[ON THE VERSION]
This is run on the official GOG.com settings, which sets DOSBox to a fixed 10,000 cycles. Actually, it is the GOG.com DOSBox configuration files, but run on an older version of the game. This run was done on version 1.00 of the game, which was known as Hero's Quest I. It was later changed to Quest for Glory by Sierra in subsequent versions and on through the series due to a copyright issue. The GOG.com release is version 1.20.
The only change to the DOSBox configuration file is to output to OpenGL instead of Overlay to allow Fraps to record, and a sound setting to emulate the superior Roland MT-32 soundtrack.
The reason it is run on version 1.00 is because there is a specific exploit that eliminates having to save the Baronet and allows immediate safe entry into the final area of the game. This knocks off a good two minutes or so which is explained in detail below. The dagger glitch that this displays is available in all versions, however. The minotaur is skippable in both VGA and EGA, though through different means.
Of course, I want to thank SDA for hosting such a great service. It is always my first place to check for speed runs, and the community is always super friendly and helpful.
Since the discovery of the dagger-throwing glitch in the Brigand Leader's room, I have been looking for a way (admittedly less frequently) to skip more. When a runner named c-square on the TASVideos.org forums messaged me and told him he was using my route as the base for his TAS of QFG1EGA, I got excited. He discovered that the Calm spell is really just a suggestion, and not necessary at all. To make things even better, the Calm spell imports anyway into Quest for Glory 2 (both EGA and VGA) for some unknown reason, so skipping Calm is now the new official route for the Marathon run.
My focus was also on getting the text-parser and Antwerp right, which are just frustrating time sinks. I am extremely pleased with this run. My estimate is 1m 35s. Timing starts when the Sheriff says "Good luck" and ends the moment I hit the door tranisition to escape the Brigand Leader's room.
Finally, as a minister, I have to give credit to God for giving me a little extra leisure time to practice the series of games I enjoy.
[A NOTE ABOUT THE CLASS AND POINT ALLOCATIONS]
Really, any class can pull this off with the right point allocations, and every class has enough points to make it happen with no grinding. The use of Stealth is new to the route for use at the Minotaur, which allows us to skip him. At 40 Strength the door to the Troll Cave opens without any grinding.
[UP THROUGH THE ANTWERP]
Buy the Open Spell and head straight to the Antwerp. If you bounce once into the Antwerp he is then transparent and can be moved through for a few seconds, which allows me to use the mouse to get him into the right position to cast open, move the rock, give the password to the Troll, and enter the cave. This screen with the Antwerp is tricky; not because you can die easily, but because it's VERY particular about the way things need to be for maximum speed. Lining yourself up with the cave door is actually EXTREMELY precise. If you are even a pixel lower or higher from where you need to be, casting Open will say there is no lock. If you move too far away from the door (it's easy to do) after giving the password, the password will not work and the Troll will be there to kill you.
[HANDLING THE MINOTAUR]
The new part is the Minotaur, as stated above. You are able to get to the door and open it and enter before he can attack you, which is amazing to me. The first thing you do, no matter what, is cast Open to get the gate open. Past that, there are two ways get past the Minotaur.
1. You can move forward from the bush just slightly but stay within the bushes. This will make the bushes rustle and alert the Minotaur, but the Minotaur will not see you because you are still concealed. You then get a few seconds of free actions outside of the bush to open the door and get inside.
2. You can use Stealth in a very particular way. If you use Stealth and move up (I'm guessing it's MAYBE 1 pixel because it doesn't look like you've moved at all, but who knows), you can move out of the bush quickly, open the door and get inside without the dialog from the Minotaur. I find this to be easier to manage in the time frame.
From what c-square tells me that in TAS format, it takes 400 milliseconds to type "sneak" and then move up, but that it takes 128ms to hit the bush and have the minotaur check around. Technically speaking, in the TAS world, doing the first method is ultimately faster. However, he is also using the Hero's Quest "Hi-Speed Hero" mode, which is a 1.00 exclusive option and for a RTA is utterly uncontrollable. Even in a TAS Hi-Speed Hero mode is turned on and off quickly because some screen transitions do not happen (like getting to the magic shop or the the troll cave) while it is turned on.
Without the use of "Hi-Speed Hero" mode and with normal human limitations, I have VERY strong evidence to believe the Sneak method is the fastest for a RTA.
Since I am already sneaking, I take advantage of the extra control I have to move through the room with more precision. When running, the hero moves so fast that it is impossible to stop him in front of the last trip wire to "step" over the rope. Plus, this involves typing "run" through the parser which takes time and then navigating through the room. I did quite a few tests. It seem like there is more time to be saved here, but it won't be as much as could be expected. It may be possible to save one-two seconds max here, but would require extremely fine control work to make it happen.
That being said, a new discovery certainly makes this area faster, but again, I am convinced it is beyond human ability because of the perfect movement required to make it happen. Moving diagonally across the trip wires does not make the hero trip for some reason. In the TAS, with perfect control, this room takes LITERALLY one second; you blink, and it's gone.
[REST OF THE GAME]
The cafeteria is straight forward, but time saving opportunities in here are coming down to keystrokes through the parser. I could save time by typing "bar door" instead of "close door", but it is only two-keystrokes. The same could be done with "move chair" changing to "move candle" Instead of typing out, "move candle," I could hit SPACE or F3 to bring up the last command, backspace to "move c" and then type "andle," but the difference is a one keystroke time save.
In Yorick's Maze, you can cast any spell to get Yorick to flee the room. The old method of asking Elsa has Yorick talk to you about breaking the enchantment before he flees the room, so this saves a few boxes of dialog. "Zap" has the least number of characters of any spell in the game, and only the Magic-User has this spell. The rest of the room goes smoothly and quickly.
In the leader's room is the game-breaker glitch. Instead of throwing the Dispel Potion, you have to "throw dagger," which aims at some random, unknown target and unlocks movement for you character. The HAREST part of the game is now lining yourself up with the exit. The diagonal movements make this a bit more consistent, but it is still difficult. If you do not go fast enough, the scene changes to Elsa and you will die.
Interestingly enough, this can only be done on MAX speed. I experimented with trying to grab Baba Yaga's mirror and then exiting, but I am fairly certain that this is impossible even in a tool-assisted run. You can grab the mirror, which is neat, but that would result in you being able to defeat Baba Yaga without saving the Baroness or Baronet (which should be impossible). When I slowed the timer down to attempt getting both, which usually increases accuracy, the scene changes immediately after throwing the dagger to Elsa and you die. At MAX speed, you get a few seconds of movement, and enough to escape and trigger the win screen. The same is true with the Minotaur screen above; it is skippable at max speed, otherwise you get into a fight.
[AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT]
With the jettisoning of the Calm Spell, I will be shocked if there is room for significant improvement now. When my old SDA record was 2:09, cutting off more than 30 seconds was more than I ever expected. If my timing is right, I cut the time down by more than 25%. Unless there is another major discovery, which I doubt, I'm done with the large-skip QFG1EGA category. That being said, everytime I think there's nothing else to find, something new happens. :)