At a Glance: In 1990, SSI challenged D&D players to trade their 20-sided dice for game controllers and pit their magic missiles against the most cunning foe of all, their Nintendos. When asked to comment on this game, our focus group of random people from the middle ages seemed relatively unimpressed and demanded to be returned to their magical, enchanted time period which was completely free of war, disease, and oppressive monarchies.
Platform: NES (Download Emulator here - 192k)
Download: Download ROM here - 100k
I'm pretty sure the track display on my Discman is better at math than this game's collision detection code.
Game Plot: Were all the good game ideas used up in 1990, or did Nintendo just have an unplayable crap quota they had to fill every year? Either way, I'm still not any closer to a good explanation of how any game could be as utterly terrible as Heroes of the Lance. The only way this game would ever be remotely fun is if it came with a Nintendo peripheral that triggers orgasms. And even then I'd probably only play it while waiting for Lowtax to upload next month's batch of raver porn ads.
Heroes of the Lance tells the story of 8 warriors on a quest to find The Disks of Mishakel. I think the manual's version of the story is the longest consecutive string of words ever devoted to the plot of a Nintendo game. To NES players who were used to one-paragraph introductions about saving the president's daughter, it probably looked like Moby Dick.
Enemies: Several unique and special creatures you may recognize if you've played any other RPG ever made. The deadliest monster is the dwarf, although probably not intentionally. As much as I'd like to believe it was supposed to be invincible, it seems a lot more likely that this game just sucks at math. I could probably program a better collision detection system on my VCR.
Even after taking the popular game of Dungeons & Dragons and digitally removing all the sweaty nerds and cardboard shields, SSI still couldn't come up with a product that was remotely playable. Combat consists of stabbing an enemy in the face with your phallic dragonlance for several minutes until someone finally registers a hit. Forget Fight Club, if you can watch this crap for 2 hours and still not think violence is sick and wrong, you must either be Bruce Willis or the Christian deity who wanted all those wars started last millennium.
Weapons: This state-of-the-art unpopularity simulation replaces your primitive wooden swords with sexy pixel art and 8-bit farting sounds, all controlled by a cold, unfeeling computer brain incapable of remorse. It's impossible to level up, though, so there's absolutely no reason to fight anything unless you enjoy hearing the combat sound effects, which sound like they were recorded by a 70-year old man receiving the blowjob of a lifetime.
If you see this you are so fucked.
Number of Levels: Just one big maze. The black & white backgrounds may seem repetitive at first, but in reality they serve as brilliant counterpoint to the characters' flamboyant pink costumes, earning this game a perfect 10 for aesthetics.
One thing that makes Heroes of the Lance particularly brilliant as a masterpiece of absolute crap is that the doors have pits next to them that go to the exact same room. The saddest part is you can tell by how many times it's used that the designer truly believed he had come up with a great new idea that would revolutionize gaming. I can just imagine how much he must've cried after playing the game and realizing how spectacularly dumb it was.
Number of Bosses: There's supposed to be a big dragon at the end, but I never got that far. Someone told me you can beat this game in under 5 minutes, which I can verify, assuming getting sick of this crap and pitching it in the garbage counts as a win.
Defining Moment: Eventually it reached a point where I couldn't justify playing Heroes of the Lance any longer due to the enormous electric bill it was running up shooting crap beams at my other Nintendo games. I'm pretty sure the next time I put in River City Ransom, Alex will start screaming racial epithets at me, then attmept to eat his own toes.
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The Rom Pit is dedicated to reviewing the most bizarre and screwed up classic console games from the 1980's, the ones that made you wonder what kind of illegal substances the programmers were smoking when they worked on them. Strangely enough, the same illegal substances are often necessary to enjoy or make sense of most of these titles. No horrible Nintendo game is safe from the justice of the ROM Pit.