So you want to be a hero?

A look at the 'Quest for Glory' series from 'Sierra'
December 24, 2006
In 1989 "Sierra Entertainment" already famous for it's many successful adventure games like 'Space Quest', 'King's Quest', 'Police Quest' and 'Leisure Suit Larry' released a new game, which was quite different from the rest. The game was a mix between an ordinary adventure and a RPG, you created your own character who could be either a warrior, a magic user or a thief and then set of on your quest to become a true hero in the small valley of Spielburg, but more about that later. The game (and am I tired of writing these two words)was originally called 'Hero Quest' but after a feud with the company 'Milton Bradley', which had released a board game with the same title earlier the game's title was changed to 'Quest for Glory' instead.

In this article I'm going to tell you about each game in the series as well as the characters that populate Glorianna, the world in which the 'Quest for Glory' games take place.

The Games

Quest for Glory: So you want to be a hero? (1989)

As I mentioned earlier the first 'QfG' took place in the small valley of Spielburg. You arrive to this seemingly idyllic place fresh from 'Adventurer's Correspondent School' in your personal quest for glory. Turns out that Spielburg is in dire need of a hero, ever since the local Baron angered the powerful ogress Baba Yaga the valley and it's people have been the victims of a terrible curse. Now the forests are filled with dangerous monsters ready to devour you on sight, a band of local brigands which seems impossible to defeat and as icing on the cake the Baron's two children and court jester have been missing for years. It's up to you to vanquish the brigands, find the Baron's offspring and lift the curse.

Now that we've got the basic storyline out of the way, let's take a look at the game itself. You control your hero (who regardless of what class you've chosen is always a blonde male, I forgot to mention that earlier) with the arrow keys and if you want to perform an action (such as 'climb tree') you'll have to write it. In other words, the controls are the classic 'Sierra Game' controls.

As you can see from the screenshots the graphic isn't anything special these days but I still find them to be pretty good. The same thing can be said for the music, while there's no big orchestra blaring in the background the main theme certainly is memorable and I still find myself humming it from time to time.

The downside of 'So you want to be a hero?' is that it's a bit short. An experienced gamer could propably finish the main quest in a few hours. However, there's still plenty of things to do and characters to meet.

In 1992 'Sierra' did a re-make of the first 'QfG' game with improved graphics and a more modern point & click control system, similar to the one used in 'LucasArts' adventure games. Somehow I didn't find the
remake as good as the original. I don't know why, the remake wasn't all bad but I just enjoy the original more.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire (1990)

After lifting the curse on Spielburg the hero travels with his friends; the katta inkeepers Shameen and Shema and the merchant Abdulla Doo (more about them in the character's section) to their homeland, the desert-country Shapeir. Here he will meet new friends, face new challenges and confront an enemy more terrible than Baba Yaga ever was.

It turns out that the Emir (Governor) of Shapeir's sister-city, Rasier (an anagram for 'Sierra') disappeared a year ago under mysterious circumstances. The Emir's week-willed brother took over and ever since bad things have happened to Raseir, the sultan suspects that dark magic is the source of all the trouble but when he sent his army to check things out it was stopped by a storm of sand. It's once again up to you to solve the mystery of Raseir and ultimately save the entire world from subjugation.

The second game in the series borrows heavily from 'A Thousand and One Nights' and features both an evil Vizier, Djinns and (not surprisingly) a group of scantily-clad harem girls at the final part of the adventure.

The majority of the game takes place in the city of Shapeir, which is surrounded by a huge desert filled with monsters and brigands (although these brigands are much weaker than the ones in Spielburg). However, the desert itself is rather boring and when I play 'Qfg II' I usually spend as much time as possible within the walls of the city.

The City of Shapeir is much bigger than Spielburg and it's quite easy to get lost in the myriads of alleyways and mazes that are part of the city. Luckily you are able to purchase a map early in the game, which you can use in order to get yourself to places you've already visited quicker.

'Trial by Fire' is also much more linear than it's preceedor. Throughout the game you will encounter four elementals, evil demons based on the four elements who will try to destroy Shapeir and you can not do anything until you've defeated them.

Despite these somewhat negative things I absolutely love 'Quest for Glory II'. The story is far more interesting than the one in 'So you want to be a hero?' the villain is more memorable and finally it has what is one of the most rewarding endings to any game I've ever played.

Quest for Glory III: Wages of War (1992)

After living the high-life in Shapeir for about a month the hero is summoned to the sorceress Aziza together with his friend the Liontaur paladin Rakeesh. Aziza explains that due to you killing the second games main baddie a portal to another dimension has opened up on the pseudo-African continent Tarna. Unfortunately this other dimension was filled with vicious acid-spitting demons, who are now intent on invading Glorianna and wipe out all other forms of life.

You arrive in Tarna thanks to a magic portal opened up by Rakeesh's wife, Kreesha. Once there you learn that two rival tribes; The Simbani and The Leopard-Men accuse each other of stealing each other's sacred artifacts. You must find the missing artifacts in order to prevent a war as well figure out what this has to do with the demons.

I must admit that I do not like 'Wages of War' as much as it's preceedors. Sure, the story isn't worse than the one in 'So you want to be a hero?' and actually contains some memorable scenes and characters. However, this is all that 'Wages of War' has going for it, the game itself is mostly about walking from location A to location B and back again while running errands for people and it's not really until the end that the whole demon thing gets important. Not to mention the ending was basically just an advertise for the upcoming sequel.

Still,the game gets some points for The Awful Waffle Walker which is one of the best monsters in the series.

Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (1993)

'Wages of War' ended with the hero being teleported away to God knows where while his friends watched in horror. The fourth game begins with the hero lying unconcsious in a dark cavern without any earthly possessions on him. The hero escapes from the cavern and meets a girl named Katrina who tells him that only one other person has ever walked out from the cavern before. Soon the hero comes to a small village populated with paranoid villagers who don't take kindly to strangers. Still, the hero manages to learn that he is in the country of Moldavia, a place filled with wyverns, monsters, necrotaurs and a couple of vampires hiding out in an abandoned castle. The hero has to win the confidence of the townspeople in order to figure out who brought him here and for what reason.


'Shadows of Darkness' was a huge improvement over 'Wages of War', with a bigger, more non-linear world and more things to do. The game focused mainly on the new class: 'Paladin' so if you are one you'd do wisely to cancel all your meetings. 'Shadows of Darkness' is also the most emotionally powerful game in the series; to see the villagers' opinion about you change as you perform more heroic deeds to help them is almost as satisfying as the grande finale of 'Trial by Fire. Another great thing is the voices which are some of the best I've heard in a game. Especially John-Ryes Davis as the narrator is outstanding.

If I could find anything bad to say about this game is that it's plagued by one of the nastiest errors ever : The dreaded 'Error 52', luckily there's a patch available that fixes this little problem.

Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire (1998)

The last game in the series arrived on the shelves in 1999. It begins with the hero being called by his old friend, the wizard Erasmus to Gree...sorry, Silmaria. The King of this lovely little archipelago has been brutally murdered and a contest has been set up by the centaur Llogos to decide which one of five contenders who will be worthy to become Silmaria's new sovereign. The hero enters the competition which involves such as easy tasks as killing the general of an evil army, slaying the dangerous hydra and going into Hades to get some water from the river Styx. Oh, and it turns out (well, actually it's explained in the introductiom) that the fellow who killed the old King is also trying to free the uncreatively named 'Dragon of Doom' from it's ancient prison by breaking the magical pillars that keep the big lizard in place.

Now to the game itself, 'Dragon Fire' revolves heavily around fighting, more so than the other games. Since the fighting aspects were my favorite parts about the previous games I wasn't too thrilled by this. In addition, 'Sierra' opted for a more realistic fight style so instead of the enemies attacking you one by one as in the previous games they now attack you at the same time, something that gets quite annoying if you aren't prepared for the attack.

The graphics in the final game are in full 3-D, although I find them to be rather ugly, especially the character portraits which are a big disappointment when you compare them to the elegant portraits used in 'Shadows of Darkness'.

However 'Dragon Fire' has it's good points: The introduction is splendid, although it makes the fatal mistake of revealing the identity of all the conspirators at once thus taking all the mystery away. It was also nice to see some of the old characters again. In conclusion a worthy, if not great ending to the series.

Did I mention by the way that The Dragon of Doom wasn't quite as badass as it's name implied?

The Characters

During his trip around Glorianna the hero encounters various characters, some of them good some of them evil. To mentinon all of them would take far too long but in this section I've wrote about the most important ones.

Rakeesh Sha Tarna

Race: Liontaur
Appears in: Quest for Glory II, III & V

Rakeesh is a Liontaur-Paladin from the country of Tarna. Once upon a time, Rakeesh was the king of Tarna but when an evil demon-wizard attacked his kingdom he gave up his throne and became a Paladin in order to drive the wizard back to his own dimension. However, Rakeesh was severly injured in the leg by the wizard's poisonous tail. When the hero first encounters him in Shapeir he hangs out at the local fighter's guild with his friend Uhura (no, not the one you're thinking of) and gives advice to the hero. In 'Wages of War' he and the hero are summoned to Tarna by Rakeesh's wife, Kreesha. Rakeesh also has a son named Shackra who lives in Silmaria. Shackra is the only male Liontaur that is a magic-user.

Shameen & Shema

Race: Katta
Appears in: Quest for Glory I & II

Shameen & Shema are two innkeepers whom the hero met in Spielburg and helped recover their stolen treasure from the brigands. As a sign of gratitude they allow the hero to stay at their new inn in Shapeir for free. Like all Kattas they're polite and friendly.

Abdulla Doo

Race: Human
Appears in: Quest for Glory: I & II

Abdulla is a wealthy merchant who enjoys good food and good conversation. He is a friend of Shameen & Shema and can often be seen at their inn. Abdulla too got his treasures stolen from the brigands (including his magic carpet) but the hero managed to get them back together with Shameen and Shema's stuff.

Erasmus & Fenrus

Race: Human (Erasmus) Rat (Fenrus)
Appears in: Quest for Glory I & II (only if you're a magic user) IV & V

Erasmus is an old and powerful wizard who loves to tell bad jokes. Fenrus is Erasmus' sarcastic talking rat who knows a reasonable amount of magic himself. The dynamic duo provides much of the series comic relief and Erasmus has mentioned that he sometimes play cards with Baba Yaga (both of them cheat, though).

Elsa von Spielburg

Race: Human
Appears in: Quest for Glory I & V

Elsa is the missing daughter of Baron Stephan von Spielburg. She plays a small but important role in 'So you want to be a hero?' And appears again in 'Dragon Fire' as one of the competitors for the throne of Silmaria.


Race: Human
Appears in: Quest for Glory II & III

Uhura is a member of The Simbani tribe that lives in Tarna and are allies of the Liontaur-people. She is a great hero and the head of the fighters guild in Shapeir. In 'Wages of War' she returns to Tarna with the hero and Rakeesh.


Race: Human (seemingly...)
Appears in: Quest for Glory IV & V

Katrina is the first indvidual the hero meets in Mordavia. She seems to be quite smitten by the hero and throughout the game she continues to aid him although she seems to hide something from him. She appears again in 'Dragon Fire' when the hero gets to chose if he will take either her or Erana with him from Hades.


Race: Half Human/Faery
Appears in: Quest for Glory IV & V

Erana is a powerful sorceress who travelled Glorianna a long time ago, doing good until she disappeared. She built several gardens throughout Glorianna that are magically shielded from evil. In 'Shadows of Darkness' the hero learns that Erana was killed while battling The Dark One and her soul was imprisoned in a crystal. The hero freed Erana with the help of her staff and her soul passed on to the afterlife.

Baba Yaga

Race: Ogress
Appears in: Quest for Glory I & IV

Baba Yaga who is based directly on a character from Russian folklore is an evil witch who lives in a chicken-legged hut together with her pet-bat and spider as well as the talking skull Bonehead. While not as dangerous as some of the other villains in the series she is still a formidable threat due to her short temper and magic powers. One of Baba Yaga's favorite pastime is to turn unsuspecting heroes into frogs and then threatening to eat them if they don't run errands for her.


Race: Human
Appears in: Quest for Glory I & V

Bruno is a highly skilled thief and assassin who uses poison daggers to kill people (you didn't think he was using them to cut lettuce, did you?). In the first game he is a member of Spielburg's thief-guild but is secretely working with the brigands. When the brigands were defeated, Bruno fled to Silmaria and ended up in the service of Minos.


Race: Human
Appears in: Quest for Glory II

Khaveen is the corrupt captain of Raseir's guards and the ruler of the city since the old Emir disappeared and his weak brother took over. While Khaveen initially appears to be the big baddie of the game he is actually only a pawn of Ad Avis. If you chose to play as a fighter in Trial by Fire the hero challenges Khaveen to a final battle before confronting Ad Avis himself.

Ad Avis

Race: Human (later resurrected as a vampire)
Appears in: Quest for Glory II, III (only in the introduction) & IV

Out of all the foes the hero has encountered no-one has been as evil and persistant as the wizard Ad Avis. Originally, Ad Avis was an apprentice of The Dark Master whom he secretely hated. After leaving The Dark Master, Ad Avis became the Vizier to Emir Arus al Din of Raseir. In 'Trial by Fire' it's Ad Avis that is responsible for all the problems in the game,including the elementals that attacked Shapeir. After his death his body was taken to Mordavia by The Dark Master who turned Ad Avis into his vampire slave. You just can't keep an evil wizard down.

The Demon Wizard

Race: Go on, guess!
Appears in: Quest for Glory III

The Demon Wizard is Rakeesh's sworn enemy since Rakeesh thwarted his plans the last time he appeared in Glorianna. In 'Wages of War' the death of Ad Avis has caused a rift between Glorianna and The Demon-Dimension enabling The Demon Wizard and some of his co-horts to enter the land of Tarna and wreak havoc.

The Dark Master

Race: Vampire
Appears in: Quest for Glory IV
The Dark Master is the most powerful of all evil magic users in Glorianna and the one who taught Ad Avis almost everything he knows. The Dark Master's identity has been a mystery for ages and I think it's best that it stays that way. Let's just say that he is not one to be trifled with.


Race: Human
Appears in: Quest for Glory V

Minos is a millionaire who lives on his own island and sometimes acts like the councelor to Silmaria. Is there something evil hidden beneath Minos' benelovent personality or am I just being paranoid?

There are of course tons of other characters in the series but I felt that It would take too long to mention all of them.

And with that I put an end to this guide to Glorianna and it's inhabitants. Here's a couple of links if you wish to know more: (who are currently working on a remake of 'Trial by Fire')
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