Hero's Quest

Publisher: Sierra
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #64

Hero's Quest

Most adventurers dream of one day becoming a hero and drinking in the adoration and respect associated with such a title. Hero's Quest allows you to at least attempt to reach the dizzy heights of hero in the inimitable, 3D animated adventure style of Sierra On-Line.

The little town of Speilburg and its surrounding valley is having a spot of bother with trolls, ogres, goblins, witches, warlocks, zombies, ghosts, dragons, lizards, minotaurs, bears, griffins, thieves and brigands... and they need a hero to clean up. Having just graduated from the famous adventurers' correspondence school for heroes you feel cocky enough to take up the challenge and so head off to Spielburg seeking fame and fortune.

Before play commences, option screens are displayed through which you choose whether to help Spielburg as a fighter, a thief or a magician. You are then shown your character's ability and skill points. You're given an extra 50 points to assign to certain skills - such as throwing, stealth or climbing - which should be used wisely: magic powers might be considered less important to a thief than the ability to pick locks. Once happy with your adventurer it's time to show the inhabitants of Spielburg what you're made of.

Hero's Quest

You enter the quiet town on the morning of day one. The sheriff and his aid are relaxing on a porch near the town gates. They are fairly amicable and thus useful for trying out the frequently required 'Ask About...' command. This input is the key to successful questing as answers given provide clues to other questions, places or people.

The sheriff tells you of the guild in the town where quests are displayed for budding heroes to undertake. They range from finding a lost ring (a good one to begin with) to rescuing the baron's missing daughter. Rewards are offered for success.

Spielburg's monetary system is a simple one consisting of Golds and Silvers, ten Silvers make one Gold. You need money for supplies - food rations for example - tools or your trade (lock picks for a thief, scrolls for a magic user and weapons for a fighter) and potions for healing, breaking enchantments or warding off enemies.

Hero's Quest

As you progress, you should practise your skills frequently, the more you use them the more adept you become at them. An initially unclimbable tree outside the healer's hut is quite soon scalable with practice, and throwing the occasional rock soon results in an accurate arm for a user of daggers.

Exploring the forest around the town, you encounter many monsters which you may either try to run from (a good idea in early stages of play) or engage in battle. Fights are undertaken at a distance or close up (depending on the type of foe you face). The more you fight, the better your character's skills in weapon-use or magic become. However, should you get yourself into a no-win situation you have the option to escape (sometimes).

As with most Sierra games, it's not all hard work, there are many amusing moments to break the tension such as when asked by the fairies to dance, your character struts his stuff Saturday-Night-Fever style. And there's an atheist's grave in the cemetery bearing the legend 'All dressed up and nowhere to go'... well, it made me laugh.

Hero's Quest

All graphics are well drawn, animation is good - if a little slow in places - and sound effects and music are brilliant. The atmosphere created, especially when wandering around the forest at night (not recommended for beginners) is outstanding. The only drawback with Hero's Quest (as with all Sierra animated adventures) is the amount of disk access/swapping involved. But, as always, the good points render these niggles almost unnoticeable.

Hero's Quest II: Trial By Fire is soon to be released and the character you create in the first game can be loaded into the sequel giving you a slight advantage over a cold start.

Hero's Quest may be pricey but you can play using three different characters and the game is tougher than most recent Sierra titles, so it's certainly worth forking out for. A marvellous romp through a wonderous land of sword and sorcery.