Anyway, normally I wouldn't participate in these due to the effort involved - plus I've never done a commentary or audio review of a game before. However, since Quest for Glory and its makers, Lori and Corey Cole probably deserve more press than they are receiving, I decided to create the video. Hope you enjoy it!
I've got the transcript which I more or less follow below:
Hi everyone. My name is Mark G aka Rambutaan from the GOG forums and here is my entry for the GOGgame story competition. The game I have chosen to talk about is Quest for Glory 1 or Hero’s Quest. This game is probably my favourite game of all time mainly because it was so groundbreaking for its time. The game was designed by Lori and Corey Cole and developed by Sierra On-Line in 1989. It was a latecomer to the "Quest" series games – as King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry, had their first games released a few years before. Yes, technically Leisure Suit Larry isn't a "quest" game but it might as well be – I suppose Sex Quest would've been too controversial as a name... Anyway I've decided to give you my 5 reasons why I consider Quest for Glory 1 a classic, the reason it is such a crucial game in my gaming history. So let's start with Number 1.
Reason #1: Adventure/RPG hybrid
Quest for Glory 1 is probably the first game I've ever played that had RPG elements. Up until that point I was playing a lot of adventure games by Sierra and Lucasarts but all of them were traditional point 'n' click adventures. While on the surface Quest for Glory also looked like just another Sierra adventure game, deep-down there was actually RPG elements in there. You had three different character classes, the Warrior, Mage and Thief. You could assign points into different stats like Strength, Vitality, Agility, etc. All the typical hallmarks of an RPG game. However, to me QFG was always an adventure game first and an RPG second. This is what I believe is its strength because the focus is still more on the story but the RPG element allows for some subtle differences when you play the game with a particular character class which brings me to Reason #2.
Reason #2: Choices
Before I move on, some of you might be saying that Japanese RPGs like the Final Fantasy games are basically adventure/RPG hybrids – I mean they're basically adventure games with a bunch of stats right? So does that mean I love those sort of games too? The answer is "no" and the reason comes down to "choices". In a Japanese RPG you play the role of one character that you've had no hand in picking. You have no choice when it comes to appearance, what class they are or even the name of the character. While you couldn't choose the appearance in Quest for Glory 1 you could pick which class to play.
Typically in Japanese RPGs there’s only one way to approach the problem and one way that your character can fight. In Quest for Glory 1 picking a different class means you employ different methods when you fight, just like traditional D&D RPGs. If you're a mage you use magic spells, if you're a thief you can employ throwing daggers, if you’re a warrior, it's the sword and shield. Also there'd be multiple ways of approaching problems. For example, at one stage in Quest for Glory you have to recover a ring from a nest in a tree. If you're a thief, you might have a lot of points in climbing and agility, so climbing the tree and nimbly walking out on the branch to retrieve the nest would be your best bet. If you're a warrior with a lot of points in Throwing, you would just chuck a few rocks at the nest to bring it down. If you're a mage, you can use finesse and just cast a "Fetch" spell to fetch the nest.
Also being a certain character class actually gave you access to different areas in the game. If you were a thief you would be able to join the local Thieves Guild and you would also be able to rob houses. If you're a mage you'd be able to challenge the wizard Erasmus in a special mini-game.
I've come across very few games that have managed to emulate the branching storylines based on class/background, that made the story feel sufficiently different depending on the choices you made. The only ones that come to mind are some Bioware and Black Isle RPGs – but since they are RPGs many of them focused more on the RPG element rather than the branching storylines which was a bit of a turn-off for me at times.
Reason #3: Day/Night cycles
QFG was the first game I remember having day/night cycles. This really helped with immersing the player into the world and gave the impression that people were going about their business regardless of the player's actions. Shops would close for the night and the weapons master would train in the castle courtyard during the day. At night, the fairies would visit their ring of mushrooms and the ghosts would haunt the graveyard. It's by no means like the Elder Scrolls games but the game felt less linear and more open as a result. You were free to take your time and explore the Spielburg valley and complete tasks in any order you wanted. You could even earn some extra gold at the castle stables although it's probably not exactly work becoming of a hero!
Reason #4: Music
Music is generally used sparingly in this game but there are some memorable tunes. The Hero's fanfare that is played in this first game can be heard in some form or another in just about every game in the series. The most beautiful piece in this game though has to be Erana's Peace or the Magic Meadow. In the game, Erana's Peace is basically a sanctuary for the Hero, a place he can rest and not fear he'll be chomped on by a saurus in the middle of the night. The place is beautiful, peaceful and serene and so is the music. In fact, the track is so well loved that there have been remakes of the tune in recent years.
Reason #5: "Pick Nose"
Okay for those who haven’t played this game you may be thinking I've lost the plot. "pick nose?" How could that be possibly a reason to list a game as a classic? But let me explain. Anyone who has played a Sierra adventure game will remember that there was always a myriad of ways you could die and often it would result in a humorous dialogue about your death. So, see what happens if you type in "pick nose" as a thief...
[ Video has thief pick his nose with a lock pick and die ]
Get it? It's a pun! You actually ended up using your lock pick to pick your nose instead of... – okay I shouldn’t try explaining the joke – first sign a joke isn't funny right? But this is the kind of humour that has pervaded the series – it's all about puns – there was even a character called Punny Bones in Quest for Glory IV. So yeah, the game is full of Dad jokes and puns. As a result whenever I make jokes amongst my friends, they are equally cringe-worthy so I've actually got Lori and Corey to thank for my outdated sense of humour – thanks guys!
Well that's the end of my video. A couple of plugs before I go: If you're a fan of the Quest for Glory games, make sure to check out the Kickstarter Project Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Lori and Corey Cole need your financial support in developing a new game and I'm pretty excited about the prospect. Also if you're interested in purchasing the Quest for Glory series – check out Good Old Games. Cheap DRM-free classics, what more could you ask for? A slice of quiche?