(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)
Is this another trap or just the brigands being so dumb that they need to label their non-traps? Oh well, that’s why God invented save games. Happily, this bridge holds. There are also triplines all over the place, but once I investigate them, my character automatically walks over them without setting them off. I AM ALL THAT IS THIEF.
Inside the brigands’ hall is a tricky section where three guards (who look — coincidentally, I’m sure — like the Three Stooges) keep trying to get into the room. I can’t fight them; they’re instant game over if they come in. So I have to keep moving around to block the different entrances, topple some candles to stop their advance, then leap up on the table and bring the chandolier down on their heads. It’s actually tricky in terms of timing to do all of this, and I had to reload about a dozen times until I got the pattern just right.
Well, Mr. “Me” here is that laughing warlock I’ve heard so much about, who is also Yorick, the jester who supposedly went off looking for the Baron’s daughter. Seems like he got mixed up in a bad crowd, now didn’t he? The room is tacky, covered in smileys and whatnot, and it’s also extremely weird to navigate. Like a fun house.
Now Yorick claims that he’s here in disguise as a warlock but still wants to help Elsa. The problem isn’t Yorick — it’s Elsa:
Navigating this room requires figuring out which door goes where, all while avoiding trap doors and Yorick’s attempt to throw fruit at you. Again, if he knows that I’m here to help and he’s all for it, why is he doing this to me? Happily, all of this is a lot easier to beat (and less deadly to slip up) than the previous room.
This brings us to the brigand leader, Elsa. She’s… not happy to see me, if that sword didn’t give it away. Actually, she’s still cursed by the Baba Yaga and can’t remember who she really is. So I give her a face full of dispell potion, which wakes her up.
Huzzah! That’s two kids and two curses down. Naturally, Elsa and Yorick can escape with her amulet but I can’t, so she gleefully leaves me behind as brigands attempt to knock down the door. That’s the thanks I get? I snatch up the magic mirror on the table and dash out the secret passage.
The mirror makes defeating Baba Yaga a trifle — I merely point it at her while she’s trying to turn me into a frog (yet again) and the spell bounces back on her. In her anger, she sends me outside and her chicken hut flies off. I don’t know whether to question why the hut has chicken wings and legs or the fact that chickens can’t, y’know, fly, but hey, I won!
It’s back to the Baron’s castle for a well-deserved celebration, as I am officially crowned the Hero of Spielberg. I’m sure this picture has a lot of Sierra in-jokes going on, although I’m most drawn to the Starfleet officer on the right-hand side.
For a game that I had never heard of nor played until recently, Quest for Glory is undoubtedly one of the best old-school Sierra titles I’ve experienced. It’s certainly unique, with a hybrid adventure/RPG setup and three classes with their own playstyles.
I loved how many of the puzzles had several solutions and how the world felt cohesive and immersive. After bumbling about for a few weeks now, the forest of Spielberg will forever be remembered by me as a “real” place with iconic locales and characters. Major props go out to how the game allows you to explore and solve it (mostly) in a non-linear fashion, giving you time to establish yourself and build up your inventory and stats.
On the down side, the RPG mechanics are certainly lacking. I wasn’t a huge fan of how you needed to do repetitive tasks to level up skills, nor how bland fighting was. Combat should have been exciting, but ended up being annoying speed bumps between where I was and where I wanted to go. From start to finish, every encounter played out pretty much the same.
As a thief, I only got to steal from one house (there was another one, but I couldn’t get in) and only had to sneak once or twice. It didn’t really feel like a huge difference in playstyle. And all of that gold I ended up getting mostly went to waste, as there wasn’t much to buy.
Quest for Glory is funny, interesting, and lacks a lot of hardcore frustration that was present in early Sierra titles. This VGA remake version looks pretty good, with colorful sprites and some hilarious animations. I won’t be going into the next chapter of the series, at least for now, but I’m glad I got to play through the original at least once.