Heroes Rise Is A True CS IF Game Series

There has been a recent trend in our community to bash Hero Rise as “not a true CS game” or a “CYOA game” and I think it is time to come to a consensus that HR series is a interactive fiction piece, regardless of flaws.

I’ve criticized HR before as well as the sequel and I’m not one that defends its flaws. The one critique that I am going to push back is that this is not “true” to the genre. These were written with a specific design in mind and to tell the author’s story as he envisioned it many years ago.

Staying true to his vision, he wrote the story he envisioned within the framework of the CS scripting engine. Over the years, it has been a successful commercial series that continues to have fans and a loyal audience.

There are a lot of things you can criticize both the author and his work for but you can’t deny for better or worse that his series is part and parcel of this genre. Both the successful parts and those parts of the series that are criticized have helped further develop the genre as a whole.

The CS engine itself has evolved and the use of features like *fake_choice are seen today as archaic or ill-advised but this series was written in a different phase of the CS engine’s life and it is very hard to cross-compare from one generation of game to the next.

You can more easily say, well Choice of the Dragon (or whatever early gem is your favorite) does this or that better and is of the same generation game as Hero Rise but once again, the focus and purpose of Hero Rise was entirely different.

This is something that is easier to understand in graphical games such as Myst or everyone’s favorite Bioware titles. The fact that it is harder to understand in text based games doesn’t discount that games sometimes are made to explore different aspects of the art-form.

It is time this community remember this and stop constantly slamming one of the classics of CS-If gaming as not really belonging in the genre.


I’ve played the HR series for a long time, and over the years have completed the series several times. The HR series is one of the few CoGs I’ve not fully enjoyed; that being due to the Hero Project feeling very strange and out-of-place in a supposed crime-fighting superhero series. The continuation in this vein via Redemption Season was totally a bummer for me.

However, that’s basically the extent of my issues. Each time I’ve read through the series, I’ve never felt particularly that the code or pacing was anything less than satisfactory. CoG games aren’t produced by million-dollar budget teams and never have been - we’re not expecting rocket science in our products here. Plot, characters and worldbuilding will beat fancy coding every time, right?

That said, it’s interesting you mentioned Choice of Dragons. It occurred to me recently that - if feasible - it could be worth updating the old catalogue to the newer CS versions? If nothing else, this would provide players with the great new features like font and background customisation. That is to say; perhaps there is some merit in revisiting older projects in order to maintain high standards across the CoG and HG catalogue - any thoughts on this? :open_book:


I have to admit that if it wasn’t for Hero Rise, I probably wouldn’t be a part of this forum as a member and a fan of many works from different authors of different genres such as science fiction or horror. However, the series itself is definitely a definitive genre in its own right and a part of me kind of holds it to a high standard due to its excellent writing in my opinion. There were a few things I didn’t like about the series but I’m not going to get into it. I may be a little biased towards it since The Prodigy was the first COG game I’ve ever played and I’m very grateful towards the author for getting me into this type of games that I never would had known to grow attached to.


As someone who unfortunately started this trend and is repentent of it:

I acknowledge Heroes Rise as something that, at the time it was released, pushed forward the boundaries of CS games in general. Hell, until Slammed came out, I considered it one of the best CS games out, and it was a favorite I’d come back to more than once. It was a massive and ambitious book for its time, and I’m grateful that it was released, because it was instrumental in not only showing that CS and CoG could go in a different direction, but also paving the way for games that have built upon it and gone further (again, like Slammed. Or even the other HR games, which are admittedly an improvement over Prodigal). And, taken as an interactive novel more than a game, it is a servicable one. And I am more than willing to defend #fake_choice as a feature, since – if implemented well (that’s the key there) – it can add depth to a game without adding too heavily to the overall workload of an author.

That said. Heroes Rise has not aged well, for me. There is only one real path to it, considering being a glory-hound also results in more lives being saved. There are holes not only in the programming, but in the writing, that are more glaring when I come back to it. And the game is absolutely aggressive when it comes to not only invalidating player choices, but guilting you for making the choice in the first place (the infamous letter scene with your grandmother, for one). And while #fake_choices can be masterfully implemented, the implementation was… not masterful.

Some of these criticisms, I would lay down at others of the same generation. Some, I would level at games that came much farther ahead of it. Would I go as far as saying it’s not a CoG game and call to remove it from the site? Absolutely not. There are people who do love the series. Just because I am someone who doesn’t, means nothing in the grand scheme of things.


HR was one of the first CS games I played, and I very much enjoyed it. The ability to play through an immensly epic storyline as an openly gay superhero was nothing short of amazing, and I don’t know if anything will be able to eclipse that feeling. Looking back at it now, it’s true that it has quite a few problems (losing points for acting “out of character”, railroading, Black Magic), but to claim it’s the worst of the worst is stupid.

For comparison, Hero of Krendrickstone is equally railroady, but has far less plot which would necessitate railroading, also forces you to act “in character”, but makes the game pretty much unplayable if you don’t, has a much more generic setting, gives multiple non-intuitive choices, and doesn’t even have any cute ROs to make up for it. I could probably go on, but this isn’t the “Bash Krendrickstone” thread, so I’ll leave it…

Anyway, my point is that I don’t see why HR gets as much hate as it does, when there are much worse games out there. I guess part may be because it’s so popular, which is presumably due to the fact that it’s the original superhero story on the site, while later stories haven’t had as much time to gain popularity yet (and most of them are – or at least feel – incomplete). I think while it’s certainly good to look at what HR did wrong, so we can learn from its mistakes, we should also acknowledge that it certainly did other things right, and learn from them, too.


Originally I gave HR as an example, mostly because it is a game almost everyone on the site has played, and thus makes a good example. Kendrickstone has its flaws as well, as you’ve pointed out, but most wouldn’t have a frame of reference for it. I hold both to the same standards, and find the fact that both have a path that is easier and more beneficial than the others to be a major flaw.

I also listed it purely as a personal example of a pet peeve, not knowing the deluge that would follow.


This thread is not designed to call out any particular person.

Perhaps I should have waited for the upcoming “Literary Artistic Standards” thread that will be made “soon” but I felt that the criticism HR series was receiving was building upon itself and turning into a lynch-mob mentality with some future consequences we don’t want to crop up in this community.

Every single one of us who is developing a CS game will have pluses and minuses but as a community we still want to be supportive of each other as a whole. That doesn’t mean we can’t criticize each other @Jacic and I love to critique each other but I honestly think we share more in common then what we differ in.

Sometimes, even when pointing out flaws in a valid time and place, we should be aware of the whole.

@lovinglydull - I apologize if you felt I was focusing on you - it was more then a few in our community, not just a single individual or two.


I have an immense soft spot for HR due to it being one of the first CoGs I ever played and the first one thay really sucked me in. Prodigy has its flaws but I don’t think it’s fair to say there was no improvement on that front - Herofall definitely shows some response to feedback, and the character personality stuff gets better if you look at it through the whole series, where it’s possible to change quite a lot game to game.


@Eiwynn Nah, I don’t feel targeted. I just feel like I went too far with my criticisms and ended up sparking the current trend.

@Scribblesome My problems with HR rest mostly on Prodigal. The Hero Project was a weird and somewhat unnecessary shift, but I still felt like my choices were more impactful in it. And Herofall is a good game, flat out. The series as a whole redeems itself beautifully. Its just that the first installment is a major sticking point for me.


I don’t think the problem with HR is the original trilogy but it’s more because people were disappointed with Redemption Season. I’ll admit that I was too and it did make me take a long, hard look at the other games and notice the flaws I hadn’t seen before, especially with the first one.

Still, I love the HR series. It was the first COG games I bought and I loved this series so much I pushed it onto my family and friends so they could also experience something that brought me so much joy. I love the characters and the world. I would honestly say that my life is better after having read HR.

Though, honestly, if any game needs a face lift it is The Prodigy. If the author ever wanted to revisit it I think it would be interesting to see how far he has come in terms of writing style. Heck, I’d buy it again.

Edit: and now I want to replay the series again…


I politely disagree (what a surprise).
Does HR use the CS code? Yes.
Is it a CYOA? No.

I’d go as far as to say that the ‘choices’ are only there because the guidelines require it. The entire original series is, by all means, not written for anything but a straight male protag, and it shows.

(i’ll elaborate on this later)

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No. We have the right to voice our opinions as long as it’s within reason. Which it is, in this case. If the majority of people want to slam an entire series, they are more than welcome to. Just becuase it’s not universally praised as a “classic” like you seem to want it to be means nothing. Absolutely nothing. Frankly, maybe the series deserves it since the hate it receives is so staggering an amount. Even if not, you have literally no power to stamp a virtual foot down and tell people to stop voicing their opinions on it, negative or not. If people liked everything, the world would see no advancement. This doesn’t mean you can’t like it, though. Eiwynn, if you absolutely love this series, or even just like it, then that’s perfectly fine. Continue to purchase the games and support the author. But never tell people that they can’t dislike or even hate something, because the fact that you disagree with all of them matters none. People will continue to criticize something they think deserves it, as they should. Calling for self-censorship gets us nowhere.


Their point was that the HR serie receive much more hate than it reasonably should and is called by some an “non-CYOA” even though it clearly is. There was no talk of cencorship and I personally believe completely bashing a game and refusing to see any good it could have while actively telling others not to try it because “its not a real CYOA” is a lot more like censorship than encouraging others to see whats good with the piece. If you dont like it then thats fine Archangel but its not Eiwynn fault that you refuse to see the good point this game have. Pretending they tried to censor negatives opinion when they’re literally just saying that you cant ignore whats good with the game is sort of reaching for something rhat isnt there.


It’s my opinion that there is no good in the game. I’m not wrong, because it’s my opinion. Eiwynn is asking people to change their minds for the sake of ending something she is obviously tired of seeing. Well, too bad. The world revolves around all of us, not just her. If we want to continue saying it’s not a “true” CS game, we can and will. That opinion is no less valid than yours. I’m merely saying that calling for an end to anything is a flawed thing to do and a waste of time. Just because she sees the series one way doesn’t mean other people should.


Maybe thats the way you see it cause you dont like it but how I see it they’re just telling us to stop being blind to the good points the game had. Like seriously I’m not sure where all that talk of HR not being a real CYOA come in the first place from cause I can name a good bunch of games on here peoples like that arent much better at railroading and I only see praise about those. HR is not much different from most other choice of games titles but for some reasons thats the game that get all the hate so I have to ask you to give some more details as to why its SOOOO terribly bad because all I see here is peoples trying to explain herorise good points while peoples who hate the game get out of their ways to bash it without giving any reasons other than you dont like it. Eiwynn didnt tell everyone to love the game without any exceptions, they told them to give it a shot and at least look out for the good stuff. You just came on here to bash it without giving any reasons other than you dont like it. Are you sure they’re the one trying to censor peoples.


You tried to turn the tables here in Eiwynn’s favor, and you failed. You also seemed to just skim through my last reply. What I’m saying is, I did give the game a shot, and I still see no “good points in it.” Yet here you are still calling me blind. Yes, this is censorship, because you guys are supporting some universal truth that no matter what anyone’s response is, there is still good in the game. Quite frankly, that’s ten times more flawed than anything even I could come up with. Maybe you guys are the ones that are blind, seeing as how you’re willing to defend the games to the ends of the earth wthout ever once even stating what this almighty, universal, omnipotent “good” is.


And you completely skipped the part I asked to explain how it was so worst than everything else. Stop claiming to be right about everything and explain.

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Everyone has a different opinion on the series, and that’s fine, but I kind of agree that it’s a problem when hate for a series is coming up in threads that aren’t really related. Using HR as an example of something done wrong isn’t necessarily the worst but I’ve seen threads that are not about this series have several posts of nothing but attacking it. No other series gets this treatment, which is a really good thing because frankly if it was common to have these harsh criticisms outside of threads about those games specifically, this forum would look really unwelcoming. There are plenty of games with comparable flaws but HR is the only one where it’s become publicly acceptable to bring it up in more or less any thread with not a single positive thing to say about it, which seems like its because it’s popular? Which honestly is an impulse I understand–it can be frustrating to see something get praise you feel it doesn’t deserve–but there really shouldn’t be a precedent set that once a game gets x amount of sales it’s a valid target for hate wherever.

Even if some people do see zero redeeming qualities about the game, other people see plenty. People in this very thread have said that HR is what got them into CoG, and I know that’s true for me. If I had joined this forum at a time when one of my favorite games was being used as an easy target in any thread that needed a negative example of something, I don’t know how long I would’ve wanted to hang around.

It doesn’t feel to me like there’s no place for discussion of flaws, but rather that HR has areas for that discussion, and we probably shouldn’t be dragging dislike of a game into places where it can’t really be defended


I’m waiting for you guys to explain how it’s so good, since it was that claim that started this. It’s common logic. And you cannot say that I’m the one claiming to be right about everything when you are the one saying I can’t find this game not good at all.


At least as far as I have seen, this community does not have many threads that offer vitriol towards games, deserved or not. In general, I have noticed that posters are constructive, and seek to engage rather than condemn wholesale, whether for good or ill.

Maybe there is a place for that sort of discussion. I don’t think I would want to read it, but that’s my choice, and I would feel uncomfortable with shutting someone down. Maybe this is all about the words “tamp down” at the end of the day. I took them to mean “let me argue against” more than “I am shutting down.”

But by all means, let’s talk specifics and work together constructively to figure out how games have changed over the past bunch of years. There’s a lot of good in this conversation to be had.