Quest for Glory III: Wages of War

Developer/Publisher:  Sierra Online
Year Released:  1992

Review by Rosemary Young (February, 2005)
Quest for Glory III: Wages of War follows closely on from Trial by Fire, the previous chapter in the Quest for Glory series when you, the hero, finally defeated the evil Ad Avis. In the introduction you see that courageous confrontation once more; but is the evil gone forever? Perhaps not! Perhaps the passing of Ad Avis has freed an even greater evil?

It's a timely reminder of where you, Rakeesh and Uhura left off on your last adventure. After questioning the fate of Ad Avis your magical host, Aziza, tells you that she has received a message from Kreesha the Sorceress. War is looming in the land of Tarna, so you and your companions must return immediately. Kreesha suspects that the troubles in her far-away land are more than just petty squabbles between the tribes, so she opens a portal for you to join her. Thus begins Quest for Glory III: Wages of War.

Pick your Occupation
As with all the Quest for Glory games you start out by choosing whether to play as a Fighter, Wizard or Thief and, depending on which occupation you choose, some puzzles and challenges must be faced and solved in different ways. The fighter has his brawn to come to his aid, the thief his cunning, and the wizard, of course, his magic. And these various traits are also useful in defeating the monsters you're likely to meet on your journey, as the Quest for Glory series has some mild combat as well as a puzzle solving component.

It also has a sprinkling of statistics so as you progress your general experience will improve, as will your fighting, thieving or magic skills.

The Gameworld
Tarna is a land of varied faces and locations. The city has an Egyptian flavour with a mighty pyramid structure. It's lush and green, almost an oasis, surrounded by flat, bushy plains where monsters roam and wait to hijack unsuspecting travellers. The city is the home of Rakeesh and the Liontaurs, but here you will also meet dwellers of the two-legged variety. They are the merchants who sell their wares in the markets and run the inn and magic shop. Before you set off on your quest you'll need to chat to all the town-dwellers and learn what you can and, of course, go on a shopping spree to buy the essentials for journeying such as healing and mana potions and whatever else takes your fancy.

Across the plains there is also the Simbarni village, the home of Uhura and her warrior kin; and far to the east is the jungle where the Leopardmen live. It is these two tribes that have had a falling out, and it is your quest to untangle the mess, find out what's behind it all, and put things right.

Your journey
Much like the other Quest for Glory games there's a lot of running around to do. First up find some potion ingredients, then accompany Rakeesh to the Simbani village to learn the intricacies of the dispute. It is important to make friends here so gifts come in handy, and there is an interesting board game to play that kept me amused till I got it right.

Of course, you'll have to eventually follow the trail to confront the ultimate baddie, and on the last leg of the journey there is a thick jungle to traverse, another serving of trials and tribulations to overcome, and a few more characters to meet and win their trust.

The good
For Quest for Glory fans this game was a watershed when it was first released in 1992. Although they are well and truly dated today, back then the graphics were impressive. Wages of War was the first Quest For Glory game to leave behind 16 colour EGA graphics for 256 colour VGA. The graphics are definitely pixelated now but they are still colourful and easy on the eye.

This game also left behind the text parser and heralded a new interface of the point and click variety. So it is entirely mouse driven with a band of icons that display when the cursor is moved to the top of the screen. Here there are icons for talk, look, walk, run, etc; as well as some that are specific to different occupations such as a magic icon for wizard spells and a sneak icon for the thief.

The fighting, too, has been revamped and stylised so that it is carried out in a separate screen. This makes combat very easy once you have a little experience. Just click on the relevant symbols for sword swishing, dodging, or spell casting, on the small graphic at the bottom right hand corner of the screen, and watch your character follow orders. Hopefully he'll be victorious most of the time so you can collect some booty from your fallen foes. If he loses, of course, you must restore from your last save.

The not so good
So did the sparkling new graphics and easy to use interface add up to a great new chapter in the Quest for Glory story. Maybe not. In fact this was the one early Quest for Glory games that I couldn't remember much about, and this is probably because it's not all that memorable. Although it does pick up a little towards the end, the puzzles are all fairly straightforward, in fact to solve many problems it's just a matter of going shopping and buying what you need. This in turn means a lot of running around so the word 'pedestrian' is a pretty good fit. The game is also fairly short, just talk to characters and learn what you need to buy or do, fight a few monsters, and follow along till the end.

This is not to say that Quest For Glory III: Wages of War is a 'bad' game, it is entertaining enough at times, but it never reaches any great heights and it certainly isn't the best game of the series. There is some humour about it but, sadly, in this episode our hero loses some of his magic with the more mundane gameplay. He does, however, earn a lot of honour points if he's polite, and do a lot of heroic deeds. So, despite lacking the sparkle of other Quest for Glory games, Wages of War does have a 'heart' and the peace-keeping quest is mildly diverting. It's a game that will likely appeal mostly to Quest for Glory fans.

Wages of War was played as part of the Quest For Glory Collection Series which includes Quest for Glory I through to Quest for Glory IV. As an early adventure game it has no voices, only text is displayed for the conversations and, though the music isn't glorious surround sound, it's lively enough and doesn't hurt too much. It played perfectly in Win XP running in DOSBox. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 2005. All rights reserved.

System Requirements:
DOS & Win 3.1, 386 25 MHZ or faster, 8 MB RAM, VGA, Mouse, 2x CD ROM