Video Game: Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok

Battling the giants!
"Would you still like to know? And what?"

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.
  • Adventure Game: It's a Spiritual Successor to the classic Sierra adventure games, particularly the Quest for Glory series.
  • Adult Fear: When Heime gets kidnapped, his parents are understandably worried and upset.
  • 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.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Comes in various colors and they all Carry a Big Stick. Traditional "turn-into-stone-in-sunlight" curse is also in full effect, and the main troll, Thrivaldi presumes this is also the case for humans. He attempts to kill the Heroine by burying her in an avalanche and leaving her to turn to stone, but is later informed that humans don't turn to stone by Egther.
  • And I Must Scream: Loki's punishment in Svartalfheim. This actually matches the Norse myth well.
  • An Axe to Grind: A two-handed version the heroine can wield. The jotunn also use axes.
  • An Ice Person: All of the jotunn have ice-based magic. Egther's is the most powerful
  • Awesome but Impractical: Regin gives you the golden sword Gram, which breaks if you try to fight with it. The game immediately lampshades that gold was a poor choice to make a weapon from.
  • Badass: The heroine becomes simply because of the nature of the game.
    • Badass Cape: She sports a fashionable cape while doing it, too.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Hervor is a swanmaiden, and stuck in human form since she doesn't have her wings anymore.
    • This can happen to the heroine, too, if caught attempting to sneak into Aurvandel's room
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: The game has loads of lampshade hanging on its plot, characters, the adventure genre as a whole... See No Fourth Wall below.
  • 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.
    • Nevertheless, most warriors in game worry about how things like illness or a job in town can prevent one from going to Valhalla. Definitely a case of Values Dissonance.
  • Blade on a Stick: Liff's weapon of choice When Munarvagir is attacked.
  • The Blacksmith: Volund.
  • 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.
    • Also Brauggi and Dolores. There's also an achievement for defeating them with the later requiring Guide Dang It to find her.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The jarl can fall under the spell of the huldra.
    • The heroine can fall under this if she moves to where Loki is imprisoned, and Sigyn leaves the room. The heroine will be compelled to take her place. This also happens if you attack Sigyn, causing her to fall off the platform.
  • But Thou Must: Averted at the beginning, where you are offered the game's main quest and can choose to go play Tetris instead.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cast from Hit Points: The channel spell which drain your health to replenish your Mana Meter. Actions will drain health if the heroine has no stamina, as well.
  • Clear My Name: Kraka asks the heroine to do one of these for her.
  • Cleavage Window: The heroine is mostly modest (given the climate, that's practical), but she shows a little skin.
  • Clingy Mc Guffin: Andvari's cursed ring. If you restore your game to before you've picked it up, you'll find that it's still there.
  • Convection Shmonvection: Averted at one point where standing too close to some exposed lava results in a death. It takes a while, though.
  • Cool Helmet: Byrnhild sports a winged helmet. Justified, valkyries were often portrayed this way.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: The forest of Jarnvidr and the caves of Svartalfheim.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Snorri is master of this.
    • The Heroine herself gets her share of choice lines in. Particularly when dealing with Ratatosk.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Aurvandel's speech pattern is rather redundant because he repeats himself, making his speech redundant.
    • He does know he does it, and warns you against making fun of a wizard when you do it back at him.
      • His pattern of speech makes sense when you realize he is saying something three times, similar to how the Norns speak.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The heroine is meant to be one of the Prince of Shapeir.
  • Dramatic Wind: On game's main screen, the heroine's hair and cloak float in the wind. Casting Arctic Wind will also cause this.
  • Dream Sequence
  • Drop the Hammer: The heroine can get a warhammer as a weapon.
  • Dual Wield: The rogue's default weapon is a pair of daggers.
  • Easter Egg:
  • 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...
  • Empathic Environment: The garden will thaw if you complete the Matchmaker Quest.
  • The Exile: Self-imposed by Arngrim, as he was ill and worried if he was contagious.
  • Fetch Quest: How else can one become a heroine?
  • Fighter Wizard Thief: The three character classes you can choose from.
  • Flaming Sword: Balmung.
  • Freeware Games: Available for free on Crystal Shard's website or on Steam.
  • 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.
  • Guide Dang It: Some of puzzles and quests aren't easy to solve and have multiples solutions.
  • Grave Humor: Like past Quest for Glory games.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: As a rogue, you break Kraka out of jail and make distractions to fool the guards.
  • Have a Nice Death: As a love letter to Sierra's adventure games, this trope is a must-have.
  • 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.
  • Life Meter
  • 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.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The warrior start out as this.
    • The Shield spell learned by the Sorceress will do this by blocking Egther's ice beam during the final battle.
  • MacGuffin: The Eyes of Thiassi.
  • Magic Staff: The Sorceress' Weapon of Choice, along with different flavors of magic.
  • Mana Meter
  • Matchmaker Quest: You can get Liff and Lithrasir together.
    • In a milder version, you can also get Sigurd and Byrnhild back together.
  • Mini-Game: Several, including playing dice with Snorri and Volund (they kick you out of the game if you win too much).
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The gulon.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: Generally avoids this, but there are a couple cases.
    • 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.
      • The solution is barely hinted at: if you look at the bag before Thrivaldi moves, the Warrior gets a unique text box saying that you won't be able to get it without help. Still, there's nothing to suggest that the fox is somehow trained to retrieve stuff at your command as long as you can get it to trust you.
  • Mythology Gag: The stuffed moosehead from King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human makes an appearance. It made a cameo in various Sierra games. Just like all of the Quest for Glory games (except for the third), it's in the adventurer's guild.
    • The Sierra "half-dome" makes a cameo during the introduction.
      • If you rob Snorri's house, he has one of the Blackbirds.
  • Named Weapon: The people of Midgard love to name their swords.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer has the heroine being attacked by a Spectre, a Draug and a Duergar in broad daylight. In the game however, all those monsters only show up at night or in Svartalfheim. Plus, different monsters never gang on you like this, you only face them one encounter at a time.
  • 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.
    • Thrivaldi complaint when you skip a cutscene where he appears.
    • Aurvandel gives you a potion that will restore someone to his original form. He adds that it won't work with the dead and you need to restore your game for that.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: (At least) two examples avoid the usual "Your Soul Rests in Niflheim" screen.
    • During the endgame, if you mess things up during the time-travel sequence, your heroine will vanish in a swirl and the screen will fade to black with the words "You have erased yourself from existence." You're then taken back to the title screen.
    • If you jump or teleport to Loki's island, Sigyn will try to run away. If she gets to the exit before you, you're compelled to take her place. you get a short description of how your former life fades from your mind before the game takes you back to the title screen.
  • 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.
  • NPC Scheduling: Unlike Quest for Glory, people go about their business and wander the streets, shops and so forth. Sometime, they even ask you to leave as they are closing for the night or leaving themselves.
    • Particularly important for Rogues, who have to plan robberies with the NP Cs movements in mind.
  • Off with His Head!: One the jotunn's attack is a decapitation with his axe.
  • Our Elves Are Better: The svartalf, AKA, dark elves.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Of the Frost Giants variety as well as the Muspell.
  • Pacifist Run: The rogue can finish the game without engaging combat.
  • Point of No Return: Not sign-posted, but reasonably easy to guess. Once the heroine has the Eyes of Thiassi, there's nothing to do but face the final boss.
  • Random Encounter: Wouldn't be an RPG without it.
  • Reality Ensues: This is one of few games where a character trying to run across ice won't merely slip and slide, they slip and fall down.
  • Real Men Cook: The best cook in the game is Sigurd, and no one will deny it.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The little fox.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Aurvandel.
  • 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. He 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 treasures were found in early instalments 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?
    • Near the end of the game, the heroine can meet a future version of herself, who could say It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!
    • Drinking the water from the mushroom cave gives the words King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder! Ah, life-giving water, nectar of the gods. (Heroine) feels strength and renewal flowing through her.
    • Using the touch icon on Fenrir after you defeat him gives the message: Dude, don't taunt the god-killing abomination.
    • A Rogue with fast talk can trick Thrivaldi into staying out till morning by singing Bohemian Rhapsody.
    • There's a book of strategy written by Moon Tzu. Said book appeared earlier in A Tale Of Two Kingdoms, where it can be read.
  • 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.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Draug that attacks you at night.
  • Thieves' Guild: The Thieves' Lodge. You can join it, shut it down, or leave it alone and just get your junk back.
  • Utility Magic: A number of spells serve this function, such as Arctic Wind. Flame Aura also has utility purposes, since it melts ice and can warm Sigurd when he's lying unconscious in the snow.
  • Victory Pose: Whenever you defeat a monster.
  • 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.
  • Wizard Classic: Aurvandel.
  • 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.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: All the town guards look exactly the same. You can lampshade this and they won't appreciate the comment.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: All the svartalf have white hair.
  • Your Head A Splode: Lampshaded in the message you receive after picking up the unstable ordnance and carrying it outside the village.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: The portal to Svartalfheim. You can use the steps to activate it and give the Norns the "right" answers before you're supposed to, but you're stranded in limbo for all eternity for trying to outpace the plot.
    • The Sorceress's riddle quest is the same way. She must learn the riddle answers by asking, she can never learn them in another fashion.