Sunday 25 November 2012

Game 26: Hero's Quest - With Great Power Comes Great Agility

The Trickster Journal Entry 1: "I have made my way to Spielburg and have registered in the Adventurer’s Guild Hall as a Hero. A good thing I arrived when I did too, as the only entrance to the surrounding area has now been blocked off by snow. I couldn’t leave now even if I wanted to, so I may as well become the Hero I have always wanted to be. Thankfully, there seems to be a real lack of heroism in Spielburg, leaving the Guild Hall bulletin board with numerous jobs for me to sink my teeth into. There’s some true adventuring to be had, including a damsel in distress and an evil villain! There's also some serious coin to be earned, which certainly wouldn't hurt."

I fear nothing! Not even dinosaurs can stop my quest for fame and fortune!

And so the adventure begins! As I suggested in my introduction post, I decided to play Hero’s Quest as a fighter. None of this hybrid bizzo that others speak of! A sword wielding, combat focussed, fighter! Why? I can’t really say exactly why, but I’ve generally always been attracted to the fighter classes, rather than thief or magic user based classes. I guess I just find it much easier to role play a character with a double handed sword in their hands than a lock pick or a staff. Anyway, since this blog makes it all but impossible for me to scratch my RPG itch, it seemed silly to not take the opportunity to put on the armour while I have the chance. Of course choosing the class wasn’t the only decision I had to make. The character creation screen of Hero’s Quest allows the player to tinker with numerous skills and abilities.

I can grin stupidy if I want to. I have a very big sword!

After giving my character a name, I then had fifty points to spend on the above-mentioned stats. I decided to ignore all non-fighter stats, and instead spent the available points to bulk up combat skills and abilities. I added 10 points to Strength, Agility and Vitality, leaving Intelligence and Luck at 10. I then increased Weapon Use from 20 to 30, Parry from 15 to 20, and Dodge from 10 to 15. I left throwing at 10, and Stealth, Pick Locks, Climbing and Magic at 0. Leaving any stat at 0 means you simply cannot use that skill during the entire game, so doing it this way is really going to force me to role play my fighter character. It does concern me that I won’t be able to climb anything though, as I seem to recall using this skill on numerous occasions when I played the game as a kid.  We’ll see if I come to regret my specialisation!

I should be able to take down even the nastiest of foes. Stairs could be a problem though!

With my character created, I entered Spielburg (1 point)! The nostalgia kicked in immediately as I found myself chatting with the town Sheriff (Sheriff Schultz Meistersson) who was seated in front of his office. The Sheriff informed me that the path back up the mountains from whence I had come was now blocked by snow, so any second thoughts about entering this part of the world seeking fame and fortune should be set aside. He also mentioned that monsters were likely trapped this side of the mountains too, so the town could really do with a Hero. Determined to fit that description, I began my exploration of Spielburg! I couldn’t get much more information out of the Sheriff, and any attempts to communicate with his assistant Otto Von Goon were met with “Otto only expresses himself physically”. I moved on...

Hah...danger is my middle name! The...Danger...Trickster!

The first place I checked out was the Hero’s Tale Inn, just to the left of the Sheriff’s office. The Middle Eastern flavoured music and the cat-like character that greeted my entrance were incredibly familiar to me, despite not having played the game for close to twenty years. I promise not to bang on about it constantly, but I’ve found myself pondering how amazing the human brain is a few times already while playing Hero’s Quest. I recognise so much of the environment and music, and while I can’t remember what actually happens over the course of the game, I imagine I’m going to "instinctually" find solutions based on some distant, hazy memory from my youth. Who knows...maybe my choice of character will require me to think about things a different way this time around (I can’t remember what I played as the first time, but I could definitely climb). Anyway, other than sitting down for a meal or getting a room, I couldn’t find anything else to do in the Inn at this stage.

As soon as I figure out what it is that I seek, I shall return here post haste.

I exited and made my way east past the Sheriff’s office, reading the note on the door of the barber shop to find he was out for lunch. As I left the screen, the Sheriff suggested I “don’t drink the Dragon’s Breath” as “not even Otto can drink it”. The next screen was a Market street, containing a dry goods store, a pink house, and a Farmer’s Mart run by a female centaur. I purchased ten apples for a silver piece (3 points), and then entered the dry goods store. Within was a man completely absorbed by a book, and behind him were shelves of items such as canned goods, honey jars and sewing items. I distracted the store owner from his reading, and picking me for the adventurer I am, he mentioned that he had some equipment behind the counter that might be of interest to me (1 point). He had daggers and chain armor for sale, as well as some food and empty flasks.

They be some fine apples you have there m'lady.

The dagger would cost me 20 silvers and the armor would set me back 500. I realised I had no idea how much coin I had in my possession, nor had I even looked at my inventory yet. I found that I was carrying 5 food rations, a broadsword, some leather armor and a shield, as well as the 10 apples I’d purchased outside. I also had 4 gold and 9 silver coins on me, yet I had no idea how many silvers each gold coin was worth. I saved my game and purchased the dagger, simply to confirm my assumption that 1 gold coin equals 10 silver, before restoring. I had no need for the dagger, since I had a sword, and any attempt to purchase the armor were met with “you realise you don’t have enough to purchase this particular item”. I decided not to purchase anything else for now, saving my pennies until needs arose.

500 silvers you say. Well I guess it would be nice to have some...hang on a second! Did you say 500 silvers!?

I’d only visited about four screens so far, but already I was starting to understand why Hero’s Quest is so highly regarded. The descriptions of locations, people and items are entertaining and vivid, and the game has a very polished feel to it. There are stacks of little details, and the parser is capable of responding logically to most reasonable commands. Each character has distinctive and memorable traits, and the conversations are both funny and informative. The creators even appear to have gone to great lengths to make sure the dialogue bubbles don’t cover the important parts of the screen, such as the person you’re talking to. After having forced my way through Codename: ICEMAN in recent weeks, which felt rushed and consistently annoying, Hero’s Quest was already a complete joy to play. I began thinking about which of the next week’s appointments could be cancelled in the back of my mind while I was playing!

Finally! Some enjoyable and charmingly descriptive writing. Thank you Lori!

After exiting the store, I briefly considered entering the pink house. However, examining it revealed that it was likely the Sheriff’s house, and since breaking in wasn’t in character for my fighter, I left it alone. The northwest corner of town contained quite a few doorways, including a Butcher’s Shop, a Bakery, a workshop, and a Tavern, yet both the butcher and the baker appeared to be out fishing. There was also a dark alley to investigate, but I entered the tavern to see if I could garner any information from the patrons within. Within the tavern were two guys playing cards (who were clearly the baker and butcher), a rather ugly man sitting on a chair atop a trapdoor, and a patron sitting at the counter. My attention was drawn to an item sitting beneath one of the stools, so I took a closer look. It turned out to be a piece of paper containing the message “B. – He’s starting to act suspicious. Better save this drop for emergencies. – B.” (2 points)

No true Hero would allow such a blatant example of littering to go unpunished. I demand to know who dropped this!

The message didn’t mean much to me, nor did it trigger any memories. The two B’s could be the butcher and the baker, but I certainly couldn’t recall them playing an important role in the game. I tried talking with the patron, the goon and the gamblers without much success, so I sat at the counter and ordered a drink. None of the drinks on offer sounded appetizing, but since the Sheriff had told me not to have the Dragon’s Breath, I simply had to find out what would happen if I drank it. After saving my game, I purchased one and sank it, smiling as my tough guy character literally dissolved into ashes on the stool. I couldn’t see any way of taking the deadly concoction with me, so I left the tavern for now.

Well as a matter of fact I did, but thanks for caring about my well being.

I wasn’t able to enter the warehouse, so I saved my game and wandered into the dark alleyway. I expected to be attacked by brigands or something, but instead found only a beggar requesting alms for the poor. I gave him a silver coin (1 point) and he gave me some rather obvious advice (don’t take up begging and don’t go out at night). With nothing else to see in this part of Spielburg, I made my way back around past the Sheriff’s office and onto the next screen to the west. Once again there were three buildings of interest on this screen, being the Guild Hall, the Magic Shop, and a house belonging to a little old lady that was asleep in her chair in the front yard. The magic shop had a large eye above the entrance that followed me as I walked around, and while I had no intention of playing around with magic during the game, I entered the shop anyway.

You mean other than the woman sitting right there in front of me?

Inside the Magic Shop were shelves and shelves of magical items, including a toaster oven (electricity hadn’t been invented yet), tinsel and chaff to avoid radar, and numerous other completely useless but humorous things. When I approached the counter, a woman named Zara appeared out of nowhere, introducing herself and her companion Damiano (a winged demon like creature on the shelf). She told me that she had very little for those uninitiated in the ways of magic, but that she did have some spell learning scrolls and enchanted potions that might be of interest. I asked about the scrolls and the potions (1 point), and found that I could purchase Flame Dart, Fetch and Open scrolls, as well as healing, vigor and power potions. None of them were cheap though, so I was going to have to save my pennies if I was going to do business with Zara.

I suppose this spell is off-limits to someone as muscular and handsome as I?

Leaving the Magic Shop for now, I decided it was time to enter the Adventurer’s Guild Hall, trying unsuccessfully to interact with the sleeping old lady in her chair on the way past. The Guild Hall was just as I remembered it, with stuffed monster heads adorning the walls and the Guild Master asleep in front of the fire. I woke him up and began asking him about all the monsters, trying to collect any information from his stories of battle victory that might be useful later (1 point). Most humorously, the Antwerp was slain by two unusual strangers, who on further questioning turned out to be the Two Guys from Andromeda of Space Quest fame. Having got as much out of him as it appeared I was going to get, I walked over to the registration book.

Those guys are like Predators. Travelling from planet to planet, looking for a good fight.

Reading the last entry in the book (4 points) revealed that “Baronet Barnard Von Spielburg killed a Troll near the Flying Falls on this 23 day of Octember” several years ago. Obviously Spielburg has been lacking in the Hero department for quite some time! I registered myself as a Hero in the book (1 point) and moved onto the bulletin board. Looking at the board (6 points) revealed six jobs that needed doing, with a variety of tasks and rewards on offer. I took screenshots of all the jobs, which included finding a missing ring and spell components for the healer, the discovery of a missing girl called Elsa von Spielburg and a missing man called Baronet Barnard von Spielburg, and the capture of the Brigand Warlock and the Brigand Leader. To get more information for the first two jobs, I would need to visit the healer, whereas the guard at the castle gates would offer information about the latter four.

I love getting quests to complete! I have to admit that playing Hero's Quest reminds me of my natural affinity with RPG's.

I asked the Guild Master about all the mentioned jobs and people, gaining snippets of information without anything that seemed crucial.  So, I’ve now given the town of Spielburg a quick once over and have a bunch of jobs to go off and try to complete. I can think of nothing else to do within the walls, so it’s time to venture into the awaiting forest outside (1 point). I have a genuine sense of excitement about what I will find there. It has become clear that I recall little in the way of details after a couple of decades, yet so far the game is living up to the lofty expectations I have for it. I realise I didn’t cover a heck of a lot of ground in this first gameplay post, but as always, the initial posts for each game include much more technical detail than the proceeding ones. We’ll move more quickly from here, and I expect to have the second post up within a day or two.

It's just me and the monsters baby. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Session Time: 1 hours 00 minutes
Total Time: 1 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. Welcome to Spielburg!

    I just recently bought the chainmail armour for my thief (doesn't affect sneaking as far as I can tell, although my stealth is now very high). The 500 silvers might seem a lot at the moment, but you'll be rolling in money after a few days.

    Since the fighter raises their skills doing what comes naturally (fighting!) I fully expect you to get 100 in all of your chosen skills!

    As for my attempts to max out the game, I've managed to get eight stats/skills to 100, and I'm not far off getting a few more. Screenshot album here (Full of spoilers!):

    1. I only ever have had enough money to afford the armor from either a) several hours of grinding; or b) finding a key treasure cache. But on b), I don't know how a fighter gets his hands on it. That'll be interesting to see.

      Andy, how did you get your stealth high? I've been sneaking all over the damned place, and it never seems to increase. I can't figure out what the trick is.

    2. Good luck with your max stats for all thing. I've got a game as a mage going - post ring solving exploring and raising stats is so slow that I can only wish you well at that!

    3. As you sneak through the forest, you'll occasionally get a message about hiding from a monster. After a few of those, it increases. I've managed to get it to 86 or so, but it's being stubborn now. I've no idea how I'm going to get it to 100.

      As for the fighter getting the armour, it's worth remembering that a fighter doesn't have as much to spend money on, so when you get your first big reward you can spend that money.

  2. Well, I'm having a go at playing along with this one and I think I'm at pretty much the same place as you, except as a thief.

  3. The fighter has the least amount of special content in the game just so you know. Will you be playing as the other classes as well? Because it makes for a vastly different game.

  4. I went with a hybrid Mage-Fighter. I added the Parry skill to the Magic User class, other than that he's strictly using Mage skills. Not much further along currently as I am having more trouble than I can recall in falling into the rhythm of combat.. either I need to play with the settings a bit or I'm just getting old. :P

  5. I thought I'd be safe reading this posting without encountering any spoilers (since it takes place in the town), but I got one anyway: the note by the chair. After some screwing around, it appears that finding this note is important for triggering a key encounter later that makes the end-game a little easier (and gives you more points besides).

    So far, the things you got points for are identical to mine, but I think once you get outside, it's going to change considerably. I can't wait to see how you solve some puzzles without climbing. I'm sure they can be solved, but I don't know how.

    1. I missed this encounter as well. It seems I can't get it after doing things the hard way. So, that's where my missing points are.

  6. Oh, and that note isn't always there, which is why I missed it. I have saved games at multiple stages, and it appears in some of them but not in others. Weird.

    1. I think it expects you to go into the pub on day 1, and find the note.

      (ROT13 for spoilers): Svaqvat gur svefg abgr fubhyq znxr lbh purpx onpx gurer sbe zber, naq gur frpbaq abgr gevttref nsgre lbh fnir gur Onebarg. Gura lbh pna svaq bhg nobhg gur zrrgvat, naq gur frperg cnffntr.

  7. Boy do I love this game...! Just reading these discussion posts makes my day.

  8. My favorite game! The only annoying thing was being obliged to restart due to a bad skills setting in the character!

    1. This is actually a relatively forgiving game on skills, especially since most puzzles have a few different solutions (depending on which skills/spells you have available).

      It's quite possible to grind away to boost your stats and avoid the combat/puzzles until you're more prepared.

  9. It is quite interesting seeing how you and Chet's play styles differ when playing the same game. I look forward to reading more.

    Hey, I don't see any posts about this: Primordia is available for preorder on GoG:

    This one MAY have been posted before, but I could just be thinking of the German RPG with a similar name: The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav:


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.