Sunday, 22 April 2018

Quest for Glory III: Wages of War - Fricanan Wandering

by Alex


Yeah, that’s a picture of me fighting a dinosaur on the savannah with my paladin’s sword bathed in magical blue flame.

Read that sentence again: “ . . . fighting a dinosaur on the savannah with my paladin’s sword bathed in magical blue flame.”

Isn’t that just awesome?!

Now that I’m playing Wages of War for the first time in a while for The Adventure Gamer, the game’s vibe struck me:

It’s pulp. And that is a good thing.

Maybe this wasn’t necessarily Lori and Corey’s intention, but from the brisk pace, the graphical stylings and overall aesthetic, to the manual (hoo boy, I could devote an entire post to the hilariously politically incorrect manual), to the theme and setting itself, Quest for Glory III is full of pulpy goodness.

These could be the credits for a 1930s serial or adventure movie.

Anthropomorphic animals? Dinosaurs, giant insects, and flying cobras? Lost cities? Gigantic trees? Talking monkeys? Journeying into the depths of the unknown? Action? Adventure? Romance?!

I mean, it’s fantastic. Simply fantastic. I think this might be one of the things that endears Wages of War to me so: it still feels like a Quest for Glory game while having, like each game in the series, a vibe all it’s own.

And I’m not the only one here talking about vibes, man.

There’s a lot of ground to cover here, and I had to play for quite a bit to leapfrog Chet over at CRPG Addict, so instead of treating this like a chronological rundown, I’ll divide this post into three segments: Simbani Village, The Jungle, and Tarna, with a brief interlude to talk about combat. So check out Chet’s most recent post--we cover similar ground, but I’m a paladin and he’s a wizard--and then read on.

Simbani Village

Previously, on The Adventure Gamer . . .

My last post ended after Rakeesh and I had pledged our honor before King Rajah of Tarna to bring peace between the Simbani and the Leopardmen, traveled to the Simbani village, and feasted with the Simbani after an audience with their leader, the Laibon. Rakeesh announced his plan to travel back to Tarna, as his injured leg was acting up, tasking me with gaining the Laibon’s trust and trying to suss out any deeper cause for the conflict between the two warring tribes. And if I can find the Simbani’s missing Spear of Death, so much the better.

All in a day’s work for a hero, really. The way I look at it, I already lifted a curse and sent an evil spellcaster packing, and saved an entire civilization from certain doom at the hands of a malevolent wizard attempting to summon an unstoppable djinni. Diplomacy should be a vacation, right?

Simbani Village

The Simbani are a nomadic, herding tribe, who move according to the seasons, finding the best grazing ground for their cattle. The village consists of seven screens, each of which, in typical Quest for Glory fashion, has several things to do (remember our discussion about “well-crafted”/”tight” games?). These are, with reference to the above screenshot:

  • The village center, where the Simbani gather for important occasions;
  • The guest hut on the left, where I can sleep and store equipment;
  • Uhura’s hut on the right, which I can visit at night to chat with Uhura;
  • The Laibon’s hut in the center, where I can speak with the Simbani’s leader, if the guard lets me in;
  • The spear-throwing area behind the guest hut, where I can practice throwing spears or daggers at the target;
  • The wrestling bridge area behind Uhura’s hut, where I can improve my agility by working on my moves on the bridge, or build up my strength by swinging hand-over-hand under the bridge like monkey bars;
  • The cage area behind the Laibon’s hut, where I can play a game called Awari with the Laibon’s son Yesufu; there is also an enchanted, anti-magic cage the Simbani use to imprison captured Leopardmen--how they got this cage if they hate magic so much, I don’t know, but I supposed they’re okay utilizing magic to defeat magic, which is kind of hypocritical, but I digressl; and
  • The village overlook area on the cliffs overlooking the village, where the elders stand watch.


Chatting with Mngoje, the daytime elder.

I spent two days in the village, trying to work my way into another meeting with the Laibon. The guard at the door didn’t speak English (or whatever the “common” tongue is called here), barring my way with his spear. So I explored the village instead.

Cage Area

Behind the Laibon’s hut. You can see the cage, the Awari board carved into the rock, and Yesufu.

I meet the Laibon’s son, Yesufu. Yesufu is a budding warrior about my age. He’s a friendly, genuine guy, and is very interested in tales of my past adventures.

As seen in Trial by Fire.

As recounted in So You Want To Be A Hero.

I play a few games of Awari with Yesufu, chatting about the Simbani, his father, and the initiation ritual that allows young men and women to become full-fledged Simbani warriors. When one or more youths want to become warriors, they compete in a series of physical feats which includes running, spear-throwing, and wrestling. I smell foreshadowing. Yesufu also tells how a Simbani warrior showed up with the Leopardmen’s magic Drum of Death one night before dying of his wounds.This is another thing I want to ask the Laibon about--how about just . . . giving the Drum back in exchange for the Spear? Too easy?

Awari resembles a game called Mancala that I played as a kid--you move a little pile of stones across the board, one-by-one, trying to get the most in your home while also stealing stones from your opponent’s side of the board. It’s an entertaining diversion with no in-game consequences for not playing, but you can build up your intelligence, learn more about the Simbani from Yesufu, and in general feel like you’re an outsider spending time in a living, breathing African--sorry, Fricanan--village, getting to know the people and having them learn to trust you.

Playing Awarin with Yesufu.

After a few games, I get the option to ask Yesufu to be my friend, which he readily accepts. I’m not sure if befriending Yesufu is a prerequisite for getting a chance to see the Laibon again, but even if it isn’t, it makes role-playing sense to do so.

Spear-Throwing Area

The spear-throwing area. Note the flag blowing in the wind to the left--on lower skill levels, wind is not a factor, but at max it plays a role in the accuracy of your throws.

At the spear-throwing area, I throw some spears to raise my throwing stat, making sure to take the wind into account. You can throw daggers as well. I’m not an expert yet, but I’m getting there. Uhura comes by to demonstrate spear-throwing and share some info about spears as a cultural aspect of the Simbani, as well as the initiation. This is good for two reasons: (1) more information is always good (for example, during the initiation, the target moves), and (2) Uhura is one of my favorite characters. I enjoy how this game gives the hero friends that are there to chat and help out and hang out with. Again, it makes the world feel real.

Wrestling Bridge Area

Walking across the wrestling bridge as Uhura watches.

I head behind Uhura’s hut next to the wrestling bridge area. The wrestling bridge consists of two lengths of wood suspended between wooden pillars. The idea is to shift your weight on these wooden planks to throw your opponent off-balance and get them to fall. Uhura again shows up to demonstrate the various moves: leaning left, leaning right, jumping, and dropping. The idea is to counter your opponent’s move with the appropriate action (i.e., jumping when your opponent drops.). Best two-out-of-three wins.

I walk across the bridge a few times after and bid Uhura farewell, before doing a few swings under the bridge by clicking the “Hand” icon on the planks instead of on the ropes. After that, I head out to the savannah.

Building my strength. You can only do this when Uhura isn’t watching.

Out in the Wild


On the way to the body of water south of the village, I fight more crocodile men and several giant ants. These ants are annoying because they can shoot poisonous goo out of their tails, and they don’t give you any treasure. I like to soften them up with daggers before closing in for the kill.

Fighting a giant ant. A gi-ant?

I’ll get to combat later, but suffice it so say on the highest skill level it is both more challenging and more enjoyable than I had remembered.

Filling a waterskin from the Pool of Peace.

The small, bubbling spring is indeed the Pool of Peace. The game informs me that it’s reminiscent of Erana’s Peace in Speilburg. An impala drinks some water and wanders off, unafraid of the cheetah just sitting on the rock hanging out. I can pet the cheetah, but I wouldn’t recommend trying this in real-life, magical spring or no.

The music here is pretty, and the water is yummy and refills my stamina. I had previously bought some extra waterskins in Tarna, since only one transferred with me from Shapeir, which is good because there are no vigor pills or potions in this game, and this water is one of the ingredients Salim needs for the dispel potion.

One Last Good Night’s Sleep in a Comfortable Bed for a Few Days

Speaking with Usiku, the nighttime elder.

It’s dark by the time I returned to the Simbani Village. I get a chance to meet the nighttime elder, Usiku, and chat with him for a bit, before visiting Uhura’s hut and checking in on her and Simba.


I love stuff like this. It adds a richness to what could otherwise be a series of fetch-quests and grinding which, let’s be honest, most RPGs are. Without moments like these to breakup a game, even an adventure/RPG hybrid like this, what have you got? “Go to point A and do B in order to go to C and do D,” and so on.

I say this not to bury the genre: I love RPGs. But Quest for Glory games provide an example of how they are done right. The story doesn’t have to be Inception-level bonkers: Give us enough to make us care and then make the characters and the situations interesting and fulfilling.

Here, Uhura tells more of her story as to how she is a warrior and a woman: Since the Simbani don’t let wives remain warriors, the warrior Uhura traveled to Shapeir, met a guard who became Simba’s father, and returned home both a mother and a warrior. If you ask about “father” in Quest for Glory II, Uhura will explain a bit of this, but here she gets into the cultural aspects a little more.

So not only is Uhura a staunch friend and ally, a great teacher, and a heck of a fighter, she’s an iconoclast to boot. Badass.

I’m still not allowed into the Laibon’s hut the next day, so I decided to see what’s up with Yesufu before heading into the jungle to see if I can find out anything about the Leopardmen. Except it’s not Yesufu hanging out by the cage. It’s the village storyteller.

The storyteller.

I like this because storytelling and oral tradition are an integral part of many African--I mean Fricanan--cultures. They’re integral parts of all world cultures, let’s be honest, but in pre-literate societies, they were the method of transferring culture and wisdom through the generations. Stories are memorable. Stories are how we learn. Stories are why we still read old books and watch old movies and play old adventure games.

(And before the P.C. police swarm me for using the term “pre-literate,” all I mean is “without a written language.” It is neither a value judgment nor factually incorrect. Look, even the Greeks--I mean Silmarians--in Homer’s day didn’t have universal literacy. That didn’t make them dumb, the same way it doesn’t make any African tribes without a written language dumb. In other words, you all know what I mean here.)

I DON’T KNOW PLEASE TELL ME!

The storyteller shares three new stories he has “found”: One about a people whose pride is taken, but is able to take the pride of their rivals (the Simbani-Leopardmen conflict), one about a woman who is a mother and a warrior (Uhura’s story), and one about two boys who are friends until a women comes between them; during their warrior initiation, one dies and the other wins but really loses as the woman marries someone else and the boy has no friends (foreshadowing of Yesufu and me, maybe?). All told, the storyteller is a cool character highlighting an enjoyable part of the Simbani culture.

And now, we’re off to explore the jungle.

The Mighty Jungle

The third overworld screen. The savannah and the Simbani Village are to the west. Note the giant tree in the upper-middle.

Combat

First things first: I fought about 75 flying cobras.

These bastards.

They are fast, they are strong, they spit poisonous goo, you get nothing for beating them, and they are everywhere. It felt like I couldn’t go three steps without encountering one. I fought them all to build up my heretofore relatively unused dodge, parry, and weapon use stats, and ended up using my entire stash of poison cure pills by the time my jungle jaunt was done.

Green = poison. It’s science.

Yes, I know the poison will fade after a while. But who wants to be poisoned?! Thankfully, my paladin’s healing skill, while a drain on my stamina, prevented a drain on my healing pill stash. And until I can find a honey bird feather for Salim, what I’ve got for healing pills is it.

So a brief digression about combat: With the difficulty cranked, I feel that stats and strategy matter.

Take the Leopardmen I encountered. Yeah, that’s right, they’re regular enemies. It’s kind of strange to go around killing the very people you want to make peace with, but they started it.

It looks really cool when they cast spells in combat, but I didn’t get a screenshot.

Thrusting seems to be the only thing that will hit them, while my slashes worked great against the crocmen and giant ants.

Also, dodging and parrying become more important, as wailing away on the attack buttons doesn’t seem to result in a great number of hits--no spamming here. I don’t know if that’s due to my stats, or because this game is programmed like Trial by Fire, where dodging and parrying increases your probability to hit on subsequent attacks.

Either way, this, coupled with the fact that hitting another action button before your sword strike is completed overrides and cancels the attack, makes combat a lot more dangerous and tactical. I’m dodging and parrying and reacting to the enemy instead mindlessly clicking attack. Honestly, I like it. It makes combat feel dangerous in the way early fights in So You Want To Be A Hero and Trial by Fire (which I also played on MAX DIFFICULTY) did . . . at least, I’m sure, until my stats are sufficiently built up.

Yeah, combat’s a bit clunky and slow-paced, but it works. Quest for Glory was never solely about twitch reflexes anyway.

And to answer Chet’s statement--”The mage gets two control pads, toggled with the middle button, and I assume the paladin's abilities are on a second pad for that class”--nope. The sword automatically flames, healing can’t be used in combat, and I don’t have danger sense or honor shield yet, or even the option to switch to another combat control pad. (Note: Chet’s post has more mage-specific quests, so check it out).

Heart of the World

The conceit with the overworld is that you’re using the map that came with the Famous Explorers’ Correspondence Course. I love the idea that the hero is walking around with the in-game documentation, but it makes sense . . . where would the map come from otherwise?

Surprising no one reading, I’m intrigued by the gigantic tree. Salim did mention that the gift from the heart of the world needed for the dispel potion recipe would be found in a giant tree somewhere in the jungle, didn’t he?

Spoiler: He did.

So to the tree I go, finally arriving at its massive base after cutting through most of Tarna’s population of wild flying cobras.

Picture this, times infinity.

The tree is huge; it takes four screens just to begin the ascent, and once you get to the top, there’s yet more to climb.

Screen one. Technically, there are only two screens of the tree’s base, but you go up that curving path, across the brook, weaving in and out of the foreground in the next screen before climbing up to loop around and enter this screen again from the upper right to cross the huge log bridge in the back.

I mean, this tree even has its own waterfall!

Climbing the Heart of the World. There is an opening halfway up and to the right, and another were the waterfall originates. And it has full-sized trees growing out of it!

This whole section has an otherwordly sensation, aided by the music and the color palette. You truly feel like you’re somewhere mystical and uncharted. It’s highly evocative, and fits in perfectly with this game’s pulpy, “brave explorer” vibe and setting of untamed nature.

The Guardian.

I duck into the first opening halfway up and encounter a coruscating ball of energy. It hits me, and I begin to flash--clicking the “Mouth” icon on myself when I’m flashing allows me to talk to this entity. It identifies itself as “The Guardian.”

Guardian, you say? Didn’t the Priestess of Sekhmet in Tarna want me to bring her something called the Gem of the Guardian?

I ask for it, and get it. I also get more information about the tree, and am told that in order to get its gift, I have to pour water from the Pool of Peace on some platform upstairs. So I continue my trek up this apotheosis of a tree until I reach the heart of the Heart.

And it’s really very groovy.

A joyous fanfare and some rather purple, though effective, prose really drive home the feeling that THIS is the Center of the Universe. It’s like nirvana, man! With flower power! There’s nothing to do here but climb the platform and pour out my libation in order to get the gift--a small, glowing red fruit that grows from the tree. Note that this is where Chet’s wizard got the magic wood.

So that’s two-out-of-three dispel potion ingredients down. I still need the fruit from the venomous vines south of Tarna. Nothing left to do now but climb back down the tree and keep trudging across the jungle, mile after mile . . .

Stopping only to camp at night.

Of Monkeys and Ape-Men

The eastmost--and final--jungle screen. There’s the waterfall Kreesha was talking about. And look! A lost city!

In the final jungle screen, where there’s nowhere to go because that lost city is tantalizingly blocked by this giant waterfall, I encounter a new enemy type: Ape-Men.

“I’m an ape-man, I’m an ape-ape-man, I’m an ape-man . . .”

These dudes hit hard, and they’re surprisingly quick. But hey, I’m a paladin, and soon send him back to the Stone Age. Or something.

Aside from more of these guys, Leopmardmen, and those damned flying cobras, I find a monkey in a cage.

G . . . George? Is that you?

I do the only honorable thing and free the little guy. He’s so happy, he climbs a tree and starts to talk to me.

That’s right. The monkey can talk. And his name is Manu.

So cute. Hi Manu!

Now that I have the official talking monkey seal of approval, what more is there to do in the jungle?

Fight more flying cobras, that’s what.

A Brief Stopover at the Simbani Village

After scratching and clawing my way through dozens more flying cobras, I make my way back to the Simbani village. This time, when I try to see the Laibon, the guard ushers me in. He must be impressed by my COMBAT MUSCLES.

Greeting the Laibon with a flourish.

The Laibon listens to my words of peace, and gives the skinny on the theft of the Spear (no suspects, but the Leopardmen left telltale claw marks behind) and how the Simbani came to get the Leopardmen’s Magic Drum (a warrior named Mbuzi appeared one night with the Drum, and then died; this is consistent with the storyteller’s telling, save the Laibon doesn’t mention that Mbuzi whispered “Leopardmen” before he died). The Drum is the source of, and I quote, “all their [the Leopardmen’s] power,” and yet they still have enough power to not get wiped out . . . and to fight me in the jungle?

Whatever. You can ask about “Drum Again,” but the Laibon kicks you out and you lose puzzle points, so I restore and don’t do that, since peace-loving paladins don’t offend important leaders.

After some more Awari with Yesufu, wrestling with Uhura (I beat her, and learn the mini-game) and a group story from the storyteller, I get some sleep and make my way back to Tarna.

He tells another tale about the Simbani and how their rush to war with the Leopardmen isn’t so cut-and-dry.

Back in the City

Hanging out with Kreesha and Rakeesh in their back room.

My stop in Tarna is mostly to report to Rakeesh and Kreesha, shop, and finish up some business with the apothecary. Over the course of the two days I’m in Tarna, my Liontaur friends tell me:
  • Rakeesh’s leg hurts so bad, he can’t really walk anymore.
  • Rakeesh and Kreesha feel like they’re being watched.
  • Rajah is growing more impatient for war by the day, wanting to shed blood as revenge for Reeshaka’s disappearance.
  • Kreesha’s magic is drawn east, but it dissipates before she can tell what’s pulling her attention that way.
  • Kreesha is convinced the source of this pull east is a Gate Orb, allowing demons to keep a World Gate open.
  • I need to find the Spear of Death and get in contact with the Leopardmen--which, technically, I’ve done by killing four or five of them.
  • Kreesha will be using her magic to keep an eye on me so she can help if I ever get into big trouble.
  • They think the demons are the ones pulling the strings of the Simbani and the Leopardman.

So it’s Exposition Central, but that’s fine. It works within the game’s flow.

At Salim’s, I give him the water from the Pool of Peace and the Gift from the Heart of the World and tell him about my various adventures. Still no venomous vine fruit or honey bird feather, but I do replenish my supply of poison cure pills.

Wh . . . what?

In the bazaar, I chat with the merchants, buying a few more throwing daggers from the weapon seller and a rope from the rope maker.

In his first post, Chet wondered if I’d regret not buying a rope. So here ya go, Chet. Worry no more!

I also buy some food from the dog guy and talk to Shallah the katta about war.

Kalb gives me some juicy gossip.

Shallah’s rather simplistic view of things.

On the way back up through the bazaar, I come across an old friend in a rather fallen circumstance.

Harami the thief approaching from the Liontaur section of the city.

“Ya gotta help me!” Harami begs, pleading with me to meet with him in the bazaar at night. I agree. But first, I dash off to the savannah to check out the venomous vines. It is during this trip I fought the dinosaur; upon killing it, I searched his body and ripped off its horn. Nice!

Paladin is as paladin does.

The little meerbat tries to be like its big siblings and grab some fruit, but gets caught by the vine. I throw a dagger at the vines so they recede and the little meerbat flies back to the rocks looking much worse for the wear. His friends flee down their hidey holes as I approach, but not the wounded meerbat. A quick application of my paladin healing and the meerbat was as right as rain.

You can see the fruit and the fire opal in a circle of stones on the rocks.

I leave and come back, because what else would I do? The vines are gone and resting in the circle of stones are two items. The little meerbat stands nearby, but he jumps back into his hole as I get close. In the circle of stones are the fruit, as well as a glowing stone called the “Fire Opal.” Where the hell did this come from? What does it do? Why aren’t meerbats real things?

These questions, and more, will have to wait! Right now, I’ve got a few more things to finish up in my day or two back in Tarna. I give the fruit to Salim and pick up two dispel potions the next day, getting them for free in appreciation for telling Salim about Julanar.

Meeting Harami

Giving Harami food.

He’s miserable. He’s hungry. He’s trapped in Tarna because there are no more caravans due to the talk of war, and being honorless means that nobody acknowledges his existence.

This is weird. Several thoughts go through my mind:
  • Isn’t he just free to commit more crimes now?
  • Can’t he just steal food?
  • Could he murder someone and get away with it because no one acknowledges he’s even alive?
  • Could he relieve himself on the streets of Tarna, or maybe in the fruitseller’s bowl of fruit, flipping the double-bird, and face no repercussions whatsoever?
  • Am I thinking way too deeply about this?
(Answer Key:Don’t know, don’t know, don’t know, I hope so, and yes.)

I give Harami some food, which he appreciates, and he tells me to make some peace so he can get out of Tarna!

The Survivor


There’s an extra open pillow at my usual table at the Inn. Janna informs me that the survivor of the peace mission to the Leopardmen, Khatib Mukar’ram, will be joining me for dinner. After I order my food, Khatib approaches and sits, and the poor guy is all banged up: arm missing, eye missing, and horrible, endless nightmares.

Khatib tells me what he can, a harrowing tale of red eyes in the jungle, trying to not only hurt his body but his soul. Everyone died but him, and he ended up going mad, being found in the river naked and all covered in blood by some fishermen. If it wasn’t for Reeshaka fighting bravely against the demons, Khatib would be dead.

He stops talking after a while, lost in his nightmares. I leave him in peace.

The Temple of Sekhmet

Preparing for my prophecy.

With the Gem of the Guardian in hand, the Priestess and some other Liontaurs are waiting for me at the Temple of Sekhmet. I drink some mysterious water and pass out, coming to floating in a weird trippy void.

What Salim sees every time he closes his eyes.

Voices present me with choices of symbols, requiring me to choose what I was, what I am, and what I will be. I go with sword, yin-yang, and candle.


Each one brings up a multiple-choice question. The whole thing reminds me of the class-selection in games like Ultima IV or the first three Elder Scrolls games. In short, it’s a personality test.

Answering the “sword” question.

I pick choices that seem to make sense for a fighter-turned-paladin, and am ultimately deemed worthy and “in harmony” with my skills and nature. After telling me a bit about myself, in grand Quest for Glory tradition, I am given a prophecy.

Uh oh . . .

“Thou has unleashed the Darkness. And the Darkness now encircles thee. Ye must walk a narrow path to bring back the light.

Let the first part of thy path be guided by friendship. Thy feet already walk upon this path. Two thou hast known before. Three thou shalt free. One thou hast brought low, then helped to rise again. One shall stand thy rival and thy friend.

The Sword shall cross thy path, and bonds shall be cut asunder. Seek thou the least of guides to lead thee to the depths of darkness.

Now thou art Opener of the Way and all thy heart has called shall draw near to thee. Two shall stand and five shall follow to face their greatest foe in a battle they cannot win. For thou must walk alone to free them all.

Seek ye now the highest tower to find the Door of Darkness. Living stone shall block thy way then bridge thee to thy foe. Thou must lose thy greatest treasure ‘ere thou canst drive the darkness through the Door.

This is that which might yet be. Thy path is thine own now to follow or not. Go forth now, bringer of the light.”

It’s oddly specific to say the least, but that’s kind of what one would like from a fortune, isn’t it?

We could parse this out, but this post has gone on long enough. I emerge from my trek back to Tarna ready to head back to the Simbani village to see if I can get anywhere with this whole peace thing.

Ready to head back out into the Savannah.

Session Time: 3 hours
Total Play Time: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Puzzle Points: 191
Paladin Points: 46
Paladin Abilities: Flaming sword, healing

Inventory: Money, Soulforge, chainmail armor, magic shield, tinderbox, throwing daggers, poison cure pills, healing pills, mana pills, rations, waterskins, dispel potions, dried meat, dinosaur horn, rope, sapphire pin, jar of honey, fire opal

16 comments:

  1. Wow. I failed to remember how awesome this game was. I always catch myself thinking it was just a stepping stone between my two favorite games of the series... but reading this makes me want to play it again.

    To parallel you, I have been working my way through QfG5 which is great... but not as great as this. Shame it will be years and years before we get there for this blog, but I couldn't resist playing it now.

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    1. Joe, if my playthrough can convince people that Quest for Glory III does not, in fact, suck, regardless of whatever rating it may receive, I will consider my work here a success.

      Delete
  2. Nice post, Alex. We love it when reviewers and commenters "get" what we were trying to do with the games. For Quest for Glory, we (Lori especially) immersed ourselves into the culture of each setting before writing the game.

    Unlike Greek myths, in which the stories were told as if "this happened", African tales more often are related from the viewpoint of the storyteller. In effect, the storyteller is one of the characters in the stories he tells.

    Could an honorless person do some of the things you mentioned? Certainly. But just because someone does not officially exist doesn't mean he becomes literally invisible. If Harami attacked or stole from someone in the bazaar, all the merchants in the area would likely set upon him with knives. Because he is honorless, there would be no repercussions for any of them. Someone would have to haul away the body, but otherwise nobody would care.

    Lori thought the gypsy fortuneteller in Ultima IV was the best part of the game. We were certainly influenced by that scene. But we added traditional mystical symbolism, knowledge of the Tarot, and such into the mix. I'd have to look at the script to see whether it's possible to "fail" the spiritual test by picking answers inappropriate to your character. I'm sure it's on the web somewhere. :-)

    That was a lot of flying cobras! We didn't really have time to balance the encounter and combat system in QG3, or any of our Sierra games. To the extent they worked and were fun, we must have guessed well.

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    1. Corey,

      Glad you enjoyed the post! In my opinion, it's relatively easy to understand what you and Lori and the rest of the team wanted to do with the games, since the attention to detail really shows. Each QfG feels like a complete package, and while the settings and vibe change, the series maintains a remarkable level of consistency.

      Re: honorless people, what you say makes sense. I was really just trying to be silly to get a laugh. But Harami would definitely be in for a rude awakening if he tried to take advantage of the fact that no one acknowledged his existence.

      And as for the flying cobras, I'm sure it's all luck. I also have the difficulty at max. Come to think of it, every time I play QfG 1, I encounter tons of cheetaurs, and in my recent playthrough of QfG 2, scorpions seemed to show up on every other desert screen. Who knows they mysteries of the algorithm . . .

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  3. Gonna post this here as well since I noticed that by the time I'd posted it last time, the entry was already about a week old and nobody read the comments anymore. So...

    I just wanted to say that QfG3 was one of the very first adventure games (along with Kyrandia) I ever played, and obviously my very first QfG. It kinda overwhelmed me at first, but years later, I played QfG4 and really enjoyed that one, so I went back to QfG3 afterwards and loved it as well.

    I then really got into it and completed it. Towards the end, I completed the Thief playthrough in roughly 3 hours - I obviously clicked through all the dialogue, as I'd already finished all the other character classes, but I wanted to have that feeling of completion. (I can still remember my mother shouting from the kitchen because dinner was ready and I needed to study as well.)

    The QfG series is among my absolute favorite computer games, and since 3 was the one I'd played first (even with a twist), it holds a special place for me. The more "friendly" atmosphere also was great for a beginner, so I'm glad that somebody else (Alex) seems to like the game as well, despite its "worst of the series" reputation (quite frankly, all five games are very good, so "worst" wouldn't be a disqualifier anyway).

    Reading along now, it's quite interesting which moral themes and messages are present in the game - anti war obviously, but also multiculturalism, which eluded me as a teenager. If I'm not mistaken, among the "quote of the day" section of the Coles' homepage, there was a quote by Ayn Rand, which to me, a left leaning European, was quite unexpected/a bummer, but I might misremember it. I certainly always appreciated the games tone and messages, even if that may be partially because I grew up on them.

    So, long story short, THANK YOU Corey (and Lori, obviously, but she's not reading the site) for the wonderful games. Really looking forward to Hero-U.

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    1. Hello other Alex! Sorry I missed your previous comment. I echo what you say about QfG 3 having a great atmosphere, almost welcoming. It wasn't the first QfG I played, but like you, it was the first one I ever finished. And I'm super-happy to see the QfG 3 love from commenters.

      Re: the Ayn Rand quote, I wouldn't take it too much as a bummer. Even people one disagrees with can have insightful or applicable things to say, and acknowledging this doesn't necessarily mean one agrees whole hog with their philosophy.

      Anyway, I'll try to pay better attention to the comments section than I have the past few days, and I sincerely hope you keep commenting here and on the other posts. Until then, I'll see you back in Tarna . . .

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    2. I was introduced to Ayn Rand twice, first by a girl I liked in college - I didn't actually date her, too shy - then by my brother. I had started reading Atlas Shrugged two or three times, but always lost interest around page 60. This time I got hooked and stayed up all night reading the 1100 page tome. (I called in sick to work.) That book and The Fountainhead were very influential on my attitudes in my 20s and early 30s.

      Lori dislikes both books. Her memory of The Fountainhead is mostly of the quasi-rape scene. Atlas Shrugged she mostly remembers Eddie Willers, a very sympathetic character who... well, no spoilers, but Lori felt he deserves a better outcome.

      Today I think of my "objectivist" Ayn Rand phase as just that - I went from born-again Christian to agnostic, then atheist, meanwhile finding direction in Ayn Rand's philosophy. Now I find devotion to her work as no different from devotion to an abstract version of God - it puts far too much importance on words that someone else wrote, and not enough on free will and reasoned thought.

      Perhaps more importantly, the ideas expressed in Ayn Rand's works are impractical and not very nice. Lori probably got it right the first time. Maybe that was Rand's point in the first place - we're doomed to failure because there are a lot of bad people who will hurt others for their own perceived benefit, and a lot more who won't put out the effort to do good.

      Anyway, don't be too dismayed at me quoting Ayn Rand. If I like an idea, I will quote it regardless of the source, and I try to give correct attribution. What page is that on? I should look at it and see if I still agree! :-)

      Incidentally the content on our www.transolar.com web site is horribly out of date; we haven't changed it in years. www.hero-u.com is better, but also needs a lot of work.

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    3. Good on you, Atlas Shrugged became a slog for me, I quit somewhere towards the end, right after the umpteenth time the protagonist's business venture failed and they had to start again. It just got tedious. But maybe that's what Ayn is trying to say in her book.
      She reminds me of a dour Machiavelli although less interesting.

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    4. I'm probably the most right-leaning person on this whole blog, and I'm not a huge fan of Ayn Rand.

      I've read all of her novels, and the only one that has any literary merit is her first, "We the Living." "Anthem" is an interesting short story. "The Fountainhead" is okay, but leaves me cold. "Atlas Shrugged" takes for ever to read and is highly effective as propaganda (in the purest sense of the word) but fails, in my opinion, as literature.

      I reach similar conclusions to Corey, but for different reasons. Being a Christian actually turns me off of a LOT of her philosophy--all altruism is bad, let the weak die, the marketplace and profits are all that matter, and so on--these are oversimplifications of her point, but as "Atlas Shrugged" is basically a political broadside (that gets some things right, in my opinion), it deals in these absolutes which make for HORRIBLE literature.

      But her writings influenced some killer Rush tunes, so there's that.

      Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Adventure games.

      I like Quest for Glory III.

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    5. This talk of Ayn Rand reminds me of my dad's take on North American politics:
      Communists have never lived under Communism
      Libertarians have never lived in Africa

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    6. Ziggi, that’s a great line!

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  4. STEAM SALE: Quest for Glory collection is 35% off

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  6. Hi! Being a long time lurker your absolutely awesome QFG playthroughs have inspired me to try this series as well, I started with #1 yesterday and have been enjoying it so far. I just want to make certain though, I have leather armor, it is enough to have it in your inventory right? I don't need to equip it somehow? I have been majorly sucking at combat but will go for training at the castle first chance to improve this

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  7. Shaddam,

    Glad you're enjoying the posts, and it's awesome that you're giving QfG a try yourself! Regarding armor, you are correct: merely having it in your inventory means its equipped.

    The only game where you have to actively equip weapons, armor, and items, is QfG V.

    Enjoy the games, and we all hope you comment more!

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  8. When I played this several years ago, it was way too easy to max out my strength with those planks with my wizard.

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