Saturday, 21 October 2017

Game 90: Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero (VGA Remake, 1992) - Introduction

Written by TBD.

Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero is a remake of the 1989 game Hero's Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero. If you want to know why the name was changed to Quest for Glory, check out The Trickster's introduction post for the original Hero's Quest.

STAB DRAGON IN THIGH?

Unlike many fans of old Adventure Games, I'm not a fan of the Quest for Glory series. Don't get me wrong, I'm not NOT a fan either. I've just never actually played them. I own them since I bought them a few years ago, but haven't yet given them a go. I originally thought I'd tried this game once, but seeing as Steam's telling me I've played a total of 18 minutes of the series, and that was after I loaded it up to take some screenshots for this Introduction and download the manual, I was probably mistaken.

I likely first heard about the series once I got access to the internet in the mid-late 90s and I know I heard good things, but I was in the mindset of not going out of my way to find Sierra games, having played some of them and not thinking them any better than 'okay games'. If digital distribution were around then, I might have given them a go earlier, but here we are now – a Quest for Glory newbie wading into the waters with the VGA remake of the first Quest For Glory – it seems appropriate, or interesting, or apt, or... something.

I considered re-reading Trickster's posts on the previous games, but felt it would be more interesting to avoid them and see a brand-new-to-the-series person's take on the remake. So here goes...

Like the other Sierra VGA remakes (apart from King's Quest) as well as updating the graphics and sound, this game replaces the text parser with a mouse-driven point and click interface. This makes me happy, as I get frustrated when I try to play with a text parser these days. And I thought you were supposed to get more patient with age

Quest for Glory I was the last of the Sierra games remade in this manner, largely because they weren't as cheap to produce as Sierra had hoped, and didn't make enough money to be worth it.

Having said that, from what I've read this is the only one of the remakes to actually make a profit, so perhaps Sierra axed the remakes too soon.

The Coles

Once again with the Quest for Glory series, chief amongst the developers of this game were 'The Coles” which is apparently a term. They're currently hard at work on the Quest for Glory spiritual successor, Hero-U!

And this title comes with a fortune in gold and a beautiful princess, yes?

The manual continuously uses the pronoun 'he' when referring to my character, so I'm guessing playing as a female won't be an option.

WHO SHOULD I BE?

The big question before starting is, Who Should I Be?

Fighter, Magic User or Thief?

Once again, I'm leaving the choice up to you. For the next six days there'll be a little poll at the top left of our page where you can choose who I play as. I can be a fighter, magic user or thief. If you really want to read about the differences in puzzle solutions, feel free to choose the 'play as all three' option. Seeing as I have no idea how different the characters play, I'll leave my future in your capable hands. I'll definitely play at least the first section as all three characters for comparison's sake (and so I can start the game before the poll is completed)

The manual recommends I play as a Fighter during my first Quest for Glory adventure, which naturally makes me prefer one of the other archetypes - don't try to tell me what to do, game manual - I'm a free-thinking individual (who only makes choices based on the opinion of the majority! - Ed)

Here's what the manual says about the different characters:
  • The Fighter's weapon is his sword and his best defense is his shield.
  • The Magic User relies on intelligence and casting spells and his best defense is avoiding close combat.
  • The Thief uses skills, stealth and agility. His weapon is the dagger and he prefers throwing it from a distance. His best defense in combat is dodging.

Based on the manual's descriptions, being a jack-of-all-trades isn't really an option, as it will cost 15 skill points to learn the minimum 5 points of an unknown skill (like lock-picking for a fighter)

The abilities and skills are as follows:

ABILITIES
  • STRENGTH is important in performing physical activites, especially combat. The Fighter must be strong to be effective.
  • INTELLIGENCE will enable the Magic User to successfully learn and cast spells, and will benefit all characters when engaged in mental activities, such as out-thinking opponents in combat.
  • AGILITY is important during combat and vital to lock-picking and stealth. The Thief cannot prosper without agility.
  • VITALITY determines how much damage a character can sustain and how quickly he will recover from damage and strenous physical activity. High vitality is particularly useful to the Fighter.
  • LUCK can aid you in many subtle and mysterious ways, and is especially important to the Thief.
  • MAGIC is the basic skill required to learn and cast magic spells.

SKILLS:
  • WEAPON USE – ability to hit in combat
  • PARRY – ability to block using weapon or shield
  • DODGE – ability to avoid a blow by moving out of the way
  • STEALTH – ability to hide from sight
  • PICK LOCKS – a lock-pick or Thief's tool kit is needed to use this skill
  • THROWING – accurately hitting a target with a small object
  • CLIMB – ability to... climb things.

AUTOMATICALLY SET SKILLS
  • HEALTH – how much damage you can take before dying
  • STAMINA – your energy level – you fight better when stamina is high
  • MAGIC – how much magic you have available to cast spells

So, it seems the skills should be assigned as follows...
  • Fighter will want STRENGTH, VITALITY, WEAPON USE and PARRY
  • Thief will use AGILITY, LUCK, DODGE, STEALTH, PICK LOCKS, THROWING AND CLIMB
  • Magic User should take INTELLIGENCE and MAGIC.

Seems a bit lop-sided, making a Magic-User easiest to plan for and Thief hardest, but I could be extremely wrong in my interpretations, particularly as the manual suggests a Fighter will be the easiest for new players.

I also note that skills and abilities improve with practice as long as I have at least 5 points assigned to them.

Seems a little daunting, but I'm sure a Sierra game won't let me get into an unwinnable situation by making a decision based on limited information

The manual makes a point of telling me to play the game as my character would, and that my character selection also determines much about the sorts of obstacles I'll encounter and how I'll overcome them. I'm very excited to see how this concept works out in practice.

Feel free to get me to play the 'hardest' character, or the 'easiest' character, or even the 'funniest' or 'stupidest' character.

As for which skills I choose, I'll just choose the ones that seem most useful or fun. I'm not too concerned if I make a 'bad' character. I'm happy to make mistakes that make the game harder. 

Though, as always, if I've completely dead-ended myself by incorrect skill choices or in-game choices or oversights, let me know with coded hints so I don't spend hours searching for a solution that doesn't exist.

As always in the introduction post, you get the chance to bet on a puzzle I'll need help solving (I've needed help in every game I've played so far except one – thank you for being ridiculously easy, Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2!)

And of course, get your score guesses in. The original Hero's Quest was for a time the top game on this blog, and still sits proudly at number 5 with 68. The sequel received a 66, and we'll be playing the third game in the near future. Will this remake do better or worse than the original? Will my lack of nostalgia help or harm my opinion of the game? Will I finish the game without asking for assistance? Will I give my character a silly name? These questions and many more will be answered over the next few weeks/months/years/decades.

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's 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 CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 50 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.

15 comments:

  1. The original version of this game, under the name "Hero's Quest", was I believe the first Sierra game I played and remains one of my favourite games. My only issue with it at this point is having pretty much memorized all the solutions :)

    You can play as a jack-of-all-trades (it's how I originally played it), I believe by giving the thief magic. I think its a better experience playing true to your character type; it wasn't until I'd played all three classes straight that I appreciated how distinct the solutions were. The thief and magic user also get exclusive content (I don't remember the fighter getting any, but it's been quite a while so I could be misremembering).

    ReplyDelete
  2. 70

    I'll vote to play as fighter because that's what Trickster did, and so there'll be a better comparison.

    I think I have enjoyed the original EGA version out of this series the most (haven't played 5 yet). I love a well-tested parser; typing commands such as "run", "rest" or "cast X" in the Quest for Glory games is much faster than making the same commands by navigating through the menus in the point-and-click installments. 2 had serious railroading issues, 3 had a too simple and predictable story and felt rushed, 4 achieves the same sense of exploration as 1 and is otherwise great but I prefer the parser for this series.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 65

    I don't rate the remake as highly as the original, even if it's almost the same. I'll play along though, and we'll see how I get on. I've played through the original so many times I know it back to front, but I think I've only completed the remake once.

    I will play as an alternative to whichever character class TBD ends up with. For what it's worth, the Fighter is easy in the sense that the solutions are usually simple, because the fighter hasn't got a lot of skills to use beyond fighting and being strong.

    The Magic User is usually my favourite class, and is a bit more difficult in some scenarios, but once you get your range of spells you can solve problems often in a pretty obvious way. Definitely the most powerful character too, if you've trained well.

    The Thief is often the most interesting character, because they get a few bonus side quests, and often have the most skills to pick from. This is also the only choice if you want to be a jack-of-all-trades, cos they only need to add magic to the mix to be able to do everything.

    Hopefully plenty of people will play along! I'd love to read everyone's experiences and thoughts about one of my favourite games, in one of my favourite series!

    ReplyDelete
  4. 68, same as the first.

    I've played the original quite a few times as well, but for some reason never the remake. Well, I got the collection on GoG and started this up just to see what it looked like, compared to the old one, but that's it.

    Other than that I second pretty much everything Andy Panthro said. I also prefer the magic user. I think fighting monsters is a bit tougher until you've built up your spell skills a bit ( and money might be more tight ). Then again, the remake may differ from the original here.

    Regardless, if you plan on replaying as a different class later on, I'd advise against building a character with all the skills, thus reducing the need to find class specific solutions to problems.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am very much looking forward to your playthrough TBD! As a huge, long-time fan of the series, it will be interesting to see your take on it. I'd say do a playthrough as all three characters. I found that hybrid character games are a bit of a jumble, and it'll also mean more posts for us to enjoy.

    I think you'll score it a 63.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Let's say 69.

    I don't have much to add to the recommendations of others. Right now, the option "play all three" seems to be gaining ground, but if you want to concentrate on one character, I'd choose thief, simply because it is a bit of a change from the usual heroism of RPGs and gives even a chance to do some actual thieving.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Since graphics is important on the PISSED scale, and the first game got a 68, I'll guess 72 for the remake. It's essentially the same game, but played mostly with a mouse rather than keyboard. It looks much better, and probably has better sound in your emulator.

    As for which class to play, I would suggest to *not* play the Fighter so that you will have a contrast with Trickster's play-through. Lori's and my favorite class is probably Magic User, so that might be a good one to try. I also do *not* suggest making a hybrid character with all the skills; that just makes the game easier.

    There should be very few, if any, "walking dead" situations in this game. If you miss something early on, you might have to do more work, but you can always get through the game.

    Playing as the Thief might give you an idea of what we're doing with Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. It's that delicate balance between being sneaky, but also a hero.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was coming here to guess 72. It's an amazing game and while it doesn't have the sophistication of QfG3 or the perfect polish of QfG4, it builds on its predecessor well. If only we could have officially had this treatment for QfG2 as well. I would also kill for hi-res re-scans of this game someday, if only the art assets still existed in a vault someplace. But, Mr. Cole took my number already so I'm going to go higher. 78. TBD may or may not love this game like I do, but we'll see.

    I have to admit that while I've played all four original games end to end with every class (including Paladins in the later games), I still have never played QfG5. If I can figure out a way to get it working on my Mac (Wine?), it might finally be time to take it for a spin soon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Look, a game I actually played through! Best time for me was the pure magic user although it was rather grind heavy to get the spells 100 % (not as much as a hybrid 100 % character, but close enough), but the payoff was tremendous throwing fire darts at every enemy in later games when your mana pool was big enough. So with this I say 75 for the score.

    As for which class, I have to give my vote for the magic user so we can have magical duels of death :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. 74,and I've been waiting for this game for SO LONG now. This game was the first I played of the QFG series, and changed my adventure-playing life. I used to sketch imaginary maps and characters and spells during my free time... Or even my busy time at school. I still own my original copy, which I treat like some people treat the family Bible.

    I always, but always made my first playthrough as a thief with magic. I believe the name I often used back then was "Slice," although I don't remember why anymore.

    After this, I played the EGA QFG2 at a friend's house (or, let's be honest, watched him play while occasionally giving directions)... And was so obsessed afterward my dad bought me Wages of War the week it came out, and then Shadows of Darkness when it was released.

    This VGA remake is masterful, with really gorgeous sound and graphics. The only other VGA remake I found comparable was Space Quest I, but it still didn't quite have the atmosphere of this one.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for all your comments. It's getting me pumped up to enjoy the game.

    With all the love the game is getting I somehow feel under more pressure than usual to ensure I give a proper indication of the way the game plays. We'll find out soon if I agree with the love for the game or if I'm the one person who hates what everyone else loves. Or somewhere in between.

    I definitely won't be attempting the jack-of-all-trades character, and based on the poll results so far I likely won't be playing only as a fighter either.

    I'm very pleased with Corey's comment that there probably won't be any walking-dead situations - they're my biggest fear when it comes to adventure games.

    I'm looking forward to reading about the experiences of those of you who are playing along. See you in Spielburg!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have time, I'd advise replaying (even twice!) after winning with your preferred character. There are mini-games that are role specific and many of the puzzle solutions are different. Playing the game multiple times, like you did with LGoP2, would give you a pretty good view.

      (And the game is not THAT long. It's easily the shortest of the five QfG games.)

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I've started the game as one character, and can already see a few things that should go differently if I was a different class.

      At this point I'm hoping 'Play as all three' wins the vote, even though it means a little bit more work for me. Even if it doesn't, if the game's fun enough I might still play as the other two for my own enjoyment.

      Delete
  12. I've played the old version of the game only when Trickster did. I really liked the EGA version even though I found regaining mana points, I played as a mage, was very slow and limited. I will go with 71 for this remake :)

    ReplyDelete