Quest for Glory: Dryad scavenger hunt

(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

aa1After my midnight adventures for Baba Yaga and a subsequent fight with five — count ‘em, five — goblins, I am tuckered.  I make a dash for Erana’s Peace to get my free food and safe sleep.  Ahh.

aa2One of the biggest drawbacks to Quest for Glory is how confusing it is to navigate.  A good chunk of the world is forest, and with no map to guide you and a ton of repeated scenes (save on artwork storage space, I guess), it’s hard to know where you are and where you’re going.  I eventually resorted to printing out a map from a website, but even still, I’m a little tired of these lengthy strolls through the glades.

Fortunately for my boredom, I stumble upon a white stag, which bounds away.  I follow, dreaming of white stag steaks for dinner.

aa3The stag stops two screens over, where I have an encounter with a tree dryad.  Don’t see a lot of dryads even in fantasy RPGs, so one point goes to Quest for Glory here.  The dryad asks me if I’m “a friend of the forest.”  Well, I’m more a friend of my own pocketbook, but I know what I’m supposed to say, so “yes.”  She then tasks me to get a seed because that’s all tree-huggers can think about.  Seeds and sprouts and sticks.

aa4Another (sigh) long walk through the forest.  Eventually I find these four plants spitting the seed that I need back and forth.  For a long while, I try to knock the seed down using stones that I picked up from the ground, but the seeds go too fast and it never happens.  So instead, I climb up to these rocks, stick out my hand, and pocket the seed as it flies by.  Go me!

I bring the seed all the way back to the dryad, who receives it with a Star Trek reference.

aa5Okay then.  Live long and prosper and all that.

The dryad tells me of some other prophecy (this game has about twelve hundred prophecies, I’ve noticed) that boils down to me gathering ingredients for a potion.  I have some of the items but not others.  Time to scavenger hunt, I guess.

aa6Nearby, goofy ground-living fluffballs named Meeps give me one of the ingredients, some of their green fur.  Can I play the rest of the game as a Meep?

aa7And some water from the Flying Falls…

Since I’m nearby Spielberg, I stop in and spend 400 silvers to upgrade my armor.  Ooh yeah, I’m rough and tough!

aa8The last ingredient that I need is some fairy dust, which only comes from fairies who pop out around dusk in the mushroom circle.  I’ll admit it, this whole encounter had me laughing pretty hard.  The fairies — which are only portrayed as little flickering lights — bicker and banter back and forth.  Their greatest desire is to see me dance, and so for a long minute, that’s what my character does.  Then one fairy (Dewdrop, I believe) admits to having a crush on me while another (Mary) gives me my fairy dust.

 

aa9Of course, then I make the mistake of entering the circle and being forced todance to death.  The boogie music here is worth it, however.

With all of the ingredients collected, I return to the healer’s hut where she (rather anticlimacticly) makes a dispel potion for me.  Hope this pays off later!

Quest for Glory: The Baba Yaga’s task

(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

Well well well… we’re finally crossing the threshold of the dreaded Baba Yaga, the dreaded villain of the game.  Let’s stare evil straight in the face and give it a raspberry, shall we?

b1EGADS.  That thing fell off the ugly tree, hit every branch coming down, and then got plastic surgery to look even worse.  Well done, game.  That’s substantially more terrifying-looking than I anticipated.

Baba Yaga isn’t too pleased that I showed up, and since she knows I’m trying to be some sort of hero, she turns me into a frog and prepares to toss me into a pot for dinner.

b2All I’m thinking is that a frog is a mighty poor supper.  Not much meat there.  Why not turn me into a chicken or a pig?

At least Baba Yaga gives me a chance to live — she sends me out on a task to collect a mandrake root from the graveyard at precisely midnight and to bring it back by dawn, or else I’ll die.  Awesome.  Time to fuss with Quest for Glory’s annoying time system yet again.  The problem is that it’s dawn and I have to make 18 hours pass.  As far as I can tell, I can only get it to skip ahead if I’m tired (as in my SP is down) by an hour.  So I look for ways to fart around.

b3Killing weak goblins for money and skill points is as good a time waster as any other.  There’s a nice clearing where several goblins congregate, so I hang out here and grind for a while, then rest, then grind some more.

b4So nice of the goblins to line up and wait patiently for their turn.  At least as a thief, combat in this game is beyond dull.  Click click click click click click click.  There are a couple of different types of swings, a defensive move, and the option to throw out spells, but mostly it’s just clicking when the enemy isn’t defending.  Then it’s just a matter of if their red bar runs out before yours.

Was all CRPG combat this dull back in the day?  Honestly, I would love for there to be an old-school turn-based menu combat system here instead of whatever this is.

b5Finally — finally — midnight rolls around and I stroll into the graveyard, only to find ghosts partying it up.  I love how being a ghost in this game means that you don’t whine and moan about your undead state, but instead you get to dance the night away.  That’s awesome.  Less awesome is the fact that they suck my lifeforce away.  Time for a restore and to quaff an undead ungent!

The ungent makes me temporarily immune to ghostie graps, so I stroll in, yank the screaming mandrake root out, and dash (ever so slowly) back to Baba Yaga’s hut.

b6After all that fuss, the Baba Yaga uses the mandrake… to make mandrake mousse.  Is her tummy all she thinks about?

b7I concur with with statement.  While I got out of there with my skin intact, the whole quest seemed pretty pointless.  I didn’t get any XP or skill points that I saw, nor a reward.  And that ungent cost me 100 silvers!  Baba, there will be a reckoning for this, mark my words!

Quest for Glory: Neck Romancers

(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

q1I really wonder what happened to this world to make it as messed-up as it is.  Maybe there was some sort of dimension collision with our own world and a collection of fairy tales, with a middle-age dad’s punny sense of humor in the middle.

Man, it’s been a while since I last played Quest for Glory.  Let’s see… we left ‘Enry the ‘Ermit’s cave and are now — why not — scaling a mountain covered with magically appearing warning signs.  Up above is a weird house that looks like, and I’m quoting the game here, a bottle of purple salad dressing.

q2Above the door to the house is a gargoyle who has obviously grown up watching Monty Python.  The questions aren’t too hard, although the potential answers are pretty humorous.  My name?  Puddentame — ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.

q3Inside the wizard’s home — for that’s what this place is — is a hall full of incredibly weird curiosities.  There’s a “dunkin’ dragon,” a casket with a gear shift, and a portrait with a description that calls to mind Gandalf the Grey.  He is not to be trifled with.

q4He’s also not to be taken very seriously.  Erasmus and his pet/assistent Fenrus are chronic punsters, which means that this whole conversation is an exercise in making me groan very, very loudly.

At least Erasmus does distill some useful information, such as how to dispell the Baba Yaga’s curse.  Something about a countercurse and a certain magic mirror.  I’m sure it’ll work out.

Erasmus ports me to the bottom of the mountain to save me walking time, which is nice, but unfortunately it’s now nighttime.  This is a bigger problem than it should be, since there are hugely deadly creatures walking about and the town gate is locked.  I have no choice but to make a dash for Erana’s Peace and trust in the power of reloading to get me there.

babaAfter a refreshing night among the flowers, I stroll down to this charming abode.  It’s time to finally confront Baba Yaga the ogre and see what all this fuss is about.

Just getting IN her house is tough.  The skull at the gate won’t open up until I give him a glowing gem, so it’s fortunate I have that one from the giant.  He tells me a special rhyme to get the hut — which is perched on giant bird feet why not — to squat down.  The first time I did this rhyme, I was under the hut and got squished.  The next time went better.

What lays inside?  Will it be… my doom?  Stay tuned to the same battime, same batchannel!

Quest for Glory: Fifty shades of apples

(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

eq1I get the feeling that I’m being followed… must be my imagination, though.

More general wanderings in the wilderness for this adventurous chap!  I truly wish that this game had some sort of built-in map, maybe one that would fill in as you explored.  Sometimes I get lost and disorientated and have no idea how to get back to town.

I pick up some mushrooms and run the heck away from an armored guy with a spear and shield, because I’m pretty sure that I’m toast if he fights me.  I do get ambushed by the sneaky goblins, and then this happens:

eq2How did I do that?  I have no earthly idea.  It amuses me greatly that my character faces me and takes a bow.  Bravo, sir, bravo!

eq3Ugh, I am SO lost right now.  What’s worse is that I’m being almost constantly followed/attacked by bad guys, and my health and stamina is almost depleted.  Really need to find a safe area to rest and recoup.

The good news is that after I finally stumble back to what I think of in this game as “civilization,” I’m able to sell a couple of items to the healer and see that my piggy bank is now 7 gold and 64 silver.  No dog food for Victor tonight!

eq4Even better, I’m able to fence the old lady’s stolen necklace for a cool 500 silvers.  See, fencing is something more video games need for the thievery angle.  Makes you really feel like you got away with something big.

eq5More aimless wandering.  If you haven’t gotten it by now, Quest for Glory is very non-linear.  It gives you a bunch of quests and then throws open the door to the world and says, “Have at it.”  So I come upon this frost giant who wants a bunch of fruit in exchange for a glowing gem.  That’s easy enough: I return to Hilde, buy a ton of apples, and make the exchange.

eq6Further explorations turn up the home of ‘Enry the ‘Ermit.  He’s been hermiting it up for a long time now, although he does seem quite desperate for company.  I really like his cute little cave, although his theme music is even better.

‘Enry doesn’t tell me a lot I don’t know, mostly stuff about being a hermit, about spells (which I’m not interested in), and how he gave a mirror to a murderous warlock OOOPS.

Quest for Glory: Raking horse poop

(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

I mentioned this a couple of times back in my Space Quest and King’s Quest playthroughs, but the Sierra games are a dream to use today.  They start up quick, have no qualms about letting you tab out (which some older games really do), and they save/load swiftly.  All of these make Quest for Glory an enjoyable gaming experience.

da1After three sessions (!) in town, I’m finally heading out into the wilderness.  About time, huh?  The road goes north, south, and east, so I pick east and walk down a quiet path until I hit a snowy avalanche and can progress no further.

da2AHH!  TALKING FOX!  BURN IT!  BURN IT!

da3Nah, I set it loose from the trap and the fox tells me the most random piece of quest information ever.  How would a fox know any of this?  And why is that “amusing?”

da4I turn and go up north, this time ending at the healer’s hut with her pet pteradactyl.  What century is this?  She not only makes potions, but has a quest for me: to find her gold ring.  Fair enough, healer.  I’ll be back with it in a jiffy.

da5As I understand it, you increase your skill points in this game the more you use them (so there’s no traditional XP > leveling system).  So climbing this tree with my 0 skill requires me trying again and again and again.  This is the problem with skill-based systems, since you end up stopping your gameplay to do one action a million times in a row to level it up.  I remember the same crap in Morrowind.  Sigh.  Let’s get to this.

At 29 climbing skill, I finally make it all of the way up.  And what do I get for my efforts?

da6Well.  THAT was an easy quest, all things considered.

I head back in the hut and give the ring to the healer.  She’s so overjoyed that she not only gives me six gold and two healing potions, but she french kisses me on the spot.  It’s kind of hilarious how my character freaks out at this: “You leave to avoid being kissed again.”  Because fat people kissing you is torture, am I right?  But if it’s a hot little filly of a centaur, we can’t get a date fast enough.  Thanks, game.

da7Speaking of that centaur girl, her father is nearby doing farm work.  I’m pretty amused by this elaborate strap system that he’s got going on here.

I ask Heinrich the centaur about the brigand attack that nearly killed him a while back.  He said that they broke his leg and were about to kill him when their helmeted leader stopped them and carried Heinrich to the healer’s hut.  That is… odd, to say the least.  Who is this leader?

da8A little to the north is the Baron’s castle.  The big story behind the Baron is this: He used to have two kids and a wife.  But he got into a tiff with the Baba Yaga, who placed a curse on him and then arranged to have his daughter kidnapped by some sort of flying creature.  The Baroness died, the Baron’s son died, and the jester and several guards went out to try to rescue the girl.  But now it’s been many years and the girl — who should be 18 and well within dating range — is still missing, the Baron is holed up in his castle, there are few guards to keep the peace, and the land is going to muck.  What we need… is a hero.

Of course, this hero is a money-grubbing thief, so my primary concern is to increase my finances.  I am offered a job to clean the stables for a whopping five silver, but hey, I’ll take it.  Money is money.

fightWhile wandering in the forest, I get into my first fight with a goblin… orc thing.  Let me tell you, I have NO idea what I’m doing here.  I just keep clicking the sword icon to attack and easily kill the creature.  Seven more silver for me, woohoo!

deathA second fight goes much more poorly.  Not only can you die from your hit points reaching zero, but you do the same when your SP (stamina points? skill points?) deplete.  Since attacks cost SP, I have enough for about one fight in me per rest.  Awesome.

havenAt least I find this little haven nestled in the woods: Erana’s Peace.  It says it’s a safe place, and it has both free food and a free bed for the night.  Sold!

Quest for Glory: Robbing little old ladies

(This is part of my journey playing through Quest for Glory 1. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

After doing a little bit of reading up on this game, I decided that I don’t want the alleged annoyance of playing a magic user, and so I rerolled as a thief and went through all of the same steps that I just did.  The only difference is that this time I was able to get into the thieves guild via the robber in the alley.  Of course, you can only do that at nighttime, and since there’s no way to speed up the game (that I can tell, at least), you’re left to wander around waiting for time to advance.

I tried to do some research as to how long the day/night cycle lasts in Quest for Glory but found surprisingly little on the subject.  According to one FAQ, there are eight time periods in a day:

  • Day is Dawning
  • Mid-morning
  • Midday
  • Mid-afternoon
  • Sunset Approaches
  • Night is still young
  • Middle of the Night
  • Not yet Dawn

But how often they switch, I dunno.  It also seems as though that time only will progress to the next period when you switch locations (leave/enter a building or leave/enter an area).  If anyone knows, tell me!

th1Anyway, the thieves guild is pretty entertaining.  Not only does it look awesome, but the head thief is all grumpy that “beginners” keep getting sent to him in this po-dunk town.  He spends the moments throwing daggers at the board.

th2There’s even a dagger/dartboard mini-game, although I’m not going to spend money playing it.

th3Instead, I use my rapidly diminishing funds to pay for a thieving license.  Yay, now I can go rip people off!  Well, what about that old lady who lived down the street?  She seems like an easy mark.

Yes, it is disturbing how a pastor will quickly resort to underhanded thievery of the elderly in video games.  Try not to think too much on it.

th4Getting into her house is pretty easy — my lockpicking skill is high enough to handle this door, no problem.

th5I’m guessing that this house is the game’s litmus test to see if you’re truly cut out for robbery, as it’s trying to guilt you so hard about robbing a sweet old lady.  Man, all I can think about is how I’m out 25 silvers for that thieves guild fee and how I need to make it back.  So I yoink pearls, silver, and other knick-nacks while avoiding the roaming cat.

th6I know what you’re thinking, and no, the game won’t let me kill the kitty.  I’m not sorry I tried, however.  The street life taught me to be ruthless.

th7If I try to go upstairs, however, the creaking boards wake the lady and she yells at the kitty until it (why not) transforms into a massive jaguar.  Game over, man!  Game over!  At least I died doing what I loved.

My 10 favorite SNES games

Izlain’s rundown of his favorite Sega Genesis games and a recent delve into nostalgia gaming videos have left me thinking, once again, about my beloved SNES console.  I played the heck out of the PlayStation in the 90s, but the SNES got my full love.  While I reminisced about my history with the console a few years ago, I never did list my all-time favorites from that system.  So here are my top 10 picks in no particular order:

mario1. Super Mario World

As I recall, this was the pack-in game that came with our SNES, and since my brothers and I were flat broke after shelling out $50 each to buy the system, this was the game we played exclusively for a month or two.  Fortunately, it was a terrific game with lots of replay value (and a save game feature!).  Plus, it looked gorgeous, especially with the new water effects and the vivid, cartoony art style.

chrono2. Chrono Trigger

Simply put, I had never played such an amazing RPG before in my life.  This game had it all: time travel, cool characters, a fun battle system, combos, and a storyline with multiple endings.  Ugh, just thinking about it makes me want to load it back up on my iphone.  I played so much of this one summer that I almost never came out of my parents’ basement.

castlevania3. Super Castlevania IV

It’s a toss-up between this and Symphony of the Night as the best Castlevania game in my book.  Either way, Castlevania IV was perfect in almost every way.  The whip was responsive and flexible in a fashion that it had never been before, there were loads of different auxiliary weapons, and the setting was awesome to explore.  Lots of the new SNES tech made an appearance, such as the rotating room and the swinging chandolier.

zombies4. Zombies Ate My Neighbors

This game was ridiculously enjoyable, mostly because it embraced a goofy horror b-movie vibe and went full-out with it.  You got to control kids trying to rescue innocents from zombies, mummies, psycho dolls, chainsaw-wielding murderers, aliens, and monsters, while collecting and using a wide variety of inventory items.  The weedwacker was my favorite.  It was always a great title to play with another person, and still is.

starfox5. Starfox

By today’s standards, Starfox probably looks like a low-polygon on-rails shooter… and it is.  But back in the mid-90s, this was a mind-blowing ride.  It was the first time we had seen 3D on a console and it felt like we really were going around in the third dimension.  Plus, Starfox had kickbutt music, branching stages, wingmen, and the birth of “do a barrel roll!”

mariorpg6. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Oddly enough, I don’t remember a lot of specifics about this game, probably because I played and beat it once and then haven’t returned to it since.  However, it was surprisingly fun and used the Mario universe to great effect in making a cool RPG.  The combat, combos, and animation were the standout features.

contra7. Contra III: The Alien Wars

This was one of the titles that was used to great effect to sell the SNES to people.  It looked — and played — amazing for the era.  The bosses were huge, the special effects all over the place (did that plane just swoop at the camera, fire bomb the ground, and leave me hanging on for dear life?), and the weapons a blast to use.  It excels in two-player, although the top-down stages are crud.

mariokart8. Super Mario Kart

Despite throwing three Mario titles on this list, I’ve never been a huge Mario fan — but these were all excellent games on the SNES.  Everyone I knew had Mario Kart because it was a perfect game to play with friends.  There were tons of unlockables and ways to mess with your opponents.  Oh battle mode, how I’ve missed you!

turtles9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

I played a lot of Turtles IV in the arcade and was really pleased to see that the SNES adaptation was spot-on.  It was a great side-scrolling brawler, with each of the four turtles boasting their own attack style.  Plus, wacky time travel stages!

street10. Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II, both in the arcade and on home consoles, was a massive, massive pop culture phenomenon at the time.  I loved both Chun-Li and E. Honda, mostly because they both had a rapid-fire attack sequence (kicks and punches, respectively).  I never knew most of the combos, but I mastered a few of them and really enjoyed smacking my friends around.

Of course, there were plenty of other great games on the SNES, some that I played and others that I didn’t.  But these 10 were the ones that come to mind when I look back at the best gaming moments with the system.