Quest for Infamy (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, August 9, 2014

Over the past year or two, I’ve seen a lot of blogs talk about the “adventure game revival,” often citing the increase in the number of games in the genre being released thanks to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. But while it is true that there have been a number of fairly high profile adventure games released this year and plenty more are still in development, the genre never really went anywhere. The early to mid-2000s saw plenty of titles come out, particularly in Germany, and many of them ended up with physical releases in North America thanks to publishers like The Adventure Company and Viva Media (not to mention there were plenty of freeware titles out there that paid tribute to the 90s aesthetic). I spent a good amount of time reviewing these games, and found that although there were still some downright terrible ones that plenty of hidden gems went under the radar for the majority of gamers.

Now with the rise in crowdfunding and Steam’s decision to unleash the floodgates and accept older and independent titles with little filtering, the genre is once again gaining mainstream attention and this is allowing developers to try their hand at different subject matter and create new series that try and recapture what made older adventure games so appealing. Quest for Infamy is a great example of this, as the team at Infamous Quests successfully raised $60,000 to create the title during the 2012 Kickstarter boom. Their goal was to create an original title that took influence from classic titles like King’s Quest and Quest for Glory, which makes perfect sense seeing as the development team was behind a remake of King’s Quest III a few years back. Two years later the final result is available to play via Steam, GOG, and a slew of other digital platforms. The question most people will likely be asking is, does Infamous Quest have what it takes to become a classic in its own right?

Quest for Infamy has players take on the role of Roehm, your somewhat typical fantasy hero that’s snarky and has a tendency to be a bit of a bastard. When the game begins Roehm is seen fleeing the mansion of a local baron, as he has attempted to sleep with the baron’s daughter and been caught. He escapes and makes his way over to the town of Volksville, intending to stay only a night or two before heading north. Unfortunately the bridge has been completely destroyed, so a longer stay in Volksville is going to be required. After exploring the surrounding area for a bit (which serves as a prologue of sorts and allows the player the chance to check out some of the locations they’ll be visiting many times throughout the game), Roehm witnesses an execution and is introduced to the town sheriff Rayford. As you can probably expect, he becomes drawn into the events in the town and doesn’t just get to fly under the radar of those living in the nearby areas.

What drew me into Quest for Infamy was the level of detail if offered. One of the best things about the classic adventure games was that everything had a purpose and presented the player with a living, breathing world that felt like it kept on going even when you weren’t exploring it. This is something that I often feel is missing in many modern games, as it feels like you are experiencing what an artist placed in a location rather than exploring something that seems like it could be real. Quest for Infamy nails this, as early on players have free reign to explore the surrounding forest and Volksville itself, with all of the usual adventure game options. The developers have included some nice Easter eggs for players who want to look at and try and interact with everything onscreen, as some attempts will result in the narrator exclaiming that “if this were the old days I would’ve booted you back into DOS for that.” Characters go about their daily routine and early on they have different dialogue trees depending on what the player has done, which genuinely draws you into the world and makes you want to explore every location.

With this amount of detail in place, players control Roehm and start making a name for themselves in Volksville and the nearby city of Tyr by befriending different characters and completing tasks. You can choose to be a Sorcerer, Brigand, or Rogue depending on who you talk to early on in the game. Naturally I chose to be a Sorcerer, because who wouldn’t want to learn some cool spells and use them in puzzle solving and battle? Each class has specific missions, meaning that you’ll only see particular story scenes and take on certain tasks based on which class you’ve chosen to pursue and this does encourage multiple runs to see everything that Quest for Infamy has to offer. It also allows the player some options in accomplishing some of the story missions, and while the differences are minor I do like the fact that there are a few choices and the game isn’t completely linear.

I forgot to mention this earlier, but rather than being a pure point and click the game is an adventure/RPG hybrid, so there is a significant amount of combat. Outside of a few battles that are required to progress, players will randomly stumble across enemies in the forest areas that they can either try and sneak past or engage in combat. Combat is fairly simple to easy to pick up, as you have four attack options and can use healing potions if you have them. The four options are a straight hack, upward stab, downward slash, and defensive block. Different enemies are weak to certain attacks, but you also are susceptible to weapon accuracy so it isn’t guaranteed that your attack will connect with the enemy. If you successfully block, you can also gain some health back. You have a window of time to decide which action you’re going to choose or will lose that turn and be vulnerable to an extra attack from the enemy. Should you become the Sorcerer, the list of spells you have learned that are able to be used in combat will be selectable, but there is a recharge period after using magic. It’s a system that works well and the more you use each option in combat the higher your stats become, but one thing that bothers me was that there didn’t seem to be raise the maximum amount of health. It’s possible I just never figured out how to do so (and if that’s the case someone please correct me), but I never got Roehm above 50 HP which means the majority of the battles in the later stages involved spamming health potions and the healing spell in between every attack.

The overall plot revolves around Roehm dealing with the cult of Morroi, who have been causing trouble in the area, and a mystical item that was said to drive one of the old families of Volksville to its demise. As Roehm comes closer to discovering some of the history behind the mysteries of the cult and the mysterious woman Kayanna who has hired him to retrieve it, he also becomes embroiled in the day to day business of the sheriff Rayford and finds out there is more to staying in the village than he bargained for. It’s not the most original plot, but fits the fantasy setting and narrative that the team at Infamous Quest is trying to tell and I enjoyed scouring over every location trying to figure out what little tidbits of information I could find at each place.

However, despite its intentions Quest for Infamy doesn’t quite reach the level of a game players will remember for years to come. The plot initially draws you in with promise of intrigue and high fantasy, but as you reach the end you realize it feels more like a teaser to what’s still to come. The game is split into three acts, and the majority of your time will be spent in the first act where you explore every nook and cranny of the in-game world. By comparison, the last two acts are only two to three missions long and some of the story elements that happen in them feel slightly rushed, bringing the game to its climax just a bit more quickly than I was expecting. There are hints of a greater evil and more trouble ahead that suggests the team would like to make a sequel. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the self-contained tale that was provided to me in this title, but for a game that’s all about gaining infamy and becoming a hero I didn’t feel like I had accomplished quite as much in this regard by the time the credits were rolling.

Another issue is some of the limitations that are placed on players. Every action you take has a response from the narrator, often telling you that you cannot do something. Considering that Roehm is supposed to be a bit of a bastard, there were certain situations where I would try to do something that seemed like it would fit his character only to be told by the narrator that I couldn’t. It seemed like I was only being stopped from performing this dastardly action just because the game didn’t have a response for it or didn’t want to let me, so I think rather than having a narrator say so I would’ve preferred a few more scenarios where Roehm actually says why he isn’t going to do something. Additionally, while there were a number of scenes where he did respond in a more snarky or cynical manner that really appealed to me, there were a few too many times where the responses I got were simply indifferent. I understand that part of that is due to the fact that the player can choose Roehm’s responses to particular situations, but if we do in fact get a sequel to Quest for Infamy I’d like to see his character fleshed out a bit more beyond your typical snarky hero and really react to some of the situations happening in the game world.

Quest for Infamy was created using the Adventure Game Studio, which is the software a lot of developers have used to create titles that perfectly capture the look and feel of the classic 90s titles. However, while quite a few of the freeware games and other titles created with AGS have tended to have a similar look, Quest for Infamy manages to have enough of its own distinctive look to stand out. As I mentioned earlier, every area has lots of little details to check out and each of the characters looks different from each other. What Infamous Quests has done is create a fully detailed chunk of a larger world and brought it down to pixelated form, making the game feel like it could have come out around the same time period as some of the King’s Quest or Quest for Glory title. It’s very appealing, and while the pixilation may not be to everyone’s taste, anyone that enjoys this particular graphical style should find that the game is up to their standards. The interface is also easy to use, as you can hover over the top of the screen to choose all of your interaction options. By default everything runs in a small window and the only way to force fullscreen is through editing the configuration files, though the developers have mentioned they may patch an option in at a later date. I found that running the game windowed was fine and I was able to focus in on what was happening anyway, although occasionally I would click the edge of an area to try and move to the next screen and accidentally click out of the window. Throughout the entire time I spent playing Quest for Infamy I only encountered one hard crash when I tried to sleep in the Hermit Homestead and was attacked while sleeping. The battle screen loaded but there was no enemy sprite, and as soon as I tried to choose any attack option the game crashed because of it. Aside from this random occurrence, the title was generally stable and performed quite well.

There are plenty of quirky characters to interact with in Quest for Infamy, ranging from your standard fantasy fare to much stranger ones. I was surprised to find that every single one, no matter how minor, is voiced. During the Kickstarter campaign there were tiers that let players become an in-game character, so I think that some of them might be fan contributions, and I noticed during the credits that some familiar names from the adventure game community (like Agustin Cordes, who developed Scratches and is currently working on Asylum) made an appearance in the credits as having a voice role. With that being said, some of the voices of the minor characters are a bit cringe worthy, and it’s hard to tell whether they’re bad on purpose or that’s really the voice actor’s genuine attempt. The main cast is a bit better, with Roehm’s actor coming off with the right level of snarkiness, and if you do decide that you’re not crazy about the voices you can disable them and just read the text. As for the soundtrack, it fits in line with your typical fantasy background music but the songs always seemed to fit the particular situation. Overall, I was happy with the voiceover work and music as it gave that appropriate B-grade fantasy movie vibe and that is quite appealing to my particular tastes.

Quest for Infamy is a game I genuinely enjoyed making my way through, but the second two acts did seem a bit rushed and the climax came too quickly. As a result, this sometimes felt more like a prelude to infamy as there was a considerable amount of intrigue and mystique hinted at that weren’t revealed by the end. My hope is that Infamous Quests is able to continue on and make this a series, as a second installment that has even crazier situations and allows Roehm to engage in more debauchery and have just a bit more personality in each scenario would be fantastic. As it stands though, what you get in this title is a well-rounded plot that lets you explore the nuances of one small region in a larger world, while hinting at bigger things to come. As an attempt at an original game for this team that has done remakes in the past it’s certainly a strong debut and I recommend it to anyone that loved the 90s adventure/RPG combos or wants to experience a similar type of title, just don’t expect it to become a timeless classic.

http://www.infamous-quests.com
http://www.postudios.com
http://store.steampowered.com/app/264560/
http://www.gog.com/game/quest_for_infamy
Quest for Infamy on Green Man Gaming

 

PC System Requirements:

Minimum:
OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8
Processor: 900 Mhz
Memory: 128 MB RAM
Graphics: Direct X Compatible Graphics Card
DirectX: Version 5.2
Hard Drive: 1800 MB available space
Sound Card: Direct X Compatible Sound Card

Recommended:
OS: Windows 7 or 8
Processor: 1.2 Ghz
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Graphics: Direct X Compatible Graphics Card
Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Sound Card: Direct X Compatible Sound Card

 

Linux System Requirements:

Minimum:
OS: Linux kernel 2.6.18 or later
Processor: 1.8 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Integrated GPUs after 2008
Hard Drive: 1900 MB available space
Sound Card: ALSA or PulseAudio

Recommended:
OS: Linux kernel 3.2.0 or later
Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Integrated GPUs after 2012 or better
Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Sound Card: ALSA or PulseAudio

Quest for Infamy
Verdict7.5

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