Old School Adventuring Reborn In Quest For Infamy
By David Lins
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow many times do you read the phrase “love letter” while browsing Kickstarter? It’s gotten to the point that it actually makes me cringe a little whenever I see it, because most of the time it’s a red flag for “we tried to emulate how great this series was but we kinda failed so we’ll ship it as a ‘love letter’ instead of a ‘good game’ because it turns out we’re not so great at this sort of thing.” It very rarely feels genuine.
When I booted up Quest for Infamy, I expected another Kickstarter point-and-click adventure game trying to emulate the old days. “Look at this,” I thought to myself, “it even has 90’s-style graphics! How cute.” Within an hour I was engrossed with the game, exploring the town of Volksville and its surrounding woods as William Roehm, the cocky, devious main character. Within the next hour I was scratching my head over some convoluted puzzle involving a blacksmith (read my preview here for more on that). Then, I looked at the clock and realized several hours had passed and that I should have been in bed ages ago.
Quest for Infamy isn’t a love letter to the classic adventure games of yore. It isn’t an epic “reimagining” of a game well past its prime. It is one of those games. When someone starts a Kickstarter campaign for a “love letter” to classic adventure games, Quest for Infamy could be included in that list and no one would bat an eye.
What few changes the game makes to the classic formula are good ones. Instead of the clunky “CLICK THEM BEFORE THEY HIT YOU” combat you would find in games like Space Quest, Quest for Infamy features turn-based combat. These hectic fights require some strategy as the game goes on, making the combat tough but rewarding to master. The game throws in some RPG-elements to keep things interesting, as well as a multitude of spells that can do everything from light your enemy on fire to blow them away with some wind.
Of course, this is a 90’s adventure game, complete with unforgiving challenge and weirdly specific puzzle solutions. As long as you’re paying attention and saving often you should get through okay, but be ready to spend some time hunting for the quest items. Anyone that manages to complete the game without looking up any solutions will earn some serious bragging rights.
The story takes itself very lightly, with a narrator berating your every move and a protagonist that seems to care only for himself, but it does try a bit too hard sometimes. Like, I get it, obsessively trying to grab and observe everything is dumb, but does the narrator really need to crack a joke about how doors work every time I examine one? It was funny the first three times or so, but even the best jokes can wear thin, guys.
Another complaint I have is with how women are portrayed in the game. Yes, I know, feminism is destroying the industry and we should all cover our ears and pretend it doesn’t exist, but it bugs me that all but one woman in this game (that I found) are just dressed-up eye-candy for the players (and, I suppose, Roehm) to gawk at. Their portraits all put their breasts front-and-center, and very few have a personality that isn’t a blatant stereotype. Hell, Roehm’s past—the one he’s running from that almost got him executed—involves sleeping with a Very Important Dude’s woman. It’s not bad enough that I wouldn’t recommend the game because of it, and I do believe that the developers intended to play up the stereotype for laughs, but it made me cringe just a few times.
My other major disappointment with the game is that I didn’t have the time to finish it. I may revisit this review once I manage to complete the game, but as of now I’m confident enough to say that Quest for Infamy far exceeds my expectations; I recommend it to anyone yearning for an adventure game that truly fits in with those classic games everyone seems to love writing letters to.
If you’re not familiar with the genre, then at the very least you should give the demo a go. If nothing else, the humorous writing should be enough to pull you in.
If you do play the game, feel free to leave me a comment and share your thoughts! I always like a good discussion.
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/david.jpg” ]David Lins is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania that has loved video games since he was old enough to hold a controller. He enjoys all sorts of games, but prefers difficult or terrifying ones. Currently, he plays too many roguelikes. When not writing about his favorite hobby, he loves to drink beer, write fiction, play tabletop RPGs or board games, and hang out with his friends and family. He also has a passion for technology and loves tinkering with his phone, computer, and other devices. Follow David on Twitter for “hilarious” or “insightful” tweets about nothing in particular. [/author]