Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Game 26: Hero's Quest - So You Want to Be an Errand Boy

The Trickster Journal Entry 4: “So much to do! Being a Hero sure requires a lot of energy! Not only have I delivered handfuls of fruit to Brauggi in return for a glowing gem, I also managed to get my hands on the seed that the Dryad requested. Giving it to her obviously proved that I am capable and trustworthy, since she then gave me a recipe to give to the healer that will result in a dispel potion. I’m not exactly sure what enchantment the potion will dispel, but I was able to collect all the required ingredients relatively easily. I never thought I would find myself dancing with fairies in the moonlight in an attempt to get some fairy dust, but that's how my day ended! Now I’m off to get some rest so I can take all this stuff to the healer at first light. Who knows what magical adventures tomorrow holds!”

Before: I really need to work on those fighting skill stats!

After mapping out the entire play area of Hero’s Quest over the course of the previous two posts, I was very eager to get on with trying to solve all the quests I’d collected on the way. That experience has turned out to be just as enjoyable as I remember it being in my childhood, yet I can’t say I found it as easy as I expected. I'd kind of figured the solutions were all somewhere buried within my brain, and that over time they would seep out when needed. That hasn’t turned out to be the case, and I’ve really had to work for my reward. Anyway, there are lots of things to talk about, so I’ll cut to the chase. As mentioned at the end of the last post, I thought the first thing I'd do would be to pay another visit to the town of Spielburg. Maybe there would be some things to buy that would now be useful, and I could also ask some of the inhabitants about the various characters I’d met out on the road.

Bummer dude!

This plan turned out to be less productive than I expected! For some reason I’d expected to be able to buy the ability to cast one off spells such as fetch and open from the magic shop (like a once off usage type of scroll), which would have allowed me to get the seed from the plants and also open the stone at Erana’s Peace, but the shopkeeper told me in no uncertain terms that “the powers of magic are reserved for those with the potential to use them. I sense no such potential in you.” Well there went that idea! I was going to have to find alternate solutions to those puzzles, if indeed there are any. I did gain one point for asking about a room in the Hero’s Tale Inn (1 point), but since I wasn’t tired yet, I wasn’t even allowed to pay for one. Finally, I bought a stack more apples from the centaur to give Brauggi in return for the glowing gem, before setting out to go visit him.

It's not hard for them to be the finest in town when they're the only ones in town!

On my way out of the town, I was surprised to find a shady looking character by the gates, tossing a knife in the air. His name was Bruno, and he offered me information for coins. That seemed like a reasonable trade, so I saved my game before giving him one silver. For another, he offered me information “about where to go to find the Baron, Baba Yaga, or some goblins who have a lot of treasure”. Paying for information about the Baron disappointingly resulted in Bruno giving me directions to the castle. Likewise, his information about the goblins merely directed me to the screen containing the sneaking goblins. Handing over a silver for information about Baba Yaga did however prove to be useful, as he told me not only her whereabouts, but also the rhyme that would make her house on legs sit down (for an extra two gold). “Hut of brown, now sit down.”

Would that someone happen to be moi?

I don’t know why, but I actually remember that rhyme from my youth, yet I was glad to come about it in-game so it didn’t feel like I was cheating. Speaking of cheating though, it suddenly dawned on me that I could simply restore my game after paying for all of Bruno’s information, and since I got no points for any of it, I could continue playing with all my cash intact and with no consequence. I’m sure I’m not the only player to think about doing that, nor would I be the only one to go through a crisis of conscience regarding whether or not doing so was in the spirit of the game. In the end I decided was going to take advantage of a clear loophole in the game. After all, I’m an adventure gamer doing everything (anything!) I can to find the solution to the game, not a role playing gamer looking to experience a journey as though in the mind and flesh of another. At least, that’s what I told myself! What do you guys think?!

Is there any other way to get this rhyme in the game? I assume so!

So what other bits of information could I get out of Bruno? Well, for a gold piece he told me a lie about where the Thieves’ Guild is hidden. “They hid it in the graveyard. It’s under one of the tombstones. You can see the thieves if you go there at night.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe there’s anything beneath any of the tombs in the graveyard, and that the guild is in fact beneath Crusher in the tavern. For a ridiculously expensive ten gold pieces, he offered to tell me where the brigand’s camp is situated. I actually hadn’t come across the camp during my travels, so figured there must be some secret way to gain entrance. Unfortunately I didn’t have ten golds on me, so I was going to have to come back later to get that last bit of information. I restored my game back to first meeting Bruno, and set out to see Brauggi.

To restore or not to restore, that is the question!

Once again I came across something unexpected while following the path away from the town. There was a fox caught in a trap, asking for assistance (yes, the fox spoke to me). I freed him (10 points), and in return he gave me some advice and a bit of information. His advice was that “it sometimes pays off to be polite, even to rude people” and his information was “Baba Yaga put an enchantment on the Baron’s Daughter some years back. To break the spell you need to talk to the Dryad”. This was very useful information indeed, and made me more certain than ever that retrieving the seed for the Dryad should be high on my priority list. Still, these apples were weighing me down, so I once again set out to find Brauggi. Would anything else delay me on the way?

That's a litle presumptuous don't you think?!

Brauggi was exactly where I left him, waving his axe around as though ready to cut me to pieces. I gave him the apples (8 points), and was rewarded with the glowing gem, as well as the below non-rhyming verse. With that task completed, I decided it was time to try my luck with the seed, dropping in at the healer on the way to trade the mushrooms I’d found for a gold piece (1 point). On arriving at the cliff face covered in seed spitting plants, I began wracking my brain for ways that I might be able to get the seed without the ability to climb. I simply couldn’t come up with any, so I started throwing rocks at it again. I really hoped the solution wouldn’t be that simple, especially as it seemed to be the sole way to solve pretty much anything as the fighter. Sadly, after throwing about ten rocks, one of them stuck in the top of one of the plants, causing the seed to bounce down onto the ground rather than into the plant mouth. I picked it up, but felt no real satisfaction. (8 points)

Maybe it rhymed in his native tongue!

It was time to take the seed to the Dryad, but I took a detour to Erana’s Peace to collect some flowers, which I then traded with the healer for another gold piece. (1 point) On arriving at the Dryad, she immediately asked me whether I’d brought the seed with me. I gave it to her (7 points) and she rather humorously told me that “now this will boldly grow where none has grown before!” She then went on in less of a Star Trek fashion, stating “Friend, you must know that there is an evil in this valley which perverts the ways of nature. The prophecy says that a hero will bring a young human from out this darkness. If you are the one to accomplish this task, there is a potion to break enchantments which you must have the healer make.” She then gave me a list of ingredients that I needed to track down, which were Flowers from Erana’s Peace, Green Fur, Fairy Dust, a Magic Acorn, and Flying Water.

Let me guess. You have a long list of things I need to collect? Am I right!?

It was pretty clear to me where I was going to get all of these ingredients from apart from the magic acorn, but that issue quickly went away as the Dryad dropped one as she reunited with the tree. I picked up the acorn (1 point) and made a plan to collect the rest of the ingredients. My first stop would be the Meeps, where it seemed obvious I would be able to get some green fur. I was correct on that front, as the green Meep very happily searched through his extensive belongings and then handed some over. I picked it up (5 points) and then thought about my next destination. Surely the flying water would come from the waterfall near Enry’s home? I couldn’t think of anywhere else I might get it from, so that’s where I headed.

I had a feeling you might, particularly since you're made of green fur.

On arriving at the waterfall, I attempted to collect some water, only to be informed that I didn’t have a flask to store it in. I could have gone back to Spielburg to buy a flask from the dry goods store, but since I was very low on health at the time, I instead decided to drink one of my healing potions, freeing up a flask in the process. It worked, and I was able to collect the water in the flask, assuming that it was indeed “flying water”. I already had three of the five ingredients I needed to make the potion, and I knew exactly where to get the other two. The flowers were the easier of the two to collect, so I made my way to Erana’s Peace at the top of the map and grabbed a bunch. That left only the fairy dust, which was likely to take a bit more time to get my hands on.

I guess it's my own fault I didn't have a flask. Always be prepared for liquid in adventure games!

I recalled from my younger play through that fairies hang out at the mushroom patch in the forest, but only at night time. I can’t specifically recall seeing anything about this while playing the game this time, but it’s probably not a huge leap to realise that’s where they might be. I could have made my way to the mushroom patch immediately, but it was still a fair way from being night time, so I was going to have to do something else to pass the time. I looked across the map at the various locations, trying to find something I could do. One stood out from the rest. Baba Yaga! I’d received the glowing gem from Brauggi, and figured its use would be to place inside the skull on Baba Yaga’s fence.

Really? She seems quite accommodating to me!

I made my way to Baba Yaga’s hut, and got in a conversation with the skull. He started banging on about wanting glowing eyes like the rest of the skulls, so if I wasn’t certain about the gem's use before, I was now. In fact, he made me make a deal with him that he would let me through the gate to Baba Yaga’s house if I would give him a glowing gem (2 points). I gave it to him, which pleased him very much, and he lowered the gate as promised (10 points). It was only then that I started to wonder what would happen if I lowered the hut with the rhyme and entered. I couldn’t remember much at all about Baba Yaga, apart from something that happens much later in the game involving a mirror. Perhaps I wasn’t meant to enter yet? The time of day decided it for me, as night time had arrived. I could now go and see the fairies, so Baba Yaga could wait!

That's harsh coming from you! Have you seen a mirror lately!!! Actually, if you have, can I have it!

The fairies were indeed flittering around the patch of mushrooms when I arrived, and boy were they fascinated with me. I really love the way the Cole’s handled this scene, with all of the fairies constantly chatting amongst themselves about the silliest things, with speech bubbles of different colours to represent each fairy. They dared each other to touch me and eventually began trying to dance with me, so I typed “dance” (3 points). They then felt obliged to reward me in some way for putting on such a good show, and after much debate it was decided that fairy dust was the answer (1 point). Unfortunately, I was then informed that once again I didn’t have an empty flask to collect it in! I restored to my last save game, drank another bottle of healing potion (this time unnecessarily), and then visited the fairies again. This time I was able to collect the dust (8 points), meaning I had everything I needed for the potion.

You'd think I was made of empty flasks!

I’m afraid I’ve reached my 2000 word post limit! I’ve played a fair bit more of the game, so should be able to get my next post up pretty quickly. To be honest, I had to tear myself away from the game to write this one as I’m enjoying it so much, which is something I haven’t felt since Zak McKracken. As mentioned earlier, probably the only real criticism I have so far is the limited solutions to puzzles that the fighter character class has, but that may or may not improve throughout the rest of the game. I can’t help but be intrigued about some of the parts of the game I currently have no access to, such as the thieves’ guild and the stone in Erana’s Peace. I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll try to quickly play through the other classes on completion, or simply read other blogs (such as Chets) to get an idea how things differ. What do you think? Do we want an extended stay in Spielburg?

After: OK, so it wasn't exactly after, but it was very shortly after. Still need to work on those fighting skills!

Session Time: 1 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 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. Reading about Hero's Quest has been almost as enjoyable as playing the game has been. Although for the past week I haven't had any time to play. I have already defeated the ogre, so I will try to finish the game today.

    I also remembered the rhyme from my childhood, but I had real trouble remembering how to get the it. But yes, there's at least one other way to get the rhyme. Gur fxhyy jvyy nyfb gryy lbh gur eulzr.

    1. So, Albert Halle managed to become a hero, with 491 out of 500! I did not end up maxing any skills, but agility and vitality were at 100, as was stamina.

      I played a thief/mage, mostly favouring thief solutions, but V qvqa'g svther bhg ubj gb trg cnfg gur zvabgnhe, fb raqrq hc hfvat pnyz.

  2. Your posts are interesting for me because you chose a straight Fighter. In all my many, many QFG1 playthroughs I always chose a hybrid of some kind, most usually thief/magic user, sometimes magic user/thief, and once in a blue moon fighter/magic user. I am not sure I EVER went with a straight class choice like you did. I'm sure that says something about my psychology, but I'm not sure what.

    I also never used my real name as my character name, not even once. I was usually some invented nickname. Ones I remember include: Slice (thief/magic), Ngajxotp the Unpronounceable (magic/thief), Oswald the Unctuous(thief/magic), and Tryger (fighter/magic). This also must say something about me, although I'm not exactly sure what.

    1. *immediately tries to pronounce Ngajxotp* [ŋajxɔtp]?

  3. I've played this game so many times, can't believe I'm still hooked at reading your posts. Seems like many people share this feeling.

  4. Replies
    1. Well, for a complete newcomer I might suggest playing the VGA version, which has a full mouse-based interface (rather than having to type commands). It kinda depends on your previous PC gaming experience I guess.

      If you've got a spare $10, I'd suggest the GOG.com pack of all five games, but if you want a free alternative, the second game has a free remake: http://www.agdinteractive.com/games/qfg2/homepage/homepage.html

  5. I don't think you need to play necessarily the whole game again as a thief and a magic user, if you want first-hand experience on what you've missed - just do general exploration with two new characters, concentrating on the peculiarities of the two other classes (i.e. thieving and tinkering around with spells).

    If you are playing the remake at some point, you can then go through the whole game with a different class.

    I'd say it's the later QFG games where choosing a class has major effects on the plot, here the differences are mostly about alternative solutions to some puzzles.

    1. I'd agree with Ilmari here.

      There's only really a bit of thievery which is unique to the Thief, and very little additional stuff for the magic user. Most of the game is just about alternate puzzle solutions.

  6. The Warrior character is a hammer in the sense that, "If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." Several puzzles are solved by throwing because that's a direct approach, and Warriors like directness. So if you don't know how to climb, or to cast spells, and you can't reach your target, you throw something at it. That was our concept of "What is a Warrior?" for Hero's Quest.

    Another reason that several puzzles can be solved by the same skill is to encourage the player to practice that skill. Each situation has a different difficulty level - If you haven't built up Throwing on easier targets, you'll usually miss on the harder ones. So we didn't want to have just one or two places where the player might throw something.

    1. Ha! What are the corresponding concepts for the Magic User and the Thief?

  7. As for that guy Bruno, that was one of our more original contributions to adventure gaming. Prior to Hero's Quest, characters were simply information dispensers. Having an obviously bad character intentionally lie to the player was practically unheard of.

    Everything true that Bruno says is trivial and can be found elsewhere in the game. Believing his lies can get you killed. However...

    Saving the game, getting information, and restoring elsewhere can cause you to fail. We used a large number of "flags" in Quest for Glory, setting the flag when you take a particular action. If you restore the game, you don't get credit for performing the action. If talking to Bruno had been the only way to learn the command phrase for Baba Yaga's hut, then we might not have allowed you to use the command until your character learned it.

    We did more of this in the later point-and-click games, as it was easily enforced. For example, say you are talking to a spy and need to give the passphrase of the day. We would give you several options of things to say, but the passphrase wouldn't be on the list unless you learned it in-game. Of course the idea applies to a lot of other "insider information" puzzles as well.

    1. I wonder if you could guess the thieves' guild's password.

    2. I ran into this use of flags recently, when I tried doing a speed run as a magic user:

      V tbg zl fxvyyf gb n cbvag jurer V pbhyq whfg nobhg trg guebhtu gur oevtnaq sbegerff, naq unq bognvarq gur qvfcry cbgvba (V qvq abguvat ryfr, qvqa'g fnir gur Onebarg be gnyx gb Onon Lntn). V jrag gb gur frperg ragenapr ol gur Nagjrec, naq fnvq gur cnff cuenfr orsber ragrevat (V hfrq gur Bcra fcryy, engure guna gur xrl). Arkg, Serq gur pnir gebyy nggnpxrq naq V qvrq. Gheaf bhg lbh ernyyl arrq gb yrnea gur cnff cuenfr ng gur nccebcevngr gvzr, be vg qbrfa'g jbex!

  8. Primordia has been released! It's only $8.99 on GOG and the initial reviews seem positive. I'm sure Mark is having heart palpitations hoping the game sells well enough to justify all his and Vic's efforts. I'm buying a copy right now to support the cause and to thank the two of them for spending the time on the blog recently, even though I won't get to play the game for years.

    Would love to hear about anyone else's experience if they give it a shot.

  9. A sequel to The Book of Unwritten Tales has been released on GOG too.


    Here's the link to Primordia.


  10. I started a blog, I've written some posts, all are welcome. I'm going to chart my experience of Quest for Glory, and then probably just post random game-related stuff (kickstarters I've backed, indie games, old games, that sort of thing).

    Forgive me if my writing is bad, but hopefully you can enjoy the pictures!
    The blog: http://playedbypanthro.blogspot.co.uk/
    The introduction post: http://playedbypanthro.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/introduction.html