By John Walker on August 26th, 2008 at 1:22 am.
Quest For Glory II: Trial By Fire, first came out in 1781. Ever since then (well, really for the last eight years), AGD Interactive have been working for free to update it to the, er, mid 90s, and realise the game in VGA. This may sound like a special kind of madness, but it is in fact just special. You see, Sierra Online remade QFG I in 1992 to match parts III through V in 256 technicolour glory, but somehow part II never escaped its icky, 16 colour, EGA prison. And if you’re incredibly old like me, you’ll remember that it was a fabby game, that entirely deserves prettying up. (Go to the bottom of the post for a compare and contrast).
Using the wonderful AGS system, AGD have completely redrawn and reanimated the entire adventure-cum-RPG in painstaking detail. But more than that, hugely more, they’ve rewritten it to be a point-and-click game, requiring no parser interface. And it’s free! From here!
“Parser interface?” youngsters ask in their hideous, youthful voices. You see, us old folks remember a day when controlling an adventure game required typing everything into a text interface that hovered over the graphics. The last dying gasp of the text adventure, it meant to explore a game you needed to remember what everything was called, and having the think of the precise way the developers had intended every stinking question to be asked. Of course, it was also a source of enormous fun. Play the early Larry games, and Al Lowe had anticipated all sorts of naughty things you might have thought to type in, producing ideal sniggersome results.
And so AGD have left the parser in as an option for the lunatic hardcore, but completely removed it for those wanting to play like they’re not a strangely eloquent caveman. This means they’ve built dialogue trees completely from scratch, letting you plough through all of the relevant subjects you might bring up with any character. There’s a proper inventory. They’ve fixed that daft bug where you could repeatedly sell the Dervish beard. You can still import your QFG I character. They’ve even gone through and removed all the hideous alleyways you spent most of the game lost within, making the town make a lot more sense to explore. (Of course, the ridiculous original setup is also in there for loonies who think that sort of rubbishness was fun).
I think the QFG series are too often forgotten when fondly remembering the Good Old Days. In fact, I think the entire Sierra Online catalogue is woefully under-celebrated behind the wall of LucasArts classics. QFG especially for daring to be a big bit different from the rest, with RPG stats and combat making the games much deeper than their brothers and sisters.
According to the EULA on the (free) game, the Sierra Online copyrights are used with permission. Quite why they’re not trying to sue AGD into outerspace is a question we shall not ask, but instead loudly champion their forward-thinking reasonable attitude to a (brace yourself) 18 year old game (yes, you’re that old). Unlike certain other LUCASARTS adventure games LUCASARTS companies I could care to LUCASARTS mention, whose stupid spite and greed prevents fan projects like this from being finished and released.
Big thanks to Ian Tyrrell.