Roberta Williams' King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride

aka: KQ7, King's Quest VII: Die prinzlose Braut, King's Quest: The Prince-less Bride
Moby ID: 135

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 79% (based on 23 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 98 ratings with 8 reviews)

What the Disney?

The Good
King's Quest VII marks a new generation of Sierra adventure games where titles were no longer being distributed on floppy disks and the games themselves were becoming completely different. Like with the last game, series creator Roberta Williams had someone on board to help her with the design. Seeing as it was Jane Jensen, you would think that would be the case here. But Jensen was getting ready to film The Beast Within, so the reigns were handed over to Lorelai Shannon, who I believe was new to Sierra at the time.

King's Quest VII was the first and only CD-ROM title by Sierra to be shipped in two versions. The initial version was rushed out in time for Christmas 1994 and was a buggy mess, to the point where gamers had to install numerous patches so that they could complete the game. I wrote a scathing review based on my experiences of this first version. A year later, Sierra released a second version that not only removes the bugs, but also added some tweaks to the gameplay.

After delivering a little musical number, Princess Rosella of Daventry is lectured by her mother, Queen Valanice, about the advantages of marriage. Not interested in the conversation, she approaches a pond and gazes into it. Having seen image of a castle caused by a seahorse-like creature, Rosella decides to jump in. Valanice goes in after her and they both end up in a portal, where the two desperately try to reach out to each other. As soon as their hands are about to connect, however, another hand appears out of nowhere, snatches Rosella's hand, and pulls her into another dimension.

The first thing that I noticed about King's Quest VII is that it moves away from hand-painted backgrounds in favor of traditional animation reminiscent to Disney films, and you get a taste of it within the game's introduction. It features some stunning backgrounds, with my favorites being the pumpkin house in Ooga-Booga Land, Dreamland, and Etheria. The animation was so complicated that Sierra got help from animation houses that were located overseas. For instance, the aforementioned intro was done by the same people who did the game animations for the CD-i Zelda games. Some of the locations are based on popular culture. Ooga-Booga Land is a reference to Tim Burton's “A Nightmare Before Christmas”, and I think that Etheria is based on either Care Bears or My Little Pony.

Unlike Roberta Williams' previous offerings, King's Quest VII is divided into six chapters, with you playing Valanice in the odd chapters and Rosella the even ones. Since the two protagonists have different tasks in the game – with Valanice trying to search for her daughter, while Rosella finding some way to stop a volcano from erupting – it would make sense to only play odd- or even-numbered chapters, especially if you can't stand either of them. Personally, I don't like Rosella now as she is a far cry from the same girl in previous KQ offerings. She was more mature back then, but she now comes across as a whiny broad who doesn't think twice about her actions.

The interface in King's Quest VII is designed in such a way that it's actually easier for the player to get used to. There are no icons to be seen, but a single mouse cursor resembling a wand that changes depending on what the player hovers over. There are a few objects that the protagonists can interact with, and hovering over these causes the wand to sparkle. Hovering the wand over a doorway and it doesn't change to a sparkling wand, but an arrow indicating the direction the protagonists can travel.

What I found neat about the interface is when you click an inventory item over the icon that resembles an eye, a 3-D representation of it appears in a window. You can then rotate it back and forth, and manipulate it as well. Next to the eye icon is the control panel. Here, the options are self-explanatory. I like how the game records your progress, so you always know how far will it be until the next chapter begins.

The puzzles in King's Quest VII are quite easy, since the solution to them is nearby. At the start of the game, you have to drain the pool so that you can grab one of the pieces from a statue's offering bowl, and the instructions on how to do this is written on a huge, gold statue next to the pool. Some characters will even point what item you need to do something critical to your progress. From my experience, no puzzle should take you more than ten minutes to complete. Finally, there are multiple to solve puzzles as well, especially in chapter one.

The Bad
I have no problem with the simplified interface, but why does it take up nearly half the screen. Why couldn't it be much smaller and restricted to the very bottom of the screen. A similar tactic is used in later Sierra games like Phantasmagoria and Torin's Passage, so we have to get used to it eventually, right?

Some of the dialogue is either weird or doesn't make sense at all. In one scene, you are supposed to bring the “Treasure” bird back to the owner of the china shop. When you do, the resulting dialogue implies that he wants to go into the back of the shop so that he can have sex with it. (Personally, I don't blame him. That bird is so hot, but I digress.)

The old edge-of-the-screen trick where, in the early KQ games, you need to leave the screen and re-enter it if you find something unexpected, makes a return in King's Quest VII. In most cases, particularly in chapter one, this is not an issue. However, it can be a problem later. You have to deal with this fucking dog that belongs to the antagonist, and you must enter her house, but you can't while that stupid mongrel is barking. The game is scripted in such a way that it can take forever for the dog to calm down.

I really hate the shitty save system where you are allowed only one save game. Sure, it's ideal if the same version of the game is played by other family members such as yourself, but it means that if you made a mistake, you can't undo that mistake unless you actually go back to the menu (choosing to “Bookmark your current game and quit” first) and restore. I would have liked to save individual games in the scenes that I enjoyed exploring.

The Bottom Line
And there we say goodbye to the royal family of Daventry as Williams decided to take the KQ series in a new direction, one that defies the “no violence” rule that she established years ago before the first game was made. In my opinion, the seventh instalment features stunning graphics and a beautiful soundtrack, and the ability to control more than one protagonist is okay, and this is the one feature carried over to The Beast Within. However, the game suffers from problems such as a poor script and a lousy save system. After King's Quest VII, Williams and Shannon went on to create both Phantasmagoria games individually.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2017

A light-hearted journey in a classic series

The Good
King's Quest 7 takes the series to even more accessible and charming levels, eliminating the most frustrating aspects of other adventure games and focusing instead on a Disney-esque style elements that truly live up to the lofty comparison. The character animation and background detail are gorgeous for what they are, and the voice-acting is top notch. The two-character dynamic, a first for the series, is pulled off very creatively, and there's always a sense of urgency as Valanice and her daughter Rosella criss-cross paths attempting to find one another and protect the quirky and diverse realm from annihilation at the hands of an evil sorceress. This game is all about fun for everybody, from the novice to series veterans.

The Bad
As an entry in the King's Quest series, the Princeless Bride provides little more than a vague connection, forsaking series veterans for genre novices, and crushing the momentum the franchise had built up with the fifth and sixth entries. What it provides in Disney charm it lacks in challenge -- anyone with a moderate knowledge of the genre will find it a breeze to complete. The KQ series references were left out of the game in large, developers claim, to make the game accessible to all; an argument that falls crucially flat on its back when a character from an early entry materializes out of no where as a vital plot element.

The Bottom Line
Serious gamers and fans of the franchise may have to suppress a chuckle at the Princeless Bride's opening musical number, but if you can forgo your pride and overcome the pervading atmosphere of Disney cheese (or even learn to appreciate its outright charm), you may find that this is one of the most fun entries in the series, and great game in its own right.

Windows · by jTrippy (58) · 2008

A Kinder, Gentler Adventure Game

The Good
King's Quest VII (1994) features some impressive, cartoon-inspired animation and voice acting. It is clear that a tremendous amount of effort went into making the game look and sound like a Disney cartoon.

The game switches between two women; Valanice and Rosella as the attempt to escape from a magical kingdom.

It seems that a Troll King wants to marry Rosella, while Valanice finds herself trapped in a desert. As the game progresses, you switch between the two heroines, until finally facing off against the Troll King and an evil witch.

Actually, I think that the witch is a fairy. But in any case, she has been kidnapping royalty.

Generally, this game is shooting for a kinder, gentler, "family-friendly" atmosphere. The cartoon graphics are clearly set up to appeal to the younger audience.

As is the case with other Sierra adventure games, the player must explore his or her surroundings, interact with characters, pick up items and solve the various puzzle.

In comparison to previous games, the point and click interface has been made simpler to use. People new to the adventure game format should have no problem using the controls or figuring out what is going on.

If you have not played the previous Kings Quest games, then this game takes great pains to ensure that you do not need to be familiar with past events.

The Bad
Kings Quest VII feels like a rushed job, and with good reason. Cuts were made to ensure that the game was only on one disc, and the original release of the game was marred with severe glitches that made the game unbeatable.

Most of the glitches were fixed via a patch, but some still remain. Even without the annoying glitches, the game feels like it should have been longer and more epic than the final product.

The game has a few some dark, creepy moments, despite its kiddie, cartoon graphics, and the oversimplified gameplay mechanics take some of the fun out of the adventure gaming genre.

The Bottom Line
King's Quest VII (1994) features breathtaking, cartoon graphics and a large fantasy world to explore. Fans of adventure games, including newbies to the Kings Quest franchise should give this game a try.

Windows · by Edward TJ Brown (118) · 2019

king's quest jumps the shark

The Good
The 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 Bad
The 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.

The Bottom Line
The game suffers from being rushed to the store shelves, which leaves players with bugs, confusing story, poor character development, choppy animation and cartoon characters that are hard to like or dislike. It is a shame because behind all these faults, rare moments of creativity and adventure game fun can be seen.

Windows · by ETJB (428) · 2013

A game that has many a flaw, KQ7 will not leave you in awe

The Good
King's Quest VII is a game that is suitable for all ages, and as the box says, it is a magical adventure that will touch your heart. Well, for some people anyway. Valanice is talking to Rosella about marriage. After telling her that she's not interested, Rosella sees something in the pool, and thoughtlessly dives into it. Noticing that she does so, Valanice dives in after her, but the two of them get separated.

The game is divided into six chapters. KQ7 is the first game that lets you play as two different characters. You see, the odd chapters have you playing as Valanice, while the even ones have you playing Rosella. Each character has their own quest. For instance, Valanice must search for her daughter, while Rosella must stop a witch named Malicia from destroying Etheria, and the lands below it. Eventually, the two of them will reunite if they play their cards right

The game has you entering your name and then selecting the chapter in which you wish to begin. Gamers are free to start at any chapter they like, which is very useful if they don't like playing as one or the other. They can just play one, three, and five for Valanice; or two, four, and six for Rosella. But most people like me would rather play each chapter in order. The game does not have you play as both characters in the same chapter. In order to accomplish your mission, you have to go through a series of environments, which include the desert, forest, Falderal, Ooga-Booga Land, the Land of the Trolls, and Etheria. Most of the creatures belong to the environment to which they are suited.

I like the fact that KQ7 continues the KQ tradition of being a non-violent adventure game. There are hardly any puzzles in the game, and the sound is very good. There are a few bits of humor in the game that I can get quite a laugh at, most notably Arch Duke Fifi Le Yip-Yap in Falderal and the three talking plants in Ooga-Booga Land.

The Bad
KQ7 is not a good game. Some of the environments have misplaced pixels, and this ruins it. In Etheria, the land of the clouds, you see shades of different colors here and there when there are not supposed to. Some of the characters are poorly drawn and are blurry as they move closer to you.

The introduction and ending are basically FMV sequences, which is restricted to playing in a small rectangle on the screen. I just felt that they could have been bigger in size. Speaking of the introduction, The Land Beyond Dreams, sung by Rosella, is inappropriate, and there was no reason why Sierra would want to waste resources on this when they could have included a better introduction like they did in the CD version of KQ6, but with much, improved graphics. The song didn't even make any sense to me. I love where I am as well, but that doesn't make me burst out into song.

The game suffers from a poor script that is delivered by many of its actors. An example is the kangaroo rat in Chapter 1. (“No time to chat, the day is fading. Come, Valanice, let's do some trading.”) As you can see, it is quite obvious that Sierra wasted a lot of their project time trying to think of rhyming words for the kangaroo rat.. Further examples include Valanice going “Hmm...” all the time and Rosella making a poor effort to scream. Even the death messages from the two of them are lame, and cannot be compared with those from other Sierra games.

The game's interface is changed since King's Quest VI. No longer do you see the usual point-and-click interface that consist of the WALK, HAND, EYE, etc. Instead, you perform all your actions throughout the entire game by clicking a magic wand over objects. This is a disadvantage because by just having the magic wand, both characters cannot comment on your actions like they could have if the point-and-click interface was still there. (There is still an EYE icon, but it doesn't work the same way.)

It was 1994, and the head honcho made the project team rush development to get the game in time for Christmas. As a result, the game is full of flaws. One flaw is that the game crashes, which makes the game impossible to complete. I own a copy of the game, but I didn't have crashes, but that's probably because I got the latest version (version 1.51).

Before you start a new game, you are asked to enter a name for yourself, and that name is used to save your progress in the game to the one and only save slot, and if you want to save your game, you have to quit your current game first. What the hell was wrong with the old system, where you click on the Save button and type in a descriptive name. I do not like it if I have to repeatedly start a new chapter under different names, wait for an event to occur, then save in that point of time.

I stressed many times on MobyGames that the same actors should play the same characters. This is not the case with KQ7. Rosella and Valanice are played by two different people. You don't see the T-800 from Terminator 1 & 2 being played by different actors. It was always the same actors.

This is a minor thing, but when it comes to installing the game, it persists on saving it to a directory that has \SIERRA in it, and it warns you about this whenever you change the default directory, so if you want to install to C:\GAMES\KQ7, you would have to install to C:\GAMES\SIERRA\KQ7. In many Sierra versions don't have this problem..

The Bottom Line
The box claims that over 2.5 million copies were sold. Imagine how disappointed those 2.5 million people were after paying money for a flawed game. Another version of KQ7 (dubbed “Version 2.0”) was released that had new features such as a better save system, as well as various changes to the interface. But it was too late. If you want to buy KQ7 from somewhere, then try to find Version 2.0. And if you think that KQ7 was bad, wait until you see the final game in the series that violates KQ policy.

Windows 3.x · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2005

Proof Roberta Williams started taking drugs after King's Quest 6.

The Good
It has the King's Quest name and it cost me less than 20 dollars.

The Bad
First, the graphics are pretty bad. The "Motion picture quality animation" (I'm quoting the box here) is kind of choppy and seems like it's missing several frames when anything moves quickly. Second, the music really gets on your nerves. Next, instead of the look, pick up, talk, and walk buttons, they now just have a "magic wand" for a cursor. Just put it over something, if it sparkles, click. Speaking of the interface, the bottom part of the screen is the inventory menu instead of the full screen action you get in the other King's Quest games. Also, often, when you click on an item that "light's up" the magic wand, you character (who is very slow, even in version 2.0) will stroll over and say, get ready for the deep, profound statement, "amazing!" she will exclaim. Nothing else. Just that. Why they had that item light up the wand in the first place is a mystery. Also, gone is the simple save screen. instead, you have to enter your name, then you "bookmark" a chapter. (more on chapters later) No simple save button. You have to go through a boring menu to save. The game is divided into chapters. You can play any chapter at any time. This eliminates the sense of progression. Why not just skip to the end. ALso, the begining cutscene, unlike in previous King's Quest games, isn't interesting to watch. 50 percent of it is watching a poorly animated Rosella singing some lame song. Then 45 percent is Rosella and her mom talking about how Rosella must be married. WOW! That's original! Then, at the end, she dives into a pool?? and is caught by an arm that pulls her into another dimension as her mom falls downward. No explanation. no reason why she jumped in the pool. She just, did. Then, the puzzles are lame. They fall into three categories.

  1. Ridiculously easy
  2. Stupidly obscure
  3. Ridiculously difficult

No more experimenting with items. Instead, if you put an item over the other, and it doesn't light up, then it won't even let you try. The whole game holds your hand the whole time as if four year olds are playing this game. The talking is boring. There is no lip sync, and practically no body language or expression in their voice.

The Bottom Line
If you are a fan of King's Quest, don't get it. You'll feel bad afterwards.

Windows 3.x · by James Kirk (150) · 2004

Say Goodbye to the Days of Yore

The Good
The paper-animation looked pretty, even if it moved extremely slowly. The ability to play as two characters as the story progressed was interesting; however, that alone can't carry a game.

The Bad
Where to begin...

The original release of King's Quest 7 was painfully slow. Sierra actually had to release a King's Quest 7 version 2.0 in which your character would walk faster (why they couldn't program a patch to fix this irksome flaw, I'll never know).

Robert William's introduce the chapter concept with this game. Like Phantasmagoria, the game can be started from any point. The problem is that there is little incentive to finish a chapter when you can just play the next!

The opening musical number indicates exactly how child-like the game seemed. When both KQ 5 and 6 were much darker than the rest of the series, KG 7 did seem like a Disney cartoon -- one that isn't very inventive at that.

The Bottom Line
If you've never played the King's Quest series, do not begin here. The only enjoyment I received from this game was knowing that it was a continuation of what had been my favorite series to date.

Windows 3.x · by Game22 (35) · 2004

If it wasn't for the King's Quest name...

The Good
I found kind of innovative the progression bar, but nothing more...

The Bad
The intro sucks, a very low quality video with some of the silliest scenes i have seen ( what's the point in Rosella jumping into the lake?) then the Disney-like song is awful... And then in the game, we found some of the worse expresibility ever given to characters from a videogame, then the descriptions of the objects (a key element in a adventure game) are just ridiculous, and well, definitely that's a child's game.

The Bottom Line
Nothing to do with King's Quest 6, KQ7 represents the agony of King's Quest...

Windows 3.x · by Depth Lord (934) · 2004

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Jeanne, durplu pobba, Picard, shphhd, Patrick Bregger, Cantillon, Wizo, Scaryfun, chirinea, Parf, WONDERなパン, Tim Janssen, deepcut, Sun King, Zeppin.