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Warning: Contains Quest for Glory Spoilers
[This Editorial has MAJOR Quest for Glory Spoilers. If you haven't played these games, I highly recommend them. Please go play them before reading this editorial, as this will spoil the best (in my opinion) PC RPGs ever to grace this earth.]
Eleven years ago by my count, I was sitting in my house, at Christmas-time, opening presents. Hoping for a new game to play on our brand-spanking new 286 machine, flying-through computations at double-digit megahertz, I ripped open a present. Thus began my love for the Quest for Glory series. Of course, things were different, as the game was called Hero's Quest. The naming is not the point of the editorial, and all of you reading this editorial should probably know something about it.
"So you want to be a hero?" it asked. Well, golly gee, that sounded great to my 10 year-old psyche. So I walked upstairs, installed it, marveling at the need for only 4 game disks! "What can beat 3.5 inch floppies?" I thought to myself. Right-clicking on the first thing I saw on the screen, a scorpion crawling up the poster that would be my fame. "Congratulations! You have just found the first bug in this game!" I was in love.
Ten years later (by my count), and four worlds later, I borrowed Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire from a friend. Disappointed slightly at the seemingly extinct punny humour I found in the first two, I figured that it'd be a good play, but nothing special. I was wrong. I was very wrong.
The graphics throughout the game had gone from pixilated EGA blobs to VGA blobs, to VGA blobs with facial features. Definetly a plus, as they kept the same consistency while improving in quality. The sound never failed to fit into the environment, and never failed to pick the perfect time to make a "bloop" or a "bleep," or in later games, a very seductive sentence told by a very seductive woman.
But the graphics and the sound weren't what drew me to this game. I knew it was the last one. Possibly because of utter disappointment from the Seinfeld finale, possibly because of nagging doubts about finales in general, I expected it to be nothing more than another Quest for Glory game. Instead of being a Quest for Glory game, it was THE Quest for Glory game... The Quest for Glory game to end all Quest for Glory games.
The Kattas returned, Bruno returned, Katrina Returned, Elsa von Speilburg returned. Erasmus and Fenril amused me with their puns once more, and I met some people I never thought I would. I met the man who got me started on my career path to fame, and I revisited all those I met along the way.
I thwarted Ferrari, and stole his precious bird for a final time. I watched Ugarte die. I was loved by many women. Life was good. I was on top of the world. I killed a Hydra, I dispatched bandits, I saved fishing villages, and I overthrew an evil tyrant, I went to Hades to save a few beautiful women. Not a bad week's work for the greatest hero to be started from the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School.
The game was named Dragon Fire. I didn't think much of it. In the first game, I always wondered if you would ever meet that dragon if you got enough experience. I never did, kind of upsetting. But I was just a fledgling adventurer. Those four quests all led up to that encounter I had always wanted. And so for the first time in all the series, with hundreds of baddies dispatched, thousands of goblins ruthlessly slaughtered, countless civilizations saved, and thousands of homes *ahem* burglarized, I acheived the penultimate feat for an adventurer -- slaying a dragon.
Of course, I had help. But let's just forget about that for now.
On acheiving that final rite of rulership, I was crowned King. The lifestyle of the adventurer, travelling from peril to peril, didn't seem quite so appealing anymore. Beautiful women all around, crown on my head, and all my old friends sitting in town. But something was missing. It wasn't money, it wasn't fame, it wasn't power, it certainly wasn't sex... It was companionship. My good ol' thief didn't feel he had captured the ultimate prize, a woman's hand in marriage.
But even that was solved! Nawar agreed to my drawn-out proposal, accepting my hand in marriage. And the screen faded to black, me with Ferrari's bird, a woman leaping on me, a king. Not only a king of a country, but a king among men, a king among heroes...
What I'm trying to say through this nostalgia is that everything got wrapped up. No loose ends, no half-assed endings. In classic hero fare, I got the woman, and the crown, and everything else. I even got to laugh more than I had since the first two games... I half expected the game to say at the end, "You have finally acheived everything you've ever wanted. You explode in blissful euphoria. [Restore] [Restart] [Quit]" Except for that one slight oversight, the game fulfilled my wildest imaginations for the culmination of the series.
For all three of you who are reading this, all three of you who have played all five games, can you think of any better way to end a series? The ultimate culmination of everything you'd done over five adventures in different worlds...?
For all of those who ignored my little suggestion not to read this, can you think of a better way to have a game end? What is the ultimate ending to a series? How do you end something that's been a part of a genre for so long? How do you end a classic...?
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