Quest For Glory V: Dragon Fire


Genre:   RPG

Developer:    Yosemite Entertainment

Publisher:    Sierra

Released:   1998

PC Requirements:    Pentium 166, Win 95, 32 meg RAM, Sound card, 6x or better CD-ROM, 600 meg hard drive space.





by gsd

Quest for 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.

Getting Started

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.

Around Town 

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 "culinary delights."

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 frustrating.

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 are there.

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.

Technical Stuff

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

System requirements:

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

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