Quest For Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero

Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Sierra
Year: 1992
Platform: DOS, Mac

Rating: 5

Mostly a beat-by-beat remake of the original game Hero’s Quest (changed due to copyright infringement), Quest For Glory I updated the graphics and sound to match Sierra’s SCI engine at the time. While it’s easier to play, it also lost some of the charm in the conversion.

When I played Hero’s Quest, oh, about twenty years ago, I decided to play a straight fighter. This was probably the wrong choice for a first-time player. While the puzzles are generally more straightforward (almost all of them require brute strength or good guy politics), fighters require more grinding to build their stats and earn money for equipment and potions. And as fighting is the clunkiest and least satisfying part of the adventure (in both versions), it’s no wonder I was lukewarm about the game.

This time, I decided to play as a thief while also giving myself the ability to learn spells. This opened up the game in a couple of ways for me. First and foremost, as a thief I was able to break into homes in Spielburg and borrow enough valuables to essentially remove my cash flow worries for the entirety of the game. Secondly, I had access to solving nearly every puzzle in the game in whichever way I wanted. Some players prefer to play the game straight and then replay as each other character to ensure they have three unique paths through each game. I don’t have the patience for that, especially since the game is mostly the same regardless. Being able to bust out a spell when I can’t figure out the sneaky way to advance made things more fun for me. Finally, this game is biased towards thieves (even more so this time) as far as stat building goes.

As always with Sierra’s remakes, the switch from the parser to the icon system had its strengths and drawbacks. As mentioned, the game is certainly easier. But in some cases it’s too easy, especially when it comes to conversation. In the original, figuring out what to ask the townsfolk was part of the mystery. Here, every conversation is just an exhaustive clickable conversation tree. The fighting system is similar; the graphical interface is way more detailed in the update, though your preference will most certainly be reliant on your proficiency in keyboard shortcuts versus mouse clicking. Either way, the combat feels awkward in both games. The animation for throwing a dagger was way cooler in the original. Most annoyingly, the VGA version introduced some bugs not present in the original. The worst involves getting through the maze in Yorick’s room, where you can permanently get stuck due to the designers not anticipating the amount of clicking adventurers do while trying to open a door. The game also completely froze on me once. Save early and often!

You can still import your character into Quest For Glory II (stats and all), so you can play whichever version you like before going through the rest of the series. Now that I got to play through as a thief, I think I am more likely than ever to continue with the series, especially since most people consider the sequel to be one of the best games Sierra ever made.

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