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Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil logo

Vor knapp drei Jahren konnte Gremlins allzu brave Versoftung des populären Brett-Rollis „Hero Quest“ nur höflichen Applaus bei den digitalen Dungeonschleichern ernten – ob der Nachfolger nun für Begeisterungsstürme gut ist?

Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil Die wichtigsten Grundelemente des Vorgängers blieben uns jedenfalls erhalten: Wieder dürfen bis zu vier Spieler jeweils einen Helden übernehmen und diesen rundenweise durch eine isometrische 3D-Landschaft lotsen. Im Gegensatz zu dem auf sportlichen Wettstreit hin angelegten „Hero Quest“ ist neuerdings jedoch Teamwork gefragt, wenn es auf die Suche nach dem Ursprung einer furchtbaren Seuche geht. Betroffen ist das Land Rhia, wodurch dort jetzt die Flüsse verdorren, die Ernte verendet und das Vieh austrocknet – oder so ähnlich. Um Flüssen, Vieh und Ernte wieder auf die Sprünge zu helfen, müssen in neun voneinander unabhängigen Kapiteln zwei Talismane gefunden werden, nämlich ein Amulett und ein Orakelstein.

Nach Ablauf des netten Intros wird aus den acht zur Wahl stehenden Kämpfern, Zwergen, Magiern etc. Also ein (maximal) vierköpfiger Stoßtrupp zusammengestellt und durch das Verteilen zusätzlicher Stärkepunkte in fünf verschiedenen Bereichen individuell aufgepeppt. Abweichend von der üblichen Norm kann man in der Folge seine Party zwischen den einzelnen Kapiteln wieder völlig neu zusammenstellen – erst in dieser Übergangsphase werden auch eventuelle Verbesserungen der Charakterwerte wirksam, und das Abspeichern des Spielstands ist ebenfalls nur am Ende einer Mission zugelassen. Wer sich die Sache noch weiter (stark) erschweren will, braucht sein Glück bloß mit einem Solokämpfer zu versuchen...

Sobald alle Voreinstellungen vorgenommen wurden, wählt man auf der von oben gezeigten Landkarte einen der neuen Einsatzorte aus. Bei Bedarf kann man zuvor auch noch eins der drei angezeigten Warenhäuser besuchen, um nützliche Gegenstände vom Säbel bis zum Gesundheitstrank zu kaufen oder zu verkaufen. Der Auftrag Nummer eins führt in ein weitverzweigtes Vampirschloß, wo sich auch der Eingang zum ersten Etappenziel befindet, den Grabhügeln von Yaserat. Dorthin gelangt man aber nur, wenn man außer dem richtigen Tor auch einen irgendwo im Gemäuer verborgenen Knochenschlüssel und den sogenannten Ring der Elemente findet. Folglich muß man die höchst verwinkelte, aus unzähligen Räumen bestehende Burg Meter für Meter nach Geheimtüren, versteckten Gegenständen und Goldschätzen durchforschen. Alle naselang stolpert man dabei über Fallen wie plötzlich aus dem Boden schießende Speere, so daß wirklich jeder einzelne Schritt wohlüberlegt sein will. Einmal entdeckte Fallen können mit dem (hoffentlich) mitgeführten Werkzeug entschärft werden, das in der Regel der Zwerg „Grimbeard“ im Gepäck hat – gehört der Kleine aber gar nicht zur Party, muß man es erst in der Warenhäusern erstehen.

Gesteuert werden die Jungs nacheinander und rundenweise via Maus und die am unteren Bildrand angebrachten Icons bzw. Richtungspfeile. Jedem Mitglied der Gruppe steht pro Runde eine bestimmte Zahl von Bewegungs- und Aktionspunkten zum Suchen, Zaubern, Kämpfen usw. Zur Verfügung; haben alle ihr Kontingent Verpraßt, sind die zufällig gerade in der Gegend weilenden Monster dran. Als besonderer Service läßt sich das rechte Nagerohr mit einem beliebigen, häufig gebrauchten Befehl belegen, außerdem sorgt die jederzeit einblendbare Karte mit Automappingfunktion für Übersicht, und eine süße, kleine Maus zeigt ständig die verinnende Zeit an. Auf einen extra Kampfscreen hat man allerdings verzichtet, dier erspähten Skelette, Vampire oder Mumien werden gleich an Ort und Stelle mit den berufsspezifischen Waffen der Helden oder einem der insgesamt 20 Zaubersprüche beharkt.

Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil Ist die Gegend wieder monsterfrei, sucht man in der näheren Umgebung nach interessanten Objekten. Dies nimmt meist sogar mehrere Spielrunden in Anspruch, denn die einzelnen Forschungsaktionen erfassen immer nur einen sehr begrenzten räumlichen Ausschnitt. Trotzdem sollte hier niemand wegen einer kurzfristigen Zeitersparnis schludern, denn praktisch sämtliche Räume enthalten neben vielen bösen Ungeheuern auch diverse Geheimausgänge, Fallen und Verstecke. Alle entdeckten Kisten und Geldverstecke werden natürlich gnadenlos geplündert, die aufgespürten Fallen und Geheimtüren automatisch kartographiert. Kommen wir zur Manöverkritik: Da man zwischen seinen Leuten nicht nach Belieben hin- und herwechseln kann, stehen sich die Kerle des öfteren gegenseitig im Weg. Ein weiteres Manko ist die etwas unübersichtliche Optik – durch den isometrischen Blickwinkel bleiben die in Wandnähe plazierten Fallen oder Ungeheuer nahezu unsichtbar. Erschwert wird das Heldenleben in Sorasil auch durch das seltene Vorkommen der Heiltränke, die man unbedingt für das Auffrischen der Zauber- bzw. Lebensenergie benötigt. Die schwächlichen Monster sind zwar meist eher Opfer als Gegner, aber sie ersetzen ihre mangelnde Klasse eben durch pure Masse; zudem lassen sich im Kampf gefallene Recken nicht wiederbeleben, so daß man sie bei späteren Aufgaben oft schmerzlich vermißt.

Auf der Habenseite verbucht das Vermächtnis von Sorasil die völlig problemlose Maussteuerung, einen sehr melodiösen Klangteppich sowie das gegenüber dem Vorgänger sinnvol weiterentwickelte Gesamtkonzept. Weil auch die Atmosphäre des Spiels nichts zu wünschen übrig läßt, übersehen wir mal gnädig die kleinen Schwächen und die nicht wesentlich veränderte Grafik. Sorasil ist eine Reise wert. (md)

Amiga Joker, April 1994, p.p.90-91

THE LEGACY OF SORASIL
(GREMLIN)
ISO-ROLLENSPIEL
72%
"WÜRDIGER ERBE"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
72%
69%
74%
72%
70%
74%
FÜR FORTGESCHRITTENE
PREIS DM 69,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
3/JA
JA
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil logo

When it comes to pushing little men around, there's no-one with more experience than Tony Dillon, so we packed him off to Sheffield to play with Gremlin's little computer people.

Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil I don't know about you, but I thought Heroquest was a really good game. Then again, I've always been a fan of that kind of small scale strategy adventures, going back to Laser Squad and back even further to games like Rebelstar Raiders on my ZX Spectrum. Games where you can take control of huge armies are all well and good, but there's something about controlling single characters that gives the game a more personal touch, turning it almost, but not quite, into a role playing title. It was a very simple title, to be sure, and doubtless that had a lot to do with the fact that it was Gremlin's first boardgame conversion. Just take a look at Space Crusade to see how they improved their game system.

BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER!
For the past 18 months, though, those likely lads from the ex-steel capital of the world have been busying themselves with a sequel to that original game. The instructions were clear – find out everything that could be improved with the original, improve it and then make it bigger and better still. When you're working with a tried and tested formula, surely making it better can't be the easiest thing to do? Don't ask me how, but they've done it!

Despite your lengthy training session in Heroquest, the vile plague that sweeps the land of Rhiâ continues to sweep, leaving death and desolation in its trail. Even the Mystic Alamon, your lord and mentor, can do nothing about it. There is only one thing to do other than run away crying, and that's travel over the Shadow Mountains to the land of Kolchöth and collect two Talismans of Lore. Only these can save your once-delightful, now a bit of a desert, homeland. OK, so it isn't the most inspired plot, but these things rarely are.

People already familiar with Heroquest will be mildly surprised by the layout of the game. Before, you were given your set and missions, and you could play them out in any order you wished. Legacy of Sorasil takes a more linear viewpoint, whereby you have to complete a set of missions before you can progress to the nest. For instance, to begin with only the first level, which is set in the lively location of the Barrow Mount of Yaserat, is available to you. Complete that, and you are offered missions two, three and four. These can be played in any order, but all must be finished before you can progress to the next three, and so on until all nine are completed.

I WANT MORE!
My first thought on seeing the game design was that nine levels could never be enough. Perhaps I was spoilt by getting Heroquest complete with the Witch Mountain expansion, giving me a grand total of around 24 missions to play with. Once I'd actually played through half a level, I realised that nine is about all you need. They are huge; easily four times the size of the levels of the original game, and possibly larger. Whereas the first level on Heroquest would take the average player 10 to 15 minutes to complete, I was wandering around the Barrow-mound of Yaserat for a full 45 minutes, and was still nowhere near the end. No, I'm not a lousy game player, that just shows you how huge the levels are.

One of the biggest improvements to the game is the introduction of more than four different character types. Instead of being lumbered with a dwarf, barbarian, a paladin and a wizard, you can now choose an elf, a cleric, a ranger and a mystic as well, giving you a total of eight different characters, from which you can pick up to four to take on your quest.

Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil When you actually get into the game, seasoned Heroquest players will feel right at home. A similar set of icons lie at the bottom of the screen, and movement control works in exactly the same way as before – move to a point by either clicking on the square you want to move to, or by clicking on the direction arrows at the bottom of the screen.

ACTING LESSONS
Something that was always a little unclear in Heroquest was the difference between action points and movement points, which generally left you walking somewhere, doing an action such as a room search, and then finding that you couldn't move again. This time around, both are explained and both are displayed on screen. Movement points simply relate to the number of squares you can cross in that turn, including walking. Every action uses up points, and as you move around, you'll see the action point clock ticking down. Thankfully, you can now move, search and then move again, but only if you have enough points, that's the end of the turn, regardless of how many movement points are left. Item handling has changed drastically since the first game, as you now have an inventory to hold your weapons and treasure in. Yes, the shop is still there at the end of the level, but this time you can sell to it as well as buy. You may wonder what the good in that is. Well, when you kill certain monsters, they will leave treasure and sometimes the weapons they were carrying. These can be collected and sold for profit, or you can sell your old weapon and upgrade. Best of all, when one of your party dies, you can transfer the contents of their inventory to another player, so potions and weapons needn't go to waste.

One thing I always like about this sort of game is the ease with which you can slip into tactical play. In many games like this, you just seem to charge around in a large bunch, smacking hell out of anything you come across. Legacy of Sorasil just can't work like that. For a start, there are too many routes through each level, so to get through you'll need to split up. Then you learn about defensive play (running away from heavy combat, in other words), along with constant security checks (looking for traps and treasure). The simplicity makes it all the more involving. There's no need to refer to the manual once you've read it, so you can concentrate on what you're doing without intrusion from complicated game mechanics or obstructive menus and commands.

SEEING IS BELIEVING
The characters are bigger than before, and far more detailed with a lot more animation. Unfortunately, this has led to less of the surrounding area displayed on screen than before, but that doesn't matter because the whole thing scrolls! No more flipping between locations, and believe me when I say that this makes the whole thing a lot more playable.

I've really enjoyed it, and am currently looking forward to playing it a lot more. As a role playing game, I don't think it has the subtlety of something like Worlds Of Legend, and is far more fun played as a tactical strategy game. If you're after an RPG, there are a lot better, but if you want challenging gameplay and a game that's going to last, you can't go far wrong with this.

CU Amiga, September 1993, p.p.68-69

Heroquest 2: Play window explained
1.The current active party member is shown here. Along with his name.
2.These icons control party icons, like attacking, spell casting, searching for treasure traps and doors, etc.
3.Movement points counter - the direction arrows for controlling characters.
4.These icons display how much gold the party has managed to collect, as well as your available movement and action points.
5.The main play area is shown here. All the action will take place in this part of the screen.
6.These are your movement points, displayed as a clock. Use them up and it ticks down.

CHANGES
Unlike the original Heroquest, you aren't restricted to the basic characters at the start. If you like, you can customise them to a degree, turning them from your average superheroes to your average superheroes with slightly better muscles, or slightly better perception. You have five points to spread over the six basic statistics of each character, and while you can raise and lower the stats to your heart's content, you can never get them any lower than the level at which they started.

GREMLIN £27.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
GREMLIN GRAPHICS, CARVER HOUSE, 2-4 CARVER STREET, SHEFFIELD S1 4FS. TEL: 0742 753423
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
SEPTEMBER
STRATEGY/RPG
IN HOUSE
MOUSE
2
1
YES
1Mb
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
81%
76%
85%
89%
An excellent sequel to a very enjoyable game. Worth anyone's money.
OVERALL: 83%



Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil CD32 logo  CD32

Gremlin/£30

Amiga version: 80%, AP36.
Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil CD32 Lightning cracks the sky. A castle shivers from the depths of Hell and earthquakes shatter the land. Explosive music blasts from the speakers. Crescendo. All spirals into silence. But wait! What is this message swimming into existence?
‘Loading’. Cheers.

Lord only knows what Steve M was thinking when he awarded this game 80%. It is quite as foul as the original Hero Quest and entirely fails to break free of the rigid tedium of the board game. It is the sort of game where, because one of your characters has a toolkit, the designers feel justified in placing up to seven re-arming traps in a room. There is an option to click on a square and have the character move there automatically (instead of laboriously) but because of the acute perspective the game thinks you want to go somewhere else and your character stomps off in the wrong direction and wastes all his movement points, there are lots of single-file corridors, monsters sit there until you stumble across them, combat is handled automatically while you make your cup of tea and it all feels like a game of AD&D run by a pedantic cretin. Curiously, the CD version, while adding the expected lutey soundtrack and (really rather good) spot effects, also features a brand-new bug which frequently gets confused when you are trying to attack something and moves you instead, and occasionally locks the game up completely. And you still cannot save until you finish a level.
STUART CAMPBELL

Amiga Power, Issue 41, September 1994, p.p.80-81

THE BOTTOM LINE
CD32 Painfully obvious RPG stuffed with monsters and traps that hamper your progress in entirely the wrong way. If this was a board game, you would ant to strike the moderator repeatedly about the head and body. You would be better off going for the structurally similar but vastly superior Laser Squad or Sabre Team instead.
44

P E R C E N T


Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil CD32 logo  CD32

"My old head master used to tell me that there was nothing like a good RPG. I often wondered what he meant. But now I've seen the light, with a little help from Gremlin". (Tony Dillon, 6th August 1994).

Heroquest 2 - The legacy of Sorasil CD32 T here are companies that sign up huge licenses and make OK games with them. There are other companies that sign up less big licenses and make absolute dire games with them. And then there are companies like Gremlin, who sign up small licenses like Space Crusade and Heroquest, and make some really blinding games with them. The original Heroquest, while being simple and a little too easy, was still a superb introduction to Role Playing Games (RPGs) for the masses, and I waited for this sequel with some anticipation. Sure, there was a sequel of sorts in the form of a data disk, but that was nothing more than an extension of the original. With Legacy Of Sorasil, Gremlin really went to town, taking note of all the good and bad points of the original, and building on them.

Instead of a series of small adventures which can be played in any sequence (a la Heroquest), Sorasil has nine large adventures which form part of a single campaign. Your eventual aim is to free your homeland of Rhia from the evil that binds it, but your short term aims are forever changing.

IT'S MY PARTY...
At the start of the game you have to create your party of four characters from a list of eight, ranging from the standard Wizards and Barbarians to less standard characters such as Rangers and Mystics. As usual, all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and finding the right balance of characters comes mainly from your own gaming style more than anything else. Still, once you have the set-up you are after, you can walk into the first adventure.

Like Space Crusade and the original Heroquest, the game is played out in turns, with each human controlled character being allotted a certain amount of 'action points' and the computer controlling everything else. This gives you plenty of time to think and work out your moves.

As an adventure, though, Heroquest is still very simple. The whoefully small amount of icons at the bottom of the screen only allow you to fight, cast a spell, search for treasures or traps, check the map, check your inventory or open/close a door. I'm all for simple control methods, but when there is this little you can do, essentially the puzzles that accompany it have to be quite simple as well, On the one hand, you can get into the game with no trouble at all, but on the other hand, you shouldn't really have all that much trouble completing it.

It looks OK, but the non-AGA graphics show up quite badly on a machine that can easily handle 256 colour displays. Sure, some of the locations are atmospheric enough, and most of the sprites are clear and easily recognisable, but it would have been nice to have seen a bit more in the way of animation. Practically all animations are limited to three or four frames, which is really unacceptable when you look at the size of the machine and the storage capacity of the medium.

MARS BARS
Sound has been used extremely well, with a rich atmospheric soundtrack and excellent use of voices for the spell chants whenever you cast a spell. Sadly though, even this can't save what, while being a good adventure and perfect for beginners and intermediate RPG fans, just isn't deep or wholesome enough to fully satisfy.

CU Amiga, September 1994, p.50

GREMLIN £29.99
CD32 ONLY

GREMLIN GRAPHICS, CARVER HOUSE, 2-4 CARVER STREET, SHEFFIELD S1 4FS. TEL: 0742 753423
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALLABLE:
MEMORY:
 
OUT NOW
RPG
IN HOUSE
JOYPAD
1
1
NO
1Mb
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
79%
88%
82%
83%
A fair RPG, which could have been much, much better if made more difficult.
OVERALL: 80%