Monday, 20 November 2017

Quest for Glory I - That Which Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Weaker

Written by TBD.

Firstly, apologies for taking so long to get this second post out to you all. Thankfully Joe and Voltgloss have been keeping us all entertained with Sorcerer, Sherlock Holmes and Cyborg posts.

I did lots of exploring this time, so rather than babble on more at the start, let's get to it. We'll start with where we left off last time - with the thief.

THIEF

Trevor the Thief Journal Entry #2: After my night-time exploits in town that gave me a lot of coin, I did a lot of exploring outside of town. I didn't find much to steal, but I found a lot of things that wanted me dead.










After being jumped by a panther and taken to jail last time I tried to steal the old cat lady's stuff, I reloaded and stole her stuff but avoided walking too close to the cat before leaving. It was simple, it worked, and I escaped with my ill-gotten booty. A good night's work for a thief.

Despite now being rich, I decided the thief wouldn't want to pay for accomodations, so I went to sleep inside the town gates and woke up in the morning.

Why pay for a bed when I can rest here for free!

I leave town and go north, finding a house with a tree in front of it. In the tree is a nest with a weird red bird in it. Knowing that nests in computer games often contain treasures, I of course climb the tree.

It took many attempts, and when I finally made it I felt as proud as I look!

After I climb up, the bird flies away, giving me free access to its nest. I use my hand on the nest, taking a ring. I climb back down.

Due to a serendipitous mouse click, I also use my hand on the ground outside the house, which has me picking up a few rocks. They could come in useful. I throw the rocks at the nest for a while to increase my stats.

With all the throwing and climbing I've done, I've increased my Strength, Intelligence, Agility, Luck, Vitality, Climbing and Experience, but decreased my Stamina. I feel like I can take on the world! But don't worry, that feeling won't last long.

I enter the house, which I find out belongs to the healer. I talk to her for a while, and among other things, she tells me about her lost ring, and offers a gold reward. Not being one to turn down gold, I give her the ring I got from the nest outside and she gives me 6 gold and 2 healing potions.

I get the feeling if I stayed I might have had to fill out sexual harassment paperwork

I explore around the forest a bit more and am (seemingly randomly) attacked by a bandit. He walks from the left. If I'd wanted to I would have had time to run away but I wanted to see what happened.

I sense his hostile intent by the spear he's just thrust into my crotch

I fight the bandit, confident about my newly increased skills. I lose and die.

Oh, don't worry about me game. I saved!

I restore my game and run away when the bandit attacks. I also get attacked by a green velociraptor-looking thing called a Saurus, but I win so don't need to restore this time.

To the south of town I find an archery target, where I practice throwing my dagger.


Southeast of town I find a waterfall next to a ledge. There's a door on the ledge. I take a drink below the waterfall, which I think slightly increases my stamina, then climb the ledge (much easier now that I've practiced with the tree) and knock on the door. The door opens and pushes me off the ledge.

Look down, you bearded fool! (at least I hope that's a beard)

I try again, this time moving to the right after knocking and am invited into 'Enry the 'Ermit's house.

No, but I'm guessing you'll say exactly the same thing if I come back later, so nice way of avoiding writing multiple lines of dialogue, game!

His cave contains many items, such as an Egyptian pot and and Indian basket. I'm not sure if Spielburg is supposed to be on Earth or not. I suspect not, and they're just throw-away references.

As always when I meet someone that isn't trying to kill me, I ask him about everything I can. He offers me a TRIGGER spell. According to 'Enry, “It's the spell wot sets off uther spells.” I can't get it because as a thief I don't know magic, but I'm sure Martak will be able to use it when I come back as a magic-user.

The bandits have a mirror that sounds useful

When I consider taking stuff, the game tells me I should wait until the hermit is asleep before checking his place out. If I keep trying, 'Enry gets annoyed and teleports me to the top of the waterfall outside, killing me.

This man has 2 seconds to live.

After a reload, I keep talking to him, and he offers to let me sleep there for some rations. I keep that in mind for later, and continue exploring the outskirts of town.

I meet and kill a goblin. I'm not sure if I'm getting better at fighting or if goblins are just easier to beat than bandits. My fighting tactic is to do lots of dodging followed by stabbing. It seems to work so far...

A successful fight, but my stamina points are dwindling, which will become important later

The goblin has 7 silver pieces on him, which I take. It looks like I'll be able to make some money fighting so if I make a few poor purchases I can recover by having a few fights.

To the west of town I find a cemetery, with a mandrake root growing next to a tombstone. I can take the root, but it shrivels in my hand, so I don't think I'm doing it correctly. After checking my previous screenshots I found that I have to take the mandrake at midnight, so I'll come back at night-time.

I also find a white stag. I startle it, and it goes west (life is peaceful there). I follow it for a few screens until it stops behind a tree. When I get close to the tree, a dryad, who is part of the tree, climbs out and asks me a question

Ray, when somebody asks you if you're one with the woods, you say “YES”

After telling her I'm definitely one with the woods, despite being pretty sure I'm not, she asks me to bring her a rare seed from the Spore Spitting Spirea of the North.

I agree, then proceed to prove I'm one with the woods by attempting to throw my dagger at the stag and cut the dryad tree.

Wouldn't being one with the woods make me by definition a woodsman?

Having failed in my desecration of woodland flora and fauna, I continue exploring and mapping.

I'm not sure when it started, but at some point the game started annoying me. I don't solely blame the game for this as a big part of my annoyance was directly related to blogging the game rather than just playing it. My blogging requires me to often have my character stand still while writing a note or updating my map. And often while doing that a random enemy will appear on the screen and make a bee-line for my character, forcing me into a battle.

So mapping these outskirts areas ended up being an exercise in frustration. Each time I fight, it drains my stamina until eventually I collapse and die during the next battle. I've been wondering if I'm better off spending a few ingame weeks just fighting until my stamina gets low, then sleeping and repeating the process. This used to be a big part of the gameplay in 80s and early 90s RPGs, and as this game attempts to be a hybrid adventure/RPG and is from that era, it's not surprising that it uses the same process. That, of course, doesn't stop it annoying me.

And I know I can buy a stamina potion, but I'm the guy who finishes every RPG with hundreds of potions because I'm saving them for a time where they might become important later. Games from the 80s and 90s taught me that items are scarce and need to be hoarded and never used if you want to complete the game. And I can't just blame RPGs for this - Sierra taught me exactly the same lesson, and it's a lesson I should have grown out of but somehow still haven't decades later.

The cynic in me could point out that after removing much of this grind with scarce money and statistics for fifteen years or so, modern games are putting it back in specifically to cause the frustration I'm currently feeling, and then adding in the ability to pay an extra $20 to buy more experience points and decrease that frustration.
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It wasn't until I was writing this post that I thought of pressing the menu button as soon as I reach a new screen or want to make a note, thus pausing the game. That would still be a little bit time consuming, but would decrease my frustration at reloading after getting into a fight I wasn't ready for. I really wish I'd thought of that sooner. I should point out that some fights are unavoidable as when the enemy enters the screen from the same direction I'm coming from a fight will start immediately.

Anyway, now that I've pointed out a negative that I could largely have avoided with some simple forethought, here's a map of my explorations in this post. It's a mess, and I changed pen colour at some point, but I feel it has more personality than it would if I had transferred it neatly to a spreadsheet or mapping program.

If you want to hire me to draw your maps, I'm surprisingly available!

In my explorations I found a few other places of interest.

  • I found a ring of mushrooms.


  • A goblin sneaking around in a bush while his friend watches from behind a rock
I can go into sneak mode too, suspicious moving bush

Everything I try with the bush; poking it with a sword, throwing a dagger or rock at it, or touching it results in a fight with the goblin. I've had a few fights by now, and my stamina is not what it used to be.
This happens a lot between game reloads
  • I find an area with small furry creatures called 'meeps' living under a bunch of rocks.
I'm guessing Meeps reappear in the Coles' new game, Hero-U. Meeps for sale

The green meep happily crawls out from whatever rock he's been living under and talks to me.

He, like, talks a bit like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

He offers me a scroll, but I can't do anything with it before it fades away (I remind myself to return when I'm a magic-user.) He also lets me take some of his fur.
Armed with some green fur, I continue to explore.
  • I find Baba Yaga's hut, and talk to a green skull outside
By the power of greenskull

Greenskull blatantly tells me how to enter the hut – I just have to say “Hut of brown, Now sit down”, but won't let me into the gate unless I give him some cool glowing eyes like all the other skulls have.
Yeah, but the other skulls can't talk and haven't achieved sentience, so think about someone else before you start complaining about your own situation.

  • I find the spitting spirea area that the Dryad asked me to get a seed from.
The four spirea plants sit atop rocks and spit the seed from one to the other.

As a thief, I can climb the rock and catch the seed if I time it right.
Score check: Trevor 1 – Spitting Spirea 0

As I continue mapping and exploring, it isn't long before each fight results in me dying because I have no stamina. Having gotten sick of reloading each time, I decided to continue mapping as a fighter, working on the theory that he'll be able to last for a lot more battles.

FIGHTER

Frodo the Fighter Journal Entry #2: I've fought obscure creatures including antwerps, spitting spirea , bandits, goblins and even a troll. Fighting is easy.











Exploring south of the city, I find a weird bouncing... jug? bubble?


It's an antwerp – I heard about these things from the adventurer's guild, so I decide to hit it with my sword. As I get close to it, it bounces high into the sky and doesn't return.

On the next screen, I hear a noise like a bomb falling from a plane, and the antwerp lands on me, killing me


I quickly think of a potential solution, so I reload and attempt to use my sword on the antwerp as it comes down. The result wasn't quite what I expected. I hold my sword up above my head, and the antwerp hits it, splitting into many tiny antwerps.


I can't attack the baby Antwerps, so I leave them bouncing around and continue exploring.

After more exploring, I find what I suspect is the lair of the bandits I keep hearing about

I wonder if they'll be my friends

I try what I think will work, which is using my shield to protect me from their arrows, but the game won't let me try that. The death screen suggests either I'm not ready yet or there's a better way to accomplish my mission, so I decide to take the death screen's advice and come back later.

My fighter also goes to the areas my thief had been to.

He told the Dryad he was not one with the woods, and it didn't seem to make a difference as she told me the same thing about getting the seed. I go to the spitting flowers to get the seed.

As I can't climb as a fighter, I have to solve this puzzle a different way. What would Frodo the Fighter do? The obvious answer is to poke things with a sharp metal stick. I stab all the flowers with my sword

Score check: Frodo 1 – Spitting Spirea -3

By destroying these flowers, I get the seed that will prove that I'm a friend of nature!

Even though I get the seed this way, I lose points by killing the flowers, so I'm guessing there's another way. I reload and once again take note to try again later.

Fortunately, as a fighter I can last a lot more fights as I won't have the same problem with stamina that I had as a thief...

Damn.

Ignoring my inability to fight more than three things without needing a nap, I go north to the place called “Erana's Peace” where I pick some flowers. There's a flat stone with writing on it that I can't move so I ignore it. This place also looks like a good place to sleep, but the game won't let me sleep here during the day.

Near Erana's Peace, which I called 'meadow' on my map, I find a cave with some kind of red troll in front of it. He kills me quite easily, but he's easy to dodge past so I'll kill him later when I'm more powerful.

Inside the troll's cave is a bear chained to a rock. I can give the bear an apple, which makes him happy.


I can't unlock his chains, so I move further into the cave.

In the next room I find a sleeping kobold with a brass key hanging around his neck. I expect that is the key to the bear's chains. There's also some food (mushrooms?) on a table. When I get close to the kobold he wakes up and kills me with magic.


Taking the hint, I reload and leave to come back later. I do remember the hermit mentioning a magic mirror that reflects spells back to the caster so I think I know one place that item would be useful.

I find a centaur, who is the father of the vegetable stand vendor. He talks to me, giving me more information on the town and its surroundings, or not so much more information but a slightly reworded version of the same information I already have. As I mentioned in my “Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2” posts I like it when game characters give me the same information in their own way – it helps improve the characterization of the people/centaurs and reiterates the information in case I play without taking hundreds of screenshots I can refer to later.

There's only two streets in town – is the other one called NotMarket Street?

The most interesting thing Heinrich had to say was that after he was attacked by bandits, the leader gave him a healing potion and carried him to the Healer's house. I'm getting the distinct impression that the bandit leader is being controlled by someone else. It's definitely obvious he's not your stereotypical bandit. I have the same feeling about the bandit wizard. I think I'll end up working with those two or at least one of them at some point.

I go to the healer's house, and once again use different skills to get an item I'd gotten while climbing as a thief. As a fighter I threw rocks at the bird's nest and took the ring after I callously destroyed the bird's house.

I may be heartless, but I didn't lose any points and I have a cool new ring!

I meet a frost giant named Brauggi who asks me to barter with blade's clash or bargain with him. So he wants me to fight him or give him something.

I'll mellow your mead horn, if you know what I mean.

As Brauggi has offered me a glowing gem, and having a glowing gem for an eye will make Baba Yaga's Greenskull happy, I give him all my apples, but it isn't enough. I once again decide to come back – maybe a different meal will make him happy. Before leaving, I decide to fight him by using my sword on him. He promptly defeats me, but unlike other battles I've had I'm not dead.


Another hint that I need to increase my skills before doing something. I'm starting to think the game's implying I'm not powerful enough to solve many of these puzzles.

Hmmm. A blonde guy with a red cape fighting a Frost Giant seems familiar... did someone steal a scene from this game to make their movie...?


To the east I also find the entrance to the wizard's castle, but I'll leave that area for later.

Here be wizards

Speaking of wizards, let's see what Martak the Magic-user has been up to.

MAGIC-USER

Martak the Magic-user Journal Entry #2: Unlike the others, I did much of my outskirts exploring at night. It's much more dangerous, but I'm a wizard with an 'open' spell, so I'm not concerned.










As the wizard, I popped outside of town on the first day, and after it got dark attempted to go back to the city to sleep, but instead noticed that the city gates are now closed.

Seeing as this gives me an excuse to explore at night-time, I do so. I go to Erana's Peace to sleep, but before I do I finally have the opportunity to use my “Open” spell. I cast the spell on the rock I couldn't move as a fighter or thief, and find a scroll of “Calm”


Now that I have a new spell, I decide against sleeping and I explore parts of the land I'd explored with other characters, including the troll/bear/kobold cave. I can cast my new “Calm” spell on the bear instead of offering it an apple, and do the obvious thing of casting “Open” on his chain so he'll hopefully go outside and kill the troll.

I'm really starting to regret buying this spell.

At night, I also meet some interesting new monsters, such as the Cheetaur

I'll need this guy's claws, but I know I won't be powerful enough to beat him so I run away for now.

Knowing from my previous adventures that I'll be able to pick up the mandrake from the cemetery now that it's night, I head there, only to meet my death to a quartet of ghosts.

Don't look at it, Marion. Keep your eyes SHUT!

Another animal I didn't meet during the day is a very strange winged worm/bug/moth creature.

I run away from this battle before it goes on too long

The mushroom ring has a new night-time surprise for me too – fairies! The fairies want me to dance, and have the power to force me to dance


I don't appear to be able to talk to the fairies, but when I enter the circle they get angry and force me to dance until I drop dead – I keep finding new ways to die of exhaustion.

After reloading, I go back to Erana's Peace, where I sleep for the rest of the night, waking up to a graphical glitch that I thought might be part of the game until I noticed it happened everywhere


THIEF AGAIN

Trevor the Thief Journal Entry Addendum: Hi. Me again. Just thought I'd let you know I went back to the dryad to see what reward I'd get for the spirea seed.










With my thief, I took the spirea seed back to the dryad.

She rewards me with a Star Trek reference

Now that I'm a friend of the forest she tells me of a prophecy – a prophecy that a hero will bring a young human from out of the darkness. The healer will be able to make me a potion to break enchantments which will help me in this task. For this potion I will need:
  • Flowers from Erana's Peace (already taken)
  • Green Fur (Got it from the meep)
  • Fairy Dust (Need to find a way to not dance to my death)
  • A Magic Acorn (which the tree spat out as soon as the dryad went back into it)
  • Flying Water (water from the flying falls, I expect)

How is giving me extra work after I did my job well in any way a reward? You're a crappy boss, Dryad!

I mentioned earlier that I thought the bandit chief might be controlled. I'm guessing this potion I'm now collecting ingredients for will help me defeat the bandits in the future.

Before finishing this section my thief tries to get some water using the vase he stole the night before.

Yeah, stupid of me to think a vase would hold water. My mistake

Oh well. I'll come back after sleeping until the provisioner opens up in the morning.

Here is a short to do list of things I hope to accomplish in my next Spielburgian day.

QUESTS I NEED TO DO

Thief:
  • Find thieves' guild password (perhaps in cemetery)
Magic-User:
  • Get spirea seed (I suspect after buying a fetch/telekinesis spell)
  • Get Healer's ring (Again, I feel telekinesis is the answer)
  • Find a way into the hermit's cave
Fighter:
  • Find a way into the hermit's cave
  • Get spirea seed, hopefully without murdering the plants
All three:
  • Get Fairy Dust from mushroom ring without dancing to death
  • Get flying water (after buying an empty flask from the provisioner)
  • Get mandrake root (after buying Undead potion from healer)
  • Do something about the antwerp – it's not bothering anyone, but I hate that it exists and want it dead!
  • Get better at fighting

Tune in next time when I do some of those things as well as visit a wizard and enter a castle.

Here's my current stats for my three characters... (My fighter has the wrong name - try to ignore it)



MARTAK: So I see you two are afraid to leave the city after dark
TREVOR: Not afraid. I was busy working in the city after dark. Did you see all the stuff I picked up from those houses?
FRODO: I think I have more money than you. I take it off the corpses of my enemies.
TREVOR: Yeah, but I have more things. I have a candlestick... and a music box... and a vase...
MARTAK: ...a vase that doesn't hold water.
TREVOR: I don't want to talk about this anymore. Let's get some sleep. My stamina is getting low
MARTAK: Same here
FRODO: Isn't it always
Finally, a note about my current feelings on the game. Despite my whingeing about the grinding of this game, I'm still keen to see what happens next. In comparing this game with the other Sierra game I've played for the blog, King's Quest V, I like that I have quests I need to complete and come up with a planned strategy for rather than just solving problems by randomly collecting everything I see.

Session time: 4 hours 5 minutes (I'm surprised. I really thought this number would be longer)
Total time: 6 hours 45 minutes

20 comments:

  1. Nice walk-through - I can see why it took a lot of time.

    On your Thief, don't try to play as a Fighter; those brigands have better armor and a lot more experience than you. Running away is one approach, but doesn't pay well. If you're going to fight, work on your throwing skills, use some of that stolen loot to buy a few extra daggers, and try weakening your opponents from a distance before they get to you.

    The Magic User has similar choices. The Calm spell will prevent many fights and allow you to escape. But if you want to actually win them, build up your spell skill, learn some combat spells such as Flame Dart, and practice those spells to make them more powerful. Your challenge will be resource management - trying to take down opponents before you run out of mana or stamina.

    Fighter? You're doing it fine. Keep swinging that sword! But be very afraid of those ghosts and anything that uses magic against you. ("I ain't afraid of no ghosts!" is probably an epitaph on one of those markers in the graveyard.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm trying to play the characters as their skills dictate. We'll see how it goes continuing that way. I think I got better at fighting and more importantly avoiding fighting as I played more of the game.

      Delete
    2. I'd just like to note what an amazing historical opportunity you have here to be playing through Quest for Glory I and receiving advice in the comments from Corey Cole. Mind blown.

      Delete
  2. Hey Corey, nothing wrong with my patented approach of Calm, dagger dart, dart, dazzle, dagger, dart. It'll kill a troll before it closes to melee ;)

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  3. Kus of the Valley21 November 2017 at 22:30

    I don't think it's a spoiler to say that in the original version you could "rest" anywhere you liked to replenish your stamina. Is this an option in the updated version?

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    Replies
    1. The game definitely won't let me rest at Erana's Peace during the day - not sure about other places - I might test that out next time.

      Delete
    2. I'm really not sure how I could have completed the original without the "rest" command. It's not like "sleep" resting but "just taking a few minutes out" resting. I'm really hoping someone else who has played the original will chip in here and agree with me, because otherwise I've played and completed QfG1 a lot of times TOTALLY WRONG :/

      Delete
    3. My formula for Hero's Quest was that the player should be able to win one battle easily, have a challenge with two in a row, but be in great danger fighting three battles in a row. That meant the Hero would need to use a healing potion or rest rather than run from one battle to another.

      There is also the issue of monster challenge - they get more powerful farther away from town and at night. That's why Heroes need to build up their skills in easier battles before venturing too far from town.

      What amazes me is that we actually pulled that off considering how little time we had to make the game (about 10 months).

      Delete
    4. @Kus: Yes, you should be able to "rest" for a while to restore some stamina. If I remember correctly, in the point'n'click version the option was available through one of the icons in the special menu (next to character stats).

      Delete
  4. I vaguely remember doing a Fighter playthrough of this version back in the day. Those flying manta ray things were the bane of my existence for most of the run. I could never figure out timing to either consistently hit them or block/dodge their electric shots.

    I don't remember too much else, aside from one very specific late-game challenge that gave me absolute fits.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad I chose not to fight the manta ray.

      And for some random trivia, I was reminded of that manta ray when I recently bought some balmain bugs...

      http://www.fish.gov.au/2014-Reports/BALMAIN_BUGS

      Delete
  5. That thief reminds me of a certain purple tentacle. And are you sure the name of the fighter is Frodo? I'd have thought it is Brigitte.

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  6. What emulator and settings are you using? That smoothing filter in the screenshots is hurting my eyes. If possible, I'd like screenshots with sharp pixels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh. I can answer that.

      Dosbox and... I didn't think I was using a smoothing filter...

      And... ah, damn.

      Just realised that Irfanview has defaulted to resampling - I batch resize the screenshots for posting but wasn't supposed to be resampling them.... oops.

      Having just tested a screenshot I can see that the ones I've posted are a bit blurry.

      I'll fix it for future posts and also replace these and previous screenshots in the near future too.

      Thanks for letting me know. I've already replaced the first one of me sleeping.

      Delete
    2. Better late than never - all screenshots replaced!

      Delete
  7. >My blogging requires me to often have my character stand still
    >while writing a note or updating my map. And often while doing that
    >a random enemy will appear on the screen and make a bee-line
    >for my character, forcing me into a battle.

    DOSBox can be paused and unpaused with Alt+Pause. Putting your cursor at the top of the screen (so that the cursor menu shows up) also usually suspends the action in a Sierra game.

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  8. I'm surprised sleeping on the street didn't result in waking up broke. I thought your money was supposed to get stolen if you did that.

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    1. Yeah. I think the only downside is stamina not increasing as much as in a bed.

      If you really want to see punishment for sleeping in town, play Daggerfall - guards will kill you for being a vagrant in that game despite letting vampires and bandits roam free at night.

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