Glory V: Dragon Fire
I've always been a big Sierra fan, but for a long time I avoided the
Quest For Glory (QFG) series because of the RPG elements. Then, a
couple of years ago, I decided to see what the series was about.
Dragon Fire was the only one I could find at the time, so the game I
started with was the last in the series. It didn't matter, because
the game stands on its own.
Completely hooked, I have since
played the rest of the series and have enjoyed every one. It is just
amazing how involved the game world and how intimate the association
with so many of the characters. I couldn't believe I almost missed
the experience. So this review will target those adventure players
who are perhaps where I was a few years ago: curious, but resistant.
Maybe I can help change that.
First, you choose and build
your character. You are able to choose from Thief, Fighter, Wizard
or import your own character from a previous game. However, this
game will also import the Paladin character for you. If you are a
newcomer to the series, I suggest you choose the Paladin since he is
the most flexible.
You begin with an allotment of
skill points already assigned, depending upon your character, and
are given additional skill points to distribute as you wish. In the
game, you cannot increase a skill that you don't possess so you need
to remember that when assigning the points. Read the manual to
determine how many points are needed to possess a skill. It is a
very good idea to read the manual anyway. Next, you choose your
difficulty mode: hard, normal or easy.
Now, it's off to see the Wizard
You have been summoned to
Salmaira by Erasmus the Wizard. The King of Salmaria has been
assassinated. You, the Prince of Shapeir, are requested to compete
in the Rites of Rulership so that you may earn the right to be the
new king. There are seven rites, all different, but all very
dangerous. You and your competitors will complete each rite one at a
time. At the end, the winner will be offered the crown. But there is
one more very important quest. Find the assassin!
Controls and Interface
To move your Hero you point and
click, and double click makes him run. You can also use keyboard
actions if you choose. I never did, and had no problem. There is a
meter at the right top of the screen which keeps track of the days
and time of day. Daylight changes to dark at the appropriate time.
The game keeps an updated journal for you, recording each quest
that's completed as well as your running score. It is not necessary
to complete all of the subquests to reach the end game, only the
major ones. At the end of the game, you receive your final score and
a list of the minor quests that you failed to complete.
Your inventory satchel can
hold any number of items, but you must first place the item on your
belt (lower bar) before you can use it. So you need to plan ahead.
There is a meter bar on the inventory screen which monitors the
weight you are carrying. Heavy weight decreases stamina, so you need
to remember to store items you won't need right away. Travel as
light as possible.
There are bars at the bottom
left of the screen that monitor your health, stamina, and manna. I
played as a Paladin, so I had only a health and stamina meter to be
concerned with. Eating and resting restores your stamina, but your
health, when damaged, requires extra attention.
Salmaria is a small town, easy
to navigate. There are also several outlying areas to visit, most
fraught with danger, so it's best to hone your skills before
straying too far. Your room and board are prepaid at the
Inn which is run by a chirpy
gnome named Ann. The Inn is your base, it's where
you store your excess inventory, sleep, and partake of Ann's
I spent the first several game
days practicing my skills, talking to people, gathering information,
reading notices, and trying to figure out how to earn the money
needed to enter the Rites of Rulership and buy the various things I
felt necessary to survive future battles. After several game days of
this you will begin to realize that this is an enormous game, rich
and complex in story and interaction with many subquests that begin
to unfold as you delve deeper into the game world. At that point,
you begin to plan your day. So much to do, so many people to talk
with. So many problems to solve.
Fighting and Puzzles
As a Paladin, the fighting was
not very difficult, especially on easy mode. You start with a strong
sword and have the chance to earn honor points along the way, which
ultimately awards you a few very powerful spells. And it isn't
tricky, precision fighting -- just basically hack and slash -- and
with the right equipment, enough potions, and good strength, you're
OK. You also have the option to run away. In Dragonfire, the villain
doesn't follow you to the next screen.
But this game is so much more
than fighting. It is one of the most thoughtful games I have ever
played. The characters that you interact with take on personalities
that you learn to love or not, and sometimes feel sorry for. You
become part of their world and begin to care about their needs. You
become involved in all of the many facets of human nature and thus
it is the ultimate immersive experience. In fact it is more than
simply a game, it is an experience.
The puzzles are extremely
clever -- sometimes very difficult, even cryptic, but always logical
within the context of the story. But they are not "try everything"
puzzles. You need to think. You most especially need to think
because the cursor does not identify hot spots even though it does
offer name tags for almost everything you choose to look at. You
must decide for yourself what you feel you need, then click on the
object. If you were right, it's in your inventory. Some found this a
negative, I found it a challenge.
Obviously, you can die in this
game so it is important to save often.
Graphics and Sounds
The pre-rendered background is
bright, colorful, detailed, expansive and easy to look at. The
characters and objects are 3D, imposed on the 2D background. There
is a negative. Our Hero becomes very tiny when in a distant scene,
which makes any precision task difficult. You can even lose him
behind some object, so if in a fight at the time it can be
The music is atmospheric and
simply outstanding! The game soundtrack was produced by Chance
Thomas and really sets the mood. It is the best musical score I have
ever heard in a game. The soundtrack, in fact, stands alone on a
separate CD in the Quest For Glory Collection Series.
The ambient sounds are
plentiful and nearly perfect. Dressing for battle, swords clashing,
a rock splashing in the water -- it all enhances the realism. You
Acting and Storyline
The voice acting is superb,
done by professionals, and it shows. The voice-to-actor correlation
seems to always fit, sounds natural and never forced. The story line
is tightly woven, very well scripted with realistic and pertinent
dialogue. The plot of the game is pretty straightforward and fits
this fantasy world just right. The humor is usually excellent,
although a few of Gnome Ann's puns are teeth grinders.
The game gives a choice of
three levels of installation. I chose the full install and the game
ran smoothly except for a couple of lockups which occurred during a
heavy animation scene.
This game has a patch that I
suggest you install before you play. On a powerful machine, some
report that lowering the graphics acceleration helps sluggish mouse
problems and sometimes the lockups.
Played on: PIII, 933mhz, 383 MB
RAM, Win98SE, Soundblaster 5.1, Nvidia TNT2 Pro 16MB
Pentium 166, Win 95, 32 MB RAM,
Sound card, 6x or better CD-ROM, 600 MB hard drive space.
I chose to review Dragon Fire
over the other QFG games because it is easily available for those
who might want to see what this series is about. QFG I-IV is
available as a Collection Series on CD-ROM that will play on
Windows. However it is out of print and hard to find. QFG IV is
sometimes available on its own (for Windows) at a reasonable price
and might be a good starter since you can choose either the strategy
mode or arcade mode. Choosing the strategy mode allows the game to
do the fighting for you. QFG IV, however, does have several bugs
(and a patch).
If you do have the opportunity,
start in the beginning of the series, for many of the characters you
will meet in Dragon Fire you will have encountered before. However,
it is certainly not vital.
You already know how very much
I enjoyed this game so I have only one more comment. Give it a try!
Final Grade: A
design copyright ©