King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella

aka: KQ4
Moby ID: 129
DOS Specs
Buy on Apple IIgs
$600.00 new on eBay
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Description official descriptions

King Graham and Queen Valanice were glad to have their children back. Graham thinks that it is time to pass onto them his old adventurers' hat. When he throws it across the room, he suffers a heart attack and collapses on the floor, and he is carried off to bed. The only way that Graham's health can be restored is by retrieving the magic fruit in the faraway land of Tamir. A beautiful fairy called Genesta offers Rosella the chance to be transported to the land, and find the fruit. But once she gets transported, she cannot be sent back unless she helps the fairy regain her talisman that was stolen by the evil witch, Lolotte.

King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella is the first game in the series to have a female protagonist. Rosella will meet characters that will either help or hinder her. The player moves Rosella around with arrow keys, and have her perform actions by typing commands. Unlike the previous King's Quest games, which used the AGI engine, this installment uses the new SCI engine with more detailed graphics; the most visible effect is that the game is paused while the player is typing, giving unlimited time to complete even the longest commands. An AGI version of the game, however, was released as well.

Gameplay-wise, the game is similar to the first two installments of the series, with a large interconnected world open for exploration and no time limit imposed. The game is the first in the series to have a day and night cycle; certain actions can be performed only during a specific time.

Spellings

  • King's Quest IV: המיסתורין של רוזאלה - Hebrew spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Written by
Design
Programming
Programming (AGI)
Programming (intro and ending movies)
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Graphics / Artwork
Animation
Music
Executive Producer
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Cavalry Coding
Wrangling
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 23 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 92 ratings with 8 reviews)

Excellent classic adventure game from Sierra - My all time favorite classic PC game

The Good
First of all, the game weighed in about a whopping 3 megs and at the time it was one of the largest games ever produced (aside from games that are non-games like Dragon's Lair). With those 3 megs included some of the best sound and graphics ever developed at the time. Both of which helped bring to life this almost Alice In Wonderland meets Snow White kind of adventure game. The game is full of beautifully drawn backgrounds and interesting characters ranging from ordinary people to mythological creatures. The plot basically leaves you open to explore in a very non-linear path. There is a game clock within the game but only advances after certain events are triggered. I just loved the atmosphere Roberta Williams created... I remember my heart racing and was on the edge of my seat while peeping through the key lock in the ogre's house... This is my all-time favorite game ever created and no game stuck with me as strongly as this one.

The Bad
One thing I didn't like is some of the puzzles were too difficult to solve and some objects to difficult to find or know what to do with. It took me so long to know to drop the gold ball to lure the frog over. Other than that, the game is flawless in my opinion.

The Bottom Line
Was an instant classic and should be locked in a time capsule :) Its a wonderfully entertaining fantasy adventure game that set standards in adventure gaming for the years and years that followed. A must play!

DOS · by OlSkool_Gamer (88) · 2004

Once Again a Princess Takes the Spotlight from the Royals

The Good
The story centers on Rosella, daughter of King Graham, who must find a cure for her father as well as stop the evil witch Lolotte from ruling the land. As always a knowledge of fairy tales will help in solving the game's puzzles. The game was the first in Sierra's new SCI engine which was a significant improvement from the old AGI engine. The music finally supports sound cards so another big improvement there. This installment also has a day-night cycle, one of the first games to implement this. There are two possible endings to this adventure. All in all a huge step forward in adventure game design.

The Bad
There are still the Sierra gotcha! instant kills but they are not as bad as previous games. Walking on paths & climbing are still dangerous to you. one wrong move equals death. Good luck climbing that whale's tongue! Also there is a plot critical item that will not be found without a walkthrough (the bridle).

The Bottom Line
The cream of the crop for 80s Sierra games, girls really do get it done in adventure games.

DOS · by Grumpy Quebecker (612) · 2023

Possibly my personal favourite of the King’s Quest series

The Good
Remember when you where a child, tucked up all cosy in your bed, and your mother / father would read you a bed-time fairy-tale story? Well, this game brings the atmosphere of all those cosy fairy tales to life.
Seven dwarfs, an ogre’s house, a hen that lays golden eggs, witches… it’s all there.

From the rather plain original, the series had really evolved, and in this instalment things really start to come alive and find their stride.
Each of the King’s Quest games were traditionally bigger than it’s predecessor, but KQ4 is much, MUCH bigger than any of the previous games, by far the largest and most complex game in the series up to this point.

The thing that really stands out with this adventure is purely the great atmosphere it has to it, really sucking the player in, and having a lot of good ideas and various areas to explore.
It’s also much more intelligent than the first couple of games, with the magical land of Tamir feeling much more like a “living” world.

One of the notable things about this game was it’s having a female lead, Princess Rosella. Not only a first for the King’s Quest series, but one of the firsts for PC gaming in general. (There are a couple of sections where this is used dubiously, though. For example, at one stage, to you have to wash and tidy the seven dwarfs house!!)

One of the best elements of the game - and once again, a first for the series - is that it has a day/night-time cycle, with night-time arriving after you’ve completed certain puzzles and mini-quests.
The night has a great effect as it makes everything look creepy, and it revolves mostly around a run-down haunted house, where you have to help some restless ghosts by retrieving various things from their grave, avoiding zombies in the cemetery along the way. It’s much spookier than anything previously seen in any of the previous KQ games, and quite probably stands out as my personal favourite sequence of play within any of the King’s Quest games.

It is the last game in the KQ series to have EGA graphics, and undoubtedly contains some of the best EGA graphics ever seen in a game, in my opinion. Far sharper and better looking than anything seen in any of the previous KQs (or for any other Sierra game of the time, for that matter), the game looks stunning considering it’s EGA limitations.

It’s also the first game in the series to support sound cards. Originally when I played it, I only had the standard PC speaker – and even on that it sounded good, but when I re-played the adventure recently, I heard the sound card-driven effects for the first time, and, considering their age, they sound great.

Also, the last KQ entry to have text interface – I’m one of those who feel the series really lost some of it’s involvement when it was replaced by point-and-click.

This was actually the first King’s Quest game I played (though I dutifully filled in playing the previous instalments afterwards), as it stands as one of my favourite Sierra adventures.

**The Bad**
There's little I didn’t like about this one; a few nit-picky points at most.

It uses Sierra’s (then) new updated text interface. On the whole it’s good, and the way it pauses the action as you type is handy, not meaning you don't have to frantically finish typing before something fatal happens as in previous adventures. But the way it automatically pops up a window in the centre of the screen is a little distracting – bottom of the screen (as in some other adventures to use the engine) would have been better.
But more annoying is that, is how it stops dead any sound as soon as you enter a single letter, spoiling any background tunes that are playing at the time.

As with the previous KQ games, things are somewhat random driven at times – for example, at one stage, you need to deliberately get swallowed by a whale, but it’s appearance is very random, and as you look for it you’re just as likely to get eaten by a shark

It’s also easy to miss something important, leaving the game unfinishable as a result. For example, at one stage, you find yourself washed up on a small island. A bridal that you need to harness a unicorn elsewhere is actually on the island, but it is actually obscurely located in the ‘V’ of a ship-wreck, and the game gives you no hint that it’s there. You wouldn’t know if you missed it, and worse, it's impossible to return back to this island once you’ve left it.

And of course, as with just about all Sierra adventures of the era, there are several screens that that will see you plummeting to your death if you step one pixel out of place - and there’s plenty of them in this game. Twisty paths, dark caves (with a deep chasm that appears with warning from nowhere)…
And as with most Sierra games of the era, saving your game regularly is vital. Sierra obviously seemed to think such screens were “fun” to play; I guess no-one had the heart to tell them that they weren’t!

Oh, one more thing – the ending just seemed to stop dead. On the closing scene, after King Graham’s life has been saved, the animated picture and music just loop around and around, not having the usual closing credits as with most Sierra games.

**The Bottom Line**
One of the very best of the ‘King’s Quest’ games, and quite possibly my personal favourite of the series (King’s Quest V being it’s closest rival, though I’ve never managed to get hold of KQ6 to date).
Much bigger, there’s much more to explore than do than the previous entries, with the night-time section of game-play particularly standing out.
In my opinion, if you only ever play one King’s Quest game, this should be the one. It has a real nostalgic feel to it, being a reminder of both Sierra adventures and King’s Quest games in their heyday, at their very best.

DOS · by Jayson Firestorm (143) · 2002

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
KQ4 issues, KQ and Roberta Williams in general Andrew Fisher (697) May 21, 2023
It's not possible to visit the island at night, or is it? Nowhere Girl (8680) Jan 29, 2017
An unconventional credit source Lain Crowley (6630) Feb 26, 2012

Trivia

Development

King's Quest IV began development right around the time Sierra wanted to go with a new game engine, so it was developed simultaneously in both game engines--the new one (SCI) so that they could work the kinks out, and the old one (AGI) so that they could still release a product if any major setbacks occurred with SCI. No such problems occurred, and King's Quest IV was released in two versions: The AGI version which traditional 160x200 graphics and only requiring 256k of RAM, and the new SCI version with 320x200 graphics, but requiring 512K of RAM. The older version is extremely hard to come by--it had a very limited release.

Gags

If you asked Rosella to "undress", she refused by replying that children might be playing the game.

Graphics

At the time of its release (and according to the box) this was the largest game ever made. Over 3 megabytes of code! The new graphics started a trend with the Sierra games of the late 80s and early 90s that would test the limits of how many disks can be crammed into a box... until CD-ROM became standard.

References

If you type in some vulgar words, the game will respond "Perhaps you should purchase a copy of Leisure Suit Larry instead?" For example, try "shit".

References to the game

Rosella makes a cameo appearance in Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places). She can be found tending the barbershop in the airport. In game when you type "look girl" it responds with:

"You find Daventry Women Sexy. (But then you find any woman sexy!)" followed up with the question, "By the way, have you played 'King's Quest IV' yet?

"Why no, I haven't " Larry replies, "is it good?"

"Well I certainly think so," she concludes, "maybe it's just me!"

Indeed, it is you Rosella. It is you. :)

Sound

The big deal with this game when it came out was that it incorporated stereo music support for sound cards. The composer, William Goldstein, also wrote the music for the musical Fame. Another big deal back then was the inclusion of a female protagonist.

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Brolin Empey, Michael Palomino, Olivier Masse and woods01

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Related Sites +

  • DJvu Browser Plug-in
    Website containing plug-in needed to view the Spring '89 issue of The Sierra Newsletter.
  • Hints for KQ4
    Wonderful hints nudge you along to help you solve the many puzzles in KQ4.
  • ScummVM
    supports the DOS and Apple IIgs versions of King's Quest IV under Windows, Linux, Macintosh and other platforms.
  • The Sierra Newsletter - Spring '89
    The Spring '89 issue contains an interesting article about "The Making of King's Quest IV". Worth a look. You must have the DJVu Browser plug-in in order to access the magazine.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 129
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andy Roark.

Amiga added by POMAH. Apple II added by Guy Chapman. Atari ST added by Terok Nor. Apple IIgs added by Servo.

Additional contributors: Katakis | カタキス, Jeanne, Crawly, Macs Black, Patrick Bregger.

Game added May 23, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.