Saturday, 8 December 2012

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.


  1. I've actually used dazzle a lot in combats: just dazzle the opponent and he cannot do a thing while you beat him with flame darts.

    1. I guess I always found it more effective to either just use conventional attacks, or large amounts of flame darts. I might have a bit more of a look at spells and combat during QFG2, which has a bit better combat system.