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King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne (DOS)

67
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37795)
Written on  :  Sep 23, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars

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Summary

Whosoever plays this game will have to remember their fairy tales

The Good

I enjoy playing the King's Quest series, and I don't think I will ever get sick of playing every game over and over again. In the early Nineties when I just finished King's Quest VI, I just received the second game from an old friend. It was the original version from 1985 and it was buggy. The game failed to load on my 486 machine, and even if it did, I still had disk errors when I change between locations.

Fast forward three years later, I saw a copy of KQ2 on a web site and decided to download it while questions had been asked. What I downloaded was the 1987 re-release of the game, the version that contained better graphics, was hard disk installable, and had better save game support.

In the previous game, King Edward the Benevolent sent his best knight, Sir Graham, to get three treasures that were stolen from Castle Daventry through deception. After Graham recovers these treasures, Edward dies and Graham becomes king. In the second game, Graham decides to share the throne with a queen of his choosing. Unable to find the right maiden, he asks the magic mirror for help. It shows him a vision of a beautiful girl locked away in a quartz tower in a long distant land, and in order to reach it, Graham has to unlock three magic doors that will lead him there.

Those that have played Sierra's Hi-Res adventures on the Apple ][ will know that the games are played in first-person; you couldn't see your character at all. Now, we are able to see Graham wearing his usual uniform from KQ1. Using the keyboard's cursor keys, you can make him go left and right, hide behind trees, do a dance, etc. His walking animations are smooth, and he swims well.

Unlike later Sierra adventures, the world of KQ2 wraps around. What I like about the game is that you are free to explore at your own leisure without some restrictions placed on you, bumping into characters along the way, as well as any obstacles that you need to get past. It is easy to get lost in these environments without using a map. I was glad to find out that there are actual locations in Kolyma, such as the church, antique shop, and Dracula's castle, rather than nothing but a few houses in Daventry.

There are a few pieces of music in the game that I like listening to, and these are played through your computer's speaker. "Greensleeves" is the theme song for KQ2, just as it is for KQ, and, although not very original, it suits a fantasy adventure game like this. I like listening to the song as it relaxes the mind. Another piece of music used is Sierra's take on "Here Comes The Bride" .

The game uses a text parser interface, which was more common in adventures Sierra created from 1984 up until about 1991. I like having the text parser as opposed to point-and-click interfaces, mainly because games with text parsers have a wide vocabulary. You can try one command, and if that doesn't work, you can try it again in a different way. Using the function keys is much quicker to save, quit, restore, or restart a game.

Solving puzzles in KQ2 require the player to use their knowledge of fairy tales, and if they don't, they will get stuck in the game for a long time. I forgot the fairy tales I used to read as a child, so using them to solve puzzles is good. There are some alternate solutions to these puzzles, but these are not often the best ones to use.

As I mentioned earlier, there are alternate solutions to most of the puzzles, solving them in a violent manner. These solutions are not the best, and you get less points than you are awarded when you take the non-violent approach. Because of this, KQ2 can be played again, solving puzzles a different way.

The Bad

Unlike later Sierra adventures that use the old AGI engine, which when you want to give an item to someone, all you have to do is stand next to them and type GIVE [ITEM], here in KQ2 you must specify who you want to give the item to, even if you are standing next to them. I found this a waste of time.

The Bottom Line

KQ2 is a nice adventure game where you have to search for three keys that will unlock the doors that lead to the girl you must rescue. Like Quest for the Crown, you have to know your fairy tales to solve some puzzles. The graphics are good for a 1987 game, and the music is easy to listen to. There are some good animations, and since there are multiple ways to solve puzzles, the game can be played again and again.

The version I just reviewed is found on many King's Quest compilation CDs from Sierra, and getting this version is ideal for anyone who has trouble getting their floppies to work on their system. The 1987 re-release is superior anyway due to better graphics and hard disk support. AGD Interactive released a VGA remake of KQ2 in the last few years. They expanded on the story, adding new locations, new characters, and more puzzles.