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Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire (DOS)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (169089)
Written on  :  Feb 03, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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A thrilling experience in the Middle East

The Good

Apart from giving me some nostalgic feelings (since the game's setting reminded me of some parts in Israel, such as the desert or Jerusalem, where I grew up - in particular the Old City), "QFG 2" also delivers plenty of fantastic story-telling and gameplay, as much as we already encountered in "Hero's Quest" - and even more of it.

First of all, the plot is really excellent, from mysterious ancient prophecies to quite authentic modern-day intrigues, with lots of interesting and memorable characters. There were some really exciting and even touching moments. The game instantly shows you why exactly Sierra is considered one of the best developing companies ever. Althought it brings nothing really new to the series, compared to the brilliant and revolutionary first game, it refines a lot of the stuff that was still a bit underdeveloped in the "German" Quest for Glory, expands the game world, introducing two large cities and a vast desert area. The cities are remarkably lively, with colorful, vividly portrayed characters, and loads of things to do. Talk to anyone about anything, wander around through mazes, visit magic shops and forgeries, buy souvenirs, watch cool Oriental dancing or just go back to the inn and sleep. Compared to Spielburg of the first game, Shapeir is a much more attractive place.

Gameplay-wise, the game is just like other QFGs, which means - magnificent. The role-playing system doesn't look so fancy, but is a huge fun nevertheless. Hack monsters and watch your strength and agility grow, throw stones to develop throwing skills, be extremely nice to people and become a paladin - there are enough possibilities here. To combine perfectly such a cool, uncomplicated, and fun role-playing with solid traiditonal adventuring can be only a work of the wizards from Sierra. The game is simply interesting at any given moment, there isn't even one part of the story that is average - everything is wonderfully executed, and you'll find here variety such as rarely seen elsewhere.

There are plenty of side-quests, so even you play the game a second time with the same character class, you are likely to encounter people you haven't encountered the first time you played, and to perform tasks you didn't perform before. Not to mention that, like all QFG games, there are character classes to choose from, so that a game played by a wizard is entirely different from the one played by a thief. How's that for replay value?

The Bad

The game has only one flaw that can't be found in other QFG games, and that is the abundance of mazes scattered around it. While the town maze is fairly easy to navigate once you have a map, wandering around in the desert is almost a nightmare, since all the screens look similar and there is no limit to how far you can walk away from the town. You can get lost very easily there, so save often.

Also, it was possible to get irrevocably stuck in the game, but that is pretty much the case in all early Sierra titles.

Unfortunately, this game never got an official VGA remake (although I heard something of a fan remake made recently). It still looks very outdated with its 16 colors, compared to the gorgeous third game, and, what's worse, it still uses the uncomfortable text interface. I don't really mind text input in linear adventures such as Larry, but in such a large, complex RPG-adventure, with plenty of side-quests and other stuff, using this interface wasn't very rewarding. Especially the dialogue was a very annoying matter, since dialogue choices didn't pop up automatically in a menu, but had to be entered manually by the player. Often I found myself stuck in the game because I didn't talk to person A about topic Y, simply because it never occurred to me this topic might be important for this particular person - a thing that wouldn't have happened if there were a dialogue menu.

Some puzzles came very unexpectedly, without proper clues to be given before, and I found the game had generally a bit too many puzzles. It was a pain in the neck to figure out how to catch each elemental, or how to defeat the ultimate enemy.

The Bottom Line

Despite its flaws, "QFG 2" is one hell of a game - just like all the other members of this truly brilliant series. Great adventuring accompanied by fun role-playing, with an excellent plot, humor, and great characters, this game is perhaps the finest 16-color masterpiece available.