Hero Quest Soundtrack (ZX Spectrum), Barry Leitch, 1991
Disclaimer: An earlier version of this review stated that the Atari ST port suffered from technical problems. This turned out to be an emulator issue and the ‘Conversion Notes’ section of the review has been updated accordingly.
Board games are arguably a lot easier to turn into video games than say movies. They already function as games, have a set of clearly defined rules and often enough feature just enough backstory to efficiently set up the game’s world. The sheer number of Dungeons & Dragons video games is testament to the close connection between both worlds. The success of the Dungeons & Dragons table top games of course inspired others to follow in their footsteps. In 1989, US board game manufacturer Milton Bradley tried their hand at a fantasy-themed title called Hero Quest. Despite its generic presentation, the game was fairly successful around the globe, with a number of expansions, new editions and even novels published.
The inevitable video game ports of Hero Quest arrived in 1991 on several home computer systems and the NES. Developers 221B Software Development looked after the computer ports, while Eurocom handled the NES game. Unfortunately, that title was ultimately cancelled and never officially released. As for the various computer ports, they were reasonably well received by video game journalists, although reviews ranged from very strong to merely middling. While some scribes welcomed the game’s accessibility, others bemoaned its low difficulty level and that Hero Quest stuck too close to its original board game mechanics.