Except said crashes when you try to pick up artifacts and enter special locations, the demo is quite playable. There is no movement limit, or building limit per turn (ending the turn will also crash the demo), and there is also no AI action at all (two enemy heroes are present on the demo map, and can be fought though). Picking up resource piles (but not the "enemy campfire" event) do not lead to crashes, and you can also capture mines, enter castles and cities, build structures in castles and hire troops as normal. Spells also work most of the time.Litude wrote:Found an interesting self-playing demo of Heroes I, download it from here (162 MB). It's quite early, being from January 1995 so a few differences are noticeable like the intro being quite different and music pieces are used in different places in the preview. Sadly it isn't playable. Judging by the file names and the time frame, this preview might have been also used at CES 1995.
EDIT: Actually, seems like you can play it simply by deleting the file DEMOFILE.BIN from the game directory. It is quite unstable though (visiting artifacts or locations like mills will crash the game), but a nice early look at the game nonetheless.
There are quite a few interesting things in the demo, for example, the hero list shows generic hero class icons instead of individual portraits:
Another interesting difference is that on battle screens, the hero is visible, much like in Heroes of Might and Magic II ad subsequent games in the series, while only the hero's tent is visible in the final version of the game:
Also notice there's a button to fire the catapult, which is done manually during castle sieges, and there's a corresponding "siege skill" in the hero's characteristics.
If you give it a try, note that you can actually save the game and then replace your save with the original one (for some reason or other newly saved games end up in the demo's root directory, not in the GAMES folder). This way you can experiment with the demo and be able to return to your saved position in case of crashes, rather than start everything from the beginning each time.