Quest for Glory: So You Want to be a Hero

Sierra’s VGA remake of Quest for Glory (originally ‘Hero’s Quest’) is a gem that blends adventure gaming, role-playing and a little bit of lighthearted humor to produce an extremely fun retro throwback. You’ll enjoy it if you’ve played any of the King’s Quest games – the VGA versions at least – but you’ll notice plenty of differences.

snap1489For one thing the game doesn’t rely on an endless cavalcade of item-based puzzles to push it forward, but instead blends character interaction with a traditional role-playing system and good old fashion combat. The role-playing isn’t just cosmetic, but neither is it as overbearing as your standard AD&D release. Stats have a profound effect on how you play any of your three characters – warrior, magic user or thief. After choosing your avatar, you then allocate a few more points to your base stats, and off you go.

Your class and allocated skills dictate how you’ll play through the entire game – warriors stereotypically use brute force to solve most problems, magic users have an array of spells, and thieves – possibly the most interesting – can sneak past, jump, and climb around obstacles, though they can be pretty nimble in a fight as well. Character classes aren’t etched in stone, and you can potentially add one or two non-native skills to your character at the outset of the game. For instance you can give a warrior the lock-picking skill, though he’ll start out as a pretty goofy lockpick. But through constant practice you can raise his skill level to that of a beginner thief. This is a nice idea, but it can make the game boring. Sometimes you’ll come across a puzzle that can only be solved by raising a particular skill high enough, and you do this by mind-numbingly repeating the same process.

But this is a solid adventure with all of the cool role-playing flourishings. There’s a large world to explore, loot to find, a functional day-night cycle, a small town with several quirky characters, and a loving attention to detail that’s emblematic of the old King’s Quest games. Virtually any object can be examined or used somehow, at times with comedic results. “Stone-age basketballs” mumbles your character as he examines a random pile of boulders at the foot of a rocky mountain. There are also plenty of ways to die, from the obvious – falling from great heights, dying of hunger, getting devoured by some creature – to the truly bizarre – practicing your lockpicking on your nose, causing a fatal brain hemorrhage.

snap1491The game’s difficulty is fair, through you’ll probably get frustrated by some of the puzzles. Remember we’re talking about a Sierra adventure, so you can potentially do something wrong early that will screw the game’s continuity, though this will never be made obvious to the player. One such problem occurs halfway through, where you have to cook up a magical potion which you must use at exactly the end of the game. Fail to do so, and it’s a pretty easy detail to miss, and you’ll be left wondering why you can’t ‘win’ the game after going through so much trouble.

There’s plenty to enjoy with Quest for Glory. Not only does the game embody that old Sierra charm that you’d find with the King’s Quest games, but it also adds its own particular style of fun with its then novel gameplay and quirky humor. All around it’s an adventure worth having.

System Requirements: 8086 CPU, 512 KB RAM, DOS

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