Heroes Of Might And Magic: A Strategic Quest – A Review Of The Innovative Turn-Based Strategy

Heroes Of Might And Magic: A Strategic Quest – A Review Of The Innovative Turn-Based Strategy
Credit: HippoCrit via YouTube

Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest (‘HOMM’ going forward) is the first game of the series, which is beloved by many gamers.

It was released in September 1995 by New World Computing for DOS, and after initial success was ported to Windows in February 1996.

Heroes of Might and Magic takes place in a medieval fantasy world filled with creatures frequently associated with myth and legend. These creatures compose the military forces (troops) with which the player attempts to conquer opponents. The player leads generals through the game world at the head of armies of soldiers. These generals, called “heroes,” provide a means to explore, attack, defeat, and acquire, the four basic principles in the game.

The ultimate goal of the game is usually to capture all enemy castles and defeat all enemy heroes. However, the game comes with many different play scenarios, and some of these scenarios have unique victory conditions, such as accumulating a certain amount of gold or finding a particular artifact.

Positive Aspects:

  • Three genres in one (adventure, war-game, simulator);
  • Colorful visuals;
  • Engaging game play;
  • Easy to learn;
  • Challenging opponents.

Negative Aspects:

  • Thin story;
  • Difficult to master;
  • Addictive.

While you will encounter some goofy animations in combat or some minor bugs, the game is very polished and is a relic of its time. It set a good base for the sequels, which went to improve the negative aspects and add additional elements to the game.

The game received multiple awards, such as Strategy Game of the Year (tied with another title), Best Strategy Game (nominated), Best Turn-Based Strategy Game (tied), and Role-Playing Game of the Year 1996.

The game play was different from every match; it was not repetitive and allowed for multiple tactics to be used in mastering the available towns. The colorful visuals made it a joy to be played, and the three genres in one aspect attracted players with different tastes.

The strategy involved in the game separated good players from the best players. The units you had in your army, the way you manage it, the timing of your spells, all minor details impacted the way the game was played. The game is rich and deep and allows for a lot of exploration.

The game is quite snowball-y, so if you have a rough start of the match, a restart is usually warranted unless you want to handicap yourself from the beginning.

Overall, the game was revolutionary at the time and set a good pace for the sequels, which will be analyzed and published in the following days.