In addition to being the title of an old Sierra adventure game that I used to be quite fond of, the term Trial by Fire applies pretty well to tomorrow. Those of you in the know will understand perfectly, those of you not, believe me when I say that I am not looking forward to tomorrow.
That having been said, let me tell you a little about Trial by Fire, the game. Trial by Fire was the second in the Quest for Glory series of games. Quest for Glory was somewhere halfway in between your standard Sierra graphical adventure game (most of which were beautifully artistic pre-VGA games) and a modern computer role-playing game. You wandered around talking to people, getting items and using them in the right places, going through an elaborate and immersive story, but there was also combat. The combat, although simple by modern terms, was well designed and reminded me a great deal of fencing the time I decided to be retro and play old Sierra games a few years back.
I have good memories of when David Caloccia and I used to sit around playing old Sierra games on my Dell 286 or on his Tandy 1000. Ah the good old days of early elementary school. It was pretty darned hard back in those days when neither of us had a very large vocabulary and the games forced us to interact with the game environment through textual commands. I blame my early reading development, at least in part, on those Sierra adventure games.
As a quick summary of the good ones, I thought that the Space Quest series was exceptional, the Quest for Glory series was quite good, and the Leisure Suit Larry series was also quite good (I suspect more so now that I would be able to understand the sexual humor). I never really liked the King's Quest or Police Quest games all that much and I don't really remember any of the others.
Just as a short diversion from Sierra, but still on the topic of adventure games, I would also highly recommend Infocom's Zork series, the Legend of Kyrandia series by Westwood and LucasArts' Monkey Island series. Those and Sierra's Space Quest series would be what I would suggest if someone came to me and said, "I'm bored and want to play a good adventure game, what do you suggest?"