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Oi, Hero. Behind you.
Quest for Glory: Shadows Of Darkness is the fourth game in the Quest for Glory series. Literally moments after his victory in the third game, the hero was teleported away by dark magic. He awakens in a very large, and very strange cave, whose caverns seem to resemble organs or bones, and is littered with skeletons and much worse things. The hero finds his way out of the cave and stumbles upon Katrina, a young woman who is surprised that anything made it out of the cave in one piece. She points him toward the local town where there the hero gradually learns more about the land he has found himself in.

The land is called Mordavia, (this time the setting is inspired by Eastern European and Russian folk myths and Gothic imagery) and it was scarred by an old conflict long ago between good and evil. Once a group of deranged cultists who worshiped an Eldritch Abomination called The Dark One attempted to summon it from its natural dimension and into the world. A group led by the paladin Pioytr and the famous sorceress Erana fought against them, and managed to interrupt the ritual. Erana disappeared in the fight, and most but not all of the cult was killed. Shortly afterward, Piotyr also vanished, which caused many to think he had abandoned the land and his responsibilities.

Because The Dark One had already been partially summoned, interrupting the ceremony did not get rid of it entirely. Instead it has been lying dormant in the form of the cave the hero appeared in, and its partial presence in the world has been warping the land, turning it into a center of dark magic and evil creatures. Monsters of various kinds haunt the forests and lakes of Mordavia, and swamps filled with The Undead have overgrown the only road out of the valley, effectively cutting off Mordavia from the rest of the world. Although the land and its people have limped on since the battle against the cultists, the people have shut themselves in the town, only daring to leave it in order to work their fields.


But suddenly the castle of Mordavia's former ruling family is inhabited again, and unknown to all a new evil force has made its way into the valley to finish the ritual that would unleash The Dark One. The hero will need to use all his might and wits to heal the wounds of the land and discover who brought him to Mordavia, why, and how to save the land and its people. Old foes and new challenges will both be found, and the hero will face his greatest challenge yet...

This was the first game of the series with voice acting (including narration by John Rhys-Davies and Jennifer Hale in her first Video Game role as Katrina). The game is often regarded as the best of the series, combining a gripping plot with colorful characters and a pleasant atmosphere. It's also known for being the buggiest. Also a first in the series is an optional strategy mode which let the computer fight for you with predictable results. You can control the level of aggressiveness, defensiveness, magic use and special attack you want.


Contains examples of the following:

  • Abusive Parents: Katrina's excuse for kidnapping Tanya. They are ultimately revealed to be overprotective at worst.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Magically enforced: When you tell the Ultimate Joke about the wizard and the farmer's daughter to Ad Avis (a wizard), he sneers and claims it's not even funny, but begins laughing uncontrollably after another second; which is actually what the joke is meant to do, but will only work once.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "In a bitter battle you were better than the Badders. You kicked some butt, too."
  • Affably Evil: Baba Yaga, the Rusalka.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Zigzagged. Mad Scientist Dr. Cranium is a firm non-believer in magic, but he often describes his scientific experiments in alchemical terms, refers to "life energy" at certain points, and provides the hero with healing and poison cure potions that work as well as the less explicitly-scientific alternatives seen in previous games.
  • All There in the Manual: In fact it didn't even make it into the manual: Almost all of Lori Cole's backstory for Katrina went unreleased for nearly twenty years, when it was finally posted online in 2012.
  • Always Night: The Dark Master's ultimate goal in attempting to complete the summoning of the Dark One. Unfortunately for her, the "Shadows of Darkness" were figurative as well as literal, and the Hero ultimately averts this trope.
  • An Axe to Grind: A weapon upgrade for the Fighter, acquired from the same Wraith who holds the Heart Ritual.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Rusalka's complaints about her lover. First she tells you that he treated her like he was entitled to have her, and that he murdered her when she disagreed. After you summon and defeat his ghost and tell her about it, she comments that he also had bad breath.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The strategy mode which let the computer control fight for you. The AI does well against some monsters, but terribly bad against others, such as Chernovy Wizards. Your hero will insist on jumping over their spells and never succeed no matter how high your skills are.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: You can ask the Chief Thief if it's fun to be turned into a giant cockroach. He retorts angrily at you, calling you an idiot.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Unlike the rest of the series, this game's music use lots of guitar. All the battle music are rock and roll.
  • Bag of Spilling: Lampshaded by the Narrator: "In what country did your luggage end up in THIS time?" You never see any of your equipment again (except for the Paladin's sword or the Katta pin, and that's in the next game, and even then Rakeesh notices you have a new sword so he'll just hang onto your old one), and have to get replacements for everything but your armor.
  • Batman Gambit: Ad Avis uses this to kill Katrina by manipulating her feelings for the main character. Having been turned into a Vampire by her, he's unable to directly attack her. But if she attacks him first out of revenge for him attacking the hero, then that frees him to attack her back. And if he can't stand up to her in a pure magical duel, well... her love interest is right there unable to defend himself.
    • He also tries to set up an earlier one: after capturing you, he chains you up in rusty chains and leaves a stake and mallet directly in front of you, allegedly to "taunt you with your ineffectiveness." When you inevitably escape, the only way out leads you directly into Katrina's chambers. While you have the option to kill her (which in turn kills you) it's fairly obvious that this is a setup. The narration even lampshades it, pointing out that Ad Avis isn't that stupid.
  • Back from the Dead: Ad Avis, who is now a vampire.
  • Big "NO!": Nikolai's wife Anna, upon finding out that she is undead and has been dead for a long time.
  • Bittersweet Ending: More than any other game in the series. There are very few victories for the Hero that don't come at a steep cost:
    • The Dark One is forever banished from the world, and Erana is freed. Unfortunately, Erana is dead and freeing her only allows her to move on to the afterlife. At least, until the next game; wherein the hero can resurrect her.
    • Ad Avis is destroyed for good, but at the cost of Katrina's unlife when she is tricked into sacrificing herself out of her love for the Hero.
    • Tanya is reunited with her parents, but to do so her best friend and confidant, Toby, sacrifices himself at Erana's staff to restore her to life.
    • Nikolai and Anna are together again. But only after the Hero discovers Anna's ghost wandering the forest, and they are only reunited in death.
    • For the Paladin, the spirits of the Rusalka and Piotyr are finally laid to rest. The Rusalka, who was murdered by her unfaithful lover, particularly laments how she hoped all her life for a man like the Hero as she passes on.
  • Black Comedy: Some of Igor's "graveyard humor" falls under this.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: The Hero begins the game trapped in a cavern that looks like the insides of a huge demonic beast later revealed to be the Dark One itself, trapped halfway between Gloriana and its own hellish dimension.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • Played with in regards to Baba Yaga, in how the game mentions that she's not a human, and thus has no qualms about making gourmet dishes out of them anymore than we do with pigs and cows.
    • As a vampire, Katrina has much different priorities than humans. She is mostly driven by an overwhelming fear of lying powerless in her coffin during the day, and she specifically wants to complete the summoning of the Dark One for the "endless night" it would bring, irrespective of all the chaos and destruction it would also bring.
  • Books That Bite: The Necrophilicon.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Ad Avis is quite frankly close to suicidal in mocking the Hero, considering how he was defeated once before by the same person. He is no more powerful than his last appearance, and to add salt to the wound, a Wizard hero even defeats him with the exact same spell that defeated him last time.
    • Becoming a vampire did make Ad Avis more powerful than he was before, and he's still just as good at killing the Hero in one shot if the Hero isn't careful.
  • But Now I Must Go: Done for you by Erasmus in the end.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: You, literally, if you play a thief.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Ultimate Joke. As illustrated below in Comedy as a Weapon.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Javelin throwing, for fighters and paladins. They first learned it in Quest for Glory III, and they use it in this game to defeat the Big Bad (after incapacitating him with the Ultimate Joke).
  • Clingy Macguffin: The Dark One sign, if you attempt to store it in your chest in the inn: "You realize with horror that you are totally unable to put down the Dark One Sign here. It seems to have a will of its own." Downplayed when you do things with it that are in accord with its own will, such as opening the monastery door. Also downplayed in that Katrina had no trouble either putting it back or not touching it at all when she retrieved the Mouth Ritual from under it.
  • Comedy as a Weapon: The Ultimate Joke of the gnomes, while not lethal by itself, can be used to incapacitate anyone who hasn't heard it before. It's used by all classes to distract Ad Avis long enough to finally dispose of it.
  • Continuity Nod: Erana's staff turns into a spear for fighters during the confrontation with Ad Avis - Fighters had to learn and master the art of spear throwing last game.
  • Continuity Snarl: Efforts to reconcile all of the information about the timeline are... fraught, to say the least. In particular:
    • Whether Katrina arrived at Castle Borgov before or after Anna went missing and Nikolai went mad. (The chronology given by Olga and the other townsfolk says long after; yet if so, Nikolai could not have remembered anything about a "Dark Master" arriving at the castle, as he clearly did.)
    • Whether Ad Avis arrived at Castle Borgov at the same time that Katrina did or more than three years later. (The official hintbook says that they arrived at the same time; Tanya says that Ad Avis' arrival was more recent than even her own.)
    • Whether the heavy rains that flooded the pass south of Mordavia happened before or after Boris became Katrina's gatekeeper. (Boris and Olga say before; Magda and Davy say after.)
    • Whether Ad Avis' service to Katrina lasted 70 years (as Ad Avis says) or 50 (as Katrina says). One possible way to reconcile this is to interpret Katrina's statement thus: "I made him my slave (70 years ago) for fifty years, until I grew bored with him and turned him loose (20 years ago)."
  • Copy Protection: The manual has a list of several element-related passwords, and Dr. Cranium asks you for a couple of them to make potions. One of these potions is required to complete the game.
  • Dating Catwoman: Katrina, also known as The Dark Master, a vampiress and a powerful sorceress trying to unleash a Dark One into the world.
  • Darker and Edgier: Easily a contender for the darkest game in the series.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Toby is this giant, furry, hulking, red-eyed, fanged, ill-tempered monstrosity. However, he's just protective of his ward to the point where he will sacrifice himself to bring her back to life. He's like a hulking, red-eyed Chewbacca.
    • Arguably Katrina. Her actions are motivated by feelings of loneliness (turning Tanya) and fear (summoning Avoozl to bathe the world in darkness—as a vampire, the light of day is fatal to her). She acts selfishly, but does not simply wish to harm others, as opposed to her Dragon, Ad Avis.
  • Dead Character Walking: A bug occured when you kill the Big Bad and moments later, he comes back to kill you. Fixed by NewRisingSun's non-official patches, or by running in DOSBox with slow settings.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Shadows of Darkness."
  • Die Laughing: The way to deal with the final boss — tell him The Ultimate Joke and knock him off the ledge with Erana's staff turned into a javelin (if you're a fighter or paladin), a spell (if you're a wizard) or a stake or dagger (if you're a thief) while he is laughing.
  • Dirty Old Man: Doctor Cranium, whose goal for re-animating dead bodies (think Frankenstein) seems to be to create a living sex toy for himself...
  • Dramatic Irony: By way of Developers' Foresight: If you (as a Fighter or a Paladin) break down the front gate of Castle Borgov and kill the Necrotaurs guarding it, the next day Boris will comment on it: "I would not like to meet whatever was powerful enough to kill those Necrotaurs."
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Bella had one years before the start of the game: her daughter Tanya being taken away. This worried her, so she and Yuri started to overprotect her, never letting her out of their house. Things got worse when Tanya got a mysterious doll. Her doll was confiscated and Tanya would angrily argue with her parents. Then one night, she disappeared without a trace, never to be seen ever again.
    • If you sleep about 10 times at Erana's Staff or in her garden, the next few dreams after that will be about completing the summoning of the Dark One, which you will do at the end of the game.
  • Dream Sequence: Sleep at Erana's Staff in town, or at Erana's Garden, for some meaningful (and occasionally disturbing) dreams. Seems that a trapped spirit is trying to communicate with you.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Trying to kiss or even "cop a feel" on a sleeping vampire woman. She's not happy when you wake her up with a boobhonk.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: The villagers, since they don't know you from Adam. You have to earn their respect. Being a stranger among townsfolk who are justifiably fearful and suspicious of strangers (what with the Cult decades ago and the new residents of Castle Borgov a few years ago) doesn't help either.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dark One's Cave. It actually IS the Dark One, in a state of partial summoning.
  • Energy Weapon: The other skulls hanging out near Bonehead aren't capable of talking, but they can shoot laser beams out of their sockets. Word of caution: don't get hit by one of those.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The "final spell" of Erana's staff requires one to give their life to return someone else to life. The Paladin Player knows he's expected to offer his, as is the Paladin's way. But no matter the class, Toby volunteers to resurrect Tanya.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Baba Yaga loves dark magic and is certainly plenty evil herself, Bonehead remarks in conversation that the Cult trying to summon a Dark One into the world is too evil even for her.
    • Katrina could easily have mind-controlled the Hero into helping her from the start, however it's only after he angers her by rescuing Tanya and returning her to her rightful parents that she takes an active hand and forces him to assist her with a geas. She specifically tells Ad Avis, who objects to her letting the Hero go about freely, that she doesn't want him to be a puppet, but to help and love her by his own free will. Furthermore, when Ad Avis attacks the Hero in the climax Katrina steps in to defend the hero and attacks Ad Avis in turn. It's really saying something about Ad Avis that the one who's seeking to release an Eldritch Abomination into the world is the one with standards. Of course, that has to do with the fact that Katrina really isn't considering the consequences of her actions.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Magda says this about the Dark One: "Powerful fools seek to control it, but it too is powerful. Too powerful for anyone to control." Katrina learns this the hard way.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Two instances:
    • Getting captured by Ad Avis at night is the only way to trigger the events that will lead to the end of the game. If you're fast enough, you can actually evade him. However, the next time you leave town at night, he'll be waiting for you at the gates and he WILL capture you.
    • As explained by Magda, you need to complete the Dark One's rituals and release Avoozl. It's the only way to free Erana who is strong enough to drive away Avoozl for good.
  • The Fair Folk: The wizard hero will have to fight off a few who want to claim Erana's staff from him.
  • Farmer's Daughter: When the player tells the Ultimate Joke, we learn that it's about the "Wizard and the Farmer's Daughter".
  • Femme Fatale: Katrina and the Rusalka, if you go in...
    • On the other hand, if you "tame the Rusalka" with an appropriate item, she will reverse her stance and insist you not come near her.
  • Foreshadowing: Katrina's exact nature is foreshadowed subtly through the game. The hero first meets her outside the Dark One's cave, a place you rapidly learn the locals all avoid. Why would she be there? Because she's the one who summoned the hero. And why did the cave mouth just happen to remain open long enough for the Hero to escape, when as far as the townsfolk knew it had never been open? Because she used the Mouth Ritual to open it. She will only ever meet you at night, displays the ability to vanish out of sight before the hero can react, and won't let him talk to her for long or even think about attacking her. She will never enter town and send the hero letters to meet outside of town when she wants to meet because Erana's staff's protection enchantment prevents her from entering.
  • Fortune Teller: Magda the gypsy.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Frankie.
  • Freudian Excuse: Katrina's not a bad person, she's just really lonely. Just ignore the part where she'll doom the world by bringing forth an Eldritch Abomination to blanket the world in darkness to let vampires reign supreme.
    • Even then, the "vampires reign supreme" bit is only Ad Avis's story. Given your history with him and what he's trying to manipulate you into doing for him, it's questionable how much you can really trust him on that. Katrina's only real desire is to not have to fear the sun killing her.
  • Funetik Aksent: The castle guards' speech is spelled like this; for example, the way they pronounce "Ad Avis" is spelled "Adda Bees".
  • Fun with Subtitles: The townsfolk's ad-libbed dialogue.
  • Geas: Katrina places one on the Hero. You have three days to find the missing Dark One's rituals or you'll "suffer".
  • Gag Dub: Of a sort. In the voice-acted version of the game, the spoken dialogue does not always match the text; The voice actors often ad-lib their lines in comedic ways. Hans, Franz and Ivan do this the most, to very good effect.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • While arguably one of the best games in the series, Shadows of Darkness suffered from numerous bugs that would crash the game at important points. This wasn't fixed when rereleased in an anthology, even.
    • The floppy version had a particularly terrible bug for the Thief: after completing all the various quests, the beginning of the endgame is contigent on a particular note showing up in your room at the inn. For the Thief, and only the Thief, that note would never, ever show up if you missed one very easy to miss and normally completely optional sequence.
    • Probably the most ridiculous one: it's possible to have the Big Bad kill you during the finale... after you've already killed him.
    • It should be mentioned a non official patch set by NewRisingSun fixes most of the timer-related problems:
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The celebration at the gypsy camp offers a description of the food you eat, but in terms of gameplay mechanics it's still possible to wake up hungry.
    • Early in the game you have to save Igor after he falls into an open grave and the headstone falls over it and traps him. When you remove it, he crawls out of a spot at the bottom the headstone wasn't even close to covering.
  • Gentle Giant: Toby, the monstrous guardian of Tanya.
  • The Ghost: At the end ceremony of the game, Dmitri has been promoted as the new boyar by the king. The king was never seen anywhere in the game though the implication is he lives outside Mordavia.
  • Ghost Amnesia: The Rusalka doesn't remember her life. Finding out who she was and fulfilling her Ghostly Goals allows her to move on.
    • Anna as well. Fortunately convincing her to accept that she is a ghost is all that it takes to restore her memories.
    • Inverted with Nikolai who regains sanity and memories by being a ghost compared to when he was alive.
  • Godiva Hair: The Rusalka.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Tatiana, the Queen of Faeries. She is vain and arrogant toward the PC mage whom she view as a mere inferior human. If Tatiana is the same Queen as described in Word of God's website, then she's even worse. She's responsible for kidnapping Erana while she was just a child and kept her as a slave. (No wonder she refuses to let the Queen take her staff from the hero!)
  • Gone Horribly Right: As a result of the attempt to complete the summoning of the Dark One, Katrina obtained "all of the darkness she so desired... and much, much more."
    • Also happens if you screw up after casting the Essence Ritual, dying against Ad Avis instead of freeing Erana.
  • Gossipy Hens: Hans, Franz, and Ivan, the three farmers who hang out at the Inn at night, despite their staunch denial of spreading rumors. Olga Stovich is less in denial about it, but she's more of a one-woman gossip depository.
  • Haunted Castle: Castle Borgov.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • The Rusalka. Initially she tries to drown you because, well, that's what Rusalki do; she doesn't particularly want to, but she's compelled to seduce men and drown them. Giving her flowers or candy convinces her that you're a nice guy, and jump-starts the sidequest that results in her being allowed to move on to the afterlife, unfortunately, the Paladin is the only class who can help her.
    • Katrina sacrifices her un-life for you during the Endgame when Ad Avis tries to kill you, revealing that she truly does love you.
  • Hitodama Light: Hitodama are the souls of dead children and appear as colored lights above the swamp at night, called "Will o' Wisps" in the game.
  • Identical Grandson: The Paladin Piotyr looks identical to his grandson, Dmitri the Burgomeister. Only the latter has a longer beard.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The combat-oriented classes (Fighter and Paladin) will find an extra weapon upgrade (battle axe and Paladin sword, respectively) after defeating the Wraith that also has one of the ritual sheets.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: Narrator John Rhys-Davies voices an exasperated "That doesn't do ANYTHING" each time the player does something that doesn't work.
  • Iron Maiden: An iron maiden is present in the castle dungeon. However it's subverted in that it houses a secret passage leading to Katrina's chambers. Ad Avis locks the Hero in the dungeon specifically intending for him to find the passage, and take advantage of Katrina's helpless state to stake her.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Getting killed by Ad Avis after the Dark One is summoned treats the player to the sight of the Dark One bursting out of the mountain like in the vision the hero had to get the blood ritual scroll.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: The Hero has a past with this game's Dragon, and by the end of the game, you'll definitely have more of a grudge with him than with the actual Big Bad, Katrina. The narration makes it clear that Katrina's sacrifice to protect you from Ad Avis, and learning she truly did love you, drives it home even further.
  • Killer Rabbit: A literal example, although also averted with them actually being among the weakest monsters in the game.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Thieves' Guild has a document that lampshades several Insecurity System tropes such as Concealing Canvas and The Password Is Always "Swordfish", saying they happen because people are too stupid and/or lazy to get really creative with their hiding places and passwords.
  • Laugh Themselves Sick: The effect of the Ultimate Joke.
    Narrator: You tell the Ultimate Joke...about the Wizard and the Farmer's Daughter. (Ha ha! It's a killer!)
  • Lopsided Dichotomy: When the hero is surrounded by the thankful people of the land after completing yet another heroic quest, cue Erasmus and Fenrus taking that moment to scry on the hero, with Fenrus commenting:
    "It's either an award ceremony or a lynch mob."
  • The Master: Boris, the Goon guards, and (according to Tanya) Toby refer to their employer as such. Boris only slips up and mentions her as a "she" once, after the Hero breaks in, so at this point, for one or more of the following reasons, the player already "knows":
    • The Goons guarding the dungeon refer to the Master as "she."
    Goon 1: "The Master's really something, ain't she?"
    Goon 2: "Yeah."
    • The Hero can overhear Katrina and Ad Avis arguing about what to do with him, and at one point Katrina says, "I have always been your Master..."
    • According to Tanya, "Toby says Aunt Trina is his Master."
  • Meaningful Name: Mordavia means "Dark Valley", which is appropriate considering all the bad stuff happening.
  • Mental Affair: If a Wizard or a Paladin spends enough nights in Erana's Garden or near the staff, he'll have a dream about hugging and kissing Erana. At the end of the game, Erana's ghost will reveal that she had the same dream.
  • Mini-Game: Disarming traps requires you to play a mini-game. You have to set a row of three identical symbols that switch randomly. The higher the difficulty, the faster they'll switch. Failure will cause the trap to fire up.
  • Money for Nothing: The other games in the series suffer from this, but none more so than Shadows of Darkness; you will only ever need money for two things: Room and board at the inn (1 crown for a week) and various items from the General Store that only cost about 10 crowns total. Even the usual biggest drain on your wallet, healing items, are taken care of with the local Mad Scientist giving you healing and poison cure potions for free in this game. You can also spend crowns on (optional) tarot readings (to a maximum of four), but that only costs you one crown per reading. And for the record, one of the first things you do in this game is loot a couple of bodies for about 15 crowns. Worse still, your money doesn't even carry over into the next game.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: So, Bonehead wants a hat before he'll let you talk to Baba Yaga? Better find Nikolai's ghost wife, let him wander into the dangerous forest after her, and find him dead and also a ghost so you can take his hat from his body! At least it's clear that he needs a hero's help, even if the two puzzles are completely unrelated.
    • This comes across as a Moon Logic Puzzle only if one does it that way - it's in fact more likely the player will have done (either completely or partially) the Nikolai part of the quest (out of their goodhearted desire to help a confused and heartbroken old man) before they meet Bonehead, as Nikolai is in town and Anna is near town, while Bonehead's located in an otherwise hidden area, and it's thus likely they have the hat already by the time they get there.
  • Moral Dissonance: Parodied if the player is a Paladin with a high enough Honor score (above 310 or so). He'll refuse to smash open a cabinet containing healing potions because it's wrong to destroy other people's property. Thing is the cabinet's in a monastery formerly used by a cult worshiping an Eldritch Abomination, and the narrator hints your character will happily torch the place if he gets the chance, which is considered a good thing by everyone once you do it. Capped off with a line like, "Nice consistency of belief there, eh?"
  • Morality Pet: Tanya to Katrina.
    • Later, the Hero takes this role.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • The Rusalka.
    • Fan Disservice: Once the Paladin defeats her murderer's Wraith. Yuck. Oh, and he has to kiss her to free her.
    • The first time you see Katrina without her hood and cloak.
  • Nice Hat: Bonehead wants one.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Quite literally; a Thief character can kill the Chief Thief after restoring his human form, but doing so immediately knocks your Honor rating down to 0.
    • You can also achieve this effect by stealing the old man's locket, putting it back and then stealing it again.
  • Noodle Implements: The Ultimate Joke, which we are only told involves a wizard and a farmer's daughter, will make even a Big Bad vampire villain bend over in laughter. It's further explained that the joke works only once.
  • No-Sell: Trying to cast frostbite against undead such as revenants and wraiths will result in no damage. If you sling attack spells at Ad Avis without first summoning Erana's staff and incapacitating him with the Ultimate Joke, he'll simply laugh at you.
  • Obvious Beta: The original floppy release was this. The game was infamous for numerous crashes, events not triggered properly, glitches and animation mistakes. After patching and a CD release, the game was still buggy with the notorious Error 52 becoming a meme.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: A literal example at Dr. Cranium's house. "Entry by prior appointment or demonstration of superior intelligence only."
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Ivan the Elephant Herder, who lives in a country with no elephants. He's rather bitter about his unemployment.
  • Point of No Return: Returning to Katrina's castle after gathering the ritual scrolls takes you back into the cave at the start of the game for the endgame, with the entrance shutting behind you.
    • To a lesser extent, answering Ad Avis' forged note ends with the player getting geassed and forced to collect the ritual scrolls in three days. Lesser because the punishment of the geas specifies for the hero to "suffer", not actually die.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While he's a bit low-key about it, Ad Avis never seemed to like women. 50 years of service to Katrina (Or 70, depending on whom you ask) and being forced to serve her in death has probably done little to improve his disposition toward them.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: "Anitra's Dance" by Grieg, plays in the Inn. Dr. Cranium's lab music has Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor's intro.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Katrina, Tanya, and Bella give us this message indirectly; Katrina had taught Tanya to read and write while Tanya was at Castle Borgov, and when Tanya came back to the town she taught her mother Bella to read and write as well; apparently they plan to teach every woman in Mordavia to read and write, which is regarded as a good thing and a big break from tradition.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Dmitri is hostile and untrusting of the Hero when he first arrives, but when Igor goes missing and everyone is quick to blame gypsy werewolves, he refuses to believe in the rumors and tries to get everyone to settle down until they find out what actually happened. He's also much more accepting of the Hero after Igor is saved (and even takes the time to ask the Hero to find Igor if he can), and is downright lavish in his praise once the Hero rescues Tanya. More so, if the hero is a paladin and brings him Piotyr's sword; thereby restoring his family's lost honor.
  • Red Herring: Conversations with Boris and Katrina make it easy to infer that Katrina is the Master's daughter, whom Boris has never met but whom the Master is quite proud of, and indeed, Katrina speaks of her parents living in the castle. But Katrina is actually the Master herself; the daughter (or "the kid," as the goon guards call her) is Tanya.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: The Paladin can do this for Dmitri by returning Piotyr's sword to him, convincing him that his grandfather didn't run out on his family and was killed on a noble mission; until then, Dmitri doesn't really believe in heroes and paladins.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Downplayed in that you don't get anything for it except a bonus to your honor and a measure more respect by the townspeople, but you are rewarded for destroying the Monastery.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mordavia (an otherwise stereotypical Eastern-European / Transyvania-esque setting) used to have elephants. And a thriving elephant herding business. This comes up indirectly once. But with the voice acting one, a lot of the ad-libbed dialogue of the three townspeople at the tavern at night will revolve around the constant mention of Mordavia's elephant herding past. In particular Ivan (who mentions he used to be an elephant herder) will constantly bring it up.
    • Mordavians' obsession with garlic. Both as their national food (replacing the peanut, which they used to grow for their elephant herds) and its supposed protective qualities. Every one of Bella's meals features garlic as an ingredient. The rations are garlic and avocado sandwich. Garlic flowers are common Mordavian decorations and wreaths of garlic are everywhere. Ironically Katrina points out garlic has no effect on Vampires, other than to disgust them.
  • Sacrificial Revival Spell: Erana's staff has the power to exchange the life of one person for that of someone they love. Toby ultimately uses it to resurrect Tanya.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: A rather larger can than usual, but Mordavia has basically become the can holding the Dark One: trapped halfway between wherever it comes from and the real world, it can exert a corrupting influence on the valley, but can't act directly.
    • Sealed Good in a Can: Erana, while attempting to banish Avoozl years ago, was caught in a death hug by the Dark One, trapping Avoozl halfway through manifesting in the real world, but also trapping Erana in an endless prison of torment and death. The only way to break the death hug is to free Avoozl, and thereby free Erana to finish her banishment.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silver Fox:
    • Magda is described as an older but still attractive woman, and after a few good deeds she talks a little about how she'd pursue the hero if only she was about twenty years younger.
    • It's unclear just how old Katrina actually is, but Ad Avis has served her for the better part of a century and she still looks like she's 20-something. And once she takes off her cloak and hood...
  • Skepticism Failure: Dr. Cranium does not believe in magic, only science. Even though he lives in a world with Wizards, Genies, Witches, Gypsies who can turn themselves into wolves, to name only a few.
    • Though justified Mordavia has been under dark influences for almost three generations, and cut off from the rest of the world for several years, the Gypsy/wolf fact is spread around as an urban legend, and he really doesn't seem to get out of the house much regardless anyway.
    • His skepticism is so strong, it prevents you from spellcasting in his presence!
  • Skinny Dipping: The Rusalka and her fiance took a dip in the Lake of Lost naked while they were still alive. And the former also after her death.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: The Rusalka, about her fiancé. "I told you he was a jerk..."
  • Speak of the Devil: The townspeople have this opinion of the Dark One, and speaking its True Name (Avoozl) really does get its attention, which is why its name almost never is spoken aloud except when trying to get its attention.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The Player and Erana, in some cases (having magical ability helps; so does having high Honor and not being a Thief.) While you two never met, your immense goodness resonates with hers so much that even despite being dead she falls for you. Doubly so if you are a Paladin. The climax of a number of dreams (see Dream Sequence above.)
    • Katrina as well. It's revealed over the course of the game that she genuinely does love the hero, and depending on the dialog options they select, the player can take the angle that he loves her as well. And then she sacrifices her un-life to save you from Ad Avis at the end.
  • Start X to Stop X: Going along with Katrina's plan to revive the Dark One is actually the only way to get rid of it permanently, since undoing the seal will also release Erana, the only one powerful enough to banish Avoozl permanently.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: After kidnapping Tanya and turning her into a vampire, Katrina treated her kindly and taught her to read and write. Bella mentions that even though she can't forgive Katrina for kidnapping Tanya, she can appreciate what Tanya learned while she was gone.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: As opposed to all of the other games, which are denoted by numerals, the official name of the fourth game is simply "Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness."
  • Taking You with Me:
    • Avoozl, the Dark One, reacted to Erana's attempt to banish it by essentially attemping to banish her. Neither succeeded, but both were essentially trapped, caught up in each other's halfway banishment, with the Dark One content to wait for its next opportunity, and Erana stuck in a hell of darkness and death.
    • If you fail to save the gypsy, when he's unjustly executed, his dying curse will kill everyone in the town, including you.
  • Tarot Motifs: Very important, and uses an actual tarot deck and some surprisingly accurate interpretations. It's obvious that the Coles did their research. However, the specific method of card reading used is made up, which they have openly admitted.
  • Tentacled Terror: There is cephalopod imagery all over the place to represent The Dark One, possibly a reference to Lovecraft or Czernobog of Russian mythology. There are also "hexapods", six-legged monsters that guard the monastery.
  • There Was a Door: In the character creation screen, before you pick the class, the fighter and the mage make dramatic entrances by breaking their respective doors with a kick and with magic. Then the thief cautiously opens his door.
  • Through His Stomach: If you decide to try to get Olga and Boris together again, what ultimately convinces Boris to go back is a reminder about Olga's avocado and garlic sandwiches. Sadly, you can't just show him one of your rations; you have to keep going back and forth between them until Olga finally tells you to tell Boris about them.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Subverted. Once Katrina inflicts a geas on the hero, she says that you have three days to gather the rituals before the geas causes the hero to "suffer". As promised, delaying will make the hero suffer, but he won't die.
    • When the gypsy is captured and accused of killing Igor, you have two days to find out what happened before the townsfolk go Burn the Witch!. Even if you jailbreak the gypsy, Igor will die in about two days if not rescued.
  • Together in Death: Anna and Nikolai.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Necrophilicon in the Monastery certainly looks the part, though you never get a chance to read it.
  • Totally Not a Werewolf: Gypsies are voluntary shapeshifters and scoff at the villagers' fervent belief in the stereotypical werewolf legend (involuntary change, weakness to silver, etc).
    Davy: Gypsies are not werewolves! But we are... shapeshifters!
  • Überwald: Mordavia is an Eastern European-esque setting with vampires, werewolves (well, shapeshifters, anyway), Gypsies, and a mad scientist. It is not a nice place, and its similarities to Spielburg only serve to accentuate that.
  • Undead Child: Tanya
  • Underestimating Badassery: Tatiana thought she could easily beat that puny inferior PC mage and claim Erana's staff for herself. She got her ass kicked and was forced to flee.
  • Unfinished Business: Ghosts in general exist because of this. Two notable examples.
    • Nikolai's wife Anna. She is pinned to the place of her death until she can be reunited with her husband.
    • The Rusalka is forced to haunt the lake and kill people because she was drowned by an unfaithful lover; to release her spirit you have to tell her her real name and avenge her death by calling up the spirit of her murderer and delivering some holy justice.
  • The Unintelligible: Toby. Tanya is his Translator Buddy.
  • The Un-Reveal: The only thing you ever find out about 'The Ultimate Joke' is that it involves a wizard and a farmer's daughter.
  • Un-Installment: The game officially doesn't have IV in its title, it's simply Quest for Glory: Shadows Of Darkness.
  • Untrusting Community: Decades of misfortune due to outsiders such as the Chernovy Cult and the Dark Master have made the townsfolk of Mordavia extremely suspicious of strangers.
  • Unwinnable by Design: If you free Davy from jail but fail to rescue Igor within a reasonable timeframe, then Igor will die of exposure and the Burgomeister will arrest you the next time he sees you. If you know exactly what you're doing, you can just avoid seeing the Burgomeister again for that playthrough, but it's a delayed game over for anyone not expecting it.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: The Dark Master is an attractive vampire woman who knows how to play up her sex appeal for all it's worth when she wants to.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty: "Strategy Mode" in which, rather than the player directly controlling the Hero's actions, allows the computer to do so, based on the Hero's current skill levels and settings defined by the player. However, the AI controlling him is rather sub-par, and no matter what settings you use, the AI generally ends up using the Attack! Attack! Attack! strategy.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The gypsies can turn into wolves at will.
  • Was Once a Man: The Chernovy cultists look vaguely humanoid, but with tentacles for hands and horrifically mutated faces. Their High Priest, however, doesn't even look human anymore.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two goons that were guarding Katrina's castle. Since the ending ceremony take place in the great hall of the castle and everyone was present except them, one can wonder what were their final fate.
    • The Rusalka can come across this way, if you're playing any class other than paladin. In those games, there's no way to end the Rusalka's curse or definitely find out her backstory (although one might be able to piece it together by reading a couple of the epitaphs in the graveyard), things you'd normally expect in a game like this. All she does if you're the thief, wizard, or fighter is, after warming up to you, give you clues about where to find an important item. For what it's worth, the Rusalka doesn't seem all that upset about her un-life...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Quite high, it seems.
    • When Igor, the hunch-backed gravedigger, goes missing, the townspeople worry about him and are prepared to lay the death sentence on a captured gypsy they think is responsible. Finding Igor and saving him is the first act that gets them to start warming up to you.
    • The same can be said for Toby, a hulking Benevolent Monster, dearly cherished by her friend Tanya, and after reviving her, even her parents have good things to say about him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Punny Bones scolds the hero for being indirectly responsible for the loss of his humor, and Katrina chews him out for kidnapping Tanya and killing Toby.
  • Where It All Began: You end where you started, in the Dark One's Cave.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: While Katrina wants the Hero to work for her of his own free will, she does have backup plans in case he doesn't cooperate, although, as she tells Ad Avis, "I will use them only if I must."
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The Rusalka's hair is green.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Both Anna and Nikolai agree that being ghosts isn't so bad when they have each other.

Alternative Title(s): Quest For Glory 4


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