Video Game: Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok
Battling the giants!
"Would you still like to know? And what?"
— The Poetic Edda
Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok is a freeware adventure/RPG hybrid by Crystal Shard. It's available for free on Steam.Set in the world of Norse Mythology, the game pits the eponymous heroine against Egther, last of the frost giants, who wishes to fulfill the prophecy of Ragnarok by covering the world in eternal ice. The game is retro-styled, offering gameplay similar to classic Sierra games, in particular Quest for Glory.Compare Quest For Infamy, a similar Quest For Glory-esque game.
Contains examples of the following tropes:
Achilles' Heel: If you play as the warrior you'll eventually have a choice of several weapons, each of which are more effective against certain enemies (battle-axe is better against trolls, warhammer is better against bergrisi, and so on).
Action Girl: The heroine, par the course for this type of game, and Brynhild the valkyrie. Sigrun grabs a bow and Kraka pulls out her daggers when danger approaches.
Alchemy Is Magic: Standard fare for action-adventure games. The alchemists you meet in the game (Liff, Aurvandel, and Skrymir) are all wizards. The Sorceress starts with skill in Herbalism and gets points for brewing her own potions.
Beware the Nice Ones: When Heime is kidnapped, Hervor gets so angry she bends a well-tempered sword with her bare hands.
BFS: Sigurd pulls one out when Thrivaldi attacks Munarvagir and fights with it.
Bittersweet Ending: In the stinger at the end, after the credits The Heroine is mortally wounded in a fight some decades later, and is visited by the Valkyrie, who takes her to Valhalla. While her body is never found, she is almost certainly dead. It's a pretty dark and serious moment in a game with so many easter eggs, shout-outs, references, and jokes.
Bonus Boss: Surtr, (basically a re-skinned and much tougher muspell) can be found past the Point of No Return if you wander in the opposite direction from the Final Dungeon. There's an achievement for defeating him.
Dual Wield: The rogue's default weapon is a pair of daggers.
Easter Egg: Name the Heroine after one of the love interestsnote [[Elsa, Nawar, Katrina, or Erana]] from Quest for Glory V. She'll start with Hera's Ring in her inventory, suggesting that she is the daughter of the original hero and named after her mother.
Easy Amnesia: Sigurd forgets the woman he loves Brynhild the Valkyrie. Justified, as it was caused by the gods.
Elemental Crafting: Played with. The sword Gram given to you by Regin is made of gold. It breaks the first time you try to fight with it, because gold is not very durable. That said, Volund can offer to reforge it for you...
Funny Background Event: A minor one, but your mouse cursor actually has a reflection on some surfaces (such as the ice of the frozen lake). See No Fourth Wall below for something of an explanation.
Hostage For Macguffin: Thrivaldi tries to set one of these up by kidnapping Heime. The heroine foils this.
Hostile Weather: Jarnvidr is gripped in the midst of a bitterly cold winter, and this becomes a gameplay mechanic wherein it's possible to freeze to death.
Infinity+1 Sword: Balmung. And there's an infinity plus one spell, the lightning bolt.
Karma Meter: The sword Balmung can only be drawn if the Heroine has not committed too many immoral acts up to that point. Several NPCs, when asked, explain what choices are considered good and which ones are considered bad.
Knife Nut: Kraka's an expert with throwing daggers. When Thrivaldi attacks, she joins in the defense of the town with them.
Literal-Minded: Eitri asks for a rare item, the footfalls of a cat (as this was one of the items that made up Gleipnir.) You get it by getting an ink print of a cat's paw.
Lost Forever: To get the sword Balmung, the Heroine must behave in a certain way. Specifically: treat everyone with respect, respect the dead, and be honest. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible to screw this up even before you learn the criteria for drawing the sword.
To get your stuff back from Thrivaldi as a Warrior, you need two things: a mirror, and a fox. The mirror is pretty easy to guess: Thrivaldi hangs out asleep in his cave, and knowing trolls are vulnerable against sunlight, it's not too much of a stretch to conclude using the mirror to shine sunlight on him might be something to try. However after moving him out of the way, you need to use the fox to fetch your bag. Nowhere is it suggested you can use the fox to do this.
Noble Bigot: Snorri thinks that saving the kingdom is man's work, but he never tries to stop the heroine from her tasks and praises her when she proves herself.
No Fourth Wall: Pretty much everyone, from the narrator, to the Heroine herself, to the various NPCs, lampshade the fact that this is a game to the point that it goes far beyond just leaning on it. Right down to the Censor Boxes hiding the Huldra's naughty bits.
Eitri the svartalf at one point takes control of the cursor and even asks if he can trade you something for it, like it's one of the magical artifacts he's interested in. You refuse since you can't complete your quest without it.
Norse Mythology: Much of the plot and environment draws heavily from this. With a bit of Adaptation Expansion, as Ratatosk was a figure from myth but wasn't a comedic "doom squirrel" who threatened to claw people's eyes out.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Thrivaldi can be considered this in a sense. In cutscenes he comes across like the typical half-witted, bumbling henchman of a much scarier villain. The only reason you survive past the prologue is because he leaves you to die after not quite killing you with an avalanche because he thinks humans turn to stone in the sun like trolls do. If you actually fight him, he's a very tough opponent and story-wise the only reason he loses is because he gets so caught up in fighting the heroine he doesn't realize it's almost sunrise.
Screwed by the Network: The dev team intended to have Steam Trading Cards, and even made emoticons and backgrounds, but ultimately couldn't go through with it due to Valve's policy that free to play games must have ingame transactions in order to be eligible for cards.
Self-Made Orphan: Fafnir and Regin contend that the other of them killed their father.
Shout-Out: All over the place. In particular, the game loves to refer to the classic Sierra adventure games (particularly the Quest for Glory series, to which it is a Spiritual Successor), but shout outs to the adventure genre as a whole are present, including Zork and the Monkey Island series. There's even a nod to the ill-fated Hero 6, a previous attempt to create a spiritual successor to the Quest for Glory games.
And of course, the game draws heavily from Norse Mythology. Many of the character names are drawn directly from the mythology, and even their relationships are grounded in the Eddas.
You can spot the Harry Potter novels in Aurvandel's lab. Aurvandel will speak of the Philosopher's stone and his good old friend Mumblemore. Mumblemore's tombstone can also be found in the graveyard, together with a wish that "Larry" will avenge him.
The PC's sprite looks like Zanthia from The Legend of Kyrandia. One of the characters even talks about how they sometimes import things from Kyrandia.
If you look at a stump in the forest, you get a message mocking the idea that you'd find something valuable or useful in some random tree stump. This is how many valuables were found in early installments of King's Quest.
One particular one to Quest For Glory is that Brauggi, the frost giant from the first game, guards the villain's castle. With the way he talks completely in rhyme and even has the same dialogue animation, what else are you supposed to think?
A Rogue with fast talk can trick Thrivaldi into staying out till morning by singing Bohemian Rhapsody.
Shown Their Work: In concert with the Shout-Out above, the designers really put a lot of work into keeping the characters and setting true to the source mythology.
Solve the Soup Cans: The game generally avoids these sorts of puzzles, but one in particular stands out: The slide puzzle in Andvari's shop. There's nothing in the game that says you need to do it, and no indication of what it even does. It opens passages to where Loki is bound, and to a Marathon Level where you can fight a number of monsters and attempt to beat your best time. Fortunately, neither of these are strictly necessary to complete the game, though the Rogue may struggle.
Spiritual Successor: To Sierra's adventure games in general, and the Quest for Glory series in particular.
Waking Up Elsewhere: The very first thing that happens to the Heroine (in the credits, no less) is getting buried in an avalanche and left for dead. She wakes up in the Adventurer's Guild, at which point the player takes control.
Widow Woman: Sigrun, whose husband died recently. You can let her see him again one last time.
World of Badass: While the heroine is the only character who is controlled, almost everyone in this game is a badass who can defend themselves in a fight. It would be easier to count the ones that can't: Hervor, Heime, and Lithrasir. One of which is a child, and one of which is actually a swan.