Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil logo

After a series of successful board game conversions, Gremlin are back with the second in the Hero Quest series. Here Simon Clays enters the fantasy world of the Legacy of Sorasil.


Back in the late '80s, Hasbro's Hero Quest board game series bridged the gap between traditional dice-rolling gaming and the more surreal world of the role player - Hero Quest combined a complicated system of rules with the more contemporary board game philosophies. This fusion proved to be an instant success, and Gremlin Graphics of Sheffield seized the opportunity to produce a computer version.

An exact replica, the computer variation set you on a series of missions, but rather than a "dungeon master" negotiating your fate, the computer handled your 3D isometric decisions.
Data disks were added and awards were collected, but then everything went quiet on the fantasy front. Now, after two years in development, a whole new series of adventures with a totally revised play system are set for launch, the first being the Legacy of Sorasil.



The once great empire of Rhia lies dying under a vicious stranglehold of evil. The land is overrun with corruption and pestilence; harvests have failed, livestock lies diseased and dying, and even the most arcane of magics has failed to halt the spread of evil.

In a bid to stop the malignant curse which haunts the land, Alamon the Mystic, noble sage of Rhia, uses his skills and detects the source of power that is the root cause.

While unable to pinpoint its exact emanation, Alamon comes to the realisation that the evil can be eradicated, but it will take the power of several long lost artefacts which are rich in power.

Beyong the Shadow Mountains lies the land of Kolchotch. Once a place where sultans and demi-gods resided in palatial splendour, the land lies in decadent ruin, a sad reflection of its former magnificence.
This once royal country was home to two ancient talismans, each of which is capable of reversing some of the evil. Beyond Kolchoth, in the land of Garathor, lies the amulet of Tambor-Rin, a powerful healing tool and necessary for Alamons' plan.

To defeat the evil powers he also requires the might of the Oracle Stone. Legend has it that even deeper into the lands of darkness, in Iron-Wood Forest the stone lies.

Alamon realises the task in hand is no easy one, and sets out to find warriors and mages capable of overcoming such hardship.
After searching the length and breadth of the country, Alamon finds eight brave folk. However, only four can be selected to embark on the perilous journey.



While there aren't too many titles that have employed this 3D isometric viewpoint, a few software houses have attempted this style, some more effectively than others.

Probably the definitive title in this category is Krisalis's Shadowlands (Amiga Computing April '92) which was given the old Gamer Gold award. Others include the fairly average Legend and the outstanding Cadaver from the Bitmap Brothers.



Many of the influences in titles of this nature come from the original ideas of J R Tolkien. John Ronald Tolkien was an English writer born in 1892.

He created the fictional world of Middle Earth which featured two major works, his 1937 classic, The Hobbit, and his epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings written from 1954 to 1955.

His lands were populated by strange peoples like hobbits, dwarves and goblins. Tolkien's works developed to cult status in the '60s, and due to his popularity he had many imitators.

At Oxford University he was professor of Anglo Saxon from 1924-45, and Merton Professor of English until 1959. Tolkien died in 1973, without really knowing the full extent he would have on the worlds of role-playing and video gaming.



Like its predecessor, Legacy of Sorasil is viewed from a 3D isometric perspective. This method of display is not only effective for employing the game's Dungeons and Dragon style rules, but also gives it that extra edge in appearance.

The animation is well handled using clearly defined character sprites which leaves the user in no doubt as to who is who. While they're a rather cliched set of extras from a Tolkien book, the style suits the mood of the plot.

Each scenario places you in a different location, so you'll never find the landscapes repetitious or boring. For example, the first level places you in the gloom of a vampire's barrow, as opposed to further challenges which find you in forests, marshes and castles.

The legions of darkness are also in vast abundance and like the scrolling backdrops, vary from location to location. Likewise, all the varying denizens of evil have different combat animations.

Apart from physical combat animations, Legacy of Sorasil features a whole host of animations for use of magic. While limited in the early levels, as you progress to the higher stages the screen comes alive with various spells, both from your battle-weary characters and the foes you face.




Legacy of Sorasil contains two very different ways in which the sound can be utilised. You can play to the accompaniment of a rustic tune or choose to use the FX option.

While the tune has a very dire dowdy edge to it, it does contain a great deal of atmosphere and mood that offsets the visual aspect of the game very nicely.

Conversely, you can opt to use the sound effects which give that extra dimension of reality to combat, as swords clash with a samples crunch and spells boom as they rain down on the recipient. Both aspects of the sonics within Legacy of Sorasil are very strong and work extremely well within their context.

While it's not a major criticism, it's my personal opinion that the sound would have been that bit more special if the programmers could have involved the two elements together.
However, this Utopian ideal may fall flat on its face as the standard of sound and sample independently is very high.

It's worth remembering that because of memory restrictions, had the two been integrated then the standard that has been reached may have dropped drastically.




The first venture in the Hero Quest Masters series is leaps and bounds ahead of its older brother, the original Hero Quest. The most obvious major improvement is the combat system.

In the original title when you're involved in a fight to the death the scene cut to a special combat screen. Now, when you're attacked or choose to fight a foe, the action continues in the environment you are exploring. This might seem trivial, but adds both continuity and atmosphere.

Really, there are that many changes from the original that the two are beyond comparison, and you can certainly tell that it's been in development for two years.

Although Legacy of Sorasil is split down into ten different adventures, each one relates to an overall plot. This works exceptionally well, as your characters develop and are awarded extra points to their various attributes.

Legacy is also very easy to pick up, using a point-and-click system in conjunction with the mouse. This is typical of every aspect of Sorasil - generally it's easy to use and even easier to find yourself absorbed within.

This combination of D&D style rules blended in with the visual aspects of combat and spell-casting will make Hero Quest Masters an instant success to RPG lovers.

Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil logo

There was a time back in the mid-1980s when you could go round your mates' house to invite them down the pub, only to find them dressed up in Viking gear and throwing oddly-shaped lumps of plastic at each other. Worse, when you finally got them out for a pint, they spent the evening calling each other Derek the Destroyer and Elvis the Elven Eliminator.

The cause of this strange phenomenon was Dungeons 'n' Dragons, a series of role-playing board game adventures which spawned countless imitators on the Amiga, including Hero Quest, Legacy of Sorasil's predecessor.

This time you lead as many as four adventurers around nine scenarios which together form one campaign, the aim of which is to free the land of Rhia from the forces of evil. This you do by collecting two magic talismen, a healing amulet and an oracle stone.

Like Hero Quest, Sorasil simplifies the whole character generation process by giving each a set of attributes which you can customise to a limited extent on the Character Modification Screen.

Of the eight characters you can choose from to make up your band of four, each also has his or her own trade: ranger, warrior, and magician, for example, so you can get a good balance of abilities in your team.

Remember when your mates called each other Derek Destroyer or Elvis the Elven Eliminator? Weird times.

The action is viewed in isometric perspective as you explore each section of landscape. Characters can use their skills to detect traps and doors, cast spells and fight opponents in each area, but are limited by the amount of moves and hit points they can take. The game also features a useful automapping function which shows the layout of a particular area and any hazards which lie in wait.

To be honest, your initial reaction to Legacy of Sorasil is likely to be distinctly muted. The graphics and sound effects hardly make the most of the Amiga's considerable capabilities and you feel as if you're playing something which was programmed four to five years ago.

But, this game is remarkably easy to get into and there are always plenty of surprises and fight sequences lying just around the corner.

Thankfully, Legacy also improves on Hero's Quest's occasionally cumbersome control system and, thanks to some imaginative programming, its characters never get stuck, or hidden by objects or walls.

It all adds up to a tremendously absorbing and surprisingly playable adventure which serves as a worthwhile introduction to an often unfathomable genre.

Hero Quest: 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?

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.

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)

Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil logo

It's got dungeons galore and probably dragons too. It's got hundreds of tunnels and, most likely, trolls. It's...

Sooner than anticipated, the next chapter in the ever unfolding tome of Gremlin software releases has been unleashed on a thoroughly expectant world. The game, as you'll already know from observation of the headline fanfare, is Legacy of Sorasil, a 3D-isometric view RPG romp.

The quest - should you choose to accept it, Mr Hero - is simple; rid the world of a despicable sorcerer who's been doing the nasty on an otherwise utopian world., as usual.

It is a time of war, pestilence, plague, perfidy and defilement of all that is good. A time where magnanimous deeds will be appreciated. A time where honour is respected. A time when cynicism is banished. A time when self-sacrifice is cherished and put on the mantlepiece for all to rest their eyes on and feel humbled. So bugger that. This is AMIGA POWER, after all. (Get back here. - Ed)

But most of all, it is a time to start the review proper, for AP has a new publisher and if I don't make a good impression, it will be a time to walk involuntarily out of the door and never be seen again.

Legacy is basically a jauntier, more colourful, more diverse and more varied version of Hero Quest, it is the first of a promised series of Hero Quest Master series games.

Hero Quest first appeared on the Amiga around two and a half years ago and earned a perfectly respectable 80% in AP2, which older readers will recognise as the heyday of the Matt Bielby golden era, when men were men and heroes were heroes. They tell me.

A soon as you've booted up and selected the proper language, you initially select a party of four characters from a pool of eight. The usual choices are there: Rangers, Clerics, Paladins, magic Users, Barbarians etc. Just as with most RPGs, a well-balanced selection of brain and brawn is the best mix and the one most conducive to survival.

The order you place the character in on the selection screen is important. The character on the left leads the party, i.e. he moves first; he/she doesn't necessarily have to be the leader in a strictly regimental hierarchical militaristic sense (it could be a collective democracy after all). It's just that it's more sensible to have the faster moving characters at the front.

Each character has five attributes: body, combat, perception, strength and mind. After you have selected a party, you can tweak the individual attributes further. This is achieved through use of the character modification screen. Take a gander at the selection screen somewhere on these pages to get a better idea of what it looks like.

Once through the character selection procedure, the land of Rhia awaits. Party movement and actions are accessed through a slick and competent control interface. Each character, unlike Hero Quest, has a set number of action points; 20 in all.

Movement points are limited depending on the character being controlled. This is more realistic, in RPG terms at least, because it makes sense for nimble footed Elves to be able to move further per turn than say a stunty bearded dwarf. Of course, if for example you chose to move the Elf his full complement of movement points and did the same for the dwarf, the dwarf will have more action points to play with at the end of his move. From this, you can plan simple strategies such as always having the dwarf, or whoever, search for traps and treasure in the same turn.

The control interface is slick and competent. You can choose to move characters from the compass or click on a destination on screen. Either way, the result's the same, although it's more convenient to point and click directly on screen. Actions are accessed by clicking on the various little action icons. Again, actions can be directly carried out by clicking on the icon with the right mouse button.

Okay, hopefully by now I've established that the control method is non-intrusive and, in fact, very helpful; that each character can travel independently of the partly (thus opening up the possibility of having some friends along to control individual characters; and finally that I like it. Time is cue some overbearingly slushy sentimental music.

Legacy reminds me of when when I used to play Dungeons & Dragons years and years ago. Computers were making an impact of the scene and firing everyone's imagination on all cylinders. The Amiga wasn't around at the time, and there was no software around that even came close t fulfilling the projected potential.

The wood's been polished, the bodywork waxed

That's where Legacy comes in. It's like the computer personification of the first dungeons I used to play in. You don't have to care too much about where you are at any particular time, because the locations and corridors are auto-mapped for you.

The map is constantly at hand and costs no action points whatsoever; very handy. The shop is also handy for the trading and upgrading of weapons, potions and miscellaneous etc.

There's a lot of playing time and lastabillity stuck I here as well. Apparently, even if you knew exactly what you were doing, the game would take at least ten solid hours of play to complete.

That's also where one of my main criticisms lies. You can only save and load after completion of a scenario. Now that isn't always going to be convenient. Say you've only got half an hour to kill and you want to kill it playing Legacy. What do you do when you have to switch off? You lose all your hard work, that's what you do.

Another criticism is the limitation of character choice. I like things to be personal. Especially with this type of game. Surely there could be some kind of character generation within the Cleric, Barbarian, Magic User framework. Even just the ability to change the names would be appreciated.

The music is nice in a mediaeval atmospheric kind of a way, although, like most computer music, it does tend to grate after a while.

So, er, it's summing up time. The best conclusion I can draw in this instance is to compare Legacy to a Morris Traveller (old-style car of quaint character - the one with all the wood on the outside). Thinking of Hero Quest as a standard model, consider the following for Legacy; the wood's been polished, the bodywork's had a good waxing, the chassis's been made more rigid and the engine's been re-bored and tuned. Overall, a more exciting game, but still a Morris Traveller in essence.

I like Morris Travellers and the same can be said for Legacy Of Sorasil.

Hero Quest: 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.

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.

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 Rhiā 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil
  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.

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.

Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Computing Silver Award

Gremlin's sequel to the classic 3D isometric adventure, released back in May, was warmly received by both the press and the general public. This CD32 version of the game isn't that much different form the original Hero Quest 2. The only noticeable change is a brand spanking new CD soundtrack to tantalize your ear drums, while you wander around the fabled land of Rhia.

You can either use a mouse or the CD32 joypad for controlling your party of four heroes. Both are equally good, although the extra buttons on the joypad tend to make things slightly easier.

The game is relatively easy to play, but first-time adventurers might need to practise before before attempting to complete the quest. Hero Quest 2 is divided into turn. You move your characters first then the Forces of Darkness respond.

Each of your characters moves in order and there are a range of options each can carry out. All have an allocation of 20 action points per turn, to be used in whichever way you require - remembering that the more complex the action the more points it will take to complete.

CD32 owners will be more than happy with Gremlin's superb adventure sequel. The isometric graphics are spot on, the CD sound is a major improvement over the sonics heard in the computer version, plus it's still highly playable and incredibly addictive.

Whether you're using joypad or mouse, the control method is very simple, making the game a lot of fun to play. Even the younger player won't have too many problems with it. Hero Quest 2 will last you an awful long time and it's by no means a game you're going to complete in an afternoon.

If you've got a CD32 I heartily recommend Gremlin's fantasy role-playing sequel.


Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil CD32 logo CD32

Gremlin Graphics 0742 753423 * £25.99

Titles are an excellent invention - they set the scene and let you know what you're up against beautifully. Legacy Of Sorasil. Now here's a title. Instantly you're made aware that this is no shoot-em-up, beat-em-up or platform game. No sir, this is firmly ensconced in Dungeons And Dragons territory - the role-playing, fantasy adventure game.

As usual, a mythical land has succumbed to evil; on this occasion, a nasty plague has been created by someone without morals and your task is to rid said land of stated evil. There are nine different scenarios to tackle and it's all presented in glorious isometric 3D.

And the eight characters have customizable (oh, I say) attributes from which motley band you pick four - the trick is to get a balance between skill, intelligence and magic. Oh, and you need someone to stick the boot in.

RPG's are not the most progressive of game genres - this could have been written years ago but Legacy Of Sorasil mixes adventure and action remarkably well. The icons are easy to understand, the mapping system is awfully nice and even those who normally baulk at the idea of point 'n' click fantasies could find themselves fighting to save Rhia. That's the name of the mythical land.

Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil CD32 logo CD32

Wenn die CD-Version der Diskfassung mit ein paar Monaten Abstand auf dem Fuß folgt, dann sind keine großen Nachbesserungen zu erwarten. Trotzdem ist Gremlins Nachfolger zu "Hero Quest" ein Prima Schiller-Rolli!

Ein bis vier Spieler stellen sich für dieses Iso-Abenteuer zunächst mal ein schlagkräftige Viererbande aus dem achtköpfigen Heldenfundus (Zwerg, Magier, Kämpfer...) zusammen.

Die Mitstreiter agieren dann zwar unabhängig voneinander, planvolles Teamwork ist aber unverzichtbar, wenn man in den neun in sich abgeschlossenen Kapiteln herausfinden will, warum im Lande Rhia Seuchen und Ungeheuer wüten.

Zu den Einsatzorten oder Warenhäusern gelangt man mittels Klick auf die Landkarte; den Skeletten, Vampiren oder Ghouls geht es dann unter Zuhilfenahme von Icons und Richtungspfeilen rundenweise an den monströsen Kragen.

Hilfreich sind dabei nicht nur Zauberkraft und Säbelmacht, sondern auch eine formidables Automapping - schon weil die zahllosen Räumlichkeiten der Schlösser und Kerker trotz ihrer hinterhältigen Bodenfallen und Geheimtüren genauestens auf Waffen, Gold, Heil- und Zaubertränke hin untersucht werden wollen.

Wie zu befürchten, lohnen die Neuerungen kaum den kleinen Zweittest: Bis auf die satteren Farben und eine (noch) schönere Musik gibt es keinerlei Unterschiede zur Urversion.

Selbst deren kleine Mängel blieben auf der CD erhalten, denn nach wie vor kann nur zwischen den Kapiteln abgespeichert werden, und die Grafik ist zwar erneut recht hübsch, doch etwas unübersichtlich.

Ein spannendes, atmosphärisches, mit dem Joypad gut zu steuerndes und vor allem umfangreiches Fantasy-Rollenspiel ist das Vermächtnis von Sorasil aber dennoch - und als solches eine Rarität am CD32. (md)

Hero Quest: The Legacy of Sorasil CD32 logo CD32

Amiga Version: 80%, AP36

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.

Hero Quest: 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).

There 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.

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.

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.