to click on almost everything - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO2J4vxtpfU.

    If I recall correctly, the team programmers contributed many of the messages and I wrote a few of them. Lori or I wrote any messages directly related to the story or puzzles, but everyone contributed to the humorous "filler" messages. I think Larry Scott did the programming for the caravan.

  5. Finally caught up!

    Man, I'm glad I finally watched Cassablanca a few months ago. Isn't The Blue Parrot the rival bar to Rick's? Even before I noticed that I was thinking that Ferrari looked like the owner of that place....wait, isn't that the same name?

    Also: Trickster: Lay off the multiple explanation points, please. It is driving me mad, mad I say!

    1. Yes, Signor Ferrari is the owner of Blue Parrot in Casablanca. Ugarte is also a character from the film.

  6. Guys, sorry to bring this up here, but I just noticed I have Steam coupons worth 60% off Broken Sword 5 and 66% off Chaos on Deponia. They expire tomorrow and I won't be using them. Anyone interested?

    1. If I didn't already have them, I'd clamor for those coupons and probably offer pseudo-sexual favors in exchange for them.

    2. Yeah, I figured everybody had them at this point... oh well, they're gone now. It just feels a waste. Next I'm going to investigate this Steam trading stuff, not that I don't appreciate your kind offer Kenny.

    3. Coupons come in far greater numbers than are really needed, and tend to largely be for bloatware titles (I have -three- 60% off 'Drunken Robot Pornography'. I'm so excited!)

      I don't think they stack up with sale figures, either, which probably means that they're actually not as great a deal as they seem - but I'm not sure on that one. Has anyone actually used one?

    4. I've done some reading and apparently they do stack up with sales, but the limit is one coupon per game. I have a couple left for titles I've never heard of... but Broken Sword 5 wasn't bad!

    5. It wasn't as bad as 4, but still mediocre IMO. The pacing problems were so bad I could taste it. RockPaperShotgun describes its problems far better than I ever could: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/04/30/broken-sword-serpents-curse-part-2-review/

    6. Drunken Robot Pornography? That sounds both awesome and nightmare-inducing at the same time.

  7. Ehh, that parrot's just pining for the fjords. And how come victory smells like oregano?

  8. "Roget The Saurus"???? That has to be one of the all-time best gaming puns.