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Reader reviews for Quest for Glory 4½

Adventure Gamers Reader reviews, read what other adventure gamers think of Quest for Glory 4½.

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Rating by Loh_Land posted on Jul 12, 2014 | edit | delete

Oh my

I haven’t played this a long while so excuse me if some details are foggy. I probably could just go and play it again but that would be a big mistake. In reality this is a really terrible game that is borderline unplayable at times but that it even exists in the first place and the humor ranging from vulgar to plain silly gives it a certain charm to prevent me from totally hating it.

So this was an old title made in Adventure Game Studio, and roughly around the time the fifth game came out, or a few years after. Whoever made this obviously did not like it since it takes its share of potshots at it (though I think the game is a masterpiece, maybe not a fully realized one, but one all the same, and crap like this is probably in no position to be calling it out for anything).

So going by the title you’ll quickly figure this is supposed to take place between 4 and 5, which is hypothetically correct except the game doesn’t give one damn about continuity and so nothing here makes any sense considering the ending of the fourth game. But that’s the least of its problems. First, the game looks absolutely terrible. Technically, the map of Spielburg is the same (save for more than a few changed areas) but the character sprite on top of the screen does not blend in at all with the background. I don’t know why, but it’s like someone walking on a matte painting. And his animations! If you can call them that.

So the “story” to this one is that destroying Baba Yaga’s curse actually made the town worse off somehow. The Baron’s son has taken over and turned everything to waste. So you being blamed for causing the trouble, you must try and undo the mess you’ve made. The game does in fact keep intact the choices of Fighter, Wizard and Thief, and they all actually do have some differences in their playthroughs, so pulling that off by himself on an old version of AGS is pretty impressive all things considered. And no, unfortunately you can’t import a character you have from one of the other QfG games to here, but that may very well be a good thing considering the game’s biggest issue of all: the constant, CONSTANT crashing. Sometimes you’ll start up, walk barely a few feet and, crash. If I recall correctly there were other environmental glitches too but I don’t know the details. That is why I rank the Difficulty as “Hard.” The game itself is not too terribly difficult, but the crashes will make getting through this thing a real struggle. I read the guy behind Infamous Quests (who made Quest for Infamy) and one from Himalaya Studios (makers of the VGA remakes of the first three King’s Quest titles, as well as Al Emmo and the upcoming Mage’s Apprentice) got hold of the game’s code to see if it could be patched or fixed in any way and according to them the code is such a horrible, incoherent garbled mess that they were surprised the game works as well as it did. Their conclusion: it would be much easier to remake the game altogether than to fix it in its current, broken state.

So you’ll meet old, familiar faces, some new ones, and you even get extra areas to explore! Around the side of the entrance to Spielburg is some ice mountain, whose graphics apparently were lifted entirely from King’s Quest V. Then there’s a beach where you can get a ride across the tides (with apparently Monkey Island music playing) to a cave where some treasure or, something, can be found, all the while avoiding the traps set up for you to avoid getting it. Then you meet up with a gang who call themselves the “Homosexual Pirates’ (hurf hurf) or something like that, though there’s nothing stereotypically “gay” in their behaviors. Anyway they want your treasure so you’ll have to find a way out of it if you want to live. This part I actually was stuck on and had to look up the solution too (yes someone was sad enough to put up a walkthrough for this game for people equally sad enough to play it). I forgot if it was that I missed an item or the solution was so obvious in hindsight but in any case, I got out.

The humor is the game’s defining feature, yet interestingly I can’t even remember any particular jokes from the game. What I recall was that it wasn’t as reliant on juvenile or offensive humor that I expected. It ranges from vulgar, offensive, absurd, plain silly or just dumb. Like there’s a sign in front of a shop advertising itself as the best of its kind in Spielburg, and mentioning that it has locations in “Lucas, Coppola, Scorsese” and a few others. I thought that was cute.

Combat, is barely consequential. A few of the new Baron’s guards, I think(?) will show up on screen, but unlike the first game where they’ll follow you screen to screen for a bit, they immediately disappear when you leave the screen and come back. So combat is easy to avoid if you want. But if you want to get all points in the game (which, yes, I did, for some reason) then there’s a certain enemy you have to fight who is ridiculously tough. You need to be maxed out in your stats to take this S.O.B. down. And it’s because he’s the killer of some woman whose spirit cannot rest because of him, then you must bury her body in a church or something.  It’s the one point in the game where it actually takes itself seriously, and as a side-plot/quest it’s not too bad, I can easily see it fitting with even the regular QfG games. Then when you find the den that was once that treasure area guarded by the Minotaur (I’m sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve played these games) before and now has been turned into a bar for hillbillies with Confederate flags pasted everywhere then such moments of poignancy sort of dissipate.

In conclusion, this was a game made by someone who was clearly a huge fan of the series. All the references, effort put into a game with such complex mechanics, and even a decent sense for storytelling and puzzles when he actually tries means he probably could’ve made something decent if he was not enraptured by his juvenile sensibilities, technical shortcomings, both aesthetic and the ones that make the game a burden to get through (seriously the crashes got so bad at points I was just about to delete the whole damn thing), some really bad spelling and grammar (forgot to mention that, yeah, this wasn’t something that was very well proof-read if at all), and that the whole thing was seemingly just thrown together as a joke which shows. It’s worth a download for the novelty factor (there are two versions: a DOS version and a Windows versions - one of them doesn’t actually even work - I forget which one) if you’re a fan of this series, but this is a hardcore case of “save early, save often.” Not because it’s a hard game with puzzles that’ll trap you or kill you at any point, but because you could make some decent progress only for it to CRASH. If you accomplish anything at all, even if it’s walking five screens across, save, so you don’t have to potentially do that again. Keep that branded into your brain - SAVE SAVE SAVE SAVE. Something in its program is out for you, and knows your weakness - your tendency to play without stopping to save, but you MUST beat it down! Hard! CORE! To the MAX!

Or, y’know, just don’t play it, you could always do that, I’m sure there have to be playthroughs on YouTube somewhere.

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Time Played: 2-5 hours
Difficulty: Hard

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