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Proto:Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Heroes of Might and Magic: A Strategic Quest.

The Winter CES demo of A Strategic Quest has a date of January 17, 1995 on the executable (heroes.exe), with other files dating as far back as October 1994. It's an AutoDemo by default, but can be made playable (albeit very unstable) by removing DEMOFILE.BIN.

(Source: HandBookHMM (1, 2))

General Differences

Intro

  • The New World Computing logo video is much longer and quite different.
  • Fading transitions between screens and menus are very long and drawn out.
  • The intro cutscene is also much longer, scrolling from right to left before focusing on the castle.
  • There are no Genie, Hydra, or Wolf on the main menu.

Adventuring

  • There is no "fog of war". Unrevealed areas of the map are simply cloaked in half-transparent darkness.
    • The view radius around the player is one complete screen. In the final, it's roughly 6 tiles in any given direction, forming a hexagon.
  • The player begins with 1,000 of every resource and 897,500 Gold!!
    • In the final game, they start with 20 Wood and Ore, 5 of everything else, and 7,500 Gold on Normal difficulty.
  • There are no small portraits of heroes – instead there are icons representing class of the hero.

HoMM1 ClassIcnProto.png

  • The Adventure Menu lacks an information panel. Instead, Hero Actions (World Map, Cast, Puzzle, Dig) are displayed alongside four usual ones.
    • There is no "Move" or "Hero Actions" button (or menu).
  • The Options Menu lacks Sound Quality, Show Path, the View Enemy Movement functionality, and the (scenario) Info button.
  • The Adventure Menu uses wide buttons in a 2x4 grid instead of smaller ones in a 3x2 formation.
  • Nothing the player does uses any energy. They can move all they want, dig up the land, and board and leave ships forever!
    • However, pressing "End Turn" will crash the game.
  • Some heroes have different names:
Proto Final
Thundrax Thundax
Carlawana Carlawn
Troyanna Troyan
  • Visiting any of the bonus-giving objects on the map except the Statue causes the game to crash.
  • Heroes starting army consists of level 1-3 units.
Proto Final
A guardian angel blesses your armies with the protection of the Ancients. A large statue of an angel towers above you . Abruptly, the angel's eyes open and your troops celebrate a great increase in their morale.
  • The "Statue" object was preliminary called "Guardian Angel". It also has different piece of text and gave the Mass Protection spell bonus for the next batlle instead of +2 morale.

Combat

  • During battle, heroes are represented by their class types on horseback. This would be changed to a tent in the released game.

HoMM1 BatHerProto.png

  • The Battle Options button on the lower-right does nothing.
  • Attempting to make a unit move or attack something beyond its range will cause the cursor to change into a circle with a cross over it and display "Illegal Action" in the status bar.
  • Damage dealt to the player's creatures is significantly reduced. The command would not be officially implemented until the third game, however.
  • Occasionally, the game will soft-lock during combat – usually after a player loses some units or an entire unit group.
  • Elves and Paladins cannot strike twice.
  • Creatures have two attributes: Speed and Movement. Movement tells how far creature can go on a battlefield (e.g. 4 hex, some creatures instead of numer has "flying" quality). Speed probably was used for determining order of creature or was affecting the hero movement on an Adventure Map.
  • Rogues can only move 1 space per turn rather than 3.
  • After running from battle hero losses only creatures that died in a battle and stay on a square from which he was attacking.
  • Hydras can (and do) attack friendly units.
  • Creature Damage range is inverted in the stats. (e.g. 4-3 points of damage)
  • Ranged creatures have a "Shooting Skill"
  • Battle AI is almost non-existent. Creatures simply walk forward and, if in range, attack the player's units.
    • On rare occasions, the computer may attack their own units.
  • In the demo, it's necessary to fire the catapult manually. Just like in the release game, it can't be aimed.
  • Castles do not yet have turrets.
  • Nomad has broken one frame from moving animation, however he doesn't appear on the demo map

HoMM1 Demo File110.png

Town/Castle Management

  • In a Warlock, Barbarian and Knight town, Level 2 and 3 creatures are inverted.
  • There is no building limit in towns, meaning a player can build an entire town in one turn.
  • Many dwellings have additional creature type in their names.
  • Creature base growth is different in most cases.
  • A Spellbook costs 2,500 Gold rather than 500.
  • Building the 1st and 2nd Level Mage Guild costs 1000 gold, 5 ore and wood, and 20 crystals. 3rd level cost is similar, but requires gems instead of crystals. 4th level requires 1000 gold, 5 wood, 5 ore, and 30 sulphur and mercury.
  • Heroes available to hire change after every visit in a tavern.
  • Unicorn dwelling requires wood instead of gems.
Proto Final
HoMM1 WarlProto.png HoMM1 WarlProtoComp.png
  • Warlock Town slightly differs from the final release - all the dwellings except Dragon Tower were changed.
    • The Warlock Town background looks less detailed than in the final.

Demo.map

CES Demo Final (Map Editor)
Welcome to the world of Enroth! Welcome to a BETTER world (sort of)!

The demo uses a completely unique (and very crowded) map that isn't seen in the commercial release. The map lacks a name, description, or general settings, but can be viewed and saved in the Windows 95 map editor.

There are only three players on this map. Two of them are Knights – Sir Gallant and Lord Haart – while the last is a Barbarian – Atlas. In the final game, all maps are designed with four players in mind, though computer players can be disabled. The saved game file for the demo, CESDEMO, makes mention of only three players, confirming that the lack of a fourth party was probably intentional.

Curiously, the map file is compatible with the DOS and Windows releases of the game – just rename it to "DEMO1###.MAP" to play on it. Doing this causes the Barbarian Town in the northwest area to be upgraded to a castle, oddly.

Unused Siege Skill

Proto Final
HoMM1 HeroProto.png HoMM1 HeroProtoComp.png
Proto Final
HoMM1 SiegeProto.png HoMM1 SiegeProtoComp.png

The demo has skill points specifically for siege weaponry. It seems like the probability of hitting a castle wall is somehow connected with the number of points in the Siege Skill. Knights have this skill on level 2, allowing them firing boulder twice.

Audio Differences

  • Battle theme uses Barbarian's track.
  • Barbarian Town uses Warlock's track.
  • Though using the whirlpool in the demo will crash the game, its music track differs from the final release:
Proto Final