King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!

aka: KQ5, King's Quest V
Moby ID: 130
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

On a beautiful sunny day, King Graham of Daventry decides to take a stroll in the woods surrounding his castle. When he returns, he discovers with horror that his home, Daventry Castle, has completely disappeared! Graham is at a loss, and wonders how this could have happened, when a talking owl named Cedric appears. He tells him that he saw the whole thing, and that an evil wizard named Mordack whisked the entire castle away, along with Graham's family in it. Cedric offers to take him to his homeland, Serenia, where his master, the wizard Crispin resides. Surely Crispin will be able to help King Graham rescue his family from Mordack's clutches.

King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is an adventure game, and the first from Sierra to use a point-and-click mouse interface. Rather than typing commands on a keyboard to interact with the game world and use the arrow keys to walk around, King's Quest V instead simplifies all actions down to base commands. To access the different cursors, the player can move the mouse to the top of the screen, revealing a hidden menu with each of the different actions, as well as game options and the inventory bag. By clicking the "Walk" cursor on the screen, Graham will walk as close as he can to the appropriate area. Clicking the "Eye" cursor on items will provide a description, the same as typing "Look at". The "Hand" cursor is a multipurpose cursor that can be used to push, pull, interact with and pick up objects. The "Head" cursor is used to talk to people (and in the strange world of King's Quest, often objects and animals, too). Players can also right-click to cycle through the different available cursors. Inventory that Graham picks up now gets placed into a bag. By clicking on the bag, this opens up a sub-window that displays all the inventory that Graham currently has. In here, players can look at or interact with objects, combine them with other objects, or pick them up to use them in the game environment as another cursor.

As with most Sierra games, it is quite possible to die. Bumping into witches, poisonous scorpions, falling off edges of cliffs, dying of thirst in the desert, and many other objects, locations and characters will send Graham to an untimely demise. The player must be cautious as they explore Serenia - frequent game saving across multiple files is usually the best course of action to make sure that you don't get stuck or have to start right from the game's very beginning.

The NES port of King's Quest V retains the icon-based interface and most of the locations, puzzles, and dialogue from the earlier release. Graphics had to be re-drawn with fewer colors and less detail to fit within the restrictions of the hardware, and the artwork in many areas is different.

This version removes most alternate solutions to puzzles and does not allow many actions that would render the game unwinnable. It also shortens and eliminates several scenes; for example, it is impossible to revisit the wizard in the first house. A few locations (such as the desert) are smaller. Some death sequences have been removed or modified not to include words related to death. Finally, some text descriptions were altered.


  • キングズ・クエストV - Japanese spelling
  • 國王密使 V - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Average score: 78% (based on 26 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 134 ratings with 12 reviews)

Another great adventure in King's Quest land... Plus new interface gameplay!

The Good
This was the first KQ game where you don't have aching hands from typing monotonous commands all day. Now you can just kick back and click your way through the game! That was definitely a nice addition to the series.

And most of all...... The first KQ offered in 256 color VGA!! Obviously the EGA and VGA versions look like they came from separate worlds and one would pity the person who had to play it with only 16 colors (like I did). The game was a bar-setter for the rest of the Sierra series and other game companies as well. At the time, it felt as though I was playing a cartoon... Much improved music and sound effects were added to the newest of the series which brought to life all the cartoonish environments and characters.

It was also cool how your friend, Cedric the Owl, flew around with you the whole time helping you... it made it feel as though you weren't alone on this quest and you had a little traveling buddy with ya... definitely added enjoyment to the atmosphere.

A groundbreaking classic PC adventure game with TIMELESS written all over it.

The Bad
A horrible attempt was made to transfer this game to video game consoles and failed miserably due to the fact they chose to transfer it to NES which was 8 bit. It looked and played worse than the EGA version on PC and ruined the idea of a Sierra 3D Animated Adventure Game in the eyes of many console gamers.... The PC version of the game was another flawless and classic adventure game from Sierra.

The Bottom Line
Another classic from Roberta Williams with an easy to use interface and gorgeous sound and graphic capabilities. A must play for the fans of Sierra adventure games....

DOS · by OlSkool_Gamer (88) · 2004

Probably the best of the fabulous King's Quest Games

The Good
The graphics are dazzling, with a revolutionary sound card and easy-to-use point and click interface. Graham searches for his family, using cleverness rather than fighting to overcome his enemies. This game is great for kids and adults and I've seen whole families work together to solve it. This game isn't dated by lousy graphics, or anything else inferior for that matter

The Bad
The gameplot is incredibly inflexible; there's only one, or possibly two solutions to each problem, without even much flexibility in the order of solving problems. It's rather frustrating not to be able to do something that would work in real life, or be able to tell characters whatever you want, as you can in Ultima. Also, the maze is a pain to navigate, and the desert can take a while to map.

The Bottom Line
A wonderful game for any age. Everyone should try one of the King's Quests, preferably KQ5 or KQ6. They teach kids how to solve problems through logic rather than violence and that good deeds are always rewarded, as the hero travels through a magical, fairytale world. They show adults that even middle-aged, completely settled kings can still go out and save the world.

DOS · by Valerie Frankel (2) · 2000

Mix one park murk with one part dreck, add obfuscation. Chill and serve.

The Good
It's a Roberta Williams title

The Bad
Everything else: murky colors, difficult control system, cheap graphical shortcuts

The Bottom Line
A continuation of the King's Quest franchise, KQ5 was just as good as its predecessors... until it was added to the NES lineup. Working with the obvious space limitations of a cartridge-based game, Konami's port of KQ5 for the NES had to do away with Cedric's annoying voice, but it also meant having to do away with the rich VGA colors of the PC classic. Had Konami sat on the title until the SNES, we might have had a welcome addition to the adventure game catalog. As it was hastily thrown onto the 8-bit Nintendo, I had to prevent myself -- forcefully -- from ripping the Video Master rental out of my deck and smashing it.

NES · by horeck gruc'thalv (2) · 2005

[ View all 12 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Color number in the Amiga version Nowhere Girl (8680) Aug 15, 2014
Game freezing Nowhere Girl (8680) Jul 27, 2012


A rare "king" game in the series

Despite the title of the series, there are only two installments where you actually play as a king (namely, King Graham): this one and King's Quest II.

CD version

The game was also released on CD-ROM. This CD version had full speech throughout the game.


King's Quest V was the first adventure game to be released on CD-ROM in MPC (Multimedia PC) format, the first to have digitized voiceovers, the first to use digitized hand painted backgrounds, and the first title to cost over one million U.S. dollar to produce.


Installing the game on the PC was less intuitive than other Sierra releases due to the variety of options supported. An addendum to the manual was included which attempted to explain all of the installation options. The game could be played entirely from hard disk, half from hard drive and half on floppy, or entirely on floppy if two drives were present. If you were playing with one 3.5" drive and one 5.25" drive, installation began on either 5.25" disk #6 or 3.5" disk #10. All other combinations began installation on 5.25" disk #5 or 3.5" disk #9. (confused yet? King's Quest V may also be the only Sierra title where installation doesn't begin with either disk #1 or the Startup disk.) Probably in the interest of simplicity, media cost, and sanity most (if not all) of Sierra's later games shipped with just one set of disks per package eliminating the ability to play entirely from floppy but simplifying installation.

User interface

The first game in the King's Quest series (in fact, all classic Sierra adventures) to switch to icon control from the text parser system.


King's Quest V was the first Sierra game to be available in two separate versions: a 16 color version (supporting EGA, MCGA, VGA, and Tandy/PCjr graphics) and a 256 color version (supporting MCGA and VGA only). The 16 color version came with 10 3.5" DD disks and 6 5.25" HD disks. 5.25" DD (360k) disks could be ordered directly from Sierra. (A hard disk was required to use the 360k disks.)


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1992 (Issue #92) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1991 (Issue #88) – Adventure Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #94 in the “150 Best Games of All Time”
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #94 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Mitch Kocen, PCGamer77, Roger Wilco, Sciere and Servo


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  • MobyGames ID: 130
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andy Roark.

Amiga added by POMAH. NES added by totalgridlock. Windows 3.x added by ZZip. Macintosh, FM Towns, PC-98 added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Katakis | カタキス, Jeanne, Chentzilla, Xoleras, Игги Друге, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, Kayburt.

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