Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Quest for Glory III: Wages of War - Scheming Demons Dressed in Kingly Guise

By Alex


“So Alex, what did you do in Tarna today?”

Oh, you know, just:
  • Dispelled an enchanted Leopardwoman; 
  • Won the Simbani initiation rite and became a Simbani warrior; 
  • Got married; 
  • Found the Leopardmen, returned their Magic Drum, and took the Spear of Death back to the Simbani; 
  • Arranged a peace conference between the Simbani and the Leopardmen before King Rajah of Tarna and the Council of Judgment; 
  • Inadvertently caused the outbreak of war; 
  • And even got a little reward for my troubles, if you know what I mean. 
Not to mention I defeated a few timing-related bugs that threatened to deep-six this entire adventure.

That’s right people, it’s time for another thrilling episode of Wages of War!

Here’s another shot of me fighting a dinosaur, just because.

One thing I will say about Wages of War is that there’s no shortage of memorable set-pieces. It’s like the Coles and their team sat around, wondered “What’s every cool thing we can think of about an adventure in the jungle?” and crammed it into this game. About the only thing that’s missing is sailing up a river in a ramshackle boat a la Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen (an excellent movie you should check out if you’ve never had the chance).

For the most part, especially conceptually, I think the team succeeded. You’ll have to wait for the Final Rating to read my thoughts on the execution, but as far as content goes, Wages of War really puts the “adventure” in “adventure game.” It feels like something Edgar Rice Burroughs or Rudyard Kipling or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could’ve written, had they been into Dungeons & Dragons.

When we left off, I had just gotten my prophecy at the Temple of Sekhmet and was preparing to return to the Simbani village. I’ll break this post into three sections: the Initiation, the Leopardmen’s Village, and the Peace Conference.

The Initiation

Striking the victory pose.

The Simbani Take a Prisoner

There’s nothing going on at the Simbani Village, so I start grinding. Back at the spear area, Uhura walks over and challenges me to a spear-throwing contest, sort of how she challenged me to a wrestling match over at the bridge a few days prior.

Solid advice and high praise from a worthy source.

I accept, and my three throws beat Uhura’s. It helps that my throwing skill was nearly maxed at this point. Just adjust for the wind, click near enough to the bullseye, and let ‘em fly.

And then, an interesting thing happened as I went behind the Laibon’s hut to see what Yesufu was up to. He was there, alright, but he was guarding a captured Leopardman in the Simbani’s magic-preventing cage.

Yesufu stands guard.

Yesufu tells me the Leopardman was caught trying to spy on the village, though the Laibon, just says that he was caught “on the edge of the savannah.” This is strange, since Elder Mngoje tells me that the Leopardman was found in the jungle caught in one of the “Little People's” traps. Corey . . . what’s going on here?!

As an aside, I figured out the trigger for the Leopardman’s capture, at least during a fighter/paladin playthrough: The impromptu spear-throwing contest with Uhura. I’m not sure what prompts this to happen as a thief or a wizard.

Whatever the case, the Simbani’s plan is to make him talk and tell them where the Leopardmen’s village is and trade him for the Spear of Death. The only problem is, he doesn’t want to talk. So maybe they’ll kill him.

I sort of stand there, thinking, “Gee, here’s this enchanted Leopardman, and I’m standing here with a few dispel potions burning a hole in my pocket . . . with all the trouble I went through to get the ingredients, it’d be a shame if these potions went to waste.” So I do the only sensible thing and douse the prisoner with a potion of dispel, courtesy of one Salim Nafs, apothecary of the majestic liontaur city of Tarna.

I Think It’s Time to Settle Down

The potion works as advertised, and the results are . . . interesting.

Dispelling the Leopardmanwoman prisoner.

For starters, the Leopardman is a Leopardwoman, and a damn fine looking one at that. Second, all of a sudden every unmarried boy and his brother in the Simbani village is hot to marry her, which sure beats wanting to kill her. Third, the suggestion is floated by nearly everyone that I marry her and use her to find the Leopardmen’s village; Chet’s thoughts on this are similarly entertaining.

*NOTE: I am aware of the “hero’s eyes bulge and tongue lolls out” Easter Egg animation when he dispels the Leopardwoman prisoner. As far as my Internet research indicates, this has around a 5% chance of happening. I really wanted to get a picture for you all, as I have seen it before and it was funny (while it also freaked me out as it was totally unexpected). Alas, after over a dozen reloads, it never happened and I got bored. Sorry.

Some relevant details:
  • Yesufu has already asked his father if he can marry the Leopardwoman.
  • The Laibon has set a high bride price for her: five zebra skins, a fine robe, and a fine spear (here, since the prisoner has no Simbani father to give her away, she becomes the Laibon’s “daughter”).
  • Only Simbani warriors may marry.
  • In order to become a Simbani warrior, a young man or woman must pass the initiation rite.
  • In order to participate in the initiation rite, a young man or woman must give a dinosaur horn to the Laibon as proof of his or her bravery and courage.
  • I just happen to have a dinosaur horn right here . . .

. . . but I reload after giving my horn to the Laibon. I want to go to Tarna and buy the bride price first. See, after conversing with the Laibon, the game automatically makes me hand over the horn. I do something kind of dumb then--I drop the horn from my inventory before talking to the Laibon about the prisoner, and then head on out to Tarna.

This is where the timing bugs come in.

I had a dinosaur horn at this point, but was unable to give it to the Laibion.

Return to Tarna

I’ll get to the bugs in a moment. First,here are the highlights of my return to Tarna.
  • At some point, I gained the paladin’s ability to sense danger. All it does is tell you when you get to an encounter screen that you sense danger if there’s a monster. This also provides some flavor text later in the game that we’ll get to later.

So I’m like Spider-Man, and any time I can be a little more like Spider-Man, I’d call that a win.
  • I ran into a honey bird! I followed it a few screens until we came to a hive swarming with angry bees. Remembering what the honey seller in Tarna said, I dumped honey on the ground, left, and returned to the screen thanks to the little icon of a bee that appeared on my world map. Sure enough, the little fella was wallowing in the honey. He flew away as I approached, leaving a feather behind. Salim was happy to have it, and gave me his last three healing pills while he whipped up a new batch (I thought I already bought his last stash of healing pills my first visit to his shop, but whatever).

Following the honey bird.
  • Rakeesh and Kreesha are very interested in my tale of the dispelled Leopardwoman, and suggest it might be time for me to settle down, if you know what I mean.

STOP TELLING ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE, MOM! (Also: the thought of buying women generally makes me uneasy, but a hero’s gotta hero).
  • In the bazaar, all talk is about the impending war, demonic sightings, and other unsubstantiated gossip and rumors. Shallah the katta heard from a friend about the dispelled Leopardwoman and suggests he has a carved leopard she might like. I decide to buy it, and Shallah gives it to me as a gift in thanks for news from his beloved aunt Shema and his homeland of Shapeir.

Shallah coming through like a real pal.
  • The survivor of the peace mission, Khatib Mukar’ram, has died. He was found dead by the river. The Inn served only rice and fruit that night--no meat is to be eaten during periods of mourning. Rest in peace, Khatib. May you find the respite in death you were denied in life.

Janna says his last name as “Mukar’ram,” “Makar’ram,” and “Mukarram.” The hero has such sensitive ears he can tell the difference.
  • Harami is still miserable, but he doesn’t have anything new to say.

Bride-price in hand, I go back to the Simbani Village, expecting to just give the horn to the Laibon and get on with the show.

But no. Here come the bugs.

Timing Is Everything, Part I

As I got to the village at night, I checked in with Uhura and encountered a minor, though baffling, bug. She tells me some interesting stuff about wooing the Leopardwoman--or women in general, I guess?--but the Uhura: Relationship Doctor subplot ends when the game just refuses to let me question her further on the topic. Or any topic.

Someone needs to make an inspirational quote poster thingie that says “No woman likes to be bought like a cow,” pronto!

NO! DO NOT STOP UHURA! TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!

As you can see in the screenshots, the game suddenly decides I can’t communicate with Uhura anymore. I guess it really is true that men and women speak different languages!

Oh, come on, it wasn’t that bad!

The next day, I soon learn that the Laibon can be very tricky about the order in which things are done. Or maybe it’s the Wages of War programming team. Either way, this whole sequence took over an hour of trying out different things to see what worked.

See, once the Leopardwoman has been dispelled, the game alternates between two conversations with the Laibon--one in which you can ask him about a whole raft of stuff that also allows you to give him the dinosaur horn and start the initiation rite, and another, shorter conversation where you cannot.

What I think the game expects you to do is this:
  1. Visit the Laibon after dispelling the Leopardwoman without the dinosaur horn (conversation 1--this is the one where, if you do have the horn, you give it to the Laiboin automatically).
  2. Visit the Laibon again without the dinosaur horn the next day for more information (conversation 2--this is the one where, if you do have the horn, you cannot give it to the Laibon).
  3. Go out and get a dinosaur horn and give it to the Laibon (conversation 1--where you have the option to tell the Laibon about the dinosaur).



The thing is, after each conversation, you cannot go back and talk to the Laibon until the next day. Usually.

See, if you have the dinosaur horn, but conversation 2 is the next in line, the guard will never let you in for conversation 1 the next day. You have to drop the horn, have conversation 2 with the Laibon, and then go get the horn, and then talk to the Laibon the next day when conversation 1 is next in line.

Nothing else works.

This isn’t the only Laibon-related bug in the game. There’s a famous one where the Laibon keeps putting out his hand and talking to the hero, preventing you from saying anything. He then kicks the hero out of the hut, and you lose honor.

I didn’t get that particular bug, but there was another timing-related issue that popped up after the initiation, which we’ll get to in a bit.

Becoming a Warrior

Starting the initiation.

The big day is here! I am finally able to hand over my dinosaur horn to the Laibon to start the initiation rite. The Laibon tells me that Yesufu has also proven his bravery in a similar fashion, and will be competing against me for the right to marry the prisoner. It’s friend against friend, brother-from-another-mother-against-brother-from-another-mother, all to get the glory and the girl.

I remember the story the Simbani storyteller told me when I found him hanging out by the Awari board several days before. He told a tale of two friends who competed in the initiation rite for the affections of the same women. The boys became enemies, one died during the wrestling bridge contest, and the girl did not marry the surviving boy. It was a warning wrapped in a foreshadowing, and exemplifies how much I appreciate the tight writing and attention to detail in this game, and in this series in general, continuity and plot nitpicks described elsewhere in this post notwithstanding.

Here’s how the initiation rite works:
  • Participants race around the savannah from trial-to-trial and then back to the village.
  • Winning each leg of the race confers points.
  • Winning each trial confers points as well.
  • The winner is not always the most physically strong, but the one who shows the most brains.
  • After comes the spear-throwing and wrestling portions of the initiation.
  • The Laibon will then declare the victor.

Do you think the Laibon will tip the scales in favor of his son, or is he a fair, just, and wise man? Will Yesufu and I remain friends when all this is through? Will one of us die?

Does it get any better than this?

Running around the proving grounds. The track is laid out by spears thrust into the ground, which is kind of cool. Yesufu and I are the little pixelated blobs in the upper-left by the village. The Twisted Tree trial is in the upper-right, and the Circle of Thorns trial is in the lower-right.

Twisted Tree


First up is the trial of the Twisted Tree. We arrive here automatically, with Yesufu proving to be speedier than me. There’s no way to control the outcome of these races as far as I can tell; whether they’re based on stats or are purely scripted remains a mystery.

Elder Mngoje explains that the point of this trial is to throw a spear at the ring hanging from the tree, and whoever takes the fewest moves will be the winner, but that a tie goes to the one who shows the most brains.

Yesufu goes first, and takes two trees to knock the ring down.

I’m up next, and I here’s where I have a bit of an advantage--I remember the way to win from previous playthroughs. If you throw spears, it takes you three tries to Yesufu’s two, and you lose. Instead, you grab the vine from the tree that’s hanging near the Elder (check the screenshot), tie it to the spear, and throw that spear; I suppose I could have used my rope as well.

After my first miss, I pull the spear out of the pit and throw it again, using the same spear to get the ring on my second throw. So although it took two throws, I only used one spear.

I used more brains, so I won the contest.

This is a bit of a cop-out, since if the Elder said “Whoever uses the fewest spears will win,” I could see how using the classic “vine-tied-to-spear” trick would result in a technical victory. It’s very lawyerly, but hey, that’s what I do. And anyway, if we’re talking fewest moves, throwing two spears equals two moves, while taking a vine, tying it to a spear, and throwing that spear is actually four moves, but what do I look like, a mathematician?

“No.”

As it stands, I’ll take the W, but it still doesn’t feel legit.

Circle of Thorns


Yesufu blows by me to win the second leg of the race, arriving at the Circle of Thorns. Usiku the nighttime Elder is here, explaining that the goal of this trial is to be the first to traverse the thorns and get the ring in the middle.

I wonder why we can’t just jump over this relatively low circle of nasty brambles, but whatever.

Yesufu runs to one of the spears in the ground and starts digging through the thorns. I, having the advantage of knowing the solution, push that conveniently placed log into the thorns and use it to step over the wall and get the ring. Now this is a victory I feel good about.

Back to the village!

I’m Having a Flashback to a Magical Talking Fox . . .


On the last leg of this race, I come across Yesufu lying on the path. His leg is caught in some kind of pit trap that prevents him from moving, although it doesn’t seem to hurt. Now, did the Laibon and those running the initiation rite put this there, or was this complete happenstance?

It doesn’t matter. Yesufu needs my help and I’ll be damned if I let my friend suffer, even though I could finally win a race against him. What kind of victory would that be? Win or lose, I’m going to do it fair and square, Leopardwoman be damned! Bros before--

“Watch it, buster!”

Okay, alright, I don’t want to push this joke too far.

Friendship. Honor. All good stuff.

As brothers and friends, Yesufu and I race back to the village. Although he beats me and is declared the winner of the first part of the initiation, I know that I have done the right and honorable thing. It’s a cool moment--how many adventure games or RPGs give the player character honest-to-God friends? In Quest for Glory I, I was kind of on my own. In Quest for Glory II, I had Shema, Shameen, and Abdullah Doo, and I met Uhura and Rakeesh. Here, there’s Uhura and Rakeesh, Kreesha, Shallah, and now Yesufu, and even Harami and Manu the talking monkey. It’s a great dynamic to explore, and I think Wages of War does it very well.

Okay, enough sentimentality! I’ve got a bride to win!

Spear-Throwing, Wrestling, and Other Fun Ways to Spend a Sunny Afternoon

Getting ready to throw spears.

The storyteller is the emcee for the next two events. First up is spear-throwing. Yesufu and I take turns throwing three spears at the stationary target, followed by three chances to hit the moving target.

I manage to beat Yesufu at the stationary target by nailing the bullseye twice (2 points apiece), only missing the mark by a little bit with my third spear (1 point). Yesufu only hits the bullseye once, going down by a score of 5-4.

We both do pretty poorly throwing at the moving target, hitting the fence more often than we hit the target. Yesufu whiffs completely, and I only manage to hit the moving target once, winning this contest by a 1-0 margin and claiming victory at the overall spear-throwing competition.

Squaring off against my friend and rival.

Next up, we wrassle! The storyteller goes over the rules; they’re the same as when I practiced with Uhura. It takes a little bit of time to figure out which animation is Yesufu’s “dodge left” and “dodge right,” so I can counter accordingly, but once I do, I’m able to knock him off twice in rapid succession.

Whenever your opponent makes the wrong countermove, you get to act again. But if your opponent appropriately pulls off the corresponding movement, they get to try to knock you off-balance. I found what worked the best was to keep making whichever movement Yesufu didn’t counter the right way until he fell.

It was a lot harder to knock Yesufu down the third time, but he eventually went down and I was able to claim a victory on this event as well.

And the Winner Is . . .


Back at the village, the Laibon makes an inspiring speech, declares us both warriors, but gives the edge to me, the Prince of Shapeir, the Hero of Spielberg, the visitor from far lands!

It was a great contest and honestly one of the most memorable sequences in the entire Quest for Glory series, mainly for its sheer novelty and fun, and how it furthered the plot while deepening the relationship between two characters. Well done!

The Leopardmen’s Village

Buying a Wife

Asking the Laibon for a boon.

I am whisked away to the Laibon’s hut. Here, I am congratulated by the Laibon and Yesufu, and told that as a new warrior it is my right to receive a boon from the Laibon.

A boon, you say? That’s a nice Drum of Magic you have there . . .

Although I can ask the Laibon about marriage, I instead tell him about peace. The Laibon listens, gives me the drum, tasks me with delivering it to the Leopardmen, and gives his word he will attend a peace conference should I set one up before sending me on my way.

But he didn’t tell me about another timing bug. Oh no. You thought this would be easy?

Timing is Everything, Part II

Of course not. You have to ask the Laibion about marriage in order to get married, and then talk to him about peace. Otherwise, after the Laibion gives you the drum and sends you on your way, you can’t go back into his hut to get married . . . ever. Or if there is a way, I sure never found it.

Thankfully, I keep multiple saves. With a few clicks of a button, I’m married. Whee!

If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free

Uhura dispensing more relationship advice.

As a newly married man, I now need to get my wife not to hate me! It’s pretty clear that I’m just going to use her to find her village and bring peace, but that doesn’t mean I have to be a total jerk about it.

Uhura’s guarding my wife’s cage, and she tells me about a tradition the Simbani have regarding courtship: a gift of beauty, a gift of friendship, and a gift of trust. Uhura reiterates the need to make her my friend when I try to open the cage, warning that my wife is likely to just run off, never to return.

One of these gifts is already in my possession: The carved leopard Shallah gave to me. I don’t know if this is beauty or friendship or trust, but whatever it is, my new bride is genuinely appreciative.


Nothing else will do the trick, so I go back to Tarna, stopping by Kreesha and Rakeesh’s to see if they have any insight into the matter.

What I really want to know is how Rakeesh wooed Kreesha.

And they do! Kreesha elaborates on the Simbani’s custom:
  • Gift of friendship: something lovely to wear, representing the beauty of friendship
  • Gift of something personally meaningful: I think the carved leopard fits this bill
  • Gift of trust: Something they want badly. Kreesha suggests that what my wife really wants is to escape, but suggest I give her something else to demonstrate my trust first.

Full of new wisdom, I go buy some beads and a fine dagger. What else is there to give her?

Checking in with Harami.

I make sure to stop by the bazaar at night to see how Harami is doing and give him some food. He’s appreciative as always, and tells me he really hopes I’m successful in bringing peace so he can leave. I now have the option to tell him about my mission. He reacts as though I’m crazy.

Ah well. Back to woo my wife!

The gifts do the trick, but I’m still unable to free her with Uhura standing guard. I leave the screen and come back when she is guarded by the generic Simbani guy, open the cage, and watch as she clambers over the village wall to freedom.

Now this is how you begin a honeymoon!

As surreptitiously as I can, wondering if I should’ve at least waited until nightfall, I leave the village and venture out into the jungle.

Bringing Peace

At least I know her name now.

The first encounter in the jungle has me feeling like I’m being watched. Using the “Mouth” icon on myself, I call out to the unseen watcher, and out steps my wife.

Her name is Johari, she is the daughter of the Leopardmen’s chief, and she taunts me that I made so much noise everything in the jungle could hear me. Honestly, this explains the endless supply of flying cobras I slogged through the last time I journeyed into the jungle. Note to self: invest a few points in the Stealth skill . . .

Wait a minute--did she just say that her father is the chief of the Leopardmen? Dang! I really married up, didn’t I?!

In any event, Johari’s anger has subsided somewhat, and she maintains that the Leopardmen did not steal the Spear of Death--it was left behind when one of the “cow people” (Simbani) stole their drum. She finds me and my talk of peace interesting in a what the hell is this guy’s deal? kind of way, but is most certainly not amused when I tell her I want to be her friend.

Friendship is kind of an important thing between husband and wife, isn’t it?

But I just--

But--

But that’s not what I said, I--

*humiliation intensifies*

Quick! Change the subject!

Whew!

Showing Johari the drum prompts her to bring me to the village. As a big dumb guy unable to use magic and thereby win my father-in-law’s respect, I have to keep my damn mouth shut and show the Drum of Magic to her father and pray he doesn’t have me killed.

Sounds like my kind of odds.

Hey, that’s racial profiling!

Fade to Black


The Leopardmen’s village looks like the Ewok city on Endor (shout out to my Star Wars nerds!). It’s quiet by day--being nocturnal, the Leopardmen don’t perform the ritual that turns them into leopards until nightfall. We wait until night and chat a bit, and it’s here that the enmity between Johari and I turns into raw animal DESIRE.

“I see you mirin’.”







It’s about damn time I got a little love for my efforts to bring peace! Immature humor aside, I like how Wages of War handles this: it adds a little romance into an already pulpy adventure, and by “fading to black” in this way, it leaves the interpretation of events up to the player without being risque or otherwise inappropriate.

(But the only proper interpretation is that we totally consummated our marriage. Robin Hood would approve. So would this guy.)

Hi, Robin Bro!

But I’m not going to bring peace to the Leopardmen and the Simbani solely through the power of love--there’s only one of me and a whole village of Leopardwomen, if ya know what I mean. So we watch the change ritual, and then Johari brings me before her father and let’s me work my heroic magic.

Observing the change ritual (from a fairly obvious vantage point).

Before I get to the reconciliation between the Leopardmen and the Simbani, I’d like to echo what commenter Helm said about magic on Chet’s most recent Quest for Glory III post:
“It's pretty far out that in this QfG game and the next one, there's a strong theme of magical initiation (in the occult sense), given that in most fantasy rpgs magic is treated as an economic commodity (I have 50 mana, I can cast 10 flame darts before having to [consume mana item of choice] to regain my ability) and that's it.
This comes from the history of the tabletop ur-game of Dungeons and Dragons, where in an effort to avoid skirting even more controversy related to supposed satanic themes in the game, the designers decided to avoid the description of rituals in the core milieu, just the mechanical and economic effects of having magic around.

In QfG magic feels more like a colouring undercurrent that permeates everything than just an economy for killing orcs with flame darts, exactly because of scenes like this spiritual initiation (or the trials to become a wizard in QfG II which were more like a faux-scientific work application of magic for contrast). These non-combat-related magical acts feel like they have consequences and are echoed in the core narrative of the series.

Erana is at the heart of it all, of course. Her presence is like the holy spirit, always there but transparent to the uninitiated mind.

Being virtuous in these games is something the world acknowledges (and your honor stat is raised) because this world is animated with a magical spirit. It notices you, and it wants you to do good.”
Helm nails it. Magic in Quest for Glory is much more than “Zap the bad guys.” It’s everywhere, affects everything, and utility spells like Fetch and Juggling Lights give a lot of verisimilitude (nice word, right?!) to the world that makes it feel truly different than our own. And as Kreesha explains at the beginning of the game, ritual magic is common in Fricana. We see this with the Leopardmen changing, Kreesha’s magic portals, and the creation of the wizard’s staff seen in Chet’s parallel playthrough.

Enough about magic. Let’s talk about the magic of PEACE. All it takes is six easy steps!

Step 1: Introduce yourself with a flourish.

Pictured: all kinds of swag.

Step 2: Give the people what they want.

“Behold the Drum of Magic! Now we can continue our weekly poetry slams!”

Step 3: Speak boldly the words of peace.

Thank goodness for my high Communications stat!

Step 4: Recover lost property with the intention to return it to its rightful owners.

For a spear that purportedly kills whomever it touches, I remain stubbornly alive and well.

Step 5: Strike heroic pose.

Perhaps the most important step of all.

Step 6: Build bridges, not walls!

“Peace in our time!”

Game over, right? All that’s left to do is wrap up a few loose ends, figure out who does what and where, and get those signatures on the dotted line. Peace of cake!

I mean piece of cake. I’ve just got peace on the mind! And cake!

Can you blame me?

The Peace Conference

Peace talks at Tarna’s Hall of Judgment

Finally, the peace conference! It’s boring, but important. I stand off to the side with Rakeesh as the Laibon and the Leopardman chief begin to state their cases in front of King Rajah and the assembled Council of Judgment.

The Laibon speaks first, and he’s a little more strident than I would have personally recommended he be . . .

Starts off strong . . .

This is true. There’s nothing wrong with a recitation of the facts . . .

Okay Mkubwa, honey, this is a peace conference. Let’s use our helping words . . .

If I were the Laibon’s lawyer right now, I’d be waving my hands like “Shut up, SHUT UP!

I’m not sure what the Laibion’s strategy is here, but whatever it is, it makes Rakeesh’s and my paladin danger sense start buzzing like crazy.


This is exactly what you want to hear at a highly contentious peace conference.

The Leopardman chief responds to the Laibon’s charged words by murdering him with a magic spell.

Honestly, in light of the Laibon’s rudeness, this reaction is completely understandable.

Yesufu, predictably, throws his spear through the Leopdardman chief’s--aka my father-in-law’s--heart.

“DAD!”

Something weird rises from the Leopardman chief’s body--Rakeesh identifies it as the sign of the demon!


Ah ha! So the demons, whom we suspected were behind this whole thing to begin with, were behind this whole thing to begin with!

Yeah, it’s kind of silly that we wasted so much time figuring out the Simbani-Leopardmen stuff when the real villains were across yon waterfall in yonder Lost City. Couldn’t I have just made my way over there instead of returning magical artifacts to various indigenous groups? Couldn’t an assault on the Lost City have saved both the Laibon and the Leopardman chef's lives? Maybe the thrust of the game could have been convincing Rajah, the Simbani, and the Leopardmen that the demons were behind everything instead of setting up this ultimately meaningless conference?

In light of this, the peace conference seemed like a complete and utter waste. But the plot demanded it, and it does work from a dramatic narrative perspective, so what do I know?

Anyway, Rakeesh tells me to split and find the demons now while I can still get out of Tarna.

While I can still get out of Tarna? What does he mean by this?


Oh.

Session Time: 4 hours
Total Play Time: 9 hours, 10 minutes

Puzzle Points: 352
Paladin Points: 91
Paladin Abilities: Flaming sword, healing, danger sense, honor shield

Inventory: Money, Soulforge, chainmail armor, magic shield, tinderbox, throwing daggers, poison cure pills, healing pills, mana pills, empty waterskin, dispel potion, dried meat, vine, rope, sapphire pin, fire opal, waterskins with water from the Pool of Peace

14 comments:

  1. Many excellent moments there. Although I note you skipped on returning to Tarna again after Johari escaped the first time... Of course, traipsing back and forth so many times does get old.

    Maybe I'm in the minority on this, but I thought the romantic moment with Johari while waiting for nightfall was somewhat strange, abrupt, and even off-putting. My hero would have kept a respectful distance, but I don't think the game allows this choice, so it always seemed a bit immersion-breaking.

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  2. Hi Kirinn,

    I did indeed head right to the jungle after freeing Johari. It just makes sense, although I think that by going back to Tarna you get an extra dialogue option with Harami and a few more points.

    Regarding the smooch with Johari, yeah, it’s a bit abrupt, but a) they’re married, b) they’re obviously attracted to each other, and c) I think it fits with the pulpy old-school vibe (Thrills! Chills! Romance!) this game is going for. Plus it was respectfully done.

    Either that, or I’m completely out to lunch.

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  3. I'm with Alex here, Johari is a damsel in distress trope.

    Reading the dialogue, nowadays I cringe at the misogyny of the advice given to the hero to woo Johari, 'just buy her stuff and she will like you'. I'm glad the world has changed a bit since the 90s.

    Looking back at this though, QfG3 certainly taught an impressionable young Ziggi that you should give girls you like crap and that you should effectively ignore them (Johari). And that you should build healthy equitable friendships with girls that are not love interests (Uhura).

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  4. In my defense, Johari does state explicitly that she doesn't consider the marriage valid, and goes on to rub this in your face before the end credits, leaving my demisexual hero feeling rather rueful (though not for very long, thanks to the Dark Master).

    That paladin danger sense is more humorous than useful. I would've imagined it giving you improved awareness, actually noticing things you otherwise wouldn't have, maybe even an Uncanny Dodging bonus. Instead, a dinosaur looming behind you elicits an oblivious (self-aware?) "Your incredible Paladin instincts warn you of approaching danger."

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    1. The Paladin danger sense is actually useLESS, but it adds flavor to the game, so it gets a pass.

      Increased dodge wouldn’t be awesome, wouldn’t it? Or quests that required its use...

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  5. So I just found out a depressing thing. It doesn't matter if you give Johari the gifts or just open the cage right away (except for your score). It doesn't matter what you say to her in the jungle encounters. It doesn't matter what you say to her outside the Leopardman village--you can say nothing at all and just click off the screen. No matter what you do, or don't do, that screen ends with a kiss. There are some other things like that, too. I'll talk about them in a future post on my blog.

    In general, it seems that the fighter/paladin's experience is loaded toward the Simbani side while the wizard has to prove himself to the Leopardmen. I'm curious now what happens with the thief.

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    1. Really? That is a bummer. Don’t tell me QfG III is the Leisure Suit Larry V of adventure/ROG hybrids.

      (You can literally do nothing in Larry V and still win. For real—check out my “Final Rating” post).

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  6. The timing bugs were caused by trying to give the game an open-ended feel - not constraining players to do things in a particular order - while also trying to deliver a coherent narrative. Various actions and events trigger others, which is great except when the player has triggered two or three in the same place. That's where the game needs to decide which event is active.

    Each set of dialogue options was tied to an event because it was simpler to design and program the game that way than to have a huge monolithic conversation simulator that would add or remove dialogue options as appropriate.

    Hero-U has the same event-based system due to practicality. I'd love to make a game with a more AI-based conversation system, but that would make both the programming and design extremely hard. We have some extra responsiveness to player actions through a "tag" system that affects which options appear in each menu.

    Even with that simplification, we've been in Alpha testing on Hero-U for about eight months and still spot a few incorrectly-used tags every week. No game at Sierra had the luxury of that long a test period, so the surprising thing to me is how rarely "timing bugs" surfaced. They're pretty much inevitable given the number of cases each character had to handle (all in 64K of memory - the maximum code size that could live in memory at a given time).

    Embarrassing, but inevitable. :-) (I wasn't on the programming team for Quest for Glory III, but I imagine I would have made the same mistakes or similar ones.)

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    1. Nothing to be embarrassed about, Corey. Games are tricky things to create, and on the whole I'd say you and your team did a great job in preserving the sensation open-endedness, timing bugs be damned.

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  7. The untwist of demons being the true villains is indeed disappointing. Better would have been not to mention them right at the introduction, but subtly introduce them later - several NPCs could talk about them in optional conversations, for instance.

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    1. It is pretty much RIGHT THERE from the beginning. Some mystery wouldn’t have been bad. Still, the plot doesn’t get in the way.

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  8. hi alex

    i'm stuck here with a bug - i don't know if it's scummvm or what - where between returning the drum and spear and
    having the leadership conference, i have to speak to rakeesh to get the paladin sword.

    when i go speak to rakeesh and wife who are spooning in the magic shop, they just talk as if nothing has happened - even mentioning that i returned the drum doesn't make anything happen.

    do you have a save game from around here so i can continue my playthrough? maybe just put it on a dropbox or something?

    thanks!

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    1. PS i'm loving this playthrough - it is the first time i'm actually playing the game while reading you and chet and it is amazing!

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    2. Hey there. Glad you like the playthrough! Regarding getting the Paladin sword, are you a fighter who just turned into a paladin? I’m not sure how that works.

      I can see if I have a save from before getting the spear. As a paladin, there’s no in-between returning the artifacts: once you return the drum and get the spear, the peace conference starts automatically.

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