Remember… is a series of retrospectives, some from our magazine archives, and others from our more recent nostalgia dreams.
So, you want to be a hero? As a recent graduate of the Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School’s How To Be a Hero multi-discipline diploma course and a for-reals hero-for-hire (pending some for-reals heroism), you’re totally ready for the big time. First stop – Spielburg, a rustic barony in the north of Gloriana once blessed by the archmage Erana, now cursed by Baba Yaga and an entourage of opportunistic goons, and home of the Aces and Eights Tavern. Try the Dragon’s Breath! (Don’t try the Dragon’s Breath.)
Launched in 1989 as Hero’s Quest and subsequently re-launched in 1990 as Quest for Glory, the franchise’s debut was an innovative, genre-defining game in its generation, mega-mixing the studio’s established text parser adventure conventions with RPG features, bad puns, and a series of fake collectible Black Birds. Unlike King’s Quest and Space Quest, Sierra’s new game introduced a non-linear narrative and optional side missions, and a “three games in one” choice of character class between Wizard, Fighter, and Thief, each with its own unique sub-plots.
Although each class has the same basic starting stats, players can increase relevant stats by using them – casting spells as a Wizard, for example, increases the character’s Magic and Intelligence stats, and boosts the Wizard’s spell efficiency. This distinction is somewhat ambiguous, though, and it’s entirely possible to play as a sort of hybrid mashup of two or three classes, and from the end of the second game, a fourth Paladin meta-class combo is also available, subject to terms and conditions that limit being a, uh, pragmatic finders-keepers-so-what-if-it’s-not-technically-legal Thief so it doesn’t even matter unless you’re some kind of benevolent nerd who hates free swag.
The game’s sequels swapped up the core mythology and aesthetics from the original game’s Germanic and Slavic conceits, with Quest for Glory 2: Trial by Fire dressed up as a proxy Arabian Nights with big lizards, Quest for Glory 3: Wages of War moving over to the jungles and savannahs of Afro-kitsch Tarna (and dumping the text parser interface with a point-and-click system), and Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness embracing its inner teen goth vampire fantasies with a moody reprise of the Germanic and Slavic themes and some bonus extra Lovecraftian eldritch abominations. The series’ finale, 1998’s Quest for Glory 5: Dragon Fire, debuted the Grecian port kingdom of Silmaria – a location mentioned in several of the previous games, and company HQ of the Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School – but the first rule of Quest for Glory Club is we don’t talk about Quest for Glory 5.
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