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)

66 People · View all



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

Sierra's game interface takes a turn for the worse.

The Good
King's Quest V boasted beautiful VGA graphics, and was one of the very first games to have voice actors. The cosmetic upgrade really benefited Sierra's graphic adventure genre, but the game was desperately downgraded in my opinion. But this is one of computer gaming's great debates: the switch over from keyboard text parser - driven games to mouse-driven games. Did it help or hinder the genre? I'm of the opinion that the old text parser system was better, smarter, and more interactive.

The Bad
With King's Quest V the level of interaction became so -un-interactive, as you wandered around and were essentially told what to do. There are plenty of puzzles which are extremely simplified compared to puzzles of the previous king's quests. And the first CD version with the voice actors should have been edited better, as every time a voice was played it would sound like a door was opening; this could have been a sound card problem at the time. For me, the King's Quest series ended with this sub-par title because of its low interactivity level. In many ways King's Quest V would be an omen for what was to come a few years later in CD-ROM interactive movies, where players shelled out too much money to watch bad actors and bad scripts complain about their system requirements while they did little to interact with the game aside from buy a better graphics card so the game might look better. It began here, folks, and whether that is good or bad is entirely your own opinion.

The Bottom Line
Don't play King's Quest V as your first King's Quest. the first four are much better an introduction.

DOS · by Old man gamer (381) · 2000

The King & I

The Good
Gamers may have to be of a certain age in order to fully appreciate the technical wonder that is King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Younder!.

Early adventure games -- Sierra has a major player in the genre -- were initially text-only quests. Much like the days of classic radio dramas, these early computer games required the player to use his imagination (and typing skills) in order to advance in a world that only existed through on-screen text.

Gradually, adventure games began to feature CGA and EGA-style graphics to create the characters, items, puzzles and locations that the player had to interact with.

It would be wrong to dismiss CGA/EGA graphics outright as hopefully archaic.

However, it was not really into the jump to VGA graphics that computer games -- especially adventure games -- could really create a environment that look more like an epic cartoon or painting, as opposed to something that (for lack of a better word) "looked" like a computer game.

King's Quest V was the first game in the series to make the jump to the superior VGA graphics. The result is a an epic adventure game set in a lush and beautiful game environment.

VGA graphics may not impress younger generations of gamers, but (in 1990) it was simply incredible to play an adventure game with VGA graphics and marvel at the game's artwork and character design.

King's Quest V also shinned in the audio department, and (while other gamers may disagree) I enjoyed the transition into more point and click, icon-based game play mechanics.

Sierra did not skimp on the storyline in King's Quest V. King Graham is about to return to his castle (after talking a lovely walk), only to see his castle (and all his family members) whisked away by an evil wizard.

As is the case with the previous King's Quest entries, the game manages to put a creative spin on familiar fantasy elements, and quests often require you to help out other creatures (large and small).

Story elements from previous King's Quest games are smoothly brought into the part V and (interestingly enough) certain events in part 5 are further developed in King's Quest VI.

Overall, it is hard to find too many odious faults with King's Quest V. Hard, but not impossible.

The Bad
The groundbreaking nature of King's Quest V's graphics and music can easily be lost on younger gamers.

In the 1990s, VGA was superceded by SVGA. Computer disks were superceded by CD-ROM technology.

As popular as King's Quest V was in 1990, it didn't have as much of a long-lasting impact on the adventure gaming genre as did say, Alone in the Dark (1992).

Alone in the Dark (1992) was released a few years after King's Quest V, and it represented a significant shift in the look and design of adventure games.

Where as King's Quest V represented the advances in classic adventure gaming, games like Alone in the Dark (1992), "Tomb Raider" (1996) and "Resident Evil" (1996) represented a successful mutation or spinoff within the adventuring gaming genre.

Younger gamers are probably more familiar with the spinoff and its tropes. These spinoff adventure game environments were "3D" with pre-rendered (if not polygon) graphics. Success required action-packed blistered thumbs (often within the real of survival horror) as well as solving item-based puzzles.

I am not suggesting that the "new" style of adventuring gaming is better or worse then the more traditional style.

Rather, the fact that King's Quest V is a great classic adventure game, may make it harder for some gamers to appreciate the game fully.

Younger games have some different expectations about what makes a great adventure game, in comparison to people that played King's Quest V (when it was first released) while in middle or high school.

The Bottom Line
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Younder! is a great, classic adventure game, as well as a great entry in the King's Quest gaming franchise. Gamers of every generation who can appreciate the classics, should be able to love this game.

DOS · by Edward TJ Brown (118) · 2015

[ 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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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Andy Roark.

Amiga added by POMAH. NES added by totalgridlock. Windows 3.x added by ZZip. FM Towns, Macintosh, 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.