Friday, 1 August 2014

Quest For Glory II: Trial By Fire

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Quest For Glory series is one of my personal favourite game series of all time. It blends elements of adventure gaming with solid RPG mechanics, and remains entertaining even through repeated playthroughs.

Gate Plaza, home to Ali Chica and later the Fire Elemental.

I've completed the game numerous times previously, so for this playthrough (Playing alongside both The Adventure Gamer and The CRPG Addict) I'm continuing the challenge from the first game: Finish with maximum character attributes. I managed this quite easily in the first game, but this one was a greater challenge. The first game has a maximum of 100 points for any attribute, this one has 200, but it's not the increased numbers that pose the challenge, but rather the reduced opportunity to train in certain skills.

Having 100 for everything makes the game quite easy.

152 Gold sounds like a lot, but adventurers have a lot of expenses!

I began by working on the easy stuff, and since I know my way around the game like the back of my hand, it progressed very well at first. The early parts of the game are quite slow in regards to plot development, allowing the player to become accustomed to the different location and local intrigue. There are a number of time limits in the game, which can be an issue but generally it wasn't an issue to finish the main quest items and leave time for training.

Dinarzad, the money changer (and fellow thief)

Keapon Laffin, funny guy.

Your initial trouble in Shapeir concerns four elementals that will destroy the city without your intervention. There's generally only one way to defeat them, and they show up in a specific order with limited but plentiful time to vanquish them. Generally, there is little difference in how you defeat them depending on character class.
Ali Fakir, Saurus seller.

The Dervish in the desert, by the oasis. A whirl of his beard fetches a good amount of coin from Keapon Laffin (an infinite amount thanks to a bug, later fixed in a patch but still present in the version)

One of the things which makes the first game in the series really stand out is the way each class finds different ways to solve puzzles. Often this was brute force for the Fighter, spells for the Magic User and something a little more crafty for the thief. This second game has far fewer moments like this, and whilst it has class-specific content (well, it relies on certain attributes so someone with a multi-class can do them all), that content is rather brief. The biggest exception to this is the endgame, which is very well done.
From left to right: Houdini, Aziza, Ad Avis, The Dark Master, Zara, Erasmus, Erana, Merlin.

Elementary, dear wizard!

For the Magic User, you get a (somewhat meaningless) upgrade to Wizard (all the cool wizard stuff comes next game) at the Wizards Institute of Technocery, or WIT. You select your sponsor (only the whimsical Erasmus from the first game is available, but it's worth trying to pick the others that have pictures in the main hall), and after an initial very easy test, it's on to the test proper. To continue the elemental theme, you have four challenges each relating to Earth, Wind, Water and Fire. If you've remembered to buy all the spells from Keapon Laffin, this shouldn't be too hard.

Shema's dance, a somewhat odd inclusion to the game!

The poet Omar, definitely not the Sultan.

The thief has to find a fellow practitioner of pilfering peoples prized possessions for profit. A few thief signs later, and you find that the money changer has another side to her. She'll let you know where to break in, and fence your goods too (on a strictly platonic basis, despite the flirting). The easy one is Issur the weapon maker's shop, who has a big stash under an anvil. Harder is the second and only other place you can break into in Shapeir, but it's very much worth it and a challenge to get every last item.
Abdulla has a fondness for exaggeration.

The fighter gets a raw deal, and only has the Eternal Order of Fighers initiation, which occurs at the tail end of the Shapeir section of the game. It's not a great bit, and if you do it incorrectly you can foul up your chances of making Paladin. (See also, attacking the Griffin. A tough fight, but counts as a dishonourable action).
Once you've proved yourself in Shapeir, you might get to practice your skills with Rakeesh the Liontaur.

As for the Paladin, well, you aren't officially a Paladin until the very end of the game, so the class specific content is really more a case of trying to be a good and honest person. Not too difficult really!
Julanar, trapped in a tree in the desert. Help from a hero required!

Once the Elementals are out of the way, there's a little quest to solve to get the ingredients for a dispel potion. It wouldn't be a Quest for Glory without a dispel potion recipe, and as usual some parts are easy and others harder. One potion cures Ad Avis' apprentice Al Scurva, One is for the Emir Arus Al-Din, and I can't remember if the third one is required at all. Just a spare I guess!

I guess this part is optional, but helping Al Scurva here does give you a warning about Ad Avis (not that it does you much good)

After you've managed to free the man from in the beast (familiar eh?), it's time for the caravan to Raseir! You can actually walk to Rasier earlier in the game (takes a hell of a long time though), but you're not allowed entry so it's amusing but pointless. The caravan is beset by bandits and such, but thankfully you're a mighty hero and so you arrive in Raseir without much delay.

Dawn, the caravan rides today!

The caravan is beset by a horde of brigands, but that's off-screen.

The aftermath.

Raseir itself is a shadow compared to Shapeir, empty streets and broken tiles. Darkness hangs thick in the air, and evil men rule with an iron fist. The only place of interest initially is The Blue Parrot, a bar owned by the rather despicable Signor Ferrari and filled with film and TV references. Ferrari has a job for a thief, but otherwise has little interest in a hero.

The Blue Parrot. Lovely plumage.

The room isn't quite to Shapeir standards.

Your main job here is to come to the aid of the Emir's daughter, Zayishah, meet the resistance leader (who happens to be Shema's cousin), and fall into Ad Avis' trap. The first merely requires your change of clothes and visa (don't worry, you won't need them!). The second occurs by the accident of you getting arrested and thrown in jail, and the third is a consequence of your escape from jail.

My reversal spell does nothing!

Ad Avis is working with a prophecy, the same as you. He seeks the Iblis, a powerful creature that he wants to use to defeat his master (who we will meet in the future!). Of course, such prophecies are often misinterpreted, and whilst you initially are forced to do his bidding (damn his spells getting past my Reversal spell!), once he has the statue of Iblis, you find yourself a ring.

Dither too long, and Iblis is released with terrible consequences!

In the ring? It's only a Djinni! Much like Aladdin's Genie of the Lamp, he will grant you three wishes. One has to be used to teleport to the Iblis and foil Ad Avis' plans, but that leaves you two to wish for great fortune or a boost to your skills. At this point I must reveal that I had failed in my task to maximise my attributes. I had foolishly not maxed out Communication before leaving Shapeir, and Raseir left scarce ways to improve it. The other problem was Climbing, which was 100 from my imported character but alas, there is not a single place I could find to improve that skill. I had thought I would be able to use two wishes to max out Climbing, but it turns out that isn't possible. So instead I spent it on Communication and Climbing, leaving them at 239 and 150 respectively.

The Djinn bids me farewell. Not in picture: Ad Avis falling to his death.

Disheartened, I headed for the endgame anyway. Initially, I attempted the thief endgame, which is quite different to the others. I enjoyed sneaking through the harem, one of the more amusing parts of a generally very funny game (especially if you like puns). But the battle with Ad Avis was tricky. I decided to try a mixture of the Fighter and Magic User methods, storming the main doors to defeat the guards, then using my magic to defeat Ad Avis once and for all! (Until next time!).

Let the celebrations begin!

Three more games, in fact. Plus a new game: Hero-U!

My reward for my troubles was the eternal gratitude of the peoples of Shapeir and Raseir, a bunch of money, being adopted by the Sultan as his son, and getting a flaming sword from the Liontaur Rakeesh! Not bad for a few weeks work.

Those final stats, negative experience (another bug), shameful 150 in climbing!

I seem to have lost all my money somewhere, but I have plenty of pills so I'll be fine.

I have unfortunately failed in my challenge though, and I'm really not sure what to do about that, other than perhaps playing the VGA remake, where they kindly added in ways to boost your climbing skill.
Pictured: Not actually the next game! QFG3 would be named Wages of War, and it wouldn't be until QFG4 before we see the Shadows of Darkness.

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