Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness
The Quest for Glory series has always wowed us with its varied scenery, each game taking place in a very different region of Gloriana, its canonical fantasy realm. The first one had a European medieval motif, the second wore Arabic garbs, and the third sent us on an African safari. The fourth game, however, tops as the most interesting of the lot. Mordavia, the mountainous region where Shadows of Darkness takes place, is ripped straight out of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And if that’s not good enough for you, the story is completely narrated by noted thespian John Rhys-Davies.
The tone in Mordavia is darker than in any of the previous games, replete with vampires and Cthulhu mythos to give it a proper old school horror backdrop. As before, Shadows of Darkness has a rather open-ended world. There’s a small village at the center of Mordavia surrounded by mountains and forests filled with evil. The very first challenge of the game is to find the village, where you can purchase food, board and supplies, visit the abandoned adventurer’s guild (always useful clues there), or just talk to the restless townsfolk to see how you can help. You’ll meet old enemies along the way, forge odd alliances and unravel the game’s twisted plot.
The storyline still appears to unfold at least partially within a sequential manner, where events get triggered automatically after a certain number of game days pass. A crisis of some nature might occur, and it’s your job to be the hero and save the day within a certain amount of time. Events like these aren’t as frequent as they were in Quest for Glory 2, and when they do happen you’re given a fair amount of days to figure things out. Most of the game, however, will be spent exploring Mordavia and solving its many mysteries at your own pace.
People who’ve played previous games will feel right at home in Shadows of Darkness. Not only is the interface and gameplay similar, but the game retains that same attention to detail we’ve come to expect from the series. Virtually everything can be examined, used or combined in unpredictable and sometimes humorous ways. There are multiple solutions to each puzzle tailored for all three character classes – fighter, magic user or thief – with enough possible paths to warrant at least a second playthrough. The character import feature has been kept as well, so players who’ve completed Quest for Glory 3 can play this sequel with their old character stats.
If you’re going to play any of the classic QFG games, look no further than Shadows of Darkness. It truly is a classic and a fine example of excellent story-telling.
System Requirements: 386 CPU, 4 KB RAM, DOS
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