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

aka: KQ5, King's Quest V

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Critic Reviews 78% add missing review

Retro Spirit, The (6 out of 6) (100%)

Det er egentlig fint lite Ä utsette pÄ dette fÞrste eventyret i VGAens verden. GjennomfÞringen er komplett, omgivelsene er midt i blinken for settingen satt pÄ plass av et varmt og fortellermyntet lydspor. Og for Ä toppe det hele er mellomsekvensene ofte tegnede for en skikkelig tegneserieaktig Änd over det hele. Det er vanskelig Ä ikke ta del i Grahams sÞken etter sin familie fra 1990 som passer unge sÄvel som voksne. Det kan godt hende at dere trenger hjelp av hverandre for Ä komme hele veien igjennom! Hvis ikke, sÄ har dere alltids lÞsningen lett tilgjengelig litt lenger opp pÄ sidene.

Dec 22nd, 2008 · DOS · read review

Top Secret (5 out of 5) (100%)

Oto kolejna porcja przygĂłd Grahama, KrĂłla z Daventry. Tym razem zƂy Mordrak porwaƂ caƂy zamek Grahama, razem z rodziną i caƂym dobytkiem. Dlaczego i po co - nie wiadomo. Trzeba ich odnaleĆșć i uwolnić, zanim Mordrak przerobi ich na Whiskas. A zatem - do dzieƂa!

Sep 1992 · DOS

Génération 4 (90 out of 100) (90%)

Le problÚme de la langue anglaise risque aussi d'en rebuter quelques-uns, tout comme la relative facilité du jeu, facilité inhérente au systÚme par icÎnes plus limitatif quant aux actions possibles. Un soft à ne manquer sous aucun prétexte.

Nov 1991 · Amiga · read review

One for Amiga Games, The (90 out of 100) (90%)

Promising new look for the Sierra range, but aimed at a younger audience.

Oct 1991 · Amiga · read review

Tilt (18 out of 20) (90%)

En conclusion, ce jeu est le plus beau du monde, je n'admettrais aucune discussion sur ce point ! Son interface est confortable, et l'ambiance est sublime. Le seul regret que je ressente malgré tout est la rigidité du scénario, habituelle au King Quest, qui n'a pas été améliorée.

Mar 1991 · DOS · read review

CU Amiga (89 out of 100) (89%)

King's Quest V has a lot to offer, and anyone thinking of trying adventure games should make this their first purchase. It's witty even if the jokes are groan-inducing some of the time, but the challenge maintains its serious nature. Sierra have produced another winner, and the games-playing public benefit more than anyone.

Aug 1991 · Amiga · read review

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) (850 out of 1000) (85%)

Some initial reservations about the degree of slushy cuteness may deter hard-hearted gamesters, but the graphics excellence of the game soon enthralls. After a couple of hours, the challenges have mounted up and several characters have set you tasks - finding out which order to tackle them in becomes part of the growing challenge. And there's a lot to keep you going...

Feb 1991 · DOS · read review

Raze (85 out of 100) (85%)

While the presentation is beautiful, I am not sure I like the direction Sierra are going with future development. The simple to use system is all very well, but as a result Sierra could be losing the adventuring freedom for which they were renowned. On that score, we shall have to wait and see. King's Quest V (which packs almost 100Mb of gameplay into is massive box) is, however, still very enjoyable, even at almost ÂŁ40!

May 1991 · DOS · read review

Play Time (85 out of 100) (85%)

Wenn Ihr PC nur mit EGA-Grafik ausgerĂŒstet ist, werden Sie zwar nicht enttĂ€uscht sein, aber wenn Ihr Rechner VGA-QualitĂ€t bietet, erleben Sie ein paar phantastische Landschaften. Die Hintergrundmusik ist zwar anregend, aber qualitativ nicht besonders gut. Man kann aus mehreren Steuerungsarten auswĂ€hlen, aber jede hat irgendwo ihre Haken.

Apr 1991 · DOS

Just Adventure (B+) (83%)

Kings Quest 5 is, overall, a good game. It was groundbreaking when it was initially released, but it has lost its state-of-the-art appeal over nine years. A word of advice for people with normal hearing, though--turn your sound off.

1999 · Macintosh · read review

Amiga Power (83 out of 100) (83%)

An impressive (but not quite classic) graphical adventure which meets the high standards set by recent releases. Although not essential, it could prove a handy stop-gap before the new Lucasfilm releases turn up.

Nov 1991 · Amiga · read review

Questicle.net (B+) (83%)

Truly King’s Quest V is a game you either enjoy and appreciate for its challenge or despise for how stupid it makes you feel. I personally believe that everyone should give it a shot, if only to appreciate how streamlined (and, in my opinion, incredibly easy) games have truly become.

Jun 2012 · NES · read review

Just Adventure (B+) (83%)

Kings Quest 5: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is the fifth game in the Kings Quest series (hence the name) and a worthy successor to the games that came before it. With challenging puzzles and an interesting, if whimsical, plot, it can be a blast to play--just make sure to turn the sound off.

1999 · DOS · read review

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (9.8 out of 12) (82%)

TatsĂ€chlich spielt sich KQ V am besten in der Familie. Die liebevolle Aufmachung tĂ€uscht nicht darĂŒber hinweg, daß es weniger komplex ist als andere hauseigene Adventures, z.B. das schwierige, neue Trial by Fire. Profis haben die RĂ€tsel innerhalb eines Nachmittags gelöst. Dennoch: Weil‘s so schön ist und Einen unwiderstehlich in die Traumwelt entfĂŒhrt, gibt es noch einen Hitstern!

Jan 1991 · DOS

Quandary ( ) (80%)

Every King's Quest fan has a favourite King's Quest. Mine is King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, followed closely by KQ III: To Heir is Human (I must replay and review it sometime) and KQ VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. Despite my preferences this particular episode, Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder, is also a popular favourite and it might be the leading King's Quest given the accolades it got when first released. Back then in 1990 it was a marvel for its time in the computer game world, with amazing VGA graphics and 256 colours to show off the beautifully hand-painted backgrounds, and it included a remarkable 50 or so character voices. It was the first true point and click King's Quest as it left behind keyboard navigation and keyboard commands in favour of an icon-based interface.

May 2003 · DOS · read review

Dragon ( ) (80%)

KQV is an adventure game that should be bought not only to play but to study and enjoy.

Jun 1991 · DOS

Jeuxvideo.com (16 out of 20) (80%)

Graphiquement sublime pour l'Ă©poque et disposant d'un gameplay d'une simplicitĂ© enfantine, cet Ă©pisode V bĂ©nĂ©ficie Ă©galement d'une histoire sympathique et d'Ă©nigmes Ă  la difficultĂ© corsĂ©e. MĂȘme Ă  l'heure actuelle, il reste une rĂ©fĂ©rence du jeu d'aventure en point and click. Dommage, nĂ©anmoins, que la durĂ©e de vie soit si faible et la version française aussi mauvaise.

Apr 24th, 2013 · DOS · read review

Adventure Classic Gaming (4 out of 5) (80%)

After King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, Roberta Williams needs to rethink the basics for the next sequel in King’s Quest series. The market is changing to where most people does not want to take the time to learn to type, spell, or figure out how to talk to a computer via an adventure game. She has to design an icon interface with that future in mind; something that is about as easy to use as it is going to get. She also worries that gamers may find an icon based adventure game to be too easy. King’s Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder! marks a pivotal turning point in Sierra On-Line’s gaming philosophy which has forever changed the face of adventure game design.

May 29th, 1998 · DOS · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (16 out of 20) (80%)

Graphiquement sublime pour l'Ă©poque et disposant d'un gameplay d'une simplicitĂ© enfantine, cet Ă©pisode V bĂ©nĂ©ficie Ă©galement d'une histoire sympathique et d'Ă©nigmes Ă  la difficultĂ© corsĂ©e. MĂȘme Ă  l'heure actuelle, il reste une rĂ©fĂ©rence du jeu d'aventure en point and click. Dommage, nĂ©anmoins, que la durĂ©e de vie soit si faible et la version française aussi mauvaise.

Apr 24th, 2013 · Macintosh · read review

Play Time (79 out of 100) (79%)

(VGA version)
Die Umsetzung der Grafiken ist ausnahmslos gut, genau wie die Übersetzung der englischen Programmtexte. Fast alle Bilder des Adventures sind amĂŒsant animiert. Die Steuerung per Joystick oder Maus kommt völlig ohne Tastartureingaben aus, was das hantieren mit allen möglichen GegenstĂ€nden zwar vereinfacht, aber die GesprĂ€che mit den Bewohnern der Abenteuerwelt sehr vorbestimmt wirken lĂ€ĂŸt. Verschiedene Antworten zwischen den man wĂ€hlen kann, wie bei den Konkurrenten “The Rise of the Dragon“ oder “Heart of China“, gibt es leider nicht. DafĂŒr sorgt die Vielzahl der Dialoge zwischen Graham und seiner Umwelt fĂŒr eine lebendige AtmosphĂ€re. Alles in allem handelt es sich bei der neuen VGA-Version um eine wirklich gut gelungenes Update.

Dec 1991 · DOS

Ação Games (3 out of 4) (75%)

Coloque seus preconceitos de lado e embarque neste King’s Quest 5. Um dos melhores RPGs que jĂĄ pintaram para Nintendo. TambĂ©m, nĂŁo Ă© para menos. O game tem a grife Konami: uma garantia de qualidade.

Sep 1993 · NES · read review

PC Format (UK) (72 out of 100) (72%)

Now over four years old, King’s Quest 5 still holds just about enough delights and seductive scenes to make it a worthy purchase - though only just. Unfortunately, it's a prime example of just how extravagantly sugar-coated Sierra's early adventures could be, and the fairy tale plot-line is bound to grate with all but the most apple-pie-eyed. If you've got a sweet tooth, however, there’s plenty here to chew over.

Dec 1995 · DOS · read review

Play Time (72 out of 100) (72%)

Alles in allem gibt sich Sierra eigentlich keine BlĂ¶ĂŸe und kann auch hier wieder ĂŒberzeugen. Von den kleinen Problemchen abgesehen macht es eigentlich viel Spaß auf der Suche dabei zu sein und im mittelalterlichen Daventry herumzuziehen. Durchaus empfehlenswert!

Mar 1993 · Macintosh

PC-Spiele '92 (7 out of 10) (70%)

Mit dem fĂŒnften King‘s Quest-Teil hat Sierra einen Schritt nach vorne gemacht. Grafik und Spielkomfort wurden gegenĂŒber den VorgĂ€nger-Programmen erheblich verbessert; der Spielwitz stagniert hingegen. Die Abenteuer von König Graham sind zwar nicht frei von Selbstironie, aber im Vergleich zu den abgedrehten »Space Quest«- und »Larry«-Adventures etwas hausbacken. Einige Lösungen zu bestimmten RĂ€tseln sind mĂ€ĂŸig logisch, dafĂŒr recht nervig: Fruststellen wie z.B. die mĂŒhsame Wanderung durch eine WĂŒste können nicht nur Einsteigern auf die Nerven gehen. Unterm Strich ein solides MĂ€rchen-Adventure, das dank seiner Anklick-BenutzerfĂŒhrung und der vor allem unter VGA sehr sehenswerten Grafik bereits eine große Fangemeinde hat. Daß Handlung und Puzzledichte im Vergleich zum audio-visuellen Aufwand etwas zu kurz gekommen sind, mĂŒssen Sie verschmerzen.

1991 · DOS

Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library ( ) (70%)

Despite the graphics being downgraded and redrawn, everything is very nicely detailed, and the music and sound are fairly accurate as well. All of this makes for an enjoyable port of a true DOS classic.

2016 · NES

Amiga Power (67 out of 100) (67%)

Neat and tidy, but not particularly inspiring or fun to play. Not helped by the stupid plot and repetitive game structure.

Jun 1995 · Amiga · read review

ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) (8 out of 12) (67%)

Nun liegt SIERRAS Grafikadventure auch fĂŒr den AMIGA vor. Doch was nehmen unsere empfindlichen Sinne wahr? Etwas dĂŒnn und schief wirkende MusikstĂŒcke, einen so langsamen Vorspann, daß er nur auf Festplatte ertrĂ€glich ist und eine lahm agierende Hauptfigur. Sind die Landschaften und MenĂŒs selber gut geraten, so wird das SpielvergnĂŒgen durch die zwangsweise Entdeckung der Langsamkeit leider getrĂŒbt. Die AtmosphĂ€re leidet, und so bleibt nur, King‘s Quest V eingeschrĂ€nkt zu empfehlen: Festplattenbesitzern, Geduldigen und absoluten Adventure-Fans.

Nov 1991 · Amiga

Power Play (66 out of 100) (66%)

Leider bringt auch die Amiga-Version in puncto Geschwindigkeit und Umfang keine Neuerungen. Auf einem normalen Standard-Amiga ist Kings Quest V gĂ€hnend langsam, wenigstens die Grafik wurde nochmal ĂŒberarbeitet, AtmosphĂ€re und Spielspaß vermißt man trotzdem.

Jan 1992 · Amiga

Power Play (66 out of 100) (66%)

Tja: Das war wohl nichts. Sierra hat sich an Lucasfilm-Adventures und deren vorbildlichen Benutzersystem orientiert, aber das hat nicht so recht hingehauen. Zwar sind die EGA-Grafiken stilvoll und die Adlib-Musiken stimmungsvoll, aber die rechte Stimmung kommt beim Spielen nicht auf. Das liegt schon daran, daß King's Quest V auf einem durchschnittlichen AT so quĂ€lend langsam ist, daß man am liebsten seinem Rechner einen Tritt verpassen möchte. Außerdem ist die Geschichte recht bieder: Der zugegeben nette, aber inzwischen ĂŒbliche MĂ€rchenmix mit nicht sonderlich originellen Puzzles - schade, schade, nicht mein Fall, auch von dem System hatte ich mir mehr erwartet, außerdem ist das Spiel nicht sehr umfangreich.

Feb 1991 · DOS · read review

Adventure Gamers ( ) (60%)

Having just played Dreamfall about a month ago, I replay KQV and think "Wow, how far we've come." Even so, King's Quest V was a huge technical accomplishment for its time. The improved graphics, the point-and-click interface, and even the less-than-stellar voiceover represented a big leap from the adventure games of yesterday to those of today. It's a shame the storytelling didn't also evolve, because if it had, the game would be a winner all around. As it stands, Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is a worthwhile stop on the King's Quest fan's walking tour through the series, but it's a fairly annoying game on its own merits. Never fear, though, because with King's Quest VI still ahead of us, the best is yet to come.

May 25th, 2007 · Windows 3.x · read review

Joker Verlag prÀsentiert: Sonderheft (60 out of 100) (60%)

Ironischerweise ist die völlig umgekrempelte PrĂ€sentation mitverantwortlich dafĂŒr, daß hier einfach kein rechter Spielspaß aufkommen will. Die VGA-Grafiken sind zwar ein Augenschmaus, und der Sound hört sich zumindest auf dem PC nicht schlecht an, aber der Preis dafĂŒr ist einfach zu hoch: Am Amiga hat man ohne Turbokarte und Festplatte kaum noch eine Chance, das dritte Bild im Wachzustand zu erleben; außerdem verfĂŒhrt die nun gleichfalls eingefĂŒhrte Standard-lconleiste den Spieler dazu, eher rumzuprobieren, als wirklich rumzurĂ€tseln. Letzteres gilt natĂŒrlich fĂŒr PC und Amiga, eine ST-Version ist nie erschienen. Selbst daß man nun komplett in deutsch abenteuern darf, tröstet da wenig, denn ein mißlungenes Gameplay wird auch durch eine gelungene Übersetzung nicht besser.
(page 10-12)

1993 · DOS · read review

Adventure Gamers ( ) (60%)

Having just played Dreamfall about a month ago, I replay KQV and think "Wow, how far we've come." Even so, King's Quest V was a huge technical accomplishment for its time. The improved graphics, the point-and-click interface, and even the less-than-stellar voiceover represented a big leap from the adventure games of yesterday to those of today. It's a shame the storytelling didn't also evolve, because if it had, the game would be a winner all around. As it stands, Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder is a worthwhile stop on the King's Quest fan's walking tour through the series, but it's a fairly annoying game on its own merits. Never fear, though, because with King's Quest VI still ahead of us, the best is yet to come.

May 25th, 2007 · DOS · read review

Joker Verlag prÀsentiert: Sonderheft (48 out of 100) (48%)

Ironischerweise ist die völlig umgekrempelte PrĂ€sentation mitverantwortlich dafĂŒr, daß hier einfach kein rechter Spielspaß aufkommen will. Die VGA-Grafiken sind zwar ein Augenschmaus, und der Sound hört sich zumindest auf dem PC nicht schlecht an, aber der Preis dafĂŒr ist einfach zu hoch: Am Amiga hat man ohne Turbokarte und Festplatte kaum noch eine Chance, das dritte Bild im Wachzustand zu erleben; außerdem verfĂŒhrt die nun gleichfalls eingefĂŒhrte Standard-lconleiste den Spieler dazu, eher rumzuprobieren, als wirklich rumzurĂ€tseln. Letzteres gilt natĂŒrlich fĂŒr PC und Amiga, eine ST-Version ist nie erschienen. Selbst daß man nun komplett in deutsch abenteuern darf, tröstet da wenig, denn ein mißlungenes Gameplay wird auch durch eine gelungene Übersetzung nicht besser.
(page 10-12)

1993 · Amiga · read review

Amiga Joker (48 out of 100) (48%)

Vor nicht allzulanger Zeit geschah es, daß ein Sierra-Adventure vom PC auf den Amiga umgesetzt wurde. Und siehe, das Game war gut, aber die Konvertierung so schlecht, daß man es ohne Festplatte nicht spielen konnte. Weil das ein unhaltbarer Zustand war, taugen diesmal weder Game noch Konvertierung was...

Oct 1991 · Amiga · read review

Nintendo Complete ( ) (40%)

The original King’s Quest V is a fantastic game, and the NES version, mangled as it is, still manages to retain the heart and spirit of the original.

Aug 12th, 2012 · NES · read review

Computer Gaming World (CGW) N/A

In one sense, the irritations noted earlier are a shame, as they mar what might other wise have been something close to the perfect adventure. King's Quest V is not outstanding for the puzzles. Those are mostly simple, but a game need not be a mindbender to be good. The flaws mentioned above aside, the fusion of elements, graphics, music, storyline, thematic concepts, interface and atmosphere make this game stand out. For the beginner, King's Quest V is ideal. The interface removes much of the frustration and "learning curve" associated with the more text-oriented adventures and the majority of puzzles are not very hard. For the more advanced gamer (particularly those with VGA, fast clock speed and a sound card), it can be a pleasant diversion.

Mar 1991 · DOS

Player Reviews

Graham & Cedric's NES Adventure

The Good
King Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder (herein after referred to as “King’s Quest V” or “KQ5”) is an impressive port of the PC DOS game of the same name.

The player takes control of a King Graham on a point and click, adventure quest to rescue his family members from the clutches of an evil sorcerer.

King Graham is coming home from a walk in the woods (apparently, he is so beloved by his people, that he does not require bodyguards), only to find that his castle (and the royal residents) have vanished, stolen by an evil sorcerer out for revenge.

Luckily, a talking Owl named, Cedric, saw the entire thing (in the event that the sorcerer later claims that he was just “Standing His Ground”). Cedric leads you to the home of his master, a kindly, wizard name, Crispin.

Crispin informs King Graham that the evil sorcerer is named Mordack who is seeking revenge on the family for what happened to his brother (King’s Graham's son transformed him into a cat in the third game).

Granted, if Mordack really wanted his brother back, he probably could have just bought the guide book to the third game, or sought out the help of more powerful wizards and warlocks. But, I guess some things are just beyond the power of an all-powerful, evil sorcerer.

Since King’s Graham’s son doesn’t know anything about magic (sigh, kids these days, am I right?), it is left to the father to save the day, before his family is fed to Mordack’s brother.

Crispin gives King Graham a root, which allows him to communicate with animals, a magical wand, which is broken, and instructs Cedric to follow you around (and try to be as fussy as C-3PO). He proceeds to vanish from the story, earning him the moniker; Crisipin: The Lord Of Exposition.

Once your quest becomes, you are free to maneuver King Graham around the different locations, pick up items for your inventory and interact with people, animals and familiar, but public domain, fairy tale characters

For the most part, King Graham is easy to control. The on-screen text is easy to read, the puzzles and solutions make sense and the game comes with a useful save feature (albeit with a password), plan on dying often.

Now, this game is hardly perfect. Some of the faults were carried over from the original PC edition, while some are unique to the NES edition.

The Bad
The original King’s Quest V game (1990) featured some truly stunning 16-bit VGA, 256 color-on screen visuals. This is not something that the NES port was capable of recreating.

The graphics in the PC edition look like a series of beautiful paintings, while the NES edition looks like 8-bit graphics trying so hard to resemble a 16-bit, VGA painting.

Clearly, the designers of the game were trying to get the best visuals from the NES hardware.

Some of the levels were slightly redesigned to try and look better on the 8-bit hardware, but the NES had a more limited pixel and color palette, then an early 1990s Amiga, Macintosh or PC computer. The game’s music suffered a similar fate.

I suspect that the NES is capable of better music then what is in King’s Quest V, but the designers seemed to have simply taken the music and sound effects from the PC edition and pushed them through the NES hardware.

As I said earlier, King Graham is generally easy to control. Notice that I used the word, “generally”. The game is not compatible with a mouse, and tries to replace the mouse in point and click adventuring games with the standard NES controller. Ouch!

Basically, you have to bring up an icon selection screen to pick up items, use items or talk to animals, people or other characters. While moving around is a simple matter of using the controller’s crosshairs, you will need to read the instructional manual carefully, and practice a bit with the “point and click” aspect of the game.

One you get the hang of it, it is not really a problem, except for one or two puzzles in the game (where you have to move fast and interact with small, 8-bit pixels).

Last, but not least, a few certain things in the NES edition were cut or censored.

As I am familiar with the original game, owned the PC DOS and PC CD-ROM editions back in the day, I will elaborate a few of the examples of stuff that was left on the cutting room floor for one reason or another.

Kings’ Quest V has a desert sequence and, near the end of the game, a dungeon sequence. In order to succeed in both of these sequences you need to have a photographic memory, or, you know, make a map. In the NES edition, both of these sequences seem a bit smaller, in comparison to the original computer edition.

Some of the “alternative” solutions in the original edition of the game have been removed from the NES port. You cannot, as an example, buy items with a golden heart. I am not sure if this was done to save memory or to avoid making the game too difficult.

Mostly minor differences, but people familiar with the original computer game, will notice.

Other changes in the game were probably made at the (cough, cough) “request” of Nintendo. In order to (legally) make games for a Nintendo system, you had to let them preview your game and agree to remove or obscure certain content, which Nintendo felt was not appropriate for “family friendly” gaming.

You can find an online copy of the Nintendo Content Guidelines (circa 1988), but the rules were especially concerned with sexuality, violence, and anything deemed to be religious or political proselytism.

King’s Quest V keeps its sexuality nice and wholesome, so not much for Nintendo to complain about in that department. A few characters fall in love, much like any classic fairy tale, but it is all “G” rated. However, the game does make a few offhand references to religion.

Nintendo was afraid that a religious denomination would be offended at how they were portrayed in a game, and they were also afraid that parents or politicians might accuse Nintendo or video games in general of promoting a particular religion.

Case in Point: In the desert sequence, King Graham needs to – periodically – drink water from one of the oases scattered around the desert.

In the original version of the game, King Graham thanks “the gods” when he drinks water, but in the NES edition the religious reference is deleted. Although whether or not such a reference actually violated the content guidelines is a bit debatable (albeit a moot point). Nintendo expressly allowed ancient mythology (especially Greek and Roman) in games designed for its system. It could be argued that King Graham is not giving thanks to an actual deity, but in light of the fact that the entire desert sequence is set in (vaguely) Middle Eastern, “1001 Nights-esque” setting, the censors probably opted to be on the safe side.

Nintendo’s rules regarding violence are the ones that most people are familiar with, largely because of the history involved in censorship the SNES port of the ultra-violent video game, Mortal Kombat. However, you did not need blood, gore and spinal cord removal to get noticed by the censors.

Nintendo insisted that some references or images in Kings Quest V were too violent. References to death were deleted.

Some of the death sequences were modified so that the death was less a sure thing and more of an implied, off-screen probability.

Hmm. Perhaps King Graham does not die as much as he “travels to another dimension” (as censored anime cartoons sometimes say, when they describe death)

These cuts and edits do not significantly distract from the enjoyment of the NES game, but they are noticeable.

The Bottom Line
Kings Quest V is a solid port of a classic adventure game. It is one of the few point and click adventure games ported over to the NES, and you can tell that the designers of the game really tried to push the hardware limitations of the system when it came to the game’s graphics and music. If you enjoy adventure games, and have the patience to learn the controls, then I would suggest locating a copy of this game.

by Shamal Jifan (21) on Jan 22nd, 2023 · NES

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.

by browned (126) on Apr 13th, 2015 · DOS

Lost In Translation

The Good
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder (1990) was a fabulous entry into the already groundbreaking point n' click graphic adventuring franchise. Not only did it feature a long and detailed fantasy themed quest, with plenty of new puzzles, personalities and locations, but it also dazzled us with incredible graphics and sound, which had not been seen before on a personal computer.

The NES version of King's Quest V (1992) offer most of the elements that made the computer game successful; i.e. the same fantasy themed locations, items, puzzles, personalities, etc.

It was rare for a graphic adventure computer games to make the jump onto a home console system and it is nice to be able to play a classic adventure game, without having to master DOS or own an upscale (circa 1990) personal computer.

The Bad
The 8-bit NES simply could not recreate the same high quality animation, graphics, music and sound effects created on the personal computer. What was groundbreaking for the computer, was simply not possible for the NES.

For the NES, the game's animation and graphics are all very impressive, although some items are difficult to see and the quality of background and character detail does very greatly. Yet, it is nowhere near the same experience as playing King's Quest V on the computer.

The music and sound effects are a bit of a disappointment; both in comparison to the computer and even the abilities of the 8-bit Nintendo. When they do exist, the music and sound effects are generally best left on mute.

While the later PC CD-ROM edition of King's Quest added voice talents to read the script, such a feature was simply not possible on the Nintendo, which means that you need to be ready to read lots and lots of on-screen text and [to save your progress] write down very long passwords.

Reading the instruction manual will be a requirement because there is no mouse option. You will need to learn how to cycle between the various icon commands and then use the keypad to move the on-screen arrow to the item or person in question.

The Bottom Line
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder (1992) offers a long and, generally, enjoyable fantasy-themed, point n' click, graphic adventure game for the 8-bit NES. The original storyline is intact, along with the original computer game's characters, locations, puzzles and item inventory.

Gamers who played the game on the personal computer when it originally came out or even the re-release on CD-ROM, may be unable to get past the hardware limitations of the 8-bit Nintendo.

However, not many point 'n click, graphic adventure games were made for the 8-bit Nintendo and this is certainly an ambition game. Fans of the adventuring gaming genre, who can look past the hardware limitations, should give this game a try.

by ETJB (480) on Jan 22nd, 2023 · NES

Defeat an evil wizard that kidnapped your family - with help from an idiot

The Good
Sierra's next King's Quest adventure after KQ4 is not a bad game, but it is not good either in certain areas, but I'll talk about that in a minute. KQ5 centers around King Graham who notices his castle missing from its usual place. An owl named Cedric tells him that it was the evil wizard Mordack who did it, and he offers Graham hep from his good friend and employer Crispin, who happened to also have a bad run-in with Mordack in the past.

In the early stages of the game, Graham learns why Mordack vanished his castle into thin air: as revenge for Alexander turning his brother Manannan into a cat, and Alexander must turn him back into a wizard or his entire family will be fed to the cat. Fearing that Alexander is running out of time, Graham (with the help of Cedric) travels through woods, mountains, beaches, and finally to Mordack's Island.

KQ5 is technologically superior than the previous KQs. You see, this is Sierra's first game to use the newer SCI1 engine in which the game delivers 256-color VGA graphics as well as a point-and-click interface. The graphics in this game are beautiful, especially at the start of the game as you walk around Serenia. However, the highlight of this game for me is looking at the breathtaking view of the mountains. They remind me of my holiday in Switzerland.

As for the point-and-click interface, I already miss typing random commands in to generate a funny response, but Sierra was trying to get with the times. Moving the mouse cursor to the top of the screen will bring up a series of icon in which you use to interact with the environment. In the disk version of the game, there were too many of these icons since the game used the engine's initial version (0.000.051) [You had two Walk icons, a Disk icon, and a Stop sign.] The icon interface was simplified in the CD version, to match that of the later versions of the engine.

Some of the music and sound effects are good, especially if played through the Roland MT-32, so I heard the music the way Sierra intended. My favorite piece has to be while navigating the labyrinth underneath Mordack's castle. When I was first introduced to IBM-PCs, I had no idea that the MT-32 actually existed. The quality of the music makes me regret that I owned a Sound Blaster in the first place.

I have played both the disk and CD-ROM versions, but it is the CD-ROM version that has its advantage. Not only does it contain full speech and no copy protection, you also have the stereo soundtrack that accompanies the game's introduction, and ambient sound effects can be heard throughout the game, not just in the intro. For instance, I could hear the sound of real water flowing through a stream in Serenia, and the sound of the waterfall near the beach, along with the little bits like doors opening and closing, and animals making real noises. There are even a couple of songs, one of which I remember quite well.

The Bad
There are a few problems with KQ5. For example, some of the puzzles are illogical, with the most obvious one being the situation where you are faced with a yeti in the mountains, and you have to throw a custard pie at it to defeat him. Also, throughout the game you have to deal with Cedric himself. He is sent to help you achieve your goal, but instead he acts like an idiot and refuses to go to certain places with Graham.

The game suffers from a poor script. Case in point: you have to give food to a poor eagle who is starving to death. After Graham offers some, the eagle says "You are a kind man to share your meager food with a poor bird, especially up here in these snowy mountains. To top it off, Sierra should have employed someone else to voice that eagle, not one who sounds like a Japanese cartoon character. Roberta Williams isn't a good writer.

The Bottom Line
KQ5 is a massive upgrade from the previous KQ's, due to its 256-color VGA graphics and point-and-click interface. It is a game that links itself back to KQ3. With help from Cedric, you must find and defeat Mordack, and restore Castle Daventry back to its original state. To accomplish this, he must do business with the townspeople and animals, as they might give him something if he does a good dead.

If you want to play KQ5, I suggest that you play KQ3 first, as this will tell you why Mordack messes with King Graham's family. I also recommend getting your hands on the CD version of KQ5, since there is a lot more to experience in this version, like the ambient sound effects and full speech. It is even useful if you do not want to be faced with copy protection.

by Katakis | ă‚«ă‚żă‚­ă‚č (43269) on Dec 28th, 2013 · DOS

King's Quest V is a major turning point for Sierra

The Good
King's Quest V is Sierra's first major departure from their text parser adventure game interface. The primary new feature is the icon system to allow the player to interact with the world, and it was (and still is) a controversial change.

Backgrounds are no longer computer artwork in KQ5, but nicely scanned oil paintings in 256 colors. They look fantastic and work quite well, furthering the "storybook" theme. However, the sprite animation is similar to previous Sierra games. The music is also very nice and there is support for many sound cards. Sound effects are minimal, but the new multimedia CD-ROM version features voice acting -- another first for Sierra.

The plot is decent, although I don't care for the introduction.

The Bad
The mouse interface had its good and bad points. Although it allowed the game to possibly reach a much wider audience, the icons really did reduce the amount of detail that was put into the setting. Fortunately, the new graphics help to offset this to some degree. Also, some of the icons are rarely needed and just take up space. This was rectified in later games.

While the new interface makes KQ5 easier to play, it does not necessarily make the puzzles much easier. Some are challenging, and I could not get through the game the first time without a couple of hints. Beware, like most "classic" adventure games, it is also possible to make mistakes in a few places such that you can not finish the game!

Furthermore, there isn't much replayability in this title. The puzzles are solved in one way, and although you can travel around a bit, most puzzles are also solved in a linear fashion. Oddly enough, I replayed it a few times; on repeat, it seems like a different game if you have struggled through the first time.

Getting back to the graphics, they are quite good in VGA. I also played the EGA version, and I can say it was UGLY -- much worse than any of Sierra's 16 color games of the era. They simply took the 256 color images and reduced them to 16 colors and the results were terrible. The only thing worse was the console version.

The final complaint is the box size. Sierra left their traditional box size, which was small by industry standards, and blew it up to a thick monstrosity. Most other publishers that hadn't done this this quickly followed suit, and this wasn't brought back under control until the time of this review, 2002.

The Bottom Line
King's Quest V is a classic adventure game that marks a turning point in the genre. Many questioned whether some of the changes were for the better. In any case, it turned out to be a huge hit, and is definitely worth playing through once.

by vni VIC (24) on Apr 10th, 2002 · DOS

One of the first adventure games I played

The Good
Kings Quest 5 was a major turning point for Sierra. The graphics were updated to include VGA, and real actors faces were used as a base for the drawings. The plot centres on King Graham, who is going for a walk and when he gets back, he discovers that a nasty wizard, Mordak, has kidnapped his family and stolen his castle. Luckily, Cedric, an owl, saw the whole thing happen. He agrees to take King Graham to his master who can help him save his family. Its a pretty fairy-tale-ish fare, but executed very well.

The Bad
The only thing that bugged me was the timing issues in certain parts of the game. For example, (not spoiling anything here) near the end of the game you must use a certain machine, but a graphical and scripting glitch prevents you from going any further in the game. So remember to save often! Other than that, it was a fantastic game that kept me immersed from beginning to end.

The Bottom Line
Kings Quest 5 is a fantastic game, possibly the best Kings Quest game in the series. You are able to get it fairly cheaply in the King's Quest Compilation, however if you live in Australia like me, you can order it from a US site, its well worth the money!

by James1 (250) on Apr 20th, 2007 · DOS

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.

by horeck gruc'thalv (3) on Jan 14th, 2005 · NES

Doesn't deserve half the good press it gets

The Good
This game has excellent graphics, great music, and a wonderful interface. I've always been firmly on the side of a graphical parser, especially in Sierra's case, where they were pretty weak as far as the text flexibility went.

The Bad
Some of the worst written puzzles on the planet. Did you accidentally throw the stick instead of the boot? Well, now you're stuck! Did you feed the eagle the wrong food? Sorry, hope you saved. So, you have those inventory catch-ems, and then you have one thing that cheapens any adventure game in my eyes, which would be mazes. There are mazes in this game, which is more or less a really lazy way to pad out the game (which is relatively short in comparison to some other games). In addition, an annoying talking owl character that provides annoying commentary on everywhere you go AND some of the worst voice acting the gaming world has seen, this game just isn't worth it.

The Bottom Line
This game isn't good. It was pretty neat whiz-bang technology at the time, but Sierra did far better games (see Kings Quest 6).

by Benjamin Vigeant (8) on Mar 26th, 2005 · DOS

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.

by Valerie Frankel (3) on Nov 28th, 2000 · DOS

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....

by OlSkool_Gamer (103) on Jan 4th, 2004 · DOS

Going back was no fun at all

The Good
The game has a cute atmosphere and is easy to start playing.

The Bad
Well, I have a great game collection and every once in a while I get the urge to play games from the early days. It was King Quest V this time, and I must tell you some things are better left in the past...

I am not going to say anything about the sound or graphics. No point to compare it to today's standards and all that, I plan to focus only on game play and the storyline. Those two aspects of a game are eternal and are not affected by a faster processor or better graphics..

Game Play: Simply terrible. In the infamous sierra fashion few things stick out:

1) You must do things in a specific order, if you don't you can get stuck 2) You can die easily, what kind of fun is that? 3) You can get to the end of the game just to find out you can not finish it because of something you did/didn't do at the start of the game 4) Illogical puzzles

Storyline: The story does not make sense at all, first you got this annoying owl that does not do anything at all, you have a series of tasks to complete that have an educational value. You get a bunch of stuff from here, some from there and that makes up the story. When you compare KQV to modern adventure games like The Longest Journey, you can understand what I mean. R. Williams is simply a lame writer; I am not sure why she got so much fame.

When you play this game you can sense the roots of the failure of KQ8 in the air. Once games became more sophist aced, lame companies did not have a chance to survive.

The Bottom Line
Go back if you are eager for nostalgia. The only reason I play this game is because I played it 15 years ago and it brought good memories back.

by The Gay Elf (14) on Jan 22nd, 2006 · DOS

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.

by Old man gamer (386) on Jun 15th, 2000 · DOS

Plus 119 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alsy, JudgeDeadd, mailmanppa, Martin Smith, Jo ST, Patrick Bregger, Zeppin, RhYnoECfnW, Jeanne, Scaryfun, S Olafsson, Bozzly, WONDERăȘパン, Terok Nor, EonFear, Wizo, Stelios Kanitsakis.