Price: £11.99, £15.99 Disk
Reviewer: Alan Dykes
The talons of the seven enchanted falcons thygaamor couldn't drag me away from Hero-quest once I started getting into it. Garth the dwarf, Steve the elf, Andrea the barbarian and Alan the wizard collected more loot than Esther Rantzen, more weapons than George Bush and got lost more times than Richard Branson's balloons in this vast and involved fantasy role playing game from Gremlin.
The scene is et as a quest for a new breed of hero to carry on the fight against Morcar, the Lord of Chaos who at this very moment is plotting to return and subject the empire to a reign of darkness. Only by completing the fourteen different missions available will you truly prove your worth.
There is a choice of four characters, Wizard, Dwarf, Elf and mighty Barbarian, and the evil Morcar is played (rather well), by the computer. Control is by keyboard or Kempston interface and is four directional with all choices and actions being made by moving an arrow around the screen, placing it over whatever symbols you want to use and pressing the space bar (or fire button).
Each mission has a map (accessible at any time), with all known characters, objects and rooms shown, but you must keep looking because there are lots of Orks, Goblins, Warriors and other creatures to find and kick around, not to mention hidden enemies, treasure, spells, weapons etc...
The beauty of it all is that once you've been through a maze and collected your arms, armour, spells and money you can the carry on into the next quest with all of these intact. You can thus create and save your very own character to use in later quests.
Heroquest's graphics aren't anything to tell the person who sits next to you in maths class about, but they do show everything clearly. Nice pictures of your enemy appear during fights but not the fight itself. There is no sound but this is not a problem as it would ruin the atmosphere to have stomping feet and wailing Orcs bleeping at you.
And there it is, Heroquest is a long game with a valuable save option, lots of challenge and imagination and heaps of fantasy language the instruction booklet. Control is a little frustrating until you re used to using that lizard's gullet of an arrow to point at everything, but for R.P.G. fans or anyone interested in a good fantasy it's a reet rivitin' S.U. Gold.
As a fan of the board game, I found its computer counterpart captured most of the best elements of the board game - and actually can work out much faster in use. I did find the graphics a little on the distracting side and would definitely like to know why a 2.5% increase in VAT has put an extra 1.00 on the price and not 28p. Let's just hope that if all the software companies are going to subject us to ANOTHER price increase, that the spend the extra revenue on developing even better games. Having got that off my chest let's get back to Hero-quest and say that, given the price of the boardgame, Hero-quest still represents good value for fans of the genre. (And let's all blow a big raspberry to Norman Lamont and his 2.5% VAT increase. Bllarrrrrrrpwh!).
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