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Summaryking's quest jumps the shark
The GoodThe King 's Quest saga continues, with cartoon-style animation, new worlds to explore, new puzzles to solve and - thankfully - this adventure has two female protagonists.
Adventure games during this area were trying to utilise the CD-ROM format with voice acting (instead of just text), and creating a world that either looked more like a Disney cartoon or Hollywood blockbuster.
I see plenty of creativity and ambition in this game, sadly the execution of this game is horrible, and marked the beginning of the end for a once great adventure game franchise.
The BadThe cartoon-inspired look of the game and its intermission sequences are actually impressive for 1994. The big problem is that when you develop an adventure game in such a manner, you cannot overlook 'little' things in order to get the game on the shelves by Xmas.
Here the animation is often painfully choppy, with characters moving painfully slow. Had more time been given to development, the world and the characters in it would likely have connected with players more then they do with what was released.
Any emotional investment in the characters or their problems is marred by the clearly rushed nature of the animation. If you want the player to care about the fate of your two heroines, then you have to understand how animation - when done well - can create cartoon actors (actresses) who can be good actors.
The settings may look pretty, but it is supposed to be an adventure game, not an art gallery. If you want to see how cartoon type animation can work well in adventure games, check out Monkey Island 3 or even Full Throttle.
Beyond the rush job/animation problems - which make parts of the story hard to follow - the control scheme has been changed, almost 'dumbbed down' to the point where puzzles are way to easy or way to obscure to be of any fun.
The voice acting is not great, but that is probably (partly) the fault of whoever edited or wrote the script. Good script writing/editing is as key to CD adventure games as is creating animated actors.
It is hard to get too interested in a cheap "Alice In Wonderland" storyline, and many of the side stories that arise are rarely developed enough to matter.
Descriptions of items or characters are often kept to a bare minimum, and one reason why the game allows you skip chapters is because the game has a tendency to crash - at least the original version I had.
I do not object to the 'family friendly' tone of the game or even the 'homages' to legends, myths and other fictitious tales. Such things have served the series well in previous KQ adventure games.
However, the game seems to be a little too eager to ensure that both heroines stay within an uber-feminine box. As if someone looked at 1940s Disney cartoon as how women should behave in an adventure.
Heck, the princess is introduced singing a very, very, very happy tune about how great her life is. It's not a good song and comes off as a wee bit like "Stepford Wives".
True, they are royalty and that means a certain decourm and sense of proprietary. I just found the overall design of the women to be a tad sexist.