And now for the final instalment of the Quest for Glory series: Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire.
So having saved the land of Mordavia from vampires, being partly responsible for the death of the woman you started falling in love with and being an all-round good guy, you are yet again transported against your will to a far off land. You REALLY need to find a new travel agent.
You now find yourself floating in the presence of your old friends Erasmus and Fenris who inform you that they have transported you to the land of Silmaria where the previous king has been assassinated and a plot to destroy the world as you know it is afoot, again.
This time you find yourself in a Grecian inspired land filled with Hydras, Pegasi (ok only one Pegasus but there have to be more right?) merpeople and Roman invaders. This time the game is played across several islands each with a unique puzzle to reach them until you finally make the waters safe and build an airship.
You are told that to find and unmask the mastermind behind the assassination and ruinous plot you need to enter the Rites of Rulership, the prize being the throne of Silmaria. So the Prince of Shapier may become King of Silmaria, sounds simple enough. Guess again. The trials themselves are simple enough but reaching the various locations is the hard part.
Designed as a conclusion to the series you meet an array of familiar faces from all four previous games, some specifically to hinder you, some to help you. As mentioned Erasmus and Fenris are back as are Rakeesh and many more of the plot essential and minor characters from before. Conversations are yet again voiced well and many of the characters will have you in stitches as you converse with them.
Despite the more serious tone of the game the humour has not been forgotten with many references made to Monty Python (a hallmark of the Quest for Glory series) as well as characters looking like famous celebrities. The side quests for the different classes have fallen away to an extent and are limited to the Magic User (creating another magical staff) and the conclusion to the Thief’s Blackbird quest as well as a competition to become Chief Thief of the local Thieves Guild.
The trials themselves take you from fishing villages to Hades and even the Sybil to receive a prophecy about your own future and include tasks like building Icarus wings, fighting the fire breathing multi headed Hydra and making peace with the aquatic inhabitants of Atlantis. Unfortunately like with Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire there are some quests and tasks that are not mentioned, the problem being that some of these are critical to the game and if not done make it impossible to finish the game (Hint: when you fight the Hydra make sure to take empty flasks along and collect the tree sap from the one tree) which can cause some frustration
Once again it is possible to import a Paladin into the game although the Paladin seems ridiculously powerful to the point of being unbalanced. Starting with some of the best equipment in the game and having abilities which make especially the Hades quest almost pointless, the Paladin almost spoils the challenge of the game.
Dialogue is again controlled by dialogue trees and the large animated portraits have been replaced with smaller portraits on the side of your screen. While it still uses a point and click system it has been simplified to an eye icon for “Look” and a hand icon for, well, everything else. It also is the first game to use a quick item slot bar and the first game since Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire to make use of keyboard shortcuts.
The combat system no longer makes use of a combat screen and instead simply takes place on the normal view with clicking to attack and move and a keyboard shortcut to defend. Exploration, while reminiscent of Quest for Glory III in that it uses a world map, is also simplified by the fact that all important locations are marked with an icon.
As the conclusion to the series it ties up many loose ends, albeit some rather clumsily, and provides closure to many aspects of the previous games. Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire also includes some very interesting choices such as who to rescue from Hades, who to marry and whether to accept the throne or not. You also have to choose someone to sacrifice to save the world from the dragon at the end, including the choice to sacrifice yourself. There is a way to save everyone which is insanely hard though.
Another wonderful game in the series and a well written conclusion to the franchise Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire is guaranteed to provide the player with many a head scratching hour.