for PC (DOS)
Also available for: Amiga (OCS/ECS)

NetDanzr:Popular Vote:
Alternate Titles: Hero Quest
Company: Gremlin Graphics
Year: 1991
Genre: RPG
Theme: Board
Language: English, Deutsch, Francais, Castellano, Italiano
Licence: Commercial
Views: 33667
Review by NetDanzr (2006-05-30)

HeroQuest came into being as the McDonald's version of Dungeons and Dragons. Fast, flashy and without taste, was the motto. Well, not exactly; there was some taste, and it was up to the dungeon master to create it. The original version of HeroQuest involves a big cardboard playing field, lots of plastic monsters, four heroes and 14 levels of fun (later extensions of the game, which was immensely popular in Germany where I've gotten it, added the level total to about 25). The game became incredibly popular. You didn't need to remember all those complicated stats, which dice to throw and how many times to throw them. Instead, everything was laid out for you, including the walls, which you could erect on the board. It comes as little surprise that the board game created a few spin-offs. The only successful one, however, was Space Hulk, which spawned the game of the same name by the same company - Gremlin.

But let's stay with HeroQuest and move to the computer version. There's been lots of them, some pretty bad (like the Commodore version, which still holds the title The Most Misspelled Game of All Ages). Other were much better (especially the Amiga one, as usually). The PC game featured the same kind of board and your four heroes - a Barbarian, Elf, Dwarf and a Wizard. Each character could be controlled by one player, so the game allowed you to invite your friends to join you. Once the characters were selected and equipped, you were sent to the playing board on a specific quest. Each character started in one corner, and your task was to get the quest done and hoard as much treasure as possible before the other players snatched it.

The game itself had a very simple mechanics. It was turn-based, and in each turn, your character could perform two things: move and do some action. The movement was determined by a dice roll; the character had to move the given number of points. Before or after moving, the character could perform and action, ranging from engaging into combat, through searching for traps, disarming them, opening chests to searching for treasure. After you finished the quest, you were automatically transported to the main menu again. Here, you could exchange the treasure for better equipment, potions and spells.

The game itself was very entertaining. Imagine a turn-based Diablo, with a much better dungeon structure and quite tough nasties (anybody remembers Chaos Warriors?). The fact that you've had quite limited options in moving and performing actions, added some strategy into the game. Instead of busting into an unknown room, you had to sneak to the door and wait for the next turn. But the real fun began in the multiplayer mode. Not only did you have to fight the monsters, you had to beat your teammates to the treasure and possibly finishing the quest. While in some cases cooperation was fine (you will always welcome two or three more friendlies if you accidentally step in the middle of a Chaos Warrior convention), nothing prevented you from killing your teammates to get to their gold. Of course, this worked both ways, and especially on the later levels where everybody was pretty worked out, you spent most of your time trying to evade each other.

However, the game was not flawless. There were quite a few problems, which, while not making the game impossible, increased its frustration factor. Probably the biggest problem was searching for treasure. Each hit point (called “body point” in this game) counted, and healing potions became more important than anything else. This changed a typical level that lasted 20 to 50 turns to something three times as long. In addition, the story was quite choppy, and sometimes understanding the reasons behind the quests was quite a task. Lastly, there was a bug that made cheating quite easy in some instances: the board was divided into numerous sectors to fit the screen. If you stood at the edge of a sector and a monster was standing next to you in the next sector, you could hack away at that monster, but you would never be attacked.

Still, HeroQuest is well worth playing, as one of the very few true turn-based RPG games out there.

Comments (15) [Post comment]

Originally posted by Wandrell at 20:56 on December 5th, 2008:
Well, here in Spain Space Crusade was "Cruzada Estelar", which translates for Stelar Crusade. But Heroquest was kept as Heroquest, and all the other Games Workshop games I've seen also kept the english name, like Space Hulk.

By the way, have you seen http://home.quicknet.nl/qn/prive/lm.broers/download.htm? I've played just a little to it, but looked like a nice amateur computer version of the game.

I´ve tried it yesterday and it is a realy nice Windows version. Thanks for the link!

Mr Creosote:

I'm only talking about HeroQuest here, I don't know anyone who owned StarQuest. HeroQuest however... more than half of my friends at the time owned at least the basic game itself, some also the expansions. Yes, Risk probably comes close and certainly wins out on the long run (because I assume Risk still sells well and HeroQuest doesn't), but that's it. I, too, always read The Settler of Catan being sooooo successful, but I only ever met one single person who had that game.

Granted all that is very much personal experience, of course. In any case, HeroQuest was a fairly limited phenomenon time-wise. I don't remember anyone still playing it much in the mid-90s and after that. Nowadays, I guess it has become a sort of 'cult favourite' in certain circles, but as far as mass appeal goes, it's as dead as a doornail.


I also jumped on the train and bought StarQuest and I enjoyed it very much.
But I disagree with MC because I thing games like Risk or Settlers have reached far more People than Hero Quest ot Star Quest did.
I have never seen anyone except me in my Hometown ho owned it.

Mr Creosote:
Hero Quest (being called Hero Quest) was a huge commercial success in Germany. I've never seen any board game being that wide-spread. I guess that was the incentive to retitle for Space Crusade as 'Star Quest' - hoping people would jump on it by association.

Well, here in Spain Space Crusade was "Cruzada Estelar", which translates for Stelar Crusade. But Heroquest was kept as Heroquest, and all the other Games Workshop games I've seen also kept the english name, like Space Hulk.

By the way, have you seen http://home.quicknet.nl/qn/prive/lm.broers/download.htm? I've played just a little to it, but looked like a nice amateur computer version of the game.

Mr Creosote:
Oh, I liked playing the Master, too, but when I created my own levels, I never did much in the course of story, but instead tried to spice up things with small puzzles which the players had to solve (very basic things, admittedly, like hidden passages, levers or objects which had to be found and used elsewhere). That, in my opinion, brought some much-needed flexibility to the limited layout of the board.
Haven´t I mentioned, that I mostly played the Master because I knew all levels. For me it was great fun!
Mr Creosote:

Space Crusade was known as StarQuest in Germany, but the computer game was released under the original title (confusing naming scheme). So, yes, there is in fact a computer conversion of that game, and a data disk as well. Now we just need to wait for Wandrell to put it on the site ;)

Back on the topic of Hero Quest, I once read in a review of the computer game (unfortunately, I can't find that review anymore) that the computer game is basically a conversion of the European version of the board game. In the US version, all the basic monsters have hitpoints, making the game a lot harder.

One speciality of the Ogres was, if I recall correctly, that you couldn't 'slip past' them after casting a smoke (?) spell (which I did a few times in regular levels). That literally broke my character's neck when the Ogres kept massing in front of the level exit and me being out of healing potions / spells.

Edit: Damn, T-Pow was faster ;)


I just got it out of the shelf. It´s not called Space Quest. It´s Star Quest. My fault.

Edit: Damn didn´t use the Edit function :D


I only know the german title Space Quest but it seems to be the same.
Are the Eldar avaible as playable race? They where added in the second addon "Angriff der Eldar" and had realy HUGE guns which gave them Cover too.

You mean Space Crusade? My father had both Heroquest and Space Crusade, which was another tableboard game made from the same people. And there is a computer version, I have it around and is one of these ones I thought about reviewing more than once. If I'm not mistaked there is a CD version also, but I don't know if comes with extras or not (probably just voices, music or something similar).

That´s right the levels where only interresting the first time. The big deal was to build your own levels and storys.
The expansion you mean was called "Die Rückkehr des Hexers" and it was indeed the bad guy from the Original Game.
But it is the second addon, the first was "Karak Varn" in which you play in old dwarf ruins (as far as i remember).
The third expansion was my personal favorite because in "Ogre Horden" the Monsters had hit points too.
It was very fun to see, that Heroes who killed everything in the campains
before without problems now ran away.
I owned the fourth addon too but i didn´t played it very much. I don´t know why. It was named "Morcas Magier" and had a lot of new Traps and spells.
Space Quest was cool too. But as far as I know there is no Computer game addaption avaiable. :(

Mr Creosote:

The biggest problem I always had with the board game (and obviously with the computer game, too) is the number of levels combined with the complexity of the levels. Remembering even the smallest detail of each level is very easy. I could never resist peeking into the quest book long before even playing those 'levels', so when I finally got to play them, I already knew exactly where to go and what to do to get most of the treasure while avoiding the real dangers.

As for NetDanzr's comments on the story, I have to agree. I didn't even understand there is a story linking the levels for many years.

This works better in the expansions. Or at least those I played. One of them dealt with some kind of demon lord (I think it might have been the main baddie of the main campaign returning; main enemies were lots and lots of skeletons and there was this turntable in the box which sent you into random directions) and the other one was about Ogres.


I played the board game as a Kid and I still have it with all it`s expansions.
Played it 2 months ago with friends. It still rocks.
The Computer game is a quite exact the same! So go get it.