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Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire (DOS)

81
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37823)
Written on  :  Feb 19, 2014
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars

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Summary

Great sequel with a Middle Eastern feel to it

The Good

Quest for Glory II: Trail by Fire was released in 1990 and published by Sierra On-Line, and if you have played the first game, you would realize that the game takes place in the land of Shapeir where elementals are threatening the peaceful city, while the Emir of its sister city Raseir goes missing and the city fallen under tyranny.

In Shapeir, the Kattas have set up their own inn which houses a few pieces of entertainment, and your hero, whatever you decided to call him, is welcome to stay the night there for free. Not only can you watch the wife's owner dance, but you can also listen to the Poet which reads poems, mainly about the hero's journey ahead.

As with the original game, you select a class then you assign character stats to it. On the class section screen, the animations of your hero are just fantastic. The second game gives you the ability to import your hero from the first game, while retaining the same character stats. This is recommended, since unless the future QFG games, you only have a certain number of days to complete your quest; after that's, it's over. I was actually thrilled that I didn't have to fight monsters and instead focus on the more important things in the game.

A fourth class is also introduced, along with the three other classes. However, this class is not selectable when you start a new game, and you must earn this class throughout the game by doing honorable things such as not breaking into people's homes, giving money to beggars, and returning an item to its owner (hence, the new “Honor” stat). You won't get to see all the locations in the game, but you do get an alternate ending if you get a certain number of points.

A majority of the game is spent walking the streets of Shapeir. You will meet all kinds of characters, including the Kattas themselves. You can ask most characters about anything, and they are happy to give you information relating to the subject. Raseir, on the other hand, has some unpleasant ones like the guards who patrol the streets and the plaza; and the only thing worth looking at is the women who you meet at the end of the game. I remember going inside the house in one of them, then watching a bit of nudity as she changes clothes that you offer her. QFG2 has a Middle Eastern setting to it, so the stalls are scattered around Shapeir rather than shops; and like in real life in some parts of the world, you can bargain for items in order to get a better deal. The graphics blend in with that theme, and they are also on par with the first game, very colorful. The streets are nicely laid out, as are the houses that thieves can break into. The desert – where you fight the majority of monsters - looks spectacular during the day; and at night, I like the way that the developers got creative with the stars.

When it comes to sound, the music also blends in with the theme; and while all the sound cards are good at sticking with the Middle Eastern music, the Roland MT-32 sounds much realistic. As far as I know, QFG2 is the only SCI0 game to support Sound Blaster; and if you select this sound card, you'll get authentic sound effects that are not possible with the Adlib.

The developers threw in some humor into the game. Like what happened in the last game, QFG2 will produce a humorous message if you right-click on items on the main menu. Likewise, in the Blue Parrot Inn – Raseir's inn - you get to watch an amusing scene where a mouse pulls the hero's pants down while he's sleeping. Having said that, I am looking forward to the humor the developers threw in Quest For Glory III: Wages of War.

There are multiple paths you can take depending on the class you have selected. An example of this is at the end of the game, where you have to gain entry into the Raseir palace. The fighter takes on the two guards standing outside its entrance; while Magic Users levitate up to the lookout point, then enter the palace that way. As far as I know, there is only one ending to the three classes, but it only varies slightly for the hidden Paladin class. Having said that, QFG2 deserves to be played more than once, just like every other QFG game. This gives you the opportunity to experiment with classes other than your last one. You may enjoy some of your hero's alternate actions as a result of picking a different class.

The Bad

Other reviewers said that they didn't like the maze of streets that you need to navigate through Shapeir, and I agree with them. Although you can buy a map in the game, a location only shows up if you have already traveled to it before (similar to the magic map in King's Quest III); and the map that comes boxed with the game doesn't reveal any locations other than the Katta's Tail Inn and the Saurus Lot. Therefore, the only way you can get to new locations is through guesswork. In the first game, monsters immediately appear in the forest after about two or three screens. In QFG2, however, it takes over ten screens just to encounter a desert creature. By the time you defeated it, half your precious day is nearly over.

The Bottom Line

QFG2 has all the features that make the original game great, but introduces some new ones, namely character importation and a fourth class. The game has a Middle Eastern setting, and the graphics and sound blend in quite nicely. There are also alternate solutions to puzzles, based on the class you selected. With the exception of the QFG1 remake, this is the last Quest for Glory game where you going to see yourself typing commands in while putting your class to good use; and it will not be the same with the point-and-click interface.