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.|
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.|
|Previously, on The Adventure Gamer . . .|
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?
- 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.|
|Behind the Laibon’s hut. You can see the cage, the Awari board carved into the rock, and Yesufu.|
|As seen in Trial by Fire.|
|As recounted in So You Want To Be A Hero.|
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.|
|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.|
Wrestling Bridge Area
|Walking across the wrestling bridge as Uhura watches.|
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.|
|Fighting a giant ant. A gi-ant?|
|Filling a waterskin from the Pool of Peace.|
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.|
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.
(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!|
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.|
First things first: I fought about 75 flying cobras.
|Green = poison. It’s science.|
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.|
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
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.|
|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!|
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.|
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.|
|The eastmost--and final--jungle screen. There’s the waterfall Kreesha was talking about. And look! A lost city!|
|“I’m an ape-man, I’m an ape-ape-man, I’m an ape-man . . .”|
Aside from more of these guys, Leopmardmen, and those damned flying cobras, I find a monkey in a cage.
|G . . . George? Is that you?|
That’s right. The monkey can talk. And his name is Manu.
|So cute. Hi Manu!|
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.|
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.|
|Hanging out with Kreesha and Rakeesh in their back room.|
- 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 his first post, Chet wondered if I’d regret not buying a rope. So here ya go, Chet. Worry no more!|
|Kalb gives me some juicy gossip.|
|Shallah’s rather simplistic view of things.|
|Harami the thief approaching from the Liontaur section of the city.|
|Paladin is as paladin does.|
|You can see the fruit and the fire opal in a circle of stones on the rocks.|
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.
|Giving Harami food.|
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?
I give Harami some food, which he appreciates, and he tells me to make some peace so he can get out of Tarna!
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.|
|What Salim sees every time he closes his eyes.|
|Answering the “sword” question.|
|Uh oh . . .|
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.|
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