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Written by  :  Boston Low (93)
Written on  :  Nov 19, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars

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Summary

Great board game, inadequate CRPG

The Good

I was a fan of the Hero Quest board game, especially how despite its simplicity, could still have been an exciting RPG-ish experience for the players. This computer implementation offers the opportunity to play the game anytime you like without having to find and arrange a session with friends. You greatest benefit was that you can also play it by yourself, without depending on a game master.

The gameplay is quite faithful to the original feeling, it has exactly the same rules and scenarios. For some reason, the maps are not the same as in the Quest Book of the board game, I guess because since the gamers who played as game masters before, would find them too easy.

The graphics were quite well-drawn for its age and the intro is quite impressive, with great animations. However the game itself has almost zero animations, but perhaps they are not needed.

The Bad

Now, The Bad unfortunately are way too many!

The first and major flaw is that there is no on-screen description for the items or the spells. So every time you want to use or buy something, you have to check on your Quest book to remember their properties, unless you are a seasoned player of the game.

And not only that, but the game will not prevent you from using an item/spell the wrong way. It's very easy to confuse some spell and think that it should be used on a character rather than a monster. If you use the spell wrongly, the game will just prompt you that ''the spell is wasted" without any warning, unlike what a human game master would certainly do.

So since there are no item/spell descriptions, it's easy to waste a spell or buy inappropriate items for your characters, but since you have no warnings, you MUST consult the manual every now and then.

Same thing whenever you search for treasures or traps. You can't remember which rooms you have already searched, and if you make the mistake to look twice for traps/treasures (while the human game master would have reminded you so) you just lose your turn, only to be told "This room has been searched before"

The second flaw (and the most annoying thing in gameplay, are the several prompts and clicks you have to do with the mouse. For example, instead of just providing you with a random dice number, each round you have to "click" so that you stop the coin on a random number and move your character. That's nice, but when you finish the mission and just want to more your characters ASAP to the exit, all you are doing is unnecessary click-click-click.

Then, you have to click on tiles, directions, on the tiny commands icons, the tiny character icons on the map etc. For each action, you have to click on the tiny "OK" to get rid of the prompt. And no, you can't control your characters with the keyboard, and the commands have no key shortcuts.

Last but not least, whenever a monster hits you, all the report you get is whether you survived the hit or died. You aren't told whether you blocked the hit and, if not, how many body points you lost. So that each time you have to keep track of your body points, and/or count the dice icons (the skulls and the shields). If you forget that, you will lose track of your body points and they will be reduced before you notice.

And finally, the awful character menu. Fist of all, in order to choose the characters for the next mission, you don't just click on their icons or some checkbox. No, you must click on each on one of them, and then click on another icon to mark them as IN GAME.

Furthermore, there is no autosave or at least a simple save system. Supposedly each character is to be saved in his own data disk. Each time you finish a mission, you have once more to click on each player, and then save each one's status independently. Oh and yes, you will be prompted with a tiny OK you have to click in order to "enter your data disk" and then choose a game slot. The funny part is that the prompt will be shown even if the game is installed on a hard disk and no data disk is needed, yet the annoying prompt with the tiny OK will be shown!!

So in order to save only one character you perform 4 clicks. In case you have two characters, you perform 8 clicks and so on. And if one dies, you must perform the same actions to restore them

The Bottom Line

Hero Quest is a very flawed and lacking adaptation of that lovely board game. Unnecessary prompts and clicks, tiny icons and lack of keyboard controls just strain your gameplay. The implementation fails to get rid of some elements for you as a CRPG is supposed to do and make playing more straightforward and quick.

That's not to say of course that you won't enjoy the game. I guess it's quite fun to play with some friend, although if you play it alone it will be very boring. Point is, that the gameplay will make you soon tired of it unless you are overly excited.