Every episode in the Quest for Glory series starts by giving the player a choice of three character classes: Fighter, Mage, and Thief. (From episode 3 onward, there’s a fourth character class, Paladin, but you can’t choose it at the beginning of the game. Paladinhood must be earned.) You choice of class affects not only how you deal with monsters, but how you can solve certain puzzles. There’s also class-specific content: guilds with their own tests, houses for the Thief to burglarize. All in all, it’s one of the most effective replay-value mechanisms I’ve seen. And yes, I have played through episodes 1 through 4 with every class. 1
Generally speaking, the Fighter is the simplest class to play: whenever a puzzle has class-specific solutions, the Fighter’s solution is to break it. For that reason, I’ve been playing QfG5 as a Fighter so far. If I get completely stuck, I’ll give one of the other classes a whirl, and probably learn something to help the Fighter in the process. But that hasn’t happened yet.
Playing the Fighter means I have to use the new combat system a great deal, and it has some problems. See, combat is realtime — in a sense, the game isn’t just an adventure/RPG hybrid, it’s an adventure/RPG/fighting game hybrid. You can do simple maneuvers with the mouse, Diablo-style, but if you want to use more than one kind of blow, or dodge sideways when your opponent strikes and counterattack, or even just block with your shield, you need to use the keyboard. The problem is that the game frequently drops keyboard events. I wouldn’t even mind this so much if it just dropped key presses, but it often fails to recognize key releases, leaving me endlessly dodging in a circle or whatever until I mash the key that triggered it a few times. So I’m pretty much stuck with the mouse. The fighter can pretty much just bash through things without fancy footwork, given enough healing items (and healing items are really cheap in this game), but there are some monsters that are patently designed to be handled with more finesse. The Goons, for example: big green guys with huge mallets. 2 They hit hard, but their blows are kind of slow, and I could use that against them if I had access to the moves I’m supposed to have.
I wonder if the other classes will have it better or worse in that regard? On the one hand, in close combat, they’d be more reliant on dodging. On the other hand, they’re also more geared toward avoiding close combat.
- I have to admit, though, that part of the reason I played the first couple of games with every class is that I was just a kid then, without a Stack of 300+ games, and thus was more motivated to milk every drop of gameplay I could from those games I owned. Really, this whole blog is a holdover from that now-obsolete mindset. [↩]
- There was a Goon in QfG1. There, it was an invincible guard, something that ended the game abruptly without a combat sequence if it caught you. The fact that the hero is taking on whole packs of them now is a pretty clear sign to the fans of the series of how far he’s come. [↩]