Questron II

Moby ID: 11336
Commodore 64 Specs

Description official description

As the second title in the Questron series, this game follows the same basic formula as the original. You start out as a lowly peasant with only a few gold coins in your pocket and a bad attitude to defend yourself. By stumbling around the countryside and fighting hordes of creatures, you gain wealth, experience, and title.

Questron II spans two continents, Landor and the Realm of Sorcerers. Additionally, there are the requisite tombs, castles, and dungeons. In the first Questron, your goal was to defeat the evil Wizard Mantor. Now, in Questron II, the good Wizard Mesron has sent you back in time before the Book of Magic was created. Your goal is to defeat the six Mad Sorcerers before they can create the book.

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Credits (Commodore 64 version)

13 People

Storyline and Original Design
Programming and Additional Design by
  • Westwood Associates
Game Development
Rules
Customized Disk Operating System (Apple II)
Playtesters
Art and Graphic Design
Art Director
Illustrator

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 72% (based on 5 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 2 reviews)

Questron II is a great 'light' rpg, very good for beginners

The Good
This game is a great light on rpg. The is a nice sized overland populated with towns, castles, cathedrals and some dungeons.

The main character is animated and shown walking in the direction you want to go, which was pretty cool as all the other top down rpgs had static character icons.

The game even has pseudo 3d textured dungeons, which even tho small can get quite devious later in the game when you transport to sorcerers isle.

The graphics were quite nicely done for the time but there is little to no sound to speak about.

The Bad
There are some shortcomings of the game. Compared to the original Questron I its a big step up, compared to say Ultima III or Magic Candle, its a big step down, but its not designed to compete with either of the last two. Its a crpg-lite and has to be kept in that context.

Running away from monsters can be a pain, and can cost you more than if you stayed to fight. Some weapons are more effective than others against different monsters but its easier to just leave the same one equipped all the time than swap around.

Dungeons and tombs will reset when you leave them which can be a pain if you dont have the strength to complete a level in one go.

The only thing to do with all the money you win at gambling is to buy spells. On that point its very unbalanced.

Spells, Items, Weapons etc are all very limited in the game. Food runs down very quickly

The Bottom Line
Its a great introductory game for beginners, not too frustrating or hard. Its also an enjoyable romp for experienced players.

DOS · by Yakumo (430) · 2007

Not an RPG: an action-adventure (without action and adventure)

The Good
Okay, let's start with the few good things about this game:

Questron II features a large game world with a variety of maps in different styles: There's two large overworld maps; there's dozens of cities, castles and cathedrals of varying sizes; there's two very large tomb mazes, and finally, there's two multi-level dungeons in first person view. The dungeons even feature an early pseudo-automapping; "pseudo" because it's not saved when you leave the dungeon.

The DOS version has pretty nice EGA graphics for its time. The character has a cute, if pointless walking animation, and especially the dungeons are nicely pixeled -- a pity that they only appear in the last part of the game. The gameplay also is okay and easy enough to learn and get into.

Finally, there's one or two fine examples of storytelling in the game. My favourite moment: At one point, you''ll have to re-visit a town after the evil wizard has arrived there. When you enter it, you'll find it deserted, destroyed and full of dead people, instead of the thriving merchant city it was before. This change in mood was quite unexpected and even shocking; I love when a game achieves to make you feel something.

The Bad
Unfortunately, those fine moments are rare. I found the rest of the game somewhat less inspiring, to say the least.

Let's begin with that annoying copy protection. Each time you enter a town, there's a chance that you'll have to answer a question from the manual. Some of the questions are easy, but many of them ask for a monster with a special characteristics, forcing you to carefully read the 9 pages of monster descriptions over and over again. Yes, the descriptions are vivid and made with love and attention to detail, but I really throws you out of the game flow.

What makes it especially bad is that none of the monsters really shows any of the described characteristics. The only difference I noticed between the dozens of monsters was that some are easier to kill with normal combat, while some are easier to kill with magic. This lack of variety in monster characteristics and combat tactics makes combat pretty boring. In most of the fights, and didn't even care to check what I was fighting.

Same goes for the NPCs in cities. Even worse here, every single one of them has the same random remarks. After five minutes, those people just get annoying because they're in your way, otherwise, you completely ignore them. This really kills the atmosphere, and although the game world is big, it's not really interesting or fun to explore.

Next: Balancing. Especially for a beginner RPG, I found the game quite frustrating at the beginning. You'll have LOTS of random encounters while travelling overland, and lose even more hit points, but you never get enough loot from it to even pay the healer. I died three times -- at least I was resurrected, given 200 gold and could start again. In fact, those 200 gold was my main source of income until I found out that A) it's better to simple evade all those encounters, and B) there's a specific gambling game with very favourable payout. After half an hour, I had tens of thousands of gold pieces, and I never did fight a single random encounter again -- I just ignored them. Whenever I needed money, I gambled a bit and was rich again. I don't call that good game design.

On to my next gripe: Despite the big and apparently open game world, the game turns out to be completely linear. Because for entereing the interesting locations, you always require some special item found at another location. In fact, finding items and walking to a specific location with them is the main plot advancement mechanism. I may be the only one; I can't remember any other one. I know this was supposed to be a simple beginner's RPG, but THAT simple? Naaah.

Finally, what I intensely disliked was the fact that the game actually forced me to slaughter all guards and loot all the treasure in the castles of the land's rulers (you need an item in one of the treasure chests, see?). I mean, I'm supposed to be the good guy, sent through time and space to save the bloody land, no? So why in hell do I have to mercilessly slaughter all those poor, innocent guards?! (I know that this is a problem in most early games, and the main reason for Ultima IV -- but still, this is called a ROLE playing game.) The second king even mentioned that he wasn't too happy with me killing all his staff, but that he needed a hero anyway, and that through this bloodbath I had proved myself. Oh dear...

Ah, I just remembered one more thing: Actually, this isn't even a role-playing game as per Mobygames' definition. In Questron II, character advancement doesn't happen gradually through your actions, but at specific points during the plot. (Bringing the right item to the right place, yeehaw.)

The Bottom Line
I started playing Questron II as owned it about 15 years ago, but couldn't remember much about it. And after finishing the first three Ultimas, I was looking for an easy little light RPG. Well I've been served: Light it was -- but it wasn't really enjoyable, and it actually wasn't even a role-playing game.

Although there is a big game world, it is not really fun to explore, as the locations, monsters and NPCs all lack any originality or character. The game consists of running around, evading all fights, finding some item, and then running around some more to see what changes with that item. And gamble if you're low on dough.

I was lucky that I was in a mood where I really didn't care too much, and had enough time to get to the last part of the game, because there, the designers suddenly started building in some little ideas which made the game fun -- like entering the town destroyed by evil, or the dungeons which were fun to explore. Up to that point, I had spent maybe four or five hours with the game, and I would have abandoned it soon. If the designers had spent some more attention to detail and atmosphere for the first 75% of the game, it could have been fun.

Still, there's one thing I admire about Questron II: The nerve of SSI to release this game in 1988, side by side with games like Pool of Radiance or Ultima V. Questron II looks hopelessly and utterly outdated. Its large game world and simple gameplay would have made it a decent game in 1984 (year of Questron I, which I haven't play, but which I imagine is quite similar); but the flat NPCs, the nondescript and interchangeable monsters, and the primitive plot advancement mechanism make it look and feel more like a kind of turn-based Gauntlet variant than a real role-playing game -- which it, in fact, isn't.

So all in all, if you're looking for a decent "light" role-playing game from the beginnigs of RPG history -- my recommendation is to look somewhere else. This is really too light and uninteresting for all but the most braindead players. And it isn't even an RPG -- I don't really know what it is. So I would describe it as an action-adventure -- without action and adventure, though.

DOS · by General Error (4328) · 2012

Trivia

Lawsuit

According to Joel Billings, founder of SSI, there were some legal problems during the game's development. For every game SSI published, including Questron, they reserved the rights to approve a sequel. The Dougherty brothers did sign up with Electronic Arts during the development of Questron II without submitting an offer sheet to SSI. So SSI sued Electronic Arts over the matter. In the end, SSI received the publishing rights for Questron II and Electronic Arts got the rights for another unnamed game.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Toadstool.

Windows added by Plok. Atari ST added by ZZip. Apple IIgs, Amiga added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Patrick Bregger.

Game added December 19, 2003. Last modified June 26, 2024.