This week I’m looking at the Sierra On-Line classic, Hero Quest, first released in 1989. This game was a completely different gaming experience back in the day. Most gamers were used to adventure games, like King’s Quest or Space Quest, or role-playing games, like Might & Magic. But an amalgamation of role-playing and adventure games was unheard of! Lori Cole’s game design was unique and the game was a best-seller for Sierra, spawning several sequels over the years.
You could play Hero Quest either as a Fighter, Magic-User, or Thief. The game’s puzzles were designed so that they could be solved in different ways by the different character classes, and you could improve your character’s skills and inventory as you played the game. It played as an adventure game, where your character completed quests and solved puzzles, moving the storyline to its epic finish. By today’s PC game standards, the graphics and sound are rudimentary at best, with your hero looking a bit like a stick figure jerkily moving about the screen. But a good retro gamer never judges an old game by today’s standards! The storyline is strong, and can still be fun to play today.
An interesting side note about Hero Quest is that the game’s name had to be changed almost immediately after it was distributed. Milton Bradley had trademarked the Hero Quest name for their 3D board game, which apparently no one in the Sierra On-Line team knew – until they were told to remove it or else. The solution was to simply change the title of Hero Quest to Hero Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero. Of course, this has led to these two games forever jumbled together in google searches as retro gamers look to find them to add to their collections!