Quest for Glory 2 – VGA Remake Review

Saturday, 4 July 2009

 

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About a year ago I had been anticipating the release of a game that was causing me to drool in at least ten unusual ways.  After patiently waiting for several years for it’s release (ok, maybe not that patiently) Quest for Glory 2 VGA remake was almost ready for public consumption.

I’d been putting together mini articles surrounding QFG2 VGA, effectively promoting the release of the remake, which was released back in August 2008.

I wrote something in my blog letting everyone know about its release and after installing the game, I had been playing it for about two weeks, at the same time I was on the verge of moving to another country and the next morning my passport arrived in the mail.

Needless to say it wasn’t long before I was on a plane and QFG2 VGA was far from my mind. It was sort of odd in a way, because QFG2 had received so much attention from my blog at the time, it just seems crazy that I didn’t end up reviewing it shortly after it’s release.

So today I‘ve decided to set things right and without further ado, present you with…..

 

The Quest For Glory 2 – VGA Remake Review!!

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So what is Quest for Glory anyway?

Quest for Glory was a series of games that essentially encapsulates adventure gaming, role playing and action/arcade elements.  Initially released back in 1989, it was a title that for the most part, flew beneath the radar in comparison to its adventure game peers.

Despite receiving amazing reviews upon its release, it only sold modestly in its first year of sale.

However rather than just being a flash in the pan, Quest for Glory continued to sell well for many years to come, as it garnered a reputation for being a brilliant series that had a style of game play that no one had previously given thought to creating.

 

The perils of Quest for Glory

For a beginner, Quest for Glory is not an easy game.  It constantly throws challenges at you and expects you to keep up.  One way the game goes about doing this is through the players statistics, you have to keep a constant eye on your hero’s health, stamina and magic points. If you don’t, you will find your character will perish in the face of losing too much health from a battle, collapse from not resting, or simply not being able to survive because you’ve run out of magic when facing a difficult foe.  If this wasn’t enough you also have to make sure your character is fed and sleeps at least once a day (or at least gets plenty of rest).

 

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                                                      Screenshots from Quest for Glory 1 VGA

 

You also have to toughen up your character so he may survive the games many challenges.  You’ll end up sending him out to fight monsters, practice magic, build up his stamina with jobs around town and then send him off to take care of one of the games main quests.

The one trick you do have up your sleeve with this type of game, is the ability to save and restore your position before anything goes terribly wrong, keep that in mind and you should be ok.

 

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The Next Step

Quest for Glory 1 places you in a sandbox environment which you spend time exploring.  Once you have completed certain quests or gathered certain items, more scenes became available and your character will earn quest points and get a little closer to completing the game.  For the most part, a lot of the game is already unlocked and you have to simply find out where other characters will be or discover how to progress a scene by using an item or fulfilling a quest.

Quest for Glory 2 is similar but incorporates a few more game play elements to keep things moving along.  One of those elements is timed events where you must solve certain puzzles or complete tasks within a particular space of time or otherwise meet certain failure.  Another element is the expansion of the game map, which is now enormous compared to QFG1, encompassing both desert and city exploration and includes two cities.

When starting out, Quest for Glory 2 can be quite daunting for a novice player and if you don’t happen to make the effort, you may just overlook the city map that is included in The Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School (FACS) manual which is part of the game documentation.  If you happen to be playing a version of the game which uses the normal alleyways layout, without the map you will find yourself tearing your hair out before you know it.  The city contains a set of alleyways which you need to navigate at the beginning of the game in order to reach a money changer.  You need to change money in order to buy items and most importantly an in game map.  This will allow you to bypass using the alleyways once you reach certain destinations.  You can get exact directions to find the money changer from the first plaza, but to be honest it is so much easier if you use the map and you will need it later in the game to find certain alleys for key game locations, so make sure you have a copy of it handy.

 

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Why was this insane alleyway system incorporated into the game in the first place you ask?  Well the game hails back to the era when games had virtually no copy protection, so in order to prevent people from copying their games, developers devised various types of physical copy protection devices to prevent people from stealing their works.  Sometimes they used code a wheel, sometimes it was a manual or a map but at least one of these components had to be referenced in game in order to proceed playing. 

This is probably the most elaborate form of copy protection I’ve ever seen from a game made in the early 90’s. In the original version of the game, if you didn’t have a copy of the map included in the box, you would more than likely give up playing, as the initial frustration of playing without it was quite high.

 

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A Bit About The Story    

Quest for Glory 2 is a direct follow-on from the previous game’s ending, after our hero has saved the land of Speilburg from Baba Yaga and the Brigrands.  He is invited to travel to the land of Shapeir with the merchants Abdulla, Shema and Shameen after restoring their fortunes and saving them from destitution.

Upon arriving at Shapeir our hero quickly finds out that there are plenty of heroic duties that need to be undertaken.

Not only is the city being assailed by desert creatures and elementals but there is a sister city to Shapeir called Raseir which has fallen into corruption and shadow. It is upon Raseir that suspicion falls for the city’s most recent troubles.

 

 

 

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The VGA Remake 

Back in the early mid nineties, Sierra the software company behind the Quest for Glory series, decided it was time to remake their successful EGA game Quest for Glory 1 in VGA.  Hoping that the cost of remake would be outweighed by sales of its new VGA version of the game, Sierra took a commercial gamble to release QFG1 VGA.  Unfortunately they didn’t get the outcome they where hoping for and lost money (initially) on the production of the VGA instalment.  This all but guaranteed that any remake plans for Quest for Glory 2 were immediately slated, never to see the light of day.

2001 - Sierra as a company is long dead, its logo and rights have been sold to Viviendi software and almost all of its original staff are gone and in the blink of an eye no one cares about adventure games anymore. Essentially the Sierra logo is all but a husk, with all of its former meaning lent to give Viviendi credence but with no substance left.

In the mean time a small unknown software company appears from out of nowhere called Tierra.

Tierra had quickly put together a freeware remake of King’s Quest 1 in VGA and had ambitions to remake both King’s Quest 2 and Quest for Glory 2 in VGA.

 

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Prior to 2008 – Tierra has been renamed to Anonymous Game Developer Interactive or AGD Interactive for short, King Quest 2 VGA Remake has been released, a commercial game called Al Emmo under the label of Himalaya Studio’s label (Produced by AGDI) had come to market and in 2008 after seven long years of development Quest for Glory 2 VGA was finally let loose on the public.

The reasons why AGD Interactive set about to produce these remakes was based upon their passion for Adventure Games.  Prior to AGDI - Britney Brimhall and Christopher Warren (The main founders) had both taken an interest in helping out on the Hero 6 project, which was meant to be a free independent collaboration of developers to produce an unofficial sequel to Quest for Glory 5.  After realising the project had little or no momentum, both left the Hero 6 project and set about to learn how to develop adventure games on their own, with the main goal of producing a remake of Quest for Glory 2 in VGA.

Getting Quest for Glory 2 VGA out to the public after seven years of unpaid development, is an amazing achievement and must have come as a great relief to the development team.  I also believe that as a side effect of their efforts, AGDI has been a catalyst in helping bring the Adventure Game genre back to life, inspiring others to develop new games and bringing people back to games that they love.

 

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The Game

Quest for Glory 2 starts with you exploring the city of Shapeir and its nearby desert, through conversations with the various citizens of the city, you are given clues to venture towards events and challenges that occur in Shapeir and nearby.  You also need to collect items which can help you in your quest and attempt to solve puzzles which will help progress the story line.  The city is set in a middle eastern landscape and creates the level of atmosphere that you might expect to come from the story of Ali Baba and Forty Thieves or Aladdin.

If your starting from scratch, you can pick one of the following character classes for your hero - a fighter, a magic user or a thief.  Each have different abilities and strengths that set them part from the other classes and a lot of the in-game puzzles and battle will change depending on which character you use.  So even if you’ve finished the game with a particular class, you can come back and play with a different character and tackle puzzles from a completely new angle! Plus each character has certain puzzles and activities that are unique to them.    

The core of the game itself for all intents and purposes has changed very little in the remake, all of the things that you would have found in the original version of the game have been faithfully recreated in this edition and are up to the standard of what someone would expect if Sierra had actually commissioned the remake themselves. No element has been missed, right down to the easter eggs and the most minor details.  Additionally, the most important feature of the original game remains intact, the character import and export feature.  A lesser developer may have decided to leave this option out, however this is AGDI we are talking about here.

 

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So What Has Changed?

Apart from the obvious upgrade to VGA graphics and improved soundtrack, one of the main changes is the development of the point and click interface which emulates the interface used in Quest for Glory 3. The point and click interface is essentially a replacement for the typing parser used in all of the early Sierra games which made the player type in commands instead of being able to carry out actions using a mouse icon or selecting a conversation topic from a menu.  One great point about how this has been implemented is that you can select either an exclusive point and click interface which includes dialogue trees for conversation topics, parser mode which still uses the point and click interface but all conversations are done through the keyboard or a combination of both which gives you the dialogue trees but also allows you type in a question if you want skip to something that would be further along in the dialogue.   

Another major change is combat. In fact combat in this remake is a significant departure from the style used in the original game and considerably faster paced.  The look of combat is similar to that of the original but that’s where the familiarity ends, taking upon a far more real time approach to combat as you might expect from an arcade game.  Some fans may love the new combat system and others might not. Personally I think it’s brilliant, it makes the game a real challenge and once your used to it you’ll find it far more enjoyable to enter combat than in the original version.

 

 

Last but not least,  there is an option to use a simplified alleyway system which only opens up passages in the city that you need to go.  A nice touch for beginners and saves a player from getting completely lost and frustrated at the beginning but a little too restrictive for my liking. Thankfully you can still use the impossible to navigate alleyways like in the original but now with two very nice touches.  The first is that the alleyways now actually scroll properly and look like real alleyways, the second is that the city skyline has been completely opened up, so it actually looks like your walking through a city and not some dungeon or dark corridor.

 

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My Opinion   

Putting their name to this remake, AGDI had a lot of expectations to meet up to with Quest for Glory 2 VGA, as the original game was not only a brilliant fuse of adventure, role playing and action but contained a storyline with considerable depth, detail and an ubiquitous approach to cinematics and humour throughout.

Thankfully AGDI have met and exceeded this challenge and it can be safely said that this remake is the ultimate compliment to the original EGA title and the other games in the series.  What I do recommend for anyone who’s interested in giving this game a try, is to make an attempt to track down Quest for Glory 1 VGA (use DOS Box for DOS emulation) and start playing from the very beginning of the series.  Once you’ve completed the first game, import your character into Quest for Glory 2 VGA and begin from there. Continuing on from the first game adds to the experience considerably and provides depth to the overall storyline .  

I will also suggest using QFG2 game launcher to access the game’s settings and try out some of the different graphic filters to improve the visuals as much as possible. After all, the game has been developed as an authentic VGA title with a resolution of 320 x 200 and using a graphic filter will go a long way to improve the visuals and remove pixelization from the game.

Before I finish this review I would like to offer AGDI my thanks and appreciation for producing this wonderful game.  I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of effort that has gone into getting it to a finished state.  I tip my hat to the wonderful public service you have provided to me and to all adventure gamers out there.

Rating: 95%

Quest for Glory 2 is Available free of charge at:  AGD Interactive – Quest for Glory 2

 

Previous Articles:

Quest for Glory 2 VGA Remake has been released

A Quick Update for the Quest for Glory 2 Remake

Quest For Glory 2 VGA Remake

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