Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness
The Quest For Glory saga continues with this, the fourth episode in the series, and nothing much has changed. The same combination of adventure and rpg elements are used, and while it's a nice idea in theory, in practice it's a little ambitious for a game as big as Shadows Of Darkness. Before the game begins, you decide whether your character will be a fighter, a magic user or a thief. The character type you select will determine how you approach and solve the puzzles you come across throughout the game. For example, a magician will cast an open spell to unlock a particularly troublesome door. In the same situation, a thief will use a lock pick to get round the problem, and a fighter will take the subtle approach and just bash the hell out of the door until it opens. Apart from that, the only real similarity to conventional rpg's is in the use of magic. Unless you decide to become a magic user, which gives you the ability to cast spells and mumble strange words to yourself you may as well be playing a standard adventure game with a few combat sequences thrown in to spice it up.
Let me tell you a story
The strengths or weaknesses of the rpg elements are not of major importance to the game as a whole. Shadows Of Darkness is an adventure game first and foremost and, as such, lives or dies by its plot.
Plot is everything. An adventure game without a convincing story is like a flight sim without an aeroplane. Sierra, of course, is no newcomer to the art of storytelling, and it certainly shows. All the characters you meet have something to say that contributes to the main story. In most cases, they also have their own problems and waste no time in asking for your help. Consequently, most of your time in the game is taken up with sub-quests that you have to complete before going on to the next stage of the main plot.
The upshot of this is you never really have time to get bored. It's not uncommon to have several minipuzzles floating around in your head, while at the same time trying to figure out how they fit into the great scheme of things.
A cast of thousands
The magical land of Mordavia provides the setting for your adventure. Yea, for once it was a happy land, where all the inhabitants joshed each other playfully and went about their business without a care in the world. Then a shadow fell across the land and, hiding somewhere in this shadow, was evil rotter The Dark One. Long did the brave warriors of Mordavia battle against the forces of darkness. Stop did they not 'till the cad was banished from the land. Believe could they not the nerve of this foul villain to show up without invitation and disrupt their fair domain. To this day, the townsfolk live in fear of the evil one's minions who stalk the land still. Now there cometh to Mordavia a dashing hero to right wrongs and ensure the big bully returneth not.
People are strange
And so begins your quest. The land of Mordavia is in a bad way. The undead are lurking about at night, tales of werewolves and vampires are rife amongst the villagers, and evil ones are ready to return at the drop of a hat. So, you would think that when the townsfolk discover there's a hero in town, they would welcome him with open arms and smother him in girlie kisses. Not a bit of it. Everyone you speak to eyes you with suspicion and makes it perfectly clear you are not welcome. The only way you can get them to co-operate and 'assist you with your enquiries' is to win them over by performing acts of an unmistakably heroic nature and solving each of the problems they present you with in turn. Once you've gained their trust and got them talking freely, you learn all about the land and its inhabitants and the strange buildings in the town and up on the hill.
Rasputin's barmy brother
The monastery in the village is only spoken of in guarded whispers and is generally regarded as being not a very nice place. It was founded by the notorious Mad Monk, Amon Tillado, who promptly invited all his mad monk friends there to worship unmentionable things and perform unsanitary rites. The mark of the Dark One is all over the monastery and many vital clues to uncovering his seedy secrets can be found here.
The castle on the hill is another place not to take your parents to for a day trip. It is renowned for being a fave haunt of vampires, werewolves and other dodgy types. It is also heavily guarded and visits are strictly on an invitation only basis. Much of the game is spent trying to get into the damn place and when you do, you discover a maze of rooms and corridors, many locked by puzzles you have to solve before you can progress.
Sierra wise up shock
I have never been particularly enamoured with Sierra adventure games. Most of the ones I have played forced me to revert to trial and error investigation to find the solutions to illogical puzzles. In this respect, Shadows Of Darkness is a vast improvement. The clues to the puzzles can be found by conversing with the villagers and investigating the buildings in the town. Even when you're stuck in one place, there's always something else to be getting on with while you think about it. The only weak links are the rather throwaway combat scenes which provide a welcome diversion to start with, but just get in the way the deeper you get into the plot. That aside, Shadows Of Darkness is a well written, engrossing adventure and should keep most people guessing for a week or two.
Download Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP