Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire VGA Remake review

It’s rare I don’t know how to start an article but such is the occasion here. AGD Interactive, formerly known as Tierra, have recently released their long-awaited remake of the Sierra classic Quest for Glory II. It’s not just that it was in production for seven years that unsettles me, I’m uncertain how am I to write the review. Since this is an almost 1:1 remake, should I only concentrate on the renewed aspects of the game? Or should I also the remark on the aspects of the original? I suppose I shall helplessly try to balance the two, so read on…

The first thing that makes a grand impression is that the game was in production for seven years, and it’s quite obvious that they were well invested into the project. The amount of effort put into the game is nothing but vast, and it shows on every scene of the game. Whether it’s the dirty streets of Raseir or the endless desert, the backgrounds and dialogue portraits are at least as much polished as those of any Sierra game from the early 90s, and the animations are as smooth as they can be in the charming pixels of the 320*200 resolution. Not much more can be said about the graphics of the game – pure eye candy.

The plot of the game (which remains intact from the original) plays out like the next tale from the Arabian Nights – all with sultans, viziers and genies. Of course, there’s also quite a lot of the typical Quest for Glory humour, and some hilarious references – “Of all the Djinn joints in this town, you had to walk into this one.”. A rendez-vous with the Marx brothers is also not uncommon in the game. In the end, the game never quite takes itself too seriously, and only benefits from that – it is a satisfying experience which leaves you with a smile once you’ve finished it.

The soundtrack of the game consists mainly of revised themes from the original game, and, while it is obviously professionally made, quite frankly, I find it a bit bland. Of course, the music is appropriate and well-timed, but it’s hardly memorable. The game is not voiced, but then again, nor were the remake of the first game and the third installment, so it does not really bother me.

What is most impressive about this game, however, is its technical side. The Quest for Glory games are traditionally far more complicated than the other Sierra series, mostly because of the alternate classes which you can play; hence the different solutions to the puzzles, different events etc. AGDI have managed to implement all that in AGS, and the result is a game that feels exactly like the remake of the first one. And hats off to that.

Perhaps the biggest innovation which Trials by Fire VGA offers is the combat system. Unlike that of the other Quest for Glory games (with the partial exception of the fourth one) where combat was a synonym for “click the attack button”, here we are offered a well-developed and challenging combat system with special moves, combo attacks and different strategies for each character class.

Of course, a game of such scope cannot be perfectly flawless – I myself found a few minor bugs, but they did nothing to mar my impressions. There are other flaws though – those of the original. For instance, the desert, which is endlessly vast, only has three or four places of interest, or the labyrinth-like alleyways, through which you have to find your way at least two times.

It’s hard to criticise Trial by Fire VGA, though. Not only is it easily the most ambitious AGS game ever released, but it is also immensely polished. And an aficionado of the classic adventure games can only be grateful for the finished product.

Note: I shall abstain from scoring this game, since AGDI are not responsible for all of the game’s aspects.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire VGA Remake

Creator: AGD Interactive