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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

Questron II: A Crown Jewel of Quest Software

by intric8 Sun May 08, 2016 3:23 pm

One of my favorite studios from the C64 days was the team that brought us Legacy of the Ancients (LOTA), The Legend of Blacksilver and Questron - Quest Software (they liked that word "quest").

LOTA is pretty easy to find still, as it was quite popular. Blacksilver, however, is much harder to locate an original copy, but they do exist. Creator Charles (Chuck) Dougherty thinks Blacksilver was the best game Quest created, for what it's worth. Some of Quest's titles were published by SSI (Strategic Simulations, Inc.), who shockingly won the TSR license back in the day, while others were published by Electronic Arts. Upon Questron's release, it sold exceptionally well.

To give an idea of how these games were received by gamers:
Questron was SSI's first RPG, and became the fastest-selling new game in the company's history at almost 35,000 copies in North America, more than triple the sales of the typical SSI game. Questron II was even more successful, outselling its predecessor by about 16,000 copies. -- Wikipedia
All of the Quest games worked off the same updated game engine, and each borrowed some visual aspects of the first Ultima. That's pretty much where the similarities ended (for the most part). And Quest innovated in several other areas - along with some fun mini-games built into the broader games. They are also believed to be the first RPGs to show the interior of a structure when a user enters a building. Twin brothers Chuck and John Dougherty brought fun and challenging adventure games to the Commodore masses. But their games didn't try to break your spirit by employing a frustrating or near-impossible gaming experience like so many D&D-themed games of the day. They spent a lot of time crafting the stories and art, and fully intended for their games to be "won".

To that end, they broke with D&D "tradition" by designing creatures of their own invention, and more importantly killing them offered no experience and often no gold, either. So in that regard monsters were more of a fun time waster - but they did force you to manage your spells, so on that perhaps they are more "realistic" (should a giant scaly lizard creature really fling gold at you when it dies?).

Their games still took a good amount of time and dedication by gamers to complete, but if you were willing to devote 15-30 hours of your life, you would find glory. In fact, Chuck Dougherty made an effort to create an ending that would truly reward players who made it that far.

And luckily, one of their games made it to the Amiga: Questron II. I just happened to be searching for this for quite some time, and ran into a gentleman who had 4, all unopened. Naturally I lightened his load by one. ;)

Is Questron II "deep" or perfectly balanced? No, but it is a lot of fun if you don't take the RPG canon to a religious level and are looking to have some fun.

To have one of the Dougherty brother's creations in mint condition and still in the shrink wrap is a special find indeed, at least for this fan. I have LotA and Blacksilver for the C64, but I was lacking anything for Amiga. And now I'm happy to say that I have a perfect specimen to add to my collection.

If you also are a fan of Chuck's work or just want to learn more, there's an interesting interview over on CRPG Addict worth a read.
<3
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q2.jpg
Questron II, mint

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