Welcome to the first installment of a series where I look at games that I harbor serious regret for playing and wasting precious breathing time on. This time we're going to focus on the game that is the physical manifestation of regret during my otherwise delightful experience with the N64, Quest 64. On the scale of regret, this rates right around nailing a slumpbuster of epic proportions and calling her the next day for round 2.
Released in the summer of 1998, almost two years into the N64's life cycle, Quest 64 was destined to be my answer to the Final Fantasy/Chrono Trigger fix that had been cultivated by the SNES. I didn't have a PS Single, and after seeing and hearing all about FF VII for the previous year, I had been craving a 64 bit turn based RPG hit like Tyrone Biggums after Thanksgiving. Imagine the joy, the excitement, the anticipation that I felt as I walked into my local Blockbuster and saw the first bona fide RPG for my glorious little joy machine. I even used my own allowance money to rent it, as my mother wouldn't pony up the funding for it. In retrospect, she was just trying to save me some heartache.
I took it home, jammed the cartridge into the slot, and embarked on 18 hours that will haunt me to my deathbed. Opening the box and starting up the game was like taking home the hottest girl at the bar, filled with lofty expectations. Actually playing the game was like getting her panties off and finding out that she has a dick. It was that bad.
You play as Brian, an apprentice Spirit Tamer who is too dumb to use money, can never seem to look in the right direction, and feels that a stick is the best weapon ever, because it's the only one that you're going to get. Brian is trapped in a world where open spaces extend about 20 feet to either side of a linear road, where there is no money to be had, nothing to buy, and where the people stay in the same place and say the same thing, regardless of whether it's day or night. Brian's father, an actual Spirit Tamer (which is a lot like being an actual professional fluffer), has disappeared and so has some Great Book. I ended up hating this plot almost as much as I hated the gameplay itself, and that's saying something. The plot went something like: Go to generic town with bad wall clipping, find out about generic bad guy, beat generic bad guy, get generic reward, go on to next generic town, rinse, and repeat.
The combat was kind of fun, for the first battle. I came to learn that my real enemies weren't the poorly designed generic enemies, but the tag-team combo of the camera and those fucking trees. In battle, the camera picks a static view, usually the one with a tree blocking most of your viewable screen. Sure, you can move the camera around using the rotate view button, but as soon as you let go, you face arboreal justice. After finishing this game I went outside and chopped down two medium sized trees to get my revenge.
That's as far as I'm going to go describing this game, lest I be overcome with regret. Need more info to satisfy your Quest 64 knowledge cravings? Then head right the hell on over to Rick Tilt's Quest 64 Web Page
. Easily the most comprehensive Quest 64 resource on the web.
So why did I play this game as long as I did? I'm not generally a masochist, but I had a lot of free time, and I REALLY needed an RPG fix. I had foolishly sold my SNES (another regret for another time) and hadn't saved up the fundage to buy a PS Single. When a heroin addict can't get China White, some Black Tar cut with Drano is gonna have to do.
Only later did I learn about what could have been for the N64, if only Nintendo had not gone and pissed Square off enough to send them into Sony's arms. The embedded vid below is a tech demo for Final Fantasy using Silicon Graphics Inc. Onyx Workstations. The N64 used SGI hardware, so it is widely assumed that this was a tech demo for a Final Fantasy 64. This demo used Terra, Locke, and Shadow from FF VI, and it served to only increase my regret after playing Quest 64, leaving me wishing for what could have been.
In closing, there are some things that you can't un-see, and some stains just won't come clean. Quest 64 embodies this.