Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Game 26: Hero's Quest - Introduction

 
Where's the button for "Become a Hero All Over Again"?

Well here we are! When I started this blog, I was already looking forward to replaying the Quest for Glory series. In fact, that was one of the reasons I placed criteria on what games can or can’t be added to the playlist. The last thing I wanted to do was create a scenario where I’d never get to the likes of the Quest for Glory and Monkey Island games, both of which gave me many happy memories. I specifically remember playing the first Quest for Glory (called Hero’s Quest at the time). I don’t know if others out there experience something similar (I assume they do), but I can also very easily recall a lot of other aspects of my life that occurred around the time I was playing the game. I know what music I was obsessed with and I remember which friends I was spending a lot of time with. In fact, one of those friends and I would play through adventure games at the same time (similar to the way Chet and I are about to do), calling each other up if we got really stuck. I believe Hero’s Quest was the first game we did that with, and I’ve listed it in my top five games ever since.

 
Well now that you mention it...yes, I think I do!

Many of the scenes are permanently implanted in my memory, as is the music, which I can bring to mind at any moment of any day. There are not many pieces of music in the games I’ve played so far where I could say the same thing, although the Leisure Suit Larry and Space Quest themes were also very memorable. The big question is whether or not Hero’s Quest can possibly come close to the lofty position it holds in my memory. As excited as I am to play it, I fear I may tarnish the nostalgia, the way I did that time where I watched Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal back to back (neither have aged well, let me tell you!). I’m also a little daunted at the prospect of playing and blogging about Hero’s Quest at the same time as Chet, who is by the far the better writer, not to mention doing so under the no doubt intrigued eyes of Corey Cole himself. Speaking of Corey, it looks as though the Cole’s next game, Hero-U, will get the funds it needs on Kickstarter. Exciting times!

 
Hero-U: Soon to be Hero-Me?

Enough chit chat, what’s Hero’s Quest all about? Well the first thing I should cover off is the name. Why was the game called “Hero’s Quest: So You Want to Be a Hero?” and then later changed to “Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero?”? The answer is that the Milton Bradley Company had already trademarked the name HeroQuest (for their board game that I also played as a teenager), so it was changed to Quest for Glory to avoid confusion. Hero’s Quest was designed and written by Lori Ann Cole (wife of our good friend Corey). It was programmed by Corey, as well as Larry B. Scott, Robert Fischbach and Jerry Shaw (the latter two having already worked on Police Quest 2). Interestingly the graphics appear to have been handled by four Sierra employees that would all go on to work on Codename: ICEMAN (Jeff Crowe, Gerald Moore, Kenn Nishiuye and Cindy Walker). Finally, that highly memorable music that I talked about earlier was produced by Mark Seibert, whose list of games during this era is almost as long as my playlist.

 
Lori and Corey in 1991: Don't you love the internet Corey! Actually, you probably do right now.

Hero’s Quest is renowned for being a genre-defining game, being a genuine adventure / role-playing game hybrid. It has a lot of standard adventure game features and is built on Sierra’s SCI0 engine (the same one that was used for Leisure Suit Larry 2, Police Quest 2 and Codename: ICEMAN), yet it also contains many characteristics of the RPG genre. These include character class selection (fighter, magic user or thief) and character statistics that really do influence play. There are abilities such as strength, intelligence and agility, and skills such as parry, stealth and magic. I believe Beyond Zork had introduced a strong RPG influence to adventure games some years prior, but since that was Interactive Fiction, Hero’s Quest was the first graphical adventure game of note to do so. The game also introduced an increased level of realism, with day and night impacting play both visually and from an encounter perspective. The main character has to eat regularly and becomes tired from running and fighting, requiring rest and sleep. I don’t really recall having to eat, but I definitely recall having to watch my stamina while fighting. I’m genuinely interested to see how the combination of my favourite genres holds up today!

 
The moment the genres were blurred

I believe I have played both the original SCI0 version of the game and the SCI1.1 version that was released in 1992 (both in my early teens), but I can’t be sure of that. The remake drops the text parser for an entirely point and click approach, and while it’s once again tempting to play the shinier version, I’ll be playing the original so I can make a fair judgement of the game compared to others of the same period (I’ll likely play the remake when we reach 1992). Thankfully both versions came in the Quest For Glory Collection that I purchased from GOG in preparation last year. Quite a few readers have also made that purchase, and others have since won the collection for predicting what score I will give each game. Since Lars-Erik (our awesome sponsor) has already sent me the GOG gift key for Emmanuelle and I’ve temporarily skipped that game, I will be offering the collection to the first person to solve my riddle below (the next game is on me Lars-Erik). Regular readers will know where to find it. I do hope the winners play along with me, and make sure you all visit Chet’s blog at http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com in the coming weeks to see his take on things. I believe he’ll be playing as a thief, while I’ll be entering Spielburg as a fighter. Why? Well, as Chet would say...because!

 
The Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School booklet that comes with the game is pretty cool too!

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've recently written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 points (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle unassisted (see below for an example). If you get it right I will reward you with 50 points in return (it's going to keep going up until someone beats me)! It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game.
 
From now on voters should pick whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw, which I'm yet to figure out the form of (we'll cross that bridge when we get there).

Example Bet:
Bet: "Genccrq V nz ol jvmneq fcryy
Naq lrg V srry zl cbjre fjryy
Gjragl lrnef V ovqr zl gvzr
Abj V funyy pbzcyrgr zl pevzr

Jub nz V?"

Extra Note: Once again, Lars-Erik (well, I will this time) will gift the next readily available game on the list to the reader that correctly predicts what score I will give this game. So, if you predict the right score (or are closest), you will get 10 CAPs and a copy of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade from Steam! Good luck!

72 comments:

  1. Gutted I missed out on winning the whole series by one point - after ALREADY missing it once when Mooki offered another copy for guessing the right pony. Turns out my daughter likes Pinky Pie just as much as Rainbow Dash!

    However, I think I'll play this again with you as the thief - I played it recently as the mage and liked it a lot, interested to see any parts I missed. Looks like I'll just have to shell out for my own copy when I get to QFG 2!

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  2. Solve the riddle and the collection is yours bunyip.

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    1. I am guessing the answer to your riddle is Fnajr sebz Qentbafcurer.

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    2. Also, having thought about it I will guess a rating of hmm..71 for the final game rating, having been playing Hero's Quest I's old version myself as a Mage, in bits and pieces since last week. It's fun but a tad grindy at times.

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    3. Nyrknaqre sebz Xvat'f Dhrfg VVV?

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    4. archivis is correct! Every time I think I've come up with one that people will struggle with, someone proves me wrong.

      Congratulations, you win a copy of the Quest for Glory Collection.

      Please send an email to theadventuregamer@gmail.com and I'll reply with your GOG code.

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    5. Thanks, but I must credit google for the win :)

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    6. I don't know, so far I haven't felt the grind... maybe I've happened to pick the right spells and solve the right quests right away. I do think I'll need to grind eventually. The most grind was two days I spent pnfgvat srgpu ba gur frrq sebz gur fcvggvat cynagf va beqre gb ohvyq hc gur fcryy yriry va beqre gb npghnyyl trg gur frrq. We'll see how the rest of the game goes now that I've mapped most of the game.

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  3. Quest for Glory is a great game, but certainly the nostalgia plays a big part as well. I guess one of the worst things about the game is that it really is quite easy. Perhaps it will suffer a bit on the pissed scale for that. Still, I believe it has held up well and will do well in the final ratings.

    My optimistic guess: 63

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    1. I agree with that, except that I'll add my usual general caveat: I believe nostalgia always plays a part when reviewing popular oldies. On the other hand you also have a natural bias from being exposed to more modern entertainment: changes in storytelling, interface, sleekness or pacing. Trickster's comment on Labyrinth and Dark Crystal not aging well is also an effect of this (I should say that even at the time I considered both to be seriously flawed movies, but not necessarily for the reasons why today we may look at them as "dated").

      Quest for Glory was a magical game for me at the time, though I doubt that would be the case today even if I were the same age. I suspect most teenagers these days would shrug and wonder what the fuss it's all about if they were to play it (they'll probably face the same problem anyway when their own favorite games become old hat).

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  4. I know I'm not a prolific commenter (I sometimes think about myself as the definitive lurker) but I can't resist to comment here, as Hero's Quest is probably my all time favorite game, or at least one of the top five.

    Currently I'm replaying it as Chet and you were coming to play it and want to play again without spoilers. As always the thief is my pereferred class, althoug I've played all three.

    I'm playing the original EGA version, and still the game has all the flavour it had, at least for me.

    About the final rating I'll be some optimist and go for the 1st 70's in your list, my bet: 71

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  5. I'll aim high here and guess 70. I can't recall any major problems with the game, and the RPG aspects will be a boon. Plus, Trickster's already admitted it's one of his favs :-)

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  6. I went through and objectively guessed where I thin kthe final ratings would come in (7 5 6 6 6 7 for those interested) which gives a score of 62. I do believe that the game will receive a bonus point or two for it's unique stat driven gameplay.

    Guess 64 (since 63 is taken)

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  7. Well, so many good things said about this game that I cant avoid playing it along with you :). My first playthrough, and as a wizard nonetheless.

    As for the score, Im going with 65.

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  8. My second Sierra Game after the Colonel's Bequest.. I still remember when the hero enters Spielburg!
    69! Great number ;-)

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  9. I shall go with 64 as the final score that's what my gut instinct says and I'm sticking with it. Since I already have Indy and the Last Crusade on Steam I'm voluntarily taking myself out of the drawing for it. I really really don't need a duplicate of it on Steam. :P

    I shall definitely be playing along, the only thing I haven't decided on is what class to play. So if anyone(s) wants to have input on what class (singular one or even hybrid mix) that I roll through this game with (and the sequels when we reach them!), speak now or I let the all knowing plastic polyhedral cubes of randomized probability decide!

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    1. Nobody else seems to want to be a magic user so that's my request.

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    2. Unless anyone else weighs in before tomorrow it shall be the Magic User! Which are awesome! Master of arcane powers! PEW PEW! Fireball!

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    3. I'm also playing on Magic User. I haven't heard much support for hybrid of Fighter with Magic. I wonder how useful that might be. Shoot fireballs, zap weapon, slaughter with melee. Sounds like it might work well.

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    4. Hmm an interesting option, yes. I'll continue to weigh the options. I can't recall if I ever played through the series as a whole as a straight up mage (I'm pretty sure for the most part I went the Paladin route via a straight up fighter or hybrid class) so that has appeal to me for novelty.. but playing through as fighter-mage or mage-fighter also sounds interesting.

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    5. Doesn't Fighter/Mage require you to drop your shield? (or avoid using magic in combat)

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    6. No idea. Someone else mentioned you might not get Zap unless the main class if magic user. You don't get a sword in that case though.

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    7. Yeah, you don't get Zap unless you start as a Magic User. It's the one thing I won't be able to max out for my playthrough.

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  10. My guess will be 70. I think I might have a crack at playing along with this game over the coming weekend. I really hope it holds up to my hopes!

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  11. Can it be? Am I first in reporting this? GoG is having a pick 5 pay $10 sale right here: http://www.gog.com/pick_5_pay_10

    Why is this important? Three of the choices 20 for the pick 5 are definitely adventure games! Resonance! Gemini Rue! and the Blackwell Bundle are all options, so if you don't have those yet and can find a couple other non-adventure games on the list that strike your fancy it seems like this would be a good deal to get in on!

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    1. Awesome deal! You can get Machinarium, Gemini Rue and Resonance for $2 each!!!!

      Purchase made, despite the fact I won't play any of these games for years.

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    2. I posted that this morning in your last post, not sure who posted first.

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    3. According the time stamps it was me.. by about.. 9 minutes. :P

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    4. For the record: You suck. ;)

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    5. I'm just thrilled I finally beat the speedy Canageek to breaking the news!

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    6. I have to say, I'm finding it hard to pick 5 games that I'll want to play from this list. Not sure why I have to say that here, but I don't post on GoG. Anyone in the same boat want to split the deal? I think I can gift some of them.

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  12. I'm going to guess high, 73. I think it has a lot going for it, even the EGA version.

    I've found that I actually played both when I was a kid, but a lot of this game is new to me. I think I've blended the first and fourth game in my mind. I don't remember finishing any of the series, one of the reasons I want to replay it with you and Chet.

    I'm a little rusty on my parser skills, so I'm going with the enhanced version. When I pick up the other two characters I might play the EGA version for comparison. The combat is greatly enhanced. The graphics are nice, but it's the interface that really helps me out. I know the second game is parser only, so I'll need to brush up before then.

    I'm 5 hours in currently, and might finish over the weekend with luck. Grinding skills up so I can solve puzzles has taken up most of my time.

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    1. There is a fan remake of the second game that updates the game with the mouse interface. I believe it is AGD interactive, although I could be mistaken. I downloaded it, but never really tried it out much. Fair warning, they do add stuff into the game that wasn't there in the original version. With QfG 2 that may not be the worst thing in the world though. Having just played through it twice on wizard and thief, QfG2 REALLY lacks for things to do if you already know all the solutions (by about day 3-4 you are pretty much sleeping days away to get through the hard-coded timed events).

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    2. The down-time will no doubt be very useful when I (possibly unsuccessfully) attempt to max out at 200 for all skills.

      Mind you, if the timed events were closer together you'd maybe make it too difficult for new players.

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    3. Heh, having just played as both a thief and wizard, you don't need all that time (unless you are crazy enough to try maxing the skill of 200 in every spell on wizard, which is not necessary).

      At any rate, not sure if this will be a spoiler or not so...

      V arire pbhyq svaq n cynpr gb yriry pyvzovat va DsT2. Jrag vagb DsT3 jvgu bayl 100 pyvzovat... naq nzhfvat pnzr bhg jvgu nyzbfg ab orggre. Pyvzovat qbrf abg trg nal ybir va 2 be 3! Nalbar xabj jurer lbh pna npghnyyl yriry rvgure bs gurfr?

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    4. Maxing combat spells is very nice, can usually kill stuff without entering close combat.

      The second point:
      Vg'f uneq rabhtu va gur svefg tnzr, zl pyvzovat vf 39 naq V xabj vg'f tbvat gb or n cnva gb qb. Gur guvrs trgf n ovg bs n ebhtu qrny ernyyl. Gur bayl cynprf va DST2 sbe pyvzovat cenpgvpr ner gur zntvp ebcr (abg fher vs lbh'q tnva nalguvat) naq gur tevssva arfg (juvpu lbh'q pyvzo svefg gvzr vs lbh unq 100). Gur bayl bgure vf gur cnynpr, ohg gung'f abg nccebcevngr sbe tevaqvat. Fb 200 rirelguvat zvtug or vzcbffvoyr, ohg V'yy frr ubj V tb!

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    5. Sure, no reason not to max out flame dart and force bolt, but why bother with fetch or trigger?

      Zntvp ebcr arire tnir zr nal pyvzovat fxvyy. Znlor V whfg qvqa'g fcnz vg rabhtu.

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    6. No "need" to, but if I don't, I can hardly call it a "MAX" playthrough, can I? ;)

      I will revise my goals down for the next game, I can't see me getting 200 for everything in QFG2. I think it's perhaps too difficult.

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    7. Ubj nobhg gur jvfurf sebz gur qwvaav, pbhyq gubfr uryc gb znk gur pyvzovat?

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    8. @Ilmari

      Yes - I hadn't thought about that. Not the best use of them though!

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  13. 68 still free, I think.. let's take that!

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  14. Replies
    1. I like to think my 35 bucks made all the difference, but in the end they were a few thousand over their target.

      I've backed 26 projects so far. This kickstarter craze needs to slow down a bit...

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  15. I think I'll play the pessimist this time and choose 59, just because no Sierra game has yet managed to cross the line to sixties. Personally I prefer the second game in the series - the first title had occasionally a more faery tale -feel, while Trial for Fire was a bit darker in tone.

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    1. I could never get into the second game. Something about dealing with the parser (or rather not knowing about how to deal with it) and not knowing where to go or what to do. I've mixed up the first and the fourth into a hybrid game of my youth. I suppose I jumped back and forth between the two because we had the Quest for Glory collection. I have no recollection of the third game whatsoever.

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    2. Second and fourth have similar dark tones and share at least one common character. I can't really say which of them is better - second has less bugs, but fourth is more open and not so tightly scheduled. I couldn't really get into the third, probably because my favourite class type (thief) has so little actual thieving to do - and I also learned to hate the desert with its dinosaurs.

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  16. 61. I'm guessing this won't top Zak McCracken and Maniac Mansion with their mouse interfaces but will be the highest Sierra game so far.

    I'd personally subtract points because in the "Choose Your Character" screen the magic user and thief look exactly the same. But then I'd give it points for having Luke Skywalker as the fighter.

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    1. They don't actually look the same TBD. It's just that the highlighted one is the fighter. Each class has a small animation that occurs when they are highlighted.

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  17. I'll pick 72, without having looked at the scoring system in several weeks or having any actual clue. Never been done before? Ha! I laugh at impossibility!

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    1. Congrats on the Kickstarter project Corey. I'm genuinely thrilled for you both.

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  18. Heh, highest so far is 65? 72 could be a *mite* optimistic. But eet eez zee greatest game since sliced bread. Don't think sliced bread would get a high PISSED score tho.

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    1. There's quite a few in the 70s. I think 73 is the highest so far.

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    2. I'm banking higher than the creator of the game? What's Hero U going to rank Corey? ;) Looking forward to seeing the final product, even if it takes a bit longer than the planned year. Trickster won't get to it for at least two... ;)

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    3. Well, I suppose we could get 104, once the PISSED scale "goes to 11" as in This is Spinal Tap. But that has to be reserved for Quest for Glory IV. Fortunately, there's no PISSED category for "bug-free". :-) I guess "playable" could be included in "solvability".

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    4. Speaking of bug-free. I found a bug in the VGA version where I was still walking around with 0 HP. V jnf orvat uvg ol yvtugavat sebz gur xbobyq ng gur fnzr gvzr pnfgvat sver qneg. Bar uvg zr naq cynlrq gur navzngvba sbe qlvat, ohg orsber gur erfgber fperra nccrnef, zl sver qneg uvg zr naq V whfg fgbbq gurer. V jnf vaivapvoyr sbe ng yrnfg gung fperra. V erfgberq jvgubhg rkcybevat gung oht zber.

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    5. Interesting. That room had serious (game-crashing) timing bugs in the EGA version, and I ended up completely recoding it while they were duplicating the other disks for the game! Apparently it was just as hard to get right in the VGA. It's the eternal tradeoff between stability via not letting the player do much vs. instability with freedom of choice. You can get both freedom and stability, but it takes some really good programming.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Ok, switching my guess:

    FINAL SCORE = 74

    I'm being massively optimistic here, but it is one of the greatest games of all time!

    Also, it looks like I got a mention over on the CRPG Addict blog, so I'll post here as well. I've got a screenshot gallery charting my progress through my MAX playthrough (100 in all skills/spells) hosted on imgur.com

    http://lookapanther.imgur.com/

    The pics go up to the start of Day 5, but I'm already further than that (haven't had time to update yet). The hard slog begins now, as I've done a large amount of the quest stuff, I just need to get my skills in order before I head to the final part of the game. (I expect you could do a hell of a speed run with the right character)

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    1. Someone just had to outdo me... ;) I thought I was aiming high. I'm going to stick with 73 though.

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    2. I'd suggest it's in my top 10 games of all time, so I'd hope it will get a high score!

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  21. Not looking at the others, 63. One higher then the best game so far.

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  22. 64 for me. I'm unsure if the RPG elements will help or hurt the PISSED rating. It'll be interesting to find out.

    And as so many appear to do, I will be playing along with this one. I do have a dark, shameful secret to tell though. I've never actually played Hero's Quest. Yup, it's true. Finally I have an excuse to rectify this!

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  23. I'll be doing my best to play along, thanks to Lars-Erik's copy! When I finished this back in the day, I believe was a Fighter. This time I think I'll be playing a Rogue.

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  24. And the guesses so far:

    74 Andy_Panthro
    73 Zenic Reverie
    72 Corey Cole
    71 Archivis, Joselu
    70 Charles, Bleaghhh
    69 Jean-Jacques, JosephCurwen
    68 Fenrus
    67 Pacpix
    66 Novacek
    65 Deimar, Cush1978
    64 Mooki, Jarikith, Lars-Erik
    63 Unimural, Canageek
    61 TBD
    59 me

    Did I miss any?

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    1. I seem to be bidding low with current high score +1! *eep*

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  25. I've started a Let's Play, as a magic-user in the VGA re-release. I figured it would make a good compliment to the thief/fighter scenario that you and Chet have begun.

    YouTube Playlist

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  26. Even though I played the game only 14 years ago--9 years fewer than when it first came out--I've been surprised at how few of the game elements and puzzle solutions I've remembered. For some reason, I remembered the bird's nest--probably because it's the first and easiest puzzle you encounter--and an invisible something that you'll discover. And I agree that the music was also very familiar. ("Duh-da-da-da-da-DA-da-da...") Other than that, I've been discovering everything anew.

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    1. I've realised that playing alongside you means I'm not able to read your posts. Who knows what spoilers I would pick up on the way. It will be really interesting once I finish to see how your experience differed from my own.

      Really enjoying playing at the moment!

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