Quest for Glory III: Wages of War

Posted by Adam McIntosh.
First posted on 02 February 2006. Last updated on 04 July 2010.
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Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
Different character classes have differing character attributes.
Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
The combat screen shows status of both the hero and the enemy.
Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
As the Prince, you must prevent a looming tribal war.
Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
The Quest for Glory series combines elements of adventure, action, and role-playing.
Quest for Glory III: Wages of War
You must learn to deal with local merchants.

Making a sequel worthy enough to follow proudly in the footsteps of the Quest for Glory series is never an easy task for the team of Lori and Corey Cole at Sierra On-Line. The last game, Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire, is an epic title with state-of-the-art production and virtually bug free gaming. Is the Cole team up to the challenge with this sequel? The short answer is—yes and no.

The Simbani, rightful owners of the stolen Spear of Death, and the Leopardman, rightful owners of the stolen Drum of Magic, are preparing for war with each other over the possession of these artifacts. Each tribe believes the other has stolen its respective relic. As the hero, it is your job now to get to the bottom of the conflict before the war breaks out and to discover the true enemy behind this unholy ploy to destroy these tribes.

For fans of the Quest for Glory series, the first change that stands out about Quest for Glory III: Wages of War is the radically different game engine. The game uses the newly developed SCI1 (Sierra Creative Interpreter, version 1) engine. SCI1 is an extension of the original SCI. It now supports a point and click interface, 320x200x256 VGA graphics, and digitized sound effects. Unlike the original SCI, there is no standard debug mode in SCI1 games, since it is taken out entirely before the game is released. This means that unlike the last game that uses the tired 16-color EGA graphics, this sequel looks resplendent in its fresh bad detailed 256-color VGA graphics. Gone too is the text parser, which has been replaced by a point n' click interface. This latter change is a mixed blessing. Although the new interface simplifies the gameplay and removes the need for the player to consult a thesaurus when trying to execute complex commands, purists may feel that their freedom to interact with the game world has been somewhat diminished. The limitation is not a major problem for most gamers though, as most of the more wacky commands diehard fans of the series want to use with the text parser (such as slap, kick in balls) never work anyway in the previous title.

The land of Tarna is more aesthetically pleasing than that of Shapeir in the last game, thanks to some beautiful hand drawn artworks of backdrops that are fully rendered in VGA color and resolution. In addition, the artists have drawn the game world in this sequel to look easier on the eyes than the last title by the simple expedient of making Tarna a lush green subtropical paradise as opposed to Shapeir's harsh ugly desert terrain. The combat system has also undergone a change, as it does in every game in the series so far. The sound in this game is a mixed bag. With a Sound Blaster AWE32, the music is tolerable and cheerful. With a Sound Blaster PCI 128, the music is unbearably awful. Sound effects are adequate. In other words, nothing about the sound in this game lends itself to any description other than average.

Many of the original features that have endeared fans to the Quest for Glory series have been retained in this sequel. The character enhancement and skill system remain. An extra character class has been added—the Paladin, a fighter with enhanced armor and skills such as healing, danger sense, shield, and flaming sword. More spells have been added to the mage's repertoire. While the thief now gains the ability to do a single acrobatic maneuver, the thief class as a whole is still sorely neglected in this game. There is no thieves guild, and there are no house to burglarize except the huts of 2 tribal chiefs which you must raid as part of the main plot.

The town environment in this sequel is deceptively small. The land of Tarna, at first glance, looks massive. Undulating savannahs, spacious grasslands, forbidding jungles, and various terrain features such as waterfalls, rock formations, and waterholes, as well as the city of Tarna and the Simbani village, are all combined in what seems to be a very large and interesting game world. Unfortunately, this illusion lasts only minutes until the player quickly realizes the supposedly large city of Tarna consists solely of an inn, an apothecary, a royal hall (duh), one house, a temple, and a bazaar. The house and the temple do not need to be visited at all to succeed in the game, whereas the royal hall and the inn are visited only during cut scenes. This leaves the apothecary and the bazaar, both of which need to be visited no more than twice during the entire game.

The wilderness environment is equally deceptively small. Gone is the screen by screen navigation used in the first previous games of the series. Instead, the wilderness is a 4 screen map decorated with the occasional landmarks that are worthy only of a single visit each. The entire wilderness takes no more than a minute to fully traverse. The Simbani village is equally disappointing with its small size, consists solely of 3 huts, 2 practice areas, and a place where you can play an infernally annoying board game called Awari.

Another disappointment in this game is its simplistic story. There is virtually no subplot, and the main plot plays out in a far more straightforward manner than it makes itself out to be. There is very little to keep you in suspense. The game is easy, almost stupefying easy. Once the player has built up the character from a quick workout with the monkey bars and the log bridge or from a few good fights, combat becomes a rapid-fire click fest that lasts only seconds with minimal danger. The changes in the combat system bear a close resemblance to the system in the remake of the original Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero. Once combat is mastered, there is virtually no challenge left for the gamer. The puzzles are no brain affairs. In many cases, the player is blatantly told how to solve these puzzles by a Non-Player Character in the game.

Despite these design flaws, playing Quest for Glory III: Wages of War is still quite an enjoyable experience. The dialog is generally well scripted, and the game has several moments of comic brilliance. Some of the local faunas, in particular, are hilarious, including the hard drinkin', mineshaft workin' earthpigs and buttered waffles that wander the savannah. The designers have done a fine job convincing the player as if their existence amongst the dinosaurs is completely plausible. As well, a few old gags from previous games of the series have made their way into this sequel, which guarantee a few chuckles for many diehard fans of Quest for Glory.

Interestingly, according to Cole, due to a conflict with another game called Wages of War, the official title of this game is Quest for Glory III: Seekers of the Lost City and not Quest for Glory III: Wages of War. Regardless, the third game in the Quest for Glory series is largely intended to attract diehard fans of the series and gaming novices. The game holds minimal appeal to seasoned gamers who are seeking a challenge and who may not be fans of the series. For diehard fans, it serves as a passable continuation of the Quest for Glory epic that must be played regardless of its mediocrity.

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