Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance
|Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance|
Box art of the Nintendo Entertainment System version
|Publisher(s)||Strategic Simulations, Inc., U.S. Gold
Pony Canyon (NES/Famicom)
|Composer(s)||Brian Howarth (computer versions), Iku Mizutani (NES version), Seiji Toda (MSX version)|
|Release date(s)||January 1988
|Distribution||Cassette, Floppy disk, Cartridge|
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of the Lance is a video game released in January 1988 for various home computer systems and consoles. The game is based on the first Dragonlance campaign module for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, Dragons of Despair, and the first Dragonlance novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Heroes of the Lance focuses on the journey of eight heroes through the ruined city of Xak Tsaroth, where they must face the ancient dragon Khisanth and retrieve the relic, the Disks of Mishakal.
The eight heroes that make up the party are:
- Goldmoon, a princess who brandishes the Blue Crystal Staff, an artifact whose powers she seeks to fully understand.
- Sturm Brightblade, a powerful and solemn knight.
- Caramon Majere, a not-so-bright warrior.
- Raistlin Majere, Caramon's brother; a sly and brilliant, but frail, mage.
- Tanis Half-Elven, the 'natural leader' of the heroes, and good with a bow.
- Tasslehoff Burrfoot, a kender pickpocket. He fights with a sling weapon known as a hoopak.
- Riverwind, Goldmoon's betrothed. He is a noble and wise warrior.
- Flint Fireforge, a grizzled dwarven warrior.
Heroes of the Lance is a side-scrolling action game. The game used actual Dungeons & Dragons statistics, with statistics for the characters exactly as they were in the rule books. Eight heroes from the Dragonlance novels series must be assembled for the quest, and only one is visible on the screen at a time; when one on-screen hero dies, the next in line appears.
While Heroes of the Lance is a faithful representation of the books it is based on, it was a departure from the usual role-playing video game style of most Dungeons & Dragons games, and many players lamented its difficult gameplay interface which consists of using one character at a time in horizontally scrolling fighting. Each character has different types of attacks and spells making them more suited to fighting different enemies but they merely act as "lives" for the player as in more traditional fighting games, removing one of the main strategies of role-playing games from the game.
Heroes of the Lance was not part of the Gold Box series; the nickname for these other D&D titles were "Silver Box" games. The NES version was developed by Natsume. Due to a contract with the publishers, Natsume was not allowed to put their name or credits in the game. This was also the case with the other AD&D titles released on the NES which were developed by Japanese companies.
After reviewing a pre-production copy of Heroes of the Lance, G.M. The Independent Fantasy Roleplaying Magazine said that "it would undoubtedly go straight to the top of the computer games charts and stay there for several months. Its THAT good." They specifically praised its graphics and audio, calling the latter "excellent". Computer Gaming World gave the game a similarly positive review.
While the DOS version was the one reviewed in the magazines mentioned above, the NES version is often cited as one of the poorer titles available for the console. Specifically, past Electronic Gaming Monthly columnist, Seanbaby, listed it as the 2nd worst NES game, and as the 11th worst video game.
Levi Buchanan, in a classic Dungeons & Dragons videogame retrospective for IGN, wrote that "If you don't plan well, you can lose a lot of heroes in a very short period of time. This offered a slight strategy angle, but D&D fans largely preferred the Pool of Radiance straight RPG approach."
According to GameSpy, "While the game was actually a fairly decent side-scroller for its time, the frustrating level of difficulty, along with the fact that you couldn't save the game, meant that most gamers gave this game a miss".
- Buchanan, Levi (March 6, 2008). "Dungeons & Dragons Classic Videogame Retrospective". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
- Tresca, Michael J. (2010), The Evolution of Fantasy Role-Playing Games, McFarland, p. 142, ISBN 078645895X
- "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons". G.M. (Croftward) 1 (1): 18–20. September 1988.
- Wilson, David (Dec 1988). "Heroes and Heavies of the Lance". Computer Gaming World. pp. 54, 56.
- Seanbaby. "The 20 worst NES Games of all Time". Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- Seanbaby. "Seanbaby's EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Video Games of All Time.". Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
(expanded from an article written for Electronic Gaming Monthly #150)
- Rausch, Allen (August 15, 2004). "A History of D&D Video Games". GameSpy. Retrieved 2009-12-23.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2009)|
- Dykes, Big Al (December 1991). "Rerelease: Heroes of the Lance" (review). Sinclair User (118): page 44. ISSN 0262-5458. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- Rich (January 1992). "Replay: Heroes of the Lance" (review). Your Sinclair (73): page 82. ISSN 0269-6983. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- South, Phil (March 1989). "Screen Shots Part II: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes of the Lance" (review). Your Sinclair (39): page 80. ISSN 0269-6983. Retrieved March 29, 2007. alternate html version of the review.
- "Fantasy Roleplaying: Heroes of the Lance" (review). Crash (62): page 71. March 1989. ISSN 0954-8661. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- "Games Review: Heroes of the Lance". Sinclair User (83): page 34–35. February 1989. ISSN 0262-5458. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
- Heroes of the Lance at MobyGames
- Heroes of the Lance at World of Spectrum
- Heroes of the Lance can be played for free in the browser at the Internet Archive
- Images of Heroes of the Lance package, manual and screen