Tuesday 27 November 2012

Game 26: Hero's Quest - Mapping Out the Path to Heroism

The Trickster Journal Entry 2: “I have explored much of this foreign land, making friends and fighting monsters on the way. I have gained more questions than answers so far, but have managed to solve the first quest on the bulletin board in the Guild Hall. I returned the healer’s ring to her, which I discovered just metres away from her home, in a nest in her oak tree. I’m yet to come across the castle gates to get more information about the remaining quests, but it’s sure to be around here somewhere. How hard can it be to find a castle!? Oh, and I beat my first goblin today! It was harder than I expected, which is a bit concerning for future battles with dragons and the like, but maybe this goblin was just a particularly good fighter. Yeah...it must be that!”

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”.


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!


  1. I just noticed Chet has around 275 points already and has cranked out four posts (I didn't read them of course). I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up with him, but I didn't expect him to smash the game so quickly.

    Oh well...I can only play and post at my own speed. :)

    1. Take your time, Trick! This one should be savoured - especially to cleanse the palate after C:I :-)

      What is it about Erana's Peace that makes it so memorable? That scene has stuck with me through the years as well.

      In other news, it seems we're getting another Syberia game:

    2. Also, only three of the four posts are QfG-related. The other one is an essay on RPG encounters. Yeah, I don't know how he does it either o_O

    3. Hi, in order to enjoy the game, make sure to start with a good profile to complete the quests: still not the case! There's no fun in restarting the game over and over. I think it's the only "spoiler" that counts for this one. As Charles says, you may then enjoy the ride and take your time.

    4. @Jean-Jacques

      All the statistics, skills and spells can be increased through usage, so there should be no starting point which should make the game impossible (some choices will only make it harder at the start).

    5. Awesome news about Syberia! Really enjoyed those games.

      @Jean-Jacques: You don't have to worry about me enjoying the game. I'm loving it so far, even if some of the puzzles are going to be challenging for me due to my skill choices. :)

    6. @Andy_Panthro

      I'm not sure..I've played it AGAIN a couple of months ago, no way to climb if your skill is at 0. There was a way to activate the skil?

    7. Only way to activate the skill is to put points into it at the beginning of the game. Each character has a way to solve all the puzzles. I actually think fighter is one of the more difficult ones since it requires some luck instead of pure skill.

    8. @Jean-Jacques: I guess what I meant was, each character is given all the skills they need at the beginning. If you want to choose extra skills you can, but it's not necessary to complete the game.

      In what way does a Fighter have to be lucky?

    9. Ur unf gb riraghnyyl anivtngr onpx gb gur gnirea sbe ab bgure ernfba guna ubcvat gb svaq gur frpbaq abgr. Nsgre qnlf bs qbvat guvf orsber erfphvat gur Onebarg, bar znl unir tvira hc ol gura. Gurer'f ab vapragvir gb qb fb, abguvat tnvarq sebz qevaxvat nyr (nygubhtu V fhccbfr gung vf n svtugre fbeg bs guvat gb qb), naq ab uvag gung guvf crefba vf gur bar jvgu gur xrl. Hayrff gurer'f fbzr jnl gb punetr va sebz gur sebag gung V qba'g xabj nobhg.

    10. Isn't that a problem with the magic user also? Because bayl gur guvrs unf fbzr ernfba gb erthyneyl ivfvg gnirea.

    11. Gur zntr unf gur haybpx fcryy, fb ab xrl arprffnel. Gur qbbe vf bcrarq ol gur haybpx fcryy bapr bire 50, be jvgu n uvtu rabhtu fgeratgu. Gur svtug orlbaq gur qbbe, V gubhtug jnf hanibvqnoyr, ohg nccneragyl lbh pna yrnea n cnff-cuenfr gb fxvc vg.

      V unira'g orra noyr gb gevttre gur fprar jvgu Oehab, rira nsgre trggvat gur frpbaq abgr. Vf vg enaqbz?

      I'm playing the VGA version, but maybe I'm missing something. I've already discovered a way to cripple the ending in this version (go go lack of text parser), and a bug that won't let me transition screens. I'm not sure how the bug is triggered, but lbh phg bss Onon Lntn vs lbh qba'g nfx Oehab be gur fxhyy nobhg Onon Lntn'f Eulzr orsber svavfuvat gur oevtnaq pnzc (Oehab qbrfa'g frrz gb fubj hc nsgre guvf) naq vs lbh'ir nyernql tvira gur tybjvat trz gb gur fxhyy ba gur tngr. Fvapr gurer'f ab cnefre naq lbh'yy arire yrnea gur eulzr guebhtu qvnybthr, lbh pna'g trg gur uhg gb fvg fb lbh pna snpr bss jvgu gur rivy phefre.

      I'm playing through now on the EGA with a Fighter to see what Trickster is up against. So far it's been pretty fun bashing through everything. I even orng gur Fnhehf Erk for 4 shiny points. Named the lug Thud after the Prachett novel. I thought it fit well with the humor of the game.

      Forgive my late night ramblings... back to bed with me.

      P.S. Trickster, I did my best to hide spoilers in rot13. I hope none were missed.

  2. Trickster, I was hoping you might mention more of what you saw in Erasmus' house!

    There are plenty of interesting things to notice, if you know your Sierra adventure games (which you should by now!)

    Also, the gargoyle question that I always get wrong is "what is your favourite colour?", which ideally should be anything you say, but it's not exactly obvious (especially if you think his house is pink...

    1. In the VGA version, you don't even see the house until after the gargoyle. Luckily it's already my favorite color.

    2. I'll have to take a closer look at the house next time I pass through it. I was pretty excited to find out who was at the top, so I kind of ignored the details downstairs.

      You mean he asks different questions? I did not know that.

      And are you suggesting that house isn't pink! It sure looks pink to me! Is it supposed to be purple?

    3. If you check my gallery from here: http://imgur.com/a/f5nTK#18 I've taken screenshots of a few of the interesting bits.

      And yeah, the answer to "your favourite colour" is Purple, which I guess is Erasmus' favourite colour. Also worth noting that the Thieves Guild password changes, and one of the passwords is "Purple Saurus" even though the Saurus enemy certainly looks pink to me! The limits of EGA I guess...

    4. Erasmus' castle is definitely purple in the VGA re-release.

    5. Yes, but I don't remember seeing the castle until after passing the gargoyle in that version. I wonder how someone is expected to guess this.

  3. I just noticed that the Shadowgate "remake" has been funded on Kickstarter! Who would have thought!?

    Next Hero's Quest gameplay post should be up tomorrow.

  4. Two new adventure games on GOG, although they're both modern.

    Stacking is from Tim Schafer's Double Fine team and is based on the economical breakdown of the 1920s and Russian matrioska dolls. Sounds weird!


    Miasmata is a survial adventure game on an island that appears to have some great graphics and a high sense of realism. Go check the trailer out to see what I mean!


  5. Pterry and Pteresa? Ptoor pterodactyls!


Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's 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 the reviewer requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game...unless they really obviously need the help...or they specifically request assistance.

If this is a game introduction post: This is your opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that the reviewer won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance: remember to use ROT13 for betting. If you get it right, you will be rewarded with 50 CAPs in return.
It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All score votes and puzzle bets must be placed before the next gameplay post appears. The winner will be awarded 10 CAPs.