Quest for Glory I. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Alfred C. Giovetti
Released in 1989, Hero's Quest is arguably the most ambitious Sierra On-Line undertaking and probably the most satisfying game in the Sierra family. Hero's Quest effectively combines the statistical character development features of a role-playing adventure with the basic side-scrolling, third-person perspective, interconnected scene-based interface of a graphic adventure. Quest for Glory I, the completely reworked remake of the original game--rotoscoped and icon driven, with 20-frame clay animation, 256-color VGA graphics, and enharaced stereo sound--is in many ways a significant improvement.
To the chagrin of some and the delight of others, gone is the original text parser, now replaced with an icon-directed "conversation tree" communication system. One general question leads to many additional, more specific choices of topics to discuss, which are added to the conversation tree. After experimenting with the intuitive graphic icon mouse pointers, the game player should discover the correct location to click with the right combination of icon and object to get the desired result. The emphasis in the game is still firmly rooted in conversations and puzzles, not combat, even though combat opportunities abound if you're so inclined. The only real disappointment is that the chance of getting a speaking CD-ROM version is considered remote, considering both the already ambitious Sierra CD conversion schedule and the 80 actors and more than 6000 lines of conversation needed to be professionally recorded.
The three-dimensional, clay animation, rotoscoped graphics are the most striking feature of this game (and will be used in future games). Each of the more than 40 characters or creatures is molded--in both full torso and "talking head" versions--with modeling clay, which is photographed by a stop-action movie camera in black-and-white, giving the characters a realistic and believable three-dimensional effect, complete with shadows and nuances of expression. Each character has been given a little personality of its own, dedicated to the purpose of entertainment. Photographed at 20 frames per second, the film, which provides smooth and realistic animation, is then rotoscoped onto the computer, where the image is colorized with a 256-color palette by a computer artist, pixel by pixel. To quote one previously skeptical Sierra artist, "The results are amazing." Even Stefan Spielburg (the strangely familiar name of the baronial ruler of the town and its surrounding countryside, the setting for the game) would be happy with the results.
Even if you've played through the original Hero's Quest, you should look at this exceptional total remake of the game. The art is fantastic. The new stereo music soundtrack is wonderful (except for the glitch that turns off the music in the last few scenes of the game). The plot remains as delightful and interactive as in the original. The totally rewritten text by the original design team of Corey and Lori Cole, who have very deep roots in the pen, pencil, and dice role-playing games, is more fun, more witty, more suspenseful, and better written than that of the original.
Whether or not you bought the original, there are many features that make this hybrid role-playing-cum-graphic adventure a must-buy for your collection. When you consider the new discounted prices, the updated highly intuitive interface, the stunning graphics, the new script, the updated soundtrack, and the high quality of the upgrade, it's hard to resist.
IBM PC or compatible (80286 compatible); 640K RAM; 16-color EGA. 256-color VGA, or Tandy VGA; hard disk; mouse recommended; supports Thunderboard, Pro AudioSpectrum, Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, Roland MT-32, and Sound Source--$34.95
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