Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest was created by New World Computing as a mix of two computer games: 'Might and Magic' and 'King's Bounty'. King's Bounty gave the concept of a hero that runs around the map, seen from the top, and collects creatures to fight for him, as well as resources to buy those creatures. As for Might and Magic (series), it has provided a setting for the game: heroes, creatures, land and quests were mostly like in Might and Magic. The mix appeared to be a whole new kind of game that fans loved: four castles with associated buildings, creatures and heroes, system of resources, hero skill advancement and magic, various map locations, artifacs that enhance heroes' abilities and the ability to have several heroes at once.
As the name suggests, heroes are the critical part of the game: creatures cannot walk around by themselves, while heroes have a certain amount of movement points they can use up every turn, and after all, heroes are the ones who add a little role playing element to the game with their growing experience and skills. As for the enemies, that can be several computer (or even human) players that start on the other side of the map and look up to the same goals as you do: world conquest. To make moving around the map a bit more difficult, there are all kinds of creatures who stand on one spot guarding the pass. They usually fight you but sometimes offer join your army. Creatures usually guard the mines, resources, artifacs, passages and other map locations.
So, the game sums up to running around the map, collecting the resources to build up the towns and recruit the creatures, all for one purpose: combat. And the combat is the most interesting part of the game. Two armies with up to five creature types each meet on a battlefield. (Creature 'stack' of a type can contain from one to infinity of those creatures). As the combat begins, the owner of the fastest creature gets the first turn to move that fastest creature. Creatures move according to their speed or flying ability and attack when they 'walk onto the enemy'. Some creatures are shooters and can attack from distance. In one combat round every creature stack has it's turn. Creature may get an extra turn per round due to high morale or lose it's turn due to low morale. Luck can double the damage if present.
Hero's attack and defence skills are added to the stats of each creature, while spell power and knowledge skills are used for spell casting. Knowledge is the amount of each spell that a hero can remember when he enters the mage guild in a town. There are spells to use on the map, but majority are made for combat. Spell power determines damage or combat duration of a spell. A hero cannot be attacked on the battlefield, but can cast one spell every combat round. Once enemy castles and heroes are conquered, the victory is yours, there is no peaceful or diplomatic way.
Heroes of Might and Magic was definitely a start for a new game genre, not only Heroes of Might and Magic 2, 3, 4 and 5, but games like Lords of Magic, Age of Wonders and alike have also used the concepts with some modifications. You can easily spot a heroes clone when you see one because it always has towns, mines, heroes and creatures. Heroes 1 is still a worthy game to remember for its simplicity and roots of the whole series.
Heroes of Might and Magic™: A Strategic Quest swept awards for 1995, including Strategy Game of the Year from Computer Gaming World, Turn-Based Strategy Game of the Year from Strategy Plus, Editor's Choice from PC Gamer, and Golden Triad from Computer Game Review. I still find it enjoyable to play. It is an excellent learning tool for people new to Heroes series.
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