“I have caught a story. It is all a lie. It is all the truth. Listen and learn.” – Simbani Storyteller
Quest for Glory 3:Wages of War was not part of our original plans for the series. After ‘Trial by Fire’ was released, Corey and I moved on to educational games – Castle of Dr. Brain and Mixed-Up Fairy Tales. This meant that our next Quest for Glory game would not be released until two years after Trial, a long time to wait for the next chapter of a saga.
We knew that ‘Shadows of Darkness’ would be dark and grim compared to the other games. If we were going to have new fans playing the game, we didn’t want them to think that the series was about Vampires, Werewolves, and the end of the world as we know it.
So when our friend Ellen Guon (Beeman) mentioned that we should tell Rakeesh the Paladin Liontaur and Uhura the warrior’s story, we said, “That’s a great idea!”
“Trial by Fire” was one of the last 16 color, typing-interfaced games that Sierra published. It was also created under the most stressful, unpleasant working conditions we experienced at Sierra On-Line. “Wages of War,” on the other hand, was completely different. Now we were full color and we had a dream team of talented artists under the direction of Andy Hoyos. Sierra had mellowed from the authoritarian administration and was treating employees like people again.
QfG3 is one of the most beautiful games in the series. Tarna is a magnificent city that might have been built if Babylonians and Egyptians joined together to build a home for the majestic Liontaurs. The jungle scenes are lush and open. The Heart of the World is a tree of huge scale and majesty. The character portraits were realistic and showed off each character’s personality. You could easily feel like you were not so much playing a computer game as exploring the veldts and jungles of Africa.
Your character goes to the land of Fricana out of friendship for Rakeesh and for Uhura. In Tarna, you meet Rakeesh’s wife, Kreesha. You learn that Fricana is martialing for war after an attack upon a peace treaty mission. Worse, Rakeesh’s daughter was a leader of that mission and she never returned.
Liontaur society is based on that of the lion. The leader of the city is Rajah, the brother of Rakeesh. However, all of the ruling council members are female. Most of the Liontaurs you meet in the game are female. In lion society, the women do all of the work. The males sit around and have lovely female courtesans feeding them zebras.
Corey is considering a race change to Liontaur.
From Tarna, you journey to the Simbani village. This society was based around the Masai people of Africa. Here Uhura is your friend and advisor. She is once again both a Warrior and a mother. Uhura refused to give up one role for the other. She wanted to live her life as she chose, not as her society chose for her. She had to leave the Simbani for that choice.
But now Uhura has returned to her home, and the Simbani tribe have welcomed her and her son back.
In the Simbani village, you also meet Johari. She is a Leopardman who was captured by the Simbani as she attempted to recover her tribe’s Drum of Magic.
It’s true that Johari needa rescuing from her cage. It’s also true that she haa no say one way or another about becoming the Hero’s bride once he pays the bride price for her. But Johari isn’t your typical damsel in distress (“DiD”). And while Simbani custom might say that Johari has been sold into marriage, Johari refuses to accept what the Simbani dictated. She runs away from the village as soon as the opportunity arose.
However, she doesn’t run away from the Hero – or at least not for very long. Nor has she given up on the idea of returning the Drum of Magic to her people. Johari wants the Hero to help her get the Drum back and stop the war between her people and the Simbani.
In many ways, Johari is the most heroic of all the women in the QfG series. She’s willing to put aside her differences with the Hero and the Simbani and actively work to bring peace. She is willing to work with her people’s enemies, the Liontaurs and the Simbani, to help the Hero stop the war and prevent the demons from invading Fricana.
Johari even gives the Hero his first kiss. Unless, of course, you count Amelia the healer in Spielburg. But most people try to forget that one.
There is another female who needs rescuing in this game, but she’s not your typical “DiD” either. Reeshaka is the daughter of Rakeesh and Kreesha. Once you break the demon’s possession of her body, she’s ready to fight at your side. Like her father, Reeshaka is a great warrior.
In the battle against the Demons, Uhura, Johari, and Reeshaka help save the day with Kreesha’s magical assistance. Of the four friends that stand with the hero in the final battle, two are female and one is… a monkey.
Clearly, the hero has a way with women. He attracts the strong, brave ones.
Wages of War has the strongest and most dynamic female characters of the series, other than Elsa von Spielburg. They all play their part to save the world rather than waiting for the hero to do all the dirty work.
In QfG3: Wages of War, the Hero stops a war between the Liontaurs, Simbani, and the Leopardmen caused by the deceitful Demons. He sends an apothecary off on a journey to find the love of his life and restore her humanity. He cures the enchantments that hold two women – Johari and Reeshaka – in bondage. He learns how to make friends and influence people. He stops the demons from spreading war across all of Fricana.
But he never could have succeeded without the help of the women he met along the way.
Sigh – but it still had a sexist harem scene. What can I say? Some people have a thing about sexy cat-women.