Commodore User1st February 1989
Published in Commodore User #65
Heroes Of The Lance
D&D makes its first appearance on the Amiga in the unlikely shape and form of Heroes Of The Lance, unsurprisingly an arcade adventure with just a hint of role playing.
You are given control of eight of the most prominent characters from the 'Dragonlance Chronicles', ranging from a female cleric by the name of Goldmoon, to a feisty little dwarven warrior called Flint Fireforge. Goldmoon carries the Blue Crystal Staff which, as if you didn't know, has lots of lovely healing qualities, enabling her to cure light and serious wounds, as well as the power to raise the dead [Useful! - Ed]. The wizard, Raistlin, has all kinds of offensive spells, such as Magic Missile, which fires magic bolts from this finger-tips, and an interesting little thing called web, which freezes anything it touches by binding it in huge amounts of sticky liquid.
The game is viewed side-on to the action, with doorways leading in and out of the plane of the play area. At the bottom of the screen are small digitised portraits of the eight characters, which show their respective health levels and which one is currently under control. Of the eight, the only one which can attack or be controlled is the one in the top left-hand corner. The top four characters are the ones which can be hit by traps and dragon breath. The bottom four are completely safe - and it's here you should keep all your weakest characters. Remember though, you can't cast any spells if the magic user or cleric isn't in the first four characters.
There are two types of combat. Ranged combat can occur when there are no enemies within a quarter of the screen. Should any enemy stroll into range of a character, hand-to-hand combat occurs. This basically consists of hacking away at the nearest opponent until they die.
The graphics are great. They are large clear and very atmospheric. But they do fall down, just a little, on animation. The game is a little on the slow side; but believe me, after a while you don't notice.
The sound is alright, but nothing brilliant. What we have is a direct conversion from the ST version, and I couldn't help feeling a little cheated. After all, the Amiga is capable of better things.
Heroes Of The Lance is, nevertheless, addictive. It's not the easiest thing in the world to get into; but give it a bit of time and wild horses couldn't drag you away from it. Not only have US Gold managed to capture all the feel of D&D they've also come up with a damn fine game.