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You're going to have to be brave and fearless now. You're going to need reserves and courage you didn't know you had. Because, as you cautiously break open the box of Trial By Fire, lurking inside are a total of eight disks.

Yes, it's a big adventure in the traditional Sierra manner. This means that you move your character around the screen (and around your world) using the cursor keys or mouse, examining things by clicking and occasionally typing in other commands as and when you need them. Gradually you should gain enough information to enable you to embark upon a large dangerous quest.

The Sierra system is designed to be flexible: you can ask about everything, visit every location and spend ages investigating blind alleys all because of the (very high) level of detail throughout the game. It contains much that appears extraneous to the quest you're embarking on, but makes all the difference when you're playing. All the locations have 3D graphical representations and you'll need to look carefully at everything because many of the clues are visual. The cities in the game are well populated by various breeds, and you can converse or trade with any of them.

Eastern promise
A cosy Eastern atmosphere is engendered by the game, and after playing it for a while you'll realise how much thought and love has actually gone into the crafting of it. Its major strength lies in the solidity of the ideas and the level of detail. Smaller sub-sections like the combat resolution don't seem quite the same level of quality, although they work very well and maintain the feel of the rest of the game.

Trial by disk
If you love to immerse yourself in alternative realities of this magnitude, you will find Trial By Fire may well spirit you away for weeks on end. It's a mappers dream and, if you're into the genre (and can put up with the rife American middleclass humour), you might love it.
With eight disks, you'd expect a lot of detail and a lot of well thought-out gameplay. It's certainly here, but there's a heavy cost to bear.

Unless you have eight disk drives or an absolute huge hard drive your arm will begin to ache from changing disks. Your beard will grow long and grey and the seasons will also roll by unnoticed as you wait for the sections to load and reload.

On screen movement and action isn't exactly fast anyway, and until you get used to controlling your character it all feels like a clumsy slow-motion dream sequence. You will pick it up after some time, but don't be in any great rush with Trial By Fire, you'll need to time your playing sessions with a calendar.

Quest for Glory 2: Heading off out of Shapeir Quest for Glory 2: A vile brigand creeps up Quest for Glory 2: The brigand has been dispatched by some dagger-work
Heading off out of Shapeir is a seriously unwise move alone and without much water. Caravans and Traders often travel across the burning, shifting seas of sand, so you'd be better off hitching a lift with them (and nicking all their grub and water). A vile brigand has crept up on you in the desert. THe fight screen allows you to execute nine attacking moves. It all happens in realtime, so if you're slow you may well be in for a slashing. The combat stats (Hit Points) are displayed during the fight. The brigand has been dispatched neatly by some rather nifty dagger-work, you can search his smelly body for any objects and weapons. Anything you find there will be an added bonus, rather than vital, but then again it all helps, doesn't it?

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Est ist unverkennbar, mit diesem Game will Sierra ins Guiness Buch der Rekorde - und das könnte sogar klappen! Aber nicht etwa, weil das Teil so wahnsinnig gut wäre...

Nein, die Stärken dieses Adventures findet man eher in der Abteilung "seltsam aber doch merkwürdig". Das geht los mit der verwirrenden Namenspolitik - oder habt Ihr schon mal von einem Spiel namens "Quest for Glory 1" gehört? Wohl kaum, denn der Vorgänger hieß schlicht und ergreifend "Hero's Quest" (nicht zu verwechseln mit "Hero Quest" von Gremlin). Gut, das mag ja noch ganz lustig sein, aber sobald man die Packung öffnet, vergeht einem bald das Lachen: eins, zwei, vier... acht Disketten! Wer soll die alle wechseln, wer hat soviel Zeit? Und man muß die Dinger sehr häufig wechseln, und sie brauchen sehr lange zum Laden, und das geht einem sehr schnell und sehr stark auf die Nerven! Wie Ihr seht, ein echt rekordverdächtiges Game...

Leider ist der tatsächliche Inhalt dieser vielen Disks dann gar nicht mehr so rekordverdächtig, sondern fast schon ein bißchen enttäuschend. Die Handlung knüpft nicht nur nahtlos an den ersten Teil an, die Unterschiede erschöpfen sich im großen und ganzen in einem neuerdings orientalischen Styling. Nach der Eröffnungsprozedur, bei der man entweder einen neuen Helden erschaffen (natürlich wieder wahlweise Kämpfer/Zauberer/Dieb) oder seinen alten importieren kann, findet man sich im fiktiven arabischen Städtchen Shapeir wieder. Dort gibt es Moscheen, Basare, Schlangenbeschwörer - aber keinen Emir Arus Al-Din mehr, denn der ist auf unerklärliche Weise verschwunden. Naja, wer suchet, der findet, und wo wir schon mal einen arbeitslosen Helden da haben...

Das neue Spielburg heißt also Shapeir, und statt in dunklen Wäldern herumzulatschen, marschiert man jetzt eben durch die Wüste (bzw. reitet mit einem "Saurus" hindurch). Auch sonst wurden ein paar Kleinigkeiten geändert, beispielsweise ist der Schwierigkeitsgrad der Kampfsequenzen jetzt einstellbar, außerdem werden diese Szenen nun aus einer anderem Perspektive gezeigt.

Tja, aber damit hat sich es auch schon so ziemlich! Dasselbe Bild bei Grafik und Sound: Dank der acht Disketten gibt es natürlich mehr davon, es wirkt auch alles etwas größer und gewaltiger, aber deswegen nicht unbedingt schöner oder besser (von den Animationen mal abgesehen). Bei alledem ginge die Sierra-typische Steuerung per Maus/Tastatur ja voll in Ordnung, aber für die Disketten-Inflation ist hatl ein hoher Preis zu zahlen - ohne Festplatte ist Quest for Glory II nahezu unspielbar! Sollten die kommenden PC-Konvertierungen genauso aussehen, köntte sich glatt der Alptraum bewahrheiten, der mich seit diesem Test verfolgt: Schreckliche Monster fragen mich unaufhörlich nach Disks ("wo sind Nr. 322 und Nr. 584??!"), und wenn ich sie nicht gleich finde, fressen sie nach und nach meine ganze Savestände. Brrrrr! (mm)

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Sierra slip further behind Lucasfilm and Delphine in the race for adventuring perfection.

Can we talk? Most Amiga owners probably know by now what the standard set-up for a Sierra game is, but for the benefit of those who don't, Sierra produce huge graphic adventure games, invariably on multiple disks, with rather primitive parser and graphic systems (when compared to, say, any of the Lucasfilm or Delphine games), which nonetheless sell in huge numbers (the prequel to this one sold over 130,000 copies in its first year of release) and are huge cult hits with a group of people who wait almost religiously for each new game to arrive then spend several months of their lives playing it until they complete it.

This particular game is actually the second in the 'Hero's Quest series, the name having been changed after some legal problems with the makers of the well-known fantasy role-playing board game of the same name.

And it's awful. Now, before I explain that statement, I have to qualify it by saying that if you already love Sierra games, you'll probably like Quest For Glory II - Trial By Fire just as much as all the others. But if you've never played one before and you want to know how good an Amiga game this is for 40 quid, you deserve to be warned.

Firstly, it comes on eight - yes eight! - disks. These access interminably, to the extent that moving between locations very often takes over a minute. They also have to be swapped with horrific frequency - on one particularly memorable occasion I was trailing through a maze (wow, talk about the pinnacle of imagination, a maze in an adventure game!) and took one of the exits, only to be asked to swap disks. This I did, and a mere 90 seconds or so later I was back in the game, only to find I'd walked straight into a dead-end single location, which I obviously had to then turn back out of. Time to swap disks again, make another cup of tea, ring up a friend, etc...

Talking of the maze, your character is animated in 3D as he travels through it, to a graphic standard which almost (but not quite) reaches the dizzy heights of 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81 (I'm not joking). Which brings me to the graphics.
I'm sorry, but this just won't do. In 1991 I expect something a little better than a half-hearted imitation of a Commodore 64 on a bad day. Sadly, though, that's about the nicest thing I can find to say about the visuals on display here. As for the command parser, well let's be really really generous and call it unfriendly and clumsy (I'd probably get arrested if I told you what I actually think of it).

This is probably the most incompetently designed and put-together Amiga game I've seen in my life, and it it's the kind of thing you get fun out of, I'd wish you the best of luck but suggest that you find some real people to talk to. Before it's too late.

Quest for Glory 2 logo CU Amiga Screenstar

As can be expected from Sierra, Quest For Glory begins with a very unlikely tale of one man and hig magic carpet. As the game's hero and the driver of said blanket, whilst on a routine(!) scoot through the skies of the mysterious East, a rogue spaceship struck your motorised Axminster and forced yu to land in the middle of two cities. Quite why you escaped unscathed beats me - after all, a two-thousand ton lump of super-heated spacecraft would probably cause more than a bumpy landing - but, being a lucky beggar you end up stranded in the middle of nowhere.

After arriving at the Kattas Tail Inn your first problem is finding your way around the souk, a labyrinth of narrow alleys. The purchase of a map seems a top priority, but unfortunately you are only carrying gold, and cannot buy one until you have changed this into Dinars (I wonder if they accept Dinars Card!), the local currency. But how can you find the moneychanger without the map?

In keeping with most Sierra titles, the solution to problems is to ask the right person the right questions. There are characters aplenty in the play area's assorted village squares and shops, and many of them are quite helpful. Indeed, there was a general consensus that a Saurus is an essential form of personal transport for crossing the desert to Rasheir. And I was told that these fine creatures never let you down - trust mine to be an exception to the rule! The cowardly beast tossed me and bolted at the first hint of trouble, leaving me to face bandits, scorpions, or whatever nasties the desert threw at me!

At the outlet, the player must create the type of hero he wishes to be. Choose from Fighter, Wizard, or a Thief, each of whom can be fine-tuned by distributing 'top-up' points to attributes such as intelligence, magic, stealth, vitality, etc. The way the game plays differs according to the main hero style chosen, and more marginally according to the added top-up points. Having decided to become a Wizard, as soon as I had the relevant gear I headed to the magic shop for a spot of shopping for a few spells. Keapon Laffin, the spell emporium's proprietor, has a neat turn of phrase, but inspires little confidence, although he can navigate his emporium in a way that disproves my perception of it as merely an optical illusion.

The Enchantress was next on my visiting list, and it was quite tricky getting into her sumptuous apartment. After having a cup of tea, I asked her a few pointed questions, expecting to receive a crash course in practical magic, but it must have been the silly questions I asked that let me down. On, then, to the astrologer, who seemed particularly reticent about what the future held in stored. And what he did predict he soon discounted: 'Naw! It will never happen!

Quest For Glory II has a gentle sense of humour, and its puzzles and problems tend more to be logical and less to the intuitive than previous Sierra offerings. And there's plenty of play before the end of the game is reached. After ten hours or so I've only scored 55 out of a possible 500 (OK, so I'm dimmer than your average wizard!).

Nevertheless, after completing the game once, there are still the methods of two other heroes to exploit. I liked this far better than the most recent Sierra releases and rank it almost on par with Space Quest. If you enjoy playing Sierra's trademark games, you'll love this. If you've never tried a Sierra adventure, here's an ideal starter for you.


Quest For Glory II is a '3D' graphic adventure, in which your characteris moved about the screen using the arrowed cursor keys, mouse, or joystick. The character is animated, and can pass behind foreground objects (hence '3D') and through doors, up steps, etc. Moving through an exit takes the action to a new screen, which usually loads from disk. This can be a rather lengthy process, depending on the amount of detail and possible action in the screen that's loading, but owners of a hard disk will find the time greatly reduced.

Commands other than movement are entered in text directly from the keyboard. Hitting a key opens up a text window superimposed over the graphics. Hitting Return executes the command and removes the window. Reply windows time out if not removed sooner by hitting RETURN. The game goes into 'combat mode' when the player is attacked, and he is trapped into fighting the bandit or monster as best he can for his hero type.
Sound effects and music accompany most of the action. Sierra music is often very catchy, but due to the Arabian flavour of this game, I found much of the music bordering on dirge.

Saving the current game position is highly recommended, but the manual is sadly lacking. It is necessary to have a pre-formatted disk available, and it is quite disconcerting when, after following the generic instructions, the computer insists that the disk is full. To overcome this you should follow the specific instructions for saving the diskette in MS-DOS (select 'change directory' and back space over the directory shown_, and then enter DF0: in place of the a: required by MS-DOS. This also applies when loading a saved game the first time after booting up for a new mission.