A computerised classic

Hero Quest 1 logo

Publisher: Gremlin Graphics Price: £24.99

The fell legions of Morcar, Lord of Chaos, had swept all before them. At the sight of the Black Banner and the massed hordes of Chaos, even the bravest warriors of the Emperor had turned tail and fled, the land was laid waste and all men despaired."
So it was that the Chronicles of Loretome told of the age of darkness - a time that was destined to last until eternity.

However, under the leadership of Rogar, a Barbarian prince from the Borderlands, a party of would-be heroes was assembled. In addition to the Barbarian, the group also included a battle-hardened Gully-Dwarf, an Elven cleric-fighter and a mystical Wizard. Could these four companions enter Morcar's domain and put paid to his evil schemes?

Gremlin's Hero Quest is taken directly from the MB board game of the same name. The game can be played by up to four participants, the computer assuming the role of the evil Morcar. The basic game involves a party of heroes attempting to complete 4 quests. Each task involves one or more of the following: finding an escape route, rescuing a hostage, collecting an ancient artifact or defeating an evil monster. Before commencing a quest, the players will be informed of their goal.

Each of the four players have their turns before the computer decides which of Morcar's minions to move. At the beginning of a turn a gold coin spins in the corner of the screen. When stopped, the coin will indicate the number of moves a player has.

During a turn players may perform a number of actions. Walking around the dungeons is pretty straightforward. In addition, participants may also search for hidden treasure or secret passages.

Monsters patrol all levels of Morcar's dungeons and come in all shapes and sizes. When a creature is encountered it will usually advance and attack (would-be heroes can attack first). The battle is portrayed with your character facing the attacker. Skirmishes are decided on the role of a dice. The attacker must roll skulls to achieve a hit on the enemy while the defender rolls shields to block the blows. The battle continues with the roles alternating until one of the two parties has been destroyed. Your hit points are displayed in the top left corner of the screen. Your character will die should this value reach zero.

All of the heroes can use conventional weapons. Ranged weapons, such as crossbows, may also be used as long a monster is within view. In addition, both the Sorcerer and Elven Cleric-fighter can use magic, casting both offensive and defensive spells. Attacking spells allow you to kill monsters you can see. Defensive spells allow you to increase your armour strength, revitalize your hit points or perform other useful actions such as passing through walls.

Players who manage to escape a dungeon may save their characters for future quests. Only when all the conditions of the quest have been fulfilled will that that quest be deemed completed. To become a real hero you must complete all fourteen quests.

In between searching Morcar's dungeons, players have the chance to spend some of their spoils. Extra weapons, armour and provisions can all be purchased to aid you in your ultimate goal.
In addition to the 14 levels contained within Hero Quest, Gremlin are also going to produce data disks containing even more spine-chilling challenges.



Hero Quest 1 logo

GREMLIN GRAPHICS * £25.99 * Mouse

Do you remember when men were plastic and the world was flat with a fold in the middle. If you do, it's odds on that you're one of the millions who went on a Hero Quest, fighting the forces of Chaos in a land of Orcs, Ogres and other horrors. The board-based Hero Quest was the gaming hit of 1989 and is still going strong, shifting over 300,000 copies last year..

Hero Quest is in fact a Warhammer trainer, designed for those who'd rathr get on with the sword slashing and spell casting than scouring obscure manuals. It offers many of the appealing facets of major league RPGs, without the associated hassles.

In Hero Quest, the character abilities are limited, as fighting skill and spell casting can only be improved through finding weapons or potions. Tension replaces real role play, as characters fight fearsome foes on strictly level terms. Death is only four hits away for the weakest hero, eight for the toughest; while monsters are always killed with a single stroke or spell. These simple characteristics mean that all 14 quests are finely tuned, which require as much thought as violence.

Party time
Character actions too are severely curtailed from the totally flexible RPG norm. Party members can either fight, cast a spell, search for traps or treasure and move once every turn. There's little role-play potential, but the game speeds along with action replacing realism. That's where its at its best, with four characters dashing, bashing and cashing in on as much treasure as they can find.

Computer Hero Quest is identical to the board-game. It looks better and plays as a perfect replica of its cardboard counterpart. With one action and move per turn the four heroes explore the dungeon board, which is configured differently for each quest. The team have to get out alive and traps, treasure and foes wait on the other side of every door.

Chase HQ
Players take sequential turns, each starting with a randomly generated number of moves. Then, using an icon cluster they are sent 'a wandering' or battling. On hand is a map, to check where you've been, and the action icons. The bag which contains weapons and potions can be dipped into at any moment - even during combat - to make sure that the best tools are being used for the job. While for quick reference each hero's health, wealth, intelligence and number of moves remaining sit in the top corner of the screen.

The dungeon is played as an isometric world, to convey the 3D look of the board version - which came complete with plastic playing pieces and card furniture. The heroes feature token animation when fighting and walking, but still retain that 'figure' look.

The scenarios too, are identical to their board-game parent, slowly escalating the violence as the characters gain better kit. The computer plays the part of the 'Quest Master' making Hero Quest a viable one-player project for the very first time.

Seven up
Hero Quest provides a perfect silicon reflection of the original. This means that it has to contend with the same limitations.
Hero Quest was designed for those of lesser years who want a taster of role-play and those of greater years who want a fast, monster smashing, sesh. The first seven scenarios provide a generous challenge, allowing characters to become well equipped and familiar with the game mechanics. When life gets mean - from Quest eight onwards - the change is dramatic. Suddenly the game comes alive, the tasks get more complex, the foes more numerous and the chances of survival far slimmer.

Gremlin have translated Hero Quest convincingly. It's a fast mix of cunning and cutting that should go down brilliantly both with fans of the series and 'wannabe' fantasy warriors. There is however the question of lasting interest. The computer game is so hero-friendly to play, that the first seven of quests will only last for a few hours. With the board-game, imaginative folk could easily configure their own quests once they'd beaten the preset 14. Sadly, no such facility is possible with the computer version. A supplementary quests disk will be available soon, but this doesn't solve the problem.

Unfortunately, the playability of Hero Quest encourages a quick finish, because it's easy going RPG fun. Gremlin have managed to produce the computer doppelganger of the original board-game bestseller and 300,000 people can't be wrong, can they?


CLASS WAR
Hero Quest 1: Barbarian THE BARBARIAN:
He makes two short planks look smart, but is in fact hard as nails. Excellent at close combat he has few other strengths, the best front man for a questing squad. He tends to trigger all traps, being large and heavy, but is able to take the punishment they dish out. Worth playing just for the violence.
Hero Quest 1: Dwarf THE DWARF:
Hard but short, he's a good fighter with no magical abilities. He is the best at discovering secret doors and removing traps, which makes him an ideal counterpart for the clumsy barbarian in the front ranks. He can wear any armour found or bought on the quest despite being a touch chubby.
Hero Quest 1: Elf THE ELF:
He has limited magical abilities but can fight with all weapons and wear armour. A good all rounder, he's a must for the later levels where his multi-role potential can save the day. As a fighting wizard he can stand-and-hack in the front rank but makes a good loner when played with only one hero.
Hero Quest 1: Wizard THE WIZARD:
He can use four different sets of spells (fire, earth, water and air) to blast beasts and heal party members. He can fight with a staff but wears no armour and so is vulnerable during close combat. He is best employed in a backup/long-range attack-role, where he can cast spells safely from the back ranks.
CHAOS STRIKES BACK
Hero Quest 1: Introduction Hero Quest 1: Introduction Hero Quest 1: Introduction
Welcome. I, Mentor, have been training you to become heroes. Heroes able to battle the forces of Chaos who now threaten our land. Many years ago Morcar was like you, my pupil. He learned fast but wanted greater knowledge. He raided my library and learned of the dark side. I tried to stop him but he fled to the Northern Chaos wastes. From that day hence he swore to overthrow order. Now his forces march on the borderlands and certain ancient artifacts must be recovered. That is your task. Good luck adventurers.

Hero Quest 1 logo

Das fehlende "S" im Titel macht den Unterschied: Bei Gremlin hat man nicht etwa Sierras Vorjahres-Hit kopiert, sondern MBs gleichnamiges Brettrollenspiel für den Amiga umgesetzt. Ob die Dungeon-Hatz auch in der digitalen Version überzeugen kann?

Die schlichte Hintergrund-geschichte wäre ohne weiteres eines Ballerspiels würdig. Der bitterböse Zauberer Morcar tyrannisiert mit seinen Schergen die gesamte Fantasywelt, basta. Fehlt noch was? Ach so, irgendjemand sollte dem Miesling natürlich das Handwerk legen! Das kann man alleine machen, was den Vorteil hat, daß man nach Belieben abwechselnd die Rolle eines Magiers, Elfs, Barbaren oder Zwergs übernehmen darf. Oder man absolviert die insgesamt 14 Einzelprüfungen (Quests) mit Freunden, wobei dann (bis zu) vier Teilnehmer die Heldencharactere steuern, dem fünften bleibt der Part des Schurken Morcar.

Vom Ablauf her hat Hero Quest denn auch nur wenig Ähnlichkeit mit einem Rollenspiel üblicher Machart: Die zu durchforstenden Dungeons werden in einer isometrischen 3D-Perspektive dargestellt, der Boden ist jeweils in Quadrate untergeteilt. Mit einem Münzwurf (der Ersatz fürs Würfeln) wird ermittelt, um wieviel der Steinplatten man weiterkommt - wie bei der Brett-Vorlage ziehen die Helden immer schön nacheinander. In jedem Zug darf man suchen, kämpfen oder einen Zauberspruch loslassen, selbstverständlich können auch Türen geöffnet und Gegenstände aufgesammelt werden. So findet man z.B. recht nützliche Tränke, aber auch jede Menge Gold, das man später im Shop für bessere Waffen, Rüstung etc. ausgeben kann. Gibt es unterwegs Orientierungsschwierigkeiten, holt man sich die Dungeon-Generalkarte samt markierter Positionen der Hauptdarsteller auf den Screen; kommt es zu Begegnungen der monströsen Art, kann man in einer kleinen Animationssequenz beobachten, wie Gut und Böse aufeinander einschlagen.

Die Steuerung im Iconbetrieb ist kinderleicht zu bedienen; auch in Sachen Präsentation haben sich die Programmierer nicht lumpen lassen: Die Sprites sind samt und sonders phantasievoll gestaltet, auch die diversen Verliese sehen recht ansprechend aus, wenngleich sie sich nicht allzusehr voneinander unterscheiden. Es gibt viele Fenster und grafisch sehr liebevoll gemachte Menüs; dazu spielt der Amiga eine wunderschöne Melodie, die Türen knarren gar schauerlich - der erste Eindruck ist wirklich nicht übel! Aber schon nach relativ kurzer Spielzeit offenbart das Game seine große Schwäche; Die einzelnen Quests sind einander viel zu ähnlich, um versierte Recken langfristig bei der Stange halten zu können! Mal muß man eine Geisterklinge suchen, dann einen Goldschatz aufstöbern, oder auch einfach nur aus einem Labyrinth entkommen - praktisch verbringt man aber die meiste Zeit damit, durch leere Räume zu laugen, Türen zu öffnen und hin und wieder ein Monster zu vertrimmen...

Einsteiger auf der Suche nach einem leicht erlernbaren Fantasy-Game dürfen also getrost mal einen Versuch mit Hero Quest wagen. Rollenspiel-Profis hingegen sind hier hoffnungslos unterfordert - ihnen bleibt ein weiteres Mal die bittere Erkenntnis, daß ein tolles Brettspiel nicht unbedingt ein ebenso tolles Computerspiel abgibt. (C. Borgmeier)



Hero Quest 1 logo

Hero Quest took the board-game market by storm, with its innovative mix of standard game techniques and role-playing. It was really only a matter of time before somebody realised that it was a formula that'd work just perfectly in a computer game format...

It's been a funny old month for me, y'know. All the games I was expecting to like have turned out to be complete guff, and things I thought I was going to hate have actually been loads of fun.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Hero Quest is the official licence of the fantasy board game of the same name, and features up to four players playing against the computer in a number of quests (the number being fourteen, as it happens) of a fairly standard fantasy-game nature. There are knights to be rescued, goblins to be decapitated, secret passages to be discovered and treasure to be looted, and although the game can be played solo (in which mode it's more akin to a straight adventure), it's loads more fun if you get a few chums round and gang up on the monsters and race to be the first to the treasure.
At least it probably is (not having any friends I wouldn't really know) but I'm sure it'd be just terrific.

Sticking with the one-player game, then, Hero Quest on first impressions looks a lot like a cross between the Bitmap Brothers' Cadaver and the legendary 8-bit classic Knightlore.
The various rooms and passages are illustrated in isometric 3D graphics, not quite up to the standards of Cadaver, but perfectly respectable all the same. That's more or less where the similarity ends, though, as in Hero Quest the gameplay is more reminiscent of Dungeon Master, with lots of exploring interlaced with bouts of hack-and-slashing.

None of the monsters are especially tough, and a lot of the difficulty comes from the restraints placed upon your movements by the throw of the 'dice', and by the actual game rules. For example, you can't enter a room and then exit by the same door in the same turn, you can't move, perform another action and then move some more, and you can't search a room and attack a monster in the same turn either.
This causes serious problems if, say, you search a room. Walk into another room which turns out to contain four mean monsters, then find you're stuck there with no choice other than to let them all attack you until it's your go again (by which time there's a very good chance you'll be dead).

What this all means is that you have to plan your movements very carefully in order to have as many options open to you as possible in any given situation, especially when there are other human players involved, all trying to get to the same goodies as you are (I should imagine). It's not all just hacking and slashing though - certain characters have various magic spells at their disposal too, and there's the extra incentive that all the characters can spend and cash they get their grubby hands on during a quest in the weapons shop, which can be visited between levels. Even heroes have to go shopping.

LACKING A SENSE OF URGENCY
If there's a problem with Hero Quest, it's that the single-player game can be just a little bit dull. Since there's no element of race against other players, and no time limit, you can play the game very methodically and slowly, and so never have to put yourself in much real danger. A sense of urgency is always a good thing in a game, and unless you make things deliberately difficult for yourself (by rushing around the place utterly recklessly, for instance), that's something that's missing from one-player Hero Quest.

Playing jolly carefully then, I completed several of the more difficult quests on my first attempt, without having to be particularly clever, and this could result in the game having a rather limited span of appeal for many potential fans. That said, I didn't feel I was being cheated at all, as there's a sufficient random element in the fighting scenes that you can never be sure you're going to win. All the same, if you're always going to be playing alone, think carefully before you buy this game. Conversely of course, if you habitually get your chums round for an evening's Amiga-orientated fun, then Hero Quest is one of the most socially enriching experiences available. You'll certainly find out who your real friends are.

I didn't think this was going to be my kind of game, but for the nth time this month I've been proved wrong. Hero Quest is a very enjoyable piece of software indeed, and one of the best multi-player experiences available for the Amiga. IF you fancy a different slant on your D&D for once, snap it up.


SO YOU WANT TO BE A HERO?
Watch in awe now, as we take you on a brief stroll through Quest Seven - The Stone Hunter. In this quest, the Emperor's personal wizard, Karlen, has disappeared. The Emperor fears that he has been murdered or succumbed to the lures of Chaos magic, so he dispatches our hero (ies you) to find out Karlen's fate, and if possible bring him back home to safety...
Hero Quest 1 Hero Quest 1
1. Here we are at the beginning of the quest. Actually, it's the beginning of all quests, as every one appears to start in exactly the same room. Interesting features of this room include the baroque-feel imitation stone wall panelling, the floor, erm, the doorway, and ooh, lots of secret passageways and stuff like that, probably. Note the large stairway to your right, but don't be tempted to go down it, as I did on my first go, as it's actually the exit and your quest will be over before it actually starts. Instead, walk through the door, where you will meet something very big, very bad and extremely scary indeed. 2. Ulp. Actually, this little goblin is nothing for you to worry too much about. He's pretty much the sword-fodder character of the game, but he can be dangerous if your life-force is a bit low. Since you'll have to pass him again at the end of the quest, it's best to kill him now and avoid those unpleasant killed-on-the-second-to-last-screen scenarios. Generally, the scorched-earth policy is almost always the best one to follow when playing Hero Quest. It's always better to take out baddies near the beginning when you're stronger, than risk stumbling across them later when you're suffering from the cumulative effects of a dozen swordfights. At least this way, if you do get killed, you haven't wasted quite as much time.
Hero Quest 1 Hero Quest 1
3. Yikes! This is an even trickier situation than it first appears, as the game's combat system only allows you to attack one adversary per turn. The best plan, therefore, is to adapt a 'stick-and-move' policy, i.e. attack a baddie then run out of the room, where they won't follow you, before they can get any retaliation in. If this trikes you as a rather cowardly ploy, then make sure you attack the orc on the right first, as this will minimise the number of attacks you are subject to each move (characters cannot share a space, so the other two have to queue up if they want to hit you). If you use either of these strategies, you shouldn't have any problems with this screen, and will be in good shape to tackle... 4. These. Again, there are several tactics you can use here, although the one I've chosen (hiding in the corner and hoping they'll go away) isn't particularly advisable. The layout of this room means you're in danger of being surrounded and clobbered from all sides at once, so, in this case, discretion is the better part of valour. Put your head down and run through the room at full tilt and they won't get so much as a sniff of you (though sniffing you is the last thing on their minds anyway). Remember though, that they'll be waiting for you when you come back, so hold tight in the previous room until you throw a big enough number to get through in one go.
Hero Quest 1 Hero Quest 1
5. You can tell you're getting close to your objective now, as the opposition is beginning to take on more of an intimidating look. These two pleasant and charming chaps will do you some serious damage if you let them, so er, don't let them. If you're playing as the wizard or elf characters, save your most devastating magic spells until now, or alternatively simply run for it again. If your character is strong, you could probably slug it out with them, but it's not really worth the risk. Again, if you do decide to just avoid them, remember to exercise extreme caution when re-entering the room on the way back. 6. And here he is, the man himself! Karlen! Except, erm, he isn't actually a man anymore. Mucking around with magic, he got the recipe wrong and he's turned himself into a zombie. Despite being undead and comatose, he'll still give you a nasty bite if you give him a chance, so you'd better not give him any chances. And there's only one way to make sure you don't give a zombie any chances. What's that? That's right, we slice them into a dozen equal-sized pieces and go home. Give Karlen the chop and head back home, where the Emperor will pay you 100 gold coins for discovering Karlen's fate, and that's it. Quest Seven in the bag.


Hero Quest 1 logo

Heroquest the boardgame has sold obscene amounts, so it's no surprise to see that Gremlin have translated it to the home computer format The cross between Dungeons and Dragons and more traditional boardgames has caught the imagination of people everywhere, and this is a faithful reproduction of the game.

There are four characters to choose from: Elf, Dwarf, Wizard and Barbarian. Up to four players can take part in the quests, each controlling one of the characters and competing against the others. The characters have different skills: the barbarian is the best fighter while the wizard has the best spells and cerebral abilities. Scenarios increase in difficulty and complexity as the game progresses towards the lair of the evil wizard Morcar. The computer game mimics the idea of rolling dice to determine the number of action points - only it shows up onscreen as a spinning coin! The player clicks on it to stop it spinning and then moves, searches or engages in combat.

Again, the combat system is faithful to the boardgame; each combatant spins a number of coins and compares the result to his opponent's throw. Skulls represent attack and shields defence. The person with the most of either gets to block the attack or hit the enemy - a draw means no effect. Examine a room for secret doors or hidden treasure.

A pull-down menu charts the player's progress, as well as giving pointers to unseen areas and the likely locations of hidden rooms. Killing monsters gains the player money; but only the first player to complete the task and escape through the exit gets to claim the reward. A mixture of heroism, common sense and downright treachery are the best methods to use in order to win.

One of the nastiest shocks awaiting the adventurer is the presence of traps. The dwarf comes equipped with anti-trap picks but the rest of the characters take pot luck. Jumping the pits is an option for those with enough action points. Unlike the boardgame, the Amiga version can be played solo, with the computer taking on the role of Morcar, the evil wizard. However, the atmosphere and sense of competition are definitely limited by this. The graphics are excellent, dear and distinctly unflowery. The sound isn't anything special with the exception of the noise of the spinning coin; this is fantastic (and needs to be because you'll hear it hundreds of times).

Which brings me to the gameplay. There's nothing to fault it, and the game moves in a logical fashion. A sense of atmosphere is hard to get in a game like this but somehow Gremlin have pulled it off. My main quibble is that once a mission is completed, lost energy is not restored. The only other fault I can find is the lack of interest for solitary players. The difficulty of the scenarios assumes at least a couple of players, so those playing on their own might find it some what frustrating. Still, Gremlin must be congratulated for a job well done.


The scenarios give the players a not-so-gentle learning curve. The first mission, to simply find the exit and be the first to escape, has few monsters and only a couple of traps. The fourteen quests range in subject from the rescue of a prince to escaping from a jail cell. As the levels unfold, the over-riding mission to kill or at least neutralise Morcar becomes more and more important. The final level in Barak Tor pitches the adventurers against the might of the Witch Lord, and his defeat will prevent Morcar from gaining control of the lands. Only the best warriors and magicians stand a hope, so practice well before trying!


Hero Quest 1 logo

Gremlin's newie requires a reviewer who is intelligent, incredibly handsome and prepared to wear pointy hats and flamboyant trousers. Toby 'Gandalf' Finlay scores one out of three.

Heeeerrreee's Hero Quest! Not to be confused with the Sierra title Hero's Quest, Gremlin's title is the licensed conversion of the M&B board game. In a nutshell, it's a sword and sorcery D&D style game concerning four, er... heroes on an, erm... quest (but you probably knew that anyway from the title). (You clot. Ed.)

Once again you have got the standard bunch: a barbarian, elf, dwarf and wizard - all with equally crap names but not such crap abilities. Indeed, these merry folk have very different strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the wizard and elf can both exercise magic (as usual) and the barbarian and dwarf, er... can't. Actually, that's where the main differences end.

You can choose whether you want to be the extremely hard (but very stupid) meths-swigging barbarian or alternatively you might want to be the namby-pamby, shandy-sipping wizard. He might know all the spells under the sun, but he won't last long in a battle of brawn.

So, you've chosen your hero. If you're a shandy-man (like me) and have some friends (unlike me) then you can get them to join in as another character. Okay? All set?Now we can go on a quest. (But what about buying some weapons and armour first? Readers voice.) Er, well... at the very beginning of the game you're skint, so first you'll need to find some dosh.

That brings me neatly onto the main part of the game - the quests themselves. There are fourteen in total and although they can be attempted in any order, it's advisable to solve the easy ones first (obviously) and work your way up to the more difficult ones. The objectives range from killing an orc-warlord to thieving as much gold as you can carry from a castle. Er... and that's it really, in an attractive 3D isometric graphic sort of way.

Amiga reviewToby: Hero Quest was one of the best-selling board games of last year, so I was more than a little excited when this popped into my in-tray. The screenshots on the box contributed to my enthusiasm (looking, as they do, like the old UltimateSpeccy games), but once the game had loaded I was a little disappointed.

Maybe Gremlin has tried to emulate the board game too closely. I mean, if I wanted a board game I'd buy a board game, whilst I'd expect the computer version to offer adaptations of the original features that take advantage of the computer. I didn't expect the computer to simulate the board game so exactly.

For a start there's the combat sequence - the player has virtually no control. Instead, special dice are 'thrown'- if you get more skulls than your opponent gets shields, then you win (and vice versa) - but you don't even get to roll the dice! The other part which hasn't translated successfully is the system whereby you decide how many moves you'll be allowed on any particular go. Obviously you throw the equivalent of a dice (this time you do it yourself) to decide how many steps you can take.
Okay, that's fine if you're playing with other people, but if you're on your own it's mind-boggingly tedious to have to throw again and again (and again).

Apart from these two niggles of gameplay, the game's not bad. In fact I stayed up rather late trying to complete the seventh quest, and the game's destined to be in Crystal Tips for yonks. Although somewhat crudely drawn, the graphics do have a certain charm and some of the sampled sounds are brilliant. The whole package is well presented and the clear instruction manual would allow even the Thicky brothers to get to grips with the game after only a couple of goes.

It's a bit sad really that although Hero Quest will mainly appeal to fans of the board game, Gremlin has not designed any new quests, so "déja vu" will be the thought on the veteran's mind (and "Oh Jings!" will be the words on his lips). New players, however, may well lap it up.



Hero Quest 1: Return of the Witchlord logo

Gremlin £14.99

Gremlin's conversion of the low-level hack-and-slash board-game has now more quests. Return of the Witchlord is part two of the sword-waving, spell-casting tale of warriors and wizards. Ten new missions are on offer, to test the mettle of even the best questers.

These new quests are tough stuff, with hordes of hard nasties inside the very fist door. So those saved parties from Hero Quest, complete with all their purchased weaponry and magic armour is going to be essential if you are to make a successful assault on the Witchlord.

10 new challenges await the party and all are proper Hero Quest (the board game version) adventures so you can be sure that all have a few surprises tucked up their armoured sleeves. Yet they all use the same interface established in Hero Quest, so play will be just as slick.

Previously when you played the game it was so easy (even for the solo player) that managing four characters was a cinch, so the data disk has arrived just in time to catch the preliminary buzz of the original release. There has to be a huge number of heroes questing out there already, with the original riding high at number seven in the charts and this data disk deserves to be an equal success.

Hero Quest is needed in order to run Return of the Witchlord, but it has to be an absolute must for any Barbarian, Elf, Wiz or Dwarf who want more Chaos Warriors to kill, zombies to slice, skeletons to slice.



Hero Quest 1: Return of the Witchlord logo

I couldn't get as excited about Hero Quest as Stuart did (he gave it 80 percent in issue Two), as it's pretty crummy as a one-player game, but there's no denying that when you lay into it with a couple of chums it's all very addictive indeed. In fact, as Stuart pointed out, you don't think you've been playing it for long but suddenly the lawn's eighteen feet high, your kids have grown up and left home and the Conservatives are still in charge in the country. (Um... oops).

Anyway, an expansion disk then, eh? While the original game had plenty of quests, which all stood up to repeated playing, they were pretty easy when it came down to it. At the end of it all you were left with was a collection of heavily armed characters with some serious spending power and nowhere for them to play. Which is just the problem this expansion pack sets out to tackle - it's more of the same, but harder, and Gremlin suggest you don't try tackling it unless you've got some pretty mean characters saved from the first time round.

The quests aren't much of a departure from the first lot. They're just different room layouts with different objectives at the end. Don't expect any changes to the graphics or range of baddies, although I don't remember being stalked before by Death (who's invisible, and knocks off body points when he passes through you).

It's always tricky giving marks to expansion packs. This one isn't as radical as, say, the Falcon mission disks, but it's sensibly prices and is certain to prolong the life of the original game. So I'd better give it 80 percent as well, really.