King's Quest: Mask of Eternity

aka: KQ8, King's Quest 8, King's Quest 8: Mascara de Eternidad, King's Quest 8: Maske der Ewigkeit, King's Quest Masque d'Éternité, King's Quest: La Maschera dell'Eternità, King's Quest: Máscara da Eternidade
Moby ID: 136

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 78% (based on 30 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 59 ratings with 8 reviews)

Who cares if the final KQ game is a Tomb Raider clone?

The Good
In the mid-Nineties, a new 3-D action game called Tomb Raider was released, and many triple-A companies capitalized on its success. Sierra was one of these companies, and in 1998 they released Mask of Eternity. It is the first and last KQ game not to feature a single member of the royal family. Sure, there is King Graham, but it isn’t long until he gets turned to stone courtesy of Lucreto, along with the rest of the kingdom. You see, Lucreto, the head of the Archons, was once the protector of the Mask. Now, he has turned to dark magic and shatters it. A young knight named Connor, who for is some reason completely immune to all of this, is Daventry’s only hope of recovering each piece and finding a way to restore the kingdom back to normal.

You start the game in Daventry itself and need to find two important items to proceed through the game; one of these is the map. Although this appears blank, you can start filling it in by venturing into unexplored territory. I like the heavy use of exploration Mask of Eternity has to offer. Besides exploration, you also have to talk to people and do jobs for them in order to proceed through your quest. I guess the game is set in a historical period, given that Connor uses words like ‘tis, ‘twas, and forsooth.

You also fight monsters along the way, and more often than not, any dispatched ones will leave behind a potion or two you can retrieve. If Connor is hit by a monster, he loses health but can restore it by eating magic mushrooms found lying on the ground in each region. The game ends when Connor is killed by monsters, falls off cliffs, or goes up in flames. There are seven more regions to explore, and a chest in each region is hidden somewhere containing a mask piece. Once Connor takes it, he will have to kill a brute that emerges behind him. You leave each region by activating a teleporter.

One impressive bar is on both the top and bottom of the screen. The top bar is hidden, but can be accessed by pointing the mouse cursor somewhere along the top edge. It includes all of Connor’s inventory items, the number of coins he has, and the mask pieces he has obtained. I like how the inventory items are laid out nicely, with each individual item having their own sections. The bar at the bottom is much bigger and lists Connor’s weapons he has picked up, available potions, armor, and spaces for the grappling hook and rocks. There are also counters for health and experience, and a small portion of the map. This bar can be hidden with a keyboard shortcut.

You use the mouse to perform some actions like selecting inventory items and using them on objects, activating spells or potions, speaking with people, fighting monsters, and rotating the camera (with the right mouse button). Like King’s Quest VII, the cursor is dynamic. It starts with just an ordinary cursor used for fighting, examining objects, and talking to people. Select an inventory item, however, and it morphs into a miniature version of that item. Choose a weapon, and it changes to a weapon cursor. The keyboard is used for walking or jogging, jumping, centering the camera, and opening and closing the interface, among other things. The game uses a third-person view as the default, but it offers a first-person view as well.

Graphically speaking, both the buildings and terrain are well designed, and the 3D models look amazing. I enjoyed looking at the sketches that appear when the game is loading the next region. Part of the overworld map on the same loading screens is colored in to reflect the region you are about to enter, and I think this looks very good.

A three-man team including Mark Seibert created the soundtrack for the game, and most of it is brilliant. I like how a few of the soundtracks have a relaxing mood to them, then morph into something sinister (an example of this is the music used for the Frozen Reaches). A nice touch is the dynamic soundtrack in some regions. You enter houses in the first region and hear peaceful music, only for it to morph into something disturbing when you walk back out. Other soundtracks have that energetic feel to them. As for the sound effects, I really liked the one that’s heard when you are awarded points.

The Bad
A cheat mode is available, but activating it causes some side effects. For example, with god mode activated in some regions (especially the Barron Region), Connor will keep walking or jogging on thin air until you bump into a wall. I could also teleport to another room, but I couldn’t see anything and I was able to go off the edge of the map.

A tedious puzzle near the end of the game requires you to put together a huge picture resembling the Mask of Eternity. You don’t see the whole scrambled puzzle at once, so you have to walk all the way around to see where you have gone wrong. What’s more frustrating is making sure you aren’t carrying a weapon before you attempt to push a block. There was nothing stopping the development team putting the same puzzle on the wall, scaling it down to size, then having players solve it using the mouse.

Even on my P133, the loading time between regions is just too long.

The Bottom Line
Mask of Eternity hardly bears any resemblance to the King’s Quest games before it. Sierra saw how successful Tomb Raider was and, just like most triple-A companies at the time, wanted to copy the formula. But they also didn’t want to make a straight-out clone, deciding to make a 3-D action/adventure hybrid that has mouse support. This is also the last game Roberta Williams did for Sierra; she took some leave before returning to the company, only to resign as she disagreed with CUC's business practices.

In the final KQ game, you don’t play a member of the royal family, but rather someone named Connor, who has to travel between different regions full of lush environments and many interesting characters he can interact with, while looking for the pieces that resemble the Mask of Eternity and restore the kingdom to normal. The soundtrack is excellent, and some of the pieces are dynamic and sinister at the same time.

The bottom line is this: if you’re thinking of purchasing this KQ game, expecting a true point-and-click adventure featuring the royal family, then maybe you should think twice about making the purchase. However, if you have completed Tomb Raider and want to play something similar, then this game is definitely worth a shot.

Windows · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2022

a dark day for adventure gamers

The Good
The buzz in the gaming industry at the time was all over Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. The buzz was that adventure games had to be more like these two games or else they would become extinct.

So, this entry into the King 's Quest saga tried to be an action-adventure game in the mold of Lara Croft or "survival horror". The graphics are Ok.

Switching over to the world of polygons and camera angles couldn't have been easy for the developers. The result looks Ok, but rarely inspires anything nearly as great as experiencing Tomb Raider or Resident Evil for the first time.

The story and overall tone try to be gritty/dark - another change from the King 's Quest series -and the result is just Ok. It does not help that the game has little to do with the previous games - storywise -and has the player going after pieces of a goofy looking Halloween mask.

Tomb Raider and Resident Evil - in contrast - had amazing graphics and the right balance of action and more traditional adventure gaming puzzles. They also had stories and character development that drew u into the game's world. Sadly, none of this can be found in KQ.

The Bad
You playable character has the standard sort of fantasy attack moves, but using then does not feel remotely as smooth as in Tomb Radier or Resident Evil. Instead the KQ attacks feel cumbersome, if not tedious.

The KQ bad mixture of hack n' slack action with cerebral puzzles is probably it most serious problem. The game never manages to find the right balance between the two, and that is it biggest downfall.

I can overlook the average graphics and silly storyline - which has little to do with the KQ I grew up with -, but the game isn't fun to play. Not as an action game and not as an adventure game.

The Bottom Line
The eighth and final KQ game attempted to find a new path for the franchise by looking at the success of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil. It put the KQ developers in a tricky situation, given the fact that KQ games had a different set of game play mechanics, then Tomb Raider. Judging from the results, the developers did not fully understand how to design a good, much less great, KQ game in the mold of Tomb Raider or survival horror.

Windows · by ETJB (428) · 2013

Kings Quest laid to rest...the final saga...

The Good
I liked the idea that it was an attempt to bring a first and third person perspective to the game. Running around trying to find the broken masks pieces fighting blocky enemies was different.

Being able to fight creatures with your sword and bow added a bit more, entertainment to the otherwise dreary boring scenarios.

What I liked about this game is that it probably encouraged better RPG games to follow (such as Ultima IX Ascension) which was way more exciting and entertaining.

The Bad
It was not the Kings Quests we are used to. Very dreary, sometimes difficult to follow the plot line at all, and extremely linear.

The original release was very buggy and often things weren't where they were supposed to be or events did not trigger when they should have.

The levels were boring, especially running down similar corridors or same looking areas within a scene. Climbing up steep walls etc..

Unfortunately this is a game that you cannot really replay. Even after the game has sat on your shelf for a couple of years, you will still be reluctant to want to pick it up again.

You will probably use a walkthru or a cheat just because of sheer frustration in trying to figure out what exactly you are supposed to be doing, often leaving you running around a scene for hours encouraging mental irritation and heart burn in the process.

The Bottom Line
This was probably a failed attempt to bring the King Quest Series into a semi quest adventure/ RPG game.. lacking in most of the important aspects of each of these type of games.

Windows · by Thekwane Black (30) · 2009

A very good 3d action/adventure. Ignore the letters 'Kings Quest' and you will love it!

The Good
We had a lot of fun playing it. The graphics are nice, the music is good: general atmosphere is drags you into the game. Puzzles are sometimes difficult, but never impossible, as is the fighting.

The Bad
There was barely anything wrong with it. In every aspect it lives up to what you might expect from a 3d action/adventure in 1998. It never excels and there is nothing astonishing or renewing about this game. I never played another kings-quest before and while playing I didn't feel I should have. Most maps / levels were fine. The last on (realm of the sun) was not to exiting and lacked the inspiration the rest of the has.

The Bottom Line
Mask Of Eternity is nice action adventure game, well worth playing.

Windows · by frank rieter (146) · 2001

Let's get into action!

The Good
Great thrills - seeking & finding bad guys - before they find you. Hard puzzles - three levels of play (easy medium & hard).

The Bad
Some moves are hard to master, Although I killed everything & completed all missions in hard mode, I never got as high of a final rating as I would have expected. Reloading lands after saves is very tedious & slow.

The Bottom Line
The first of the really good role playing games! Some puzzles may require you to log on-line & find the best way to solve them Very good graphics.

Windows · by Pat White (4) · 2002

Disgusting. Are you sure that Sierra did this game?

The Good
The character graphics are bad but the backgrounds are perfect. (With the poor map designs) The puzzles were designed perfect. Scenario is not bad but not good.

The Bad
Map designs are too bad. The first level is not that bad but later they become horrible. I think the designers don't have any creativity. The good graphics that gave a good atmosphere to the series were destroyed. The game's graphics are made with a new graphic engine and that destroys the good atmosphere of King's Quest series. It gives an atmosphere like an action game... ...And it is, this game is mostly an action game with too little puzzles. There are always fights. And the fights bore you quickly. To kill a monster? At first click on the weapons picture and click on the monster repeatedly. To kill a boss monster? Click on the weapon's picture and click on the boss repeatedly but this time do it much faster than a crazy person can. And this time Roberta Williams didn't think much about the scenario this time. The scenario is too bad for an adventure game (well, saying action only is better than saying adventure) There are many bad things to say about this game but it will take your life to read this review if I tell them.

The Bottom Line
This game is a dirt and it must be cleaned.

Windows · by esural (9) · 2000

King's Quest Series: Rest in Peace

The Good
It was a mildly entertaining action / role-playing title, but it was not a quality Sierra product.

The Bad
Fighting? We can fight?

Perhaps it all wouldn't have been so bad if the feel of the series has somehow been kept alive, but it wasn't. Fighting just seemed so antithetical to the nature of a KQ game.

The graphics were pretty rough looking, even at the time of release. Compare this to Grim Fandango. Granted that wasn't fully rendered, but it was worlds beyond what Sierra created for this game. Most of the textures looked so blotchy -- it was all just so messy.

I also didn't like the linear layout of the game. Granted, ever since KQ4, the series has not provided the same open-world design. However, with KQ 7 and KQ 8, you feel like you're forced along.

Lastly, the voice acting is something out of a bad Masterpiece Theatre. Stilted quasi-british annunciation made me want to skip most dialogue.

The Bottom Line
Where KQ 7 had been sugar and gumdrops, KQ 8 was snakes and spiders. The series took a dramatic, and final, turn with this release. As a basic role-playing games, it was decent. However, there is nothing in this game that even reminds me of King's Quest.

Windows · by Game22 (35) · 2004

Attrocious, this should be hidden in the depths of gaming history.

The Good
Some references to past games?

The Bad
Everything. Gameplay and all the techinical stuff is awful. Worst of all is it signifies the death of adventure gaming at Sierra. It cannot be called an adventure game. IT is an action game and a poor one at that.

The Bottom Line
This was Sierra's flagship adventure game series. Sierra wishes to proclaim Adventure gaming is dead. That fact alone made this game depressing to play. Yes, this game wasn't aggravating or annoying, it was depressing.

Windows · by sultan12 (3) · 2001

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Jeanne, Scaryfun, chirinea, Adam Wojciechowski, Patrick Bregger, vedder, Tomas Pettersson, Cantillon, Wizo, Picard, Foxhack, deepcut.