Quest for Glory Il: Trial by Fire Review

Screenshot of King Arthur in Quest for Glory II
Quest for Glory II contains lots of pop culture references and in-jokes like this one

  • Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
  • Developer: Sierra On-Line
  • Publisher: Sierra On-Line
  • Release Date: 1990
  • Time played: 18 hours (6 hours per playthrough)

What is it

Every adventure gamer or gamer that played games in the 80s and 90s, would've heard of the company Sierra On-Line and if they played one of their "Quest" games during that period, they probably played one of the Quest for Glory games, hybrid RPG/adventure games developed by Lori and Corey Cole.

Most of the Quest for Glory games were actually released during the 1990s except for the first Quest for Glory (aka Hero's Quest) which was released in 1989. Quest for Glory II was released shortly after in 1990, which means fans of the original didn't have long to wait to continue their adventures as the Hero of Spielburg.

Unlike other Sierra adventures, the Coles brought a bit of their love of Dungeons & Dragons to the Quest for Glory series meaning they added some RPG elements to the game, such as different character classes, skill points and random combat encounters with monsters. Quest for Glory II is set in a fantasy version of our own world called Gloriana. It is set in an Arabian Nights inspired kingdom called Shapeir where you play the role of the Hero of Spielburg who has followed your grateful friends Abdulla Doo, Shameen and Shema back to their homeland. Your goal is to save the city of Shapeir and its sister city Raseir from an evil wizard called Ad Avis who is intent on summoning a powerful and evil genie called Iblis.

Despite looking similar to the original Quest for Glory, Quest for Glory II runs on an updated version of the Sierra Creative Interpreter (SCI) engine: SCI1 instead of SCI0. It would be one of the last SCI games to employ the text parser considering other SCI1 games are mouse-only affairs such as King's Quest V, Conquests of the Longbow and Space Quest 4.

Many reviews in the 1990s praised the game. Dragon magazine in particular was impressed by the game giving it 5 out of 5 stars. The game is considered a classic by adventure game fans nowadays with Adventure Gamers bestowing it the honour of 81st best adventure game of all time.

How I got it

Out of all the old "Quest" games made by Sierra, the Quest for Glory series is my favourite (and this should be no surprise considering I backed the Coles with the Hero-U Kickstarter in 2012 and again with the Summer Daze at Hero-U Kickstarter in 2019).

It was inevitable that I would revisit the world of Gloriana at some stage and this was exactly my plan when I re-acquired the Quest for Glory anthology off GOG back in 2012.

The games sat dormant for a while until Choona suggested I revisit all the Sierra adventure games as part of my Pile of Shame Initiative. I've already reviewed quite a few Sierra adventures over the past couple of years and after completing reviews for SCI0 adventures it's time to look at some developed using SCI1.

I started playing this game back in June last year and completed it in February this year. So it took me 8 months to complete!

Screenshot of puns in Quest for Glory II
Quest for Glory II has puns. Lots of puns.

What I like:


There are plenty of games out there where you play the role of a hero but there aren't many that give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when helping others and the games in the Quest for Glory series manages to succeed in this regard. Unlike the original Quest for Glory, there aren't as many opportunities to be an "everyday hero" in this iteration (since you've already got a reputation as the mighty Hero of Spielburg) but you're still out there doing good stuff, even if the Thief has to steal some stuff along the way...

Characters you care about

Many of the characters are memorable in this game, and not just because they're recurring characters throughout the series but because they've been written as relatable and convincing characters, characters with their own worries and quirks, characters you actually end up caring about. It's a strength the Coles and their games have, which result in the adventures being so memorable and wholesome.


Many Sierra adventures are renowned for their humour and Quest for Glory II is no different with plenty of puns, jokes and pop culture references from yesteryear (e.g. Star Trek, the Marx Brothers, The Maltese Falcon and Lawrence of Arabia)

Arabian Nights

There aren't many fantasy RPGs out there with a Middle Eastern or Arabian Nights theme but Quest for Glory II happens to be one of them. You'll be navigating your way across scorching deserts, fighting giant scorpions and dealing with evil (as well as benevolent) sultans, emirs, viziers and genies.


Quest for Glory II's MIDI soundtrack might sound quite primitive when compared to the game soundtracks of today but there are plenty of memorable and beautiful themes in the game. I also love how the original Quest for Glory theme has been reworked in this game to give it the feel of an Arabian epic.

Different classes, different solutions

Just like its predecessor, Quest for Glory II is a hybrid adventure/RPG, this means you can play as a different class and since you have different classes, there are different solutions to many of the quests in the game: Fighters tend to come at challenges using brute strength, Wizards solve puzzles by determining when to use the right spell for a given situation and Thieves tend to use stealth and acrobatics to achieve their goals.

Different classes also have access to different areas of the game, such as the thief being the only class able to rob houses, wizards being the only ones that can apply for membership with the Wizard's Institute of Technocery (W.I.T.) and fighters being the only ones that are invited to join the Eternal Order of Fighters (E.O.F.).

Quest for Glory II also introduces a new class at the end of the game called the Paladin: these are intended for warriors who act with honour during the course of the game. Paladins are a selectable class in the remaining three games of the series.

Can re-use your character

Just like the Mass Effect games, you're able to re-use your character for future games in the series, and there are five Quest for Glory games altogether! Players (including myself) tend to get quite attached to their characters in RPGs so being able to keep playing as the same one through the entire series is definitely a plus.

Screenshot of an air elemental in Quest for Glory II
Sometimes it's not quite clear what you have to do with the elementals

What I dislike:

It's still old

It's not as dated as the AGI adventures of the early to mid 80s, but low-resolution graphics, a lack of colour depth and MIDI-quality music means that even indie adventure games of today seem like technological marvels when compared to Quest for Glory II; although without games like Quest for Glory II to inspire the current generation of game developers, there'd probably be a whole lot less indie adventure games today, so I'm definitely glad it does exist.

It's also worth mentioning that Quest for Glory 2 was released over 30 years ago… that's a long time ago in the world of computing.


Like its predecessor, combat in Quest for Glory II usually involves spamming the attack key against weaker opponents and then fleeing from more difficult ones. In fact, playing as the thief epitomises the latter as I've found the safest (but cheesiest) way of taking out enemies is to throw daggers at an enemy until they close the distance for close quarters combat. When that happens, I choose to escape from the enemy, run a certain distance from them, throw daggers and the process will repeat itself until the enemy is a pin cushion of 10-15 daggers. It's time consuming but I'd rather take my chances from afar considering it's almost impossible to beat harder enemies in close quarters combat.

I employed a similar tactic when playing as a wizard fighting giant scorpions, but instead of throwing daggers, I was casting flame darts.

Passage of Time

Like its predecessor, waiting for things to occur in this game can be annoying. You often have to be at certain places at certain times and there's no default ability or command to just wait, although thankfully when you're still in Shapeir, you can at least rest at the inn for an hour which serves a similar purpose. However, when you finally reach Raseir, you don't have that luxury as the guestroom is closed during the day and waiting for things to occur can be excruciating (even though in real-time you probably only need to wait several minutes).

When I asked Corey Cole about this, it sounds like it was somewhat intentional:

That's probably something we considered to be a "feature" rather than a "bug." We wanted to give you the feeling that you're stuck in this dystopian city, with gamer minutes representing real-life days and weeks.

Well it definitely had that impact on me!

What shall we do with the el-e-mentals

While Quest for Glory II is by no means as difficult as some other Sierra adventures of the same era, I can imagine those that aren't accustomed to Sierra adventures may find it a bit tricky on what to do when you encounter the elementals in Shapeir and which containers you're meant to catch them in.


The Valley of Spielburg in the first Quest for Glory was reasonably easy to navigate, even without a map; this isn't the case with the Shapeiran Desert. Like many older adventure games, you'll need to use trial and error, and draw yourself an actual map in Quest for Glory II: probably a novel concept with younger players but there's a first time for everything, right?

Dude, where's my paladin?

Despite actively trying to do the honourable thing at every opportunity when I played as a Fighter, I somehow didn't receive the opportunity to become a paladin at the end of Quest for Glory II yet when I played as a Wizard, I did (go figure)! Not really sure what's going on with respect to the classes which brings me to the next point.

Import bugs

I actually had to restart my playthrough as a wizard because a bug occurred during the import character process. Somehow, the import process thought my wizard character from the original Quest for Glory was in fact a fighter (I probably should've realised the fact he was carrying a shield was a dead giveaway - especially considering the shield was preventing me from casting spells during combat).

Thankfully, there's a patch available at the SierraHelp website so I highly recommend you download this if you ever experience this issue.

Score – 8/10 (Recommended)

Like the original Quest for Glory, Quest for Glory II may feel dated, its combat is not very satisfying and the game can really drag on, especially when you reach Raseir. The game is also a bit buggy and it can sometimes be confusing to know what to do next. However, just like Quest for Glory 1, the game is heart-warming, funny and wholesome, and I ended up enjoying Quest for Glory II just as much as the original. If you're looking for a retro, hybrid adventure/RPG with an Arabian Nights setting, I recommend giving Quest for Glory II a shot.

Is the game worth $12.99 AUD?:

No. Although it really depends if you're an old fan (so you've probably already got a copy anyway) and what price you would put on retro games in general. The $12.99 is not only for Quest for Glory II though; it also gets you all five Quest for Glory games as well as the VGA version of Quest for Glory 1, so when you think of it as about $2 per adventure, it's actually pretty good value overall.

If you like this game, you might like… [ LINK: Quest for Glory @ GOG ]