Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire

Posted by Matthew Murray.
First posted on 27 December 1999. Last updated on 04 July 2010.
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Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
The entrance to the city of Shapeir hails an ominous sign of danger.
Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
You, as the Hero of Spielburg, are the last hope to restore the throne of Raseir.
Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
The combat system used in this hybrid title is based on role-playing games.
Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
You can glance at your character's attributes from this screen.
Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire
You can choose to be a fighter, a wizard, or a thief.

How do you follow a phenomenal hit? That is the problem facing Sierra On-Line when it decides to follow up on its hit game Hero's Quest: So You Want to Be a Hero. The original game (which has later changed its name to Quest for Glory I: So You Want to Be a Hero due to a trademark issue) has been a critical and popular success, most unusual for an adventure/role-playing hybrid title. The creators of the series, Lori and Corey Cole, are not to be discouraged. Their task is no doubt daunting—to develop a game that can completely satisfy fans of the original as well as attract new fans to the series. Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire not only succeeds in this task but has done much more.

The sequel picks up immediately where its predecessor leaves off. You are flying on a magic carpet with Shema, Shameen, and Abdulla Doo to the desert city of Shapeir. It becomes clear that, soon after your arrival, everything is not as it should be. The Emir of Raseir (Shapeir's sister city) has vanished. With the investigation underway and Shapeir itself threatened by a dark and powerful magic, it seems as though the disappearance of the Emir of Raseir is only a piece in a much larger and more dangerous puzzle. As the Hero of Spielburg, it is your responsibility to find the cause for the trouble and restore the Emir to the throne of Raseir.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire is the lushest and most beautiful 16-color game made by Sierra On-Line. Though other games have started to switch to 256 colors soon after the release of this game, this game utilizes 16 EGA colors to the full effect by giving the impression that many more colors have been used. The graphics are extremely detailed and atmospheric, perfectly matching to the pace of the game. The music, likewise, is superb, fully evoking the game's Arabian setting and effectively setting the mood from the beginning to the end. In a particularly entertaining twist, the game even opens with the main theme from the previous title played in an Arabian style to good effect! The game's interface uses a combination of typed input, menus, and mouse actions to accomplish a wide range of activities efficiently and with little frustration. Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire is the only title that uses a hybrid of SCI (Sierra Creative Interpreter) versions 0 and 1. The compression routines used in this game are the same as those used by SCI1 rather than SCI0. SCI0 is an object oriented interpreter. It supports 16 color EGA (320x200) graphics and a text parser based interface. It is also the first interpreter to support sound cards.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire is among the most smoothly flowing and entertaining games Sierra On-Line has ever developed. The game plays with a clear path that is almost always set out before you. You may play any of 3 character types (fighter, wizard, or thief), each of which approaches the game uniquely with different situations to face and puzzles to solve. The character classes are much more clearly defined in this game than the previous one, resulting in 3 very different gaming experiences (a fighter may also strive to become a paladin, providing a possible fourth gaming avenue.). This element makes the game very replayable, while abundant humor and other sparkling touches make each time through the game an unique and enjoyable journey. Shapeir, being a very big city, is somewhat difficult and confusing to navigate early in the game. The task becomes much easier later on once you acquire a map that allows you to move quickly between locations in the city for which yoy have previously visited.

On the negative side, this game is much more linear than its predecessor, with certain actions that must be completed within certain periods of time. This can make the game drag a bit during subsequent replays. The way certain events occur in the game, as well as a small lack of direction, can make your aspiration to become a paladin tougher than it should be. The story, while good, is occasionally plagued by somewhat predictable plot twists. Most of the puzzles are fairly easy. Walking around in the streets, essentially an elaborate form of copy protection, wears thin very quickly.

In the end, Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire is an extremely fun game. This is so no matter which hero you choose to be. The story, which is fairly complex and quite involving, manages to work in a large amount of humor and a number of lighthearted situations and memorable characters. The wide variety of puzzles and greater differences between the character types than the previous game assure a great deal of replayability. The ending sequence of this game is marvelous and a showcase of all the graphic and sound technologies available at that time. A powerhouse addition to the Quest for Glory series, Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire is an excellent and entertaining game even when taken by itself.

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