Friday, 28 December 2012

X-COM: Research & Development

My first month in charge of X-COM was a busy one, with four UFOs and a terror mission to keep me busy. While this has cost me the lives of many soldiers, it has also resulted in the capture of a variety of useful alien technology. From Alien Alloys to Mind Probes, all of this stuff will require careful research back at base before it can be put to use.

The research tree in X-COM is of great benefit to the game. It allows you to make a judgement call on what you'd like to research, opening up different benefits depending on your choices. In the early game, these choices can be very important. With few scientists to begin with, your progress will be slow on any items of alien origin, but there are a few other options to begin with.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

X-COM: Terrorized

My first terror mission, something I was not looking forward to. Most missions you have a certain advantage, even when you are using inferior equipment. On a terror mission, everything changes. They have a massive effect on how the X-COM project is viewed by funding nations, and it's a very bad idea to ignore them. On the other hand, a successful mission can give you a vital boost when you receive your monthly funding.

My first problem was the time of day, it was midnight in Russia, and that's generally a very bad thing when you are considering a mission. The aliens have far better night vision, which puts your soldiers at an even greater disadvantage. I attempted the mission three times at night, but found my squad getting annihilated within a few turns. I decided to reload, and wait until daylight. Terror missions are time limited, so you have to gauge this accurately, but I did manage to get my Skyranger and fourteen soldiers to land during the day. This time, I would succeed!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

X-COM: UFO Defence

Here begins my attempt to beat the classic UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994). It's a task I think I've only completed by cheating, so this time I'm going to be giving it a more honest attempt! For those interested, there's a variety of interesting things you can change with a hex-editor, with instructions only a quick web-search away (I may post about it later). I've started the game on the easiest difficulty, because strategy games aren't my forte.

Spielburg base, Turkey. In the far future of 1999!

I've decided to start my first base in Turkey, as it gives me good coverage of a large number of countries, and named it after the Quest for Glory starting town, Spielburg (all soldiers will be named after characters from that game). Obviously the next base will be for North America, as the USA is the biggest backer of the X-COM project (many people also consider it the best place to start, but I'm playing on easy, so it shouldn't be a problem).

Kickstarting: Xenonauts

I've already talked a bit about UFO: Enemy Unknown on this blog, and it's recent reboot XCOM. But there is another contender for UFO's crown, and that is Xenonauts. I was aware of Xenonauts before the Firaxis XCOM, and had been watching it closely as the small indie team worked hard to produce something amazing. When the Kickstarter revolution got underway, Goldhawk Interactive decided to try their luck, and they ended up raising over $150,000, three times what they'd asked for.

All pictures from

For their interpretation of the turn-based strategy classic, they decided to set their game in during the Cold War. It's certainly an interesting premise, and I really like the idea of the setting being in a little-used historic period rather than some of the mainstays of gaming (like WW2 or near-future). The uniting of the Cold War superpowers to combat a common enemy is a particularly nice touch.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Enemy Unknown

There are certain games that stick with you for many years, evoking strong emotions. Those games are the ones that you'll go back to time and time again, not just for the nostalgia but also because they were some of the best of their kind. UFO: Enemy Unknown (Also known as X-COM: UFO Defense) was one of those games for me. Released in 1994 by Microprose, it put you in charge of mankind's last hope of defence against an alien menace that threatened to enslave and destroy all of humanity.

A true classic, anyone that played it at the time will tell you stories of how they struggled against hidden aliens, panicked soldiers and night-time terror missions. The difficulty made the victories all the sweeter though, and the real fightback begins when you research the alien technology and turn their weapons against them.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Kickstarting: War for the Overworld

I've been watching War for the Overworld for what seems like a long time. It started life as a fan-made remake of Dungeon Keeper, but as the team began their work, they decided that making an original project (albeit heavily inspired by Dungeon Keeper) would be a better idea. While fan-made remakes can be impressive, there is always a threat of a closure due to copyright infringement. I think going for something new is a much better idea, and it's the sort of game people have been desperate for.

War for the Overworld is a real-time strategy game, where you play the part of a dungeon-owning "Underlord". You must build your fortress, expand your territory and defeat the heroes that will come and try and stop you. It's a well-known premise for those people who've played Dungeon Keeper, and I've no doubt there will be many similarities between the two. For those that didn't play Bullfrog's classic Dungeon Keeper games, you can pick them up quite cheaply over on

A Hero's Journey

I realised I hadn't written much about the challenge I set myself, so I thought I'd cover that a bit. It's also a good opportunity to have a little look ahead at what the Quest for Glory series has in store. If you can recall to a few posts ago, I'd set myself the challenge of getting every skill and spell to their maximum values. For the first game, that would be 100, and it required more time than it did any sort of real proficiency.
Spielburg, in Quest for Glory 1 (EGA, 1989)
Of course the best reason for doing this is due to the magic of the Quest for Glory games. At the very end of the game, you are asked to create a special save file, which holds your character data. When starting the next game in the series, you can carry over that file and character, with all the skills, spells and so on that you had before. All the hard work in the first game will pay off handsomely in the second, and so on.

Shapeir, in Quest for Glory 2 (EGA, 1990)
My thoughts upon starting were all about what to concentrate on, what to start with, and so on. There's no real "correct" way to do this, because you've got more than enough time to gain your skills in whatever way you see fit. I decided it would be best to begin by working on the main physical and fighting skills (Strength, Vitality, Weapon Skill, etc.). These skills wouldn't require much thought, as they will increase with every fight and while performing other actions too. Working at the stables is a great way of building your characters physical stats, and it gets you in a better position before you have to move onto fighting monsters.
Desert outside Shapeir, QFG2 (EGA, 1990)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Countering the Curse

This hero's journey ends with a confrontation, but it is not force of arms but a little knowledge and quickness of wits that finishes this Quest for Glory. When I last posted, I had just saved Elsa von Spielburg from the Brigand Fortress, having previously saved her brother Barnard. The only task left to me was to deal with the curser, one ogress named Baba Yaga.

Baba Yaga is a creature from Slavic folklore, depicted in this game as an Ogress, and a powerful witch. The Baron attempted to remove her from his valley by force, and so she cursed him and his family. Her hut is found in the north-west of the map, and is surrounded by a wooden wall, adorned with skulls. The largest skull makes a deal with you, he's jealous of his fellow skulls' glowing eyes. Find him a glowing gem for his own eyes, and you can meet with Baba Yaga.

Finding the gem requires making another deal: deals within deals! There's an giant to the east, Brauggi. Through alliterative rhyming he lets you know he's looking for fruit, and in large quantities. For making booze of course, to see him through the winter. Fifty apples from the centaur at the market later, and a glowing gem is yours!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Escape from Brigand Fortress

The grind towards full skill and spell points continues, and it doesn't make for good reading so I'll just say that I could have finished the game within the first week of in-game time, but spent an extra week killing brigands and working on those skills. The benefit of that was 100 in every skill, stat and spell, barring Climbing, which I'll mention later. So it was on Day 15 that I decided to assault the Brigand Fortress.
Frontal assault: Not for the faint of heart!

The entire game is leading up to this point, which could be called the end-game, if it wasn't for the dispatching of Baba Yaga, which comes later. Entering the fortress can be done in two ways, the first being a direct assault. This particular method is the one I chose, only because I usually don't and I wanted to see how difficult it would be. It turns out it's not actually difficult, provided you can easily overcome three brigands and avoid a lot of arrows. The second method involves a secret passageway, which you find out about from a meeting between Brutus and Bruno.

Bruno and Brutus, talking about me

The secret passageway is found by the Antwerp, which is a big blue, bouncing thing. Easily avoided,  you next need to actually find the passage, which is hidden by a rock door. Again, how you open this can depend on your character, but the easiest way is to take the key from Brutus' body after you eavesdrop on his meeting with Bruno. The tunnel is guarded of course, by possibly the hardest monster in the game, Fred the cave troll. There's a pass phrase to get him to leave you alone, but I always think it's worth defeating him. Doing so nets you a bit of cash, and the satisfaction of knowing that there's nothing left to be frightened of!

One Antwerp, just as odd as it looks

Entry to the fortress proper requires getting past a guard of an entirely different calibre, the Minotaur Toro. Your choice here: Attack (Fighter), cast Calm (Magic User) or sneak past (Thief). Sneaking is certainly the hardest of the three, with a very high stealth skill required, as well as good timing. Once you're past Toro, you face the wall to the fortress (They didn't skimp on security!). Climbing this wall is the only way I could get my skill to 100, so I spent a little time here. Obviously I had to defeat Toro to do that, which was worth it anyway because he carries a decent amount of silver with him.

Also prone to a bit of gloating

The fortress itself is all about trial-and-error, and in some respects could be considered the weakest part of the game. There's only really one way to get through, so make sure you save often as you progress, and try not to hang around too long in one place!

The Three Stooges

After your meeting with the three stooges, you come face-to-face with the Brigand Warlock, who turns out to be none other than Yorick, faithful protector of the Baron's daughter, Elsa. He offers you the not-quite helpful advice that you should have a dispel potion, which you should really have by now, otherwise you better have an earlier saved game! His room is another maze, and again trial and error will see you through to the final chamber.

Hope this works!

Finally, you get to meet the Brigand Leader! Who happens to be a young girl, also known as Elsa von Spielburg. But we knew that already, otherwise why would we be here? Throwing the dispel potion over her returns her memory (and also a change of clothing), and we're one step closer to countering the curse! Yorick returns to let you know about the secret way out, and you better grab the mirror before you leave otherwise the game finishes rather abruptly, with a non-standard game over. (It's quite clever really, there are only a few things you need to do to complete the game, but obviously full completion requires you to accomplish the entire counter-curse)

A Magical Transformation

The Dryad, Fairies and the Hermit

Before I go and rescue the Baron's daughter, kick Baba Yaga's arse and save the valley, I'll first need to prepare, and chief amongst those preparations is sorting out a dispel potion! While wandering the valley, you come across a white stag. Following it leads you to a secluded and protected glade, which is inhabited by a Dryad - a sort of tree/nature spirit.

The Dryad asks you if you're a friend of Nature (and when a Dryad asks you if you're nature's friend, you say YES!). To prove it, you're asked to go and fetch a seed from the rare Spore-Spitting-Spirea plant, an easy task only a few screens to the north. This being one of those class-specific tasks, you can get the seed by a few methods (the magic user even gets two different ways). Upon retrieving the seed for the Dryad, she tells you about the dispel potion and donates a magical acorn for it. The potion can be made by the Healer, so you need to go gather the ingredients.

The ingredients include: A Magic Acorn, Green Fur, Fairy Dust, Flying Water and Flowers from Erana's Peace. The acorn you get immediately, and the flowers you should already have retrieved by now. The rest of those ingredients require a little leg work, but can all be accomplished in a day (with the Fairies only coming out at night).

The Meeps Peep is where you'll find the Green Fur, and for Magic Users you can get yourself a spell scroll too (Detect Magic). The Green Meep is a friendly fellow, and chatty to boot, but doesn't like you getting too close.

The Fairy Dust requires a wait until after sunset, and to know that the fairies hang out at the mushroom circle. At first they don't want much to do with a smelly human, but if you put on a show for them (they like a bit of dancing!) they'll grant you some fairy dust. Just remember to bring a flask!

Finally, you need some flying water. This requires a little lateral thinking, or observation (or both I guess). One of the scenic locations in the beautiful Spielburg valley are the Flying Falls, a waterfall in the south-east of the map. The water there seems to jump, or fly, off the rocks. One flask-full later, and you're all set!

Worth a look while you're there is the door by the ledge on the rock face. Turns out it's the home of Henry the Hermit, who is one in a long line of successful hermits, and will happily talk at you until you can't take any more. For a little food and some games of cribbage, he'll let you stay the night, and he'll also let you have a spell scroll if you've got the inclination (Trigger, which triggers magical things).

A quick return to the Healer to mix things up, and you have in your hands an exceedingly valuable, single-use Dispel Potion. Now you'll be able to tackle part three of the counter-curse: Rescuing Elsa!

Spells and Spellcasters

This seems like a good place to talk about my favoured character class in Quest for Glory: The Magic User. It's been a long-held preference for me to use magic-proficient characters in RPGs, they often seem to have the most interesting abilities. It's no different in Quest for Glory, where the Magic User's spells are of prime importance when navigating the puzzles and monsters found in and around Spielburg.
Magic Mountain

Offensively, the Magic User starts with the Zap spell, which magically charges his dagger during combat. This is of limited use, especially early on, and can easily be overlooked. Once properly trained, a dagger with Zap can do a large amount of damage (although it dissipates after a single blow). The only other offensive spell in this first game is Flame Dart, which is a simple fire spell. More crucial for the Magic User, the Flame Dart will become his primary attack, and as with Zap it can become massively powerful when trained appropriately.

What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

The rest of the spells available are situational, and often just useful for specific puzzles. It can sometimes be rather obvious what spell to use at what time (Open to open a door, Calm to get past a monster), but the later games present more appropriate magical challenges. As with all of the characters, there is a real progression (not just numbers increasing!) over the course of the games, but I'll be covering that in due course! For now, the relative ease of this game is almost fitting, as you are supposed to be a beginner hero.

He even has a copy of Tobin's Spirit Guide!

For the magically equipped in Quest for Glory 1, there are a few locations of interest, places where you can get spells (such as Zara's magic shop), places to use those spells, but the big one is Erasmus' house. It's a funny place, befitting a funny person (both funny-ha-ha and funny-strange!). It begins with a climb up a mystical mountain, to a pink (or is it purple? EGA isn't the clearest!) house. Upon reaching the house you'll be asked questions three (which may be familiar to fans of a certain British comedy film), and a wrong answer will send you back down the mountain.

Upon entering the house, you're told to progress up the stairs without delay, but this entrance room is filled to the brim with a variety of references to previous Sierra adventure games. These sorts of things are common with Sierra, along with pop-culture references (some of which are a little dated by now!). Proceeding upstairs, we're introduced to the tea-drinking Erasmus and his familiar, Fenrus. These guys will return in most of the other games, so it's worth getting to know them.

The Mage's Maze, the player must take his creature from top-left to bottom right.

Erasmus is a rather useful source of information about all things magical, and he'll tell you everything you need to know about Zara, Erana, Baba Yaga and the curse. He's also missing a mirror, and being a good hero you'll want to look out for it! If you can stand his jokes and sometimes stubborn manner, and you've got a certain amount of magical ability (Specifically, the Open, Flame Dart, Trigger and Fetch spells) he will challenge you to a game of "Mage's Maze". It's good practice for your spellcasting, and although he's supposed to be a powerful wizard, it's also not that difficult. The prize is another spell, "Erasmus' Razzle Dazzle", or just Dazzle. Not a particularly useful spell, to be honest.
Beginner's luck? Ha!

The Mage's Maze is a series of pathways, along which you have to guide a small magical creature. There are obstacles in the way, which you'll need to use your spells to manipulate. Tunnels can be unblocked with Open, with bridges and ladders moved with Fetch. Trigger gets used to alter the size of your creature, to allow it to pass through tunnels and so forth, while Flame Dart creates a flame which your creature is attracted to. On this instance, I completed the maze on my first attempt. This was mainly due to my previous knowledge of the game, and also because I'd done a lot of practice beforehand, to make sure I had the appropriate magical ability.

Meeting the Chief

Today we see what Spielburg valley has to offer in the way of alternative activities, because an aspiring hero can't be expected to spend all of his time on a single quest. Firstly, let's remember that we're actually a thief (not very heroic, but the ends justify the means, don't they?). Obviously thieving is done in darkness, so it's worth taking a look around town then.

The quiet night, perfect for thievery!

Unfortunately most doors here are barred from the inside, which is a damn shame. It gives you a good opportunity to practice though, although hanging around too long can rouse even the sleepiest town sheriff. Accessing the Thieves Guild is a similarly tricky business. It seems they keep themselves hidden, although I suppose I would too. A little trip down a dark alleyway though, and you can run into a couple of fellow rogues, and once you prove who you are it's time to meet the Chief!
The old "glowing coin" trick

The Chief thief is found beneath the pub, and you join him after you tell his Goon friend the appropriate password. Here, you can hone your knife skills and earn some coin by playing Dag-Nab-It (darts with daggers!), and fence stolen goods - once you pay for membership. There's a couple of houses to steal from and make use of Boris the fence, but there's no reason to spend too much time here.
Crusher isn't the most friendly of fellows

I'm glossing over the thieving, which is quite fun, mainly because it's also very easy. You can rob both houses with low skill levels, and make a decent profit. It's a shame the magic user doesn't have a good way to make such money! The early game for a magic user can be punishingly difficult, as you're useless in combat, and magic potions cost an arm and a leg. Anyway, money gained is money spent, and coupled with the cash from rescuing Barnard, I could afford to buy the remaining spell (Flame Dart), some daggers, and some chain mail (technically for the Fighter, but all classes can wear it with no impediment).
From left to right, Crusher, Boris the fence, and The Chief

Also of course: Lots of potions. At this stage in the game, I was just trying to gain skill points as quickly as possible. There are certain ways to gain skills rapidly, but spells are much harder. Whereas a Vigor potion will restore all of your stamina for 20 silver, a Magic potion will only restore half of your magic points for 60 silver! It is worth pointing out that you don't really need any spell to be about about 35 except Flame Dart, if you plan on killing anything with it. Once Flame Dart is at 100, you can kill a Brigand with two hits, and it's very effective on many of the monsters.

Winning at Dag-Nab-It

My general grinding day consisted of battling brigands (plenty of money to be made), and then spending that money on magic potions. The magic potions wouldn't last long, as I practised my spellcasting, but the end result was super-powerful spells. Limited use at this stage, but it will make future games very much easier! Another good tip was to hunt Trolls. Each troll would have a bit of cash (at least 20 silvers) and you can sell the beard for two healing potions (immensely useful). Other monsters aren't quite so valuable, and often more deadly too.

My stats on Day 5, still a long way to go!

The only skills I had real problems maximising were Climbing and Stealth. Stealth only gets raised when you have "used" it, despite sneaking everywhere. In the forest, you occasionally get a message to say that you've successfully hidden from a monster, and this would raise Stealth very slightly. It took much movement from screen to screen over a long period for that to become maxed out. Climbing on the other hand, quickly raised to about 85 or so, and then hit a wall. It turns out the only place to maximise that particular skill is in the Brigand Fortress, which is kind of an odd place to spend practising.

Next time: We meet various odd things, but none odder than a certain Wizard.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Baron and Baronet

The main quest is split into three parts, which are revealed when you ask certain characters about the "counter-curse", which goes a little something like this:

"Come a Hero from the East,
Free the Man from in the Beast,
Bring the Child from out the Band,
Drive the Curser from the Land."

Well, I've already arrived from the East, so I guess I should start on that second part. The biggest benefit of this particular quest is that it can be quite simple to complete, and can get you quite a lot of money too. I'll need all of that money (and more) for the vast amount of potions I'll be drinking, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

A little ways east of Erana's Peace (as mentioned in the previous post) lies a cave, protected by a rather angry and pink ogre. He attacks you on sight, and runs towards you, but is thankfully rather slow. Your options here are to fight (Fighter), cast Calm (Magic User) or... run past him I guess? (Thief). This isn't really a great chance for the Thief to shine, but once you get into the cave things get better.
My first attempt to kill him didn't go well, but I came back stronger!

Once you're past the Ogre (for the record, I killed him, and he was carrying a small amount of cash), you enter the cave. Inside, there's a large bear, which reacts angrily to your presence, but is chained to the floor. There's only really two options here, because you need to get past him (killing him is an option, but certainly not the right one!). Feed him or cast Calm, and he is far less likely to take a swing at you.
Sneaking here isn't the most useful tactic

Now I'm sure you must be thinking there has to be treasure in this room. I mean, after going through all this we better get some sort of reward. As it turns out, there's a kobold sleeping in the next and final room. Around his neck, a key! Everyone knows keys open treasure chests or other important things, so we're going to steal it. Your options here: Kill the kobold (Fighter, Magic User), Sneak up to him and steal the key (Thief). To boost  my skills a little, I decided to sneak up to him, steal the key, and then kill him. I guess I'm role-playing some sort of homicidal kleptomaniac. Also of note, a hidden chest! Searching will find it, or you can cast Detect Magic. A decent reward, but we're not done yet!
Sleeping or meditating?

If you ask around the castle about the Baron's son, Bernard, you'll get told a story about his horse returning without him one day. The horse's side was covered in claw marks, from a large animal. Given line two of the counter-curse, it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Barnard has been turned into a bear! Using the kobold's key, you unlock the chains that bind him, and suddenly he transforms back into the annoying spoilt brat, Barnard von Spielburg.

Seriously, if it wasn't for the gold, you'd still be a bear.

The brat may be ungrateful, but a fabulous 50 Gold coin reward is worth the hassle. Not to mention being able to speak to the reclusive Baron, and have a free stay at the Castle. All in all, not bad for a day's work! (or rather, a few days, since it takes a little bit of grinding before you're quite ready to take on the Ogre and the Kobold!)

A grateful father

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Spielburg: A town in need of a Hero

Ah, the town of Spielburg. At first it seems so safe, even dull. But once you venture outside it's walls into the unforgiving forest, you see the scale of their problems. The Sheriff is quick to inform you that the valley is sealed off thanks to the winter snow, and the forest is filled with monsters and brigands. So far so tough, but there's also the small matter of a curse on the Baron, who has locked himself away in his castle after his children went missing.

Someone who was approaching this for the first time might spend his days wandering around this fair town, looking at all the sights on offer. However, I'm inclined to leave that to better men, and just head to the key locations. First off, I have little in the way of money, so the best place is to find a few ways to get some more. A quick trip to the Adventurer's guild will let you know what quests are on offer, and for what price, but there's always more available if you know where to look.

Onwards to the magic shop, where a mysterious wizard named Zara will sell you (expensive) spells and potions. If I'm to max out this character, I'll need all the spells I can get (spells, like skills, can be increased in effectiveness through use). The first one to buy is Fetch, which lets you take or move objects from a distance. It's first use is only a couple of screens away, outside the walls. The local healer has lost her gold ring, and as it happens a cheeky pterosaur (a mini pterodactyl) has taken it in his nest.

There are three ways to get the ring: by throwing rocks at the nest to dislodge it (Fighter), by using the Fetch spell (Magic User) and by climbing up the tree and taking it from the nest (Thief). On this occasion I decided to climb the tree, if only because it will not only raise my Climbing skill, but also some of my other stats (types of physical exertion have a chance of raising things like Agility, Vitality or Strength).

Handing in the ring to the healer gets you a nice reward, and with the cash you can then afford the Open spell. So far, smooth sailing! The Open spell (available from Zara's magic shop) acts in much the same way as the Pick Lock skill, but also can have other interesting uses. The main use I want it for right now is to head to the north of the valley, where there is a lovely garden.

Several characters will tell you about Erana's Peace, which is a place of safety. Erana herself will be mentioned many times throughout the series, and she created safe spaces for people throughout many lands. This particular place contains a tree with tasty fruit (the fruit can be eaten each day for free, instead of buying rations), and a curious stone. The runes on the surface of the stone hint that there is a gift inside, and so with a quick use of the Open spell, the stone moves aside. In the hollow beneath the stone is a scroll, and once read it grants you a new spell: Calm. This spell will be useful in a few puzzles, but mainly to get away from monsters in the forest while I'm still too weak to take them on.

At this point, it's getting late! You don't want to be stuck at night in the forest unless you're a bit more experienced. So I head over to the castle, where the stables are in need of a cleaning. This is a good way to boost your stats, it gives you a free place to sleep, and you earn a little cash. Definitely a win!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Quest for Glory

Originally known as Hero's Quest until a forced name change, Quest for Glory is one of Sierra's many "Quest" adventure games, but this time with a twist. Quest for Glory wasn't just a normal graphical adventure game, but was also a computer role-playing-game, and is one of the greatest examples of blending the two genres.

The game used the graphical style and interface that I was already familiar with, having played many Sierra adventure game classics before this one. Each location consisted of a (mostly) static background, with your character able to move around and interact with any items, monsters, or people present. These were known as "screens", because of how self-contained they were. Moving towards the edge of a screen would transport you to the adjoining screen. The second game in the series makes light of this, with directions being given to the character in numbers of "skareens".

Your first choice: Choose your character

Your first choice in the game is to choose a character class, and with this essentially choose how you will play the game. The fighter is the most direct character, generally solving problems with brute force and swordsmanship. The magic user, as his name implies, uses magic to solve his problems. The third, and for now final class, is the Thief, master of stealth and cunning. The majority of puzzles in the game have multiple solutions, and it is your choice of class and skills which decide how you will solve them.

Panthro the Thief: Starting stats

Quest for Glory was released in 1989, although I can't quite remember when I first played it. Over the years I've returned to play it again (the first four games are some of my most played games of all time), and I must know it like the back of my hand. The challenge for me this time was to go for a maximum playthrough. This would involve getting 100 points in all statistics, skills and spells. No easy task, through normal play you might only expect to have a handful of skills at 100 and most puzzles don't require high points in particular skills.

Why 100? Well, the cap for the game is set at 100, and is increased every game (QFG2 has a cap of 200 and so on). It's really one of only a few challenges available, and far more interesting than going for a perfect score. To accomplish this, I'm limited to only one of the three available character classes: The Thief. The other classes aren't able to select all of the skills upon initial character creation. This does give one immediate downside however, I'll be missing the Zap spell. This spell, which "charges" your weapon allowing your hits to cause more damage, is only available to magic users. It's a small price to pay though, and so the adventures of Panthro begin!

Monday, 3 December 2012


My name is Andy, and one of my favourite hobbies is gaming, and on the PC in particular. I've been playing games for a rather long time, ever since my Dad brought a computer home for work in the mid-80s. I owe a lot of my interest in technology, computers and gaming to my Dad, who started me out with games like Math Attack (it's educational!) and Alley Cat.
Alley Cat - picture from Abandonia
 Over the years new computers were bought, and new games to go with them. I became enthralled by them, playing games from Sierra, Origin and so on. King's Quest would introduce me to the graphical adventure game, and Ultima IV to the cRPG. I'd be playing them and their sequels for years, even returning to those favourite old games from time to time. Every generation of games has it's blockbusters and hidden gems, and those that made the biggest impact on me will always be fondly remembered.
Monkey Island 2: Lechuck's Revenge

So I guess that brings me to the purpose of this blog, to revisit those old games and try to explain in my own clumsy way what makes them special. My intention is to complete various older games, and throw a few personal challenges into the mix (getting maximum scores for example), but I won't be completely excluding new games. Although I generally play older games these days, there are some new games that grab my attention, and of course these are worth commenting on, and what better place than here? The ongoing Kickstarter revolution will no doubt be something I'll also mention, as I've backed quite a number of projects.

Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero?
 Why start a blog now? My inspiration comes from playing through one classic in particular, "Quest for Glory: So You Want To Be A Hero?" which blended the graphical adventure game and computer role-playing-game in a way I'd never seen before. I had been reading two most excellent blogs cover the game (The Adventure Gamer and The CRPG Addict), and decided to challenge myself to play along with them. Since I had completed the game on more than one occasion already (can't remember the exact number, but lets just say more than five), I gave myself an additional challenge. To read on about that, I suggest you move onwards to the next post!