- NA release: 10th June 1998
- PAL release: 30th September 1998
- JP release: 9th July 1999
- Developer: Imagineer
- Publisher: THQ (NA), Konami (PAL) Imagineer (JP)
- N64 Magazine Score: 71%
There’s a lot of curious things about the Quest series. This game was given different names in different regions. In North America, it was the very generic Quest 64. In Europe is was the rather meaningless Holy Magic Century and in Japan it was Eltale Monsters (I think Eltale Book would have worked better). Despite being a JRPG, it also came out in Japan last.
Quest got a spin-off in the form of a Dig Dug clone on Game Boy Color called Quest: Fantasy Challenge in the USA and, oddly, Holy Magic Century in Europe (it wasn’t released in Japan) and then a remake of the original game on Game Boy Colour (with an expanded story) called Quest: Brian’s Journey in the USA and Elemental Tale – Jack’s Great Adventure: Satan’s Counterattack in Japan (this one wasn’t released in Europe).
As for Quest 64, the game itself is also interesting as it seems like a great starting point for a game, but it feels like it isn’t finished. It works fine and isn’t glitchy, it’s just there isn’t a lot to it. The idea behind the story is interesting, but it isn’t told well. It’s very easy to lose track of what you’re supposed to be doing due to lack of context, and NPCs rarely have anything interesting to say.
The combat has some interesting ideas, too. It’s turn-based but you move around in the actual game world. You can move around within a circle (which is more of a circle in the Japanese version) to position yourself and select an attack. When enemies attack you have a bit of movement to try and dodge.
You collect spirits in four elements: fire, wind, water and earth (no heart) and as you get more, you unlock more abilities. There are three “levels” of attack but in each new “level” you can mix in another element for a wide variety of spells. Unfortunately, there are just a couple of attacks that are far better than others.
By far the biggest issue with the combat is the random encounter system, as the amount you get is extremely overboard. You can be drawn into a new battle immediately after one ends and, other than trying to break the game by hugging walls (or using a Gameshark code), there’s no proper way to avoid battles.
What doesn’t help is that a lot of battles won’t reward you with anything, as the game won’t give you an item if you already have one of them in your inventory. You’ll get tired of the random encounters before the end of the first area.
There’s plenty to like about Holy Quest Monsters, but also a lot to hate about it. It feels like the developers had a lot of ambitions but had to tone it back during development. It has a lot of interesting ideas, it just doesn’t fully use them.
Packed with atmosphere, each populated area consists of lush green fields, glorious castles and lovingly-crafted thatched houses with gently smoking chimneys. The people, meanwhile, are happy to do that RPG thing of standing around like statues, but at lease they give you puzzles to solve.
Or so you’d think. In fact, all the residents are content to say much the same thing, normally along the lines of “Ooh, if only someone would go and kill that big boss character!” And considering the town or forest where the boss lives is – gasp! – the next place on the path you’re following, you can almost get away without speaking to anyoneMark Green, N64 Magazine #23
Remake or remaster?
Quest 64 definitely deserves a fresh attempt. Refine the combat system, add more context to the story and give NPCs more to do with side quests and other activities.
Official ways to get the game.
There is no official way to get Quest 64
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