Once upon a time, in the halcyon days of 1989, Sierra released a strange game called Hero's Quest -- later rebranded Quest for Glory, due to Hasbro's corporate dickery. The game tried things that had never really been done before -- melding RPG character development, classes, combat, and exploration with adventure game-style puzzles and occasional moon-logic. That game spawned a remake and four quality sequels, comprising undoubtedly one of the finest game series of all time. In spite of its success and quality however, Quest for Glory never really spawned any imitators (other than the painfully mediocre BloodNet) and remained for the most part alone in its genre. Over the years there have been a few attempts by fans to create successors -- such as the ill-fated Hero6 project -- but none had come to fruition until finally, this year, Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok was released by Crystal Shard Studios as freeware, following up on their excellent adventure game A Tale of Two Kingdoms.
Heroine's Quest is a game that does not so much politely borrow from Quest for Glory as it does tackle it and steal its stuff. Thankfully, it does so for the most part without damaging any of the elements that made QFG great; most everything from the originals is still there, including the three character classes, connections to real-world mythology, adventure game puzzles, stat-building through practice, exploration of a large, hostile forest, goofy, awkward humor, and multiple solutions to almost every situation. The only real difference is that your character has lady-parts. Because of all this it is almost inevitable that Heroine's Quest will be played through heavily tinted nostalgia goggles, but it is also a game that is worthy of consideration on its own merits. The borrowed mish-mash of features for the most part comes together successfully independent of its influences, though not without a few stumbles along the way. There are many elements to discuss, so let's get to it.