Quest for Glory III

20th September 2020 | Games

As I've written before, I play through at least one Quest For Glory game every year, and this year's was QFG3, probably the most polarizing entry of the entire series. It certainly has its fans (especially those who love the African narrative), but it definitely has more than its share of detractors. I am most certainly in the latter category. I still like the game far more than many other games, but it is easily the weakest game in this particular series. To make things a little more interesting, I applied a recent fan-made patch of the game which fixes a number of issues and even adds an extra scene or two. Let's see how things fared.

The Review

The Good:

The Bad: New Things:

There feels like some great potential to this game, but it fell short. Perhaps if resources had been spent on this game instead of the VGA remake of QFG1 that Wages of War would have been more flushed out. When I made King's Quest 1 - Redux, I focused on ways to improve upon the original game. I do not expect a remake of QFG3 to ever happen, but it would be fun to speculate on how the game can be improved.

Ways to Improve the Game:

This isn't a criticism of the game based upon its age, because there were better games around the same time period, but QFG3 faltered in a number of ways. The Quest for Glory series was originally imagined to be comprised of four games, each one representing the four cardinal directions and seasons. QFG3 was the game which was never originally intended (as evidenced by the end of QFG2 which mentioned that QFG3 was going to be Shadows of Darkness). Ultimately, this feels like an expansion pack to the QFG series which was used as a stop gap between Trial By Fire and Shadows of Darkness to let the hero grow a little more and to introduce the new Paladin class.


In this latest playthrough I encountered a couple of frustrating bugs with the Fighter class, and here are the work arounds I performed to fix them.

Trying to give the Laibon the dinosaur horn to start the Warrior initiation
When I would go visit the Laibon, he would not accept the dinosaur horn, nor could I talk about it. The workaround I found was to drop (or place any existing dino horns in a trunk), then visit the Laibon to talk about about the initiation, and then go fight another dinosaur to get its horn, then the hero had a dialog option (click the mouth on ego) to tell about the dinosaur horn.

Trying to visit the Laibon after becoming a Warrior
After the initiation to become a Simbani Warrior, I could no longer visit the Laibon. One suggestion I read was right after the Initiation when the Laibon asks what favor you request, first ask about bride price so the Leopardwoman can be purchased.

No log in the second Warrior initiation rite
I believe this might be a bug due to the new 1.3.1a patch where the log does not appear. I tested the initiation with the pre-patch version and the log appeared. Fortunately, using your tinderbox on the ring of thorns also works as another option to get past this trial.

The 1.3.1a patch corrects a number of behind-the-scenes issues with this game, but there are a couple of other areas which could further improve the game.

Wages of War vs. Seekers of the Lost City

The subtitle on the QFG3 box reads Wages of War, but there are other references (such as in the About section of QFG4) to this game which say Seekers of the Lost City. Why the two subtitles? According to the series co-founder Corey Cole, QFG3 underwent a similar legal naming dispute as the first game did, which resulted in Hero's Quest being renamed to Quest For Glory. However, QFG3 was already out, so even though Sierra came up with an alternate subtitle of Seekers of the Lost City, it never ended up on any official game covers or documentation. If there had been another release of the game (in the manner that QFG4 was released with a follow up CD version), then perhaps the alternate title would have been used.

QFG3 Fan Patch

I was excited to see how the new QFG3 fan patch (version 1.3.1a as of this writing) worked with the game. The patch's GitHub web page describes the patch:

An unofficial update for Quest for Glory III: Wages of War that builds on Sierra's anthology release and NewRisingSun's speed fixes. Fixes crashes, lockups, dead ends, glitches, sprites/animations, sounds/music loops, and text. Restores cut content. Written in SCI programming language using the SCI Companion 3.0 tool. Please use the latest version!

New and Improved:

Potential Fixes:

Decoding the SAV files

One of the more unique features in the Quest for Glory games is the ability to transfer a character from one game to another game in the series. The only other games I can think of which had a similar feature were the gold box SSI games (Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms). This feature generally encourages the player to develop their skills as much as possible in one game so they will be better prepared at the start of the next game.

Unfortunately, QFG3 does not always give ample opportunities to properly develop all abilities (such as climbing or practicing the Lightning Ball spell). This then tickled my curiosity on learning how one might go about reverse engineering the exported character file. The exported SAV file is quite small, only a couple hundred bytes in size, which makes it an ideal candidate to reverse engineer (far more feasible than trying to dig through a game's save file which is relatively much larger.

After doing some initial research, it appears that there had been some slight variations between the different QFG export files, but like reverse engineering the AGI files, some interesting encoding trickery was used to make the SAV file's contents look like a random set of numbers which could not be easily gleaned of their true meaning. A couple of years ago, several others had dug deep into figuring out how to read and modify these files. The following are several resources of apps and web pages which can be used for viewing and altering Quest For Glory SAV files.