Good afternoon Retro Game fans, today I decided to journey into the realms of the Role Playing side of gaming for today’s review…so without further ado, here we go…
HeroQuest on the Commodore Amiga!
You know, for a board game this was actually pretty exciting, even if you didn’t really understand the game that well at the time. Miniature figures, furniture, monsters and 4 player characters. Players could take the role of the Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf or Wizard and venture off into the dark dungeons on multiple Quests. Anything from navigating The Maze ( the first Quest ), to rescue and plunder quests…but that was the board game…which was cool….so how did the board game to home computer conversion go?…
The Amiga does a nice job to be perfectly honest, nice intro explaining things, good plot to get you into the dungeons and nice creepy graphics to go with it all. When you are past the intro you are presented with a sort of options screen, I say sort of as it’s a menu for choosing active characters and equipment distribution along with game map selection. This game can again be played with up to 4 players but it’s a turn based game so it’s a pass the mouse scenario. As with the board game, it’s Barbarian, Dwarf, Elf and Wizard characters. You can play solo with the 4 characters if you wish, which makes the game more fun I think. Solo play with 1 character is more challenging, although with the first map you encounter called “The Maze” all 4 characters are spread out over the tile set. You can also rename your party members to personalise them a little bit, also with each completion of a Quest you have the ability to save your game which is a bit of a God send given that the game is loot dependant to proceed, so imagine if your Barbarian after hours of play was in some bad ass armour, only to have no save option would be pretty hair pulling…so applauding goes to Gremlin for adding this feature. So you enter the first map, and your screen is set up with various icons to use including a map button, movement, search, and fight. Movement is dictated by a roll of the dice to determine how many spaces your characters can go, you then can either click the arrows and go step at a time or click into a vacant square to move there. This prompts your character to start his journey, it’s nice that the characters actually move, rather than just appear there. Once your turn is over, you can choose to search the room for loot. This can result in Gold coins, potions or…a monster will sneak up on you and a fight screen appears, this is all dice rolled in the background for you, and you can see the rolls above your characters head and above the monsters head. A Skull is a direct hit, but if you or they have a shield icon, it means you have blocked that attack. Early monsters only take 1 hit to kill them, but later on the fights become tougher, so you find a fingers crossed moment to get a 3 skull against a zero defense moment occurring. Stats are important to a degree for survivability, so Barbarian has the most stamina so can take the most hits, he’s also the strongest and hits harder, he is rather stupid though so intelligence is low and can stumble into traps easier than the others. Dwarfs can disarm traps, Elves can discover secret doors more easily, and the Wizard while weak in melee combat, provides the highest wisdom and can obliterate enemies with a selection of spells which you choose the basis of when you begin ( Wind, Earth, Fire, Water ). Along the way you’ll find treasure chests which can be examined for traps, but watch for team mates who may bypass your move and just snaff the treasure for themselves!
Graphics:- Not bad at all, considering they have replicated the board game pretty faithfully. Even the characters you choose to play are instantly recognisable from the board game counterpart. The maps are well drawn and the items you use are nicely done as well. Very nice. My only quibble really is things could have been drawn maybe a little bit bigger, but on the whole, a very good conversion.
Sound:- Hmmm, if you like looped music going continuously through your games you’ll love this, however if it grinds your nerves after a while, you may want to consider turning it off. In game sounds also are hit and miss, with monsters and players performing what I consider an almost direct port of the Wilhelm scream upon death. Clanking sounds are added to sword contact, but also with staff contact as well. Also, I swear there is a rendition of the Stranglers Golden Brown thrown into the music for good measure…not sure what that’s about.
Overall:- A damn good replication of the board game and a great attempt at role playing for more than one person. Addictive game with a lot of maps to explore and items to loot. If you have some hours spare to give it a play, I suggest you do so.