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Quest For Glory 4: Shadows & Darkness - Retroview

What Do You Call A Game That Goes Bump In the Night?

By: Robust Stu


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 7
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 1
   Plot 10
   Localization NA
   Replay Value 8
   Visuals 10
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

10-12 hours

 
Overall
9
Criteria

Quest For Glory 4: Shadows & Darkness
 

   The fourth Quest For Glory game, Shadows Of Darkness, is a bit different than previous games in the series. While retaining many of the characteristics that identified the series, it also changed a lot of things, but mostly for the better.

The story of this game goes that you, the hero are summoned to the Transylvanian themed land of Mordavia. Initially, you are distrusted by the inhabitants, who have been cut off from the outside world for years due to a swamp forming in the place of the road out of the valley. As you spend more time in Mordavia, you discover more and more frightening and, in some cases, downright disturbing things about the residents of this valley. This game has a much darker and more serious tone than previous games in the series, and is definitely not for small children. I really can't say much more about it without spoiling the story, but be prepared for ghosts, monsters, zombies, wraiths, vampires and mutated werewolves, along with many sad stories of untimely deaths and lost loves. As dark and frightening as the story is, it is, like it's predecessors, a very good story, with a lot of surprise twists to keep you hooked.

   The battle system is very different than previous games in the series. Unlike the more familiar stationary hero and monster, toe-to-toe battles of the first three games, the battle system of this game has more of an action-arcade like feel to it. Although the familiar thrust, slash, and magic return to the battle system, you and the monster are now able to move back and forth across the battlefield, jump, and duck. This makes the battles a lot more fast-paced and frantic than veterans of the Quest For Glory games may be used to.


Dammit, I sneezed AGAIN!
Dammit, I sneezed AGAIN!  

   The interface is nearly identical to the third game in the series, in that it is icon driven. You can choose icons to walk, look, manipulate talk, and use an item. This is a lot more effective and efficient than the parser interface used in the first two games, because you can just do something instead of spending an hour searching for a word the game will recognize.

   The music in this game was very, very good. All the music conveyed creepiness, panic, sadness, and every one of the many emotions you will experience during the course of the game. As always, the music was done with a lot of feeling and definitely deserves a high score. Adding to the score is a good set of sound effects. For perhaps the first time in the series, the sound effects match the high quality of the music, and sound like what they're supposed to be.

   Although QFG4 was a great game, it brought absolutely nothing new to the series other than another story. It's all been there, done that, and not very original. As usual, this game is a product of the US of A, and is not subject to scrutiny of the localization because, well, there is none. But also as usual, the script was very well done, and perhaps the most believable and well written script of any RPG: PC, console, or otherwise, that you'll find.

   This game, like its predecessors, has a good amount of replay value. There are four character classes: Fighter, Magic User, Thief, and Paladin, and each have their own solutions to certain problems and side quests of their own that are class specific. Because of this, you can play through the game four times and it will be different enough to warrant the extra play through.


Be careful, or you may be digging your own grave!
Be careful, or you may be digging your own grave!  

   The visuals were without a doubt the best in the series to this point. Everything was done with careful and, in many cases, grotesque detail. Everything, the characters, monsters, and especially the backgrounds, were very well done, and definitely set a terrific and enveloping atmosphere. State of the art at the time, and still rivals many of the things you'll see all the way up to the end of the 32 bit console era.

This game was about the same length as the previous games in the series. That is, it will take roughly ten to twelve hours to complete. But I guarantee you'll love every minute of it.

This game takes numerous great elements: visuals, music, story, battle system, replay value, atmosphere, and combines them into one of the best gaming experiences you'll ever come across. Like the other games in the series, extremely hard to find, but worth it if you can get your hands on a copy. Highly recommended.




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