July 20, 2012, 9:12 PM — In the wake of DoubleFine's "Adventure Game" Kickstarter success and the flood of projects it inspired, adventure games have become the latest cause cé¬¨bre of the indie community. It's a welcome change from the twenty years of cruel obscurity the genre suffered at the hands of action franchises, but in truth, good adventure games are difficult to make, and there are precious few of them. Nostalgia often renders a kinder judgment on games like King's Quest than its occasionally tedious mechanics deserve. The few games worthy of classic status from those early days earned their reputations largely on the basis of quality artwork and clever writing, rather than gameplay innovation. Sierra's Quest for Glory games bucked that trend, providing new twists for players with the standout being the second title of the series, Trial by Fire. AGD Interactive has rescued this fading star from obscurity with a slick remake, keeping the golden age experience intact while elevating the visuals and user interface to relevancy once again.
Chief among Quest for Glory's many charms is the inclusion of an actual, real-time combat system. Complete with special attacks, critical hits, missile weapons, blocks, spells and more, players can choose from over a dozen maneuvers when facing off against the diverse enemies Trial by Fire tosses their way. Virtually unknown in adventure games even today, this mechanic gives meaning to the hollow, static combat victories so common in other adventure titles. If you want to be victorious, you're going to have to swing, zap and dodge your way through an actual fight. Don't worry, a pause feature, difficult sliders and combat assistance are available for the action-impaired, and they don't sap the fun out of the proceedings.
Outside combat, QfG: TbF's environmental interaction is accomplished via the traditional point and click method, with the right mouse button cycling through various basic actions such as examine, manipulate, move and speak. These are also available via a pop-up menu at the top of the screen, where you'll also find more esoteric options such as sleep, magic and stealth movement. The game comes across as a hybrid adventure/RPG, as you have a sheet full of stats that increase, an inventory with items you equip and upgrade, and other familiar roleplay trappings. There are even three character classes to select from on the opening screen.