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King's Quest (DOS)

76
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  NatsFan (133)
Written on  :  Jul 17, 2008
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars

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Summary

Grossly overrated.

The Good

I have to admit, the graphics were truly amazing for the time. Also, they were aesthetically nice to look at, and made the world feel nice to explore. However, a game cannot rely on graphics alone, as I will expand on in the next section.

The Bad

If you ever decide to pick up King's Quest, be prepared for hours of frustration and boredom. It is absurdly easy to die in this game, especially in ways that are almost entirely unpredictable. Making death so easy in a game that relies on exploration for most of the gameplay is, in my humble opinion, completely moronic. King's Quest also commits another piece of good design heresy: walking dead situations, and a ton of them. For those unfamiliar with the term, walking dead means that you failed to pick up a certain piece of clover in an area that you might have missed before entering another area that requires the clover for you to get out of. Does the game tell you that you've essentially lost? No. In fact, it keeps on going until you decide to restart/restore/quit, and it could be an hour before you realize that you can't win.

This brings me to another point, the puzzles in this game are some of the most terrible you will ever see in an adventure game. Most of them involve using random objects with other random objects until you find some combination that works. This makes for gameplay that is unbearably tedious.

This game had very little effort put into music and sound. Don't go telling me that it was only because it was old, there were plenty of games made earlier than this one that had better sound. The music they used was unoriginal, a problem that was fixed by King's Quest III, which was only made two years later.

This game had one of the most boring and least developed storylines out of the entire King's Quest series. The main goal was completely generic, and there was just about no characterization whatsoever. Again, don't go telling me that I'm expecting too much from a game of its time. Two words: Interactive Fiction. This game was supposed to be an improvement on text adventures, and doesn't even come close to Infocom's better works. The "boredom" of just reading text is replaced by the boredom of waiting for Sir Graham to cross a screen instead of just hitting "W" and "Return." Despite the fact that this game had full screen graphics, it doesn't come close to matching the level of intrigue and interactivity that many text adventures had.

The Bottom Line

Skip it. Skip right to King's Quest III if you must experience this series. This game comes across as bland, irritating, and underwhelming. The only reason to play this game that I can think of is the historical significance, and if you're after history, I'd play Maniac Mansion instead. This game was revolutionary graphically, the rest of it is just lousy.