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Roberta Williams' King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown (DOS)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37493)
Written on  :  Sep 24, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Another Sierra remake, but not in the same vein as later ones.

The Good

The original King's Quest was the best-selling adventure game for Sierra. It was the first adventure game to incorporate text and graphics. The first version of the game was released in 1984, and this included an early version of the AGI engine, boasted CGA graphics, and came only on floppy disks. which allowed text to be boasting CGA graphics. The next version of the game was released in 1987, which included an actual subtitle (“Quest for the Crown”) and added support for EGA cards and hard drives. Three years later, Sierra looked back at their previous adventures and decided to go into “remake mode”, starting with King's Quest.

For those of you who haven't played the original, you play Sir Graham who is given the task of recovering three magic treasures stolen from the castle through deception and stealth. Getting these will be a hard task as Graham faces many characters and obstacles. If he brings these treasures back, King Edward the Benevolent will hand over the crown. What I like is that King's Quest has a simple storyline to it, other than storylines in most games that are hard to follow.

As a game that uses Sierra's newer SCI0 engine, the graphics have improved over the original, Although the structure of Daventry is slightly different to the original, with more lakes added and objects in different places, it is nice to walk through the environment, watching birds as they fly by. Dangers like the wolf, ogre, and sorcerer still exist, and you face the same consequences if you run into them. What I found funny is that once the sorcerer paralyzes you, the dwarf will more often than not come and rob you.

Sound card support is added, allowing users to play the game with their AdLib or Roland MT-32. With the latter, the music sounds much better, and there is ambient background sounds (birds chirping, for example) as you walk around Daventry. Starting from King's Quest III, “Greensleeves” is no longer the theme tune, and this is carried over to this remake. Although there is also mouse support, I just find it easy to control Graham using the keyboard. Like the original, you can die by doing stupid things. As far as those death dialog boxes are concerned, the background music for them changes; you hear about three tunes, instead of one.

I would also like to point out that Sierra removed a couple of design flaws where you could accidentally die. Gone are the arch-shaped bridges that made you fall into the moat whenever you start to cross it. This is replaced by a straight bridge with barriers on either side so that you don't accidentally fall into the moat. Difficult puzzles are made a lot easier, such as the gnome puzzle where a backwards-alphabet is not used, and the beanstalk is much easier to climb.

The Bad

Most of Sierra's remakes were released on or after 1991, so if Sierra had waited a year, then this KQ remake would have gotten the same treatment as the others: a game built using the newer SCI1 engine with gorgeous 256-color graphics and a point-and-click interface. As it was at that time, the remake sold poorly and prompted Sierra not to do any on their sequels. Luckily, a decade later AGD Interactive did a proper remake.

The Bottom Line

If you played the remake without playing the original first, you won't even care whether it is close to the original. But if you have played the original first, then this game is worth a try, even if it is a little bit bad. You have almost the same elements, and the structure is a little bit different from that of the original. You still need to know your fairy tales in order to solve some parts.