With Chet screaming towards the end of the game already, I’m afraid I’ve just had to accept that I’ll be playing Hero’s Quest for at least a week after he’s done with it. What this little experiment has proved once and for all is that Chet is a much more natural writer than me, able to crank out posts quickly after putting in numerous hours of play. I’d be very interested to hear from him about what he considers his play to post time ratio to be, as I often find myself putting about three hours work into a post that covers as little as one hour playtime. I guess my occasional non-game related ramblings (like this one right here) don’t help, so I’d best get on with the show. Right, where were we? That’s right! I’d just returned the healer’s ring to her, completing my first job from the Guild Hall in the process. With that done, it was time to continue exploring the map.
One quest down, five to go!
The next location of significance was the Baron’s castle, which turned out to be quite close to Spielburg. On arrival, I immediately set about asking the guard at the castle gates about all the jobs on the bulletin board. The first one I asked about was the missing girl Elsa, and he told me about the day a large winged creature flew over the castle walls and took her. Many searched for her, but she was never found. The Baron even sent troops to Baba Yaga’s hut, thinking she was somehow involved, but their heads now sit atop her fence. Apparently Elsa would now be eighteen years old and was renowned for being very beautiful, which makes her a prime candidate for Heroic rescuing! (5 points)
Eighteen you say! Can you describe her again for me?
The next subject I questioned the guard on was the Brigand Warlock, but he didn’t seem to know much about him. All he had to say was that “he seems to use more magic potions and powders than spells”. He was a little more forthcoming about the Brigand Leader, who he described as a good strategist that has led many raids, resulting in much treasure and little loss on the part of the brigands. Finally, I asked the guard about the Baronet Barnard von Spielburg, and was informed that the Baronet rode off one morning, and that his horse returned riderless with large claw wounds. None of this information gave me much clue as to what my next move should be, apart from the mention of Baba Yaga, yet there was no certainty that she did indeed have anything to do with Elsa’s disappearance.
I truly hope they do not flee. That would merely extend their lives by a matter of hours.
At this stage I hadn’t even considered entering the castle grounds, and assumed I would be required to prove myself in some way before being permitted entry. I thought I would just try typing “open gates” before I left though, and was surprised when the guard simply allowed me through (1 point). Once inside, I began checking out the grounds, starting with the stables. The description of the stables suggested that they “could use some cleaning up”, and remembering a comment made by Ilmari recently about cleaning the stables in Hero’s Quest, I tried doing it. The stable master gave me a rake, and I then watched as my character cleaned up at high speed, occasionally stopping to catch his breath. Once it was complete, I was rewarded with five silvers and sent on my way (5 points). I didn’t appear to be able to enter either the barracks or the castle proper (both were guarded), so I left the castle for now and ventured forth into the forest.
Surely this is not what being a Hero is all about!? Is it!?
To give you an idea of how fun Hero’s Quest is to play, between the castle and the next major location, I came across two completely useless yet entertaining occurrences. Firstly, I stumbled upon a large empty log, which looked exactly like the sort of log that would definitely contain an item of importance in a King’s Quest game. When I typed “look in log” though, I was the told that “The hollow log looks somberly back with it’s single giant eye and you know at once that nothing is to be gained by investigating this gaunt relic of a more vertical past.” It’s silly stuff indeed, but it’s the sort of self-parodying humour that I really enjoy. The next screen south had a nicely reflective body of water (1 point), and while I was looking around to see if there was anything to interact with, a submarine periscope slowly drifted towards me. I looked at it and was told that “It must be your imagination. What would a submarine be doing in a fantasy adventure? Perhaps you’d rather be playing ‘Code Name: Iceman – it has a submarine.” Ironically, I enjoyed this piece of advertising more than the entirety of the game it was promoting!
Please don't remind me of Codena...I can't even say it yet. It's too soon!
I couldn’t find anything to do at the water, but I did notice that there was a doorway in the cliff face in the distance. I made my way north and then east until I was standing in front of the door, and had memories of trying to reach it as a kid. There was no ladder or stairs up to the doorway, and since I had no climbing skill, I was really struggling to see how I could possibly get there. Since the solutions to most problems involving climbing so far have involved throwing rocks, I thought I would try to “throw rock at door”. It worked, and the rock made a large thud as it bounced off the wooden door. Nothing happened though, so I did it again, and then again. After the third rock hit the door, a voice called out from inside. “Is someone there?” I answered “yes”, after which a strange hairy creature emerged from within. “Oh, ‘ello. Come right up. Just climb the ladder.” Ladder? What ladder? Shortly after the hairy dude walked back inside, the image of a ladder appeared briefly in the centre of the cliff face, so I climbed it.
Don't mind if I do! Um...how?!
Feeling pretty good about myself, I knocked on the door and waited to be let in. The door flung open and knocked me off the ledge, meaning I had to make my way back up there. This time I knocked, quickly got myself out of the way (1 point), and then entered (5 points). As expected, the home within the cliff was a dark and dingy abode, but the creature living there didn’t seem to mind. He enthusiastically introduced himself as “Enry the ‘ermit”, and explained that he was the last in a long line of hermits. He then just stopped talking to me, so I began asking him questions about the various characters I was trying to find. He had nothing to say about the majority of them, but he did respond to my questions about the Brigand Warlock. “E’s not so bad. Got a good sense o’ ‘umor, ‘e ‘as. I get the giggles just to think of ‘im. ‘E’s come by at times to chat. Borrowed the mirror wot I borrowed from Erasmus ‘e did.”
Just as well! No-one likes a hermit that hasn't earned his position!
A mirror you say! I asked for more information about the mirror and got “A magic mirror of reflection, it was. If you use it, when a nasty spell was cast at you, it was wot sent it back at the one wot cast it. Do un to others, I sez.” The mirror sure sounds like something I should get my hands on, but I’m guessing I need to find the Warlock first. I then asked Enry about Erasmus and found out they were friends. Nothing much else he said about the wizard or his rat Fenrus seemed all that valuable, but he did conclude by stating “’E loves to play ‘is games, ‘e do.” I began wondering whether my way to get Erasmus to actually talk to me was to play some sort of game with him, but I couldn’t think of anything I’d seen so far that would assist on that front. Finally, Enry suggested he had a scroll containing the trigger spell he used on his uninviting door trap, but he wouldn’t give it to me due to me “’avin too little magic for it to be any use to you.”
Another fantastically memorable character is ol' Enry!
It was getting reasonably late in the day by this stage, so I had a sleep on Enry’s hay before leaving the next morning. Apparently it was quite uncomfortable, so I didn’t regain all of my health and stamina points. Still, I set out to continue my lengthy exploration of the land surrounding Spielburg, shortly afterwards coming across a target leaning against a wall. I have memories of throwing daggers at the target, but since I didn’t have any daggers on me, I couldn’t think of anything else to do with it. I tried throwing rocks at it, but they didn’t go anywhere near it, suggesting that wasn’t its purpose. A couple of screens later I was confronted by an Antwerp. I was unable to talk to it or interact with it in any way that I could see, and I died as soon as I touched it, so I restored and decided to come back to it later. This is just another case of where I clearly remember a particular scene in the game, but I have no recollection of what I’m supposed to do there.
I can't for the life of me remember what the antwerp has to do with anything.
That wasn’t the case when I came across a white stag that wandered away as soon as I approached it. I distinctly recalled following the stag to some special location, so that’s exactly what I did. A couple of screens later we appeared in front of a large tree, with the game suggested “there is something special about this place.” As I studied the oak, a figure suddenly emerged from it, announcing the following: “I am the Dryad, keeper of the woods. Are you one with the woods?” I could only answer “yes”, as replying in the negative didn’t seem to be the right answer. “Then you shall aid me, and I shall aid you in your quest. Bring me a seed from the Spore Spitting Spirea of the North that I may plant it elsewhere in order to preserve these rare and magical plants. Thus will you become a true friend of the forest.” (1 point) The Dryad then reconnected with the tree, leaving me to ponder how I was going to get that seed!
The Dryad scene is yet another example of Lori's ability to create memorable, beautiful scenes. Love it!
I felt like I was getting close to fully mapping out the play area, so I pushed on. The next noteworthy occurrence was a ring of mushrooms I found in a clearing. The healer had mentioned that she would pay me for magic mushrooms, so I collected some on my way through (3 points). I then hit the left side of the map, and found myself in the Meeps’ Peep! How could anyone forget these cute and colourful little critters!? They popped up and down from their holes like those puppets you have to hit with hammers at fairgrounds. I talked to them (1 point), at which stage they disappeared beneath the ground for a while to have a conversation. Eventually one popped back up and said “Hiya, hiya. Pleased to meetcha. We are happy Meeps, living in our happy holes. Don’t worry. Be happy!” I asked the meep about all sorts of topics, but it was only when I asked about magic that he responded with “Oh, you want a magic spell scroll? I think I have a magic spell scroll somewhere around here.” Strangely though, he didn’t seem to be able to find it, leaving me wondering whether he didn’t give it to me because of my lack of magic, or whether I need to try again later.
Can I share some of your stash? It must be really good!
The next interesting location also brought back memories! When I walked into a fairly innocuous patch of greenery, I soon began noticing movement in numerous parts of the screen. A helmet was showing above some rocks and then a bush started moving on its own, with some horns sticking out the top. Soon afterwards goblins started moving around in all the places that I wasn’t standing, yet none of them seemed to be all that interested in me. I saved my game and then chased after one of the buggers, entering the combat screen when I caught it. As usual, I lost over half of my hit points defeating him, but I was treated to a rather humorous heroic bow after I flung his dead body upon the wall of stones. I recall piling up quite a few goblin bodies on that wall when I was younger, but I don’t know whether that actually achieved anything. For now, since I simply wouldn’t survive multiple battles, even if they were with pesky goblins, I moved on.
You ain't seen nothin' yet!
There were two further places that I visited to complete my map, with the first one being the hut of Baba Yaga! There’s no forgetting the house that has chicken legs behind a fence covered in glowing eyed skulls, particularly with the eerie music that accompanies it. I’m pretty sure I remember the phrase that will make the house sit down, but since I can’t possibly know it yet in this game, I’ve not said it. I also assume that the glowing gem that Brauggi the giant has will be used with the skull, but I’m not completely confident about that. Last of all I paid a visit to the local graveyard. The obvious focus on the screen was the red root sticking out of the ground, but when I picked it up, the game informed me that I was going about it the wrong way. I can only think that I need to collect the root at night, and will test that theory during my next session.
Who came up with this? A crazy, crazy idea!
Right, I’ve finally finished mapping out and then describing the entire game area of Hero’s Quest. All that’s left to do now is to try to solve the game's puzzles and therefore complete the numerous quests assigned to me. I expect things to move quite quickly now, unless I get really stuck somewhere. Probably the most obvious things that I can do next are to give lots of apples to Brauggi to retrieve the gem, and then try to get the seed from the spitting plants to take to the Dryad. I’ll pay another visit to Spielburg too and see if I can purchase anything that might assist me with any of the puzzles at hand. I’m really excited to get moving, so I’ll finish up here and report back my progress in a few days time. I hope you’ll join me!
Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!