Next we have a look at the third game in the Quest for Glory series, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War.
Having survived the events in Rasier, beaten Ad Avis and stopped the devastating Iblis you become the adopted son of the Sultan of Shapier and thereby the Prince of Shapier. Your friend Aziza tells you that after the battle the body of Ad Avis could not be found (didn’t he call out to the dark master or something?) and this disturbs her greatly but she has received word from another spellcaster, Kreesha that there is trouble brewing in the distant land of Tarna. Kreesha is the wife of your friend Rakeesh the Liontaur and together you travel to his homeland to try and prevent the looming war between the Leopardmen and the Simbani tribe.
Tarna as it turns out is the major city state in East Fricana, a very African land with savannahs, jungles and even lost cities. Tarna is also ruled by the Liontaurs and is the seat of “civilised culture”. You soon get embroiled in a world of mistrust, magic, tradition and cultural differences some of which almost ending your hero’s quest before it starts.
Enemies in this third instalment include Crocodile men, giant ants, demon worms, Tyrannosaurs, Leopardmen (yes the ones you’re supposed to make peace with) and Apemen. Combat is simplified by a point and click interface where you can select spells (if you have any) or choose between actions like stab, slash, dodge left or right and run away. As in all the other games, beating monsters gives you money for items and helps to increase your stats.
Quest for Glory III: Wages of War was the first of the series to do away with the text parser interface and make use of the iconic point and click system that was used for the remake of Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero and many other Sierra games.
Unlike the other games to date, exiting the town does not take you through a screen to screen map but instead a zoomed out “world map” consisting of two screens of savannah, containing Tarna, the Simbani villiage and a few other locations, and two screens of jungle containing the Leopardmen villiage, the Heart of the World and the lost city to name but a few. Walking on the map is helped by the little red dotted line you leave behind so you know where you are and a battle or other event is announced by the sudden zooming in to the screen with your character standing confused and dazed (well not really) in the Veldt or jungle. You then have the option to try and run away or wait for said monster to attack you.
The character select screen in the beginning stays much the same with choices between Fighter, Magic User and Thief although importing a character opens two new choices namely Wizard (a Magic user that did the critical Magic User side quest in the previous game) or Paladin. Paladins are paragons of virtue and can only be created twice in the entire series, either at the end of the second game, or midway through the third game. Paladins are characters of virtue so only a Magic User or a Fighter could become one. Paladins have unique abilities such as healing, danger sense and the ability to make blessed swords burst into righteous flames, dealing increased damage to enemies.
The unique side quests for each character class become even more prominent and important in ths game as each of the three classes (Paladins count as Fighters) have a very specific trial to help bring peace between the two tribes. Each tribe has somehow gotten hold of the other tribes most sacred item. The Simbani hold the Leopardmen’s Drum of Magic and the Leopardmen in turn have the Simbani Spear of Death. These items need to be returned to their proper owners before peace can be negotiated. So the Fighter must go through an Initiation challenge which when completed gives him the Drum of magic to take to the Leopardmen, the Magic User has to engage in a magical duel with the Leopardmen shaman, providing him with the spear as well as a side quest to create a magical staff (crucial to winning the duel) and the Thief simply steals both items and gives them to the respective owners.
With a simplified and intuitive combat system, glorious puzzles, a wonderfully involved plot and stunning locales, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War (in my opinion) set the tone for the rest of the series.