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Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire (Windows)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (168607)
Written on  :  Feb 03, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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Very well, very well! We came to an agreement that we both agree upon!

The Good

Finally, after years of waiting, the last chapter of the saga appeared. And of course, the big question here was: could the series maintain its charm and its quality in a game that stands chronologically so far away from its origin? The answer is: it definitely could. Because "Dragon Fire" is a brilliant example of classical QFG gameplay, story-telling, and overall approach to gaming experience.

The "Greek" setting is new and refreshing, and the world map system is, in my opinion, the best in the series. Instead of tedious mazes of Quest for Glory II, or the abundance of empty screens in both first and fourth games, "QFG 5" follows the map design of Wages of War. It implements this design even better, by creating a large world map with lots of hidden places, secrets, etc., like in a true large epic RPG.

Speaking of RPG, "Quest for Glory V" is undoubtedly more inclined towards role-playing than any of its predecessors. The manual to the game calls it an "action RPG". That might sound a bit exaggerated, but mainly due to its new, action-oriented combat system, relatively heavy weapon development and the overall emphasis on battles, I suppose "QFG 5" can be called that way. The role-playing in the game follows the same light skill-based system that was implemented in all earlier QFG titles, and brings nothing new in this aspect. However, there is now a much larger choice of weapon and armor, and much more combat, that is also way more challenging than in any of the previous games. The combat system underwent the most notable change, by switching to simple point-and-click fighting typical to action RPGs. There is no battle screen, the battles occupy the whole area, which leads to much more strategic possibilities, and also increases the difficulty, because often you will have to fight several enemies at the same time - something that never occurred in the series before. Certain places, such as, for example, the way through Hades, are so heavily populated by enemies, that the gameplay there turns to a genuine dungeon hack à la Diablo! You'll find yourself whacking skeletons and thinking when to use a healing potion or what sword is the best against that particular kind of undead. Overall, I found the fights very entertaining, and think they are a nice addition to the game.

Except this more action-oriented gameplay, nothing really changed since the early QFG titles. The background graphics are beautiful, but don't strike you as "modern". The music is fantastic, the game is full of atmosphere, and walking around in Silmaria is a wonderful experience.

As before, there are plenty of lively and amusing characters scattered around the game - check out, for example, the innkeeper Ann or the merchant Wolfie (from whom I also borrowed the one-liner to this review, which frankly doesn't sound that funny when it s written, and not said with the proper accent!). There are plenty of side-quests to keep you occupied, aside from the main quest you must follow. What's more, in the end of the game, it actually tells you the things you could have done, but didn't! I found out I missed quite a lot. For example, there are three women you can marry (not all of them at the same time, of course), although I couldn't charm even one when I played the game. This adds a lot to the replay value, which is anyway quite high, since you can play the game with four different character classes. Based on exploration and experimenting, the core of the series' gameplay, "Quest for Glory V" is a rich, rewarding experience.

The Bad

Well, I couldn't help being slightly - but really only slightly - disappointed from this game, mainly because it didn't have the grandeur and the emotional intensity of the wonderful prequel. The game is much lighter in its content and actually returns to the roots of the series.

The new characters are funny, but not quite as memorable as in the previous games, and there were a little bit too many appearances of characters we have already met before.

It is a bit pity they made the interface so simple, I actually liked much more the multi-icon interface of earlier QFG games. I always enjoyed trying all possible combinations with all possible objects, "taking" women, talking to walls, and performing other ridiculous actions, since in many cases I was rewarded with a funny remark by the narrator.

Finally, it is sad to know the series really ends here... but that is hardly the fault of this game.

The Bottom Line

"Quest for Glory V" is a game that remains true to the spirit of the series, it has everything that makes the series great, and I don't think it can disappoint a QFG fan. While not being revolutionary, it brings back the good old days of Quest for Glory, and for this, it should be remembered as a great game.