To start off, let me say that Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire is hot. Graphics, sound and story all combine to make this title one that you simply mush have in your collection.
Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire is a side view and side-scrolling graphic adventure and role playing game, and interestingly enough, is completely different from the two other games that Sierra put out at about the same time. The other two games are Kings Quest: Mask of Eternity, and Return to Krondor. I know, I was fortunate enough to be given the task of reviewing all of them for GiN.
Kings Quest uses a first person view while Return to Krondor uses a rotating camera angle interface. When I was first handed these three games to review I was concerned that I was gong to be sick of the same interface by the time I finished all of them. As I started playing each one, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that each game, while extremely enjoyable, had absolutely nothing in common with any of the others.
The unique but excellent interface on various Sierra programs is what keeps this company on top. I hope that Sierra’s new reorganization under Havas Interactive and their consolidation of development studios does not harm the diversity of their role-playing and adventure games. Too many companies use the cookie cutter approach to game making, and so far Sierra has avoided this trend.
But enough of my politicking.
Dragon Fire is the fifth game in the Quest for Glory series. It has a very good plot involving competition for a kingship, assassins and a host of minor characters that just make the game more fun. In the opening scene the King of Silmaria is assassinated. And you, a well-known hero from your previous adventures in the Quest for Glory series, have been summoned to compete in the Right of Rulership, a series of quests designed to pick the next King. During your travels you will meet some old friends and perhaps make the acquaintance of a few new ones as well. I don’t want to give away any more information, but take my word for it, this game is good from start to finish.
If this is the first time you have played Quest for Glory then you are limited to playing a fighter, a thief or a wizard. You also have the option of importing a paladin from a previous version of Quest for Glory. [Sierra has kindly included a paladin character that you can import – many thanks.] Character development is ongoing throughout the game, the mark of a true RPG thriller. Your options in the game are also limitless. You can take a walk on the treadmill at the adventurers guild to build stamina, read a good book or just take a walk around the island. Sooner or later, you are bound to run into somebody fun.
As you walk around town, you will have the opportunity to interact with some of your fellow heros and numerous other people. They hold the answers to many of the questions you need to ask to successfully become King. One last thing on the plot before I more on, is that I absolutely loved the side adventures in this game. The stuff that is not required, but adds to the role playing, really makes this game a winner in my book.
The combat system is a pretty simple point and hit system. On the other hand, spells are a little hard to use. As long as you are holding nothing larger than a dagger, and you have the ability, you can cast spells. Spells of a defensive nature that you cast on your character are easy to use. You simply cast and they start to protect you.
But to use offensive spells, you need to be facing the target. This is not always an easy task, given the interface. If the target is at a distance from you, it usually takes a couple tries to get just the right facing, and that is a bit frustrating.
But in defense of using spells: the effects look wonderful. I found myself using them just to see what the different effects would look like. There are so magic items within the game too, and each one casts a different-looking spell. The best and most useful magic item is the set of magic magnets. Place one in a safe place and carry the other one with you. Select the one you are carrying and you will be teleported back to its mate, along with a cool special effect of course.
No Quest for Glory game would be complete without a ton of puzzles. And some of these are pretty tough. Just remember to talk to everyone. The clues are out there. I don’t want to say too much more about this, but good luck, you are going to need it.
The thing that I found most interesting about this game was the way you disarm traps. They call it the dancing man puzzle. Basically, there are eight doors around a center window. You have to memorize the eight poses of the dancing man and correctly select them as they appear in the center window. The trick is that later in the game they don’t give you that much time to select the right one, and they reduce the number of wrong answers you can get while increasing the number of correct answers you have to get. It’s a lot of fun.
The graphics for this game are very pleasing to the eye. The water in streams seems so real, I just wanted to dive in for a swim. The other neat thing is that when you are talking to people, you get a close up of their face on the right side of the screen.
Also, the sound track is nothing short of a musical feast for your ears, and is actually available for purchase separately from the game. The songs are created by Sierra Composer Chance Thomas, and each piece fits the mood perfectly. If anybody is not familiar with Thomas’ work, I recommend you either buy a Sierra game he has worked on, or purchase a soundtrack. Your ears will thank you.
I had the opportunity to hear this soundtrack before I played the game, mostly because my boss plays it in his office all the time. I could not wait to get the game out of the box so that I could discover which scenes went with the music.
I only had one problem with the game, other than the difficulty of using some offensive spells, and that was when the sound from one scene carried over into the rest of the game. I heard a continual snoring sound a lot, and the only way I could get rid of it was to load from a saved game. This happened to me several times within the game. But I was never able to purposefully replicate it, and I have not as of yet checked to make sure all the drivers on the test computer are current and up to date.
I am a little biased when it comes to this type of game. I prefer the more linear type of game such as Kings Quest, where everything you need to move on to the next chapter is in a set area. In Quest for Glory, the object you need could be anywhere in the world. Now that’s not to say that I did not stay up late into the night trying to finish this rite or that, because I am happy to say that I did. And some people, including a lot of the other editors here, will debate with me for hours that a non-linear game is better.
Unfortunately, I have to ding the game a bit because Sierra never did add the multiplayer functions to the program, something it really cries out for. I really wish they would have done it, but with the closing of the Yosemite Entertainment Studio, I suppose we will never know the joy of competing to be king with other real players.
Despite problems with the sound and a little trouble here and there getting a spell to hit the targeted bad guy, I really enjoyed this game a great deal. I rate this one at a very high 4 GiN gems.
My complements to Sierra for putting out some really great games so far this year, and please keep them coming.