The Trickster panicked as soon as he left the town gates, remaining frozen for over 24 hours
I’ve been putting in quite a bit of thought around how best to post about Hero’s Quest. The game is extremely open, and by that I mean that a lot of it can be solved in any order you choose to attack it. The layout of screens is also quite large when compared to other open games that I’ve played so far. To give you an idea of just how big, I have already mapped out 63 screens, and that’s not including the town of Spielburg. However, many of these screens contain nothing more than forest, which is just as well, as it gives the player the feeling that they are traversing a fairly large area of land. What I don’t want to end up doing though is writing a post that repeatedly describes my position on the map (“I then travelled east two screens then north three”. Since the position of locations is fairly irrelevant, I have decided to focus on the locations that I came across in the order I came across them, regardless of how I got there.
No, I don't expect you to read this. Just admire its beauty!
At the end of my last post, I’d just passed through the town gates into the world at large. I had some pretty strong memories of some of the places that I would come across, but I had no idea which direction any of them were, so I just started walking. The first screen of interest that I came across was a snow-filled area, where a very large man (named Brauggi) was waving an axe around. “Find me some fruit for to mellow my mead horn, gift I will give of a gem that now glows. Jewel from Jotunheim, flare of the frost flame, fetch to me fruit that will fill up my fists!” I so happened to have ten apples that I’d purchased from town, but they were hardly enough to fill Brauggi’s huge hands. Chances are the solution was to go back to town and buy more apples, but I left that task for when I’d mapped out the other locations.
You know what they say about big hands! Big axe!
The next location of interest that I came across was a pathway leading to “Magic Mountain”. Signs kept appearing out of nowhere as I walked towards the path, with the last one announcing that “trespassers will be toad”. Well that certainly didn’t suggest that whoever lived in the pink house on the mountain was particularly accommodating. I couldn’t at all remember who lived up there, so I saved my game and wandered up. At the top of the climb was the pink house, and there was an ugly gargoyle overlooking the entrance. “He who would the wizard see, first must answer questions three.” Hmmm...now this seemed familiar! The first question was one that no-one should get wrong. “What is your name?”
Trick or Treating at Magic Mountain often resulted in hardcore drugs
I answered “The Trickster”, and without any sign of whether that was right or wrong, the gargoyle spat out a second question. “What is your quest?” Well I had numerous quests to fulfil that I’d found on the bulletin board in the Guild Hall, but I figured my real quest was to become a Hero. I typed “hero” and hoped for the best. “Whose spell protects the town?” Now this last one probably would have had me stumped if I hadn’t played the game all those years ago. Whenever I’ve thought about the game in the past couple of decades, one of the scenes that had come to mind was Erana’s Peace, with its beautiful scenery and music. Somehow I recalled that it was Erana’s spell protecting the town, and I got the correct spelling from a screenshot of my visit to the magic shop, where Zara had mentioned “the secret of Erana’s Peace”.
"IS IT ERANA? OH, AND WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?"
After I answered the third question with “Erana”, the gargoyle told me that “the wizard will now see you”, and I walked inside (3 points). Within I found an eclectic mix of colourful oddities, but since the gargoyle had very specifically told me to go straight upstairs, that’s exactly what I did. Upstairs I found the wizard Erasmus sitting at a table drinking tea, and his magical rat Fenrus perched on a shelf eating cheese. I spent a good five to ten minutes trying to talk to both characters, but got very little out of them. They refused to respond to pretty much anything I asked, apart from “ask about warlock”, to which Erasmus responded “the only thing I’ve seen the brigand warlock cast is sneezing powder.” (1 point) Once I’d asked too many questions, Erasmus cast a spell that teleported me back to the bottom of the mountain. I decided to restore back to just before I climbed up, in case I’d done something wrong in the house, then continued exploring.
Common sense please!
A couple of screens later, I arrived at Erana’s Peace! It was just as I’d remembered it, with really pleasant music and a lovely backdrop of snowy mountains. The tree had shimmering colourful fruit on the branches, and there was a large stone on the ground with some writing carved into it. “If thy Will is Magic, so shall I share. Open this Stone and claim what is there.” Given my character class and skills, it doesn’t seem very likely that I’m going to be able to open the stone. I tried typing “open stone”, but the response was “no amount of physical effort will be able to move this stone.” I can’t remember what’s in there, which concerns me a bit. Perhaps I will find another way to open it later? I wasn’t able to pick up the fruit either, as it was too soft and juicy, so I just ate a bit instead (2 points).
If thy will is Combat, so shall I share. Smash open this Stone and take what is there. No?
I checked what time of day it was and discovered it was nearly dark, so I lay down to sleep beneath the tree, awakening refreshed the next morning. Sleeping recovers valuable health and stamina points, and night-time is also a pretty dangerous time to wander out in the forest. Speaking of dangerous, the next screen of note that I came across contained an extremely repulsive pink ogre coming at me at speed. I tried running around him to avoid combat, but wasn’t able to. So it was that I had my first battle in Hero’s Quest, and it just happened to be with a huge, impossible enemy. Not the best way to describe the fighting mechanics of the game, but I guess the outcome of the fight is irrelevant.
Aaaaagggghhhh!!!!! What the hell is that? Aaaaaaagggghhhh!!!!! No, seriously dude, what is that!!!!???
The fighting screen is pretty straight-forward really. The player has hit points and stamina points displayed on the left, and the enemy has hit points on the right. The player can block hits with the shield by hitting the down arrow, dodge from side to side with the left and right arrow keys, and stab with the up key. Sound simple? Well I’m not sure if it’s my characters low skill or my own personal lack of skill, but I’ve found defeating all but the weakest of enemies to be next to impossible so far. Dodging and blocking is a matter of lucky timing, and my attacks do so little damage compared to my enemies, meaning the game over screen appears before I can cause any significant flesh wounds. I’ve been a bit reluctant to slow the speed of the game right down, but if I continue to get crushed time and time again, I’ll revert to cheating. As you’ve probably figured by now, the ogre killed me in a matter of seconds, and I restored back to waking up at Erana’s Peace, vowing to find out what was hidden in the ogre’s cave at a later time.
Come on! Can't I practice with some rats or something first? At least some goblins or kobolds!
I didn’t have to wait much longer to practice my combat skills, as a few screens later I was set upon by a wandering goblin. I managed to recover some pride by defeating him (1 point), but even he managed to take most of my hit points in the process. Searching the body revealed 6 silver coins, which I pocketed, before moving on. Shortly afterwards I came across some “unusual plants growing out of the side of the cliffs”. They were “spitting” some sort of seed from plant to plant, and I distinctly recalled climbing up the rocks to intercept the seed when I played the game in my youth. That wasn’t going to be an option this time around due to my lack of climbing skill, so I put some thought into how else I might be able to get to it. I couldn’t think of anything to try apart from throwing rocks (which are available to pick up anywhere) at the seed. I threw about ten rocks unsuccessfully before running out of stamina, so I decided to come back to the plants when I had more skill.
I ain't touching anyone's seed!
The next screen of significance contained a centaur, who turned out to be the father of the female centaur in the market. He was tending to the crops that would eventually end up in her store, and I couldn’t get anything out of him apart from information about his fruit (1 point). I left him behind and soon came across a small house with a garden of herbs out front. It brought back clear memories of trying to get the nest out of the tree just in front of it. Before I made any attempt however, I entered the house to speak to the healer that I knew would be within. I asked her about the spell components mentioned on the bulletin board, and she told me I would be paid well for any Cheetaur claws, Troll beard, magic mushrooms, and flowers from Erana’s peace that I could bring her (2 points).
It's time to throw shit again!
After getting more details about each of the items she needed, I then asked her about her lost ring, to which she responded “it is shaped like a braid of the herb Althelas with entwined leaves”. I then asked the healer about the strange winged creature sitting on the top of a cupboard. “Oh, that’s my pet, Pterry, the pterosaur. He has a girlfriend, Pteresa, who has a nest in the oak outside my door.” Reminded of the nest in the tree, I went back outside and began throwing rocks at it (once again I assume those with climbing skill would just climb the tree). It didn’t take long to knock the nest off the branch, and I discovered a glinting object in the remains on the ground. It was the ring (3 points)! Taking the ring back inside, the healer rewarded me with six gold coins, two healing potions, and a big sloppy kiss (10 points). I left before she could show any further appreciation!
I signed up for beautiful damsels, not creepy old healers!
Well, that’s about half of the map I’ve drawn (in excel as usual) covered, but I’ll have to cover the other half in a separate post before really getting down to solving puzzles. I'll try to get that next post out quickly, as I’m super keen to get back to playing the game, mostly because all the exploration is complete, yet the real action is yet to come. It’s probably a good idea to put a screenshot of my character stats at the end of each post. As you can see, the majority of my attributes have gone up, particularly the fighting specific ones. The only skill that has gone up is the throwing one (unsurprisingly), and both my health and stamina maximums have increased also. I’m well on my way to becoming a strong and powerful Hero!
Is the red showing what has increased since I started or just since I last looked? I started with 10 Luck and now there's 15. Hmmmm...
Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 00 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!