2013 – Heroine’s Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok

Crystal Shard is not new to adventure games. This indie studio has been developing them since 2001, but most of them are made with Adventure Games Studio and, on top of that, they are all free. So I didn’t expect much of Heroine’s Quest.

I was wrong. Imagine a parallel universe where Sierra released Quest for Glory in 2013, with the same VGA graphics, but bigger, with more RPG stats, and tuned to the Norse mythology. That’s Heroine’s Quest. Yes, it’s that good.

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Any fan of QfG will immediately feel at home. It’s all very familiar: the similar graphics, the good old Sierra interface, the three classes – Warrior, Sorceress and Rogue – and the distinct battles with monsters. But it’s a parallel universe, remember? So, apart from some jokes about Harry Potter, The Hobbit and other modern references, the game is quite original.

Your heroine arrives into small town during an unusually long winter. As it happens, this winter is unnatural, a sign of the forthcoming Ragnarok – the end of the world by hands of monsters and frost giants. And, of course, it’s up for you to save the world, regardless of your initial less-then-average physical conditions and zero equipment.

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The Adventure part is quite solid: most tasks are logical, and very rarely requires guessing. Moreover, key tasks are marked on your map, so you’ll never lose track. Most quests can be solved by several ways, and each class have their own personal quests and goals. As a result, playing each class feels as a distinctively different game that follows the same plot and setting, so you could easily play it at least trice.

The role-playing aspect is also very well-thought. Your success in certain puzzles are determined by several stats and skills, which improve during your adventures while you use them, quite naturally.

Thus, climbing a tree will raise the “Climb” skill and also the “Strength” stat; casting “Fire shield” will raise the correspondent skill and the “Magic” stat; while battling with random monsters will raise almost everything – if you live to tell the tale.

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Finally, there’s also a day & night cycle and three conditions you must constantly monitor: Cold, Sleep and Hunger. Sadly, while they offer some challenge at first, later they become simply a distraction that prevents you from finishing the game too fast.

Regardless, Heroine’s Quest is great, and I fully recommend it to any adventurer lover – especially to those fond of the Quest for Glory games. Oleg “Smiling Spectre” Bobryshev