Jeffry Houser's assessment of indie developer Infamous Quests' RPG, which is done in an old-school VGA graphical style
July 15, 2014
Quest for Infamy is a Kickstarter-funded classic RPG adventure game. It comes from the same team that did fan remakes of Space Quest 2 and Kings Quest 3, so I was excited to see what the team would do when creating a unique original story. The result is a like Quest for Glory with a dash of humor and a hint of Leisure Suit Larry. The Story
Prepare to step into the shoes of Mr William Roehm. In the prologue, you find him running out of a castle in the middle of the night while an angry king chases after him for violating his daughter. The intro sets the stage for the game to come. As Roehm, you visit the town of Volksville. You explore and meet the people and unravel the town’s secrets, which include a cursed family, magical gems, and strange cults.
Your first step is to find a mentor, and at this stage you get to choose the type of character you’ll be. You can be a Rogue, a Brigand, or a Sorcerer. These parallel the three classes from Quest for Glory, but with a negative slant. The game is pitched as if you want to be the bad guy instead of the good guy, but primarily you’ll see Roehm act as the standard adventure game hero.
Quest for Infamy has two awesome stories that start separately but intertwine. The Killington’s were a once wealthy family who lived in the valley. You get to visit the ruins of their estate and unravel the mystery of their demise. The Morroi are a cult intent on retrieving a magic gem and taking over the world. As the game progresses, details of the plot are revealed and the two separate stories intertwine in a beautiful way. I love how the story unfolds.
The three different character classes each have slightly different side quests that you can explore, and that makes the game fun. However, the primary plot points and puzzles do not vary, and the replay value is lacking. By the time I was in my third run-through I wasn’t even reading the dialog anymore; I was just clicking so I could be done with it. Since the game is part RPG, you will have to increase your stats. Thankfully, it’s very easy to quickly raise them. You don’t need to spend a lot of time churning through your stats to complete this game, and that's welcome.
The amount of screens/land to explore in this game is huge compared to other recent titles. The lands of Volksville reminded me a lot of Spielberg from Quest for Glory 1. There are many places to explore and characters to meet, and sometimes heading down that random path will lead you to something new and wonderful, but the game isn’t too large to be overwhelming. Your first time through the game may feel frustrating and random, but once you get going and get a feel for the land, everything moves along smoothly.
Normally, I don’t have strong opinions of the music in the games I play. If it’s there, and it doesn’t annoy me, then I’m fine with it. However, Quest for Infamy was different. I was impressed more than once by the soundtrack.
There is a lot to like about this game, but there is also a lot to dislike. The game is crude and juvenile. Roehm is supposed to be a big brash anti-hero, so his crudeness is a bit expected. But ultimately it’s not well executed and detracts from the overall experience. For instance, the game does not need to be loaded with fart jokes and cursing. This became grating very quickly.
The voice acting is horrible and not up to commercial game standards. It isn’t Al Emmo bad, but it is a bit jarring and takes awhile to get used to. I also noticed that sometimes there are minor fluctuations of voice levels between characters, although this is minor. I'm surprised that a game with such a solid soundtrack could have such poor voiceovers.
This is also the most misogynist adventure game I have ever played. I couldn’t help but wonder if the creators were aware that women exist outside of the porn industry. They definitely need to go out and meet some. Female character portraits sport a lot of cleavage, and many of the game messages would be offensive in a different context — perhaps even in this context.
Although the game is complete and full-featured, it plays like an unpolished demo. I encountered many minor bugs and oddities throughout. For example, the pharmacist tells you he will buy poison sacks from snakes that you kill. Unfortunately, poisons sacks are only available when you kill giant spiders. At another point, you find a dead adventurer in the woodlands. When you search his body his head will fall off. If you then search his body again, it will tell you there is nothing to collect. However, if you click where his head used to be, you’ll get the adventurer’s helmet, something that you may need. Such oversights exist throughout the game, and at times made me groan internally.
There are both good and bad aspects to Quest for Infamy, and I have mixed feelings overall. I’m left with the impression that the game was created in a frat house following the consumption of large quantities of alcohol, and that the creators never sobered up enough to realize, “that really shouldn’t be in the game.” If you’re interested in an old-school adventure game that lets you explore and build-out an anti-hero character, then get this immediately. If you want something with a bit more polish, elegance, and class you should pass.