Initially, the game was released in March 1993 on five 3.5" floppy diskettes to accommodate those gamers who didn't have a CD-ROM drive at the time (as were many other of Sierra adventures). However, the main release was planned in 1994, in a jewel box that included the game CD, the game manual, a store catalogue and legalities. The floppy version also included the manual, only smaller and less detailed.
Since the floppy version had no device-entrusted copyright protection, the player was asked to do a certain amount of actions at the beginning of each game. The CD version simply required the disk to play the game.
Upon its final release in 1994, the game itself featured some improvements to the gameplay. The title screen, which featured an initially black background in the floppy version, was updated with a picture of a castle layout in pale moonlight and featured a wolf-like howl as the title was appearing. Some other sound effects were added in the game too, such as door sounds, etc. The CD version also featured a complete soundtrack with actors voicing, for the first time in the series. The player was then able to choose between the text boxes and the vocals in option screen.
A featured called "Auto-combat", where the computer would fight the enemies in battles (to pinpoint the strategic feel of the game, as opposed to the action feel) was also improved upon release.
Drawn without warning from victory in Tarna, the Hero arrives without equipment or explanation in the middle of the hazardous Dark Caves in the distant land of Mordavia. Upon escaping from the closing cave mouth, he meets a mysterious young woman named Katrina who assists him again several times in his journey. He encounters several old foes, including the not-quite-dead Ad Avis and the ogress Baba Yaga, and makes several bizarre new allies. The Hero is ultimately coerced into assisting Ad Avis' Dark Master (who turns out to be Katrina) in collecting the Dark Rituals that will awaken Avoozl the Dark One (an obvious Cthulhu pastiche, and most likely a reference to the Slavic deity Chernobog) from his slumber underneath the Dark Caves. Naturally, the Hero is freed from this control and thwarts their plan, destroying Ad Avis in the process. During the celebration of the Hero's somewhat pyrrhic victory, the wizard Erasmus appears, summoning the Hero to the land of Silmaria.
Differences from Previous Quest for Glory Games
Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness is the first and only game of the series to have no numeral attached to its name within the game (other than Hero's Quest). Most materials related to Quest for Glory: Shadow of Darkness, show no title number. The only reference related to the game being the fourth scenario in the series is through its installation folder, QFG4, and it's executable QFG4CD.exe. The title screen and about screens either refer to the game as Quest for Glory: Shadow of Darkness, or Shadows of Darkness. The original manuals referred to the game simply as Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness. It was later called Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness in the Quest for Glory Anthology collection manual. Previously the end of Quest for Glory III referred to it as Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness.
Quest for Glory IV features far darker themes while maintaining the humor of previous games through such methods as incorporating Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre parodies. Revolving around a dark cult summoning an unfathomably large evil, the game was a far cry from earlier villains such as Baba Yaga. Additionally, the undead and Lovecraftian monsters differed significantly from the lighter monsters of earlier games (there were, however, vampyric rabbits reminiscent of Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail). Moreover, to fight the new monsters, Quest for Glory IV implemented an entirely new fighting system. While sometimes criticized as clunky, the new system was undeniably different.
The CD-ROM version of Quest for Glory IV is the first game in the series to feature voice actors and an audible narrator, John Rhys-Davies. Additionally, the game featured a largely original sound track by Aubrey Hodges – although it did feature a reprise of the Hero’s Theme from previous games and a rendition of Anitra's Dance by Edvard Grieg which played as background music in the Hotel Mordavia.
According to an InterAction magazine article, John Rhys-Davies' part took more than three weeks to record, causing him to refer to the game as the 'CD-ROM from Hell'.
- John Rhys-Davies - Narrator
- Jennifer Hale - Katrina
- Gregg Berger - Dmitri Ivanov aka the Burgomeister
- Jeff Bennett - Ad Avis / Bonehead / Dr. Cranium / Igor
- Cathianne Blore - Anna
- Hamilton Camp - Lorre Petrovich aka The Chief / Punny Bones
- Cam Clarke - Domovoi / Gypsy Davy / Nikolai
- Jim Cummings - Boris Stovich / Hans
- Bill Farmer - Leshy
- Joan Gerber - Magda
- Jess Harnell - Franz
- Mitzi McCall - Bella Markarov
- Diane Pershing - Erana / Rusalka
- Stu Rosen - Yuri Markarov
- Neil Ross - Erasmus / Ivan
- Russi Taylor - Tanya Markarov
The floppy disk version is notorious for having many in-game bugs, but a patch was eventually released.
Most notable of these bugs was “Error 52.” Well known among game fans, Error 52 occurred mostly when running the game on newer machines. Appearing during one of the games later battles against a Chernovy, the bug precluded victory. Another notable bug “Error 47” occurred under similar conditions, however it appeared earlier in the game. This bug also made the game unwinnable.
Fans of the game have devised countless methods of beating the errors, however the most effective is to run DOSBox or a Windows 95 emulator. There is also a bug near the end which, unfortunately, cannot be avoided while playing in DOSBox. The bug occurs after the player throws the spear at Ad Avis. The spear will revert into Erana's staff and float back to the player as usual, but as it does, the staff erroneously turns back into Ad Avis, who throws a fire ball at the player. This kills him with the same outcome if the player didn't take out Erana's staff fast enough. Nevertheless, the game continues as if the bug didn't happen. The best counter for this bug is to save before the cut-scene. Also, the bug is more likely to happen when the Speed setting on the options menu is low.
Among the other bugs is the second appearance of peasant girl Tanya: if Hero, having saved her already from undeath, pays another visit to her room back in the Castle, he can see her in undead form again, although this time without her guardian monster Toby by her side.
A particularly detailed sequence in the game involved the Gypsy Magda gathering information about the hero's future and his possible enemies or allies using a deck of Tarot cards. The images used for the game were taken from the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg, a Rider-Waite-Smith clone deck, and the layout used appears to be unique to the game.
- Game information including official & unofficial patches for the game
- Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness at the Internet Movie Database
- Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness at MobyGames