QfG5: Anticipating the Dragon

I have been really dragging my heels on this game — it’s not that big, but I’ve been taking about a week between sessions. I’m not sure why. It’s enjoyable when I’m playing it, but somehow I find myself more willing to waste my leisure hours on other pursuits lately. Maybe this whole computer game thing was just a phase for me and I’m finally outgrowing it. Ha ha. Seriously now, let’s talk about the game.

I made a lot of progress last night: by the time I stopped, I had 920 out of 1000 possible points and had completed six out of the seven Rites. The seventh one is to actually identify and stop the villain who’s trying to free the Dragon of Doom, bane of Atlantis. I assume that I’ll have to confront the dragon itself, and that this will be the ultimate encounter for the entire series. Which is kind of weird. QfG3 had you battling demons, and QfG4 put you up against a Lovecraftian Great Old One. Going from that to a dragon seems like a step or two down.

It really all comes down to QfG1. There manual for that game talked about dragons, even though there were none in the game. Dragons were the thing you’re not tough enough to beat yet, which is quite reasonable for the first episode, when you’re just starting to learn heroing. QfG1 generally kept things small — instead of battling to save the world from destruction, as is the fantasy-game cliché, you battled to rescue a baronry (not even a kingdom!) from a curse. The biggest menace was a band of brigands. At the time, I thought that starting small and leaving the story with room to grow in scale was a good move. I more or less changed my mind about that when I played Final Fantasy VII, which starts big and manages to keep escalating in scale anyway, but good or bad, QfG1‘s scale was sub-dragon. However, its outro pretty heavily implied that there would be a dragon in QfG2, which was suggestively subtitled Trial by Fire. There wasn’t. For all I know, there may have been a dragon in some draft spec, but the game we got used elementals and djinni as its big monsters. So perhaps the authors had painted themselves into a corner here: having made a big deal about dragons, they had to produce a payoff, and the longer they put it off, the more epic it had to be. The disappointing part of this is that it means I probably won’t get a chance to actually fight it. I saw the skeleton of a dragon during the pseudo-Grecian-hero’s mandatory jaunt through Hades, and it was large enough to seem architectural rather than biological. I can’t imagine something like that working in this game’s combat engine. (In Final Fantasy VII, sure, but not here.) But I suppose that if you really want to go toe-to-toe with a dragon, you get your chance with the Hydra back in Rite 3.

Anyway, assuming I figure out how to even get started on the seventh Rite, one more session should be enough to reach the end of the story as a Wizard. But I’ll still have a way to go before I’m really finished with the game. Not only are there the other character classes, there’s a bit of plot branching that seems worth exploring, particularly where it concerns the game’s courtship mechanism. I’ll talk about that in detail in the next post.

2 Comments so far

  1. Jason Dyer on 15 Mar 2008

    Hm, I’d argue with FF8 and FF9 at least, the rise in scale from ridiculous to even-more ridiculous made the plot downright silly by the end.

    I’d buy FF7 turning out ok, but I know some who’ve argued the plot of that game also fell down by the last disc.

  2. N7Kopper on 26 Feb 2023

    This game’s scale slip actually makes sense. Think about what you’re doing in the games, and compare to Devon’s power level.

    In 1, you defeat Baba Yaga to fulfill a countercurse. A hero from the East (Willowsby) frees the man from in the beast, brings the beauty out of the band, and drives the curser from the land.

    In 2, 3, and 4, you’re defeating/killing a villain to prevent a great evil from being unleashed. From Iblis, who is stopped by ending Ad Avis’ life, to the Demon Master, who is stopped by killing or sealing the Demon Wizard, to the Dark One, who is stopped by killing Ad Avis for real. (who if unleashed, consumes all of the Sierra multiverse! Nice touch that one: but imagine being Larry, Laura, or Sonny and then Avoozl shows up!)

    In 5, you FAIL to stop the great evil from being unleashed – but now Devon can actually kill it. Because it’s stronger than Baba Yaga, but not than the other three: plus you have five games worth of stats and possibly spells by now.

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