Saturday, 15 December 2012

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)

The next consideration is quests, and there is a certain necessary order to some of them (although several can be ignored if you were going for a speed run). I quickly made my way through most of the available quests, making sure that I had finished everything before assaulting the brigand fortress. By the time I'd saved the Baronet, got the dispel potion, and first met Baba Yaga, it was only about Day 5. At this point, my fighting skills were quite high, and my other skills were high enough to complete the game.
Spielburg, Quest for Glory 1 (VGA, 1992)

I actually completed the game on Day 15, ten days after I could have. General grinding for skills was part of the issue (throwing rocks for ages to boost Throwing, sneaking everywhere for Stealth), but the big sticking point was Magic. Most quest uses for magic require skills of less than 20, so in normal games I'd never really bothered to boost my spells. As spells work the same way as skills (they increase after repeated use), the only thing to do was to buy lots of expensive Magic potions and spend a lot of time in the forest, casting spells at nothing.
Tarna, Quest for Glory 3 (VGA, 1992)

So for most of the day I would spend time killing brigands for their silver, then I would buy potions from the healer and practice magic until it was night. A rest at Erana's Peace (for full rejuvenation), and the cycle begins again! I can only imagine that I will have similar issues in future, but the amazing power of a maximum skill Flame Dart spell is quite impressive.
Meeting the King, QFG3 (VGA, 1992)

I'm sure I'll run into problems in future games, as certain skills are very context-specific. It may not be possible to train everything fully, but I'll be giving it my best shot. Which is a nice lead in to talk about the rest of the games...
The Bone Cave, Quest for Glory 4 (VGA, 1993)

The Quest for Glory series fits together in both style and gameplay especially well considering how much the series evolved over time. It transitioned from EGA to VGA to partial 3D graphics over the course of five games. It moved from a text-parser interface to a fully mouse-driven one. It introduced new characters, and brought back old ones. Not to mention the music, which was always appropriate to each setting.
Erasmus' House, Quest for Glory 5 (SVGA, 1998)

The settings themselves also transitioned, with the winter snow of Spielburg being succeeded by the desert sands of Shapier. For the third game, the action moved to Tarna, which drew from various parts of Africa. The fourth game took a darker turn with the horror-themed Mordavia, a very eastern European place. Finally the fifth and final game, would take us to Silmaria, which bears a certain resemblance to ancient Greek mythology. I've always viewed the fifth game in the series as a bit of a misstep, but I'll discuss that more when we get there.

1 comment:

  1. I remember vividly the grinding nights of my own wanna-be hero.. throwing rocks, climbing repeatedly over the town wall, casting spells, parrying, dodging - and finally a couple of hours of sleep at Erana's.. I am pretty sure I actually completed the game around day 30 for the first time.. If I remember correctly, lock picking was the most difficult skill to max for me.

    I think I managed to max all skills in QFG2 as well, but after that I did not bother anymore..